- Fan Book EX Vol. 4 [Arosaurer]

    Early Spring, ZAC 2106
    The Central Continent, The Battle For Cook Fortress

    It was early spring, with the snow in the Central Mountain Range still far from thawing. At the Neo Zenebas Empire Army front-line base Cook Fortress, located at the eastern foot of the mountain range, countless gunshots roared. The Helic Republic Army's counteroffensive operation had begun. The counterattack came over a month earlier than the Empire Army had expected. It was a surprise attack.

    As of ZAC 2106, the overall combat power ratio of the Empire and Republic armies was 20 to 1. If they waited for the snow to thaw and their position was invaded from all directions, the Republic wouldn't even have a one-in-a-million chance of victory. But right now, they might be able to bring down a corner of the enemy encirclement. Their counterattack hung on that possibility.

    Their objective, Cook Fortress, was an impregnable fort protected by rivers and mountains on every side. It would be a harsh battle, but if they could capture it, there would be no greater position for the Republic.

    The battle would risk their fate. The Republic Army headquarters used every trick they could in order to disrupt the Neo Zenebas siege net. Simultaneous bombing of multiple enemy positions by the Flying Division. Guerrilla warfare in various locations by the High-Speed Zoid Force. They even mobilised the Guylos Empire Army, which was in an alliance with them. They had the Empire dispatch an empty transport fleet to the Central Continent. The transporters were empty because they had borne deep wounds in the Dark Continent War and did not yet have the strength to fight. But the effects of these diversionary tactics were tremendous. The Republic Army's main force ran down the snow and ice-covered mountains, tore through the confused Neo Zenebas front lines, and broke into Cook Fortress in a mere three days.

    The Gojulas Gigas trampled the Geno Saurers, and the Gorhecks intercepted the Dark Spiners' Jamming Waves. The Gunblusters' 20-barrelled cannons fired, and the Dibisons sliced through enemy lines. The Republic soldiers advanced bravely to clear away their days of humiliation, which had lasted for three years. Among them was Dew Eld, driving an Arosaurer.

    The man was called an ace of the main force. But in this battle, he had yet to bring down even a single enemy. It wasn't that he was going easy on them, of course. They needed to take down the fortress and harden their defences before the Empire Army recovered from its confusion and advanced on them in horrifying numbers. The critical time was from here on. But the more impatient he became from thinking this, the less the Arosaurer would move according to his will. He knew the reason. There was a problem with Dew.

    Dew was a pilot who had continued to ride a Gojulas since the outbreak of the Western Continent War. Those who could manage to pilot a Gojulas, which had a wild temper and chose its pilots of its own will, were called heroes. Three years ago, in the struggle for the Republic capital, he had performed a battle that would not shame the title of "hero", and had lost his beloved machine. His reward was two years of living in a field hospital. One could say that the reason he was able to return to combat was his wholehearted desire to pilot the Gojulas' successor, the Gojulas Giga. But the Giga had not chosen him.

    It would not obey a pilot it couldn't get along with, no matter how good his skills or career were. That was the Zoid called the Gojulas. Eventually, Dew ended up piloting an Arosaurer. His mission was to guard the Giga. In chaotic battles, giant Zoids sometimes received unexpected damage from small Zoids. The openings in their heavy armour, such as at joints, were easily sniped. If the knee area took concentrated damage, they could even become unable to move. He was to protect against that. It was an ironic mission. The role of a foolish man going to a party, escorting the woman who rejected him.

    And now, Dew was being shown her elegant dance on the battlefield, her charming strength, up close. The weak points of the Gojulas had been eliminated splendidly. Its ancient titanium alloy armour bounced back any bullets, and its Hyper E-Shield did not even waver at the Geno Saurer's Charged Particle Cannon. Its Pursuit Mode and Melee Mode were a fusion of overwhelming speed and power. Its fighting method overturned the conventional knowledge of giant Zoids. He felt excited just from watching it.

    "If I could pilot that..."

    That thought wouldn't disappear. The Arosaurer wasn't bad either. The Zoid had been deployed as the successor of the Godos. They said that it wouldn't be outdone by any Imperial Zoid of the same class. But what Dew, a Gojulas pilot down to his bone marrow, was seeking was absolute power. Though he knew he was asking for something that didn't exist, he couldn't control his irritation.

    Even if they weren't as extreme as the Gojulas, all Zoids had wills and emotions. It was when the mental link with the pilot transmitted through the control stick was going smoothly that they could display 100 percent of their abilities. It was only natural that Dew couldn't draw out the Arosaurer's abilities right now.

    "At least move properly, dammit!"

    Just when Dew cursed at the panels, the ground behind him suddenly split open. It was a raid by a subterranean machine equipped with four super-hard drills. The pride of the Empire Army, the super-small, super-high performance SS Zoid Grounchar. A pulse laser fired from the turret on its nose, and pierced the opening in the Giga's knee armour as though sucked into it. Clicking his tongue in irritation, Dew turned the Arosaurer around. But the Grounchar disappeared underground once again before he could grab it. It was Dew's mistake. He had gone too far ahead, despite being an escort unit. It was a mistake born from his impatience at being unable to bring down enemies. And it was an unexpectedly fatal mistake. The Giga slowly collapsed.

