Part 25: Making things go Boom
Welcome back. Last time, Lin killed Greyfield and ended the war. You might think we'd be done. Not quite. The Creeper still lives, and Caulder is still behind the scenes playing both sides.
: Who wins, Daddy?
: The side that lacked military might but had superior tactics. I am surprised. They may prove worthy specimens for further research.
: Oh, Tabitha. You know I can't say no to you. Of course you can play with them! Cyrus, Tabitha, Penny... Daddy has a present for you! It's a new toy. I think you will enjoy it very much.
: Oh, Father! I do love you so!
The last toy was a giant whirling cannon of bullets. I'm scared.
: You must treat this one more carefully than you do your other toys. I want you to take your time and really enjoy it! Have fun!
: Tee hee hee! BOOOOOM!
He seems thrilled to be here. I'm going to name him Squall. He'll be the best character ever.
: Now, my children, let us prepare the next experiment.
: I say! Is it one of ours?
: I don't think so. It looks like a bomber, but... This is impossible...
: The plane is parachuting troops! They've taken up battle positions. They have twice our numbers, sir. And they're still coming!
: Why, from me, of course! My new automated troops are on the front line of military technology. With them, a single commander can give orders to every unit at once!
: I took the liberty of recording your previous battle. It was a fierce fight, and you sustained a great deal of damage.
Tactically speaking, he's smart. But he's doing this for the wrong reasons. If SCIENCE! can be counted as a wrong reason, anyway.
: No! You can't!
: But first, I hoped to have a talk with you, Will.
: ...A talk? Are you serious?
: Oh, yes. I have something important that I need to discuss with you. I will tell you the location now, and you will come to me. Alone. If you do not agree to meet me, I will attack immediately.
Saw that coming.
: Caulder isn't a man you can reason with. Or one that you can trust. This meeting of his is all wrong.
: I know. But I'm going anyway.
: I thought you'd say that. But I'm afraid I can't allow it.
: If I go, it buys us time to prepare our troops. It gives us hope.
: It does that, yes. But I don't think it matters. He's toying with us.
: Probably. But it's still going to buy us time.
: You know that. Right?
: I know. But I've made up my mind. I'm going.
: You truly are a wonder. I don't know how you managed to defeat Greyfield.
: What do you want?
: Patience, Will, patience. I just have a favor to ask of you.
: I need to observe your troops, but my current equipment is somewhat lacking. Would you mind if I attach these small devices to your men? They allow me to monitor heart rates, perspiration, and fear levels.
: ...You can't be serious.
: They won't affect your fighting capability in any way, I assure you.
:I will attack you regardless, but this way science can benefit. Do you see?
You know, you'd think that people would realize trying to sneak around the reconnaissance expert of Brenner's Wolves would be a pretty bad idea.
: I thought we agreed that you would come alone.
: Will, this man is a psychopath. Don't listen to another word he says.
: Please! I am a scientist! I seek only to learn! But it seems you don't want to cooperate. Very well.
: Are you really just walking away?
: That was my intention, yes. Will and I had an arrangement.
: Ah, yes. I figured that something like this might happen.
: Um... Who are you?
You know you have problems when you can't remember when each child was born.
: Her reflexes are far superior to yours. If you reach for your weapon, she will kill you. Oh! I almost forgot. I have one more request... The girl you call Isabella. I want you to give her to me.
: I don't believe this!
: Will you hand her over to me? Yes or no? It's a simple question. If you give her to me, I will guarantee the survival of your people.
: How's that?
: I will call off my forces. I can also provide a cure for the virus you call the Creeper.
: Isabella stays with us.
: Such a fascinating little man... I thought you might say something like that. But I think you will reconsider once I introduce you to the Great Owl.
: We still don't know the size of the enemy forces, so be careful.
: The Great Owl is ready... Let the bombing commence!
That doesn't look good...
YOU DON'T SAY.
: The entire center of the battlefield was devastated!
: Proceed with caution! All units, avoid the impact area!
Lin takes command here. Enjoy good music. I know I do.
