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Chapter 1936 The Critical Hi

The Mech Touch
     Chapter 1936 The Critical Hi

    A trained light mech pilot would have kept fighting with as little interruption as possible. Even if his mech was falling apart around him, a true daredevil never gave up until he had no other choice but to eject!

    Unfortunately, Rion was far from reaching that standard. As one of the Genie Pearl's legs lost some strength, the mech temporarily stalled, giving the enemy frontline mechs a golden opportunity to concentrate their fire!

    Four of the mechs concentrated their fire on the Genie Pearl's left arm!

    Due to the damage the left arm already incurred, the sudden laser barrage soon caused the limb to go limp!

    Though the energy damage failed to cut off the arm, the lasers successfully severed all of the internal connectors that provided power to the lower half!

    The loss in power caused the left hand to become limp as well, causing the Genie Pearl to drop one of its knives!

    I lost a weapon!

    Then just make do with a single knife! The fight is not over yet! Your Genie Pearl is not the only mech who sustained damage! Look at the mech on the right! It has suffered a lot of friendly fire to its rear and lost most of its mobility! One more push will topple it over!

    Due to the tactics employed by Rion, none of his attacks managed to fell an enemy mech, but that did not mean their enemies were feeling good!

    Many of the places the Genie Pearl stabbed were debilitating weak points. While the damage wasn't enough to disable the frontline mechs, their energy transmission, motive power and weapon functionality all dropped as a result of the hijacked mech's sinister attacks!

    What was even more infuriating was that the frontline mechs suffered plenty of damage as a result of friendly fire!

    Though the mech pilots made the right choice, some of those lasers softened up entire armor sections while occasionally inflicting crippling damage to the exposed internals!

    The enemy was practically doing half the work for Rion! The only thing the dwarf needed to do was to land the killing blows!

    Though the Genie Pearl kept getting raked by laser after laser, Rion no longer paid attention to his fears.

    Ves saw the potential of a great mech pilot in Rion. Even though his skill and training was anything but passable, the ability to set aside your fears in order to achieve a greater goal was an essential quality to a soldier or warrior!

    Many mech pilots, particularly poorly-trained mercenaries and pirates, frequently fled the battlefield at the first sign of danger!

    Even so, Ves would have rather ride in the mind of a proper mech pilot like Axelar, Eloise or Barley.

    Any half-decent light skirmisher specialist would have been able to dismantle these frontline mechs at all! This was the power of a melee mech in the hands of someone skilled!

    Instead, Ves had to keep refraining from admonishing Rion as he made a hundred tiny mistakes.

    Throughout the course of the battle, Rion had grown a lot. Much of his shakiness and lack of fluency slowly smoothed out as Rion learned many lessons.

    However, this did not turn the self-trained dwarf into a proper mech pilot! The problem became worse as the Genie Pearl suffered more and more damage.

    Rion failed to orient his mech so that its damaged side faced away from the bulk of his opponents.

    Rion forgot that the left side of his mech could no longer attack. Several seconds went to waste as the Genie Pearl attempted to stab a knife that the mech had already dropped!

    Rion did not sufficiently compensate the Genie Pearl's balance as it started to lose mass and power over several different sections. Several times, the Genie Pearl came close to tripping!

    What pained Ves the most was that Rion no longer attempted to shield the Genie Pearl's rear. The fragile light mech only managed to remain functional up until now because its antigrav backpack kept compensating for the planet's gravity!

    Although its power was already close to running out, the Genie Pearl still needed it to last long enough to finish off the ranged mechs!

    KILL!

    One of the five frontline mechs finally succumbed! Surprisingly, the guard mech on the right didn't fall from a stab.

    Instead, its comrades ruthlessly poured their laser fire in its direction in an attempt to pile up the damage on the nimble ranged mech! A few laser beams just happened to burn through a critical node that caused the mech to lose all motive power!

    The frontline mech soon tipped over, causing it to crash against the ground with a hefty impact due to the heavy gravity!

    The fall of one of their comrades shocked the mech pilots. Their attack rhythm momentarily slowed, giving Rion a chance to approach another mech!

    Kick at the damaged knee section of the nearest mech! Ves urged his host. A battle wagon has already peeled off some of the armor protecting this joint. Once you damage the knee, the mech will buckle. Use this opportunity to stab into its exposed rear while using its bulk as a shield against enemy fire!

    The dwarf did as instructed. Though the light kick wasn't enough to snap the frontline mech's knee, it was enough to lock it up as several failsafes came online to freeze the leg in order to prevent the mech from falling!

    The Genie Pearl, its coating marred by dozens of laser attacks, circled around the immobilized mech's rear and finished the job.

    Two down, three to go! You can do it, Rion!

    The dwarf released a wordless cry and threw all of his caution to the wind. His damaged mech advanced at one of the mechs and rapidly circled around in order to hinder the fire of its comrades.

    Three down!

    At this time, Rion finally understood the essence of light mechs. Though he wasn't a good mech pilot, all of those long hours of simulator practice hadn't been in vain!

    His connection with his stolen mech deepened as Rion became more and more in tune with the mobility of his mech.

    His performance slightly increased as Rion became more used to piloting a mech built in the image of the tall folk!

    I have to move faster!

