Part 7: Interview 4 - A Risky Strategy (Or, Michaels Life Is Valuable, Dammit)Interview 4 - A Risky Strategy (Or, Michaels Life Is Valuable, Dammit)
Ah, my favourite gal in my favourite police interview room. Shall we?
You sound sarcastic, my dude, and yet if I'm not mistaken, you're enjoying these little chats of ours.
Well, that's neither here nor there. So, where did you end up going next?
The next battle was with Sami, though things didn't quite go as expected.
Nell was right to be concerned - I'll say that much.
Well, that just screams "tempting fate", doesn't it?
I suppose I don't really need to tell you what inevitably happens next, do I?
Writing-wise, this is one step below "hey guys, let's split up to cover more ground".
Heh. My sister would have said the same.
Who is your sister, anyway?
It really isn't important. Her name is Misery - she's a writer by trade, I suppose, though she hasn't written in a long time. We used to travel through the universes together when we were younger, though I have not seen her in a while. The Omniversal Police keeps me very busy.
Married to the job, huh?
Something like that. Anyway, as expected, the inevitable happened.
Oh man. I am shocked and surprised by this terrifying development.
Well, I think that's pretty fucking obvious, Nell.
She's quite upbeat.
...Although somewhat of a rude young lady.
You're allowed to call her a bitch. I'm not gonna tell anyone.
I enjoy Nell's absolute lack of reaction to this 'grandma' schtick.
WhoooaaaaOK NEVER MIND. Holy shit, Nell, I forgot how metal you can be sometimes.
Rightfully, Sami is quite concerned. I would be too if my normally-placid superior had just ordered this.
Nell has a dark side. Luckily, I've never seen it in the bedroom. Yet.
Yeah, Nell, they might be useful here. You don't need to point out the obvious.
Them's fighting words.
If there's one thing Black Hole is good at, it's spamming endless waves of dudes, to be fair.
Is it by boat.
It is indeed, by boat.
Man, I forgot how much I don't mind Sami when she's not talking to Eagle. Eagle's like a black hole of character development. She's all devoted to impressing Nell, it's kind of relatable.
A lot of this is repeated information, to be perfectly honest; we have already seen what Sami is capable of.
Nell is nothing if not a thorough tutorialiser.
You will be unsurprised to hear that all transports are handled with ease.
I mean, it's not like you can fuck up using Michael. Though this new thing of "not instantly gunning for the APC" is gonna really fuck with me...
A transport copter! Who is it?
Here are the files.
Personality: Refined and bilingual.
Proficiencies: Transport Copter, APC, Infantry
The copter, stuck in the middle of enemy territory, opens up the transceiver comms to ask for assistance. The minute she speaks, Fliss goes silent, and gulps.
"H-hello? It's Fleur... I've come across some opposition. Are there soldiers nearby to help?"
"Big sis..." murmurs Fliss. She turns to Dave. "We have to help her!"
Dave nods. "Yeah, but she's surrounded on all sides. We made need to... hm. Selena, suggestions?"
"Selena?" Michael says, turning to Dave curiously.
"Yeah, evading the anti-airs by taking the sea might be a good option."
"I'm not sure that's wise either." Michael replies. "That cruiser's gonna destroy her if she tries to rejoin us."
"We have to do something, though!" Fliss says, far louder than usual. "Is there another way?"
For some reason she paused in between this sentence. No, I don't know why.
"If my dude taught us anything, it's that there's always a way to save someone." Selena replies. She's already made a decision. "Naval units, prepare to engage with the opposition. Raynald, make preparations to receive Fleur!"
"Oh, of course." Michael replies, spotting the cruiser on the ocean. "Excellent strategy!"
Wait, I know that name. Don't tell me he's returned?
RAYNALD OF CHÂTILLON
Personality: Curiously quaint crusader.
Proficiencies: Bomber, Fighter, Cruiser
I must admit, of all the soldiers I observed during this time... he was the one I understood the least. I was hoping you could provide some information about him.
Oh, absolutely not. I don't know a single thing about the dude.
So they manage to save Fleur. Thank goodness for that.
I'm surprised your strategic prowess didn't account for that strategy.
Ruin, I don't think I've ever used the fact that cruisers can carry planes in any meaningful sense. It is the most vestigial use of a unit I've ever heard of.
Anyway, with the introduction done, Nell begins to explain the function of the new units.
Oh, stop moaning, I'll skip it for you. I'll give you the rest of the files, though.
