”The first primary objective of the Flagrant Vandals is to raid the renewable mine ’s stockpile.
It will be tightly defended, but if the Vesian rebels deliver on their promises, the actual amount of opposition we will face will be severely less than at their peak. ”

”Why are we going after a stockpile of junk exotics? Won ’t we gain much more out of this raid by attacking the industries on the surface? ”

Velten shook her head.
”While we would be able to obtain more valuable goods for their size and weight if we attack the individual refineries and manufacturing complexes on the surface of Detemen II, it will take far too much time to overrun each company force and dig the loot out of their well-defended tunnels. ”

The projection shimmered again, this time revealing a loose schedule.

”According to our projections, once the Detemen System is attacked, enemy reinforcements will arrive in less than four days, depending on how much interference the rebels can throw up at their origin systems.
Speed is of the essence here.
With the time we ’ll waste on travelling in-system and other maneuvers, we don ’t have the time to care about the meager industries on Detemen II.
Instead, we ’ll split up our fleet and send half of it to Detement IV. ”

”Detemen IV? ”

”Yes, Detemen IV, ruled by a different noble House.
Further away from the twin suns, the planet exhibits a much more moderate global climate.
This has led to a boom in population and an increase in development.
In practice, many of the materials being refined at Detemen II are being funneled towards Detemen IV for feeding the production of end products such as mechs and consumer goods. ”

Detemen IV was actually smaller than Detemen II, but nevertheless boasted a lot more inhabitants, though not to the extent of a trade nexus like Bentheim.

”As you can see, Detemen IV is nothing special.
The only thing to note is its three small moons.
Each of them are occupied by varying powers.
One of which is the MTA, which will not be playing role in the coming conflict. ”

As an organization that acted beyond the interests of a single state, the MTA maintained a standpoint of absolute neutrality against any wars between states.
Therefore, they gladly stood out of the way as long as nothing more than a stray projectile hit their assets.

”The other sun is turned into a fortress.
I ’ll admit that its defenses are extremely formidable, to the extent of being able to repel a full mech division if fully manned.
The caveat here is the latter.
There aren ’t enough men and mechs to fully staff this incredibly sturdy defensive bulwark.
In fact, due to the war, the local nobles brought all of their most potent mech forces to the front, leaving behind a garrison of second-strong mechs and mech pilots. ”

Exacerbating their awful state was that the base commander of the lunar fortress resorted to staffing the undermanned fortress with auxiliary infantry and tank regiments.
The same regiments that had been subverted by the rebels.

”Safe to say, this moon won ’t be a problem. ” Velten summed up before turning to the final moon.
”The third moon is a mech research complex.
It holds a small gathering of Vesian design teams that are developing a number of spaceborn mech designs.
Due to its lack of secrecy, not a lot of valuable research is being performed at this research complex.
Nevertheless, if we can overrun this base and steal any data banks that they haven ’t managed to wreck, we can glean lots of valuable intelligence that will help us determine the weaknesses of their current and future mech models. ”

Ves raised his hand again.
”If the Vandals attack the research base, what will be done with the mech designers? ”

Iris spoke out this time instead of the professor.
”The Vesian Revolutionary Front and our partners will take them into custody as long as they surrender.
We have… ways of making them work for us. ”

That didn ’t sound very pleasant, but at least it beat outright slaughter.
Ves heard too many stories of vengeful Vesians massacring hundreds of mech designers whenever they sniffed out a Mech Corps research base.
He had no doubt that the Mech Corps did the same in kind.

While Ves was no saint, as a mech designer himself, he didn ’t wish for his fellows on the opposite side of the war to be condemned to an early grave.
He looked at Iris and smiled before he turned back to the professor.

”As much as these three moons look interesting, the main prizes are on the surface of Detemen IV.
Similar to Bentheim, it is host to a moderate sprawl of manufacturing complexes and other industries.
A substantial amount of mechs that is seen throughout the Imodris Duchy originate from these factories. ”

”Professor, won ’t we face the same dilemma as on Detemen II? All of the manufacturing complexes are tough nuts to crack. ”

”You would think so if you assume that both planets are run in the same fashion.
In reality, they differ substantially. ”

A secondary projection popped up that detailed the noble Houses that ruled these two planets.

”Detemen II is ruled by Count Reizen of House Jier.
This House is a young one and only control several rural planets and star systems around the Detemen System.
Count Reizen is the head of the House, and Detemen II is the seat of their power.
This causes the count to value this system highly.
The main issue of the count is that it is a very unbearable planet to live on.
In order to retain as many commoners as possible, he is treating them fairly well.
The local rebel movements only have a weak grip on this planet. ”

That contrasted sharply with Detemen IV.

”On the other hand, Detemen IV has a lot more going for it.
It boasts a temperate climate, a high level of development and at least ten times more inhabitants than the second planet from the binary stars.
Nonetheless, it is spectacularly badly run by House Eneqqin. ”

The face of a sneering noble appeared next to House Eneqqin ’s sigil.