    The Genie Pearl, though far from pristine, still had some fight left in it! With just a single functional arm and an antigrav backpack that was close to running out of energy, the light skirmisher was still an unfathomable opponent to the guard mechs!

    As long as I'm fast enough, I can outrun any laser!

    This was a ridiculous statement to Ves! He suppressed the urge to groan.

    The only way for a mech to outrun a laser was to travel faster than the speed of light, which was a ridiculous notion in itself!

    However, Rion's meaning wasn't entirely wrong. What he actually meant was that his Genie Pearl was still fast enough to outpace the enemy's weapon tracking!

    Our mech is close to collapsing! Ves warned. We can't incur anymore damage, especially to the antigrav backpack. Focus on taking out a laser weapon mount from each mech! Reducing their firepower is key to attaining victory!

    Defeating three of the five mechs had substantially lightened the pressure on the Genie Pearl.

    This gave the light skirmisher enough of an opportunity to close in on a frontline mech and disable one of its weapon mounts!

    Though frontline mechs often reinforced their exposed weapons against incidental fire, it did not take long for a melee mech to put it out of action!

    Instead of trying to disable his current victim's other laser weapon mount, Rion listened to his god's advice and approached the last mech in order to do the same.

    Soon enough, the enemy only possessed two intact laser weapons.

    Even as the fourth enemy mech kept firing its sole intact laser beam at the Genie Pearl, Rion cleverly used the fifth frontline mech as a shield!

    Because the light mech was hugging the damaged side of the fifth mech, its mech pilot was completely unable to bring its sole weapon to bear!

    It's over!

    One mech fell.

    Just as the Genie Pearl turned towards the final enemy mech, a critical laser beam happened to land on an exposed section of its backpack armor!

    After enduring so many laser attacks, the Genie Pearl exhibited a considerable amount of holes in its armor coverage. What was more, its vulnerable antigrav backpack also suffered some hits!

    It only took one more attack to shut it down, and the only surviving enemy mech managed to land the critical hit!

    The Genie Pearl abruptly slowed down as 3.6 g's suddenly acted on its frame. The abrupt transition not only slowed it to a crawl, but also caused its damaged internal structure to suffer further damage!

    No! I'm so close! Rion despaired.

    DON'T GIVE UP! Ves shouted. THE FIGHT ISN'T OVER YET! YOUR MECH CAN STILL MOVE!

    Even though the Genie Pearl was almost on the verge of collapse, the mech slowly managed to regain its balance once Rion righted the machine.

    Advance!

    With heavy, heaving steps, the burdened light mech slowly approached its final opponent.

    The only frontline mech left kept firing its only laser at the approaching light mech. Due to the Genie Pearl's loss of mobility, it was completely unable to stop the ranged attacks from targeting its weak points!

    Not only that, the frontline mech also started stepping backwards, thereby lengthening the distance the Genie Pearl had to traverse in order to reach knife-fighting range!

    I won't make it! My mech is falling apart at the seams! I can feel its pain!

    Don't give up! You're already very close to it! Just a dozen more steps! Rotate the torso of your mech to the left! The left arm is already useless, so just let it absorb some hits!

    Once the Genie Pearl rotated its torso, it not only exposed its most useless side, but also shielded its only remaining functional arm!

    Therefore, even as the enemy frontline mech kept landing solid hits against its opponent, none of them managed to land the decisive blow!

    It didn't help that the enemy mech pilot lacked the vision of a mech designer. Many of his attacks landed on sections that weren't very optimal!

    In addition, the sequential fall of every other guard mech severely frazzled the mech pilot's confidence. Outpost 35 had largely fallen in the hands of the rebels and friendlies were nowhere to be seen!

    His comm channels kept transmitting calls for distress and orders to retreat and guard the headquarters, the materials warehouse and the spaceport at the same time!

    In contrast, Rion tried so hard to advance his half-crippled forward that he no longer paid attention to anything else! Not even the voice of his god could distract him from his final task!

    I… am.. faster!

    The difference between a light mech and a medium mech was still relevant. Though the Genie Pearl's mobility dropped even further due to all of its accumulated damage, its inherent advance in speed was not something that could be negated so easily!

    Step after step, the smaller and lighter mech came closer and closer to its opponent.

    After an agonizing couple of seconds, the Genie Pearl finally came within range!

    You're finished!

    The knife swept forward at a much-reduced speed. The gravity weighing down the mech along with the loss in power transmission weakened the force the mech was able to exert in its attack.

    The knife missed its target!

    Instead of hitting one of the holes in the enemy mech, the frontline mech possessed enough time to rotate its torso and lean backwards!

    This caused the knife to bounce off an intact armor section!

    NOOO! THIS ISN'T OVER YET!

    Desperate to finish off the final mech, Rion madly drove his mech forward! The Genie Pearl only drew back its knife enough before driving it into a weak point with substantially more speed and force!

    Ves looked stunned at the final attack!

    Instead of relying on the failing systems of the Genie Pearl to deliver the final attack, Rion madly decided to trip his mech and rely on the falling motion to drive the knife into the frontline mech!

    Two mechs collapsed on the ground with an earth-shattering impact! The Genie Pearl's cockpit justled as the light mech fell on top of the frontline mech!

    I did it! I defeated the final mech!