Personality: Sweet, idealistic daydreamer.
Proficiencies: Lander, Cruiser, Sub
Personality: Undefeated pirate-king.
Proficiencies: Battleship, Missiles, Artillery
Von Panzer, Tank
Fleur, Transport Copter
Raynald of Châtillon, Cruiser
With Fleur safe, Raynald goes to en-
Hahahahano absolutely not.
Raynald doesn't go, he crusades. Get it right.
For the love of- urgh. Fine. Raynald CRUSADES over to the opposing submarine and does an inordinate amount of damage to it.
They move Selena out of the way, right? She can't- she can't get killed. I won't allow it.
Maybe if you'd stop interrupting me, I'd tell you.
"Alright, lads!" Lloyd yells, gathering his crew and loading up the battleship's cannons. "Target that rocket right there and give 'em hell from us!"
The rockets hit home, surprisingly - I didn't expect Lloyd to be so accurate with his shots.
Lloyd is a badass pirate and I will not hear a single bad word about him.
THEN they move Selena out of th-
OH THANK GOD.
Dave is loaded into Michael's APC...
...which is then loaded on-board Rin's lander.
Ah, the legendary Russian doll manoeuvre. I taught her that, you know.
Dave and Michael disembark from the APC whilst travelling, and as Dave hops out, he hears the sound of running feet and an impassioned yell of happiness, and sighs to himself. Michael notices a smile on his features that he's trying his best to hide.
"DAAAAAVE!" Rin yelps, tackle-hugging him with extreme force, and he's almost knocked off-balance. Despite his apprehension, he gives Rin a huge bear hug, lifting her up, then placing her on the deck next to him. She looks up at him with a cheerful grin.
"Heya, kid. Glad to see you've lost none of your energy. Been a while since we were deployed together, huh?"
"And you're still wearing my friendship bracelet!" Rin says. She throws up her hands, and sure enough, on her wrist a similarly-coloured bracelet; it matches Dave's exactly. Dave sighs.
"Yeah, yeah, I suppose I am..."
"Thank you!" she says, then she looks at him expectantly. Dave stares back quite blankly, and Michael chuckles to himself, deciding to help Dave out.
"The speech therapy has been working out, then?"
"Oh, of course," Dave replies, nodding. "Sorry, I forgot to ask."
"It's going good!" Rin replies. "I still have a few more sessions, but listen to me now! I can thay- uh, say, anything I want!"
Dave can't help but smile at the genuine joy radiating from her face. "I'm glad. I really am. I... I missed you."
"I missed you too, you goon!" Rin says, hugging Dave again. "Now then, let's set a course for the enemy HQ, shall we?"
"Sounds like a plan." Michael replies. "Oh, we're about to be joined by someone new, though - hold off for a moment."
Oh my GOD THEY'RE SO ADORABLE
Control yourself. Their cuteness has nothing to do with whether they will succeed in their mission or not.
Fliss is also boarding the lander.
They plot a course for the enemy HQ, though they don't go too far, for some reason.
Staying out of rocket range. Even at 2HP, those rockets will still hurt Rin, though it probably wouldn't have mattered much either way. Safety is key though.
The land troops make their way up here. Can you explain why they went about it in this way?
Oh, that's easy. Sure, we can't stop Black Hole from taking the base, but there's also nothing stopping us from taking it back ASAP. Von Panzer can wall off anything that gets deployed, whilst the ranged support will help cover the mechs who can capture it.
I see. That makes sense. Oh - you may want this, too. Some information on the new CO.
The good old "small but fierce" archetype. Fair enough.
Ah. She's a terrain CO? How interesting. I wonder how exactly that works?
I'm afraid I'm not certain either.
Don't worry, the audience are good for this kind of thing. My man Paul, and the rest of the regular goons, will come through.
Oh, Sturm lite, that's tooootally not annoying as hell.
That was sarcasm, correct?
Just a tad.
Oh, this is going to be useful and helpful, I can already tell.
But... but... why would you TELL THEM YOUR SECRET PLAN?
Somehow I thought you'd be annoyed by this.
Why the fuck would you tell them that.
I... I don't know.
Oh, no, I'm quite certain that they have a brain.
Emphasis on "a". They share a single brain between all the COs.
Heh. Not bad, that got a smirk out of me.
I do not remember ever hearing about Sami's rep for "surprising the foe".
She's earnest, though. Probably the most endearing of the three main protags.
Some enemies capture some things.
