Part 9: Interview 5 - The Black Cannon (Or, The Only Thing Better Than One Medium Tank)Interview 5 - The Black Cannon (Or, The Only Thing Better Than One Medium Tank)
Welcome back, Commander my dude. Let's get on with it. Dips- Andy's mission is up next.
Go on, call him Dipshit already.
This cannon was invented by Lash. It's the first of its kind.
And here I thought Flak was already a lab experiment. The quest to try and turn an ape into something resembling a human.
I think it's safe to say, looking at how intelligent Flak is, that particular experiment was a failure.
Oh, wow, I totally forgot there were other Black Hole COs. I guess they're the ones invading the other countries?
Give him a moment. Flak struggles with words that are more than six letters long.
He almost seems... I dunno. A bit childlike?
I think "Dipshit's Time" is the absolute worst mission name yet. Last campaign we had cool shit, like "Wings of Victory!" and "Enigma". What the fuck is "Dipshit's Time"?
You really do refuse to call him by his name, don't you?
He doesn't deserve it.
Anyway. Carter keeps Nell apprised of the situation.
Pretty fucking bleak, Dipshit, there's a huge fuckoff cannon over there. That thing is inconveniently massive.
It's not that big.
It takes up nine tiles. It's nine times as big as an entire city or five medium tanks. That's the kind of thing I'd describe as "inconveniently massive".
...Did you miss a bit of dialogue somewhere in that?
Maybe. Yes. Shut up.
...Snrk. Heheheh, Dipshit, that's the most exploitable sentence you've ever said.
THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID
My dude! Would you please focus on the battle at hand?
Aw, c'mon, that was funny.
...I mean, you're her current, uh, man, right?
...So if she's never seen one that big before, you must be rather tiny in compari-
Don't finish that sentence.
I mean, I'm always in favour of using Max rather than Dipshit.
The map is called "Andy's Time", to be fair. I don't think we're going to be Max for this one.
OK, I know you said no breaking the fourth wall, but come on, that was as close as you can possibly get.
That was rather on the nose, wasn't it?
Ooh, Dipshit getting hurt, sign me up!
Nell has a lot of faith. She put her faith in you, after all.
Heeeeey, I'm a great commander!
"Like healing all of his shitty units for a couple of..."
Aren't you going to finish the joke?
...Nah. If I'm honest, his CO power isn't that bad. It's just... him as a person that actively pisses me off.
I'm surprised Nell's letting him get away with this. I'm quite certain she outranks Max.
Oh my god just let him start the map already
We're almost there.
The map's about to begin. There aren't many units deployed, but I'll list the total deployments that we'll see in this map.
Personality: Immensely creepy character.
Proficiencies: Anti-Air, Mech, Infantry
Personality: No indoor voice.
Proficiencies: Mech, Infantry, Recon
Ah, Carl and Arthur. Yeah, I remember these guys. Alright, so who's what for this map?
Fleur, Transport Copter
Von Panzer, Tank
Selena, Medium Tank
Fred, Medium Tank
I swear these were the exact lines from that Rivals! map that I totally ignored last campaign.
Well, Andy's yet to learn what deploying is, so evidently he wasn't listening in that map either.
Dipshit, for the love of god, please start remembering some of the things that Nell tells you. Please.
Nell continues talking about bases for a while, so I'll skip it.
oh thank god
So, yes, there's much more freedom in this map. That makes Andy's job harder, since he has to decide what's best to deploy.
And as we know, he can't make a sensible decision. He's literally incapable.
If that's what you believe, this map may surprise you.
Hm. Well, the enemy forces are completely nonexistent - Orange Star have the monetary advantage.
Well-spotted. With efficient movement, they can take that northern base and completely prevent any more Black Hole soldiers from appearing within a few days.
Alfonse hops up into Fleur's transport copter, nodding at the beautiful pilot as he does. "Hey, Fleur. Let's get over to the base over there and capture it before the enemy get their hands on it!"
"Right! I'll take flight immediately!" Fleur replies.
Alfonse's hair flutters in the breeze as the transport copter takes off. He eyes the monolithic cannon in the distance and feels a shiver creep down his spine.
