Like the real world DreamNet permitted you to use communicators. In that it was to find Zhou Qianlin that Lan Jue had entered the combat area, not for mecha training. But Qianlin had to be somewhere around here practicing, and although entering DreamNet had been an accident, finding her here was no different than doing so outside.
“Where are you? I’m in the DreamNet NEU sector,” Lan Jue said.
“You came in?” Somewhat surprised, Qianlin continued. “I’m in the intermediate area. Defense maneuvers today. Wait until I’m done training then sending me home, that’ll be all. Just remember, don’t let other people find out you know me. I’ll call you when I’m done.”
DreamNet’s Nooblet rubbed his nose. Am I that disgraceful? Still with this demand that we pretend not to know one another.
Nooblet shook his head and entered the elementary area. Ten victories to enter the intermediate level. It would take no time at all.
DreamNet’s iteration the NEU had been simplified, so that as he entered the area he was instantly transported to a wide open space.
The sector was round, like a giant sports arena three hundred meters in diameter and rising fifty meters. It was the standard construction for a combat arena, and was the most commonly used.
There was a flash, and suddenly a black mecha had appeared before him – another Saber-Mech. But in contrast to Nooblets, this one had pieces of silver plate armor affixed to it’s head and legs.
In DreamNet students were able to upgrade their mechs with payments of DreamBits or winning point from victories. In theory this meant that the lowest levels mechs could be upgraded to top-ranked fighting machines, but that would require exorbitant amounts of time. In reality most of the better pilots simply exchanged their old mechs for higher-end models and upgraded those. It ended up saving them a lot of time and effort.
Clearly the Saber-Mech in the opposing corner had seen some improvements. Judging by what could be seen, it looked like it had had it’s speed and defense upgraded.
“Nooblet? Haha, lucky me! It looks like I’m finally getting my tenth win.” The voice that echoed from the mecha was supremely arrogant. Without warning the thrusters burned at the mechas back and it advanced hurriedly.
Jin Tao was really excited. He’d been moved by the stories he’d heard in Lan Jue’s Etiquette course, to the point that his customary laziness had melted away. He’d went immediately to the training area to work on his skills. Though a student of mechanized combat, he still hadn’t managed to pass the elementary stage. He’d only just managed to master the very basics.
Maybe it was the inspiration he’d gained from Lan Jue’s class, but today he felt as though his control of his mecha was better than ever. He’d just won a contest, bringing his total wins up to nine. He only needed one more, then he’d finally be considered Intermediate.
Like this, he wouldn’t have to worry about the finals this semester. If he got to intermediate, staying enrolled another year was a given.
The one before him very obviously had just enrolled in DreamNet. His Saber-Mech hadn’t ben refitted at all. He’d never been so lucky! He remembered his own time as a newbie, and clearly recalled the blows his self-confidence took when he was beaten down by upperclassmen. He never even hit them.
Ahh newbie abuse, that’s definitely something he could enjoy.
In a flash Jin Tao’s Saber-Mech was standing before Nooblet’s, and his titanium allow sword was cutting a murderous arc towards his enemy’s throat.
Nooblet, apparently frozen with fear, did not move. The glimmering blade came streaking right for his face.
Jin Tao was filled with self-satisfaction, and yet a sense of pity snuck up within him. If this newbie had worked even a little bit, it’d show off his own skill all the more!
In this moment of consideration, Nooblet suddenly moved. It was so simple… he squatted!
Jin Tao’s sword skimmed right over Nooblet’s head. And that right arm bearing his sword kept right on going, flying off in to the air. Everything went dark, and an emotionless digitized voice spoke in his ear.
“Defeat. Mecha damage has exceeded forty percent. Please repair your suit, and continue.”
Defeat?! How is that possible? Jin Tao couldn’t understand how that could happen, and quickly hit the fight replay button.
The fight had been brief, and it took Jin Tao only a moment to see what had happened. He sat in the simulated cockpit, incredulity veritably bursting from his eyes.
In the midst of his coup de grâce Nooblet had crouched, as he’d seen – but what he missed was the unfitted mecha’s right foot pinning his own before Nooblet’s sword masterfully severed his arm from it’s joint.
His pinned foot prevented the suit from recoil and added to the power of the strike, which ultimately lead to his arm flying off in to the distance. Nooblet had then taken advantage of the strike to sweep behind him, weapon poised. The whiteboard’s strike obliterated the power unit on the back of his head, and the fight ended.
The whole thing took less than three seconds. Nooblet’s movement were not fast, nor fancy. They were just very, very accurate.
Jin Tao cursed under his head, and left to repair his mangled mecha.
Each mecha combat student was required to learn suit maintenance, in order to improve their own combat efficiency. Students were expected to repair their own units after a fight, and though you could certainly pay to have them restored the price was outstanding.
Just as Jin Tao was being made aware of his defeat, Lan Jue also heard a digital voice addressing him. “Victory. No damage to your suit was sustained. Perfect victory. Total wins: one. DreamBits earned: five.”
Elementary victories earned pilots anywhere from one to five Dreambits on average. Clearly Lan Jue’s display earned him full marks.
Heh. Lan Jue’s grin bordered on obscene. With a push of a button he continued to his next fight. Lights flashed and he was back in the same area, though this time a Gunner-Mecha stood as his opposition.
Gunner, eight meters tall, nine tons, equipped with the standard laser rifle.
Gunners had the advantage in flexibility and speed, while also have considerable reach. Saber-Mechs, on the other hand, were more capable defenders and had a higher base attack power. Each had it’s advantages.
The Gunner-Mecha seemed to know what it was doing, and quickly drew it’s laser gun to aim towards Lan Jue. Nooblet, in return, did something unexpected.
Moving quickly to the side his left arm shot out, the shield that had been held there tore through the air like a Frisbee. The vicious arc raced towards the mecha, the impact sure to sever both it’s legs.