Chapter 1934 Impostor
A single mech raced through the streets of Outpost 35. The sparkling white mech contrasted sharply against the dark soil and plain metallic buildings.
Its speed was incredibly astounding to the surrounding people who witnessed its passage. On a heavy gravity planet like Desala X, nothing moved quickly. To see a mech breaking the pattern that everyone was accustomed to was a very jarring sight!
In fact, the mech could run even faster. The Genie Pearl was truly unencumbered by the heavy gravity. As long as its antigrav backpack module continued to compensate much of the gravity acting on the mech, the light skirmisher could easily sprint from one end of the outpost to the other end of the outpost within a minute!
The only problem was the mech pilot. Rion Aaden still exhibited many instances of flawed and suboptimal control. Any decent light mech specialist would probably slap Rion stupid for his abysmal running gait!
It was so bad that Ves prohibited Rion from increasing the speed of his mech. The Genie Pearl was truly liable to trip and fall if it ran any faster!
While the mech passed through the checkpoint that separated the central district from the outer districts, both the dwarves and the outnumbered guards halted their fire.
The dwarves looked towards the Genie Pearl with anticipation while the guards reacted the same!
Just as both sides expected the impressively fast mech to halt and help them out, the Genie Pearl passed them by without any hint of slowing down!
Both sides looked astonished as their promised backup left them to fend for themselves.
Rion felt immensely guilty for ignoring the dwarves who were fighting and dying on his behalf. All of those dwarves were doing their best to keep the tall folk from linking up and restoring their broken communication lines!
Remember your role. Ves reminded Rion. Wasting half a minute in crushing the guards on foot won't bring you any closer to winning this battle.
I could have tipped the balance in our favor!
Don't blow your cover! The guards are still under the impression that your mech is piloted by Richard Kantis. We should take advantage of their misconception while they are still in the dark. Any time you display any hostility against the tall folk, you risk exposure.
Aren't the tall folk isolated from each other?
Never assume anything, Rion! Battle is inherently chaotic and plans often fall through!
Then how can I possibly succeed?
Don't think too much. Just follow the plan and minimize your mistakes. Once something unexpected happens, don't freeze and let the tall folk catch you off-guard. You need to be cautious and be ready to adapt to changing circumstances.
As Ves continued to teach his host, the Genie Pearl soon headed towards the sounds of active conflict.
Don't go forward! Turn left! There should be a knight mech in that direction that isn't being confronted by a battle wagon. We need to take it out before it links up with another mech!
My lord! Shouldn't we reinforce our battle wagons so they can help us fight against the other mechs?
Leaving the other mechs alone is a fatal error. The battle wagons are still fulfilling their mission in occupying the other mechs. We don't need these vehicles to survive to win the battle! What matters most is defeating every enemy mech, and the only way we can do so is to prevent them from banding together.
Though Ves believed he was making the most logical decision, it was very hard for Rion to go against his impulse to rescue the crews of the battle wagons.
Most of those dwarves would probably die by the time the battle ended! Knowing that he could have saved them if he came to their rescue was very painful!
Still, Vulcan himself commanded him to turn left, so he had no choice but to do so. Displeasing the god that aided the rebel dwarves so much was not an option!
Right now, neither side possessed a complete picture of where everyone was. Ves could only glean the location of enemy mechs from the intelligence gathered by the dwarves.
The guard force hardly varied their patrol routes. Though a decent amount of time had passed since the start of the battle, many of the mechs had hardly moved from their original position.
Aside from the harassment they endured, the mechs weren't able to hurry up no matter how much their mech pilots wanted to drive them forward!
Though the guard mechs had all been adjusted to heavy gravity operation, that only meant that the machines were strong enough to walk forward without risking too much damage.
While these mechs were slowly moving away from their original positions, the Genie Pearl finally confronted one of these machines.
According to the intelligence gathered by your fellow rebels, House Kantis has stationed at least three knight mechs at this outpost. You've already dismantled one of them, but that was an unpiloted mech. This time is different.
What should I do, Great Vulcan?
Don't slow down. Keep jogging towards the mech but don't make any attempt to communicate with it. When you get close enough, the jamming won't be as effective, so the enemy mech pilot will definitely attempt to hail you. Just ignore the attempt and move close to the mech. Try and maneuver to the knight mech's rear without giving away that you are a dwarf. Once you get in position, I'll highlight an area you need to stick a knife in. Make sure to leverage the weight of your mech properly this time!
Rion did his best to follow his god's advice. His concentration grew sharper as he focused less on his fears and more on the task at hand.
The knight mech easily noticed the approaching light mech. It waved its sword aim in a friendly gesture.
It paused when the Genie Pearl declined to reciprocate the wordless greeting.
Soon enough, the cockpit of the mech beeped in order to notify Rion of an incoming hail.
As instructed, Rion didn't accept or reject the hail. Instead, he let it hang, causing the enemy mech pilot to grow confused.
Ves observed the movements of the enemy knight mech carefully. Right now, the guard mech still looked unguarded, but who knew how long that would last.
If not for the strong association between Richard Kantis and his personal mech, the enemy mech pilot would have probably guessed the truth by now!
