The Mech Touch
For the first time since the outbreak of the Sand War, hope began to spread.
It originated from a surprising source.
Across numerous battlefields in the Protectorate, the Kronon defense fleets deployed as usual.
The sandman race continued its mindless assaults on human territories long after the sandman emperor perished.
They showed no signs of stopping! Many analysts already became resigned to the fact that the sandmen would continue to engage in their suicidal attacks until not a single living grain of sand was left!
The only variable was how many humans they killed while their race collided against the might of human civilization!
Without the assistance of the Big Two or the two dominant second-rate states, the Ylvainans, Brighters, Vesians, Reinaldans and many other people had to depend on themselves to save their lives!
After many months of fighting and countless human deaths, salvation finally graced the fatigued combatants.
It came in the form that no one expected, even the Ylvainans themselves!
The Deliverers, especially in the hands of the Eye of Ylvaine, turned battles around whenever they were deployed!
Each time these mechs made an appearance on the battlefield, their distinctive profiles with their huge gauss rifles lifted every Kronon mech pilot ’s morale as much as the glows of the Holy Soldiers!
”Ylvaine is with us! ”
”The eye of judgement will punish the wicked! ”
Despite the many mysteries surrounding the mechanisms of the Deliverer model, the Ylvainans weren ’t inclined to remain skeptical.
Experiencing the fantastic glows of the Deliverers was enough to make any Ylvainan into a rapturous believer in the mechs!
Each time these mechs engaged the sandmen, every other mech pilot and starfighter pilot tried to see how bright their luminescent third eyes shined into space.
The brighter the shine, the greater the mech pilot ’s devotion to the Ylvainan Faith!
The brighter the shine, the more responsive the Deliverer ’s blessings acted on the mech pilot ’s aim!
Of all the mech pilots, the Hunters of Ylvaine often achieved the best results!
Their intense devotion, which was constantly being reinforced by their exposure to the Deliverer ’s sacred glows, turned them into vessels of the Great Prophet ’s will!
Prophet Ylvaine had not forsaken his flock! He lived, and lent his assistance to the descendants of his original believers!
Tears welled in the eyes of both the Hunters of Ylvaine and the Kronon mech pilots that were willing to sacrifice their lives to shield these precious mechs.
Their faith had been rewarded! The legacy they preserved was real!
In one major star system, several mech regiments resisted a large sandman fleet that consisted of up to twenty sandman admirals!
Millions of drones buzzed around three humongous monoliths.
The monoliths each fired heavy laser beams at distant starships, pressuring the Ylvainans into concluding the battle quickly.
Without their motherships, the mechs had nowhere else to go! The Ylvainans couldn ’t afford to lose their ships, especially when the losses far outpaced their replenishment rate!
However, the starfighter screen that protected the vital Holy Soldiers and other vulnerable mechs were dropping like flies!
Just like the Brighters, the Ylvainans introduced a second generation of starfighter models that featured much more substantial armor.
Yet against the collective might of more than a million drones, these starfighters became flooded with light lasers!
The Eye of Ylvaine did not sit still for long.
Three of the Deliverer mechs deployed right at once.
They split up in order to encompass three sections of the approaching sandman fleet, determined to strip it down as fast as possible!
”The Hunters of Ylvaine are here! ”
”Keep fighting! Don ’t let the sandmen threaten the Deliverer mechs! ”
As soon as the Deliverer mechs arrived in position, they prepared their gauss rifles but held their fire.
The Hunters of Ylvaine had to bide their time.
No matter how many starfighters fell, no matter how desperately their pilots screamed for help, the Hunters of Ylvaine needed to commune with the Great Prophet in order to receive his blessing.
All three Hunters of Ylvaine closed their eyes and immersed themselves in their mechs.
Through trial and error, the Hunters of Ylvaine formed a ritual of some sorts that hastened the onset of the blessing.
The more they immersed in the mech, the greater the blessing!
The more they prayed to Prophet Ylvaine, the faster he responded their earnest pleas!
”Oh prophet, please bless us with your sight and save the lives of your devoted followers! ”
”I pledge my life to you! I beg you, expose the wicked sandman admirals and help us exact judgement for their crimes! ”
Whenever they arrived on the battlefield, each Hunter of Ylvaine prayed in their mechs as if they were kneeling before an altar.
Though this exposed the mechs to enemy fire, their distance from the sandman fleet made it extremely unlikely that they would get fired upon.
Even if the sandman did attempt to destroy the distant targets, the attending mechs would never allow the Deliverers to be profaned!
A squad of space knights escorted each Deliverer and surrounded it from each cardinal direction.
No enemy was allowed to interrupt this sacred ritual!
With the cover of these valiant space knights, the third eyes of all three Deliverer mechs shone brighter and brighter!
Though they had already shone as soon as they came online, the moment the Hunters of Ylvaine finished their prayers, the glows of their Deliverers connected to their minds at a degree that could scarcely be measured!
In fact, many mech designers tried to figure out which variable caused the third eyes increased or decreased their luminosity.
No one managed to find an answer as of yet! The input that controlled the intensity of their shining crystal orbs seemed to be connected to nothing!
This application went beyond established science.
Only a deep understanding of Ves Larkinson ’s design philosophy would allow other mech designers to replicate this mysterious feat.
Many have tried, but none have succeeded!
The copycats who faked the shining third eyes were easily exposed as counterfeits!
This was because these mechs were devoid of glows or only contained traces of one.
The third eyes glowed according to concrete input such as pilot immersion or the quality of the man-machine connection, which was not exactly what an authentic Deliverer conveyed!
