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Genius Mechanic

Genius Mechanic: Chapter 112

Coria Contaminated Zone (Restricted Zone)

112. Two Cannons

Proofread by Cloud Chip Cake

When the two mechas sped out of the base, their thrusters resembled blazing streaks, roaring into the scorched forest.

Lieutenant Lu immediately followed suit as the two mechas broke through the crucial section, the signals of the two mechas appearing on the radar system. When he noticed the Individual Soldier mecha following closely behind Theo, his pupils contracted slightly.

The brief control by the Thunder Magnetic Cannon became key in opening up the path. Almost at the same moment when the Thunder Magnetic Cannon fired, the Artillery and Individual Soldier mecha swiftly passed through the gap created. This kind of coordination created an extremely small gap, only leaving space for two people to pass through. The two Frontier Army mechas following closely behind failed to reach the gap in time and were quickly blocked by the swiftly approaching pollutants.

“Lieutenant! We couldn’t keep up.”

Lieutenant Lu was once again blocked by the surging pollutants in front of him. He watched as the thrusters of the two mechas disappeared into the dense forest ahead, and he spoke in a slightly deep voice, “Falling behind is normal. After all, no one could keep up with him even during the special training camp.”

Looking at Theo’s signal on the radar, Lieutenant Lu recalled a scene from many years ago when he saw the other person at the special training camp, especially the impression left by the mecha equipped with the twin artillery weapons; an Energy Cannon and Sniper Cannon. Among all the Individual Soldier mechas in the special training camp, everyone was thinking about how to make their mechas capable of both close and long-range combat. Only the mecha called Theo and its pilot were outliers in the special training camp.

The youngest in age, isolated, often using long-range dual artillery weapons. Such a mecha pilot stood out conspicuously among the tall and robust Frontier Army members. Many people thought he would be the first to be discharged from the special training camp until he set the highest record with his long-range dual artillery weapons and became the youngest mecha pilot since the establishment of the special forces.

Mentioning the special training camp, several Frontier Army members were suddenly stunned.

The person even Lieutenant Lu couldn’t keep up with… Could it be the mecha pilot who set the record back then?

The Special Training Camp was the largest-scale training event in the Frontier Army’s Special Forces, focusing on unique individual combat capabilities. Several mecha pilots remembered that their cohort, led by Lieutenant Lu, was said to be a gathering of geniuses. To this day, the highest record in the training camp was set by that cohort ten years ago, and no one has surpassed it since.

However, the identity of that mecha pilot remained a mystery, with no records in the Special Forces.

Some said that the mecha pilot had retired, while others claimed that he had been promoted to the First Sector Army. Various rumors circulated, but nobody within the Frontier Army had heard about him ever again.

A perplexed mecha pilot asked, “But how is he in the Mecha Alliance?”

Lieutenant Lu didn’t answer him.

You Su was an outlier. He had been paired with various mecha pilots for operations in the Special Forces, but each one requested a transfer due to difficulties in coordination. Lieutenant Lu had thought he would excel until the end of his service in Dawn’s Frontier Army, but that wasn’t the case. Shortly after the cleanup mission eight years ago, You Su retired.

As he thought about this, his gaze focused on the information on the radar map. Besides Theo, there was another mecha behind him. The radar coordinates of the second mecha closely followed Theo’s, maintaining the optimal distance for coordination. It was evident they were working together.

He was very familiar with the former’s abilities, but what surprised him was the latter person. “I didn’t expect to see someone keeping up with his speed.”

And that was just an A-class Individual Soldier mecha. Before entering the Restricted Zone, Lieutenant Lu had reviewed information about KID and Gale’s teams. KID’s mecha base primarily focused on team mecha combat in the Dawn Mecha Alliance. Despite Gale’s base bringing medical mechas along, KID didn’t bring one and instead brought an Individual Soldier mecha equipped with both close and long-range dual artillery weapons.

Two mechas equipped with dual artillery weapons made Lieutenant Lu feel somewhat incredulous about their coordination.

“Everyone else, fall back and protect the base,” Lieutenant Lu increased his thrusters and caught up. “I’ll go rescue them.”

The two mechas swiftly caught up with the retreating tentacle. The tentacle strained as it dragged the mecha backwards, and the restrained mecha pilot didn’t give up struggling. Using his reverse thrusters and a photon blade, he maximized his ground deceleration. However, the drag force of the tentacle was too strong, and his resistance only slightly slowed its speed.

