Chapter 49 – Second Battle of the MacLir Star System
The Fortress Kerviel Command center currently has five seats for the magic element engine operators.
In the center sits Hart, who is connected to the main magic engine. Yuna and Colette sit on his right side, and Philine and Claudia sit on his left.
The other four with Yuna can operate the three sub-magic engines. If left as it is, there will be one extra person, but in Hart’s absence, they will be connected to the main magic engine, allowing four people to operate the magic engine at the same time.
The operators work on a shift system, so basically not everyone is available at the same time.
The exception is during battle, which is about to break out at the moment.
The powerful Multidimensional Magic Conversion Observation Wave of Fortress Kerviel captured an enormous amount of magic element light reflected in the three-dimensional space. One light shines with dozens or thousands of warships gathered together, and there were thousands of these light swarms. They were approaching the MacLir system while passing through high-dimensional space.
For Hart, this is the first time he has had complete discretion with no superiors on the battlefield.
As the supreme commander of the battlefield, Hart had doubts for the first time. What Hart does is not combat, but a fairly one-sided massacre.
Even though the opponent is the side that declared war against the Monarchy and attacked, Hart, who associated the act with pouring water into an ant’s nest, had hesitations unbecoming a soldier.
Then, suddenly, Valfrete’s words passed through his mind.
“If the Monarchy is defeated, you and your fiancée will be in dire straits. Don’t make a mistake about what’s important.”
When Hart saw the faces of Yuna and the others sitting next to him, he shook off his hesitation. “Rotten oranges should drop out of the military and abandon their aristocratic titles”, as Philine, sitting to Hart’s left, has said.
No matter the outcome of this war, it is Tenka, in its own self-interest, that declared war and unilaterally attacked despite having no point of contact with each other at all.
From now on, Hart was determined to embody the horrors of the Monarchy of Diete, which is merciless towards its enemies.
“Enemy fleet estimated at 600,000 ships. Size is equivalent to cruisers. The Force Evaluation is estimated at 3.6 million. Under the new standard, it is equivalent to 936 fleets. Roughly five times the strength of nine million friendly fighter crafts, which are rated at 720,000.”
“The doctor’s souvenir is in this system. If the difference in strength between friend and foe is less than five times, we can fight them.”
After receiving a report from the chief of staff, Hart corrected his assessment of the allied forces.
The MacLir system is a sector where Seraphina, the spirit king, has connected to the spirit world. In the first Battle of the MacLir Star System, the Coalition forces at that time were inhibited from the magic conversion, and their magic engine output was greatly reduced.
The reason why the Tenka side does not have this information is because the Coalition’s side was prevented from sending information to the Hercules system, where they defected, during the First Battle of the MacLir Star System, due to warp and communication inhibitions.
However, the Tenka Federation’s strength would not be exhausted even if they won this battle. The previous generation has over 700,000 national mages, more than 700,000 female national mages who finished having children that can operate destroyer class ships, and about 200,000 can definitely be mobilized from the generation before the last. In addition, the current generation of 1.2 million has more than 2.3 million children.
Imagining the enemies coming one after another, Hart reaffirmed that a drastic solution was inevitable.
“From now, this fortress will simultaneously attack all enemy forces immediately after warping out. Chief of Staff, use computer control to place 20 million fusion rounds on the enemy ships’ warp-out lines, excluding the area around this fortress. We don’t know the emergence point, but we’ll detonate the moment they’re closest to the warp-out line. That should take out 10 to 20 percent of the enemy.”
“Yes sir, ordering the launch immediately.”
The strength assessment of Fortress Kerviel, including Claudia as an Assistant Operator, is equivalent to 2.19 fleets. Thus, if 93 fleets, which are 10% of the enemy, were to be defeated, it would be an unprecedented achievement in the history of the Monarchy. With such great achievements, the military decoration and promotion of the fortress personnel are certain.
It is only possible in the MacLir system under extremely limited circumstances, with Hart as the sole executor, since it cannot be established unless the enemy warp-out line can be identified with Seraphina’s support. Nevertheless, with such extraordinary war achievement, Hart thought that the calculation criteria for strength evaluation would be revised from the output of the magic engine to the number that takes into account the amount of fusion rounds that can be loaded.
While the Chief of Staff notified his subordinates of the order to launch the missiles, Hart also gave instructions to the four high magic power holders sitting on either side of him.
