Part 76: Interview 38 - Jess Hit Squad (Or, I, Too, Am A Connoisseur Of Lava)Interview 38 - Jess Hit Squad (Or, I, Too, Am A Connoisseur Of Lava)
Why? Hes supposed to be implementing my plan elsewhere.
He said hes got something to talk to you about.
Yknow, dumb as they are, its nice to see the Black Hole COs interacting a bit more. Their dynamics are interesting. Except Adder.
Adder is the worst.
Very well. Send him in.
Heard you were launching an attack.
Near the volcano.
Which is why were doing it.
I think this is my favourite interaction in the entire game so far. Absolutely deadpan delivery.
The volcano disrupts the air currents. Our enemies will be unable to use their best troops, their air force.
At least Hawke is aware of how powerful bombers are.
I mean, he got his ass handed to him by a bunch of planes a couple of maps ago. Hes probably still nursing those bruises to his pride.
But theres lava flying everywhere. Our own troops are being injured, too.
A Black Hole CO, caring about their soldiers?!
Which means what to us, exactly?
Its alright. Hawkes got us back on track.
Any losses we incur are acceptable in the name of victory.
But the strength of the enemy forces attacking my front
Now I see. This is all about you. Pretending to be concerned about the troops when its your own skin
Whuh!? No, thats--
Flak was so surprised that he invented a whole new word.
Whuh. Its got potential, I think.
Before you question my plans again, I suggest you win a battle with one of your own devising.
The lavas going to make little people pancakes! Tee hee hee!
A necessary reminder that these COs are, in fact, completely evil.
Well, that mission name doesn't bode well. Are we fighting in a burning hellscape?
Not quite, but here's the map for you.
Well, that volcano is fucking gigantic. And also surrounded by mountains. Huh, so most of the action on this map will take place around the outside... interesting.
Whatre you going to do, Eagle? You cant fly near that thing.
In that case, well meet the foe on the ground.
Hold on, Eagle! You know youre not at your best on the ground. Let me take care of this. Ground combats my specialty.
Hey! Jess! Stop right--
I dont know why Eagle is complaining. Jess is absolutely right.
Its about PRIIIIIIDE.
Does she think she can decide whos going? Who does she
Eagle Jess is right. Let her take care of this.
Yes, I know shes right. Im just letting off steam.
You know, I feel that. I yell about Dipshit every so often when things start to get too hot to handle (which is never).
If you say so. Anyway, here are today's deployments.
Abelard, Medium Tank
Harlow, Medium Tank
Matilda, Medium Tank
Ah, plenty of medium tanks. Just what I like to see.
And here's some intel for the volcano. It, uh, erupts from time to time. That is to say, once per day.
So, let's get started. Mulligan and Sebastian are deployed first - they'll be bound north for the base nearby.
Makes sense. Hawke and Jess have started with roughly the same funds, so the person who strikes out the quickest will be at the advantage.
Well, it's not going to be Hawke, who deploys four infantry and no APCs. They have more capturing potential, but it'll take forever for them to walk anywhere.
Going north seems like a no-brainer, though. The base to the east is way too far away to reach in a feasible number of turns... but then, is it worth dividing your troops between north and east?
Well, a two-pronged assault on the HQ would certainly be effective, but highly expensive.
Eagle? What is it?
It seems that the lava from the volcano falls in a set pattern. If you can decipher it, you might be able to use it to your advantage.
Intriguing. I wonder what kind of pattern?
Thats good intel. Thanks.
Dont endanger yourself by trying anything foolish. Luck be with you.
I love that his advice boils down to "hey, don't fuck up".
Oh, shit, the volcano actually erupts! What next?
A series of fireballs rain from the sky like so...
Each one colliding with a particular tile. There are two sets of fireballs, and they alternate each day.
I see. So certain tiles are dangerous on certain days. That's definitely going to make things interesting.
Correct, but for now. Sebastian prepares to take Mulligan north.
"Hey, Seb, hope you're feeling OK." Mulligan says, placing a hand on the younger man's shoulder. Sebastian nods.
"Y-yeah. I mean, Addy's refusing to be deployed at the same time as me, which is a bit awkward, but... it had to happen. Right?"
"You did the right thing. Now come on - let's focus on the battle at hand." Mulligan replies. Sebastian nods.
"Of course. You and I, we're bound right for the enemy HQ!"
Howard has also been deployed - he'll be capturing a couple of properties in the area, just to get Jess some more money. She'll need it.
