Part 30: Campaign Mission 14: Sonja's Goal!Mission 14: Sonja's Goal! (or "Either my imagination's on the blink, or...")
First up, some good news: I've been offered a job! With Techniquest, a science activity centre in Cardiff. It's part-time, so I should still be able to find time to work on this. I'll probably have to update less frequently, though. Still, priorities and all that.
I'm... so... groggy...
Huh? Oh... morning, Sami.
"But I don't wanna go to school today..."
Unbelievable! Here I am, working my tail off, and you're sleeping! Why am I the only one who's taking these things seriously?
Hey, hey, what do you think I'm doing here?
Sonja's been leading us around by our noses like a bunch of sheep! Oooh...! She makes me so mad! Ever since we were classmates, she's been the Queen of Strategy.
Hmm, looks like Sami and Sonja went through CO Academy at around about the same time. That could certainly explain their rivalry here. Granted Sami's got every right to get upset here given the stunts that Sonja's been pulling.
Now here I am, losing units left and right, and my allies are all sleeping! Get up and get moving, Andy! It's up to you. You've got to go!
As KDavisJr put it, "Andy has learned one of many facts of life: women can be pretty scary when they are angry."
I've been talking a lot about Sami's theme here, but I should probably mention that Andy's Anthem (for some reason it's the only theme that doesn't get called a theme) is really excellent too.
I really don't want to.
If you mention that she gave you new tools again, I'm gonna thump you!
Do you have any idea what I had to go through? New tools! Hah! Oh, and don't expect any sympathy from me if you lose!
Eep. Well, for Andy's sake we'd better be on our game here. A pretty complex-looking map, and fittingly for Andy we get a huge variety of units to play with. I think all we're missing is an arty, a fighter and a bomber. There's a few routes to Sonja's HQ here, but there's one I particularly like the look of...
... that road that goes up the west side of the map and then across the north. Should be a lot easier than the other options with all their forests and stuff. I might send a few units through the central route later on though. Speaking of not having a fighter or a bomber, guess what Sonja has? Yeah. That's going to make things tricky. But we'll see what we can do.
Most of Sonja's forces are over in the east, but we'd better do some checks over here. Anything hiding in these two reefs?
... no, but that doesn't stop there being a submarine up here. That could've been pretty nasty if we hadn't found before it had the chance to dive.
So let's nip it in the bud.
And in the process of attacking that submarine, we find a rocket launcher.
Looks like we're on a roll!
Well, with Sonja's welcoming committee taken care of, we can drop some units off over here. First let's send in a medium tank (for firepower) and a recon (for vision).
Of course, just because we're ignoring the east side of the map in terms of potential routes to the HQ, doesn't mean Sonja won't send units at us from that direction. So let's station a couple of units in woods, ready for them.
T copter drops off a mech on the middle peninsula, and my APC and missile launcher head towards the landing spot.
Inf and mech move up a little, and that's about it.
Show me what you do, Andy!
Repair things and forget what airports are, mostly. But he's not a bad kid.
Fairly quiet first turn from Sonja, all told, although the telltale whine of jet engines has me on edge.
Sonja and Sami? Do they not get along?
Kind of awkward response options, here. "Yes" means "Yes, they don't get along" and "No" means "No, they do get along". Personally I'd have it the other way round, but oh well. Let's see the response to "No" first:
Really? I wonder why Sami always gets so mad when she hears Sonja's name.
Well anyway, let's do our best, Paul.
Fair enough. How about "Yes"?
Yeah, I thought so. In that case, who knows what'll happen if I lose.
Let's do it, Paul!
Yeah, gotta say I've had enough of Sonja's bovine faeces. Let's finish this.
That sure is a conveniently-placed B copter.
With the B copter down, my tank takes shelter in the forest behind it. That's the east sorted: what's going on up north?
Well, one of Sonja's tanks has arrived.
It isn't going to be hanging around long, though.
And my recon and sub finish off the two units we attacked on Day 1.
Lots of good attacks there, while my mech starts wood-hopping. It's got a long way to go - will it get there?
Anyway, let's send the lander and T copter back for more passengers. T copter picks up the second mech, lander picks up the APC (which already has an infantry unit loaded into it, Transportception, etc.) and rocket launcher. Going to leave the missiles where they are for now, we'll see why in a couple of turns.
