When members of the Human Liberation Organization assisted BEC in creating a soft A.I. operating system for the XSeeds, HLO mechanic Faust Hayden christened the XCD-103’s A.I. iteration Eisenpferd or “Iron Horse” in homage to the heavy XSeed’s ability to roll over anything in its path.
Like the XCD-104 Eschaton, the Eisenpferd distinguished itself by carrying no energy weapons. In contrast to the close attack XSeed, the XCD-103’s loadout featured a dizzying array of ranged armaments. Its primary weapons were a pair of fire-linked Vulcan cannons mounted on its shoulders capable of firing 80mm rounds at blisteringly high rates of fire. These rotary cannons proved more than adequate for dispatching the Coalition’s woefully overmatched Guardian combat frames.
To deal with harder targets, the Eisenpferd could be equipped with up to four missile pods bearing three tubes each. The two larger pods attached to the XSeed’s pauldrons and carried heavy ordnance for taking out enemy armor and artillery. Two smaller pods mounted on the legs could load cluster bomb-style spray missiles to handle small vehicles and personnel. Various utility missiles, including rockets mounted with chaff and anti-beam gas-dispersing warheads, could also be fired from the leg pods.
In the event that an enemy made it through Eisenpferd’s defenses, the XSeed carried an enormous two-handed heat axe capable of bisecting a combat frame in one swing. It also mounted a carbyne-reinforced shield on its left arm for close quarters defense.
The XCD-103’s devastating firepower exacted a cost in speed and mobility. It was the only 1-Series XSeed limited to subsonic flight, and its ground speed was relatively ponderous. These drawbacks left Eisenpferd vulnerable to fast-moving attackers. Browning compensated for the XCD-103’s lack of mobility by giving it the thickest armor of any CF to date. Not only could the Eisenpferd withstand a direct hit from practically any conventional weapon, its superconducting carbyne armor could channel one-third of an energy weapon strike into an onboard capacitor of the type carried by every XSeed. This system made the Eisenpferd highly resistant to energy attacks and invisible to radar as long as its capacitor wasn’t full.
Since the XCD-103 lacked energy weapons of its own, Browning solved the problem of discharging its capacitor in a novel manner. He installed a pair of retractable 3-tube missile launchers in Eisenpferd’s backpack. Each tube stored a warhead containing a miniature version of the XSeed’s graphene capacitor. The warheads could be charged from the main capacitor to make more room for absorbing attacks. When fired, a primer charge in each warhead unfurled its mini capacitor and released its stored energy on impact. A fully charged graphene cap warhead could rival low-yield nuclear detonations. Eisenpferd could also bleed off its capacitor charge via less spectacular tunable IR laser.
Despite its unequaled offensive and defensive capabilities, the Eisenpferd’s pilot had to keep a close eye on his ammunition. If the XSeed ran out of missiles and bullets, which could easily happen in the heat of battle, it risked being left to face faster enemies with only its axe and shield. This factor made teamwork with the other XSeeds a must.
Update: Thanks to my valued readers, the Combat Frame XSeed: Coalition Year 40 crowdfunder was a rousing success! I’m making excellent progress on the book, and perk fulfillment should begin soon.
Did you miss out on the campaign? No problem! Pick up the original martial mecha thriller Combat Frame XSeed, and have it read in time for the sequel’s launch.
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