Part 17: Icy Escapades
Last time, Waylon shot an unarmed prisoner under Greyfield's orders. Brenner didn't take too kindly to that. Wonder how that's gonna work out for him.
Gage, you cold there? Looks like snow behind you. Want a shirt? No? Alright. I guess since once you pass mild hypothermia you stop shivering anyway, so that won't hurt your aim with that rifle.
: Those dogs! We must avenge his death!
: I hear that Greyfield has ordered us all to be executed.
: Rubinelle filth! They were planning this eve as they accepted the general's surrender.
: You're wrong! Captain Brenner would never allow that! He promised to protect you, and that's what he's going to do. I'm sure of it.
: Like he protected General Forsythe? Ha! You Rubes were killers before the meteors, and now your true colors shine again...
: You're...you're wrong!
: What do you know, kid? No one tells you squat. ...Stupid. I should have seen this coming.
: OK, yeah. You're right. There's a lot of stuff that I don't know. But I do know Captain Brenner, and I know he would never betray you!
THANK YOU, Lieutenant obvious. We totally weren't there to watch Waylon pull the trigger.
: Whatever your feelings for Captain Brenner, he's a soldier, and soldiers follow orders.
: You're wrong! Both of you! The captain... Th-the captain...
: That's enough, Will.
: Captain Brenner! These people are saying that--
: I'm only going to ask you this once. If you can't give me a straight answer, you might as well shoot me now. Is it true that General Forsythe was executed?
: ...Yes. It's true.
Elapsed turnaround time to Tasha's anger: 0.001 seconds.
: Tasha! Stand down! Who was responsible?
: But the final responsibility for his death lies with me. I underestimated Greyfield. I didn't think he would kill an unarmed man. But I accepted your general's surrender, and now he is dead. I can make no excuse. I'm sorry.
: How do we know you're telling the truth?
: Believe me or not. I don't care. I'm not here to justify myself. We're out of time. The 12th Battalion is leaving, and we're taking the Lazurians with us.
: ..You're doing what?
: Greyfield is going to execute all of you in about six hours. But I've had enough. I'm not going to sit around and wait for his orders to be carried out. You need to escape. Now.
: Because if you don't, you'll die. General Forsythe entrusted you with the safety of your fellow troops, right?
: ...I still don't trust you.
God Dammit Tasha.
: What's your plan?
: This place is surrounded by Greyfield's men. My battalion can't possibly take them all on. We're going to make a break and smash through their rear defenses. Once we clear the Northern Ice Plains, you're on your own.
: That's a risky plan. Who's going to provide covering fire?
: We will.
: You're going to fire on Greyfield's men? Aren't they your own people?
: Besides, Greyfield is mad. I can't accept his command anymore.
: I... I don't know...
: Well, you've got about ten minutes to make up your mind. Prepare your men.
About ten minutes later...
: And Brenner's Wolves are with them!
: BRENNER! What in the name of Rubinelle do you think you're doing?! I order you to turn around and--
: The 12th Battalion doesn't take orders from you anymore, Greyfield.
: This is high treason, and the reward shall be death! Death for you and every member of your pathetic battalion!
: How dare you!
: You're a strongman who seized power on the backs of others.
: Dog! Prepare for your final hour!
: Once you clear it, push hard and don't look back!
: I... I...
: Understood, Captain. Tasha! Let's go! Come on!
Awesome, we get to run the hell away. There's a couple small things we need to look at first.
Actually, first thing we need to do is get in the mood with some awesome music.
Brenner, meanwhile, decides to throw his Md tank into park, and just wait on the lonely lattice of bridges. Waylon, our enemy du jour will be more than happy to make it a little more crowded. You may notice the medal by the tank, as well as that darker area around it. What does it mean, you ask?
Well, looking at the Md tank, we can see it's already a veteran, it's attack and defence are up, and that Brenner, our CO, is on board. This is our introduction to CO's in this game, in part. Instead of previous titles having your CO gain power from dealing damage, you now place your CO into a vehicle, where it immediately gets promoted to veteran and gains the bonuses the CO gives, which vary based on the CO.
The darker area is the CO range. Like the boosts a CO gives, the range from the CO boarded unit varies based on who you're using. Units in this radius also gain the boosts from the CO, as well as an additional moderate boost to their attack and defence. The attack boost is the same as what you'd see from getting a unit to level 2, and it stacks on top of experience boosts.