The remaining infantry unit moves on to a mountain to give us some extra vision, and I bring my cruiser away from the front lines a bit. I'm paranoid about that bomber (arguably with good reason!) and I don't want it to get first strike on any of my anti-air measures.
Sonja gets Enhanced Vision, and...
... wood-hopping isn't much good when your enemy can see into forests. Ow.
So, we've got a marauding bomber to deal with. Cruisers can't sail up beaches, so that's not an option for sorting it out. What else can we do?
Well, let's use the standard solution: bait it in with and then smash it with our missile launcher once it takes the bait. There's an obvious risk here: that APC's our biggest chance of victory, after all. But the defensive cover of a city should help it survive, and a Hyper Repair will help it recover.
Submarine heads north to see what it can see. Well, there's a capturing infantry unit and what I'm guessing is the tank we attacked earlier. Never easy to tell with Sonja, of course. But it seems like a reasonable guess.
Anyway, let's give that infantry unit something to think about.
Medium tank follows the recon upfield.
Battleship smashes up Sonja's cruiser. B copter finishes the job off.
AA and T copter bunch together as well because I dunno, really. At least the AA's in a forest.
Same can't be said about the infantry unit, though. At least the mountains take off some of the edge of that attack.
Bomber swoops in to take the bait...
... and my eastern tank takes a hit from a surprise Sonja B copter.
Nasty as that was, it leaves us in a pretty good position to counterattack from.
First let's get this whirlybird out of the air.
Doing that charges up Hyper Repair.
Seems like a good time to use it, so let's do that.
There, my units are looking a lot healthier now. Unlike this bomber.
Hey look, Sonja. Andy's an engineer. That means he solves problems. Well... okay, he's a mechanic. Still means he solves problems.
While my missile launcher takes care of that bomber from off screen, my APC heads up to give that sub some fuel. May as well keep it in good condition.
B copter and tank take out Sonja's tank in the south.
And my battleship sneaks up on Sonja's one. I dropped that mech off because I figured that I'd rather Sonja attacked it than my AA. Ends up being a bit of a moot point in the end though.
Finishing off that infantry unit.
Recon explores the woods ahead, and my rocket launcher tags along behind.
Lander heads back to my shore, and an infantry unit retreats for repairs.
Uh-oh. This could be bad.
Suddenly sneaking up on Sonja through the reefs and woods has become a terrible idea (this is where the moot point comes in, as Sonja attacked my battleship rather than the mech or the AA).
Hmm. Maybe I'd've been better with a Hyper Repair this turn. But I think we can still turn this around.
Battle copter lends my battleship a hand against Sonja's battleship in the battle of how many times I can use "battle" in a sentence.
Battle battle battle submarine.
Meanwhile in the north, let's get some revenge on that tank.
Recon retreats, rocket launcher and APC move up.
Okay, let's try invading this middle peninsula again. Hopefully it'll go a bit better without that bomber around.
My remaining units start moving towards the lander as well, in order to catch the boat across.
Sonja's damaged tank manages to get a shot in on my rockets. Not great, but I can cope.
No computer time for you, young lady.
Recon and APC head into forests, rocket launcher sets up behind the medium tank.
What's going on in the south, then?
Well, we've got a battleship to finish off. My own battleship delivers a good hit, and the B copter is more than capable of finishing the job.
There are ten arrows in this picture. Yeah. I should really have taken another screenshot between the last one and this one.
Cruiser and sub move up as well.
Sonja does no attacks, and I'm not going to do any this turn either: this turn is mostly a case of moving upfield towards that HQ.
Peninsula landing forces make their way along through the woods, and in the north my recon spots a tank on a city - probably that 1HP one from earlier, still healing up.
Middie and APC hide in the forests, but I'm going to take a bit of a risk and leave my rocket launcher out in the open. My guess is, that tank's still healing, so by AI logic it isn't going to leave its property to attack the rocket launcher. And rockets move like snails through forests, so may as well keep it on the road.
Navy moves up...
... and so does the air force, as my lander heads back to pick up my final unit, the missile launcher.
The risk paid off: the tank just sat there healing.
