Part 20: The Creeper: Redux
After our little escapade last time taking down a minigun tower, I don't even know what could be coming up. Another run in with Caulder? Greyfield again? The Creeper finally kills everyone? Who knows?
: Recon units report a large enemy force approaching from the southeast.
: This is a long way to come just to wipe out our merry little band.
Telling an egomaniac to shut up and that his outlook on a natural disaster is wrong within the span of months kinda does that.
: He won't stop until he's destroyed every last Lazurian. I think he's kinda crazy.
: Any farther north and we'll be swimming. We're out of places to hide. Commander? What are your orders?
: What can we do? We make a stand here and hope for the best.
: They have more troops, more experience, and better weaponry. I don't think we can win this fight.
: I know, Lin. But we don't have a choice.
: No. There is a choice.
: What is it, Tasha?
: Out of the question! You're our allies. Our friends. We would never do that!
: It's your best option.
Lazuria is all but dead. We just stole their remaining fighting force and their two best (?) commanders. Their hero was shot point blank by Greyfield. I don't think he gives two shits about Lazuria anymore. This is now personal with Brenner's Wolves.
: What about it, Lieutenant? I bet you thought of this a while ago, huh?
: I considered it.
: Look, Will... I mean, Commander. We're grateful for all that you've done for us. You taught me that every nation has its flaws. And you taught me that there is some good in Rubinelle. Don't worry. I've had a good run.
: I'm ready.
: Tasha! Gage! No! This is madness!
: Will, listen--
: No! I won't listen! We're not doing this! Captain Brenner saved your lives. He would never hand you over to Greyfield, and I won't do it either. We live together and we fight together. And if we die together, so be it.
: Are you sure?
: I'm sure. But that's not going to happen. Greyfield isn't going to beat us.
You can hear the condescension in her voice as she says this. "If THIS is your decision..."
: Oh ho! Sorry to interrupt, but I have to speak to you right now!
: This can't be good.
: I've finished screening people for the Creeper, and the results are disheartening...
: I'm afraid so. The virus has spread to civilian, Rubinelle, and Lazurian alike. I think the infection started before we even entered the trading outpost.
: But everyone seems fine!
: It seems the disease now spreads without detectable symptoms until it is too late. If we don't find a cure soon, it's going to kill us all! Oh ho ho... Wait, that isn't funny.
: This is not what we needed...
: Sir, the enemy has mobilized. We are awaiting your orders!
We prefer the term "lady of the night", thank you.
: Look at those treacherous dogs who dared to betray me! This will be fun! Give my regards to Brenner, swine!
: ...I knew we were outgunned, but this is absurd. First the meteors, then the virus, and now this.
: At least Greyfield's guns will be quick and painless. Unlike the Creeper...
: No! What's wrong with you! Stop talking like that! We still have hope. We will find a way to win.
Will, unsurprisingly, takes command here. Always a good song to listen to. No, I will never stop singing the praises of the music in this game.
Well, if we want to win, we need to assess this situation. First, up north is Greyfield's air force. That bomber is threatening, since we only have one AA. Also, a very pretty view of what's north of us. Gives a nice "last stand" feel to the map.
Down below, Greyfield has a mixture of armor units, which will be great targets for our anti tanks. At least Lazuria is here as well, albeit CO-less. Their force is almost entirely dedicated to countering Greyfield's northern force. Which would be great if that air force wasn't in the opposite corner of the map. Spread around the map are new building, let's take a look.
Remember these asshole buildings from Dual Strike? They're back! And, since IntSys wasn't keen on making the defence boost accessible for only one CO, they all give a flat defence boost. Just as bullshit is the fact this thing shits money like a city. You want to make a mission not fun? Have multiple Com Towers in the enemy's posession. Nothing will die, and you'll probably take more damage in the counterattack than you deal.
First order of business is getting as far away from this bomber as possible.
Mech, having nothing better to do, begins capturing a city. Could be useful to regain 1 HP on a unit, since we have no buildings right now. Will goes and overkills this unit in the meantime.
This SHOULD be a one hit kill. AA versus mech? Normally no contest.
That said, fuck Com Towers. Greyfield has TWO right now.
