The two approaching warships from the Black Coves were rather surprised seeing the fleet accelerating out of sudden. Are we busted? No way. Privateers should not have the technology to detect us beforehand.
Within the boundless space and the broadening milky way, the size of the Coxcomb was pronounced as he travelled in slothful tranquility.
The two warships approached very quickly after they discovered that the over-sized spaceship was heading towards them. It was no shocker, a Zika-graded spaceship was merely a sailing ornament, one with only the outside. Privateers were still privately owned ships after all, compared to the warships, it would feel like an arm against a firearm. The remaining 5 ships from the Black Coves were highly confident of the capabilities of 2 leaving warships, so they sailed off to the warping point.
It was a relief when Ye Chong saw the other mates of the Black Coves forfeited the fight. They were going to be in contact soon. A one-on-two would be still better than a one-on-seven. The stress would be quite different.
The figure displaying their distance was ticking on the screen, getting lower each time.
Ye Chong deployed Han Jia, the issue of being busted was no longer his concern. The survivability was something more important. He did not hop into the cabin immediately, as he knew Han Jia could wield only the fists and the legs, going off now when both parties remained distant would be pointless.
Well, then, we will do something first. Ye Chong did not intend to hold back. Shang would probably think the same, as nasty-minded as he was.
Beep. The board covering the 52 electromagnetic cannons was lifted. The tubes were glowing in threatening darkness towards the approaching dark force. The sudden change of the Coxcomb startled the incoming foes.
ZZzzzzzzt!! Energy started being charged at the muzzles! Due to angle issues, only 33 electromagnetic cannons were pointing within the proximity of two of the foes. The accumulating electromagnetism was glaring in the black void. Some said it was brighter than the nova, the morning star. The naked eyes seemed to be deceived as they saw a constellation of a tiny fish formed by the 32 glows in the dark.
The hologram on the projector was showing the otherwise. The densely conglomerated glows were a major horror to the crew. The pale blue glow flooding the muzzle was a brutal warning.
"Battle station! All warring units take off now!" The leaders made a prompt command in their throaty shriek. The gates were opened one after another, as the units swarmed out of their nests. Like hornets they took off smoothly despite the emergency, the outcome of their systematic training was justifiable. The cannons of both warships also started glowing.
Beep. Beep beep. Beep beep Beep beep. Beep beep Beep beep Beep beep.
Within twinkling of eyes, the screen was overflowed by countless red spots.
A massive energy-based weaponry like the electromagnetic cannons would require a moment of charging-up, or the unit would explode as the abrupt surge of energy jammed the system.
The electromagnetic cannons of the Coxcomb were charging, as about hundred of Beauty’s Secretion slid into the space quietly. Both Ye Chong and Shang knew, the key to the war might not be the energy-based weaponry they had built, rather it could be the deadly corrosion in the dark. Although they were unsure of the capabilities of Beauty’s Secretion as it lacked actual experience in wars, its participation would have direct influence to the outcome of the war. And that launch Shang made had already consumed about half of the secretion in their storage.
The two warships were performing their evasion. It might appear to be ridiculous to Ye Chong as he would never believe a warship being capable of performing an evasion this agile, but it just happened before his eyes. The coxcomb literally looked like a retarded sloth before the two Black Coves’ crafts. And that was when Ye Chong made up his mind, swearing to strive on giving the Coxcomb another overhaul, if they ever made it out alive that is. The Coxcomb was nothing but a walking bullseye. Ye Chong prayed to have eliminated the foes before the Coxcomb got hit.
Then, considering the possibility of the foes requesting immediate backups from the other 5 warships after this, Ye Chong would be obliged to perform a space-jump before the backups arrived. The acceleration before the actual space-warp would put them under the greatest risk, as any form of interruption could lead to a horrible outcome - they could jump to another dimension, while also having the possibility to warp to the deserted area beyond the 5 major galaxies. Any imaginable outcome would be mortal. So, that last straw to the crumbling, it must be avoided at any cost.
The flowing blue glow at the muzzles were getting brighter. Zoom! 33 beams of light in pale blue rifted the void. The two warships could have looked all deceitful in their evasion, but they were no match for the master sniper called Shang.
The electromagnetism oozed over the darkest space formed a shining bridge between the Coxcomb and the foes.
The beams were obviously most effective penetrating the armor of the warship. Penetration itself was nothing to be afraid of, since unlike the spaceships or the mechs, most warships were programmed to perform a rather facilitated self-repair mechanism immediately. The armor was not the issue, the energy units, however… Assuming the beam landed on the batteries or the charging pipes of the foes, the collision of energy would initiate an explosion which would cause casualty as well as the destruction of the warship itself.
The first wave of attack was fully aimed at one of the inching warship. The thumb rule to fight a one-on-two was always to knock down one partner with maximum force before the other.
