Chapter 3479: Command Contradiction
Though Commander Casella tried to work on her relationship with the Quint, she failed to make any significant headway.
The masterwork mech was content with letting Casella stay in charge most of the time.
However, as soon as a moment came up where she could fight a challenging battle against a powerful foe, the Quint compelled her to fight rather than opt for any of the safer alternatives!
It was fortunate that the Larkinson Battalions second opponent was not as tricky as the Ginetzy Battalion.
Of the four battalions in Group A, the Heartfall Battalion was the most standard and normal of them all.
The mechs employed by the Heartfall Security Enterprise were relatively basic and normal and only stood out for their higher-than-average mobility.
Mercenaries were accustomed to bullying weaker opponents and running away from stronger foes.
Piloting mechs that could advance quickly and retreat and even faster was essential for mercenaries.
It was a lot harder for them to stay alive and remain in business if they were unable to disengage at will!
Even so, an arena match did not allow for retreat.
The Heartfall Battalion had little choice but to tough it out against the Larkinson Battalion in a relatively confined battlefield.
Perhaps the Ginetzys were able to negate and invalidate many of the advantages of the Larkinson Clan, but the Heartfallers were so painfully ordinary that they easily served as a foil to the various detachments of the Larkinson mech legions participating in the G-Aena League!
The Avatars of Myth assaulted the main lines of the Heartfall Battalion upfront!
Once the Avatar mech pilots invoked the Golden Cat, they temporarily inherited the superior piloting skills of the best mech pilots of the clan.
This subtly increased their battle effectiveness and caused the opposing mechs to fall back again and again!
The Penitent Sisters and the Flagrant Vandals harassed the flanking elements of the Heartfallers.
The Valkyrie Redeemer and Ferocious Piranha mechs took great advantage of their glows to disturb the enemy mech pilots and take advantage of the openings they created.
The Eye of Ylvaine not only provided artillery support, but also specifically suppressed the mechs piloted by the mech officers of the Heartfall Battalion.
By taking out or distracting all of these leaders, the coordination between the Heartfall mechs became more flawed as the match went on.
Without sufficient guidance, the mercenary mech pilots began to make decisions on their own, which was a considerable taboo on the battlefield!
If they were professional soldiers, then they would have been able to organize themselves to some degree.
Unfortunately, mercenaries werent known for their discipline and even an elite outfit like the Heartfall Security Enterprise wasnt able to impose too much discipline on their troops!
The Larkinsons identified this flaw pretty early based on the Heartfall Battalions previous match against the Quizlam Battalion.
Once the cohesion of the Heartfall Battalion dropped below a certain point, the Larkinson Battalion finally unleashed their coup de grace.
The Swordmaiden mechs advanced towards the flanks of the Heartfall Battalion while encountering virtually no opposition!
The slaughter that ensued cemented the Larkinson Battalions victory! The Swordmaiden mechs cut through both sides of the enemy and broke the back of the Heartfall Battalion!
The relatively simple and neat victory was a great morale booster to the Larkinson mech pilots.
Their reluctant win against the Ginetzy Battalion had made them question their battle effectiveness, but their second match in the tournament showed they still had the capital to reach the finals.
The only issue was the Quint practically forced Commander Casella in the thick of the action.
Though her mech did not toss aside its luminar crystal rifle in favor of a sword this time, the masterwork mech had exposed itself to considerable danger as it strafed and danced against the elites of the Heartfall Battalion!
Though Casella tried to negotiate with her mech numerous times, the Quint had its own ideas on what it should do in battle.
A LARKINSON MUST BE BOLD AND COURAGEOUS.
“I get that, but that doesnt mean that a commanding officer must go forward all the time!”
YOU ARE AN EXPERT CANDIDATE.
FIGHTING IS IN YOUR NATURE.
“My way of contributing to the battle is different from other mech pilots! My command responsibilities are much more important than my individual skill! In larger battles such as these, our clan can reduce a lot more losses if we command our forces more effectively!”
THE LARKINSON CLAN HAS MANY OFFICERS, BUT FEW CHAMPIONS.
YOU CANNOT DENY YOUR OWN NATURE AS A MECH PILOT.
“I understand youre trying to help me reach apotheosis, but I dont want to break through as a battle maniac like our other expert pilots! My ambition is to become the best battlefield commander of the Larkinson Clan!”
Though Casella always sought to attain this goal, this was the first time she voiced it directly to someone else.
Even if the Quint wasnt a human, she still felt a bit ashamed at voicing out her personal desire.
Though the Quint didnt argue with her any further, it did not change its priorities either.
Battle was all the living mech thought about.
Like a drug addict, it disregarded logical arguments and mostly gave in to its baser desires.
“It seems that living mechs can reflect both the best and worst of humanity.”
There was a huge diversity among humans.
Why should living mechs be any different
Commander Casella realized that proper upbringing was crucial to both forms of life.
The way they were raised heavily determined their character when they reached maturity.
The Larkinsons just paid too little attention to this aspect and just allowed mechs such as the Quint to grow without any specific guidance.
Perhaps the aggressive personality of the Quint might work out for a simple mech pilot such as Venerable Joshua, but this was not quite working out for Casella at the moment.
She even thought about transferring to another mech and allow another Larkinson expert candidate to pilot this great machine, but she reconsidered.
