“Can I stay? Honestly, how did they manage to get that many Inzektors in such a short time frame?” Gizmo groaned as he nervously played with his ships control systems.
“Who wouldn’t want to go out in a situation like this? Only maniacs would.” Angela commented.
“Miss, can you do me a favor and grant me a kiss?”
“I wouldn’t even do it when you’re dead let alone alive,” Angela replied.
The communications channel was filled with dread. The majority of their squad was composed of new personnel who has yet to experience a battle on this kind of scale.
Besides Gizmo who tries to make the best out of the situation, nobody else talked.
“It’s alright guys. All ships should be able to retreat using the warp engine once they’re all ready. We might not have a chance to fight at all.” Belle attempted to reassure them but to no avail.
Although her reasoning made sense, the possibility still stands, there was a high chance that they would have to deploy.
According to the mission data, there were only a few hours until they were ready to warp. In their calculations, if the enemy Inzektors launched an advance party, then all allied ships will have to deploy their fighters to repel them, for an hour.
One hour is by no means short, and taking account of how many Inzektor Fleets were out there, they estimate that the advance party to be roughly 40000 Inzektors versus 7000 allied fighters.
It was number where it was still within reason but a problematic challenge nonetheless. Luon estimates that with their firepower, they could eliminate twice the amount before they run out of munitions if they came one at a time that is.
But humans are filled with imperfections, and there are many uncountable factors on the battlefield. Taking account of accuracy and other factors they would barely be able to repel the first wave.
Afterward, they needed to retreat to the ship to warp out of the zone. Not a single second could be wasted on the battlefield.
Retreating would be the tricky part as most fleets weren’t armed with a system to safely procure all of the deployed ships. It was like lining up quickly to the movie theater and only being able to go through one door.
This meant that they would either have to eliminate the Inzektors faster or start their retreat earlier to reduce the chances of someone getting left behind. It was most likely the latter is what was going to happen.
“Still, what kind of joke is this? Why should our group be the rear-guard for our retreat? That made this way more difficult than it has to be,” Gizmo complained.
“Did you not hear the explanation earlier? It’s because our fleet and the Yietal fleet has a larger entry point to recover all of the deployed units quickly. Also, they are giving us a chance to earn some more honor before retreating,” Kiri replied.
“Those are just some hypocritical remarks made by the other fleet commanders! In reality, they’re just afraid of the swarm and left it to us, new guys, to deal with it,” Gizmo retorted.
“I won’t deny that…” Kiri commented as she gave a short sigh. “Belle, what do you want to do? We can’t opt out of it, but we can still work around it to make the situation better.”
Tapping her finger with the controller Belle spoke, “Luon, about that formation thing you did earlier with the four robots, how efficient is it?”
“You mean the wave formation?” Luon asked as he cringed with regret. ‘I should have made the name better, something along the lines of the coiling dragon or supreme drill formation. Should I be glad that they didn’t laugh?’
In the corner of his eye, he noticed that some of his squadmates we’re trying their best to hold in their laughter upon hearing the name. Luon stated, “The formation is quite efficient and has a medium level of difficulty to accomplish. The notable points are that in exchange of eliminating the enemy forces faster, our energy reserves will diminish at the same rate.”
“How many can we take out in the short amount of time?” Belle asked.
“With the number of units we have and our explosive supply. About 15 times our number within the first half hour of the engagement. Only there are some slight problems with using the formation.”
“Problems? What are they?”
To Belle’s curiosity, Luon explained that because the formation requires a lot of maneuvering space, they would need permission from the adjacent forces to do it. If they were too close to their allied formations, then there was a risk for friendly fire, especially since their squad was situated close to the planet.
“Which fleets are beside our formation anyways?”
“Miss, it’s the Yietal fleet and that old geezer’s fleet.”
“It looks like permission isn’t that bad, except I’m quite worried about having some friendly fire going on. Luon do you have any solutions to the problem if we managed to obtain permission?” After asking Kiri about the battlefield, she muttered to herself before prompting Luon another question.
“We might be able to make do if we attack from behind, only half of the forces have to stay behind to managed the frontline, and we enter the enemies ranks if we clung onto the planet while maneuvering.”
Belle nodded as she found the strategy to be full-proof, she then added, “Then we’ll split the team’s in half for the offensive team, I will go along with-”
“Belle, you can’t go. You know very well what would happen to all of us if you took on the harder role and died. Instead, I will go along with the 4 robots, Gizmo, Bendan, Opo and 12 new recruits. We’ll have a higher chance of succeeding this way,” Luon quickly responded.
Belle looked dissatisfied, but couldn’t disagree with her judgment. She had an important role to accomplish, and the responsible choice was to step down.
“I’ll come along as well,” Angela insisted as she didn’t hear her name on the roster.
