One space knight, one striker mech, two rifleman mechs and two light skirmishers formed a fairly small but effective team.

As Ves studied their appearances, energy signatures and other data captured by the Scarlet Rose ’s sensors, he continually discovered new aspects and nuances that distinguished their designs.

”They ’re not civilian designs.
They ’re built according to a higher standard.
Not military, but reasonably close to it.
Their designs also don ’t share anything in common. ”

Each design was the product of a different mech designer, or rather design teams.
All of the mechs featured mature designs with hardly any pronounced weaknesses aside from the ones inherent to their mech types.

The degree of optimization in their technical makeup caused Ves to feel a lot of professional respect for their designers.

”These are some really great mechs! ”

Their designs were definitely the work of Seniors, which only increased the disparity between the mechs and his battle bots.

Though Ves modified the Kravon, Seltzer, Paravin and Fliskin considerably, they still retained the characteristics of their original designs.

Lady Aisling Curver designed and built each of the mechs.
Though she employed some of the best tech and materials a direct disciple had access to, her design style still showed many traces of immaturity.
Her professional experience simply couldn ’t catch up to those Seniors who were predominantly over a century old!

To be honest, this was a problem that could hardly be solved aside from collaborating with an experienced mech designer.

Even the mechs designed by Ves and Gloriana still contained some quirks that weren ’t very ideal.
Fortunately, Gloriana ’s specialty excelled at stamping out faults, which allowed each of their recent products to approach the quality and polish expected from a mech designed by a Senior!

Ves did not enjoy that advantage right now.
In a serious battle, the shortcomings of the four former mechs designed by Aisling Curver would probably become critical vulnerabilities to his opponents.

”The CRC is definitely aware of the characteristics of Aisling ’s works! ”

Right now, Ves faced a pretty severe information disparity.

His opponents knew almost everything about the original designs of his battle bots.

In contrast, Ves could only glean the properties of the six enemy mechs by observing their surface appearances.

If Ves had to analyze third-class mechs, then he would immediately feel at ease.
Not only did he grew up with third-class mechs, their low tech base, cheap construction and large components didn ’t leave much room for complexity.

By looking at a third-class mech on the surface, Ves confidently believed he could glean at least 80 percent of their characteristics.

It was different this time.
Watching the six approaching mechs gave him the feeling as if he was only perceiving the outermost layer of an onion.

His lack of fluency with regards to second-class mechs and their inherently higher complexity prevented him from making solid judgements about their internal characteristics.

He did not forget the lessons he learned from Gloriana, Tristan and the textbooks left behind by Aisling.

Second-class mechs rarely featured only one main system.
Due to their higher tech and material base, many essential components had been miniaturized, thereby freeing up a considerable amount of internal volume that could be filled with all kinds of offensive and auxiliary systems.

His four battle bots each incorporated multiple weapon systems and auxiliary systems, so the mechs deployed from the Terrinac should be no different!

While Ves had to painstakingly tease out the secret capabilities of the enemy mechs, his opponents held no such burden!

The six mechs formed into a loose formation and steadily sped up to the vainly-fleeing Scarlet Rose as if the outcome was already set in stone!

Though Ves felt affronted by the arrogance radiating from the Fridayman mechs, he had no right to speak at the moment.

”I should focus on the battle instead of depressing my confidence. ”

He knew that if he continued to lament his inferiority, the Fridaymen didn ’t have to defeat him.
He already defeated himself in his mind.

In order to remain stable, Ves concentrated his mind and started to cast out most of his unnecessary thoughts.

Only the battle mattered!

It was time to enact his plan!

”Deploy defensive fixtures. ” He commanded.

The mech hangar disgorged a pair of containers, which the battle bots quickly grabbed hold of.
Under his direction, the machines placed the containers on the hull of the Scarlet Rose, upon which the magnetic nodes installed on their bottom surface anchored them against the surface of the ship.

The bots carefully opened the containers and began to pull out moderately thick metal sheets before pressing them against the hull.

The bots continued to place more and more metal sheets against the hull, each of them shaped in a way that allowed them to slot together like puzzle pieces!

Within minutes, a very clear shape came into existence.

The four battle bots pieced together a bunker!

The bunker stuck on the hull of the ship like an ugly pimple.
The aesthetic of the Scarlet Rose was completely ruined by this crude metal bunker made out of modular sheets.

Ves tried to guess what his opponents thought about his actions.
They must be scratching their heads right now!

He already guessed from the configuration of the team dispatched by the Terrinac that his opponents aimed to capture him and ship intact.

As long as they destroyed his battle bots, they could easily restrain the Scarlet Rose long enough to transfer over a team of commandos!

Since they wanted to avoid damaging the ship, Ves did not have to worry too much about the Scarlet Rose suffering an excessive amount of damage.

Only two out of six enemy mechs consisted of ranged mechs, and Ves already observed they wielded dual-type laser and particle beam rifles.

”It ’s similar to the rifle of the Selzer. ”

The two enemy ranged mechs clearly acted as fire support.
The three melee mechs clearly played the main roles, while the striker mech with its devastating close-ranged firepower acted as a reserve if the opposition was more formidable than expected.

The key here was that the latter four mechs were only effective at close range!

While the battle bots under his control lost out badly in terms of close-ranged combat strength, at longer ranges his side actually held the upper hand!

