- Fan Book EX Vol. 3 [Gorhecks]

    Severe Winter, ZAC 2106
    The Central Continent, Lykan Canyon

    The Central Mountain Range towers like a temple of the gods. The east and west of the Central Continent of Delpoi are separated by these mountains, and Lykan Canyon is one of the few passages linking them. Back when the Helic Republic controlled the eastern part of the continent and the Zenebas Empire ruled the west, this was always the very front line. Even now, with the Neo Zenebas Empire controlling almost the entire continent, its importance as a key point of traffic between east and west has not changed.

    The harsh winter of February, ZAC 2106. Covered in ice crystals, the valley is sparkling fantastically, bathed in the light of the just-risen morning sun. This scenery does not give me any comfort. I sigh for the millionth time.

    "When we get back, we'll be court-martialled..."

    From the cockpit of my beloved Liger Zero Panzer with its bombardment equipment, I turn my eyes to the ungainly Zoid lined up next to me. RZ-066 Gorhecks. The Republic Army's new electronic warfare Zoid, replacing the Gordos. Inside it, the very person who dragged me into this is no doubt sniffling away shamelessly. As usual....

    My name is Winner Kidd. I'm a pilot in the Republic Army's Ray Force. For the moment, my rank has been set as Major. And the Gorhecks pilot is Republic Ground Army Corporal Verditer Rowen. My childhood friend. He's an eccentric who rushed out of the military academy shortly before graduating and entered the army, for the sole reason that he "wanted to experience being a private". So there's a gap in ranks between us as distant as heaven and earth. But to tell the truth, I've been no match for my childhood friend since long ago. Whatever he's done, Verditer has never got any results other than the best. The guy's like a department store of genius. At the moment he pilots a Gunbluster in the Heavy Artillery Force, and even here he's an ace. "It's stranger for my bullets not to hit an enemy within range." That's Verditer's favourite phrase. He has no weaknesses other than his child-level physical strength. And perhaps also that ordinary common sense doesn't get through to him. So even when he proposed this two-man surprise attack without permission from headquarters, I wasn't that shocked (when it came to the lack of common sense). This was Verditer's argument:

    "The greatest threat to the Republic Army is the Dark Spiner. Unless we do something about its jamming attacks, we have no chance of winning. There are two methods of stopping them: defend against the Jamming Waves, or eliminate them. To defend against them, we can coat important circuits and wiring with insulation. This method is adopted by the Empire Army's Zoids and the Republic Army's state-of-the-art Zoid, Gojulas Giga. But the time and cost are enormous. You could say that equipping it as standard on medium and small-scale Zoids would be impossible for the current Republic Army. In that case, we have to eliminate them. The Jamming Waves are electromagnetic waves. If we hit them with electromagnetic waves of the same frequency but an altered phase, they will negate each other, nullifying the waves."

    "You mean... if guys with the same speed and punching strength fight, they'll knock each other out?"

    Ignoring my comment, me being weak at science and maths, Verditer's case continued.

    "The only Zoid that can do that is the Gorhecks. So I made a proposal to headquarters and the Technological Department, telling them to stop the production of combat Zoids and prioritise mass-production of the Gorhecks. But it was rejected."

    Of course. A gunner corporal making proposals about the production system? Headquarters must have been appalled.

    "Supposedly it's an untested, empty theory. The Dark Spiner has a wide frequency range. Its output is in a different league. If it changed frequencies one after another, the defending side wouldn't be able to handle it. That was the Technological Department's conclusion. But the Gorhecks can do it. With the reaction speed and analytical power of its Crystal Radar, it can come up with a counter before its functions are sent out of order. If we just attach the prototype amplification boosters I created."

    As self-confident as ever. "So what do you plan to do?" I asked.

    "If they say it's an empty theory, I'll prove it in actual combat. You and I will fight a Dark Spiner. We'll launch a surprise attack on the regular service (an Empire Army supply force) at Lykan Canyon."

    And that's why I'm looking down at Lykan Canyon, side by side with Verditer's Zoid, even though raids on the canyon are strictly prohibited by headquarters. This is because the Empire Army, exasperated by the repeated surprise attacks of the Republic Army, has started to add Dark Spiners to the supply force's escorts. Apparently there are even Dimetrodons these days. If we're discovered first, we'll be the ones who are ganged up on.