Well, you've now seen the gimmick of this mission. At the start of our turn, the Great Owl will drop a bomb at that spot, centered on that ruins. It's a three tile radius (for the start of the map I thought it was four tiles large ) explosion dealing 5 HP damage to any unit caught in it. Even Penny's. Who isn't bright enough to realize that. In any case, we only have a smattering of units on our side.
Penny has no such issue. Look at all those units.
This factory is paramount to our success. That's our first target. Let's get moving.
Building captures commence, and everything begins the swing south. The airport being captured is useless right now thanks to the missiles sitting right there. Still, 1000G a turn isn't bad.
Penny, you are one strange six year old.
Your music is also very strange. I like it though.
While we avoid the area, Penny flies right into it with one of her bombers. A bomber she has no way of rebuilding. Alright then.
More properties for us.
I set up a bit of a defensive area in the south. The B copter is trying to be bait for the fighter.
Not a moment too soon on the airport. That poor light tank get nailed a second time as Penny decided the meteor was a great target. And a war tank gets shelled too. In the south, the fighter didn't rise to the B Copter bait. Oh well.
On Day 3, we actually get to attack something. How exciting. Just a light tank though.
Bike pulls back, having done the job of capturing the city, and the second war tank takes out the light tank. One of those war tanks will get hit by the bomber. But that's fine, our fighters are right there.
Meanwhile, I left a couple AA guns up top to deal with the bombers that went up there. One down.
Now they start getting ready to go after the other bomber up here.
Day 4, and the bomber also didn't rise to the bait I left for it. Shame, really. The damaged war tank is trying it cover the artillery. It's almost adorable.
First though, this bomber is bothering me. It killed an infantry. How dare it.
Now, this was almost adorable, until you realize our farther war tank can kill Penny's tank.
Which leaves the artillery hilariously open.
Md tank built, and our force continues trekking along.
And this is when I realize the explosion only hits three tiles out. I was banking on it almost neutering both fighters. Welp.
At least I still have a full health fighter to cripple the bomber, which had tag teamed with the war tank from the north to kill one of our war tanks.
Our remaining war tank takes out the AA to make sure no planes go down.
This may look like I'm banking on success, but I know the HP percentage is closer to 30 than 40.
The AA I brought down from the north pays off, killing this fighter.
And since Penny is fast running out of air units, I'm fine with trading HP to keep everything else alive.
And now, knowing the radius is 3 tiles, not 4, I use the B copter to put this war tank out of it's misery.
In the north, I pull the AA back to try and reach the bomber next turn.
Of course, I didn't predict that the bomber would go hide away from the AA and attack a different infantry. Crap. Under the terrain info box, our fighter was killed by the AA, and the remaining enemy fighter pinged our bomber.
Now that we're getting closer, this rocket is actually threatening. Checking range here to plan my moves.
Ditto that with this missile.
May as well prevent capture with our B Copter.
Then we'll trap the war tank on the factory with the bomber.
Enemy fighter finally goes down, leaving only that bomber harassing the northwest as an aerial target.
Enemy AA goes down as well from a shot by our veteran war tank.
Then the infantry also gets caught in the open, and summarily taken out.
Bike moves up, having healed on the city, and awaits the chance to capture the factory.
Mech moves forward, and another bomber is built. I predict losing the original one to the other AA.
Also another AA in the north. I want that bomber dead.
In a surprising move (maybe not, given she's only a child), Penny opts to NOT take out our weakened bomber, and instead attacks the fighter. Which will see no further combat. Yeah.
Hey, I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. If she wants to not kill this bomber, I'll just use it again.
Our other bomber joins the army and waits for the AA to die.
B Copter takes out a weak tank.
And the war tank gives a repeat performance of how to kill an AA gun.
South looks under control, how's the northwest?
Oh. Damn. That was unexpected.
Moving the other AA up as well. Maybe next turn the bomber will actually be dead.
It wants to retreat, it just doesn't know how...
And oh hey, Penny is out on the field! Let's check her out.