”If I want to win this battle, I ’ll have to maximize my ranged advantage! ”

In the last couple of days, Ves hadn ’t been wasting his time.
The constant supply of Breyer alloy allowed Ves to come up with all kinds of preparations in the event of an arduous battle.

Aside from cladding his four battle bots with more armor, he also formed the moduled metal sheets to serve as the building blocks of an improvised bunker!

Though the sheets weren ’t very thick, his battle bots stacked another batch of sheets on top of the first one!

By the time the bots finished constructing the bunker, at least five separate layers sheltered the Kravon and the Selzer from outside damage!

Only small openings remained that were large enough to allow their weapons to fire outwards.

The bunker only barely accommodated the two ranged mechs, so the Paravin and the Fliskin were left out by the time they installed the final pieces of the puzzle.
Ves instructed the two mechs to shelter behind the Scarlet Rose.

At this stage, they weren ’t needed! Their limited ranged armament was of no use at this moment!

The bunker didn ’t just contain the Kravon and the Selzer.
The bots also retrieved various supplies such as energy cells and weirdly-shaped heatsinks from the two containers.

Right now, the Selzer picked up one of the heatsinks, which happened to consist of the same material as the bunker, and slotted it onto his dual-type rifle.

The Kravon held its gauss cannon upwards and slotted it through the hole directly above the bot.

The Selzer followed suit, the heatsink attached to the rifle sticking very prominently from the weapon.

”Fire! ”

The range was a bit too far, but Ves didn ’t care about wasting ammunition and energy.
This was the most difficult battle of his journey so far and he could not afford to hold anything back!

The gauss cannon fired first! The bunker and the rest of the ship shuddered as a considerable portion of its recoil transferred to the Scarlet Rose!

The projectile that the Kravon fired was not the conventional slug it fired previously!

Not only had Ves fabricated a large batch of gauss cannon rounds out of Breyer alloy, but he also modified them in a special way!

If Ves tried to hit the Terrinac or the six mechs with a single slug, the chance of hitting them was too small!

This was why the Kravon released something other than a normal slug.
When the round reached medium range, its outer shell suddenly broke apart!

Several dozen shards slowly diverged and spread out as if fired by a shotgun!

Although their angles didn ’t diverge very much, their extremely high speed and the huge amount of distance they traversed quickly caused them to spread out across several hundred meters by the time they reached their targets!

One sharp shard dug into the shield of the space knight with considerable force, surprising the Fridaymen sent to recapture their property!

”Active countermeasure! ”

The team of mechs quickly responded to this unexpected offensive! Ports built into the exterior of the two rifleman mechs abruptly opened and released several jets of particles!

These jets quickly bloomed around the loose formation, engulfing the mechs in a particle dust cloud that hindered many sensor types from distinguishing what was hiding within!

”Damnit! ” Ves slammed his fist against the console.

The sensor arrays of the Scarlet Rose and the battle bots completely failed to penetrate this masking cloud! The particles deployed by the two ranged mechs just happened to be tailored against the configuration of his own hardware!

This was the advantage of going up against their own machines! The Coalition Reserve Corps used their information advantage to maximum effect!

Nonetheless, the particle cloud only encompassed a decently-sized area of space around the formation.

As the Selzer began to fire random laser beams, Ves had the sense that none of them hit their intended targets.

It was too difficult to land a hit in this obscuring cloud!

This happened to be very effective against the Selzer which mainly fired concentrated beams that absolutely had to hit in order to deal effective damage.

Ves grimaced, but quickly recovered.
His fingers danced over the control panel.

”Defocus the laser beam! ”

He minutely adjusted the Selzer ’s rifle to fire a laser beam that minutely expanded as it traveled through space!

Though the angle only expanded by a tiny fraction of a degree, at longer ranges the ’beam ’ quickly expanded into a ’cone ’ that stretched up to a hundred meters by the time it reached the cloud!

While Ves failed to see any results, his intuition told him that at least some of these laser blasts managed to hit the mechs!

”The problem is that the energy is too dispersed! ”

Even if a portion of the expanded laser blast managed to clip a mech, the dispersal of energy meant that the affected target only suffered a small portion of damage!

The Selzer had to fire its weapon hundreds of times in order to damage a mech this way!

Ves briefly grinned.
”Heat and energy are of no concern this time! ”

Rather than letting the Selzer control its fire rate in order to avoid depleting its energy, Ves forcibly ordered it to fire its dual-type rifle as fast as possible!

Ordinarily, this would have heated up the rifle and the mech rapidly, but the heatsink made out of Breyer alloy just happened to absorb a decent amount of heat!

When the heatsink started to reach a limit, the Selzer detached the heatsink and just threw it out of the bunker before slotting in a new one!

Heat management was no problem this time!

As for energy, the Selzer had to worry even less! Ves already prepared plenty of spare energy cells.
Even if the battle bot consumed much of their charges in earlier battles, Ves had already replenished them by tapping in the energy provided by the ship ’s power reactor.

Energy weapons were extremely convenient to use in extended battles and campaigns for this reason!

Now that Ves solved the heat problem, the Selzer could fire its rifle without any risk of overheating its weapon!

The enemy mechs already started to note the abnormalities.
They never expected to meet such vigorous resistance at this range!

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