Elise grinned at how the fight was going, her cautiousness fading away as the battle was going in their favor. With a respectful tone, she responded: "Acknowledged, Ranius. Eiswolf, take out the snipers ASAP."
"Understood," Sigma answered, and from her position shot the rightmost sniper before she retreated behind the artillery row. "Three down, one left."
Yeager went on the offensive, and with focused fire destroyed a single CWM swiftly with a hail of bullets that flew through the void with no friction to stop them, leaving the other two unscathed. In response, the other two units opened fire with their plasma cannons, but the speedy Framewerk was already gone by the time the green fire reached his position.
Zim once again put his maneuvering skills to their limits, his knuckles straining as they kept on to the controls and steering Black Star like a snake, bobbing down and up with intense speed. At the same time, he made a move worthy of a veteran pilot, and shot at the crystal as he passed through. While the Monirifle was not as strong as a kinetic weapon as the Pompey or the Moonbreaker, it was enough to cause the mini-Mist orbiting the structure to intercept the shot. As it was kinetic, it passed through without destroying it, but the round was dampened into a vastly weaker shot, barely leaving a dent on the crystal's surface.
As the mini-Mist was distracted, the artillery row took the chance, and launched a massive assault. Hou-Yi fired the Splash Cannon, destroying the CWM squad at H6 in a blast of plasma, making them taste their own medicine. Pompey's shots pierced through the cracks that were already formed, and the explosive shell shot penetrated the core of the crystal. As if in an artistic silent movie, the crystal shattered into countless pieces in a massive explosion, with no sound or tremors at all. It was all over for the Cruxi side.
Or, that was what squad Sigma wanted to believe. The mini-Mist that was left suddenly began emitting visible waves of some kind of purple energy in a spherical radius around itself. As the wave expanded and touched the crystal shards, they began to vibrate and glow. Then, it began; four of the largest shards that were left surrounded the mini-Mist, orbiting it like a protective shield. At the same time, other crystal shards that were floating in space were suddenly launched at vast velocity at the artillery squad. Legion managed to block the first wave of the shards before it was shredded by the hail of armor-piercing spikes, breaking into pieces. Paladin, Ribasu, and Hou-Yi were then impaled with shards that passed through the broken shield.
Out of the three, Paladin incurred the most damage; due to its large size, he was hit with the most shards, and even if the heavy armor managed to prevent the shards from penetrating too deep into the Framewerk and damage its systems, the embedded crystals weighed down the machine and blocked motor controls, making it harder to maneuver around. Ribasu and Hou-Yi suffered less, but they also had shards embedded into their machines, also slowing them down.
Black Star was also shot at with a blast of deadly crystals, but as he planned, they instead hit the CWM units; the squad at H5 was completely obliterated, ripped apart by the supremely sharp ore. But, Zim's luck ran out; he now stared down two turrets that were now in firing range of the Framewerk; their gatling plasma cannons began rotating, and before Zim could say a word he was blasted with an intense barrage of green fire. In response, he activated the Shield Barrier, but it only held for a precious moment before it was exhausted and Black Star incurred damage to the Assault Pack, causing the ATS to malfunction and his armor to be scorched black.
"The miniature Mist is top priority; take it down!" Elise commanded with absolute authority as Prometheus moved forward. "I'll keep the left flank occupied. Fire at will!" The fiery Framewerk once again charged energy in its palms, and shot another blast, destroying the CWM squad at B6. The Cruxi sniper at the left side took aim, and shot at Ranius. He responded by making a spinning dodge move and activating his electric force-field generator, and the sniper only managed a glancing hit; however, the force-field generator took serious damage, and would not be able to protect against another attack of similar power.
The scraps of destroyed CWM units were only scattered by new ones as they dashed to the frontlines. Elise took some damage from a squad of Cruxi that reached her; her shoulders and legs were charred by the fire. "Left flank not holding for long!" she responded with the kind of calmness only years of experience in warfare could teach. with the situation turned worse, squad Sigma had to pull all stops to get through the adversity.
The infiltration squad wasted no time as they rapidly headed to the right at the intersection, leaving Weisritter behind as he took a defensive position, ready to engage the CWM squad that soon turned the corner; they did not even realize that one of them was shot by the Neo Rifle before the mech fell down. As a result, the two remaining units also took cover, and started firing inaccurately at Weisritter, keeping him pinned down by the plasma fire, but preventing the enemy from following after the rest of them.
Mai was the first to arrive at the chamber where Elora was, followed by Katya and then Serah. They now realized how large the circular chamber was, making it impractical for anything but for Framewerk testing. They saw that there were machines resembling loudspeakers installed on the walls.
The squad had their weapons aimed at modified Cruxified Logic Gate, ready for any attacks it might make. With the exception of Mai, the group heard Elora's voice again in their minds;
The voice could now be heard better, and it sounded desperate.
But before Elora could finish speaking, the loudspeakers activated with a hum, and the voice that the squad heard from them would haunt their nightmares for the rest of their lives; it was a horrifying mix of two different sounds; one voice was a chitinous, insect-like clacking of mandibles and buzzing of wings, while the other was an electronic, distorted voice that was almost indiscernible. But, they realized that the electronic voice, as hard as it was to understand, spoke in their very own language."We-We-WelKh-Ome...chOshen onEs...unhL-easH yoUr...ghI-ft...aNd sUbhM-it."
A flash of light then appeared from behind the squad. Floating a few meters above the floor with no visible propulsion, with its arms folded across it's front, was a Cruxi Elite
. Katya then noticed the scratch marks on it, and realized it was the very same Cruxi mech that Elora grappled with before the two disappeared. The Cruxi Elite lifted an arm, and opened it's palm in Logic Gate's direction. Then, Logic Gate began shaking intensely, its mismatched arms flailing.
"NO! NO, NO-AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!"
Serah and Katya were assaulted with Elora's screaming from within their own minds, and even if they tried to cover their ears it wouldn't stop. The sensory overload was enough to cause both of their Synchronization rates to plummet down into 1-2 percent rates, their noses leaking blood from the stress the attack put on their brains.
The Cruxi Elite's voice could be heard making a laughter-like sound, seemingly pleased with the results. However, while the other two had to contend with the full brunt of the attack and were mostly paralyzed, Mai was spared from the most of it; her Synchronization only dropped by 30 percent, and while her nose also leaked blood, she was not as stunned as the other two. They only had little time before they were overwhelmed by the psionic power.