Part 20: Every Rose Has Its ThornPART 20 - Every Rose Has Its Thorn
Alright, welcome back. Short update today because I'm strapped for time, but let's get on with it!
Max won again, so we'll be testing our direct combat master against the indirect combat master!
Wasn't his other mission called "Gunfighter!"?
Can't wait for "Gun Shooter!" and "Long Range Guy!" and other such titles.
Honestly, I'm not too worried about this map. With how weak Grit's units are, we should be able to crush them pretty handily. The only potential problem would be-
oh god dammit
You will not be surprised to find out that this is my second attempt at this map. ...Yeah, fog of war is the goddamn worst.
Exactly, Max. Fog of mother fucking war.
Andys Stupid Question Count: 5
Nice, even Max isn't taking Andy's stupidity seriously. I'm liking this guy more and more.
It sure is. Can't wait to find out how many bullshit rockets Grit's got about the place.
Woods. It's always woods, because Intelligent Systems hate fun.
Oh, speaking of, we have two recon units this time around.
A young man leans out of the window of his vehicle and starts waving to people. He's got torn clothes on, with just the Orange Star coat signalling that he's even associated with the army, and seems to have a strange collection of different charms strewn about his person.
"Hey, everyone! I'm Eddie, and we're the Eddie Ensemble. I'm a bit of a storm chaser; in my spare time, anyway. But for now I'm happy to delve deep into the fog for you guys!"
"You chase storms? That's so cool!" Alfonse says. Eddie grins.
"Indeed I do. But let's not focus on that right now. We've got a mission, dudes and dudettes!" he replies.
"Precisely. Let us focus." Rose replies.
Hey, whoa. I proved that recons can sorta-maybe kill something after it's been horribly weakened by a medium tank. They're at least slightly tougher than Michael.
Ah yes. I did actually forget that woods can hide units in fog of war. That may come in useful with Grit's range being as fucking ridiculous as it usually is.
- my dude, when I attempted this map for the first time and everybody died.
Well, alright, not everyone, but it was a fucking massacre.
- the future my dude, attempting this map for the second time.
Don't I know it. I simultaneously love and loathe this mechanic.
Pictured below will be several instances of hidden units blowing us away.
...No word from Nell this mission?
Yeah no ok cool
With the power of hindsight, I park the Gordon Gang here. Nice to see you, Gordon, it's been a while.
The dipshit brigade are here. If I'm being honest, I think fog of war works better when there aren't units literally within one turn of reaching your HQ. Start at your end of the map, you assholes!
Tina does the Tina thing.
And she does it well.
I load the Barry Band into Michael. We've got some bases that we may as well capture. The healing may come in useful with so many of Grit's units so close to us already.
Our other infantry units are already close enough to get on with capturing. Steve and Barold, old hands at this by now, begin the process; the Barold Brigade make a move on this city.
So, I learnt two very important things in my failed first attempt at this mission.
"Who's that new copter?" asks Larry over the intercom.
"No idea, they didn't introduce themselves."
"It isn't anyone new." Rose replies. "I'm leading this squadron. I have an overwhelming capability with a great number of military vehicles, and therefore have clearance to control any form of squadron my superiors so decide. And for this map, they required two battle copters. I question it not."
Tina sighs sidelong to Wilbert. "God, doesn't she drive you crazy?"
"I think you're overreacting. You're telling me you're seriously getting jealous of an eight-year-old?"
"...No." Tina replies, taken aback. "Just... gah, she annoys me. Self-important bitch."
So, with the knowledge that this asshole is here and ready to tenderise anybody in range, I load up Gareth into the Bernard Batch and set a course asshole-wards.
Unfortunately I can't fly to a point where I can drop Gareth off on this turn, but that's fine. We've got time.
It's at about this point that I remembered that bro copters can't be targeted by rockets, and so I can safely engage this artillery with the Larry Lot.
Man, I love Max. His attack boost is fucking absurd.
