The Mech Touch - Chapter 2819
More than a hundred meters ahead of the wide corridor, a large and solid gate barred the way of fleeing arena visitors.
The people who had reached the front of the pa.s.sageway knew that there was no way forward, but the latecomers who were further back didn’t weren’t aware of this! They just thought that the people in front were targeting them or taking their sweet time to pa.s.s through a narrow entrance.
Whatever the case, since none of the people appear to be in threat of getting attacked by mechs at the moment, they were highly unwilling to turn around and go outside!
Obviously, this wasn’t good for Ves and his group. The sheer crush of people was so dense that not even their armored forms could bull through so many bodies. Not without inflicting severe harm on them at least!
It was too risky to do that, though. Even though it was unlikely that any of these random people could harm armored soldiers, letting them get very close was a risk that Nitaa did not wish to take!
To her, the solution of the problem was very clear. If the panicking civilians weren’t willing to listen to her request, then she had to open up a path by force if necessary!
Her mission trumped nearly every other consideration. If keeping Ves alive meant killing the people in front of her, then she would do so without hesitation!
Yet Jannzi had different ideas.
“Get out of the way.” Nitaa growled. “We are too exposed at the moment. This tunnel can collapse at any moment.”
“I know that, but that doesn’t mean we have to turn ourselves into butchers!”
“Then how else will we get through!’
“Let me try! We don’t have to kill them all to reach the other side!”
As Jannzi and Nitaa argued, Ves took a step forward, causing the two women to halt.
“You have thirty seconds to open a path, Jannzi. If you can’t do it, then don’t blame us for what happens next.”
“Consider it done.”
With every step, her momentum grew. Despite not interfacing with a mech, her force of will expanded, causing every single person in the crowded corridor to stop and turn towards the rear!
“Make way.” She spoke. Her suit amplified her voice. “The entrance to the tunnels below are blocked. Let us proceed forward and we will make an opening.”
Amazingly, the people formed a path. They pressed to the side and even took the initiative to take a few steps back in order to make room for others.
Her force of will possessed a rea.s.suring quality that somehow lessened the panic and hysteria of the crowd. While Ves and plenty of Larkinsons were already accustomed to Jannzi’s presence, the same was not the case for average civilians!
None of them experienced the profound influence of an expert pilot before. They hadn’t even come in touch with glows, so their sensitivity towards any mental pressure was still high.
The first impression was always the most profound. The Lifers didn’t even know who Venerable Jannzi was or what her true motives were. Yet due to the power and authority she exuded, the civilians instinctively trusted her and looked up to her. Her presence imposed a much-needed sense of calm over the crowd.
While the Lifers were still aware of the unfolding chaos on the surface, they somehow felt that the expert pilot in their midst would be able to lead them to safety.
The blockade had parted. Venerable Jannzi opened up a path without resorting to any excessive means. She turned to Ves and exerted a bit of pressure at him. She did not like the fact that she had to intervene in person to prevent a needless ma.s.sacre.
“Let’s go.” Ves simply commanded.
He ignored Jannzi’s silent challenge and walked all the way forward until he stopped right in front of the barred gate.
The entrance was built like a vault door and looked like it could withstand a direct attack against a mech. The bone metal surface showed that it had been grown into shape. Ves didn’t sense any living mechanisms though.
Vincent’s hover chair stopped right next to him. “Who would build such a ludicrously strong entrance? Is there a fortress behind this gate or something?”
Lucky was confused as well.
Ves thought about it for a moment. “I think Ruuzon Arena was originally built to serve as a disguised fortress. It would explain why the tree structures were able to turn into killer tentacles. Whoever was responsible for activating them didn’t turn them into killer machines. They were already designed to possess this hidden mode from their inception. They just never revealed their true capabilities since there was no war to be fought.”
Instead of being employed to repel foreign invaders, they were instead killing the very people they were supposed to protect!
This was the tragedy of a civil war. Comrades turned into opponents and fellow citizens bore the brunt of a conflict that had no easy division of friends and enemies.
The lack of internal order allowed any unhinged person to hatch their schemes. Ves had no doubt that Veoline had turned into a giant warzone at the moment!
“How will we get through?” Jannzi impatiently asked.
“Let me see.”
Ves integrated a decent hacking module into his Unending Regalia, but that didn’t mean he could crack any electronic security system. A true professional could do ten times more than someone who was mainly versed in mech programming.
After a bit of exploration, Ves looked a bit puzzled.
“While the security system isn’t military grade, it’s much better than I expected.”
“Does that mean you can’t get through?”
“I didn’t say that. I am just telling you that the underground tunnel complex might be more sophisticated than I thought.”
No one had noticed that Lucky had quietly slipped away. He flew underneath Vincent’s hover chair and phased through the floor.
Once the gem cat left everyone’s sights, he snuck up to the door mechanism and recognized how to tamper with the systems.
During his time with Calabast, he learned a lot about messing with security systems! She even dumped a ma.s.sive amount of data on how to recognize critical parts and how to sabotage them to achieve specific outcomes.