The outcome, was grand. Under the attack of charged energy blast, the warship was crippled, probably damaged beyond repair. The Black Coves might have fought the mightier foe like the MPA, but the MPA only had about 20 electromagnetic cannons on their corvettes, unlike the Coxcomb, where Shang launched 32 cannons at once. The power would be beyond overwhelming, especially with the aid of the tubes made out of black gold which further enhanced the effect. Given that they were facing the MPA instead today, their warship could have taken at least two to three waves of high density energy blast like this. Too bad, they were not.
Zzzzzt Zzzzzzt! Boom. The explosion happened one after another. The beam probably had in fact landed on their batteries. The consecutive explosion made Ye Chong unable to imagine the remnants of the ship, he could end up seeing nothing in the void. The crew on that warship? The explosion was a horror itself, the men on that warship would have ended up the specks among the asteroids. No way they could have survived that.
And that was the first war between warships Ye Chong had witnessed, where death could be determined in one moment. Contrary to the fights between mechs, the body of a warship was too hefty to make real agility, so the first wave of firing would have determined the outcome.
Ye Chong tumbled into the cabin of Han Jia. He got to put on something, he was still a human and he would be diving into the void.
The Coxcomb took a drastic turn as the 19 electromagnetic cannons at the other side were about to finish charging.
Ye Chong’s eyes were then blinded by the light. He felt his eyes almost burning. Boom! The explosion created a quake within the ship, carrying inertia, flipping Hanjia violently. Ye Chong could feel himself tumbling uncontrollably. Wham! Han Jia was slammed upon the wall. Luckily he was able to get inside Han Jia and gained protection from the built-in liquid buffering system, or he would have transformed into a splat of flesh on the wall.
The Coxcomb was hit! The Coxcomb was hit! It was fortunate that the Coxcomb was making a turn, that the light beams slightly missed as they slid through the Coxcomb at minimum contact. They carried on zooming beyond the Coxcomb, going through the fleet accelerating behind.
Ye Chong by then had learned the fact that any individual, in spite of the mighty strength they might wield, would be minuscule in a massive war like this. No one could guarantee he or she could be the last one standing in the war.
The armor of the Coxcomb was papery compared to the warships. At least the cannons of the foes were not as great as the electromagnetic cannons on the Coxcomb or the slightest touch like that just now would have torn the Coxcomb apart.
Everything happened according to Ye Chong’s imagination. The Coxcomb was too sluggish to make the necessary movements at occasions. Shang had tried his best to predict the timing and perform the evasion beforehand, yet they were struck by most of the incoming beams. The yellowish white glow sliced through the dark void from the Black Coves, leaving openings on the fragile body of the Coxcomb. And one beam had contacted a charging cannon at one spot, which caused the explosion that flipped Han Jia like a whirlwind.
Well, the Coxcomb was alright, except for the fleet. A beam could easily penetrate two to three spaceships and the fleet was traveling at their closest, like the group of ducklings with their mother. No way the beam could have missed.
Explosion, a few explosion illuminated the space. The queueing fleet was then disorderly. They might be able to face the pirates’ strike with courage, but towards the brutality of the firing, they had surrendered with the loss of hope. They could only watch the explosion happening with their eyes enlarging, while their leaders struggled to speed up, striving to crawl to that warping point and leave this dangerous war field. The situation had already gone beyond control, while the leading spaceships of the fleet had already performed their space jumps and scurried from the scene safely.
The spaceships of different colors and shapes crashed into each other. Ye Chong could no longer distinguish the one which Grandpa Qian boarded within that one panicked glance. He prayed, that they would be the luckier ones than the others and not part of the explosion.
The Coxcomb was not the real warship in the end, one blow and the body of the Coxcomb was full of openings. The saving grace was that the Coxcomb was not damaged at its main component so it was still under Shang’s control.
"Ha! Ha! Ha! The spaceship was crawling slower than a tortoise. One more blow and we could smash it! We would not have to call for backups if we knew it was made out of jellies!" stated the living warship of the Black Coves proudly.
"Right." The even-tempered cannoneer was finding it strange as well, "What a weird warship. Both slow and frail. The armor was their fatality. Tsk, although I must admit that they have great firepower. Warship Number 7 took the blow and bloody hell, it became goner, scaring the crap out of me. Freaking hell. I think the MPA’s cannons are no as good!"
"What a pity Number 7 was. At least the beam was not at our boat, or we would have joined the milky way now. Now that you have mentioned it, I do find that electromagnetism firing similar to the MPA’s."
"Indeed. But this is much bigger I must say," the experienced one from their team added.
"So which side does this warship belong? And they actually have better technology than the MPA?"
"Who knows… as much as you can see, there are always a hermit hidden somewhere in this world."
Despite the comments, the Coxcomb was being tormented in actuality, as the foe clearly demonstrated a more experienced warship-piloting than Shang. Moreover, the body of the Coxcomb was huge, the movement was slow. Utilizing those weaknesses, they launched their attacks in tiny waves to seize the control of the Coxcomb.