"What the hell kind of monster needs a cannon like that..?" he whispers. "War is changing."
Dave and Michael are deployed next - they'll also be making their way north to capture the nearby cities.
Makes perfect sense to me.
Alright, now let's see what this gigantic lad is capable of.
I'm not sure a cannon constitutes a 'lad', my dude.
I'm not sure you constitute a 'lad'.
See, Lash? This is what you get for making the most inconveniently big cannon in the world.
I suppose Flak's job was merely to protect the cannon as it lays waste to the countryside.
And by "take charge of the battle", Flak apparently meant "deploy a single infantry". Great work, Flak.
We're not quite out of the woods yet when it comes to Nell saying words, by the way.
I mean, I'm not too mad about this one. I've never a weapon like this before, so some advice would actually be useful.
Black Hole are the least imaginative people ever. Why not call it the Todeskanone or something?
I didn't know you knew German.
Eh, Von Panzer taught me a little during our last campaign together. Mostly words to do with guns and war, though. Dude's a mercenary, after all.
I wonder what constitutes a massive range? Battleships hit like, 6 maximum, I think. More than that, perhaps?
It does have quite a crippling weakness, though.
I'm sorry, it only fires once every two days and hits the strongest unit, singular? Unless it literally kills the unit in question, which I doubt, because not even Meteor Strike did that, this is the largest waste of money I've ever seen.
Except for that time that you bought like eleven medium tanks.
I said a WASTE. Eleven medium tanks is a wise investment, not a waste.
Anyway, Dave loads into Michael, bound north. It's not hard to see why.
Approaching the cannon from the front would definitely be suicidal.
"Alright, folks," Dave says as Michael drops him off further up the battlefield. "Looks like we're the anti-cannon task force for this mission. We're waiting on intel from the gal upstairs, and once we have that, we move in. For now, we secure the area."
"Got it." Alfonse replies.
"Hey everyone!" shouts Arthur in his usual loud tone.
Dave winces. "Arthur. Carl. Glad to have you with us - you heading north?"
"Yes..." Carl replies, trying hard to sound normal. "I will be fighting with you. And not tasting the blood."
"That's, uh, great, Carl." Alfonse says. "Right, let's get the troops ready. Backup's coming later, so let's make sure to open the way for them!"
Alfonse gets dropped off at the base on the island, not too far from the Black Cannon.
That is quite imposing. So what kind of range does it have? 10?
What the fucking fuck
It's quite monstrous. And Fleur's copter is right in the cannon's path.
I can't even blame Dipshit for that one. I wouldn't have expected it to have such a massive firing range... no wonder he didn't approach from the front. My god.
Does this thing one-shot units, by the way? Because Fleur's kinda...
Half HP? That's... that's worse than Meteor Strike! Though I suppose it does attack once every two days. And I can only guaran-fucking-tee that we'll see versions in the lategame that can attack every day.
Well, we'll find out. For now, though, the infantry goes for a nearby property.
Alright, what's next?
If she says it's the big-ass door on the cannon, I'm going to cry.
You may want to prepare some tissues.
Also, ninety-nine fucking HP. That's quite beefy. I wonder how defensive it is?
You'll be unsurprised to hear that medium tanks cut through that HP quite easily.
Either way, the mission is to destroy the cannon.
Yeah, that's a new one. I've never had a battle like this before. Let's see how it goes.
That's what she said.
Pfft. Told you it was funny.
Anyway, yes, the map. So...
Alfonse begins capturing the base.
Understandable - that base is right next to the cannon, and with medium tanks' 5 movement, if you wanna get heavy firepower to the cannon quickly, that's the easiest place to do it.
Dave and Arthur also start to capture their properties. Orange Star needs a lot of money if they want medium tanks.
And Carl heads north with Michael. I see - and who's the new tank?
It's none other than Von Panzer.
...Black Hole certainly have a turn, it's just...
Dudes capturing things?
Yeah. Pretty much that.
Back to the interesting stuff, then.
Hardly interesting. Just Arthur capturing something.
And then Dave capturing something. And then-
Don't tell me - Alfonse capturing something?
It is indeed Alfonse capturing something.
Fliss gets deployed too, and as usual, she is terrified to death of everything.