Well, there's Hawke's APC. You deployed it a turn too late, you idiot!
Maps with no deployed units are always a little slow at the start, aren't they?
Hey, I don't mind maps where me and the enemy don't have any units to start with. But fucking Show Stopper? Where Sonja started with nothing and Adder had a whole predeployed army with bombers? Now that's bullshit.
Meanwhile, as if to demonstrate the properties of the falling fireballs, this infantry accidentally stands in the way of one.
Jeez, 5 damage?! Yeah, you do not want to get caught by one of those. Hopefully Jess knows where the most dangerous spots are.
She'll be fine. Howard begins capturing the nearest property.
And Mulligan is exactly in range to capture this base. Deploying troops from up here will be faster than deploying them outside the HQ - and the faster they can get their troops to the enemy HQ, the better, really.
Yeah, I think I see how this map is going to go.
We'll have to wait and see. Hawke's not an idiot, so I can't imagine he'd make such an obvious blunder, but...
Oh boy, he's started deploying actually dangerous stuff now.
It's alright. Jess just needs to save a bit more and capture some bases, and she'll have a foothold on the map.
And whoa! That was a narrow miss. Mulligan, you gotta be careful. If you eat a fireball, that's gonna massively slow down the map.
Don't worry, neither of your golden boys has been hit yet. Howard finishes capturing this property.
As does Mulligan. Next turn, Jess can start deploying her own actually dangerous stuff.
Yes. Medium tanks. And a Neotank.
Yeah, it's been a while since we've seen a Neotank! I'm looking forward to that.
Meanwhile, this small infestation of Black Hole troops are continuing to run around capturing things.
Some of the troops are heading to the west, however - they're off to fight Jess' forces. The tank is in a good position, too. The spaces to the right and left of the bridge are both lava spaces, but the bridge itself is safe.
That's good for Hawke, but not for us. A half-HP tank would be much more preferable to face.
Yes, but Hawke isn't an idiot. Most of the time, anyway.
He's definitely had his moments. Oh, Howard's off across the river.
He won't be capturing all of the properties south of the volcano, but he's got time to capture one before Hawke's troops arrive.
With that base captured, however, it's time to move on to the second one.
And Seb's dropped him right on top of it. Does Jess have the funds for a medium tank? Oh, she does!
Oh, she's got more than enough.
It's Abelard, here to, uh, mostly just go from the base to the enemy HQ and crush anything that tries to stop him.
That's exactly what medium tanks are for. They go somewhere, and absolutely nothing stops them.
They are strong, especially when Jess has them.
These guys are still on their way to the HQ, very slowly.
Hm. If they capture the bases around there, they might be able to deploy some horrible stuff.
Speaking of, there's more enemies on the way - an artillery and an anti-air.
That's not ideal. I mean, the anti-air's a non-threat, but ranged things on a map with such little manoeuvrability are certainly irritating.
Did you already forget what I said about the bridge?
Ahahah! You fucking fool! Never mind, we're totally fine.
Anyway, Mulligan continues capturing. A small team of medium tanks is an expensive investment.
It is totally worth it though.
It seems that Jess agrees - she gets a second one, Harlow.
Yeah, unless Hawke gets a medium tank of his own, I don't see this going that badly. Jess will squash everything between her and the enemy HQ.
Perhaps, but don't forget, her troops down here are well on their way to getting their own bases.
...You know, thinking about it, that might be advantageous.
How do you figure?
Well, look at this. Couple of troops up there, ready to deal with Jess' forces. Once he gets some bases down below, he's going to start deploying things down below. He's fighting a battle on two fronts, which as we said, is pretty expensive.
...Ah. Jess can afford to deploy powerful and expensive units because she's only attacking along one front.
But Hawke's got to divide his attention - and money - between both fronts. It's not gonna work out well for him if he keeps this up.
Well, we'll finally start to see a bit of combat soon, as Jess and Hawke's troops are getting closer to one another.
I'm hoping that Howard's not going to see combat. There's so many enemy infantry coming for him.
I'm sure he'll be OK.
Mulligan's got another base down, too.
Oh, and our tanks are moving in. This is going to be fun; I don't even think Hawke's troops will even dare attack.
Correct - they didn't. On with Jess' turn again.
First things first, Howard captures another property.
Funds for the funds god!
Who on earth is the funds god?
I dunno, Colin, probably. Or Kanbei.