As the Genie Pearl drew close to the knight mech, it gradually slowed down. With casual movements, the mech moved to the knight mech's rear.
The light skirmisher cunningly moved to the knight mech's rear as if it wanted to take advantage of the defensive mech's shelter.
The mech pilot was so used to friendly mechs huddling behind its resilient shield and frame that the Genie Pearl still didn't draw suspicion!
Once the Genie Pearl entered stabbing range, the knight mech belatedly started to draw away.
A loud rupturing sound echoed the streets as the Genie Pearl suddenly leaned forward and pushed its knife into a weak point situated in the lower back.
The strike hit home! Caught completely by surprise, the mech pilot belatedly attempted to turn his knight mech around.
Unfortunately, the backstab inflicted by the Genie Pearl was truly sinister! The knife just happened to pass through several critical power lines and connections. The mech engine instantly lost half its mechanical power.
This was truly fatal to the mech as a reduction in strength meant the knight mech was hardly able to move under heavy gravity conditions!
Keep facing its back and stab all of the points I've marked out! Ves eagerly instructed. This mech can't turn fast enough to block your strikes!
Once the mech lost half its strength, its fate was sealed. The unencumbered Genie Pearl methodically stabbed the weak points that Ves marked out. Soon enough, the knight mech collapsed.
When the Genie Pearl attempted to stomp the rear of the fallen mech, Ves jolted Rion's mind.
Don't waste any time trying to finish the mech pilot off. This outpost doesn't have any spare mechs. As long as you finish off all of the mechs, there's no way for the tall folk to make a comeback!
You're right, my lord. Please point me to the next mech.
Under Ves' direction, the Genie Pearl moved straight to where the only other knight mech was situated and took it out in the exact same manner.
Through the Genie Pearl's sensors, Rion looked down at the fallen mech with astonishment. He never expected to take out these mighty machines with such ease.
Keep moving! The tall folk won't remain ignorant for long!
Rion regained his wits and piloted his mech forward.
Roughly fifteen minutes passed as guard mech after guard mech suffered various deadly stabs. Ves had drafted an optimal route that allowed the Genie Pearl to waste as little time as possible in moving from place to place.
Eventually, the good times didn't last.
Ves noted from the Genie Pearl's communication systems that the guard force eventually succeeded in restoring their communications network!
The survivors among the tall folk had worked hard in amplifying their signals and restoring some of the interrupted lines.
Immediately, an urgent warning proliferated throughout the network.
[LORD RICHARD KANTIS IS DEAD. GENIE PEARL HIJACKED BY DWARVES. GENIE PEARL IS HOSTILE. DO NOT LET THIS IMPOSTOR APPROACH YOUR POSITION. DATABASE UPDATE INCOMING.]
The Genie Pearl was promptly cut off from the communications channel.
What do we do, Vulcan?! We only disabled five mechs!
Six if you count the knight mech at the central district. Ves corrected the dwarf. You have already overcome half of your opposition. If we're lucky, we can still catch two or three enemy mechs as they are slowly converging on each other.
At this stage of the battle, the dwarven battle wagons had already fallen. None of them managed to defeat their opponents, but they did not go down without a fight!
The Genie Pearl eventually turned a corner and confronted a wounded frontline mech. It lost its left laser barrel mount and exhibited lots of scars across its entire torso and a portion of its legs.
Ves gleamed as he saw the state of the enemy mech. To a mech designer like him, the damaged mech was full of vulnerabilities!
AHHH! I'm being shot at!
The Genie Pearl finally suffered its first blow as the frontline mech resolutely fired at Richard Kantis' mech!
With communications restored, the mech pilots of the guard force were no longer in the dark! All of them received orders to treat the Genie Pearl as a high-priority target!
So far, Rion had performed well enough that Ves forgot that he was a rookie. Being shot at by a weapon was very unpleasant!
Don't flinch! You're not facing this mech with your naked body. You're piloting a multiton war machine. Even if the Genie Pearl can't endure too many hits, it is still incredibly fast! Circle around the frontline mech and prevent it from bearing its only weapon on your machine. Use your mobility to your advantage!
If Ves wasn't in his mind to direct Rion's actions, the dwarf would have fallen long ago! The difference between an academy-trained mech pilot and a self-taught amateur like Rion was too wide!
Though the Genie Pearl moved much less fluently than before, Rion was still able to outpace the rotation of the frontline mech. The damage it suffered to its legs caused them to move a bit slower than normal, giving the light skirmisher an excellent opportunity to face its left flank!
Stab the points I've marked out!
It only took three stabs to down the mech. The frontline mech had already been softened up, so Rion only had to finish the job.
Seven down, five to go! If you hurry fast enough, we can still intercept another mech, particularly if it's damaged!
Three minutes later, the Genie Pearl slowed down its advance as a wide plaza came into view.
Standing in the center of the plaza was a team of five mechs!
Though none of them were melee mechs, the frontline mechs all adopted a formation that allowed them to cover each other's back!
As soon as the Genie Pearl came into view, the mechs locked onto the light skirmisher and unleashed a torrent of laser beams!
The light mech failed to dodge due to Rion's momentary surprise. The Genie Pearl instantly incurred a lot of damage!