“For the first six hours, I’ll be on defense and propulsion, and on offence will be Yuna, Philine and Claudia. When I’m away,Colette will substitute on propulsion. Six hours from now, the four of you should take a 12-hour break. Afterwards, we’ll all be on 12 hours shifts.”
“I wonder if we should stay awake the entire time.”
Colette, who belongs to the Command Office in charge of the actual force, asked the question on behalf of everyone.
A magical individual in combat can stay awake for about 200 hours by maintaining their level of consciousness with life support, medication, and machines that are standard equipment in the magic engine operator’s seat.
The five senses become vague, but you can continue to send magic power to the magic engine with a sense of sleepwalking or dreaming.
However, as accidents can occur during warp, the use of this machine and medication is not recommended.
“If you’re just running the ship, that’s an option. But what I want to do is play tag. So I want you to keep your judgment up.”
“In this star system, the enemy’s magical engine output is greatly reduced. So, if we keep retreating, we can unilaterally shoot from outside the enemy’s range. On the other hand, if we get surrounded, we will be trapped in an instant, so I want the four of you to be in perfect condition and alert to avoid being surrounded by the enemy.”
After hearing Hart’s explanation, Colette was convinced.
There is no option for Colette to sacrifice Fortress Kerviel.
Also for the Royal Army, if Fortress Kerviel gets dropped in this system, they will not be able to obtain any further achievements. Rather than gaining twice the battle results in a single engagement, it would be far better in total if they could continue to use it for a long time, even if the results were only half.
The total magic power of the magic power holders divided into two shifts is also balanced, with Hart himself and three spirits adding to 98,830 magic power value, and the other four with spirits added at 113,628.
Hart has less total magic power, but considering the fact that he can put up a shield that covers the entire fortress and the cooperation of spirits connected by the magic power of the same person, it cannot be said that Hart is generally at a disadvantage.
“How should I operate the Salamander fighter crafts while Hart is absent?”
“If Salamanders are spread out in all directions, you’ll burn down your allies every time you fire the fortress main gun. I don’t care if it lowers the battle results, so while I’m gone, avoid close combat as much as possible and shoot while running away.”
Originally, the plan was to unleash the large number of Salamanders in Fortress Kerviel, which was only as strong as two fleets, to fight.
To Hart, who completely disregards the normal way, Colette supplemented with a half dumbfounded look.
“If we limit the Salamander to a one-way deployment, we’ll be less restricted. They’re going to have less engine output, so Salamanders can shake off their enemies and return. Let me use them when needed.”
“Very well, even if the Salamanders on the sortie are to be sacrificed, the safety of Fortress Kerviel is the priority. This is a formal order…”
Hart used the terminal in the command seat to formally notify all fortress personnel, including the Salamander crew members.
[Orders from General Amakawa to all officers. If it will contribute to the safety of Fortress Kerviel, fire on the enemy even if the Salamanders sortie in the area. If the fortress is destroyed, the Monarchy forces in the star system will be annihilated, including the Salamanders. The fortress personnel must comply with the General’s orders. The order is issued by General Amakawa, hence General Amakawa will bear full responsibility.]
Hart thought he ordered something rather horrible, but there was no objection from Yuna or Philine, both Military Academy graduates who have completed the Command Staff course. And Claudia was rigid, either because she was nervous in her first battle, or because she was of the rank of Lieutenant.
Standing out of his seat, Hart went behind Claudia and placed his hands lightly on her little shoulders.
“Hi, what is it?”
Hart laughed at Claudia, who made a funny yelp.
“You’re nervous in your first real battle, aren’t you?”
“………… Yes, I’m nervous. I volunteered for this.”
“Being nervous is a normal reaction, it’s not a bad thing.”
Moderate tension and moderate relaxation can bring about concentration.
Hart thought of balancing Claudia’s tension so that it would be moderate.
“Since we’re fighting on the outer rim of the system, the Fortress can escape at warp, but the enemy’s magic engine is inhibited and cannot warp within 1 lightday from this star system. If we are at a disadvantage, we will flee, so don’t worry. But you can’t warp without me, so wake me up if there’s any danger.”
“It’s so different from what I learned at the Academy, it’s confusing. But I understand. Please leave the task of waking Master Hart to me. How would you like me to wake you up?”
“All you have to do is shake me awake. I’ll leave it to you, Lieutenant.”
