y battle simulations, they all got felled within the first minute if they faced ranged opponents that occupied the high ground.

With the space barrier, the Enduring Protectors could leisurely take their time to maneuver to better positions or angles.
While the inability for the Enduring Protectors to fire their lasers through the space barrier was a major drawback, as long as the frontline mechs took advantage of it to save themselves from heavy shelling or moving to a better position made a huge difference.

Many times, the advantage bestowed by Qilanxo ’s space barrier outright swung the outcome of a scenario from a disastrous defeat to an effortless victory.

”This is a hopeful sign.
At least I have proof that my design is effective under the right circumstances. ”

Out of curiosity, Ves flung the Enduring Protector into simulations where they faced off against modern mechs instead of similarly-crippled mechs.
Did his mechs stand a chance when the breakdown effect no longer restricted modern mechs?

”Ouch. ” Ves winced as he saw the results.

A full squad of Enduring Protectors barely possessed the power to defeat a medium swordsman mech or a medium knight mech that approached from a distance.

However, most light mechs or melee mechs in greater numbers brutally closed the distance and tore apart the Enduring Protectors who couldn ’t run away even when their lives depended on it! With no defenses against melee attacks, these slow and fragile frontline mechs simply couldn ’t keep up against nimble light skirmishers or the like.

The Enduring Protectors also fared poorly against standard rifleman or frontline mechs.
The latter mechs possessed a definite edge in mobility.
In contrast, the Enduring Protectors moved so slowly that they might as well be stationary.

Such an extreme difference in mobility virtually condemned the Enduring Protectors to certain defeat unless they were piloted by excellent marksman.

”Something like that can only happen if someone like Venerable Xie is piloting one of the Enduring Protectors. ”

Overall, the results hadn ’t fallen out of his expectations, though it dampened his mood anyway to see so many opponents crush the copies of his third original design without any effort.

Despite how painful it was to witness such an abject performance, he still found it necessary.
There was a possibility that when the rivaling forces reached the Starlight Megalodon and mucked about in her interior, they deliberately or accidentally stopped her FTL drives from spewing higher-dimensional particles in the air.

Once the source of the astral winds stopped feeding them, would there still be any astral winds left? It would dissipate from the planet in a matter of minutes, and fade away from the rest of the Aeon Corona System within a week!

Without the astral winds, the spacetime distortion that led to the breakdown effect no longer wreaked havoc on all of their mechs.

This basically meant that the red zone no longer restricted everyone ’s mechs!

”If such an event comes to pass, the race for the Starlight Megalodon will turn into a complete scramble! ”

The role of his Enduring Protector ended at that moment.
As the simulations just attested, it was better for the Vandals to evacuate these useless mechs right away than to continue to pit them in battle under extremely disadvantageous circumstances.

”Even the advantages bestowed by Qilanxo ’s space barrier won ’t do anything to mitigate its drawbacks.
At best, it allows them to hang onto their lives for a bit longer. ”

In any case, now that Ves completed the first iteration of his design and subjected it to a quick battery of simulations, he felt he should go for a second round for feedback.

He first made an appointment with Captain Byrd in order to fill her in on his progress.
When he entered her office, he showed her the design and a quick overview of its performance in the simulations through a projection.

”As you can see, the Enduring Protector is a decent mech design under the harsh conditions of the red zone, but turns into a powerhouse as long as it combines forces with Qilanxo.
While the laser rifles are fairly underpowered compared to modern laser rifles, they are very efficient and allows for my design to last up to a day during low-intensity combat. ”

Captain Byrd studied the projection with a serious expression.
”How long do they last during high-intensity combat? ”

”I ’m not sure, captain.
It depends, I have to say, but it ’s not out of the question for them to last only four to five hours at most.
Maybe less if they are firing their laser weapons non-stop, though that ’s not possible as they ’ll overheat at that point. ”

”That ’s not enough. ” The mech officer shook her head.
”It takes hours, perhaps even a day for your new design to reach the center of the red zone from the edge.
Your design needs to last longer. ”

”That ’s hardly possible, ma ’am.
I ’m already doing the best I can under all of the limitations imposed on my design.
It ’s internal volume is practically stuffed with energy cells, and even then I can ’t ensure a longer operation time than what I ’ve just mentioned.
I doubt that any other mech designer can deliver anything better.
We all face the same constraints. ”

This nonetheless put Captain Byrd in a difficult spot.
”Then the only way we can ensure the Enduring Protectors can operate in the red zone for an extended period of time is if it is accompanied by a small supply train. ”

It would in essence replicate the circumstances of the ground expedition.
None of their mechs could carry enough energy cells to walk forward for more than a day.
Therefore, they frequently returned to camp and exchanged their spent energy cells with fresh ones recharged by their god crystal generators.

Captain Byrd eventually dismissed Ves with a pensive expression on her face.
”Let me think about the situation.
I ’ll see whether it is viable to accompany the forces sent into the red zone with a legged transport or two.
For now, I ’m not satisfied with the endurance of your new design.
I hope you can improve upon that aspect. ”

I ’m sorry ma ’am, but unless we mount a god crystal generator on the Enduring Protectors, there ’s no way to extend their operational time. ”

Captain Byrd suddenly gained a glint in her eye.
”What a curious suggestion, Mr.
Larkinson. ”

Ves was taken aback by her sudden interest.

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