Editor: Thor’s Stone
The battle between the enemies defending the Fortress Area and the mixed force led by Rick and Jenny had developed into a stalemate.
A large number of Silhouette reinforcements appeared and fought with the super-heavy tank as their core.
Their infantry defensive formation sported quite the heavy firepower.
「Tsk. We can’t approach them carelessly huh.」
Jenny couldn’t hide her annoyance.
Moreover, Rick and his men were really pushing themselves. He prioritized quickly sending away his men whose machines had taken too much of a beating for emergency field repairs so they could rejoin the battle once more. It fully displayed their determination to stick it out to the very end.
But suddenly, a transmission from Kou came. Before they could even react, a voice reverberated in their minds.
『Kou, Unit 5, and everyone out there who helped out! Thank you!』
Words of gratitude echoed directly within their minds.
They understood immediately.
It was the voice of the planetary control and management AI, Asia.
Kou had succeeded in his mission.
「Rick! Kou really did it!」
「Kou performed splendidly. As expected of our client eh?」
Rick grinned widely in elation. The St. Bernard-model Familiar’s smile had a sort of fiendish charm to it.
「The operation was a success. Let’s fall back, Rick!」
「We still can’t do that right now. We have to stick around until Kou and the others have made their escape. We’ll keep maintaining the frontline. It wouldn’t be funny if we pulled out right now and the enemies end up finding out our true aim.」
「But your machine’s already at its limit!」
「A little more… Just a little more……」
There were currently three allied tanks still fighting in the frontline. If this delicate balance collapses, the enemy will surely launch an attack at once.
There was also a chance that they would change their target to Kou and the others. Rick knew that this had to be prevented no matter what.
The super-heavy tank was a lot more troublesome than expected. Its firepower was more or less a bluff, but it functioned amazingly as a mobile wall.
Its main cannon’s ammo was also regularly being replenished by a Silhouette. The process was relatively simple because the main cannon was a cartridge-type. It was a constant and imposing presence on the battlefield.
Furthermore, it also had an escort of tanks similar to those driven by Rick and his men. Hence, the enemy defense line was both solid and powerful.
「Is this Rick-san? It looks like the frontline troops can’t get close to the enemy. Give me the exact coordinates of the enemy super-heavy tank relative to your position.」
It was a transmission from Voy to Rick.
「I’m sending the data now.」
「Once I make my move, you guys fall back a bit. Jenny, prepare your Silhouette unit for a head-on assault. If you guys want an opening, then I’ll just create one.」
「Roger that. We’ll wait for your arrival.」
「Alright. It seems you have a good plan in mind.」
Jenny instructed the Silhouette unit to prepare for a full-on assault through the terminal.
In order to reduce the burden shouldered by the allied tanks and armored vehicles, the Silhouettes quickly got ready.
「Please leave fire support to us.」
Rick ordered the support vehicles to provide cover fire for the Silhouette unit of Metal Iris.
「Gotcha. I’ll be there soon!」
A few minutes later, something finally occurred in the stagnant battlefield.
「Hm? Why’d the alert go off?」
The driver of the super-heavy tank spoke to the gunner seated right behind him.
「We’re being attacked. –I-It’s coming from below us!」
「What!? I’m not detecting any heat sources! Just what kind of attack is it!?」
They were plunged into a slight state of panic.
They were certainly being attacked. However, it didn’t appear to be shaped charge anti-tank mines. In the first place, they haven’t moved out of the defensive line at all. So there’s no way the enemies could have planted mines under their noses.
「A physical attack from something excavating the ground below us? What the hell is with this alert notice!?」
The tank driver bellowed in confusion. They were being threatened by something incomprehensible.
It certainly wasn’t an attack by a Silhouette.
Grating metallic noise that made one want to plug their ears gradually became louder and louder. It was as if it was gouging open the tank’s metal alloy chassis.
The super-heavy tank rose upward–
The armored excavator driven by Voy finally appeared from underground with its drill rotating at full power.
It pierced the bottom of the super-heavy tank and raised it from below.
「Take this! Drill goooooo!」
Voy’s excited scream roared out.
「Hey, what the heck is that?」
「Err, apparently, it’s Kou-san’s machine and his Familiar friend.」
「Relax, guys. That’s an ally.」
「They freakin’ used a drill to attack a super-heavy tank? That’s crazy man!」
The Metal Iris and Storm Hound members were dumbfounded by the appearance of a never-before-seen weapon(?).
The enemy Silhouettes assembled around the super-heavy tank became flustered. Only the drill of the armored excavator had stuck out of the ground.
The super-heavy tank would take hits as well if they launched a careless attack. The main body of the armored excavator was hidden beneath the ground.
The people controlling the super-heavy tank were in an even greater state of panic. Its power pack had taken a hit from the drill, and it had completely shut down.
After confirming that, Voy made the armored excavator retreat below the ground again.
After diving down momentarily, Voy made the armored excavator surface once more in a different spot.
The excavator’s main body was protected by its cylindrical shield.
Even after taking hits from the barrage unleashed by the enemies, the tough shield rotated at high speed and bounced off all the attacks.
Voy signaled to the rest of the troops.
Rick and his tanks started advancing forward at full speed. Metal Iris’ Silhouettes and the armored combat vehicles followed closely behind them. They rapidly approached the enemy defense line.
The Silhouettes of Metal Iris were sporting huge axes.
They were anti-tank axes – battle axes designed to cut down tank turrets and treads.
The armored vehicles continuously unleashed support fire from behind.
There was a single Silhouette flying above the battlefield. It was Jenny’s machine.
Taking advantage of the chaos, it soared high into the sky and plunged down on the panicking enemies.
It quickly cut off the barrel of the super-heavy tank’s main gun with its high-frequency vibro-heat blade.
The enemies quickly fired at her machine in retaliation, but Jenny made use of the super-heavy tank’s body as a shield and avoided taking damage.
She then cut off the barrel of another tank’s gun and slalomed away to safety.
The enemy Silhouettes tried to give chase, but the Metal Iris Silhouettes and the armored combat vehicles configured as tank destroyers barred their way and launched their own attack.
A Metal Iris Silhouette made good use of its giant battle-ax to cleave the treads and turret of an enemy tank.
The anti-tank axe that used abundant heavy metals to increase its weight can be said to be the natural enemy of tanks that aren’t good at close range.
The tank was quickly incapacitated and turned into scrap metal.
「Fall back! Abandon the super-heavy tank. Hurry and pull the MCS out of it!」
The enemy commander shouted to the rest of his troops.
An enemy Silhouette pulled out the MCS of the super-heavy tank, held it with both hands, and started running away. With that, the tank was reduced to nothing more than a giant metal box.
The other enemies also started retreating from the current defense line.
「The enemy has begun to retreat!」
The communications vehicle relayed a report to the rest of the allied troops.
「So he used a crazy new weapon to create a breakthrough huh.」
Rick muttered under his breath.
「But it all went as planned. Next, we just need to deploy a temporary defense line in the rear to cover our retreat. We no longer have any business here on X463 after all.」
It was a declaration of victory.