The Black Hole troops are slowly multiplying, too. Dipshit needs to capture that base ASAP.
Indeed - if they keep getting properties, they'll soon be able to afford some more dangerous troops.
Some of them, though, just want to prevent the approach.
Not bad, Dipshit. He put Michael in front of Dave on purpose, so the infantry wouldn't weaken Dave. Not bad.
Those more dangerous troops might be coming out soon, too. Flak deploys a mech.
...When I said dangerous, I meant, like, rockets or tanks. But sure. A mech.
Then... um, give me a second.
Are those cue cards?
They help me formulate sentences in the way you taught me... give me a second.
Von Panzer is offended by the Black Hole infantry's mere existence and decides to fix it. With bullets.
Yeah, there we go! Nice! I could have almost said that myself.
Looks like Dave's gonna finish the job.
And finish it he does. Your troops really are a crack team at this point, you know.
Oh, I know. I'm very proud of them all.
Carl, Arthur and Fliss head up to back up the troops.
"Any more backup coming, Von Panzer?" Dave asks, readying his guns.
"Indeed! More on the way!" Von Panzer replies.
"Um, hello..." murmurs Fliss into the transceiver. "I'll do my best. But I don't know if I can help out..."
"That's not true." says Alfonse to himself. Fleur turns to him, surprised.
"I'm coming too!" Ingo says. "I'll be on my way shortly!"
Alfonse makes a start on the nearby property by the base.
He really likes his little island, apparently.
The enemy continue to capture property. They're beginning to spread quite a ways now.
There's only four of them. Dave could trounce them on his own, let alone with tank support.
By starting the capture on an odd-numbered day, he's able to capture it in two days without fearing the cannon. Sure, it'll hit him this turn, but he's already captured the property, so it's fine.
Let's just skip through this a little. Fliss fires on this infantry. Von Panzer, meanwhile...
...Attacks the troop on the base.
I see. Next turn, Dipshit's gonna take out whatever gets spawned on the base, then drop an infantry off, right?
And Dave does some more capturing. How much money does Orange Star even need?
That's a question only Nell and the higher-ups can answer. In the meantime, Arthur finishes off the weakened infantry.
This map really doesn't seem that hard. One base, and no pre-deployed units besides the cannon?
I believe Black Hole were overly confident in their cannon.
The rest of the troops advance, meanwhile, ready to put a stop to that base's deployments.
And poor Alfonse is going to eat a cannon to the face.
A huge explosion rips through the area as a gigantic shell explodes across the island. Fleur, well above the wreckage in her transport copter, leans out in terror. "Alfonse?! Alfonse!"
"...So that's the power of the Black Cannon, huh?" Alfonse grunts, pulling himself to his feet. "Not the worst pain I've ever felt, honestly. I'm fine, Fleur; let's just get out of range before it fires again!"
And the enemy infantry have noticed Dave's existence, foolishly attempting to try and put it to an end.
Awfully bold of them to assume Dave is capable of dying.
Wow, that was a horrible trade-off. All that for two damage?
It wasn't very ideal, was it?
Alright, so today's Operation Kill Dude On Base Then Capture Base?
...Oh, it was you.
When I was researching Orange Star's old files, I found several details of operations with incredibly stupid names. I realise now that you named them.
Hey, Operation Stand On HQ And Don't Fucking Die was a classic.
Heh. My favourite was Operation HQ Road Trip.
Uh, anyway, I'm supposed to be interviewing you. Right, next, Alfonse climbs into Fleur, safely out of the cannon's range. And then, the moment I'm sure you've been waiting for...
"Hey, everyone! Sorry for the delay!" Selena says, as a medium tank trundles out of the base on the island. "Thanks for keeping the enemy at bay - I'll handle the cannon. Tank crews, make your way to me in the next few days once you've stamped out the enemy!"
Speaking of stamping out the enemy, Von Panzer makes a start on the infantry.
Infantry really are deceptively tanky sometimes.
Unfortunately, Fliss is also present. She was able to finish the foe off.
And then, the... sigh. The second part of 'Operation Kill Dude On Base Then Capture Base' went into action.
Heheh. Told you, they're good operation names.
