There was no silence to break but the sound of a carbine sliding between the heavy-duty tones of pounding artillery fire and barking orders. In a flash of a moment the crack of the compact weapon stabbed and cut through the disharmony plagueing the year as electromagnetic rounds slammed against the helmet of the towering armor. The first two rounds staggered him as the faint glow of its visor flickered amidst the sounds of whirring motors arguing against crackling electronics. A harsh garbled bark broke out before electronic vocal-filtration cut out and a rough voice boomed out:
"SCATTER, PERIMETER REPOSITIONING, GO!"
Redundant backup systems and hardened internal protective layers took the brunt of the blast but their limits were tested sorely by the well-placed rounds. The soldier sprinted back, footsteps crunching bramble and fallen branches, leaving deep imprints as he vanished behind a spray of wild retaliatory fire from the automata. He was fast but Alice's bullet was faster. Two near-invisible tungsten needles pierced nearly the exact same spot of both knees as the hefty trooper fell.
Not onto his armored face. He stumbled but moved fast enough to place his arms before him, breaking into a roll and half-suprpessing a pained grunt. The damage was agonizing but an augmented physiology combined with pain-suppressants and nano-repair capabilities was already kicking into overdrive, sealing the holes. Yet the effects of the wounds would stay unless properly treated, not only internally but forcing him into one of the cover of one of the larger trees.
At least, he would have tried if a spray of ulvath fire had not glanced his armor, his quick reflexes throwing him away into a roll. The gnarled bark erupted into a spray of shredded cloud as he fell onto his stomach, shoving and crawling across the ground as the CivSec tropers fired a series of bursts at the tarrhaidim's direction, spread out evenly among the large cargo crate like structures and the trees.
They did not stay static for long, taking measured potshots and it was clear they were meant to be personally guard their towering companion. That threat was positioned in the middle of a square formation. Yet while they focused on Ilshar, their robotic allies had broader aims.
Multiple LMG's opened up arrayed in a rapidly forming half-circle formation spraying off into the woods. Branches exploded into woodchips and fragments, leaves shredding into green mist and the airwaves flooded with the sound of crackling fury. It was hardly accurate in spite of the targeting capacities afforded but it did not need to be. With that many rounds they were bound to hit something; they were still trying to identify where the rest of the threats were and if unable, to keep their heads down with a deluge of fire.
Through the shimmer of the invisbility field, blurring as water ripples, multiple bullets pierced and flew then pinged with sparks against a large, formidable target. The dual-invisbility field of both voidhangers obscured the light of the sparks but only for so much. The advanced scanning capabilities of the automata when networked processed in mere blinks what trained soldiers might need a few seconds. It was not long afterwards that the four CivSec soldiers began falling back to hefty crates and reinforced structures in the area, sweeping their rifles as their scanners began to pick up thermal and electrical signatures with advanced vision modes.
Before any further information could be shared, the EMP grenade had already flown over the cacophonous fire. With its visor malfunctioning the power armored trooper had not seen it and its immediate subordinates were too busy taking pot shots at what they could make out from behind the blur of suppression fire. The casing of the grenade burst and with it a wave of semi-translucent purple-blue light washed out, engulfing four of the automata. The ocular lights blinked wildly as trigger fingers released, abruptly stopping most of the barrage and letting the smoke from their barrels hang over them - the entire left-end of their half-circle formation had been deactivated, the machines standing still or slumping to their knees as heads and arms twitched. Emergency reboot systems were in effect but they would take time to render them combat-ready once more.
One of the CivSec troopers, lining up a shot on the weakening invisibilty field abrutly dropped back into cover as the automata spared the EMP blast twisted their lower bodies, torsos facing the Envenomed as their legs walked back. Their fire came in bursts as they tightened their defences. The sound let-up enough that shouts and snapping volleys could be heard in the background; CivSec troopers moving between the trees further into the occupied area - one of them pausing for a moment, standing almost like the spitting image of a proper firing position from a training manual. A blink later and his upper body became a smoking mess, a u-pipe of melted meat and deformed metal bereft of the head, collarbone, and arms scattered around it and the blue afterglow of a rail-cannon's firing vector hanging in the air.