“The Quint might be unruly, but it is still our most powerful standard mech.
If we want to defeat the tougher opponents in the G-Aena League, I will surely need to borrow its power.
Its a fantasy for me to win the subsequent battles by remaining in the back.”
Casella experienced the classic contradiction between a mech champion and a mech commander.
It was too difficult for most people in her position to adequately fulfill both roles at the same time.
Those who had the potential to become an expert pilot usually abandoned their commanding duties so that they could fully invest into becoming a better individual combatant.
After all, stepping onto the path to godhood was much more attractive than simply attaining a higher military rank!
There were still people who managed to thread the needle, though.
To the Larkinsons, their greatest example was Venerable Ark Larkinson, who currently acted as the patriarch of the Larkinson Family.
Casella Ingvar studied the powerful Larkinson expert pilots record and even interviewed old veterans on how this famed leader conducted himself on and off the battlefield.
Though she hadnt fully figured out how Ark was able to reconcile all of his responsibilities, she was already content with knowing that it was possible.
“I need to find my own way.
I shouldnt follow Venerable Arks trajectory too closely.
Just like any other aspiring expert pilot, she needed to find her own path towards godhood.
This was why she opposed her mechs more brutal urges.
Even if she forced herself to embrace the Quints tendencies, she didnt think she would be able to break through.
She didnt have time to solve her disagreements with the Quint.
She needed to prepare for the next and last match of the first round of the G-Aena League.
When she along with a number of other Larkinson leaders gathered in a meeting room, she clearly outlined the stakes of the next engagement.
“Currently, our battalion is in the top of the standings of Group A.
We have two wins under our belt while the Quizlams and the Ginetzys have only managed to achieve a single victory each.
Raella, please explain the potential scenario that we might face if we cant win our next match.”
Director Raella projected a simple table which showed the standings of the four battalions.
“Currently, the Quizlams and the Ginetzys both have the potential to collect another win.
The Heartfall Battalion is clearly not up to par against the rest and I anticipate that the Ginetzy Battalion will be able to defeat the mercenaries with ease.
If our battalion loses against the Quizlams, then well end up in a situation where three battalions in Group A are all tied with each other.”
The numbers in the table changed until the Larkinson Battalion, the Quizlam Battalion and the Ginetzy Battalion all had 2 wins and 1 loss!
“Uhm, what will happen if theres a three-way tie”
“We wont fight any additional matches.
The busy schedule of the G-Aena League cannot accommodate any further arena battles.
The tournament organizers will instead resort to a complicated set of tie-breaker rules to determine which one of us is most deserving to advance to the second round.
The rules take into account who has managed to overcome the other, how many mechs weve lost and how much time it took for us to secure our wins.”
“Do we have a good chance of ranking ahead of the other two battalions”
“I dont know.” Raella admitted.
“Our performance against the Ginetzys wasnt all that great from a scoring perspective.
There is a significant chance that a hard-fought victory tomorrow will all come down to nothing.
The only way we can guarantee advancement to the semifinals is to defeat the Quizlam Battalion.
When we are the only ones that have accrued 3 victories in the round-robin phase, we will become the undisputed winners of Group A.”
Her message was simple.
If they won the next match, they could immediately move forward.
If they lost, they still had a chance of making it through, but the decision was out of their hands!
“If thats all it takes, then why are we making such a big fuss about it Lets just beat the Quizlams and be done with this round!”
Although this was an obvious conclusion, Casella found it important for everyone to know how crucial it was for them to do their best.
Once everyone comprehended the stakes, they began to strategize in earnest.
“The Quizlams never fight a straight battle.” Commander Casella stated.
“Their previous two matches have shown that they have a penchant for relying on obscuring the battlefield, dividing our forces, cutting off our communications and defeating us in isolation.”
“The Ginetzys have managed to beat them, though.”
“Thats because the Ginetzy Battalions famed defenses has essentially allowed it to outlast the Quizlam Battalion.
Remember that the Ginetzys do not have to move or split their forces at all in order to fight at their best.
Their battle approach directly counters most of the methods employed by the Quizlams.”
“Cant we do the same I mean, we should just deploy a lot of Transcendent Punishers and pair them up with a sufficient amount of knight mechs to keep them safe.
With the Eye of Ylvaines special powers, our artillery mechs can practically nail any stealth mech no matter how difficult it is to detect their whereabouts!”
“Thats not a viable strategy to us.” Director Raella shook her head.
“The tournament rules limit the tonnage and firepower we can bring at any time.
The more Transcendent Punishers we bring, the more we have to give up on something else.
Our artillery mechs can easily be defeated if we dont have a sufficient force of other mechs that can directly block the sneaky Quizlam mechs.”
Commander Casella also realized this truth.
“I agree with the director.
Defense is not our strong suit and we dont have the right mechs for it.
Were an attacking force and we should stick to what we do best if we want to make it to the finals.”
“Forgive me for saying this, maam, but if we just focus on attacking the Quizlam Battalion, wont we suffer the same fate as the Heartfall Battalion”
Ive asked the mech designers of the Design Department for assistance, and theyve obliged.
We have a couple of solutions that no one else has… We will surely be able to turn the tables against the Quizlam Battalion as long as we make good use of our advantages.”
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