I don't know how to word it in an exciting way.
I tried for a 50-part LP. Trust me, it isn't possible. The raw essence of "this dick captures a property" is eternal and inescapable.
Still, the strategies you outlined are fairly similar to what actually happened, so let's see how it worked out.
Oh, yes, Nell was still explaining things this whole time. It's about here that she finally finishes... sort of.
What do you mean "sort of"?
Well, immediately after she says she's going to leave everything in Sami's capable hands...
...she pops up again.
She interrupts people CONSTANTLY. I'm surprised I'm not more used to it by now.
Yep, they're CO powers.
Sami's is rather useful, though.
Alright, fine, I'll stop complaining.
Or just get handed the documents by the nice police lady.
If you want me to stop being nice, I can oblige.
Anyway, Lloyd positions himself in such a way that the cruiser has no effective escape option; by taking that out, Selena will be able to move freely around.
Admittedly, that's not terribly useful, considering that there's nothing in the ocean left to kill - besides that sub, but I kinda feel like Raynald has that one covered.
Ooh, one space short of landing. That's troublesome, what with how few days there are to work with.
As you predicted, Raynald quite easily handles this cruiser.
Oh, wow, I guess you could call him a cruise-sader!
I don't think I've ever been more disappointed in hearing a joke.
You grinned, I saw you.
Then we get some more of- what did you call it again?
"This dick captures a property".
Yes. More of that.
Still, Rin's basically right next to the HQ, so there shouldn't be too much trouble. Those anti-airs are gonna shred any mechs that she puts down, though... hm. I suppose that's where Fliss comes in handy.
Lloyd, meanwhile, obliterates this cruiser from existence.
See, it's more fun when you put some flair into it! "Lloyd reduces the innocent cruiser than hasn't actually done anything to anyone during this battle into a fine red mist, because he has nothing better to do."
I'm getting it more now. Selena heads north after this, though she doesn't have much to contribute, besides increasing the morale of the troops. She is good at that, at least.
She learnt from the best. I.e. me.
Rin goes to drop off Michael and Fliss.
Oh, wow, just putting them down? Hm. This seems fine, both of them can tank anti-airs for days, especially with Michael having that forest support.
Von Panzer is sent ahead to clear the path.
Unsurprisingly for the one they call "MVP", he is quite successful in this endeavour.
Taking 4HP from an infantry doesn't sound that successful.
Ah, but Commander my dude... rockets.
The inevitable happens, anyway, and then, taking into account the tank's movement range, Sami moves the rest of the troops up.
Looks like she's taken into account the possibility of the CO power, too, so that's good. Only Von Panzer is in range if she does get it off.
Indeed. Raynald has dropped Fleur off next to Carter, too.
Honestly, seems like an easy map so far.
This Johnson captures half of a property.
Oh my god, just say dick. I promise you'll feel better if you do.
Quiet. Anyway, I have a question for you, my dude.
What on earth were you talking about when you said APCs could survive anti-airs "for days"?
...Shit, Michael's in trouble.
"Michael, are you sure we're safe?" asks Dave, as the APC is bombarded with shots. Michael grimaces.
"We have the eject button if things go wrong."
"Do you have two?" Dave asks, and Michael falls silent.
"Michael, retreat if you need to! Don't take more of this punishment!" shouts Selena. "Units, prepare to engage the anti-airs before they destroy our APC!"
As the second anti-air opens fire, Michael bows his head. "..."
"Michael!" yells Ingo. "You and Dave need to hang in there!"
The shots blast into the side of the APC, and it rocks unsteadily. There's a sound like whining metal being ripped in two, and then-
"We're not going anywhere." replies Michael, grinning and lifting his head back up proudly. Selena and many of the other soldiers breathe an audible sigh of relief, though none as audible as Dave's.
"Thank fucking god for that." Dave mutters. "Right, let's ready the counterattack!"
Phew, that scared me for a moment. You can't just threaten to kill off Dave and Michael!
"Kill off"? I didn't write this, my dude. This is how it happened.
I know, I just worry...
Would a tutorial from Nell cheer you up?
I'm not even going to grace that with an answer.
This is quite important, though. It's the first map that we've seen CO powers in use, after all.
Bleh, fine, I suppose.
Well, if I were Sami, considering the limited timeframe of this map, normal CO power is probably the way to go. There's little point waiting to charge up the Super CO power.
I saw that many times during this campaign.
Most of them were probably Lightning Strike.