You Su frowned heavily as he observed the situation. He watched the mecha’s self-rescue efforts. “Attacking with direct firepower is useless against it.”

“You want to save him? You need to thoroughly slow down its speed.” Ying Chenlin followed behind You Su and also noticed traces of a pollutant on the mecha.

These tentacles were strange; it was impossible to predict their movements based on the actions of the pollutants. Moreover, they were essentially energy-based, and attempting to attract the pollutants using energy had little effect. Ying Chenlin recalled the scene where the tentacle dragged the Female Mantis away; evidently, it was more interested in pollutants than mechas. “There’s no usable pollutant around.”

The radar only showed a few red dots for pollutants, with more of this peculiar energy-type pollutant actually being present.

Attempting to grab pollutants to replace the mecha in this urgent situation evidently required more time. Ying Chenlin glanced around. “We need to buy some time.”

“You’re familiar with this forest. How much energy is needed to bring down the surrounding trees with the Sniper Cannon?” Ying Chenlin asked.

As soon as Ying Chenlin asked, Theo immediately provided the data, “You Su! Over 70%, one shot can bring them down.”

“70%.” You Su adjusted his weapon to the Sniper Cannon. “Are you sure?”

“I modified this Individual Soldier mecha using a Control mecha as the foundation. Focus on sniping, I won’t let any pollutants get close to you.” In Ying Chenlin’s line of sight entered a scope, quickly locking onto all the pollutants around You Su.

While switching to the scope, Ying Chenlin sent a request for an assist over the public channel. The trees in this area were tall, capable of blocking the tentacle’s route of retreat, buying some time.

Hearing this, You Su raised an eyebrow, “Then take care of yourself.”

As You Su raised the Sniper Cannon, Ying Chenlin’s aiming device stored energy, ready to be released. The fundamental attack power of the Control mecha wasn’t high, but its control-type projectiles had an enhanced firing speed, much faster than gun-type mechas. This was particularly advantageous for controlling melee weapons like the Thunder Magnetic Cannon.

In other words—time was more than sufficient.

After You Su charged the Sniper Cannon, a powerful shot was fired.

Simultaneously, the Thunder Magnetic Cannon from behind him launched a second before him, blocking the pollutants attacking from his left side.

Pollutant attacks came from all directions. As the pollutants on the left were repelled, those on the right rushed toward You Su. Years of Individual Soldier combat experience led You Su to instinctively shift the Sniper Cannon two degrees to the right. Just as he was about to deal with the pollutants on the right, a rapid-fire shot from Theo struck the pollutants before him, instantly clearing the threat from all sides.

You Su hesitated for a moment, quickly changing course before firing the Sniper Cannon. He raised the charge by two degrees, hitting the pollutant bodies on the right side. After completing these actions, he looked back and found that Ying Chenlin had already raised his two weapons simultaneously.

Raising two cannons at the same time…?

In the dense pollutant-filled forest, Lieutenant Lu followed the two mechas as they broke through, quickly catching up. However, he hadn’t approached yet when he saw the tall trees on both sides tilting towards the center. The plants inside the Restricted Zone and the swamp forest originated from the same source. Even though these plants had maintained a withered state in recent years, they still spanned almost a hundred meters.

The trees on both sides of the tentacle tilted towards the center in order, and when they fell from a height, they carried a tremendous impact. Lieutenant Lu had to avoid the threat of the giant trees falling. Looking up, he saw two mechas speeding forward—the instigators.

During the high-speed flight, the mecha in the front, Theo, raised its Sniper Cannon. He had almost given up all defense; each shot had over 70% energy charged. This method of abandoning defense was extremely risky, especially with pollutants densely covering the radar beyond the viewing angle. Without a pollutant warning system, the mecha pilot had to rely on their naked eyes to discern attacks from all directions. Yet, in this situation, Theo dared to forsake all defense to raise the cannon for an attack.

However, he quickly changed this mindset because he saw that not a single pollutant managed to approach Theo. Behind Theo, another mecha escorted him, and its Thunder Magnetic Cannon and Rapid-Fire Cannon almost achieved a complete rapid-fire attack with its swift switching intervals. The Individual Soldier mecha simultaneously held two weapons, and was remarkably proficient in switching its aim between its left and right hands.

