the expert pilot targeted their reinforcements.
Captain Rynsel feebly tried to resist, but eventually had to eject.

Just when Ghanso thought he made it away, the expert pilot curved his high-speed trajectory in a straight path towards his Vhedra-S.

”He ’s on to you, Ghanso! ”

”Eject already! You don ’t stand a chance against this expert! ”

Ghanso didn ’t want to abandon his mech so soon.
Even if his fellow Starhawks wouldn ’t blame him for the early ejection, it still would have left a stain in his heart.
As a mech pilot born to the cause, the last thing he could tolerate was to carry a brand of shame.
Such a shame had a high chance of affecting his potential advancement to expert pilot.

The Vhedra-S threw all caution to the wind and fired beam after beam at the swift and relentless expert mech.
No matter what tricks Ghanso pulled off, the expert pilot dodged his aim again and again.
It was as if the expert read his mind!

Even then, Ghanso never gave up his attempt to land a single hit.
He even increased his rifle ’s rate of fire to a ruinous level.
Even if he stopped firing right now, both his mech and his rifle had been ruined irrevocably.

Ghanso didn ’t care.
His mind sublimated during the brief interval as the expert mech came closer and closer.
He vented his grief for losing Alex and his fellow squad members through his weapon.
Each laser that struck out into the vacuum of space was another defiant scream to the unfairness of facing an expert pilot without support.

”Come on! I need a hit! Just one hit! ”

In the final three seconds, Ghanso had become so fired up that his mind momentarily breached an invisible barrier.
At that moment, a spark of flame exploded within him that guided his aim towards another direction.

His laser only scorched the expert mech for 0.15 seconds.
The incredibly skilled expert swiftly adjusted his course before the laser could even begin to burn away the outer coating.

”Pull out! ”

This time, Ghanso listened to the communication channel.
He sent out a mental command which instantly disconnected the cockpit from the rest of the mech.
The sudden loss of connection jarred Ghanso sufficiently that he didn ’t witness his cockpit escaping from the mech in time for the expert pilot to slash through the rest of the frame in a single slash.

Instead, as soon as he recovered, he laughed.
”Hahahaha! I scored a hit! I scored a single hit! ”

As his cockpit flung away from the battle and followed an arcing course to the rear lines of the Starhawk fleet, Ghanso laughed and cried at the same time.
He laughed for surviving an encounter against a dread expert pilot, and he cried for the friends he would never be able to see again.

”Damn this Glowing Planet? It would have done this galaxy a favor if it came across a black hole and disappeared beyond its event horizon. ”

Battles erupted across the entire orbit of the Glowing Planet.
The Vesians had also been hard-pressed to hold back as many pirates as possible.
In the meantime, hordes of pirates and mercenaries slipped through the gaps and descended to the surface of the Glowing Planet.

Battle raged throughout the airless skies above the rogue planet.
The pirates fought against the mercenaries, the mercenaries fought against the military, the military fought against the pirates, and the pirates fought among themselves.

Infighting was rife even among allies in the same fleet.
It only took a couple of stray shots to splash against a nominal allied outfit to provoke a brawl.
Even the pirate lords that browbeat the small outfits together couldn ’t alleviate the constantly rising tempers.

Broken mechs and chunks of space ships kept descending from above in regular numbers.
Back at the base erected by Walter ’s Whalers, their turrets sporadically fired at an incoming artificial meteorite from above.

Sometimes, even the rifleman and cannoneer mechs had to lend a hand in order to break apart a particularly large piece of spaceship debris.

Still, that was child ’s play compared to the incoming pirates.
Sometimes, elements of a pirate fleet got so confused that they lost their course and landed somewhere close to the red zone occupied by the Mech Corps.
Any mech carriers that landed in the vicinity of the Blood Claws and the Whalers had to be destroyed before they could get away.

”You ’ve improved! ” Fadah complimented Raella as she swiped the head off a pirate mech in a single blow.
”It was just last week when you could barely hold on against a single pirate. ”

”That scum was an elite! ” Raella spat back as her Sliverath danced around the disarrayed pirate mechs with as much grace as the Blackbeak.
The two made for an intimidating pair, and together with Dietrich ’s long-ranged support they developed a practiced routine.
”I ’m hungry.
I hadn ’t been able to eat my lunch all day.
Let ’s wipe these bastards out fast before I starve to death! ”

The mechs aligned to the Bright Republic fought without holding anything back.
Ever since Ves submitted his undercharged energy cell designs, every mech received the new energy cells.
While the mech pilots faced a couple of complications due to their lower capacity and unstable energy supply, they all sighed in relief because they wouldn ’t get blown up anymore.

Naturally, such a momentous development couldn ’t be kept to themselves.
The Mech Legion somehow got ahold of the designs and began producing their own replacement energy cells.

Some of the other well-connected factions such as the Dragons of the Void followed suit.

This had divided the forces on the planet in three.

First came the Mech Corps and the Mech Legion who had fully converted their energy cells to the safer designs.

Second were the poorer pirate outfits and mercenary corps who didn ’t possess enough connections to get their hands on the valuable designs for the safer energy cells.

Third were the incoming pirates, mercenaries and treasure hunters who just descended upon the planet.
Since they hadn ’t been subjected to the surface energy fields for long, their energy cells hadn ’t developed an overcharge yet.
This would change in the next couple of days, but until then they swaggered around their landing sites, provoking trouble wherever they went.

Thus, the Blood Claws and the Whalers constantly had to fight the smaller outfits while the Mech Corps mopped up the largest concentration of scum.
After fighting multiple battles, everyone started to feel the strain.

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