”Javier of House Eneqqin is the sole heir to the Count Loqer of House Eneqqin.
Lacking any competition for the right to inherit Loqer ’s position, Lord Javier has turned into a spoiled brat, typical of the Vesians.
Loqer thought to temper his only offspring by chucking him onto Detemen IV and making him responsible for running the somewhat prosperous planet. ”

Everyone could predict how that turned out.
The Vesian nobles were all the same.

Professor Velten smirked.
”Lord Javier has of course made a mess of the planet.
Detemen IV ’s GDP has nosedived by twelve percent in the last five years, its cost of living has gone up and many workers are being laid off.
This is a breeding ground for resentment and has bolstered the local rebel movement from an afterthought into a genuine threat.
The spark has been lit.
We only need to set it off. ”

She began to describe some of the broad strokes of what the Vandals had in store for Detemen IV.
Once half of the Vandal fleet slipped into orbit over the planet, the rebels should have already launched their own attacks from space and on the ground.

With the lunar fortress and much of the other defenses loyal to House Eneqqin tied up or taken out of commission, the Vandals would act as the coup-de-grace and tip control of the planet away from Lord Javier ’s forces.
Once that has happened, the rest of the planet would be free for the Vandals to pillage.

While it would still be troublesome to crack open the manufacturing complexes defended by company forces, much of those places had been infiltrated by the rebels as well.
The Vandals would have a much easier time with breaking them open with some help from the inside.

Throughout it all, Ves kept wondering what the rebels got out of this death and destruction.
He held no illusions that the Vandals would show mercy and be discriminate in their fire.
He quietly turned to Iris and whispered his question.

”It ’s because they really want to get rid of Lord Javier. ” She whispered back.
”The heir is a recalcitrant tyrant, but the worst thing about it is that he ’s shrewd enough to stay within his limits.
He never does anything too outrageous that causes Count Loqer to call him back.
He ’s also chummy with the industrialists who own property on Detemen IV.
Though they aren ’t exactly happy with the worsening conditions of the planet, Javier ’s ties with them has caused them to stay put and do nothing. ”

This Javier fellow sounded like a real piece of work.
”So the rebels agree for us to turn their entire planet into a living hell for a few days just to open up an opportunity to get rid of Lord Javier? ”

”Oh, they don ’t want to get rid of him.
They want to drag him out of the palace, bring him out in front of a crowd, and tear him apart from limb to limb.
The amount of animosity they hold for him is very considerate.
If it takes a foreign mech regiment to allow them the opportunity to get at Javier, then they ’ll gladly anticipate your arrival. ”

Lord Javier thought himself impregnable.
Why wouldn ’t he? With his powerful daddy count covering his political hide, he had nothing to fear.
The industrialists would be kept happy as long as he didn ’t make too much of a mess of things and while the rebels formed a nuisance, they could never defeat the forces at his disposal.

”Our goals here on Detemen IV is to identify the most promising sites and stockpiles to raid, and to assist the rebels in storming the palace in order to root out Lord Javier.
Before you think that the latter is just a cursory priority, Colonel Lowenfield has promised the rebels that they will go above and beyond to capture the scion of House Eneqqin.
Failure to apprehend him will lead to a severe strain in our relationships with the VRF and other rebel movements. ”

After setting out the outline of the upcoming operation, Professor Velten finally turned to what their roles should be.
”There are various areas where capable mech designers like you are needed.
As I ’ve mentioned before, the Vandal fleet will split in two.
One detachment will attack Detemen II, while the other one will assault Detement IV. ”

Due to the unevenness of their strengths, one detachment would be larger than the other one.

”Since Detemen II is projected to be less of a challenge to overcome, the Wolf Mother will stick to the Vandal detachment that is responsible for raiding its renewable mine stockpile and its solar forges.
The other Vandal detachment will go on to attack Detemen IV ’s moons and its surface industries. ”

The professor proceeded to allocate about a third of the mech designers in the conference room to the Detemen II detachment, including one Journeyman Mech Designer.
Their jobs were comparatively easier, but they would still have plenty to do since they had fewer numbers.

Because the Wolf Mother stuck close to the Detemen II detachment, these lucky fellows didn ’t have to leave this ship.
The same wouldn ’t be the case for the other mech designers.

When the professor allocated the rest of the mech designers to the Detemen IV detachment, Ves unfortunately fell within this category.
He along with the rest who had been called up would have to leave the Wolf Mother and board one of the many combat carriers that ferried over mechs to assault Lord Javier ’s fief.

”Unlike the low-tier mech designers assigned to the maintenance departments, you will not have to follow behind the mechs as they deploy to the surface.
We can leave the task of helping with setting up forward bases that will facilitate in sending plundered loot back to the surface to their expert hands. ”

That left one worry off of their chests.

”Nevertheless, I expect that your expertise will be sorely needed when we take over the research base and when deciding which sites we should raid.
The most of you will do your work from the safety of the command centers aboard the combat carriers. ”

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