Raising two cannons at the same time…? Lieutenant Lu stared in amazement at the mecha’s operation. In mechas, there’s typically a restriction on the left or right hand when switching weapons. Most people use one type of weapon before switching to another, especially for cannon-type weapons. This switch allows the mecha pilot to inherit the weapon’s original aiming settings, enabling them to smoothly use the weapon even after switching.

The best operating mode was using a single hand to quickly switch the mecha’s weapon box, but this adds 1 second to the original operation time. While there are cases in the mecha pilot field where two weapons are used simultaneously, it was mostly with a combination of melee and cannon-type weapons. Melee weapons don’t require precision adjustments, and the discomfort brought by switching can be quickly adjusted with the pilot’s operational skill.

However, using two cannon-type weapons simultaneously is a rare practice. This means that the mecha pilot must simultaneously adapt to two types of precision weapon operations, quickly switching to the second cannon’s use after completing the use of the first cannon, saving the one-second time for weapon switching.

This requires a plethora of combat experience from the mecha pilot, who must be very familiar with the details of the weapon’s performance, speed, accuracy differences, etc. Achieving seamless switching in an extremely short time.

Any mecha pilot with two applicable hands can wield two weapons, but those who can truly save time for seamless attacks, in Lieutenant Lu’s memory, are few and far between.

Lieutenant Lu watched as each giant tree fell thunderously after Theo’s charging, consecutively blocking the path that the tentacle had to take when dragging the Female Mantis away. The Individual Soldier mecha that was being used wasn’t even one of the fastest computing S-class mechas, yet it seamlessly wielded two weapons, eliminating all obstacles for Theo.

Apart from this, what surprised him was You Su’s reaction.

This complete abandonment of defense, entrusting his safety to another person, was rarely seen in You Su, who seldom cooperated with others. However, he managed to overcome his instinctive reaction and achieve such cooperation.

Suppressing the astonishment in his heart, Lieutenant Lu also switched to a cannon-type weapon to assist the two mechas in knocking down the surrounding trees. At this moment, he suddenly saw several mechas following from behind. Turning his head, he saw two mechas dragging a massive pollutant while flying over.

They were mecha pilots from KID and Gale.

“Chenlin! We’re here!” Ji Qingfeng and Zhao Lejie each held a semi-lifeless pollutant. In front of them, Lin Yao cleared the way and escorted them, charging straight towards Ying Chenlin and You Su.

After receiving the request for assistance on the public channel from Ying Chenlin, Zhao Lejie and Ji Qingfeng coincidentally encountered a larger non-energy-type pollutant. Just as the tentacle was about to grab that pollutant, Ji Qingfeng risked it, directly pulling the pollutant over, and sprinted away.

Zhao Lejie turned around and saw that the original tentacle was surprisingly rushing toward them. When the tentacle was about to hit Ji Qingfeng, he immediately used the protective shield and charged, forcefully deflecting the tentacle. With this force, the two mechas, along with the pollutant, were sent flying and created some distance.

Ji Qingfeng: “Impressive ah, Old Zhao, you’re good at this kind of operation.”

Zhao Lejie was a little dumbfounded even though it seemed to work well, coughing, “I’m just so-so.”

Lieutenant Lu, looking at the tentacles in front and behind him, felt a headache. He had to immediately switch directions to assist the three mechas in the rear. He had to switch to the public channel and shout, “Flank around from the side!”

Ji Qingfeng and Zhao Lejie, hearing the command, glanced at the source of the voice, seeing more assistance, they quickly followed the direction he cleared, rushing over.

With this swift charge, they saw that almost all the trees in the distance were cleared, having fallen behind the tentacles. Although these fallen trees couldn’t withstand the destruction caused by the tentacle’s forceful dragging, these trees living in the polluted area had sufficient tenacity. The number of fallen trees also effectively slowed down its speed.

Ji Qingfeng exclaimed, “The area’s all cleared.”

Zhao Lejie observed their wide field of view and said, “…Your guns and cannons are too ruthless. There’s not even one tree left?”

Seeing Ji Qingfeng and Zhao Lejie arrive, Ying Chenlin and You Su immediately changed their attack targets to the tentacles and surrounding pollutants. Seeing Zhao Lejie and Ji Qingfeng entering the attack range, Ying Chenlin immediately instructed, “Bring the pollutants around it.”

