The useless, overextended Reinaldan emergency services finally showed their presence on the streets. Countless wounded cried out for help. The True Sons of Vesia and other supposed terrorist groups exercised no trigger discipline at all. As long as something was in the way, it deserved to be shot! The more collateral damage they inflicted, the more they hurt Reinald's interests!
Foreign tourists and hardened outfit members on shore leave alike both suffered in equal measure. Over half of the city the Vandals resided in had suffered damage, and some of its long-standing structures had collapsed!
In this city alone, the latest casualty estimates had quickly surpassed five-hundred-thousand people! This was only a medium-sized city. Perhaps a million or more had already fallen in the other cities!
Allowing enemy mechs to enter within city limits was like unleashing a pack of wolves inside a henhouse! Even their most casual attacks was sufficient to reap millions of lives after only a couple of hours of combat!
Leaving the hotel and entering the broken streets filled with bodies, vehicles and debris brutally showcased the destructive force that made mechs so attractive.
The critically shorthanded Reinaldan emergency responders tackled the tragedies step by step. Their vehicles methodically swept the streets and performed triage on the most wounded souls that could still be saved. Bots hovered back and forth. They performed much of the actual rescue and treatment.
The Vandals emerging from the scarred hotel ignored the annoying bots as they asked whether they or their relatives needed treatment. Instead, they took up scavenged or appropriated tools and started breaking into the nearest aircars. All of the vehicles long stopped working after receiving an emergency lockdown command from the city's central hub. With all the deaths and chaos, a bunch of flying vehicles over everyone's heads wouldn't make the situation better.
Nobody cared about the abandoned vehicles at this time. The hackers among the Vandals nonchalantly intruded into their operating systems and granted full jurisdiction to their side.
An hour later, the Vandals gathered a score of vehicles and a bunch of light-duty tools. Ves grimaced as he looked at the piled-up bunch of equipment. These tools had been built to service boats or aircars. Repairing mechs with these skinny, underpowered tools was going to be very challenging.
It was too bad that Harkensen I was devoid of mech workshops or other forms of heavy industry. Its economy revolved entirely around tourism and services. They imported anything they needed except for mechs, which they disallowed entirely if not in the hands of the Reinaldan military.
So much for their ability to prohibit mechs. Hundreds of machines had rampaged in the previous night. Letting so many mechs slip through their checks pretty much damned all the trust in their competence.
"Well, it's not ideal, but it will do." Ves muttered. He turned to a mech officer. "Have you located any workshops or the like where we can fix up the salvaged mechs?"
"We have found one promising location, Mr. Larkinson. This city is home to a shipyard facility that services waterbound boats and ships. While it may not be the mech workshop you are hoping for, but it should offer adequate facilities for you and your men to do your magic."
"Does it have a 3D printer? What about an assembly system?"
The mech officer looked down on his data pad. "Our investigation reports that the shipyard is home to a 3D printer and assembly system, both configured for ship-based work.
Ves let out a sigh of relief. "Good. I can work with that. The key asset that I'm looking for is an industrial-grade 3D printer. It doesn't matter if it is ordinarily being used to fabricate ship parts, we can easily load in mech parts as well. As for the assembly system, we might not be able to make use of its mounted arms and suspension systems, but we can still borrow its heavy-duty lifter bots."
He also expected the shipyard to be supplied with a ready supply of materials and heavy-duty tools. With all of these factors present, their outrageous plan to salvage fallen mechs off the battlefield and restore them for their own use became a little more viable.
"What about the current owners or employees of the shipyard? I doubt they'll mind if we barge in and squander their supplies."
The mech officer spat into the ground. "Eh? Who cares about them. If they're stupid enough to lodge a complaint, just kick them back into the streets. We'll shoot them if they become a nuisance."
That was a typical Vandal response. Ves didn't bother arguing that harming a Reinaldan in a Reinaldan star system was a very bad idea.
The hackers appropriated an increasing amount of aircars, but they still needed some time to provide transportation for all four-thousand Vandals along with their assorted loot. In addition, they also needed a way to transport the mech wrecks from the battlefield to the shipyard.
The latter issue puzzled Ves the most right now. "Has there been any progress in finding a transport large enough to retrieve the wrecks?"
"None so far. Not even the parking space next to the shipyard hosts any transports at this moment." The officer regretfully informed him. "We would have found one by now if we had based ourselves in a major city. Sadly, our superiors opted to rent out this hotel because it agreed to our demands and offered an attractive price point."
"...What a cheap city."
Sounds of gunfire suddenly erupted a few blocks over. Ves almost ducked his head, but found out that the battle hadn't spilled over to their position.
"What's going on?" He asked.
"Let me call in for a second." The officer inputting something in his comm and waited for a reply. "It appears the rats have crawled out of their holes. Members of a Roppongan mercenary corps have gotten the same idea as us. Since there's only so many aircars to go around, they've started fighting over us for control over the vehicles."