    Smoke was rising from its knee. Even if it was a direct hit, it was gunfire from a small-scale Zoid. To take this much damage in one hit would normally be unthinkable. The unreasonable mass-production of 30 machines in five months and the earlier-than-planned surprise attack must have made them go easy on tuning and tests. At any rate, they'd have to withdraw. Even the Giga would just be a target if it couldn't stand. Protected by a number of Arosaurers including Dew's, the Giga's crawling retreat began. But in its path, the worst of death gods was waiting.

    "D- Death Saurer..." One of his allies murmured. The Empire Army's strongest machine beast, the death-inviting dragon, was there.

    The age of the Death Saurer's invincibility had come to an end with the appearance of the Madthunder. Even so, that did not change the fact that it was a nightmarish monster for anyone other than a Thunder pilot. Could the Giga fight it? In perfect condition, would it have an even chance? No, perhaps less than that. Because that thing had an absolute trump card. The fan on the Death Saurer's back turned.

    The static electricity in the atmosphere was sucked in with terrifying force. Directly afterwards, a rush of light swallowed the Giga and the Arosaurer force. The Large-Calibre Charged Particle Cannon. The swirl of energy was in a different league to the Particle Cannons of the Geno and Berserk Fuhrer. After the light disappeared, the only ones remaining were the Giga, which had deployed its E-Shield, and Dew's Arosaurer, which had been behind it. Everything else had been annihilated. Its destructive power seemed detached from reality. He felt like he was about to lose his senses from terror. A second shot came immediately. The Giga withstood it. But with the third direct hit, the Giga's generators gave a shriek. It was at its limit. It could not deploy the shield any more.

    The Giga would die. The moment he thought that, Dew and his Arosaurer leaped. He would defeat the Death Saurer. To make up for his own mistake. To protect the Zoid he loved.

    He leaped straight at the Death Saurer's nose. Even if he was no match for its super-heavy armour, he might be able to smash the cockpit. His Arosaurer bared its Electron Bite Fangs. But it was a reinforced canopy made of special fibres. Before it broke, an intercepting beam came for him, at point-blank range. All the hair on his body stood on end.

    He managed to dodge it. The Arosaurer moved as though their earlier mismatch had been a lie. Not even the Gojulas could beat the Death Saurer in power. Right now, he was seriously thankful for the Arosaurer's footwork. Perhaps it had responded to Dew's feelings. Even as it lost its balance, it sunk in its claws, sliding down the Death Saurer's back without being thrown off.

    The Charged Particle Intake Fan was before his eyes. Almost the only weak point of the Death Saurer, it was directly connected to its internal circuitry, and it was within reach. This was unbelievably good luck. This moment was his only chance of victory. He struck it with his 2-Barrelled Beam Guns and Flamethrowers simultaneously. A counterattack came from the Death Saurer's four gun turrets equipped to protect the fan, but he didn't ease up on the trigger. With each shot, the Arosaurer's armour plates split open and flew away. Its right arm was torn off, and its canopy broke.

    "Keep at it, partner!" Dew screamed involuntarily. At that moment, he could see the interior of the intake fan short out violently. Black smoke and flames blew upwards. The Death Saurer's huge body writhed. But the Arosaurer couldn't withstand this and was thrown off, slamming into the ground. Its left leg broke from the impact. Even Dew, who was held in place by a six-point seatbelt and helmet, almost lost consciousness. His hazy eyes reflected the Death Saurer, which was trying to endure its pain and anger and stand up. It raised its huge claws towards the Arosaurer. He could not escape. His beloved machine was covered in injuries, and Dew didn't even have the power to pull on the control stick. But in the midst of his despair, Dew's mind was somehow upbeat. He had driven back the Death Saurer this far. Something not even the Gojulas could do. He hadn't managed to protect the Giga, but at least he should have given it a chance to survive. He should be proud. Of himself and his machine. Thinking this, he closed his eyes.

    At that moment, three things happened simultaneously. The Death Saurer's arm swung down; the Giga's long tail pierced the intake fan of the Death Saurer, which had come within range undefended in its anger; and the Arosaurer's cockpit ejection system activated automatically. The Death Saurer and Arosaurer died, the Giga and Dew survived, and Cook Fortress fell into the hands of the Republic Army the next day.

    Five days later, Captain Dew Eld's wounds had healed and he was assigned to protect the north of the fortress, having volunteered to lead the Arosaurer force. Inside his new favourite machine, Dew thought of the marvel of Zoids. The marvel of the machine beasts that chose pilots of their own will, and protected their pilots even if it sometimes meant giving up their own lives.

    On his right he could see the site of the fierce battle. Dew quietly saluted, with feelings of regret and gratitude.

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Translations by Falcarius!