λ · The Battle of Atork
After hearing about the beginnings of Colus III and Vralgo’s feud, we switch to Delta Belun and a very relaxed-looking court of Grees. There are four people in this particular room: Amaterasu, Aisha, Lachesis and Alecto.
Amaterasu comments that Boowray Mercenaries have been sighted near Jüno, and Aisha adds that the Knights of Hathutha are also recruiting volunteers to go fight there [Both of these forces are from the planet Both, no pun intended]. All of this is in support of Hagooda, and Amaterasu feels a debt to the Colus dynasty so it’s clear he will intervene at some point.
There may be four in the room, but only three actually participate in the conversation. In another testament to Nagano’s rich creativity, Alecto’s personality is different from every other Fatima we’ve seen so far: she does not talk, just sits quietly and listens. She’s so unobtrusive that the first time I read this scene I was surprised when Amaterasu suddenly asked her her Fatima number [the identity of Ballanche’s no.42 being in doubt]; I hadn’t realized she was in the scene at all!
Another example of this rampant creation is the Boowrays themselves. Not only are they each a different color of the rainbow, but one of the main reasons according to Amaterasu that they are so powerful is their working together with the Minminba ethnic group. The Minminba are a race with powers similar to headdliners, who run operations on the ground while the Boowrays do their thing.
Think about the possibilities! Headdliners are so rare that anyone showing such skills will be immediately thrown into a mortar headd. Here we have an entire ethnic group which (it would seem) cannot pilot MHs but have the great physical power and speed of headdliners. This means they’re available for reconaissance prior to a mission, sabotaging, and support during the Boowray operations. Their opponents on the ground will almost invariably not be up to their prowess, and this difference might mean victory in a close struggle between MH forces!
At the same time that Amaterasu is deciding to go into Jüno as Ladios Sopp, things go from bad to much worse for Colus. To recap, the battleline with Hagooda has been stable since February, when Hagoodans ignored Colus’ reinforcements of the two major cities of Shalsha and Atork to smash across the soft center and gain some ground. In a single day of June, Hagooda [more properly, the friends of Hagooda using Hagoodan territory] decide to take out the fortified positions themselves.
Here’s a map of the aftermath of the Battle of Atork:
The original gains in February are in red; black indicates the substantial Hagoodan advance in that day of June. Although we don’t get much information on this point, it seems Hagooda attacked Meistner as well but the Trio forces were able to repulse them. The damage in Ballanka, though, is much greater. Atork itself is drowned in a sea of black, and the Industrial Complex of Mirus is under a great threat (the map right after the battle actually has Mirus under Hagoodan control, so the place might have briefly fallen and then changed hands again).
The Battle itself is quickly decided by a number of factors. One of them is the element of surprise. We find one of the soldiers of Colus, upon hearing that they are under attack, exclaiming: “Have they lost their minds?! This is Ballanka’s largest installation!” Notice how badly Colus has lost the mental struggle, so to speak: 1) back when Hagooda invades, they rushed to fortify Shalsha and Atork; 2) Hagooda spared the cities and went down the middle, this was a tactical surprise; 3) a mere four months later, Hagooda attacks Atork and Colus is…surprised?!
Colus’ sense of chivalry might also be at play here. I don’t get the sense Colus would use mercenaries to fight its wars, not unless they were in grave danger [this bodes badly for Ladios Sopp’s plans, I think]. Therefore, Colus is dismayed when they find that Maglows are not at the head of the attack on Atork, it’s actually Boowrays. Teleporting Boowrays, to boot!
By the end of the day, Boowray Red can dispatch a message back to Hagooda to send their “regular” forces, which are actually mostly “volunteers” from elsewhere. We know from the intro blurbs that Vralgo of the Kneue Syltiss is known as the red commander or Testarossa (!) so the whole maneuver is highly suspect. Are the Boowrays this good?
The manga actually states that because of the Battle of Atork, the Trio lost 1/4 of its territory. From all the maps and information available to us, this figure seems way too high. A possible solution to the problem is this: the loss of Atork and nearby territories might represent 1/4 of the core, essential zones of Colus. North Ballanka does seem to be the key region of this one kingdom…
ON NAGANO’S TROOP COLOR SCHEME:
The things he gets away with! We learn in this volume that troop types are assigned colors, and the scheme is followed throughout the Galaxy.
Green – Artillery
White – Storm Troopers
Pink – Tank operators
Orange – Cavalry
The actual terms do not correspond to our weaponry, of course. “Tanks” in FSS are in fact Air Balleles, flying armored vehicles.
[covered VOLUME 4: from page 60 to the end of the volume.]