You Su locked onto the pollutant following behind Ji Qingfeng and also noticed the Frontier Army mecha closely following. His gaze lingered on the Frontier Army mecha for half a second before all his attacks landed on the tentacles. With continuous gunfire, spurred on by the support of their teammates, Zhao Lejie and Ji Qingfeng, seeing the tentacle dragging the mecha, immediately flew with the pollutant to the top of the tentacle.

The captured pollutant was large enough, and its pollutant value displayed on the radar was relatively high.

The tentacle seemed to have made a judgment in a short period, immediately releasing the dragged mecha and fiercely attacking the pollutant above it. At this critical moment, Lin Yao rushed in, directly lifting the injured mecha away, and the four mechas retreated abruptly, immediately pulling away.

At this moment, the tentacle following closely behind the pollutant also rushed towards that pollutant, and the two tentacles fought against each other.

Seeing this scene, the surrounding mecha pilots paused, seemingly surprised that the tentacle monster was also engaging in internal conflicts. However, this entanglement only lasted for about three seconds, and one of the tentacles let go, hovering to grab another pollutant nearby.

The mecha pilots were worried about being affected and hurriedly retreated a few steps out of their range.

At this time, a voice spoke on the public channel, “Withdraw to the base station, prioritize protecting the base station.”

Ying Chenlin glanced sideways, looking at the Frontier Army mecha.

Seeing the mecha leading the way towards the base station, his sense of unease intensified, especially after he and You Su had seen the strange thing under the base station not long ago. That thing was right under the base station, something the mecha pilots couldn’t handle on their own. If they wanted to deal with that thing, they definitely couldn’t leave the base station intact.

Why did the Frontier Army need to protect the base station? Clearly, the existence of the base station was what restrained everyone’s fighting.

Ying Chenlin glanced at You Su slightly. He had noticed the repeated changes in You Su’s mecha’s perspective during the operation. You Su seemed to recognize that Frontier Army mecha pilot.

Back near the base station, the Frontier Army did not explain the reason, only sharing that the mission of protecting the base station was the primary objective for all mecha pilots. The injured mecha entered the base station, and Ying Chenlin left his mecha to check the damage to the other mecha. He found that the tentacle’s binding had caused significant damage to the mecha’s outer plating. As he turned slightly, he noticed that the Frontier Army’s Lieutenant Lu was looking at him.

Lieutenant Lu noticed Ying Chenlin’s gaze and asked, “How is he?”

“He can’t be deployed for the time being,” Ying Chenlin replied truthfully. “Repairs are needed.”

Just as he was about to take action, another mecha pilot rushed over.

Ying Chenlin remembered him as a medical mecha pilot from Gale.

“I’ll take care of it,” the medical mecha pilot said, looking at Ying Chenlin. “Right now, we’re short on manpower, and the outer area needs you more.”

Seeing Ying Chenlin discussing with the medical mecha pilot, Lieutenant Lu scrutinized the mecha pilot who had descended from the single-man mecha. In a brief moment, he had already made a temporary analysis of Ying Chenlin.

A mecha pilot, knowledgeable in maintenance, driving a single-man mecha.

His attention lingered on the mechanical right arm for half a second… How was he controlling the dual cannons?

Ying Chenlin paid no mind to the sidelong glance. After briefing the medical mecha pilot, he glanced at the mecha outside. While the medical mecha could quickly repair the wear and tear on the mecha, this kind of repair only addressed the symptoms, not the root cause. It could only restore about 10% of the mecha’s wear and tear for combat on the battlefield. Each repair session would deplete the mecha’s equipment, and each mecha could only undergo repairs 1 to 5 times at most. The more severe the wear and tear, the fewer repair sessions were possible.

Given this situation, even with his ability to repair mechas, there was still limited assistance from the medical mecha.

But without subsequent support like they had in Qiu Jin, if they just defended the base station, they could only hold out for half a day at most.

As Ying Chenlin hesitated, he turned his head and noticed the Frontier Army’s Lieutenant in a black combat suit looking at You Su.

Lieutenant Lu confirmed the mecha’s condition, then turned his attention to You Su, locking his gaze on him, taking a few steps forward and extending his hand. “Long time no see. Didn’t expect to see you here.”

You Su’s gaze was indifferent, and he didn’t shake his hand. “Indeed, it’s been a while.”