Penny is... interesting. Her CO zone is 3, but the effect hits all her units. The zone itself is just there to build up her meter. Interestingly, her units aren't even affected by weather even if she ISN'T on the field. Her power is actually mildly terrifying. There are three weather effects in this game. We've seen snow, which reduces mobility. Rain reduces vision to 1, and adds fog of war. Sandstorm is the scary one, reducing attack effectiveness by 30% while it's active. Your forces will do next to no damage to her, and then get a full counter attack right back at them.
Starting in the north, just to get it finished off, our weak infantry kills Penny's infantry, opening up an attack spot against the bomber.
Which I take full advantage of.
Then, in the south, I get the war tank quite low.
To have it destroyed by our B Copter.
Then the bike does what it needs to, and begins the capture.
Another bomber is built. Two reasons, really. 1) Bombers are awesome when there aren't any fighters to counter them, and 2) I like forcing Penny into building either AA or missiles to try countering me. They're easy to deal with at this point.
So Penny just drove her stupid self right into the fire from the Great Owl. Saves me some trouble.
First things, I get the newest bomber to the rest of the force.
Then I capture the factory in the south.
Then the war tank heads up to deal with the rockets next turn. I'm not worried about Penny attacking it with her Md tank, because even if she does my war tank will live and at least severely cripple the rockets.
Tempting, but then I face rocket counterfire, and the Great Owl would actually hit one of my units.
Instead, I leave it at this.
Penny would rather heal over attacking me. Her loss.
Bike moves on to another building for more capturing.
A lot of my units are low on ammo and/or fuel at this point, so a rig is probably the best option here.
And now, time for some tactical attacks. Bomber takes the first shot here.
The B Copter continues to be a credit to the team, despite being about half the cost of most of my attacking force.
Penny gets dropped rather easily, thanks to her driving through Owl country.
And to prevent this missile killing a bomber, another bomber flies up and cripples it.
And a mech takes advantage of the clearing of the south by beginning capture on another IDS city.
Now that the missile is weakened, I take advantage of our north airport and build another bomber.
The rest of the force in the south moves up. We're nowe past the Great Owl's firing range. Penny really has no chance now.
One of our bombers goes down because of an AA from Penny's base of operations, and she built another one to try fighting my increasing air force.
War tank and B Copter get restocked to begin the day.
Revenge is oh so sweet.
Captures finish, and I build a rocket. This'll come in handy soon enough against those anti tanks.
Meanwhile, in the north, an infantry tries a daring river crossing to take our property. Daring, and foolhardy. He gets left to drift away in the current.
Hoping for a lucky shot here, I think.
Not lucky, but I let him live for a bit. B Copter gets another kill off the weakened missile. I think it's fast becoming an MVP unit of this mission. 6 kills now by my count.
Bomber cripples this AA.
Allowing the new bomber to in turn cripple this tank.
Poor infantry. Never stood a chance.
We're slowly penning Penny (I'm sorry) into a corner, and our force just keeps getting larger. Sorry Caulder, I think your experiment failed.
Beginning of Day 12, and the war tank came out to play. Bad move.
First though, the rockets roll out and get in position to begin the onslaught.
You might be wondering why I'm attacking with the war tank first.
Simple really, I want my bombers more powerful. They can wipe anti tanks out rather easily.
Crippled or not, bombers hurt. Another enemy unit down.
I know the AA is closer to 8 hp. I'm hoping for luck.
Lucky shots are great. B Copter attacks an infantry because it can.
End of turn, I move our infantry around some, to continue capturing. Every little bit Penny doesn't get helps out now, since she'll be healing and trying to build anything to stay alive.
Of course, I forget to build a bomber to counter the AA attack. Oh well.
May as well get on that now.
And just in case I have to go for an HQ capture, I load this mech into the rig.
Oh right, I have a rocket. Let's use it.
Biggest threat present gets smacked hard.
I retreat the two bombers and join them together. Better than two very weak units. I also build an Md tank.
Still looking good, overall.
