Chapter 12: Duo Queue
The silence ended as a brilliantly colored streak rose in the air. The Fantasia R2 Seraphim readied its long ranged rifle and scanned the surroundings vigilantly.
quot;Come on! Letapos;s stop hiding like rats.quot; TheSeventhSnake publicly declared. quot;Iapos;m right here! Shoot me if you can!quot;
Nothing responded to his taunts. The slim, grey Phantasm that popped up from the side of a broken tank shook its head.
quot;I told you they wouldnapos;t fall for it. Congratulations for revealing your position. Now get down and stop wasting your limited energy.quot; Triceratopssss said as he tried to accustom himself to his new mech.
The Seraphim cut back on its wing thrusters, allowing the mech to find some cover among the streets.
quot;This is why I hate 2v2. Everyoneapos;s constantly playing these clever strategies. The 1v1 arena is a lot more straightforward.quot;
The Phantasmapos;s pilot kept his mech in the shadows as he explored their surroundings. quot;Iapos;m not saying youapos;re wrong, but remember it was your idea to duo queue with two Fantasia variants. We have to play a little dirty if we want to win as a pair of light mechs.quot;
The two versus two arena provided a more intricate combat experience compared to the solo queue. With a teammate at your back, pilots had a lot more leeway in bringing a specialized mech to battle.
For example, one player could pilot a heavy mech laden with missile launchers and magazines. Such a mech could rain death at long and medium range, but was as helpless at a kitten once an enemy got close. However, a teammate kitted out in a melee mech could keep off any mech that approached in the assurance that he wonapos;t get shot down from range.
Compared to such a classical synergistic team up, a combination of two light mechs hardly sounded optimal. Neither mechs possessed toughness and staying power. If they werenapos;t able to shred their enemies apart in the first ten minutes of a match, then theyapos;d run out of juice.
Luckily, light mechs still possessed some advantages. While Triceratopssss kept his Phantasm behind cover, TheSeventhSnakeapos;s Seraphim engaged its active scanning mode. The mechapos;s hair sensors extended out and released invisible pulses, most of which bounced back when it encountered the plentiful debris in the map.
quot;My scanners are having a hard time picking up anything with all of this junk blocking my scans. My radar is full of false positives. Iapos;m practically broadcasting my position here.quot;
quot;Itapos;s better than nothing. At least youapos;ll attract the enemy for us while I find a good ambushing position.quot;
The bait had been cast, and it only took a couple of minutes for the fish to bite. The Seraphim noted a large energy signature strolling down the main avenue.
quot;I got an incoming mech. With an energy signature this large, itapos;s bound to be a heavy mech. No sign of its partner.quot;
quot;Theyapos;re playing the same game as us.quot; Triceratopssss guessed as he moved his Phantasm a little closer in order to peak at the approaching opponent. quot;Do you want me to stay hidden or find an opportunity to jump the heavy?quot;
The Harconix Light DMR fitted the Seraphim well. It possessed good range, a fairly high accuracy and didnapos;t gobble down too much energy. Unfortunately, its punch had always been a little under-tuned among long-ranged rifles. The heavy mech, despite being under constant fire, practically ignored the DMRapos;s shots, confident his armor could withstand the damage for the moment.
TheSeventhSnake gritted his teeth. quot;Iapos;ve learned a few new tricks.quot;
quot;I can make it. I only need a couple of seconds.quot;
The Seraphimapos;s remaining wings glowed red as the pilot redirected an ungodly amount of energy in its direction. A brilliantly white flare erupted out of the damaged wings, propelling the Seraphim with supreme speed in the direction of the skyscraper. The unexpected overload happened just as the sniper shot his third round, causing it to miss narrowly as the Seraphim had already raced past its original trajectory.
quot;I got you now!quot; TheSeventhSnake yelled as his wings finally broke apart from the stress. His overheated mech blared warnings at him as his rear torsoapos;s internals were beginning to melt. Since he couldnapos;t accumulate any more heat, he decoupled and discarded his rifle, instead choosing to draw his combat knife.
Sheer momentum drew the Seraphim onto the roof of the battlefieldapos;s only intact skyscraper. The light mechapos;s feet skidded across the surface of the roof as the Seraphim did its best to bleed off its momentum.
The opponentapos;s model surprised TheSeventhSnake. It was another Phantasm. The grey model set its unwieldy rifle aside and drew its own combat knife in response to the Seraphimapos;s approach.
quot;This is going to be tricky. My mech has higher specs, but its already half-dead. My enemy is still fresh.quot;
The two mechs dove into each other, their knives clashing loudly while their limbs released punches and kicks. Both their cloud generators worked at full steam. The Seraphim generated a lot more clouds, but the black and grey smoke persisted in staying present.
The duel between mechs progressed in the same manner. Knowing that his mech couldnapos;t hold on for long, TheSeventhSnake summoned all of his passion and unleashed it onto the opponent with only a casual regard for defense. The Phantasm player remained cool under pressure, focusing on pure defense in order to outlast his opponent. Once the Seraphim broke down, he could easily swoop down and claim victory.
quot;As if Iapos;d let you!quot; TheSeventhSnake yelled as he went forward and extended his mechapos;s free arm, deliberately taking the Phantasmapos;s cautious knife swing.
The Seraphimapos;s arm got sliced through, but the Phantasmapos;s knife lost its momentum, rendering it still for just a fraction of a second. The Seraphim leaned over with its shoulder and bashed it against the unprepared Phantasm, knocking it off-balance. The Seraphim then swung his knife with an underarm swing, cutting ruthlessly into the Phantasmapos;s belly, right where the cockpit rested.
quot;Iapos;ve avenged you.quot; TheSeventhSnake sighed as the game confirmed his victory.
quot;That was COOL!quot; Triceratopssss exclaimed in the party chat. quot;That last moment when you sacrificed your arm, I swear the enemy Phantasm just froze.quot;
quot;I guess heapos;s too new. His marksmanship is top notch, but I think he lacks experience in close-quarters combat.quot;
quot;Kind of funny how he chose to use that particular model as a sniper. Itapos;s not a bad choice in the light weight class, but thereapos;s better options out there.quot;
quot;Itapos;s the third Phantasm Iapos;ve seen so far this week. The Fantasia variants from Chasing Clouds are beginning to pop up here and there in our local server.quot;
Triceratopssss let out a disappointed sigh. quot;They used to be our secret. Youapos;re practically his first customer. You got all of his mechs right?quot;
quot;Yeah, except for the 2R-E, the one with the big behind. I just canapos;t bring myself in piloting such a mech in battle.quot;
quot;I wonder what Chasing Clouds is up to these days. He hasnapos;t introduced a new mech for sale in a while.quot;
Despite the lack of new models, the Phantasm and Nomad enjoyed modest daily sales. In fact, a couple of potentates even bought the 2R-E a couple of times as a joke.
Vesapos; initial attempts to push his models onto young girls had achieved a small ripple effect. Other girls interested in the feminine looking mechs bought them to play together with their friends. Boys wondering what the fuss was all about checked out the mechs in the store, and bought them as well for different reasons.
Though not the cheapest or most effective mechs, the Fantasia variants succeeded in establishing a foothold in Cloudy Curtainapos;s digital battlefield. They had never been bad models to begin with, they just lacked public exposure.
While sales hadnapos;t grown to the point that they had gone viral, Ves nonetheless enjoyed a steady stream of DP even after his last tutorial mission had finished.
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