Looking at her determined expression, Luon thought, ‘Why would she accept this dangerous task? Having more experienced pilots would increase our chances, but this will only put them at risk.’
Unlike Luon and the others who names weren’t notable in the community with only minor achievements from their time at school, Angela was a well-accomplished squad leader that had fought on the battlefield several times before. One usually would rejoice when such a person volunteered to accept this kind of task, but Luon felt slightly suspicious as he wasn’t close to her at all, he didn’t know what she was thinking.
Despite this, he couldn’t reject her gesture as he said, “Alright, then Angela will come along in replacement of one of the 12 recruits. Does anyone else want to come as well?”
Nobody else replied, some of them had seen the battle record of Luon’s strategy and thought about the difficulty and danger that they will face, they could only look away to save their own lives.
After dividing between the offensive and defensive forces, Luon sent to his team the formation program that will align their ship according to the shape of the formation automatically. This meant that all the pilots had to do focus on shooting while riding the train of death and destruction.
He situated his friends close to his own ship, he then placed the robots in the more challenging and vulnerable positions while relocating the new recruits in-between. If someone had to die it would be the robots that he painstakingly had gotten from his school. He could at least be refunded by the government if they had perished on the battlefield.
‘Let’s just hope that nothing goes wrong…’ Luon thought as he studied the battle strategy once more.
Clearance was easily allowed, the two fleets had witnessed the effectiveness of Luon’s formation as it had devastated many Inzektors before. However, it was under the condition that they were allowed to provide supportive fire since it would be pointless to defend otherwise.
They were only moments away from engaging in combat. Having heard that the advance party has been deployed, the allied fleets had launched their fighters to repel them.
“What if one of them hits us? We’re absolutely vulnerable to stray shots out there,” Gizmo who agreed to the plan felt slightly concerned.
“There’s an unlikely chance for that to occur. First off, we’ll be attacking from their blind-side, and unless their attack is strong enough to penetrate all of the Inzektor forces, it would be near impossible to commit friendly fire. Just calm down a bit, everything will be fine. But if I were to fall, then you’ll take my place,” Luon answered.
“If you were to go down, then I should take over. Comrade, you must have forgotten about military ranks. You’re only allowed to lead because of how much the higher-ups liked you,” Angela replied.
Luon soon realized why she came along, unlike Belle and Arisa who had their families help arrange their military position, Luon’s rankings had soared due to his previous accomplishments. Angela who had experienced the same treatment felt that the military was being unfair when they arranged her new position.
Luon felt suspicious of her inflexible behavior but shook it off as mere jealousy upon hearing her words. He responded, “Alright, you’ll be in charge if something were to happen, but I find it doubtful anything will happen. Since I’ve already done it once before I can do it again.”
“Let’s pray that nothing does happen then,” Angela answered but cutting off her communications.
“She’s a strange one,” Opo pointed out.
“A brave one as well,” Bendan commented.
“And really hot,” Gizmo whistled.
“Everyone, get ready for combat. We’ll soon depart and engage with the enemy Inzektors. I don’t want any of you complaining to me in your graves if you died because of negligence,” Luon stated as he facepalmed at their remarks.
“Affirmative!” replied their entire squad, or at least the new recruits did.
Time ticked, and the figures of the opposing swarm of Inzektors had gotten closer. After reaching a certain point the first shot was fired, and the battleground was overflowing with projectiles heading in a multitude of directions.
“Let’s go!” Luon commanded as he motioned his ship close to the planet. The offensive team departed and encircled Luon ship. The sudden departure caught the Inzektors attention as a large portion of their forces went to follow, the rest were soon attacked by the remaining squad members led by Belle.
Getting behind the enemies frontline was the challenging part. Luon needed to breakthrough their forces to do so. Like a drill, the offensive squad encircled the planet while eliminating countless of trailing Inzektors. The pilots desperately fired with no sense of union.
This trait was a flaw in Luon’s plan. Some of the attacks had hit the same target, and sometimes the Inzektor was neglected. Unlike how the robots were completely sync with each other the human pilots couldn’t accomplish the same. All they had to do was shoot the closest Inzektor to them, and yet they still failed miserably.
This ruined their strategy as a few Inzektors managed to attach themselves onto a few of their ships while they were passing by. The new recruits screamed as they begun to shake and fire randomly. One of which was relieved to find that the Inzektor managed to die, but to their dismay, their ship was soon overrun with Inzektors crawling around it.
“Pay attention to your targets! Prioritize the ones closest to you! We’re breaking through now!” Luon shouted over their communications channel.
Their team broke free of the swarm, but it wasn’t unscathed. The had lost about 5 of the initial 20 units, the start of their offense wasn’t looking good.