Penny follows the mantra if "if at first you fail, get a bigger tank." We'll see how that works out for her.
Bomber makes this AA pay for attacking us.
Threats to air units: basically gone.
One anti tank down.
Rockets heavily damaged too.
Md tank moves up to join the ground force.
Shuffling units around, and a war tank built.
As good as we're going to get, I think.
Wait, no. That's better. 7 kills.
NOW we're as good as it's going to get.
RIP poor war tank, you got us through the early days.
Rockets open the attack on Penny's war tank.
Mech gets fired on by the AA.
Not quite killed. Unfortunate. I pull back the damaged AA to heal and refuel.
Strategy. Still in the shadow of that 2 HP missile, so the anti tank takes a hit.
Then the 5 HP bomber comes in to finish off the rocket.
Penny gets focused on again, this time by a bomber.
I love this image. I hope you do too.
The southeast is MINE, Penny.
I've been capturing this city with a 4 HP infantry, and I just joined it with the 7 HP infantry who has been making a trek for some time to reach here. Not really important, but I thought you all should know.
Wait B Copter what are you doing?
No B Copter get out of there you'll get hit!
Forgive me thread for I have sinned. I let a unit get hit by the Great Owl.
Missiles get taken out by AA fire.
Bomber heads back to take on the anti tank still sitting over there.
5 HP bomber finishes off the anti tank.
Md tank weakens the AA Penny just built.
In hindsight, probably should have killed the AA. Oh well. I have a much more glorious mistake coming next turn.
At this point, I know I'm getting the rout win, so I drop the mech off because I plan on rearming the bomber with the rig anyway.
AA attacked the bomber, as expected. It's ammo count was 0 before that attack, by the by.
AA clears off the HQ.
Now, I bring up exactly when the bomber ran out of ammo for one reason. I moved it over here to kill the anti tank. Then I double tapped A to make it attack. Then I wondered why it just greyed out. Then I noticed IT HAD NO AMMO.
I mean, I love these games, I consider myself to be decent at these games, and yet... I brought the rig over for this express purpose, only to not do it.
Well, may as well rearm it now, and block the city with the mech.
And the B Copter weakens the anti tank just a little more.
Sigh... this could have been so close to over right now.
No sense dwelling on it. Anti tank takes a hit from a bomber in the northeast.
So does the war tank.
Now for some planning. War tank attacks Penny's war tank.
And the AA boxes it in. There will be no movement this turn to build another unit.
And I move the mech up just because.
And one more bomber, for old time's sake.
That bomber was pretty extraneous, in the long run. Had to be certain this would be the last day though.
One unit down.
And that's four for game.
: Pull back! Pull back! We need more time to prepare our forces!
: Yes, you probably do.
: We are readying another attack, but I will ask you once more... Will you give me the girl? In exchange for the safety of your troops?
: Why do you want her?
: She is one of my products, and I need her back.
: One of your products?
: Why, yes. Surely you sensed something strange about her? That girl is my daughter, though not in the sense that you imagine. I built her. I created her.
: Oh no...
: They were the final step in building an army of low-cost, cloned soldiers.
: Armies have long been ungainly things with many communication problems. Even modern armies suffer from late or misunderstood communications. But my products--my children--can control entire armies single-handedly. Like a giant with a hundred arms, they can wield innumerable weapons!
Well, they do say to build from experience, right?
: Isabella is a clone...
: And yes, she is a clone. A mere doll designed and controlled by me. But one day she went... haywire and fled my laboratory. This was highly unusual, and I must discover its cause. I need to disassemble her and locate the source of the malfunction.
: ...You can't!
: I can and will, and you will give her to me, or I will take her by force. It seems you have developed a certain attachment to my daughter. You are being too emotional. She is a product! An experiment! A nothing. And she belongs to me!
: I await your answer.
: We need to assess our damage.
S rank. Not bad at all.
And thankfully, after that plot drop, we're just ejected to the mission map. 4 more story missions remain.
The Wolves react to this new knowledge.