We can see here that Brenner's CO range is 3 tiles. Any time a unit of yours attacks an enemy for 5 HP, your CO gains one point towards their power. Killing an enemy while your unit is in this radius gives two points. Getting six points will increase the radius by one additional tile, and getting twelve points will increase the radius by another one tile, and give access to the CO power. Unlike AW2 and AW:DS, there is no Super CO power.
Looking at the CO option on the menu, we can see Brenner's CO abilities. As previously stated, his zone is 3 tiles. He gives a respectable boost to defence, and it affects all units. His CO power is similar to Andy from previous Advance Wars games, repairing all units on the map by 3 HP. Not too shabby. Using the power causes the unit to be used for the turn, as a note of precaution since I'm already talking about powers.
Our destination is to the west. Our objective is simple: get one of the two Lazurian units to that city. The practice, however, is difficult. Gage appears to be mystified as to where good positioning is for his units, and will ALWAYS move the maximum spaces he can, whether or not it sits in range of an attack. The mission is as much about killing the few units west of us as it is babysitting his units and getting them to move favourably. Let's get started.
I start by moving our Rig over to the west. The snow that is falling hinders us, reducing all movement by one tile. Annoying, but since Waylon is affected by it too, it isn't too frustrating. The next step is getting the tank to damage the enemy rocket, which it happily obliges.
With that done, the Rig is now blocking Gage's recon from going out as far as it can to the south, which is good for us, because we want that at full health for as long as possible.
The next step is removing the threat of the B Copter flying right by us.
With that done, everything else moves up. The infantry is blocking Gage's recon from getting into rocket range to the north, which is the best thing we can really do with it for this mission.
At the beginning of Day 2, the rockets targeted our artillery, and Brenner continues to sit there.
I move the artillery into position to begin taking out the meteor, which will allow the recon to continue towards the city. The northern AA leaves space for the infantry to pass by, while also giving some coverage against the B copter should it choose to target Gage instead of Brenner.
The rocket threat, meanwhile, is removed permanently.
About all I can do. The recon is going to take a beating though, knowing Gage. It can easily pass by the south AA and into the range of Waylon's artillery.
At the start of Waylon's turn on Day 2, this exchange happens:
: Captain Brenner! Come on! You have to go now!
: Brother man, I don't think this little bird's flyin' anywhere. We got some business to settle... Ain't that right, Brenner?
: No thanks, brother man. My mama didn't raise no dummies. Why are you sticking your neck out like this anyway, Brenner? You think any of this makes a difference? I just don't get it.
: And you never will.
: Fine by me, brother man. Fine by me. Say, you remember what I said the first time we met? I TOLD you this responsibility gig would lead to an early grave.
Son, you best get yourself treated for frostbite, cause that is one sick
: Ain't that a thing. Almost makes me feel bad about what I'm gonna do.
What he's about to do, of course, is blast our mech with a tank, and Brenner's Md Tank with his remaining B Copter. Gage is derping it up by running his recon straight into artillery fire.
Let's begin on that meteor, or Gage will very quickly lose that recon. Meanwhile, the mech up top gets heavily damaged by the north AA, removing it as a threat for the infantry. Our own infantry moves up as bait for the artillery, just in case Waylon feels it's a larger threat than Gage's damaged recon. Finally, in the East, our mech continues attacking the enemy tank. At least that'll stall them when they inevitably catch up to us.
The beginning of Day 4 has our Mech dead from the tank, Brenner hopelessly surrounded, and Gage's infantry killing the enemy mech. Gage also retreated his recon to safety, which means our infantry gets nailed by the artillery.
First things first, the meteor goes down from artillery fire.
Next, rather than immediately destroy the enemy artillery, I send the tank south to damage the infantry. Since it's currently in range of Gage's recon, it's still a threat.
A bit of unit shuffle happens, and one of our AA's shoots out half the artillery. That poor infantry will likely die, however.
Better than Gage's recon, though. Almost every move I'm having to pull up this damn recon's move range, just to make sure he isn't blindly moving it into a combat situation.
On Waylon's turn, an anti-tank he built takes down Brenner, finally.
: Captain! Come on! This way!
: I told you to run, Will, and that's a damn order!
: But, Captain--
: Lin! Get him the hell out of here!
: Listen, Lin. There's...there's a lot of things I never got a chance to say... But I know you. And I know you understand what I'm about to do... Now move! MOVE!