Anyway, the enemy troops make their approach, but don't do much else, so now it's time to begin the fight. Abelard prepares to blast this tank into infinity.
By which I mean, leave it on 1 HP.
Oh, you tease.
Mulligan and Sebastian are preparing to head with the tanks. The medium tanks will be taking care of the combat, but only an infantry can capture the HQ.
Speaking of medium tanks, more medium tanks! This is Matilda, then?
Quite so. After all, you... you...
No, no, go on. You can do it.
...You can never have enough medium tanks.
These four troublemakers are on their way to Howard, meanwhile.
Pfft. I'm imagining a group of greasers walking in time and clicking their fingers. "Ey, pal, d'boss needs his money, see?"
You're really not good at impressions, are you? The only halfway decent one was your Hawke.
I'm ahead of my time, you'll see.
Anyway, the tank that Abelard shot has retreated. Meanwhile, Hawke deploys more troops - his other tank heads south, and there's another artillery on the loose.
If that thing moves in range of the bridge it could prove to be very annoying. But hey, look, Hawke's having to divide his forces! I told you!
Yes, yes, you're a tactical genius who constantly needs the approval of others.
I resent that last part, even if it is true.
Hmmm. The one issue with medium tanks is that it's a lot of firepower in one unit, but sometimes less firepower over multiple units is better - like here, there's four enemies and preferably they all need to go. But we've only got two mediums in range.
"The one issue"? They only have 5 movement, you know.
So does Hector Fire Emblem and everybody still loves him!
Whoever that is, I can guarantee that is not his actual surname. Are you 'my dude Advance Wars'?
No, that would be absolutely ridiculous.
I am my dude lastname.
...OK, now you're definitely screwing with me.
As much as I'd love to complain, 5 movement is perfect for this next manoeuvre, as Harlow first destroys the anti-air...
...Allowing Abelard to delete the artillery. Even with half HP, it's still annoying, so getting it out of the way is the best approach here.
Well, yeah, it's not like that weakened infantry or that tank are going to try and stop the medium tank crew.
Indeed, and there's a third one on the way. Sebastian and Mulligan have got quite the escort to the HQ.
Hawke continues to put his attention on the wrong part of the map. Well done, Hawke.
Good thing for Jess, though. That said, there's a couple more roadblocks now, and one of them is blocking the bridge.
Wait, does that mean-
Oh my god, twice in a row, Hawke?! My man really needs to pay more attention to where he's putting his artilleries.
Yeah. Hawke didn't do that very well. Once more, then, Harlow blows up the weak vehicle unit.
Which allows Abelard to take out the weakened artillery unit. Deja vu, huh?
If it works, why change it?
Anyway, Jess needed every single bit of property that Mulligan and Howard have captured - just to afford this in a timely manner.
With his high movement, he can catch up relatively quickly - Conrad has been deployed in the Neotank.
Depending on your viewpoint, things down here are getting more concerning - rockets, and plenty of infantry.
See, it looks threatening, but firstly) Hawke is spending all of his money down south instead of up north, and secondly) the infantry units are going to capture every property they come across before they reach the HQ, so they're not actually that close.
Mm. Provided Jess takes the HQ in a timely manner, there should be no trouble.
Alright, what havoc are these dudes going to wreak today?
Probably shooting nearby things. If I had to guess.
You don't have to guess, you know what happens.
I do. And I happen to know that Matilda shoots a nearby thing - in particular, the tank that was healing over here.
Abelard, meanwhile, has apparently got the taste for artillery blood, and charges right into the enemy base to shoot at yet another artillery.
He may as well. At 1-range, the artillery can't do anything about this.
Harlow gets rid of the infantry, just because it's ruining the scenery.
And Sebastian hides here with Mulligan. There's a clever plan at play here.
Is there? Hm...
You'll see it in a moment.
Was the plan "get shot by a recon"? Because if so, it went off without a hitch. The recon just-
I know that smile. You cracked it?
Oh yeah, I know what's coming.
You know, even considering what I said before, that is a rather alarming amount of dudes. Where's Howard?
We'll check on Howard in a moment. But first - vindication.
EAT LAVA! Absolutely amazing work, Jess. She actually managed to use it to her advantage!
She certainly did. This volcano really has it out for Hawke's troops.
Here's Howard, by the way. He's fleeing.
Oh, god, this is getting too close for comfort...
Conrad has caught up to the others now, too. Hawke's got his work cut out for him if he intends to defend this HQ from Jess.