“It’ll be my pleasure.”
Hart was relieved to see Claudia smiling.
If he needs to be woken up, he just needs to be reminded of Yuna and he’ll be awake in no time. Sure enough, the expression on the face of Her Highness the First Princess, which Hart had caught with a sideways glance, indicated that she was not in a good mood.
“Enemy fleet, warp out into the MacLir system.”
After receiving a report from the Chief of Staff, Hart felt rather relieved and issued instructions.
“All fortress artillery, destroy all enemies in range.”
Immediately after, a large amount of light bubbles began to burst on the outer edge of the MacLir System.
All of these bubbles of light were bursting light from fusion rounds. They flashed and popped, engulfing enemy ships with each burst.
Not everything functioned as it should have, as some exploded in induced explosions or were displaced by shockwaves. Even so, the enemy ships that warped out into the scorching heat were destroyed one after another by the energy surging in from all directions.
In a space where huge flashes of light nullified optical observations, Fortress Kerviel, which emphasized radar-based reconnaissance, had firmly captured the abnormalities in the magic element reactions of the enemy fleet.
“The output of the enemy fleet’s magic engine has been rapidly declining since warping out into the system.”
The output from the magic element engine is directly linked to the deployment range of the shield.
If a 3,300-meter-long warship had the output of its magic engine reduced to a fifth, the shield’s deployment range would drop to about 660 meters. 2,640 meters would end up outside of the shield range.
Fortress Kerviel is protected by an 8-kilometer-thick composite fluid metal layer, because it was built to act as the last fort to accommodate a vast number of refugees. Regular warships do not have special armor, such as a composite fluid metal layer that automatically repairs damaged areas.
If the part of the ship that is out of the range of the shield is exposed to the energy of a fusion round, the ship hull will be damaged according to the energy it is exposed to, and the hull inside the shield that is connected to the hit part will also be detonated and dropped.
The enemy ship, which was bathed in enormous energy and dropped, had the exact results Hart had imagined.
Although the area within a 300 million kilometer radius of Fortress Kerviel was out of the range of the explosions, the dropping rate of the Tenka Federation ships in that space was far higher than in other spaces where fusion rounds were spread on the warp out line. The fortress cannons fired by Yuna and the other three high magic power holders, burned down enemy ships, warped out around them in seconds.
The first hour was mostly one-sided.
The first wave of the Tenka Federation which jumped into the minefield of the fusion rounds were destroyed across the board and turned into wreckage. The wreckage became metal fragments that mixed in with the blowing blast, destroying the parts of the next ship that couldn’t be covered by the shields and taking them to hell.
In about six hours, when the 20 million fusion bombs that had been scattered had been used up, the Tenka Federation lost 23 percent of its main force, 140,000 ships. And among the battle casualties, there was damage that Tenka could not ignore.
“The flagship of the Honyō army, has dropped out. Cáo family’s Lord Yaai has been killed in action.”
The spirit of the Tenkans serving in the army exploded with a shock greater than from a fusion round.
Regardless of the predicament on the battlefield, as long as all the Tenka outsider state mages were able to leave before they were killed, it wouldn’t affect many people.
For the Tenkan people, a Tenka outsider is like a disposable android, and is by no means equal to a Tenkan. The Tenka outsider state mage is a presence that should move forward and become the spearhead and shield.
In a situation where only 23% of the gathered force was lost, a successor of the six Tenka families being killed in battle is a situation that should never have happened.
Of course, Yaai’s death was not due to the national mages incompetence, but due to the bad luck of having fusion rounds on the warp-out line. 23% of the total was dropped immediately after warping out without any means to react.
However, the national mages of the Honyō army, who had lost their successors in battle, had no idea what they would be subjected to if they returned home as things are.
Losing their commander, Honyō’s army was in blatant disarray.
Then, Yuen of the Táng Dynasty, the representative of Ten-to, sent a message to the Honyō army.
[The Honyō army is to resume leadership roles based on their chain of command. We have observed the circumstances of Lord Yaai’s death in battle. I will make a proper report to the Cáo family. And the distribution of the former Coalition and the Monarchy will be fulfilled in accordance with the prior arrangement with the Cáo family. Act calmly, so that the Honyō army can receive praise and reward from the Cáo family head at a later date.]
After receiving Yuen’s communication, the Honyō army slightly regained their composure.