: ...Understood, Captain. We're gone.
I don't like the sound of that. At all.
Nothing we can do about it now, though. Instead, we press on towards freedom. Our tank rolls up and finishes off the artillery, which did take out our infantry. Thankfully, we did place it such that Gage would only move away from the city, which Waylon thought was a better target than plinking at the recon.
With that done, I take a quick assessment of the situation. Our next, and last, threat to the west are the two recons. To the east, however, is a rapidly growing force. The tank and B Copter are the foremost threat, with good movement range and power against Gage's two units.
This should keep the Recon safe from both sides. Neither the tank nor the B Copter will reach where I expect the recon to end up after Gage moves it, and the other two recons are blocked.
Gage moves forward as best he can, Waylon continues his pursuit, and I plan an attack.
Enemy recons crippled. Now to cover Gage's recon, and place it in an advantageous position...
Again, knowing how he'll move, he'll go either as far north or west as he can. I want him to go west, though, since Waylon's south recon is more damaged. This means plugging up that north path.
There we go. Let the enemy butt their head against the Rig, the artillery will fire back.
Apparently Waylon decided that Gage didn't need to be attacked this turn, and left his south recon idle. I first move the tank up to give a shield to the infantry when it finishes crossing the river.
Then I take out the two recons with my AA guns. The north AA is blocking Gage's recon, but that's alright.
About as good as this is gonna get.
B Copter attacked my artillery, tank attacked the rig. Gage presses west in a desperate bid to live another day. Stop me if that last bit sounds familiar.
I roll the tank out of the way, and the AA removes the airborne threat.
Artillery strikes the enemy tank, and I save the rig by replacing it with the AA. Every unit counts for score, and I still like seeing bigger numbers at the end.
Uhh...Gage? You DO know we're abandoning this area, right? That city won't remain Lazurian territory for long. Recon is basically safe.
But just in case...
Yay Gage! You aren't completely retarded!
: Move it! We can't let Brenner's sacrifice go to waste!
: Will! Take command of the left flank! We're getting out of here!
: But, Captain Brenner--
: Brenner made his choice. Now move!
: Keep moving! I'll buy you time!
That's about as good as I've ever gotten on this mission. Power is a tricky one here, because if you stay behind to attack one unit, odds are you take counter damage on Waylon's turn, and possibly lose that unit later, hurting technique.
For the rest of the update, I'll be silent. The following scene deserves that.
: Any word from Captain Brenner?
: No. Will is trying to establish radio contact, but so far, nothing.
???: ... ... ... ...
: Captain Brenner, this is Will! Please respond! Please!
???: ... ... ... ... ...Will, come... Capt...
: Lin! I got him! I got him! Captain, where are you?!
???: ...126...272... Derelict building in... ...south of ...ice field...
: ...Things didn't go...quite according to plan...eh, Will...?
: Brenner cannot be allowed to live! I want him found if you have to search every inch of this country!
: W-we think he's somewhere in the ruined city south of the ice, sir! We...we're getting close to--
: I didn't ask for excuses! I asked for results! Bring me Brenner! King Greyfield will brook no disobedience to his supreme rule! If he is not found within the hour, I will begin executing commanders! Is that clear?!
: This seems to be a perfect opportunity to test the device we discussed earlier...
: Yes.. Yes! YES! That is the key! Get me your device! Let nothing live! I want not so much as a blade of grass left in that area!
: You will not be disappointed, Admiral. I look forward to seeing the results.
: B-but, Admiral... Our forces are surrounding the city. Your...your men are there.
: It's just that... Well, if we set the device off with all of...your troops...they're... Nothing, sir. Nothing. No problem.
: Tabitha, can you hear me? Are you ready to play with Daddy's new toy?
: I can't wait! Do it! Raze the entire area to the ground!
: Captain, we're heading to your position now! You have to hold on!
: ...No, Will... Don't come...back for me... ...Stay...away... ...Greyfield...wants me... I can... ...buy you time... ...That's... an order...
: We're not leaving you, Captain!
: ...I'll...join you later... ...Just need to...rest here... ...for a while...
: ...Never wanted you to...see me like this... ...It's... up to you...Will...
: NO! Captain, please! Don't give up! There's still hope, Captain! There's still hope!
: BATHE HIM IN FIRE!
: ...Look at that... It's...beautiful...
An explosion is heard
: Captain! Captain Brenner!