Soon enough, the entrance beeped and began to slide open. The corridor rumbled a bit as something heavy impacted against the surface not too far away, but Ves and everyone else didn’t care.
Once the gate fully slid open, Ves and his fellow Larkinsons pa.s.sed through with their weapons at the ready. The crowd of civilians behind them didn’t dare to follow too close.
“It’s quiet.” Nitaa said through their short-ranged communication channel. “The interior is laced with dampening materials. Our onboard sensors aren’t able to resolve any details.”
Ves suddenly recalled the Odineye mounted on his Unending Regalia. He had transferred it from the Valkyrie Prime to his personal combat armor a short time ago, but never thought about activating it until now. The Odineye was absurdly effective, but it drained an immense amount of power.
Still, considering the current crisis, Ves really needed to know what was up ahead. The tunnel complex underneath and around Ruuzon Arena was ma.s.sive and winding. Who knew whether someone prepared an ambush.
“Wait a moment.”
Ves cautiously activated the Odineye and inputted some custom settings. A small pulse immediately started to emanate from the System-bought object.
The pulse was short and weak enough to minimize the power consumption of the omni-directional sensor. While it only provided Ves with a snapshot of his surroundings, he could still glean a lot of intelligence from the limited data.
The low power setting combined with the dampened surroundings severely limited the effective range of the Odineye. Beyond a couple of hundred meters, the sensor data quickly began to degrade. Trying to study it was like looking at pure signal noise. Trying to glean any useful pattern out of this mushy data was impractical without a supercomputer at his disposal!
“Accept this feed.”
A ma.s.sive amount of weak signals milled behind them. The crowd of civilians had pa.s.sed through the entrance but maintained a respectful distance from Venerable Jannzi and the other Larkinsons.
Above them, a gathering of random vehicles lay dormant on the open ground. Some of them had already been hit by various weapons.
None of that interested Ves and the rest. Instead, they paid attention to what was ahead and below them. They noticed plenty of details.
Perhaps a range of several hundred meters was nothing outdoors, but within a cramped and winding tunnel complex, this could allow them to avoid many dangers!
“Look! There’s a mech storage unit four stories down.” Vincent exclaimed. “If we can get Jannzi into one of those machines, we won’t be helpless against other mechs. In fact, I can pilot one as well in an emergency. I don’t have legs anymore, but that doesn’t stop a true man from piloting a mech. Let’s head over there and hijack those fighting machines!”
Ves stretched out his palm. “Those are biomechs, not the mechs that you are used to piloting. Some of their paradigms are radically different, which is enough to require special training in order to master their use. I have no idea how to prepare them and I am not sure you’ll be able to gain control over them without the required training.”
“Oh come on, Ves! She’s an expert pilot while I’m an expert candidate! There’s no way an odd mech can stump us! Don’t you want to increase our chances of making it out alive? I’m telling you we need as many mechs as we can grab. I say we go for it. It’s better than trying to sneak past all of the mechs without any form of defense against their firepower.”
While Ves didn’t like to admit it, Vincent made a good point. Prosperous Hill VI was a planet with very restrictive policies against private mech owners.h.i.+p. This prevented the Larkinson Clan from bringing down and utilizing their new second-cla.s.s mechs on the surface of the trade planet.
This meant that even if Ves and his entourage managed to slip back to Gentle Lotus Base, he would still be vulnerable against enemy attack due to lacking enough mechs to ensure his safety.
Considering that Ruuzon Arena was the biggest mech arena in the star system, a lot of mechs were parked in the vicinity!
Ideally, Ves wanted to grab some metallic mechs, but his Odineye failed to pick any of them up within its effective range. He also had no idea where the arena operators stored his damaged dueling mechs, but they were probably placed way too close to the violent tree tentacles for him to risk retrieving any of his own work!
“Let’s try and take a look.” Ves reluctantly decided. “If the mechs are usable, then I won’t say no to hijacking them. Just take into account that it probably won’t work out. From what I have learned about biomechs, they’re so different that it’s like dealing with alien technology.”
The group of Larkinsons briskly navigated the tunnel complex in an attempt to reach the biomechs in storage.
Since they were able to spot many potential threats in advance, the Larkinsons didn’t worry too much about encountering any unknown surprises. They managed to take out automated defense systems in advance and silence any alarms before they had a chance to trigger.
A few panicked guards and arena personnel occasionally pa.s.sed through the tunnels up ahead, but the Larkinsons always stopped and stayed out of sight before they exposed their presence.
While Ves didn’t think that the arena personnel would do anything to him and his group, it was better to be safe than sorry. He wanted to avoid as much trouble as possible.
Unfortunately, halfway to reaching the site, some sort of crew had entered the s.p.a.ce. The unknown individuals approached a couple of biomechs and began to prep them for deployment. Either they were acting under orders or they just wanted to secure their own safety.
Regardless, their presence complicated the situation. Should the Ves and his men proceed or turn elsewhere?