Chapter 146：Gold 3rd Grade
Two V-Class Swordsmen mechas followed the Mammoth III. These were the melee arm of the unit. Six V-class gunner suits and a white Aegis III were in tow.
Together they comprised an average assault force. A recon unit would likely have replaced their more combat-oriented mechas for other sorts. At present there were ten or so common mecha unit configurations, and the mechas for each alliance didn’t differ terribly from one alliance to another.
“Captain, according to satellite imagery the two kilometers thirty degrees to our left are experiencing energy fluctuations. Moreover, the map captures are hazy.”
Mo Yu confirmed the information. “Forward, battle formation,” he ordered. As the present Emperor-Class pilot, he was the unit’s leader. He also bore all the responsibility for their success or failure, and the lives of those in his team. The two V-Class Swordsmen mechas followed behind him in an inverted wing. The others remained a few steps back, the gunners surrounding the Aegis III. As they moved forward, the mechas scanned in all directions, on alert for foes.
They moved inexorably further through the tree cover. For a mecha unit, two kilometers amounted to nothing. As they barreled through the jungle, the trees suddenly parted. Mo Yu didn’t need radar to see the two – no, three – people by the water’s edge.
What was that green light? They weren’t monsters, certainly, so the light must be a result of a Discipline.
“Citizens, immediately identify yourselves. Do it now.” Mo Yu’s voice boomed at them through the Mammoth III’s speakers.
The air rung with the sound of metal as the swordsmen drew their titanium alloy blades. They took up positions on either side of the small group. The gunners hoisted their laser rifles and pointed them at the strangers. The appearance of the ten towering mechas made the scene at the water’s edge far more tense.
“We’re from Skyfire Avenue.” The deep voice rang in the ears of each soldier, as though someone were speaking directly to them in their cockpits. They each were taken aback by the voice, Mo Yu included. Two of the gunners were startled enough to almost accidentally discharge their weapons.
Skyfire Avenue? Mo Yu was of course aware of the place. He was about to continue his line of questioning when a silver light blinded him, cutting him off. The Mammoth II had an impressively thick alloy hull, and yet despite this there appeared in his cockpit a floating emblem that shone before his eyes.
Mo Yu had done his time, he’d been around the proverbial block. He knew what he was looking at. “Interdimensional Discipline.”
The oval medallion was a deep maroon, but as it dropped in to Mo Yu’s hand ten threads of golden light snaked out from within it. They were bright, powerful, but held no danger. The signal fluctuations were striking.
The master control unit of the Mammoth III sparked to life, delivering its report. “Identity verified: Gold 3rd Grade Military Official.”
Gold 3rd Grade?
Mo Yu was nearly struck dumb by the realization. Like any military organization, the East had their own internal military ranking system. The lowest ranking military officers were designated ‘Iron’. Acting Second Lieutenants were Iron 1st Grade, First Lieutenants Iron 2nd Grade, and Captains were 3rd Grade. Copper Grade came next, then Silver. Only upper level commanders were Gold.
Single-Planet Generals were Gold 1st Grade. Fleet Admirals were Gold 2nd Grade. Defense Secretaries and the highest generals were Gold 3rd Grade! And this, this was the mark of the Blood-Iron Marshal.
Mecha pilots were the most numerous military personnel in all the three Alliances. Mo Yu himself was only a junior Captain, but had fought his way up to lead his own squadron. He was only a Copper 1st Grade. An infinitely vast difference from Gold 3rd.
Wait, he thought, his heart racing suddenly. Skyfire Avenue! Gold 3rd Grade!
But what did it mean, to have these two together? Denizens of Skyfire Avenue certainly weren’t capable of acting as commanders in the armed forces, or Defense Ministers. They weren’t even able to work in any higher office. And yet they acted as protectors and defenders of the Alliance.
This… this must mean one of them in a Paragon! As realization washed over him, the emblem in his grip flashed again, and was gone.
Skyfire. Paragon. Interdimensional power. With those three together, the man’s identity became clear.
Mo Yu swallowed hard. His voice rang clear and loud of their dedicated internal channel. “Identity acknowledged, secure our rear. Rescind red alert issued for these three.”
The other nine mechas retreated hastily. They turned, almost as one, and directed their murderous focus outward.
The chest plate of the Mammoth II hissed and split open. A simple metal ladder spilled out to get it’s pilot to the ground. Mo Yu nimbly slid down the ladder and trotted towards the flashing green light.
“No need to come over,” the deep voice curtly commanded.
“Yes, sir!” Mo Yu stopped dead in his tracks. He snapped to attention.
“Eastern Alliance Pilot 34, Captain of the Third Infantry Company’s Thirteenth Mechanized Combat Squadron. Squad Leader Mo Yu, reporting for duty!” Mo Yu was rushed, excited. His chest rose and fell with his speedy breath, his cheeks were ruddy.
How could he not be excited? This was a Paragon! As an emperor-class pilot he was naturally an adept himself. Fifth level, to be precise.
He’d learned of the existence of Skyfire Avenue when he was small. The Adept’s playground. Home to three Paragons, who protected the Avenue from harm.
Even the Northern Alliance, as powerful as it was, dare not harass the East largely due to these three powerhouses. They were better deterrents than Bastion ships.
A single Paragon’s destructive capabilities certainly couldn’t match up to a Bastion, however one had to consider the bulk and make-up of a Bastion. Compared to a man? If a Paragon made up their mind to kill someone, their target’s only hope was to be a Paragon themselves. It was for this that the presence of Paragons was considered when judging an Alliance’s strength.
There were ten known Paragons currently. Seven of them were officially accepted as members of an Alliance – or, rather, there were seven who allowed an Alliance to claim them. They focused their efforts to the betterment of their people, if they so desired.
The North and West boasted two each. But the East, it had three.