5 of 6 | Chapter 17

 

Although ASEC had a significant numerical superiority and the dismantling of the hardware was not excessively difficult, the Chinese Air Force's seven thousand fighters was still a huge amount of work.

The role of the giant Cameo vessels was significant in breaking up and destroying closely linked formations as it was much harder to get close to them without casualties.

It's a pure miracle they don't crash into each other up there, Jeff thought for a moment, but quickly got back to business. It worried him that inhabited villages lay nearby. At the edge of the Tarim basin, there were many farmer families scattered across the countryside. The Chinese mainland forces, seemingly unconcerned by that fact, fired upon the ASEC forces like madmen.

“Eleventh to Command,” said Hayes into his helmet mic.

“Command, go on,” sounded in his ear.

“The right wing needs support to be moved up front to the north. There are a number of civilian settlements there.”

There was no response for a few seconds, as his request was being verified, something that could be so much more easily from above.

“Confirmed. The outer left clusters are to be deployed around the formation from behind, and make sure they stick to the right flank. Begin the attack, immediately! Time is short!” came the orders from the command vessel.

“Fourth detached, ninth detached, sixteenth detached …” the area commanders reported one by one. Altogether five of them detached, and Hayes and Valko saw them thundering up behind, stirring up a thick dust cloud.

Because of that maneuver, the Chinese commenced their attack from the north towards the center, where the closest formations reacted quickly, opposing the attack instantly. The operational robots, moving along with the range of control vehicle, caused a slight breach in the center which could have led to ASEC units being divided.

The eleventh immediately recognized the danger and plugged up the gap, but, by that time, the enemy had reacted so that the two division commanders found themselves facing a stronger force within seconds. There was no time left for anything else but action.

“All SRT units! Attack!” Hayes ordered, and in that moment two Chinese fighters were taken down by Demon fighters. The Chinese fighters were smashed to the ground and picked apart right in front of them. The pilots, who had fought so madly in the air above, were taken out of their seats and then collected by a Cameo ship that exploded onto the scene, then vanished.

Hayes smiled to himself

“If the Chinese saw that, I'll bet they could hardly believe their eyes,” he said.

“You betcha,” Valko concurred, grinning.

The robot forces of the eleventh showed no concern and quickly started picking shells from the air fired by tanks that were in the distance. The robot units had to move closer in to be able to disable the tanks, which was easily feasible by bending gun barrels or rolling vehicles over.

“This is the eleventh calling for reinforcements,” Hayes shouted.

“Copy that, eleventh,” came the reply from the command ship. “Reinforcement units arriving by air from the south. Cluster four, join the eleventh!”

“On our way,” confirmed the fourth commander, joining them shortly afterward.

“Cluster commander, Hayes.” said the ship commander.

“Copied,” Jeff replied. “All right, let's make SRT formations of fifteen and spread them three hundred meters apart. Keep 'em moving!”

“Copied,” said the fourth.

“Let's go!”

Both command vehicles surged forward, the robot units in groups darting ahead, advancing implacably.

“Impact detected!” the vehicle's on-board computer informed them.

“Damn it!” cursed Valko and accelerated with a kick. The explosion sent an immediate shock wave through the vehicle as it hit from the side, sending it flying. Valko spun it round and applied opposite force to slow the wildly slewing vehicle, almost landing it on top of a farmhouse.

“Whoa! These are fucking fast!” he shouted.

“Then let's be faster!” Hayed shouted back.

“No problem!” said Valko, and in the following minutes, they already ran group formations through the enemy positions, taking the huge number of scattered positions apart one by one.

The enemy reaction time could not hope to come close to that of the robots. Only the Chinese robotic machine guns—that were fixed onto almost all vehicles—were able to keep up. They were quite accurate which meant that ASEC forces had to continually evade them, but fortunately, they were not smart and assumed that SRT groups were one entity, so that when the SRT groups broke up at intervals, the Chinese weapons took time to acquire new targets, and it was their biggest weakness.

Thus, they were so doomed.

As if SRT units knew it—that this gave them a huge advantage, they quickly incorporated into their tactics. Armored cars, tanks, rocket launchers and artillery were soon flying around, spinning, turning and crashing to the ground in twisted piles of scrap metal.

Soon, five hundred square kilometers of the Tarim basin were covered in a sea of metal with pillars of smoke dissipated by strong winds and a sudden storm that added to the chaos.

Murinko looked at his watch as he stood implacably on the bridge of the command ship. “Congratulations all command officers. Mission successfully completed in forty-one minutes and ten seconds,” he said calmly.

Cheers of elation erupted from the intercom.

The only jobs that remained to be done were collecting the pilots who had been given their freedom a few thousand kilometers away in Russian Federation territory, though it was true that the Chinese were not very popular in Russia, and even less so the Chinese soldiers. And the wreckage of military machinery also had to be collected and shipped to the ASEC processing plant where about the 250 million tons of metal was to be recycled for civilized use and made available for order through the GlobalNet.

*

Over the coast of Japan, the fifth platform again began to move. By that time, a complete water settlement had formed underneath, composed of ships tied together, on which impromptu parties were held in the shadow of the massive structure.

Unexpectedly, the anti-gravity drives came to life and began to hum monotonously on the outer edges of the platform, and the entire monstrosity moved ponderously on its way. The mainly youthful crowd—mellowed by a festive, alcohol induced intoxication—loudly announced that the party was over as they realized that the enforcement pole was gliding away.

Japan was one of the few countries that had authorized enforcement pole transit without any problems so there was no disruption, but North Korea however, was another matter. Although they considered it, North Korea did not offer any military reaction to the news of the bloody Chinese defeat in the Tarim Basin, but the State Army Supreme Commander was later reported to have called the incident outrageous. For ASEC it was merely a storm in a teacup.

Much more important was how the now humiliated Chinese government welcomed the enforcement pole platform into the air space over Beijing, virtually right above their heads.

It did not really go down too well.

 

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CHAPTER 1 | EXCOLOPOLIS
CHAPTER 2 | MACHINES
CHAPTER 3 | A NEW TECHNOLOGY
CHAPTER 4 | ATTACK
CHAPTER 5 | THE SOURCE
CHAPTER 6 | THE SCIENCE CENTER
CHAPTER 7 | UNIVERSITY CITY
CHAPTER 8 | GLIDECRAFT
CHAPTER 9 | SECTOR TWO
CHAPTER 10 | THEY KNOW WE ARE HERE
CHAPTER 11 | GRAVITOR
CHAPTER 12 | INSTALLATION
CHAPTER 13 | ENERGY WAR
CHAPTER 14 | AFTERSHOCKS
CHAPTER 15 | INITIATION
CHAPTER 16 | PREPARATION
CHAPTER 18 | TRUTH
CHAPTER 19 | BEYOND EARTH