Anyway, Fred and Ingo begin a joint assault on this hapless infantry unit. First Fred fires...
Big damage. Nice job, Fred.
And since Von Panzer wasn't used, he can instead go and fight the anti-air by the HQ.
Although, first, Carter and Fleur decide to take the base.
"Alright, ladies and gentlemen! I've got the base that they said we'd never be able to capture! In just two days, it'll be ours! This battle will be won once it goes down!" Carter announces. Dave stares down at his transceiver, then at Michael.
"And who the hell was that?"
"Carter." Michael sighs.
Time for some classic MVP action.
I thought surviving mortal blows was classic MVP action?
Von Panzer can do what he likes. He's not tied down by your rules and societal expectations, man.
Lloyd helps too.
Fliss goes to take out the weakened anti-air, huh? I see the game.
Oh, do you now?
The anti-air is blocking the way, but by taking it out, Michael and Dave can get to a safe place behind the unbreakable wall of Matthis Von Panzer.
Indeed. Nice job.
However, they did deal a lot of damage, and so...
Oh, shit, a CO power.
Oh, shit again, a SUPER CO POWER. That could be troublesome.
It's certainly a powerful one in the right contexts.
...This is perhaps not the right context.
Pfft, hahah. I love it when they use a badass power and the first thing they do is capture some fuckin' buildings. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Uh oh. Tank this, Von Panzer!
You'll be pleased to hear that he doesn't even break a sweat.
Von Panzer's the best. Now all they need to do is delete that anti-air, and the map's practically over.
Though, unfortunately, the rockets and the anti-air moved out of Lloyd's range.
Carter grins at his nonplussed associates. "Have no fear, we've got this battle under control. Michael, and whoever was riding with him, stay back, where you aren't in any danger. We'll handle it from here!"
"I'm gonna kill this fucking kid." Dave grunts.
"Hey!" says Rin into the transceiver suddenly. "That 'whoever' you're talking about is Dave! How about a little respect?"
Carter pauses. "...Like, the real Dave? The one who destroyed Blue Moon on his own?"
"Oh, my god, I'm so sorry, sir. I didn't realise your station! I shouldn't have said anything!"
"No, you shouldn't have." Dave replies. "But not because of anything stupid like your station or mine. Because by shutting up and paying attention to those who are more experienced than you, you learn more. Kids like you will end up dead in a ditch if you keep with this bragging, confident attitude. Don't speak to me and Michael like we're children - here in war, age means nothing. Those who you respect are those who are still here. Hell, even Rin and Lucy are more valid battle strategists that you right now, and I would pay far more attention to them than your self-obsessed heroics. Understand me?"
Carter remains silent for a few moments, completely shellshocked. "...But I... I was top of my class... I don't understand."
"You think on it for a bit. We'll deal with things over here." Dave replies grumpily.
Fliss bullies this anti-air for the crime of thinking it could hurt Von Panzer.
Oh, bullying isn't that threatening.
The punishment for the crime of thinking you can hurt Von Panzer is very simple...
Are you done?
With the anti-airs out of the way, Sami is free to use her CO power.
Aw, she gets more endearing with every line. You got this, Sami!
I prefer the old jingle. Badoo-na-na-na-na-naaaa, da da daaaaaa!
And thus, using the power of moving an extra space, Dave is able to reach the enemy HQ.
Then there's a day where nothing happens, besides some capturing.
Nell, she's like, right there. She has this map sorted.
Carter captures the base, though it isn't necessary for success.
And Dave ends the map like the absolute lad that he is.
Indeed. A well-executed map.
I mean, I'm 90% convinced that strat with Michael would have gone horribly wrong if the RNG was slightly less merciful. That was a risky fucking play.
Wow, I have not seen this side of Nell in a while. She, uh... huh.
I think Sami's nervousness sums it up nicely.
Yeah. I'd be quite nervous.
Lash seems much less talkative than she was before.
Oh my GOD, this game walks a fine line between challenging war strategy and Saturday morning cartoon.
I kind of understand what you mean.
Whatever, the map's done. Sounds like it all went OK.
Alright, I'll get on with my side of the story in just a sec. Where are we headed next?
Well, Sami's performance was rather solid.
That implies that Max and Andy didn't do so well.
Oh, they did alright, but the battles were very different. As for the next one, I'm sure the audience already know.
Max, and Andy... indeed, it's not a terribly exciting choice, is it? Now then.
Alright, here we go again.
Part 4 Additional