Bullets whistled then shrieked as they flew, slamming into occupation forces' armor, staggering some before punching clean through others. ZRF squad was advancing; slowly, cautiously, but for every volley sent their way a staccato riposte of single-shot bursts forced the scrambling UCL-backed forces into unfavorable positions.
"Let their flesh feed the Earth and our boots crush their bones!" A familiar, alien voice boomed over the coms as another rail-cannon discharge. At this short range, few things could withstand their raw power or the pain of a non-fatal shot. Someone screamed over the coms but it did not sound like one of the insurgents' own; too distant from the microphone-receiver and perfectly coordinated with the report of the banshee-scream cannon.
A far graver threat to the UCL allies remained, one that was amassing power in a hefty barrel. Yet whereas the distance between Echo and the scielto etherealist meant it could not detect the weapon charging up, this comparably shorter range engagement was another story. Mechanical heads buzzed and swiveled, correlating the visual report of bullets pinging off armor to target location as the active automata's sensors picked up distortions and build-up of energy in the air.
It was just in time for the power armor's HUD systems to regain most functionality.
A split second later, a lance of light slammed into where he had been hiding, disintegrating the crates before melting the reinforced exterior of the massive cargo container and hitting something vital within. The trooper sprinted away as a massive explosion rocked the battlefield, knocking over the front-most CivSec troopers and forcing the rear two to break cover, dodging flaming debris as they attempted to make their way to the power armored threat. One slung their rifle abruptly and broke from his squadmate towards one of the camo-netted tents. The other had tapped the power armored trooper, pointing towards the rapidly approaching unztadtlige.
In spite of the visible bluish-purple blood splattered on his knees and the last flickers of electronics self-repair on his helmet, the tallest of the enemy combatants immediately snapped to action. His surbordinate spread off to the right, obscuring himself from the sight of the whole squad as he dove behind one of the nearby tents. Echo's massive multi-legged bulk surged but nothing about the formidable supersoldier suggested the possibility of flinching. Falling into a crouched position, his carbine swing upwards and he flicked an switch. Already the platform's autocannons had torn and warped the torsos of two of the active automata, leaving them as burning wrecks.
While it left two immediately active, the other four were already beginning to reawaken for a total of six machine hostiles, metal limbs creaking as they began to run, their actions taking a new speed and aggression. A scan from those capable of it demonstrated that the power armored soldier was directly controlling them through some sort of neurocybernetic link yet he was clearly focusing on the biggest, most immediate, cyborg-coral threat. In the time it took for Echo to get into position, three rapid bursts of heavy duty AP -shells, the sort normally used for killing vrexul-level threats were spat out.
Encased in shells of low-light energy, they did not have quite the same violent impact as vrexul autocannon-rifle rounds. Yet they were easily the equivalent of anti-material rifle bullets, larger and retaining even more impact force. Upon collision with a target, the energy field and the internal battery that provided it would discharge forwards for additional explosive power, capable of deforming metal and dismembering meat beneath.
The first was aimed at the "head" of Echo, aiming to at least diminish or damage its vision with rounds that at these closer ranges could scar the armor of such alien threats. The second went a bit wild, hitting a few of the leg-joints on the platform's right side. Flashes of metal on metal and energy discharge marked successful hits but its third burst was cut short as a combination of on-board sensors and those of the linked automata alerted it to the fearsome weapon, firing another beam. It leapt out of the way into a roll but staggered as it recovered from it; the needle rounds that had gone through its legs had hampered its mobility, even if the enormous human was still far more manoeverable than his bulk suggested.
A smoking crater where he had been standing caused a nearby tree to tip over, nearly falling onto the League soldier before he quickly back-hopped, letting it slam down in front of him before staggering to steady himself. His weapon raised and he fired another burst of heavy duty rounds, this time fully automatic and aimed at Echo's "head" again.
"There are more reinforcements, I can see automata platforms activating deerp into the camp! There's signs of smaller gun-platforms activating! Force their commander back, we cannot hold them off for long!"
The careful, precise, almost deliberately spaced out single shot bursts and monstrous rail-cannon shrieks grew far more erratic and inconsistent. Sounds of multiple missile launch systems and rapid fire machine guns were beginning to fill the air. The ZRF forces were still forcing the rest of the artillery site's defenders to focus on them rather than their newfound allies but for how long was another issue.