The rest of our units dogpile around Will for some sort of a defence boost.
With no CO to guide them, Lazuria's forces get the default music. But that's not the worst part.
: Our western front is in chaos. The units are ignoring our orders.
: What are they thinking?! We're in the middle of a battle!
: Word of the virus has spread, sir. The people are terrified. I think they're looking for someone to blame...
: Open a channel! We have to talk to them.
: I already tried, Commander. There is no response.
Yeah, impending death tends to demoralize anyone.
: No! This isn't happening!
: If Greyfield don't get us, that virus will!
: My eye itches! I think I got it! Noooooo! NOOOOOOOO!
You know, I never noticed how similar the portraits are for these two units.
: We've been tricked! Someone has done this to us!
: It's your fault! You civilians! You brought the Creeper into camp!
: I heard you gave it to us to try and keep us in line!
: Our allies are in complete disarray. Our orders can't get through to them.
Greyfield is in command of the NRA forces, unsurprisingly since he's just so trigger happy to kill us.
Our turn rolls around again though, but the loss of Lazurian forces rests heavily on the Commanders minds.
: There must be something...
: Wait! That communications tower!
Man, but that Com tower is SO far away!
: I'd rather get shot than have that thing take me!
: It must be the Lazurians! We never should have trusted them!
: We should never have joined you!
: That's right! You never should have joined us, losers! It was bad enough when we had these useless civilians to deal with!
: Don't call us useless, you gun-toting warmongers! You're the ones who dragged us into your stupid battles! You should have left us in peace! Now I'm gonna catch the Creeper and die!
: Listen to me! Everyone! Stop arguing. Stop looking for people to blame.
: Who put that kid in charge anyway? No wonder we're all gonna die!
: I... Wait, listen, just... Just hold on one second...
: Forget this, man! I'm outta here!
: What do you mean?
I dunno, but this line reminds me of something...
: I ain't letting some kid send me to die. I'll take my chances on my own!
: Really? What's your plan?
: ...It's better than staying here.
: If you want to leave, that's your choice. Good luck. But I won't abandon anyone. I'm tired of running.
: Big words from a small man! You think you're noble? Is that it?
: This isn't about sounding noble. It's about survival.
: ...I don't wanna die!
: Look, I won't lie. Greyfield has us outnumbered, and this won't be easy. But if we fight among ourselves, we don't have any chance.
: Just fight! Don't lie down and die!
: I dunno...
: It doesn't matter where you're from or what has happened in the past. We're done talking. It's time to stand together and fight!
: I... I guess...
: Er... Sorry, Commander. Got a little freaked out there for a second... Let's do it! Let's get Greyfield!
: Yeah! Let's do it!
: Yeah! We're with you too! Let's take him down!
: Well done, Commander. ...A bit crazed, but well done.
: Sorry. I got a bit carried away there. This would never have happened if Captain Brenner was still here...
: Believe it or not, emotion has a place on the battlefield. But that time has passed. Your men are ready. Let's finish this.
It's not apparent, but Blue will now fight instead of immediately ending turn. Good, because we'll need them.
One of these days, I'll blow up all the Com Towers. It'll be a good day.
That about does it this turn.
Oh look! Blue killed a recon! Good job blue!
It's a giant dogpile in the middle. Good. Trap SPRUNG!
Anti-tanks are wonderful.
Will's CO Zone goes up to 3.
Which now encompasses this space. The added defence won't hurt, given those damn Com Towers.
Still using anti tanks to their full extent.
Will goes for a joyride too.
This is a bad plan, but once that war tank goes down life will be a lot easier.
UGH that Com Tower boost. At least Will's CO meter is fully charged, so the CO range is 4.
More death by blue, this time a fighter.
Blue's fighter takes out a B Copter, and their AA strikes the duster. Solid plan, since this keeps their bomber more or less safe now.
OH GOD. Greyfield figured out the anti tank's weakness! Bullets!
Blue also took out the war tank with the bomber, and Greyfield responded by blowing up that southern AA, and damaging our Md tank with the regular tank. He also chipped away at the full health missile with a B Copter and the damaged bomber.
Again, every little bit...
Man, I was unlucky there. I expected it to go to 1 HP.
