The pier extended for several kilometers out of the space station proper. Ships and transports bringing in bulk cargo that couldn't conveniently be brought via shuttles often docked alongside one of the many piers of the Independent Harbor.
Some even docked at one of the specialized drydocks alongside the more exclusive piers. Whatever the case, hundreds of vetted and pre-inspected ships docked alongside the piers at all times.
Many of them began to evacuate from the troubled space station. Who were they kidding, their ship captains outright dropped all of their obligations and the crew or passengers they left behind on the station and tried to run without proper authorization!
"My Dirthe San Ortha! You thief! Where are you taking my freighter! That's my ship! I paid for it! This is mutiny, I say!"
"Our captain has left us behind! For all his talk about valuing our loyalty, he was the first one to get out!"
All the stranded folk wailed at their misfortune, but Ves and his escorts walked right past their useless forms. The shuttle bay was situated at the very end of the pier, extending directly into deep space.
As they walked the final stretch, Ves asked a pertinent question to Nolsen.
"What do you think just took place? At one moment, a grudge match between two famous mech champions was about to take place. The next, thousands of pirates started to riot about their gambling debts of all things, all the while the previous harmless cleaning bots turned into murderous blood-sucking fiends. At the same time, the Castle Breaker fleet is moving up against the Omen of Misfortune right at this moment, possibly drawing in the Swordmaidens to the conflict as well!"
"You're barking up the wrong tree if you think I have all the answers." Nolsen replied through their comm channel. "However, my gut feeling says that whoever threw the Harkensen System into chaos might have followed us here. They might have even assigned other saboteurs to lay the groundwork. I don't know what their overarching goals look like, but disrupting the entire Komodo Star Sector is definitely on their agenda!"
Calabast! It might have been her, or agents from the same unknown faction that was still shrouded in fog up until today!
The sabotage might have something to do with the game to track down the Starlight Megalodon. This entire hidden game had thrown several star systems into complete turmoil due to the intense greed on the part of the hidden players that controlled their chosen outfits like puppets on strings.
The timing served as powerful supporting proof in favor of this argument. Though Ves failed to identify a direct connection, the timing was far too coincidental for him to dismiss any relations to the game.
The alternative was to blame it all on his rotten luck, but his rational mind didn't believe in such superstitious concepts. The multiverse ran on a particular set of rules, and none of them stated that it should give Ves a bad day because he stepped out of his bunk with the wrong foot or something.
Perhaps the accusations of cheating or match-rigging possessed some merit. If the saboteurs wanted to provoke a lot of unrest, what better way could there be than to rig the overwhelming favorite candidate into a dubious loss?
Did the saboteurs have no shame? They even resorted to something as dirty as tampering with the sanctity of the Mech Games! Ves felt irrationally peeved at Calabast and her shadowy colleagues at desecrating this honored form of dueling with mechs.
And he didn't even know if she and her ilk had even stepped foot in Mancroft!
He shook his head inside his helmet. "I'm spinning theories on threads of conjecture again. There's not enough proof for what's going on! For all I know, all of this madness is the result of a domino effect of bad coincidences!"
Up until now, they only faced scum and bots that his security guards easily dispatched. If the saboteurs seriously wanted to hamper their fellow competitors to the Starlight Megalodon, then they needed to bring the big guns.
Another alarm rang throughout the entire space station. This one sounded much deeper and much more serious.
"HIGHEST PRIORITY ALERT! A BATTLE BETWEEN TWO MAJOR MECH FORCES IS TAKING PLACE WITHIN 100,000 KILOMETERS FROM THE MANCROFT INDEPENDENT HARBOR! THE RISK OF MECH WEAPON DISCHARGE REACHING THE MANCROFT INDEPENDENT HARBOR IS MINOR BUT NOT NEGLIGIBLE! IT IS ADVISED THAT EVERY RESIDENT AND VISITOR MAKE THE APPROPRIATE PREPARATIONS AGAINST LOSS OF POWER, ATMOSPHERE, TEMPERATURE AND GRAVITY."
The warning repeated twice after another, as if the loud droning voice and the alert messages spamming their comms wasn't enough.
Pff! Those dumb pirates probably still wouldn't get the message after all of that prodding.
Fortunately, the visitors at the pier were a little more sober than others. Many had already unfolded their vacsuits into covering their entire body, with a flimsy flexible helmet covering their heads.
The thin vacsuits wouldn't be able to protect them against flying debris, but it at least kept them alive if they got flung out of space.
Mere seconds after the warning message stopped blaring against their ears, a volley of explosive rounds impacted the surface of the space station!
The entire superstructure shook minutely, causing Ves and the others to pause in their steps. They looked at their helmets for a single moment before they simultaneously erupted into a run!
With the space station itself at risk, they had to reach their shuttle as fast as possible!
"C'mon, faster, you Vandal slowpokes!"
Ketis surprisingly turned out to be their fastest runner. She had even sheathed her greatsword behind her back to aid in her running.
Coming up close behind her was Ves. His light combat armor impacted him minimally and these suits had all been designed with speed and agility in mind. The cape flapping behind him billowed in the air and formed a minor annoyance, but Ves was too preoccupied with running to cut the distracting thing off his back.
The slowpokes Ketis mentioned turned out to be the exoskeleton-suited security officers. Some of the slimmer, speed-focused exoskeleton suits could run even faster than Ketis. However, Nolsen and his subordinates had come with heavy-duty exoskeleton armor this time. The toughness of their armor made them impervious to small arms fire, and their heavy caliber weapons and weapon mounts made sure that any opposition turned into shredded meat.
