Battle Story - Fanbook EX 05 : Storch
ZAC 2106, spring. An unmapped island in Florecio Ocean.
The Raynos’ fell one by one below First Lieutenant Sapphire Tripp. They were being attacked by the imperial army’s air-battle chimera, Fly Scissors. A swarm of five or six Fly Scissors would swoop down on a single Raynos.
They were at an altitude of 800 metres. The republic was proud of the Raynos, one of its leading battle Zoids but be that as it may the Raynos had little advantage at this height. The Zoid essentially demonstrates its true value at a high altitude of over 10,000 metres. Now that a devoted attack of anti-air missiles had been exhausted, the war potential of both armies has changed with the difference in numbers.
From the upper-left two Fly Scissors dived towards a Raynos. Another two pinned it down from overhead. The Raynos circled right. A fifth Scissors was there, right above the Raynos’ head. It came with its huge fangs and claws, with a relative velocity exceeding Mach 3.
The Raynos pilot made a face of disbelief. At that speed the invasion angle was too close for a melee challenge. He couldn’t believe that it was a kamikaze attack. They collided an instant later. The two Zoids scattered in an explosion.
Hearing the disapproving sound over the transmission radio, Sapphire stared at the consort Zoid circling at 1500 metres. A Storch. A custom, equipped with a plasma blade antenna—the same as Sapphire’s.
“Is something wrong. Captain?”
Sapphire addressed Captain Aqua Erius—her superior officer—in a voice that was as calm as possible.
“What’s wrong? What do you think of this sight?”
Sapphire felt deep anger in that low, murderous voice.
“Our allies are superior. I think we should be delighted at…”
“This ain’t a battle of Zoid pilots!”
Aqua was an officer of fickle blood by nature. Nevertheless he said these words on behalf of almost all Zoid pilots. The shape of the planet’s battle was about to change on a grand scale, in a direction that Zoid pilots didn’t care for.
Many years ago a new technology was born. The artificial Zoid core was developed. This meant that using wild Zoids in the production of battle Zoids was no longer necessary. They could mass-produce Zoids at low cost according to individual preferences. This was significant because it meant they could now manufacture artificial Zoids that anyone could handle, as the mind link between the Zoid and the pilot had become unnecessary.
The Neo Zenebas Empire was attracted to this technology, and they didn’t stop at just that; they created unmanned Zoids (codename: Chimera BLOX) that had an autopilot system installed. The chimeras were undeniably the ideal weapons to strengthen the military force of the weak new Neo Zenebas nation. However there was a problem with the circumstances of the unmanned Zoids. They were able to deal with battle independently, but they could not attack in uniform.
It was necessary to have a commanding Zoid to guide the chimeras. A manned Zoid that lead the chimeras with a command wave. One of the manned Zoids that was developed was a customised Storch equipped with a large-type plasma antenna, and Aqua Erius and Sapphire Tripp were elected as the test pilots. With the Storches they invaded the airspace over Republican territory and lured enemy Zoids from a nearby base into unmanned airspace, where the flying chimera Fly Scissors attacked. It was the duty of these two people to pass this combat test.
Another Raynos fell. Then four more. There were two remaining. Meanwhile ten Fly Scissors had been damaged. The combat test was a huge success. Although more than twice as many Fly Scissors were downed, their production costs were ten times less and there was no loss of pilot. Before long a large chimera army would probably cover every battlefield on the planet. A swarm of unmanned Zoids that advanced to the cold-hearted battlefield where there were no soldiers. That scene was vivid in Sapphire’s mind.
Aqua remained silent.
“The pride of Zoid pilots, huh?”
Although she could understand, as a fourth generation human immigrant who held different values to the Zoidians, Sapphire couldn’t feel sympathy. Due to the arrival of the humans, the Zoidians’ level of technology had increased as though it was a mutation, but their mentality still contained a strong scent of the middle ages. They were people that had the spirit of knights, savages and cults that worshipped a beast-god religion, yet had obtained technology from 1000 years in the future. Moreover, unless a Zoid pilot possessed a spirit like that, they were unable to become a pilot that could form a mind link with his Zoid. At least until now…
An abrupt warning sound coming from the surveillance monitor interrupted Sapphire’s transient thoughts. A Raynos had broken through the circle of Fly Scissors.
Even if they flew at full throttle now, they would be unable to overtake the Raynos with the speed of the Fly Scissors and Storch. If the Zoid managed to go outside of the jamming area and send a transmission it would become impossible to resume the test in that airspace. But how had it been able to escape from the encirclement net?
“That bastard…” Aqua’s voice came over the transmitter. It was different from earlier, a voice mixed with surprise and pleasure. Ignoring this, Sapphire just managed to put three Fly Scissors that were following the Raynos’ route on an intercept course.
“Restrain its head. It’s not allowed to go full speed!”
However, as the Fly Scissors ascended, the Raynos conversely dropped. Its altitude was 500, 400, 300. Descending further and further. It was at Mach 0.8. From there it suddenly decreased in speed. At the last moment it turned left, barely above the water’s surface. The flying was unbelievable. Its pursuers were not good enough, two Fly Scissors crashed into the water’s surface, and although another had not yet stalled, it fell with a beam sweep.
Because the control test was important, the Fly Scissors had been equipped with only grapple weapons. That had backfired. When the strategy is elaborated, guiding manoeuvres would be unmanageable. Yet would that control be possible? To have accurate control at that speed and experiencing strong g-forces?
“It’s useless. There’s no time.”
It was already too late to catch up to the Raynos. A moment later Sapphire muttered in blank amazement and opened her eyes wide. The Raynos had turned around. It turned towards the other Raynos it had left behind inside the circle of Fly Scissors with intent to rescue its companion. There were still 30 Fly Scissors remaining.
“Sapphire, withdraw the Scissors! Those important toys will be turned into scrap!”
“Don’t you understand? That’s a genuine Zoid pilot. Toys can’t make a dent in Zoids piloted by the real thing!”
Aqua’s Storch suddenly entered into a dive.
“I’m gonna do this guy in.”
“With a command-equipped Storch? It’s impossible!”
“Ain’t the other guy worn out? Besides, from this altitude I’ll be a match for the Raynos and… I’ll do him in!”
From an altitude of 1500 Aqua entered a dive that exceeded Mach 2. Aqua didn't share the honour of the Raynos pilot. At once the two Zoids tangled. From above, from below, they circled. They spun at the speed of sound as though in a dance. Violent and graceful and bloody and beautiful.
Technology would continue to progress.
Become more logical.
The chimeras would evolve stronger and imperfections in the control would probably be resolved.
Even with thoughts like that Sapphire could not stop herself being enchanted by the dance of the two Zoid pilots.