I feel a bit better, doing this.
Again, this should be a one shot...
And again, it isn't.
Blue is cleaning up rather nicely.
Fighter takes out the duster.
Bomber, the Md Tank.
Greyfield's bomber takes out our Md Tank, and his bike attacks our other anti tank.
Our anti tanks have fun with the bike though.
In the home stretch, Will and the AA move up to go after the artillery. I feel rather safe leaving the other units to blue.
As I hoped, the missiles take out the bomber, and blue's own bomber shells the mech.
Greyfield runs to cower in the corner. Poor guy.
AA traps it up there.
Will and an anti tank close in.
Blue's bomber deals with the mech, and becomes a veteran.
: All units, regroup! Regroup! We're not going to surrender!
: Wait! Commander...
: What is it...?
: Traitors! I ordered you to fight to the death! Advance ADVANCE!! You spineless cowards! You dishonor the proud name of Greyfield! I'll see you all hanged for this!
: I don't know how we survived...
Because we're just that GOOD, Will. Though I'm surprised to get the S rank, honestly. I expected my deaths to cause an A rank. Not complaining.
: I may have an idea. We intercepted some enemy communications as they were retreating. It seems there was some unforeseen event that demanded their full attention. We captured a number of retreating soldiers. Let me talk to them. ...And if that doesn't work, I'll have Gage talk to them.
: I don't know what happened. Some urgent order came in and told everyone to pull back.
I love the localization. Makes this guy feel like some schmuck who fell in with the NRA for the money, but is otherwise human.
For reference, the line for Dark Conflict: : ...So then an urgent order came in. We were told to pull out immediately...
That's just boring. Well done, NA crew. You make me happy.
: Save the commentary. Why did you pull back?
: Not sure. I heard rumors that the rear guard had rebelled against the admiral. My guess? They sent frontline units back to put down the uprising. Last I heard, things were getting out of hand pretty fast.
: Your troops seemed to be in high spirits, and their health was good--
: Ha! What, you ain't heard about the disease?
: Are you referring to Endoflorescens terribilis?
: We call it the Creeper.
: Folks are scared. Panicking. They were starting to desert even before that last battle. Greyfield is executing anyone who catches it. He says they're weak and they deserve it.
Remember, Greyfield felt the bloody Meteors were a test of strength. Up next: survive a bullet to the brain, you're strong. Otherwise, you deserve it.
: That must be why they withdrew... This shows there is always hope, even in the worst situations!
: The same virus that almost caused rebellion in our ranks ended up saving us. ...Huh. You know what? Life's a funny thing.
: The infected will be quarantined while we look for a cure. Those who aren't infected yet are free to stay or go as they see fit. I hope this doesn't plant a ...SEED of dissent! Oh ho! Oh ho ho ho ho... What? You're not laughing.
: ...Thank you, Doctor.
: But seriously, I am concerned that this could cause much unrest among your troops.
: We have to take the risk. We can't force healthy people to stay with us against their will. Well, I guess I should know. Do I have it?
: Let's see... Nope! You're as healthy as a horse. Maybe I should get you some hay! Oh ho ho ho!
: Er...yes. Thanks.
: I'm not going anywhere, Doctor. I command this unit, if in name only. I will face the risk along with the troops.
: Blast! I thought you were going to say that! Under normal circumstances, a doctor would never allow a patient to take such risks.
: But these are not normal circumstances. We will stick together. Whatever problems face us, we will overcome them as one. The clock is ticking, Doctor. You must find a cure for the virus.
: Are you scared?
: Are you scared of the Creeper taking over your body? Of those flowers blooming? What if there is no cure? What if we all suffer that fate? I know a lot of ways to die, but having flowers burst out of you... If you aren't scared, Will, you're a fool.
: Of course I'm scared!
: Will, I... I talked to Dr. Morris. I have the virus.
: Oh, Lin! No!
: Are you sure you don't want to leave? No one would think less of you.
: No. I won't run away. We will find a cure. I have hope.
Oh no, not Lin! She's too likable to die!
PRAISE EVERYONE, MY CHILDREN! YOU THERE! ARE YOU PRAISING THEM?