Their suits of exoskeleton armor had been built like sluggers, able to absorb a lot of hurt and reciprocate with overwhelming firepower Speed had been relegated as a distant priority!
Their thunderous footsteps echoed against the decks, but no matter how fast they tried to move, their lumbering forms couldn't surpass the running speed of a senile old man!
The Boseys actually did a great job at intercepting incoming weapons fire. They possessed plenty experience in suppressing trouble makers and the readiness of their spaceborn patrols made their Reinaldan counterparts resemble a bunch of lazy bums.
Wherever the incoming weapon fire came from, the mech pilots who discharged them didn't seem to pay too much attention to where they ended up if they overshot their targets. This reckless degree of weapon handling and muzzle discipline could only be shown by pirates!
"Isn't it too much to ask for them to train their mech pilots properly?"
The pier was largely enclosed and the main battle between the Castle Breakers and the Omen of Misfortune took place way beyond a range visible to the naked eye. Nevertheless, the nature of spaceborn combat effectively compressed all distances when it came to vulnerability.
The Mancroft Independent Harbor might as well be situated a few blocks away from the developing mech battle in high orbit! With hundreds of mechs sparring and exchanging weapons fire against each other, the odds of weapons fire affecting the station was small but very much possible!
One second, everything was okay, the next, a huge volley of laser cannon beams sliced through the base of the pier connecting it to the main station!
"DROP DOWN TO THE DECK AND ACTIVATE YOUR MAG MODULES!" Nolsen instantly shouted.
All of the security officers had been extensively trained in various emergency situations, so they already moved even before Nolsen issued his warning.
To her credit, Ketis moved nearly just as fast. As a daughter of the frontier, she often had to deal with the reality of travelling aboard old, unspaceworthy ships that could keel over at any time. Preparing for these kinds of emergencies was as natural as paying taxes in civilized space.
Ves reacted the slowest. His training in responding to crises only reached a rudimentary level, something which was a severe oversight that he intended to remedy once he was safe. Right now, he awkwardly tumbled to the deck, more propelled by the mag modules of his combat armor than anything else.
The mag modules attached to his boots, knees, palms, elbows and waist secured his entire body to the deck with magnetic force.
He moved just in time, because the giant holes burned through the pier sucked out the air inside the pier like gigantic cleaning bots on stimulants! Many vacsuited visitors helplessly got sucked out along with the escaping air, their cheap suits unable to fix them into place on the deck!
The smarter fellows always stayed close to benches, poles and other solid objects affixed to the deck. They hugged their bodies against the fixtures, holding onto it for their dear lives as there was no guarantee that anyone was going to pick them up once they launched into space!
The situation was slightly more complicated for Ves because he also needed to secure his lockbox and its valuable contents. The lockbox inconvenienced him a lot because it was a large, solid cube the size of a human head.
The only upside to its huge size was that it protected its contents very well. Not only would it be difficult for small arms fire to penetrate the lockbox, it also contained various sophisticated shock-absorbing systems that negated all the effects of rough handling.
Their suits rang an internal alert. Mancroft had broadcasted another emergency message to their comms!
[PIER 34 IS PARTIALLY DISCONNECTED FROM THE MAIN STATION. DUE TO THE WEAKENING OF KEY STRUCTURAL SUPPORTS, PIER 34 MUST PERFORM SEPARATION WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT. PLEASE REMAIN AT YOUR CURRENT LOCATION AS SEPARATION STARTS. THE BOSEY CLAN DOES NOT AND HAS NEVER GUARANTEED THE SAFETY, SECURITY AND HEALTH OF ITS RESIDENTS AND GUESTS ON THE MANCROFT INDEPENDENT HARBOR. THE BOSEY CLAN APOLOGIZES FOR THIS INCONVENIENCE AND HOPES YOU ENJOYED YOUR STAY AT THE MANCROFT INDEPENDENT HARBOR. PLEASE COME AGAIN.]
The almost worthless corporate message conveyed a key message. The pier they currently resided on was about to be blown away from the main station!
"Brace for, uh, whatever the Boseys are up to! Don't separate!"
The entire flimsy pier structure lurched as a series of drastic procedures took place.
First, the docking clamps holding the parked ships next to the pier retracted all of a sudden. To the docking clamps that couldn't do so because of a loss of power or a faulty connection, they simultaneously blew up or disintegrated into tiny fragments.
Whatever the case, this had the effect of pushing away the parked ships that still hadn't been able or willing to get clear.Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click for visiting.
The sudden release of the docking clamps forced the dithering ships to make a forceful separation from the unstable pier. They boosted away from the dangerous structure, giving it enough room to commence with the next phase.
Tiny explosions ran through a pier section that was just beyond the checkpoint that the Bosey guards had hastily thrown up. All of them huddled far apart from each other with the mag boots fully online.
After a few seconds of constant explosions, the entire pier lurched as it finally blew away from the main body of the Independent Harbor! The pier had been flung away into space by the final explosion!
The pier lost power and air, plunging it into near-total darkness. The only light came from the giant holes burned by the laser cannons.
Still, that didn't hamper the armor-suited men and woman much. They merely switched to a different observation mode on their visors.
"The pier has lost power." Ves stated the obvious. "But that shouldn't stop us from reaching our shuttle. According to the latest status report the crew sent us, our shuttle is still waiting for our arrival! Come on! It's just a small distance up ahead!"
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