At least Harlow's on hand to delete the recon.
Abelard's crusade against artilleries continues.
Has he shot anything else this entire map?
The rest of the troops make a defensive formation - as I said, the lava falling alternates each day, so for this day the space left of the bridge is safe, and Matilda is protecting Sebastian from that anti-air.
Not bad at all. Let's just hope Hawke doesn't spawn anything horrible. Keeping a single infantry alive is not always easy, especially when they need to capture something.
Oh, apparently the anti-air's got business to the south. Well, that makes things easier.
There's quite a lot of business to the south, including some medium tank business.
Who would win? Hawke's entire army or one stressed Howard?
Hawke's entire army. That's why Howard is currently running for his life.
Oh shit that tank is way too close.
Thankfully he can just about squeak out of the tank's range, and it'll be more interested in the HQ than him.
Phew! Don't scare me like that, Howard.
Whilst the rest of the hit squad enter the enemy base and drop off Mulligan, Abelard heads down to take out the anti-air. Just because it might turn around and go for Mulligan now that he's out of the APC.
And the rest of the squad are just kind of hanging around. At least they're starting to cover up the bases and preventing Hawke from spawning stuff.
Hawke doesn't need stuff to be at an advantage, though - he's got his CO Power.
Fuck yourself, Hawke. Intimately.
I concur. I suppose.
One damage isn't much... but it's just enough to slow down the capture of the HQ by a day.
Bleh. And the tank's got to the HQ. Which doesn't mean anything, but it's proof that he's getting close.
There's time, though. And it's not like any of Jess' troops are in actual danger.
Anyhow, Mulligan makes a start on the HQ.
Well, the map's basically done then, isn't it?
Plenty of stuff to kill in the meantime though. Conrad's going for the artillery, I see.
Correct, and Harlow's going to finish it off.
The other tanks are covering up the bases, too. Hawke's got no options left, really.
That's what he gets for spending his big bucks in the south instead of defending his HQ.
I mean, look at this! Unnecessary amounts of dudes, frankly.
Let's just skip past the inevitable, then.
Conrad blows through most of a recon.
And Abelard helps. Good lad.
"Good lad"? He's fifty years old.
Lads can be any age.
I didn't show it, but don't worry, Mulligan's still merrily capturing the HQ.
A damn good job, too. Hawke's army is right on Jess' doorstep.
Come now, Commander. There's still more fun to be had before the map ends.
Well, I do like watching medium tanks kill things...
How about Jess-powered medium tanks?
Oh, daddy likey.
I don't care what you say, whether it's dumb jokes or silly impressions, so long as you never say those words in that order again.
Anyhow, Conrad can one-shot the rockets. I'm not sure what Hawke's plan was there.
Abelard can't quite do the same to the recon though. As much as enemies on bases are sitting ducks, the three defence stars can be annoying to punch through.
Well, yes, but there's more than enough medium tanks on the prowl to punch through anything, really. I thought you'd enjoy a bit of carnage before we finish.
I do appreciate it.
And with that, Hawke's been grounded. A rather embarrassing showing for him this time around.
Yeah, that map... didn't seem that bad, actually. Are you sure we're almost at endgame?
Tell the troops they fought well under these terrible conditions.
I mean, the conditions werent that bad. Did any of Jess soldiers even get hit by lava?
Tell them Im proud of them.
GE Soldier: Yes, maam.
Jess, that was well done.
It was all the soldiers doing. I just nudged them along.
That that is the purpose of a commanding officer, to be fair.
Thats exactly right.
Eagle, stow that bilge.
However, you werent terrible, Red. Try to continue not screwing up.
Ive decided. Eagle is just completely incapable of talking to women correctly.
Im inclined to agree.
Now, hold on a minute, Eagle Where did he go?
Jess, believe it or not, he meant that as a compliment.
I know that. I was just wondering if he couldnt find a better way to do it.
Not perfect, but a fantastic ranking nonetheless. I suppose power is hard to come by when you just let half of Hawke's army do its own thing.
She's very casual about her life. She just fought in a lava-filled battlefield around a volcano.
Eh, it's just another day for a CO. You kind of get used to it.
And, well, as much as I'd love to tease you about what map might be coming up next, we already know. Next time, it's botes- uh, boats.
You said booooootes!
It was a minor slip-up, shut up. Shut up. Stop laughing at me. My dude! Do I need to tase you again? Urgh, you're unbelievable...
Part 38 Additional