What the brightness of the third eyes actually represented was the alignment between the mech pilot and the mech!
Only by resonating with the design spirit of the Deliverer would the mech pilot be able to make the third eye shine a light in the dark!
Right now, the three Deliverer mechs shone like torches in the night, repelling the darkness that threatened to engulf the vulnerable Ylvainans!
All three Deliverer mechs fired in unison in very specific directions.
Each Hunter of Ylvaine observed the outcome of their shots with unnatural intensity!
As soon as the hyperaccelerated projectiles slammed against three random sandman drones, every mech pilot and starfighter pilot briefly paused.
Just seconds later, a third of the humongous sandman swarm suddenly lost coordination!
Hundreds of thousands of deadly sandman drones seemed to lost their signals and began to drift apart, having received no instructions to turn around and keep up with the swarm!
A collective roar erupted from the throats of the rapturous Kronon mech pilots and Ylvainan starfighter pilots!
”YLVAINE IS WITH US! ”
The miracle wasn ’t over yet! Shortly after their gauss rifles chambered another round, they barked out yet again!
Three more random sandman drones shattered apart after suffering devastating kinetic impacts!
Hundreds of thousands of surrounding sandman drones all lost cohesion! They no longer fired their lasers and simply drifted off as if their souls had left their bodies!
”YLVAINE! YLVAINE! YLVAINE! ”
The Deliverers unleashed a couple more volleys, hitting a sandman admiral almost every time!
Though one of the Deliverers happened to miss his target due to extreme distance, the Hunter of Ylvaine quickly made up for it by succeeding upon his second try!
The swarm had ceased to become a threat!
By slaying less than a dozen specific sandman drones, the three Deliverers achieved a result that required at least several mech regiments to succeed!
Just three long-ranged mechs managed to defeat a sandman swarm encompassing millions of drones, each of which were capable of outputting lasers that could overwhelm an entire defensive fleet and scour entire planets of life!
If that wasn ’t a miracle, then what even qualified as a miracle?!
The foreign observers monitoring this miraculously lopsided result all witnessed this miracle in the flesh.
They had turned numb at seeing miracle after miracle taking place before their eyes.
Most of the foreign observers were secularists who came from supposedly enlightened states.
To see the ignorant and superstitious Ylvainans succeed where everyone else had failed put a very sour taste in their mouths.
Had human science failed them?! Why couldn ’t the Brighters and Vesians, both of which experienced numerous wars, develop a solution as effective as the Deliverers?
Why had Ves Larkinson, a Brighter and a member of a prominent military family, developed the Deliverers for the Ylvainans instead of his own people?
Too many inexplicable questions surrounded the Deliverers.
Many foreigners desperately wanted to unlock the secrets of their design, but none managed to make any breakthroughs!
The only person who could offer a satisfactory explanation happened to be the victim of a strange conspiracy!
A lot of criticism had been directed at the Bright Republic, the Cavendish Family, the Ramza Family and even the Friday Coalition! If not for this extremely ill-timed plot, the other states might have been able to persuade the Bright Martyr in sharing some of his secrets!
Even if Ves Larkinson stayed mum, then at least they could have persuaded him to design their own variants of the Deliverer!
As it was, the Ylvaine Protectorate ’s willingness to lend the Eye of Ylvaine to the other states offered them an alternate solution!
With such powerful mechs defending their vulnerable star systems, the foreign states would certainly be able to lessen the pressure!
Without the swarms, the mechs and starfighters perished much less quickly!
This was because the monoliths that remained behind were more suited to attack larger targets than small craft!
Without the protection of the swarm, these monoliths inevitably turned into punching bags destined to die by a thousand cuts!
Negotiations, which initially proceeded slowly, gained rapid momentum as the demand for the Hunters of Ylvaine increased!
The Ylvaine Protectorate made a large number of deals with foreign states.
Alongside alliances, trade deals, generous payments and the right to proselytize their faith in the foreign states, the Ylvainans rapidly gained influence in the local region!
As long as the Protectorate lived up to its end of the deal, its post-war circumstances would definitely herald a golden age for the Ylvainan people!
As the Ylvaine Protectorate finally signed an agreement with the Bright Republic, the first Deliverers soon arrived at Bentheim.
Hard-pressed by the sandmen, the port system became a graveyard of many starfighter pilots and mech pilots!
The great industrial machine of Bentheim could no longer keep up with the attrition suffered by the Mech Corps and Starfighter Corps!
Even the irregular forces started to bleed valuable mechs and mech pilots! Outfits such as Ricklin ’s Rollers and the Blood Claws became less and less hopeful about their ability to defend Bentheim.
Only a rare number of notable Brighters lifted up the flag.
’t give up!
” Vincent Ricklin shouted as his scorched and worn-out Adonis Colossus withstood numerous laser attacks as his mech boldly flew to the front.
”Bentheim must never fall! Our brothers and sisters are counting on us! For Bentheim! ”
”For Bentheim! ”
After living through scores of battles, Vincent Ricklin was no longer the bumbling fool of before.
While his earlier performances were more comedic than heroic, the sheer defensive prowess of his Adonis Colossus always made sure he lived to fight another day!
Though his Sandbreaker rifle often missed and his missile salvos never achieved any critical results, his familiar presence always dispelled some of the darkness threatening to collapse everyone ’s morale!
Yet sheer charisma alone was not enough to reserve the losses suffered by the defenders of Bentheim!
Under these circumstances, three Kronon mech pilots and their Deliverers finally transferred from Cloudy Curtain to Bentheim.
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