"That shouldn't be enough to come to blows with each other!"
"Look, Mr. Larkinson, if we don't show these gutter rats who's the boss, they'll be up our necks in no time!"
The initial exchange of fire began to ripple across the half-ruined city. All over the city, groups of armed survivors started fighting over the limited amount of vehicles that could bring them away from this hell!
Though the combatants only comprised of a small part of the inhabitants of the city, their selfish actions deteriorated the balance of peace that had emerged at dawn!
"You impulsive trigger-happy fools, look what you've done now!" Ves yelled as he gestured his hand towards the vague direction of the city. "We'll definitely get the blame for this!"
Countless sounds of weapon fire filled the streets while the Reinaldan rescue services scrambled into the air. Many wounded men and women cried out for rescue, only to see the life-saving bots return to their mother craft in the air.
With the eruption of wide-spread fighting on the streets, the city began to deteriorate again! The Reinaldan patrols couldn't turn a blind eye to the chaos. The mechs of the Honored Ones possessed extremely lethal weaponry, so they weren't suitable for peacekeeping duties. Instead, the Planetary Guard mechs all made their moves.
Armed with fluid projectors, the muzzle of the flamethrower-looking contraption started to spew large amounts of foul-smelling brown smile. Those unfortunate to get caught in the slime couldn't fight any longer as their bodies and their weapons became enmeshed with slime that quickly hardened to a degree that even mechs may find difficult to break!
If not for their breathable and soluble properties, those who had been struck would have suffocated to death!
A single Planetary Guard mech could slime over a crowd of hundreds within the span of a single minute. With almost every mech equipped with a fluid projector on the move, more and more troublemakers lost the ability to kill.
None of the peacekeeping mechs had reached the Vandals as of yet, but Ves could already hear their thundering steps coming closer.
Ves became exasperated by what the Vandals had unleashed. "Now look what you guys have done. The Planetary Guard won't turn a blind eye to our shenanigans. We'll all get slimed and taken into custody soon enough!"
"Relax, Mr. Larkinson. We've already thought about this possibility and we've already prepared a response. Where do you think half of our men have gone? Go watch this feed."
Ves received the data pad, which the officer had switched to a live feed of a Vandal that had strayed very far away from the hotel. The Vandal in question was in the middle of a random crowd.
"Are you willing to get slimed just because you wanted to survive?" The Vandal shouted to the crowd.
"Get lost, Reinaldans!"
"Why don't they let us get away?!"
"Then fight!" The Vandal said, and incited the crowd even further. "Where was the Planetary Guard when our shelter collapsed over our heads? What had the Reinaldans done so far to save our lives? They failed to fend off the terrorists and only came back crawling once the enemy has left! They're a bunch of greedy, cowardly, lazy sacks of dung who isn't worth a thousandth of what they are earning!"
The Vandal pumped up the crowd of survivors with a bunch of nonsense. Most of them had been pushed near their breaking points. They only needed a little bump to lose all their rationality. By the time the crowd had reached the peak of their hysteria, a Planetary Guard mech came into view.
"Shoot the mech!" The Vandal shouted, and the crowd pretty much responded instantly.
A large amount of low-caliber pistol fire clattered against the armored form of the peacekeeping mech. The mech pilot inside paid no mind to the small arms fire and methodically slimed the rioters until nobody was able to fire their weapons again.
The Vandal who originally primed the crowd had long slipped away.
Once the Planetary Guard mech walked over to the next street, it encountered the same situation. After that, it had to resort to sliming the people in the way yet again.
Someone managed to obtain a smuggled rocket launcher. For one instant, time seemed to stop as the rocket flew out and impacted the front armor of the mech.
Just a couple of scrapes of coating fell off from the impact site.
The mech pilot continued dosing every person in the way with slime, but over time their machines beeped in alarm. His mech had run out of slime!
The Planetary Guard mechs may have pacified tens of thousands of rioters, but over a million more fearlessly made trouble on the streets!
It was too much for them! Last night, their mechs suffered the most when they fought against the expertly-piloted amphibian mechs. Even at full strength, they lacked the strength to pacify an entire city in an instant, let alone now when their numbers had diminished to an awful extent.
They could only wrest back order in piecemeal as they returned to their base and refilled their tanks.
"That's bought us some time. The Reinaldans won't come looking for trouble with us." The Vandal officer stated with pride as he snatched back his data pad. "We've got the situation well at hand. I've been informed that you are needed at the shipyard."
Ves had thought this particular brand of madness was only confined to a couple of Vandals such as Captain Orfan. It turned out he had underestimated its scope. Madness was practically part of their martial tradition! This kind of reckless behavior had practically been baked into their DNA!
It was as if the Vandals couldn't function normally if there wasn't a riot going on!
"The Vandals are way too proficient at stirring up chaos." He frowned to himself. "Is this an essential part of their modus operandi? Why would a raiding regiment be so good at kicking up a hornet's nest?"
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