Editor: Thor’s Stone
Three Silhouettes were currently engaged in combat.
Most of the enemies they were facing were Ant Worker-type Keres. Their heads sported scissor blade mandibles and specialized in close combat and wave tactics. They were equipped with small-caliber laser cannons, but they had low outputs.
There were a number of Ant Soldier-types mixed among them. They were equipped with medium-caliber rifle cannons.
The one directing the swarm was an Ant Commander-type. It was a high-end machine sporting a railgun placed on the tip of a scorpion-like tail. Its armor was also a bit thicker than the other variants.
There were two vehicles behind the Silhouettes.
All three Silhouettes were SF-S1A1 Bears. It was a highly versatile model with relatively thick armor.
Two of them were equipped with rifles. One was equipped with a handheld railgun and missile launchers on both shoulders.
The medium-caliber rifles wielded by the Silhouettes uses a combustion light-gas gun mechanism that can let rounds achieve initial velocities close to that of railguns. Their initial muzzle velocity was 2 km per second. Since initial velocity tends to fluctuate sharply, the bullet speed is actually reduced and adjusted.
They were part of a Silhouette’s standard loadout and sported tremendous power.
They were effective weapons to deal with high-dimensional projection armor. Theoretically, the rounds can still achieve even greater speeds, but the initial velocity of the rounds would become unstable, and the barrel itself would not be able to last with such an output.
The two vehicles positioned behind them were combat support vehicles. One was a communications vehicle and the other was a light armored vehicle. They supported the Silhouettes with cover fire.
The battle was still ongoing. But the Silhouettes and combat vehicles were already running out of ammo.
「This isn’t going anywhere. If we can only close in on the commander-type…」
「I’m out of bullets already. I’m engaging in close combat.」
The rifles were equipped with bayonets. They could also be used for CQC.
They appeared somewhat more primitive-looking compared to the standard bayonets equipped on military rifles in the 21st century. The blades were long and pointed.
This was also an indication that Silhouettes often engaged in close combat.
「Please wait. An unidentified Silhouette is closing in.」
The tense voice of a female operator was broadcasted from the communications vehicle.
「There’s no response on the IFF, but it doesn’t look like it’s on the Stone’s side. Huh? It isn’t registered with the Mercenary Association either……」
「If it’s not an enemy, then just ignore it!」
「Roger that. Wait, no, I’m saying it’s coming to help us out.」
「Then it’s more than welcome! This fight’s not looking good anyway. Let’s hope it really isn’t an enemy.」
It was a very strange unit.
It was a Silhouette with a damaged head. The protective goggle on one side of its head was tragically damaged.
It was coming straight for the group. Its shoulder was jutting forward with its center of gravity lowered. It was a reasonable stance that protected the cockpit against enemy fire.
It was TSW-R1-05. Yes, it was Kou and Unit 5.
It joined the melee in the blink of an eye and swung its great sword.
Several Ant Worker-types were mowed down with a single swing.
「Thanks for the support, pilot!」
One of the Bear pilots called Kou through short-range comms.
「We’re in the same boat.」
They only had a short exchange before focusing back on the battle.
There were few Silhouettes with low slash attacks registered on their command inputs.
Unit 5 was certainly a reliable ally in this particular battle.
After identifying it as a formidable enemy reinforcement, the remaining Ant Worker-types rushed straight toward Unit 5.
The Silhouette felled them one after another with its trusty great sword.
Two Bears also joined in on the action. They proceeded to close in on the Commander-type now that its minions were reduced.
They bulldozed through groups of Ant Workers by relying on their thick armor.
The remaining Bear used its powerful railgun to pick off the Soldiers-types one by one.
「These guys are way too soft, aren’t they, Master?」
「Yes. Ant Worker-types and Ant Soldier-types aren’t equipped with A-Spinels after all. They don’t have high-dimensional projection armor, so their armor is understandably quite weak.」
「So that armor isn’t standard equipment huh.」
「No. These ones are battery-powered types. You saw them fighting with these guys using standard Silhouette rifles earlier, correct?」
Even as Kou chatted with Master, he kept on mowing down Worker-types.
「So only that commander unit can be considered a tough enemy.」
「Don’t underestimate them. There are many of them, so they can deal quite a bit of damage over time. Pay attention to our armor strength. Don’t let it fall to critical levels due to carelessness.」
As Kou attracted the attention of the Ant Worker-types, the two Bears finally managed to reach the Commander-type and thrust their bayonets at it.
They couldn’t manage to flank it effectively due to the Bear’s low mobility.
One of them was eventually caught by the Commander-type’s mandible blades.
The Silhouette’s waist was gradually crushed. Within moments, it was severed in two.
The pilot of the remaining Bear screamed in anger and launched attacks in a frenzy but ended up getting tripped by one of the Commander-type’s forefeet.
The moment the Silhouette went down, it was peppered with railgun rounds.
They were all shot at point-blank range. No matter how hard high-dimensional projection armor was, it wouldn’t be able to last long against such an onslaught.
「At this rate……」
Suddenly, the railgun barrage ceased.
The turret on its tail was gone.
The pilot knew instinctively. It was the work of the unidentified Silhouette that came to reinforce them.
「These numbers are troublesome.」
Kou joined in on the battle with the Commander-type as well.
The Bear and combat vehicles in the rear also provided cover fire.
「This ant is faster than that mantis!」
「When it comes to endurance, that thing wouldn’t be able to keep up with you. Keep pressing the attack!」
Master was supporting Kou as well.
The mandible blades of the Commander-type quickly closed in.
Kou matched its timing and unleashed an upward slash from a low position.
The Ant Commander-type’s head was pulverized.
Kou made Unit 5 jump upward.
It used the destroyed head as a platform and made its way on top of the Commander-type’s torso.
It pierced the enemy’s torso with the great sword and quickly jumped back down, letting gravity do the rest of the work for it.
Coupled with a dull clang, a large gash opened up on the Ant Commander-type’s torso.
Kou made Unit 5 take some distance and repositioned its great sword.
The Ant Commander-type stuck out its broken mandibles toward Unit 5 warily.
Its flank was suddenly engulfed by an explosion.
The crack on its torso received a direct hit from the railgun wielded by the Bear in the backline.
It was almost split in two. The Bear that fell down on the ground earlier managed to get up and attacked the torso as well.
Kou maneuvered Unit 5 toward the opposite side.
Unit 5 then performed an overhead downward slash. It was a wide swing that would be difficult to land in normal circumstances, but since the Ant Commander-type was severely damaged, it didn’t manage to evade in time.
The Ant Commander-type completely stopped moving.
The remaining Keres started to withdraw.
「Thank you. You really helped us out a ton. The name’s Barry. You are?」
The pilot of the remaining Bear that fought in close quarters hailed Kou.
「I’m Kou. A transferee.」
It was Kou’s first contact with the locals.