orders didn ’t happen as much because the Mech Corps prized promoting officers for their competence.
Very rarely did bad apples get to reach a higher rank.

”They ’ve finally had enough! ”

Around twenty percent of the defenders spontaneously ceased to fight.
They rebelled against their orders and attempted to step back from the battle.

This was made more difficult due to the sheer amount of people running between their legs.
The civilians had no choice in the matter because the people pressing behind their bodies didn ’t allow them to turn around or change their course!

Inevitably, dozens of people got crushed beneath the feet of the Reinaldan mechs as they attempted to move.
This incited the crowd into a greater panic, yet the rush to storm the spaceport never abated.

”Hahahaha! Keep running! ” Captain Orfan laughed.
Whether she referred to the mechs or civilians, Ves didn ’t know.
”The rest are following suit! ”

The Honored Ones possessed a marked advantage against the opposition.
Their numbers were greater, their units were uniform, the quality of their mechs was high and all of their machines were in tip-top shape.

In a frontal engagement, the attacking force would lose ninety-nine times out of a hundred! There was no way the Reinaldans could lose unless they made a massive blunder.

The Vandals knew this.
The Masters of Combat knew this.
Lydia ’s Swordmaidens knew this.
Everyone else could perform the same arithmetic.

So in order to achieve victory despite facing such an overwhelming disparity, they lured these civilians over and basically took them hostage.

What could the Reinaldans do? Killing foreigners in a star system meant to attract tourists was extremely bad for business.
The diplomatic repercussions of this fight might lead the Reinaldans to face heavy retaliation from almost every nearby state in the star sector!

In addition, the honor espoused by the Honored Ones rejected wanton massacre.
Not every military mech regiment was as callous as the Flagrant Vandals.
Though the Reinald Republic involved themselves in many shady affairs related to pirates, their military had been molded as a counterpoint to their activities in the dark.

The Honored Ones were supposed to be heroes, not butchers!

Ves believed an additional element was at play here.
He believed some Reinaldan influence was definitely competing for the encrypted data chips that contained the route that led to the Starlight Megalodon.
From the heavy-handed blockade that the Reinaldans had instituted so far, this influence must have been helmed by a very senior government or military official.

This influence had likely ordered the Reinaldan defenders to open fire despite the sheer amount of innocents at risk.

Too bad humans piloted the mechs of the Honored Ones.
These people didn ’t follow orders without question, especially when they led to an enormous amount of blood being spilled.

Already, the collateral damage had taken its toll on the mob.
Craters and molten puddles sprinkled the open field, each of them surrounded by broken bodies and enough blood to fill up a cargo hauler.

The frantic mob, the unrestrained attackers, the inappropriate orders from a distant superior, all of this pushed the Honored Ones in the field to their breaking point.

”The Honored Ones have given up! They ’re pulling back! ”

The Reinaldan mechs simply had enough.
Fed up and tired of spilling so much blood, they collectively pulled back, moving slowly enough to give the innocent people underneath their feet some time to avoid their footsteps.

For their part, the attacking force let them go.
They never intended to drive the Reinaldans into a corner.
Forcing them to continue the fight was detrimental to them for many reasons.
As long as the Reinaldans ceded the spaceport and its immediate surroundings, the outfits were content to let them retreat.

While the Reinaldans decisively pulled back from the spaceport, the Vandals and the other outfits started to go forward to claim their own ships.
Of course, they didn ’t forget to drive the hysterical mob to the field where thousands of parked vessels lay dormant.
Without their presence, the outfits lost their protective talisman.

By now, the Reinaldans certainly hated their guts!

Naturally, the triumphant attackers didn ’t forget about the fuel supply.
A third of the mechs diverted from the spaceport and moved to secure the nearby warehouses.

”The first step is over, thankfully. ” Ves sighed.
”If this engagement went on any longer, then I can ’t even imagine how many people perished here. ”

The outfits did a very good job in gathering all of those foreigners to the spaceport.
Attracting all of these people had been essential in pressuring the Reinaldans.

”All that ’s left is to lift off and run through the blockade in space. ” Orfan noted with a satisfied smile.
”That ’s going to be trickier now that the Reinaldans know what to expect. ”

The crazed and frightened civilians had reached the dormant vessels by now.
All of them attempted to break into the locked ships and get inside.
Aircars landed near the vessels.
Hackers went to work in breaking through their security systems.

On the other side of the spaceport, hovering fueling vehicles flew towards the ships in order to inject their empty fuel tanks with some juice.
The fueling vehicles didn ’t need to fill the fuel tanks to the brim.
The ships needed just enough to escape the planet ’s gravity well and fly in space for a couple of hours.

Through fear and authority, the outfits imposed some measure of order to the mob.
Though many of them had quietly turned around and started to run from this hellscape, a sufficient number of mechs had forced the people to stay.

They still needed these hostages to act as their shield!

The Flagrant Vandals may not have been the main drivers of this plan, but they had definitely been complicit in its execution.
”Our reputation will end up in the toilet by the time this day is over. ”

The worst thing about it was that his personal reputation might be tainted by association.
Though he wasn ’t in the chain of command, the mere fact that he ’d been attached to the Flagrant Vandals may be enough to affect his future business career.

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