Lieutenant Lu’s face remained unchanged despite being rebuffed. He withdrew his hand and replied, “The situation is special now. I hope you and I can cooperate to protect this base station.”

“I’ve heard this line many times eight years ago,” You Su spoke without courtesy. “Eight years later, the Frontier Army remains the same.”

At that moment, two people hurried over from a distance.

It was Qi Sicheng and Huo Yan, with Lu Xi beside them.

Lu Xi nodded when she saw Ying Chenlin. The incident had happened suddenly earlier, and when Ying Chenlin and You Su went to rescue people, Lu Xi informed Huo Yan and Qi Sicheng about the whole situation in the underground research institute.

Seeing Lieutenant Lu about to leave, Qi Sicheng directly stopped him. “Lieutenant Lu.”

“Before going out to battle, we doubted the necessity of protecting the base station.” Qi Sicheng took out the light brain, displaying a large amount of energy reactions from the underground research institute. “Many of the basic infrastructures in the base station are essential for maintaining this research institute. And this research institute is a weapons research institute. Our mecha pilots found something in the institute.”

Lieutenant Lu frowned, “How much do you know?”

Huo Yan noticed the change in Lieutenant Lu’s attitude and stepped forward, saying, “It’s not a matter of how much we know; it’s about our mecha pilots being attacked by something underground. We suspect that this research institute is involved in research that goes against the Star Alliance Research Law.”

Upon hearing about the attack, Lieutenant Lu’s expression changed slightly, and he asked with suspicion, “You say you were attacked?”

Ying Chenlin noticed his reaction and then looked at You Su. You Su’s expression remained indifferent, but Ying Chenlin could sense that You Su’s mood was much worse than before, and he didn’t even bother with basic courtesies.

“Yes, we were attacked,” Qi Sicheng glanced at Ying Chenlin, withholding further details. “There’s something down there, and we don’t understand why we need to protect this base station.”

Lieutenant Lu’s expression became solemn. He used his personal communicator to contact the mecha pilots outside, briefly spoke a few words and then turned to Qi Sicheng, “I need to inquire about instructions from higher-ups about this matter, but for now—”

Before he could finish his sentence, Lieutenant Lu’s communicator lit up, and he immediately turned to answer.

However, after listening, his face changed slightly. “The Frontier Army’s support cannot come temporarily. The superior’s command is that, regardless of what’s below, our top priority is to protect this base station.”

Qi Sicheng and Huo Yan exchanged glances, seemingly hesitant about what to do.

“The Frontier Army can’t enter the Restricted Zone, right?”

At this moment, a voice from the side joined the discussion.

Lieutenant Lu heard the voice and looked straight at the source. He saw the somewhat petite mecha pilot, and his gaze lingered for a moment on the other’s mechanical right arm. “No comment.”

“The geographical location of the Restricted Zone is special, and the entrance is hard to find, requiring specific instructions,” Ying Chenlin said. “I guess the Frontier Army’s support is blocked outside the Restricted Zone, and there are too many pollutants, requiring a reissue of orders to emphasize defense.”

“The Restricted Zone is currently accumulating a large amount of energy-based pollutants, and the base station itself is an energy point.” Ying Chenlin looked at Lieutenant Lu and showed him the display on the energy meter. “As far as I know, the energy reaction here has surged by 20% compared to when we first arrived, clearly exceeding the control range of the base station. This significant increase in its energy reaction will only attract more pollutants, both from within and outside the Restricted Zone.”

The Restricted Zone is now like a huge magnet within the Coria Restricted Zone, drawing countless pollutants towards it.

Lieutenant Lu’s face changed slightly when he heard Ying Chenlin’s analysis, but he quickly adjusted it. “Since you know these are energy reactions, have you considered the consequences of the base station being overrun by these energies?”

He ordered solemnly, “As I’ve said, the current order from the higher-ups is to stand guard outside the base station and protect it.”

After Lieutenant Lu finished speaking, he turned to leave for battle.

Standing nearby, You Su’s gaze paused for a moment, his eyes inscrutable and cold as he looked at Lieutenant Lu. He didn’t move, but then he suddenly heard a voice from beside him.

“This decision has problems.”

You Su’s expression shifted slightly as he looked straight at the speaker.

Ying Chenlin stood behind Lieutenant Lu, his young face serious. He countered fearlessly, “The base station is not the priority. I request prioritized eradication of pollutants.”

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