This is how we leave off on the first turn. That tank can't reach any of my units thanks to Larry blocking the way, and we already know that Larry can pretty solidly wall tanks when he has to. I can guarantee that Grit's got at least one anti-air with him though. Otherwise they wouldn't have given us two copters.
Alright, Grit. Get it over with.
This is why I keep Michael around. His usefulness in luring enemies is next to none.
And he didn't die! That's a first. You know, fielding Michael is kinda like fielding a dancer in Fire Emblem. They serve different roles but are still really crucial for dealing with the enemy AI.
A couple of enemy units show themselves, and there's a hell of a lot of tyre and tread movement coming from the fog. Unfortunately, there's little we can do about it right now.
Right. Let's deal with the second thing that I learnt playing this map the first time.
Head down here, Michael, would you?
Fuck this guy.
On a more positive note, Barold captured a thing! Well done to Barold.
I'm really not sure why Wilbert and Mulligan are here. They, uh, they can protect the HQ.
I actually get around to dropping the Gareth Group now. Next turn, we remove this irritation! ...Or at least damage it. I'm not entirely sure Gareth can kill it on his own.
The Rose Rank moves in on this enemy recon.
"Admirable performance, as always." Rose muses. "Now then, I must go."
"Go? What do you mean?" asks Larry. "Rose! Stop flying away and rejoin your squadron!"
"I'm afraid I must return to base. Something is about to occur." Rose replies. "My dude has made a grievous tactical error, though I have foreseen it; I refuse to die simply because my dude has failed to account for everything."
"Seriously, Rose, do not disrespect the orders of your CO and ACO!" Steve yells, watching Rose's copter flying over him, en route to the HQ.
Rose continues on, not listening to any of them.
Larry flies in. "I'll pick this guy off and keep an eye on her squadron. God dammit, she's gonna get murdered when Max hears about this..."
Well, I'm certainly not impressed, and Max seems like the kind of guy who would look unsympathetically at cowards.
Larry successfully takes out the recon.
And Tina can take this tank. That's most of the nearby problems dealt with, I think. We're doing quite well!
Boom. Max and Tina is a glorious combination, though I'm sure Wilbert wouldn't be pleased to hear that.
Barry begins capturing the other city near here.
...And I probably shouldn't have moved my recon here. I would have been very happy to not see this douchebag sat behind his mountain range, fucking my units up. From what I can see, though, they should be safe - it can't fire on the copters and Eddie is hidden by a forest. I counted the range, and it just reaches Tina, who barely cares about enemy fire anyway.
FUCK GRIT FOREVER
Ugh. I really hope that doesn't put anyone in danger.
...Fuck. That really is an obscene range increase.
"NO!" yells Barold, running towards the spot where the rockets fell. "STEVE!"
"Steve's been hit?" asks Michael in a panic.
"More than that - I think he's done." Tina whispers, staring at the mangled bodies amongst the wreckage of the rocket shells.
Barold spots Steve's body and races towards it. "Steve! Steve! Get up, get up, you've gotta be-"
Steve coughs. "Barold... don't touch me. Everything's br-broken. If I move, I might rupture something."
"We can save you." Barold gasps. "Steve... you son of a bitch. You promised me that we wouldn't die."
"I never did that..." whispers Steve, turning his neck very slowly to face the terrified Barold. "What I promised... was that... I would die before I allowed... you to die..."
"We've been here since the start. Steve, please!"
Steve stares at the sky.
"It's... foggy out." he croaks. "...Barold... go home to your mam... for me... OK? When this is... all... over..."
Barold screams at the sky as Steve's eyes glaze over; no longer seeing, no longer breathing. The Steve Squadron has been completely eliminated.
And it doesn't end there, either.
These rockets destroy most of the Rose Rank. From her safety in the HQ, Rose observes the destruction.
"...My dude. A tactical blunder like this is disappointing to see." she murmurs to herself. "Had I followed your orders to the letter, I would be dead by now."