Sure. Either way, Michael drops Carl off on the base - Flak now has no way of deploying troops.
And even the troops he does have deployed won't last long. Arthur heads for the nearest enemy infantry.
...I was about to say that they massively overestimated how good their cannon would be, but to be fair, Dipshit is the kind of idiot who would have taken the southern path around. I don't know if it's humanly possible to underestimate Dipshit.
Very true. Dave's damage, meanwhile, prevents him from capturing this in a single turn.
Dave's going to get shot again, too.
OK, that was a little worse. Dave needs protecting, stat.
The mech goes for Von Panzer. You already know he won't kill him in a single hit, since nothing can kill Von Panzer in a single blow, but...
It was quite a powerful blow, coming from a mech. Still, Flak's turn is over - he doesn't have many troops left, after all.
So what's the rest of this map, just making a beeline for the cannon?
There's still a little more cleanup first though. Dave captures his property at last.
And then our boy Ingo comes along.
I think he's Lucy's boy, really, but yes, Ingo does an absurd amount of damage to this hapless infantry.
Blam! This map is so stupid. "Flak, you have the biggest cannon ever to guard the southern route, and one base to guard the entire northern route with. The enemy gets more pre-deployed units, more bases, and more starting money than you. Good luck!"
Even for what effectively counts as a tutorial, it's quite an easy battle.
Carl begins capturing the base, mostly to add insult to Flak's injury.
Fliss, meanwhile, snags another kill.
She's on a roll, wow.
Selena heads north, ready to take on the Black Cannon.
That's the most badass sentence you've ever said, Ruin.
And then a second medium tank is deployed - it's Fred.
As I've always said, the only thing better than one medium tank is more than one medium tank.
It's Flak's turn.
Oh, Carl finally got that base. I guess the infantry may as well capture stuff, since they're likely to be quite useless against the cannon itself.
Quite so. Selena moves towards the cannon - she stays just out of range, though.
The rest of the troops make their way over there.
Flak may as well just retreat now.
I don't feel like he's the type.
Either way, next we attack the cannon, right? I wanna see this.
As I said, medium tanks do quite well against these things. Selena lands a mighty blow.
Sheesh, no kidding. I suppose what you attack the cannon with is left in range, but that's why we brought Fred along too.
...Ah, I bet indirect units work well against these cannons.
The cannon opens fire.
"Nobody break formation or panic! I'm alright. That was a big hit... time to switch out - Fred, get ready!"
"A hero's always ready to take centre stage! Just say when!" Fred replies, revving up his medium tank and turning the gigantic treads towards the nearby cannon.
Oh god, just end it. Put Flak and Lash out of their stupid, stupid misery.
Alright, but let's have one last capture for the road.
This cannon wasn't as defensive as I was expecting. Just two medium tank attacks, and...
So, yes, Dipshit won.
Your name is Dipshit, we all know it.
Dammit, I just called him that a moment ago. You're a bad influence, my dude.
Not wanting to know Andy's name and concerned about unit losses... he's practically you at this point, my dude.
OK, I'm way more handsome than that.
Don't you think, Ruin?
I'm not sure that professionally, I'm allowed to answer that.
Oh, Max cared the whole time. Wild.
Where the hell was it close, Max? Were you watching the same battle as everyone else?
Max wasn't here because he was concerned. He was going to step in once Dipshit failed.
Oh, I see. I mean, having a backup plan is always good. But dick move, Max. Nell gave you orders.
Oh, and this is where Carter was. God damn it, Carter, you need to actually be in these battles.
What the hell is happening here.
This reads like a fucking scene from Friends or something.
Let's just agree that this whole situation was completely farcical and move on.
And then Dipshit just comes out with this? Christ. He really is dense.
Nell really needs a holiday.
Honestly, yeah, she does.
So, yes, there's your introduction to the new weapons of war that Black Hole are using.
Not that threatening, honestly.
There'll be more. But for now, we're almost through the first portion of my story.
Ah, Max's mission next? Interesting. I hope it's called "Max's Time".
Yes, yes, jokes aside - it's time for your side of the story.
...I suppose there's no holding it back any longer. I'll tell you about... that.
Part 5 Additional