In each of the six Tenka families, it is the successor who is active in the public eye, not the head of the family himself. Two pillars of each house are prepared to minimize confusion in the event of the death of the one in the public eye.
Even if he is elderly and has passed on the actual authority to his successor, he could at least nominate the next one. Recalling this, the Honyō army put a ray of hope in the words of Yuen, a member of the six Tenka families, that he would testify, and order was restored.
On the other hand, the Commander-in-Chief, Yuen, who warped out safely, understood that the fusion rounds had been pre-positioned by the spirit’s scouting ability, but he couldn’t immediately make a decision about the abnormal output of the magic element engine.
The former Coalition ex-defectors also brought in battle information sent from the Myrna, Thor, and Freyja star systems. In none of those battles was there an anomaly in the output of the magic element engine.
Only the last battle of the MacLir Star System did not receive any communications, and there were no escapees, but whether this phenomenon is unique to the MacLir Star System or whether the Monarchy had established a new technology in the last battle cannot be determined on the spur of the moment.
The results of the battles in the Freyja and Myrna systems, which Tenka’s separate forces were invading, would determine whether it was this star system alone or the establishment of a new technology, but for this engagement, Yuen had to get through it on his own.
And he presented the optimal solution in the current situation.
[All four nations, fire fusion rounds in unison at Fortress Kerviel. Not only direct hits on the fortress, but also attacks on the enemy’s expected path of retreat to make them use energy on the shield. Spread all our forces out in all directions, and block their escape routes. Even if the output of our magic engine drops, the ship’s speed will increase if we continue to accelerate. If we surround them and attack them, we can surely destroy them.]
Yuen’s chosen means thwarted Hart’s prospect of unilaterally shooting while fleeing.
The number of missiles possessed by Fortress Kerviel was enormous, but Tenka’s warships are 3,300 meters long, and 600,000 ships could compete with Fortress Kerviel. If it was a missile shootout limited to the front, it wouldn’t be a one-sided battle like before.
While Hart, who made the safety of the fortress a top priority, is forced to retreat and exchange missiles while putting up shields, Yuen rebuilds Honyō’s fleet, which was in chaos, and also sends suppression forces to the inhabited planet Whispa and the moon Fraga.
Due to the difference in power output of the magical elemental engine, the Tenka Fleet was unable to catch up to Fortress Kerviel.
Even so, Yuen confirmed that the fortress operator was being replaced based on the observed difference in the output of the magical element engine of Fortress Kerviel.
The fact that four of Fortress Kerviel’s magic engines can be used at the same time has been conveyed to the Coalition by the prisoners of war from the Hercules Star System Battle. In contrast, what Yuen finds inexplicable is the irrational behavior of Fortress Kerviel in not mobilizing eight operators, including replacements.
Tenka also has one man per ship and does not deploy replacement personnel. However, if it is Fortress Kerviel, it is better to deploy replacements to get more results. If it were Yuen, having three times as many operators as there are magic engines would be given priority.
12 hours after observing the first shift.
The remaining 76% of the Tenka fleet has survived the heavy damage immediately after they warped-out, and since then it has almost never decreased, and Fortress Kerviel has consumed an additional 4 million fusion rounds.
The pursuit from all directions had been successful, and the Royal Army was retreating to the outer reaches of the system, abandoning it.
Furthermore, the magic engine output of the Tenka Federation was recovering as the distance from the star system increased. It would be about 26.3 billion kilometers until the magical element engine was fully recovered.
Against Tenka, who was closing in on Fortress Kerviel while expanding its walls to prevent it from returning to the star system side, the commander of the Monarchy side who had taken over made a new move.
The first observation was of a group of about five million missiles.
Behind them, millions of fighter craft launches have also been observed. Moreover, the Royal Army’s fighter crafts were performing magic element conversion at a higher level than the prior information from the former Coalition defectors.
Upon receiving the report, Yuen realized that the battle had moved to the second stage.
[All troops, launch missiles in unison against the opposition. All ships, switch your attacks to anti-fighter craft melee guns. Shiroyama carrier crafts, start up all Yunfu fighter crafts.]
When the order was delivered, millions of missiles were fired from the Tenka Army towards Fortress Kerviel.
At the same time, 1,368,000 fighter crafts overflowed from the remaining 9,120 carrier crafts, like water overflowing from a broken embankment.