    "I'm more worried about my life than the court-martial."

    This violation of orders isn't worth it. The reason I've come along anyway is because I have the same opinion as Verditer. The Republic Army will never win until we stop the Dark Spiner.

    "It's a Gorhecks with my boosters attached. We'll be the ones to find them first."

    Verditer is filled with a shocking amount of self-confidence. His voice suddenly tenses.

    "There they are! Thirty degrees right, raise elevation three degrees and fire main cannons!"

    On the other side of the valley, with its countless twists and turns? How does he know their position so accurately?

    "Too slow! Adjust point two degrees left, lower elevation point one degrees!"

    I squeeze the trigger like the corporal says, half doubting him. There is a roar. My beloved machine's main cannons fire. A few seconds later, a pillar of fire rises up on the opposite side of the valley. A hit. What's more, a direct hit.

    "Next! Adjust point five degrees left, lower elevation point two degrees!"

    Another hit. The third and fourth Zoids are direct hits too. I'm astonished. It would be better to mass-produce Verditer than the Gorhecks. If that were possible.

    Just after I crush the fifth Zoid, enemies spring out of a blind spot in the valley. The supply force's escort Zoids. There are 5 units remaining. There is also one Dark Spiner.

    "I won't have time to guide your shooting from now on. I'll have my hands full countering the Jamming Waves. Carefully crush everything other than the Dark Spiner."

    I've been the corporal's puppet, but my time to shine has finally come. Leave it to me. I'll give you your man-to-man with the Dark Spiner. Get all the combat data you like.

    My main cannons fire continuously. It's not exactly "no wasted bullets", but by the time the Dark Spiner has closed in to hand-to-hand combat distance, I've wiped out all his allies. I'm happy to have lived up to my reputation. However, the essential part is what happens from now on. If we can't defend against the Jamming Waves at this point-blank range, we can't call the experiment a success.

    With a rush, the Dark Spiner makes its assault. It's a formidable foe, with melee abilities on par with Geno Saurer. I can't oppose it with the heavy Panzer equipment. Prepared for the risk, I intend to discard the equipment and meet the enemy naked. But suddenly, the Panzer staggers. I can't remove the equipment, either. I pull on the control stick with all my strength, but there is no response. As I am sent flying by a powerful body blow from the Dark Spiner, I look back to the Gorhecks. Smoke is rising from the boosters Verditer was so proud of. They'd overheated? Are you kidding? At a time like this?

    For a full two minutes after that, the Panzer and I are thoroughly tormented. Struck, stepped on, bitten. Without the Panzer's thick armour, I'd have died long ago. But I can't die yet. Not until I buy time for Verditer to escape. If he stays safe, he'll definitely complete the imperfect boosters.

    Despite me thinking such valiant things, Verditer surprises me again. He cuts in between me and the enemy, in his Gorhecks. Is he crazy? What does he plan to do in an electronic warfare Zoid with almost no combat abilities? Hasn't getting into fights been my role for ages?

    The Dark Spiner's claws grip the cockpit of the Gorhecks, and it slowly puts strength into them. The canopy shatters.


    I'm screaming. But my voice is drowned out by an ear-splitting explosion. The Gorhecks has self-destructed. There's a staggering amount of gunpowder. I can only imagine that it was stocked in the machine from the start. The Dark Spiner is critically damaged. Thanks to armour twice as thick as his, it seems the Panzer can just manage to move. But not even the shape of the Gorhecks remains. I jump into the wreckage and frantically pull apart the mountains of rubble. Embarrassing as it is, I'm crying. Behind me, a voice calls out, feigning innocence.

    "What are you doing, Winner?"

    It's Verditer. He's holding a Zoid remote control device in his right hand.

    "Don't you know, Winner? Privates who aren't even given a Zoid survive purely on vigilance and their meagre weaponry," he says with a sniffle, stroking the wreckage as though apologising. In his left hand is a disc storing the combat data from earlier. It looks like I'll never be a match for my childhood friend in my entire life. But miraculously, my mood isn't bad. Indeed - to the point where I don't even feel scared of a court-martial.

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Translations by Falcarius!