The leader of the ship seemingly had yet to realize how foolish his command was, for he could have destroyed the entire boat if he ordered his men to make a one-time fire instead.
Both parties were unable to do anything to each other.
The beams continuously showered upon the Coxcomb, but the Coxcomb managed to make necessary turning.
One nice flip by the Coxcomb.
The men were greeted by the 19 charged electromagnetic cannons from the other side, the living glow was a discoloring horror to the crew.
"Evade!!!" Roared the leader, "Evade!!!" His voice was wavering, his eyes were soulless.
Of course, they did not make it. It was too late for them to make an evasion, as 19 blue beams landed right upon their ship. It was obviously not their day, as one beam actually gave a gentle touch at their battery.
The war field was once again blinded by the explosion. The black gold armor was torn helplessly into debris, being scattered over the corners of the space.
A fireworks, bloomed like a brilliant flower.
Ye Chong was relieved. It was surely a mental trial for him to bear with the helplessness in a battle that he could not be directly involved with. He hated the feeling of not able to take the control of his fate.
"Ye, your final blow!" Shang’s voice was expressionless as it lost its usual joking tone, sounded bloodthirsty and inhumane.
I wonder… if Shang was like this in the past? That was the strange thought appearing in Ye Chong’s head.
"Okay." He took a deep breath and grabbed the inner focus. Probably he had been in many hand-to-hand combats, he realized that he could get into the status fairly quick, since in the past, he would have needed to take a few more cycles of aspiration in order to get the sense.
To be honest, the war between warships had imprinted in his head, being all straightforward and direct, black and white, dead or alive. And there he was, once being worried that he would be short of batteries as the battle went on and on. The fight between warships was merely a matter of a few turns. The additional batteries, the energy was not that important and could be said as even a kind of unnecessary burden since it made the ship more likely to explode on beam contacts. But, similarly, the foes, the Black Coves seemed to be inexperienced as well, which eventually gave Ye Chong and Shang a chance to survive.
And finally, Ye Chong was ready for his next move. The mech-combats, the battle known as the bread and butter of his tale, they were exciting.
The screen projected over hundreds of red spots, which were so horrifying to Ye Chong in the past, that he might just press the "Eject" button and blast away instead. But now, with Coxcomb and Shang, he believed, he could see the next breaking dawn.
And then he realized, the benefits of having a warship for a mech.
Han Jia sank into the space silently. There was no need to open the gate. The openings torn by the beams were already the gates themselves. Ye Chong flew out from one of them. The things were floating around, as the air ventilation had been disrupted, the oxygen had leaked, forming various vacuum areas on the ship.
Being a skeleton mech itself, Han Jia sure was amazing at its speed and stealthiness. Those were the trick to every victory.
The destruction of two war units were enraging to the remaining Black Covers who departed from their ships just now. "We shall avenge!" They already lost their mates, and a way home to rest their transports. They no longer had the turn back option. And when one, being unable to turn back, would have a stronger, more irrational bravery.
The dark mechs accelerated, their momentum intensified, as they charged towards that hefty looking warship! They were highly experienced and they knew the fragility of the armor of the Coxcomb. Their attacks shall not be stopped! As soon as they approached their foe, they would retrieve victory. The electromagnetic cannons might be a threat to the ship, but not enough as a threat to the mobile mechs.
The warship remained immobile, while the half-devastated body seemed to give off an unbeatable sense.
Don’t tell me… there was not even one pilot inside such a big ship…
The pilots were confused and suddenly a crash was felt. Something small hit them?
Should be one of the specks from the explosion… One pilot thought, since the screen did not project anything, the detection system did not go wailing.
"Assassination. Careful. Photon Mode, now!" A deep voice of a male rang inside his helmet. Goosebumps crawled over his shaking hands… Wasn’t that Lord Thorn?
Assassination? A skip on his heart beat, as he moved his hands over the control panel to make a change… Honk! Beep! The alarm wailed inside the mech.
It kept wailing. And he was wondering why. But there was something on the shell of his mech, a pool of purplish fluid engulfing the surface, in the hideous sizzles one could imagine.
The glowing shell of Cosmic Flare became distorted, melted like a splat of mud. "The Liquid of Shang", Ye Chong’s latest invention, a liquid that nothing could stop, even the black gold alloys.
Sssssssss…sssssssS… The thin armor eventually could not withstand the pressure in the cabin. Boom. The armor ruptured, forming a dense opening like the hornet’s nest. The air squeezed out of the pores and was pulling the diameters larger and larger.
Cough, cough… The pilot realized he was having some breathing difficulties…
Huh?! And he saw the giant opening, his eyes were huge, filled with disbelief. He frantically reached over the panel, he was trying to speak, yet the pressure squeezed his eyeballs, blood overflowed his expression.
And that... was how he used to look.