...Wow, fuck. That was terrible.
Would you believe me if I said it was even worse the first time I tried this map? But I'm sick and tired of fog of war, so I'm going to keep going.
"Don't worry, Rose. I'll crush this bastard!" Gareth growls, readying his group.
Not bad for damage, especially considering the defensive bonus it's getting from the city. But it'll be healing 2HP per turn... this might not be feasible.
Meanwhile, I make sure to keep everyone out of this guy's range. I'd rather he didn't murder everyone I own.
The Larry Lot makes a risky foray into enemy territory.
I think it pays off. The weakened rockets aren't a threat to anyone now, even if they're in range. So I can start moving my units forward now.
Barry finishes the capture.
Even though that thing isn't threatening, I decide to keep Tina in the forest anyway. I need her to be on full health, just in case we have any more nasty surprises that need facetanking.
Speaking of facetanking, Michael does something other than taking hits for once!
Man, I like Grit, but this map is really starting to piss me off.
Oh, hey, an anti-air. Called it.
God damn, I forgot how hard they hit even mechs. That was 4-star defensive territory, too! Time for a retreat, I think.
Some other new playmates join us.
OK, first priority is getting Gareth to safety.
I don't want to lose anyone else today.
This handily takes us out of the range of the rockets, just.
With all the enemy ranged units seemingly up there now, I decide that Larry can probably get away with a second turn here, so may as well finish this horrible thing off.
"That was for Steve, you mother fuckers!" Larry yells. The army give a cheer as the rocket squadron is disintegrated by Larry's missiles.
This is the setup we're going with. We're just out of range of the rockets - the only problem is going to be the anti-air if it decides to target Eddie. We'll see how it goes...
...next time! Sorry to leave it here, but the second half of this mission was tough, and probably needs its own part. See you next week, people!
The Barracks: Barold and Bernard 2
Bernard nods as he enters the room, seeing Barold sat on his bed, staring at the wall.
Uh, hey. I wanted to drop by to see how you were doing. ...Steves an old friend, then?
Weve been together since the very beginning. We were my dudes first soldiers. Barold said, feeling the words turn solid in his throat; he forced them out.
Steve promised me that I would survive this war. Even at the cost of his own life.
I guess he was fulfilling that promise today, then. Bernard replies, shrugging. The important thing is that youre still here, and Im still here. And the sun that shines down on us, the tomorrow that is on the way, was bought by Steve.
Barold breathes in and exhales heavily. Bernard stands awkwardly, messing with his hands, not entirely sure how to handle the situation.
Yeah. I feel like the only time we talk is when weve lost someone.
Suppose so. Bernard says. There was the discussion about conscription, too, if you want to talk about that..?
Oh, yes. Barold responds, seemingly happy to change the subject to literally anything else. I looked into that. Conscription for Orange Star started a few months ago. Thats why a number of our new allies say theyve been conscripted.
Huh. That sounds about right with what I know. Bernard says, shrugging. I was conscripted a couple months back. But why?
I dont know. Barold says. But its not right. Theres something fishy going on with Orange Stars upper management.
Dont let my dude or Nell hear ya say that. Bernard says. You reckon its got something to do with the statistics the government revealed a while back?
Which ones? Barold asks.
Bernard grimaces as he tries to recall the details. Eh something like a 55% drop in able-bodied men between 16 and 30 in the last year. The government noted concerns about the size of their standing army.
Blue Moon took over a lot of territory in that time. Barold murmurs. Yeah the standing army would have been mostly ruined by Olafs assaults, and there werent enough men to defend Orange Star. So conscription.
Seems likely. Bernard replies. I get the sense that theres something more to it, but that aint for the little folk to worry about. Its getting late. You get some sleep, OK?
Right. Barold says. Thank you, Bernard.
Talk to me anytime. Swhat Im here for. Bernard replies as he exits the room. As the door closes, he sighs, and for a moment, wishes he could be better at helping people deal with loss.