Sat there healing in rocket range.
Medium tank finishes the job.
Recon goes out scouting and ouch, pretty sure it'll be dead next turn. But before then we've got a glimpse of the enemy fighter.
And of course, its range.
Let's see if we can make that range a bit smaller by blocking the fighter in with stuff it can't hit.
Hmm... it works a little bit. Okay, I'll put my B copter here.
Moving everything else out.
I was expecting the tank killing the recon. Wasn't expecting that rocket launcher, though. Dammit I was going to use that cruiser to attack the fighter!
All right, the good news is that I've found the rocket launcher.
We can start dispensing some justice. Might take a while with a 6HP battleship, though.
Cruiser hides in a reef, tanks head towards the place where my recon died.
Moving people up.
The air force is very vulnerable to that fighter now, though. But short of retreating everything away there isn't much I can do. I guess the T copter'll just have to take the hit.
Like that. Eep.
My tank comes in for some punishment too.
Still, at least we've got a Hyper Repair ready.
That helps a bit.
Battleship takes down rocket launcher.
Rocket launcher assaults light tank.
AA tackles fighter.
And we drop an infantry on to the HQ. Not long now.
There's the fighter's range. Even at 3HP, should probably try to stay out of it.
Moving the B copter out of harm's way, and surfacing the sub because it's very low on fuel.
And, uh, moving a missile launcher I guess. Still holding the record for "world's slowest unit" there, I see.
Sonja gets a third Enhanced Vision...
... and, er, does sod all with it. Oh well, not complaining.
Finishing off the fighter.
Capturing the HQ, refuelling the sub and that's basically all the interesting stuff that happens today.
The rest is just moving stuff around for the hell of it really.
I've had just about as much as I can stomach of Sonja, so let's finish this.
Why have you been attacking us?
All in due time, Sami. But first, Andy.
Hoo boy, more stalling. I guess we should be used to it by now.
You don't have any weak points.
Well, of course not!
Kind of a cocky response that, but whatever.
But you don't have any special strengths, either.
Ha, ha. But that in itself is your strength. Don't you think Andy's easy to work with, Paul?
Eh... maybe? I guess the nice thing about Andy is that you're never boxed into a specific strategy. Certainly it's hard to complain when you use him.
And if things start getting rough, Max and Sami are there to help out.
I'd almost say it was the other way round, to be honest. With all due respect to Andy, he's the definition of "Plan B".
All you need to do is have Paul choose who fights each battle.
Or at least, have you guys choose for me
If you do that, there's no one who can best you on the field of battle.
Hey! Don't ignore me!
Very soon you and your friends are going to face an unimaginable foe.
Oh I dunno, I've got a pretty good imagination. Let's see... I'm imagining... I'm imagining... yes! A guy with a teapot for a head! Hmm. That can't be right. Either my imagination's on the blink, or this foe really is unimaginable...
Take care of Paul, and Andy, too.
How do you...?
That's not your concern. See you again, Sami.
Hey! Hold it! She's gone again! She didn't really tell us a doggone thing!
Careful there Sami, you're getting weirdly Grit-like with that slang. But honestly, are we really that surprised? "An unimaginable foe". Great. At least "him" was gender-specific.
Oh right, yeah, someone had better go pour a bucket of water over Max or something.
Hey, somehow I got a perfect score out of that. Rather surprised there, thought I'd get done on Speed or Technique for sure, but I'm not complaining. We're done with Yellow Comet, we're done with Sonja's nonsense, and now it's on to Green Earth. In a typical run of Campaign we'd have four Green Earth missions to do here before heading on to the endgame. However, with my crazy goal of showing off as much as possible, that jumps up to twelve missions - because each CO gets unique missions through Green Earth. That's okay though, because we've got three saves running.
How am I going to handle this? Well, first of all, here's what we've got right now:
For the sake of argument, let's call these missions 15A, 15M and 15S (technically 15A is mission 12 in its own campaign, and 15S is mission 11, because of the various routes we've taken. But details, details). And say you guys voted for Andy next. Once I'd done 15A, that would unlock the next set of missions (16A, 16M, 16S) on that save - although because I'll be wanting to do an all-Andy run on that save, it effectively only opens up 16A. So the upshot would be that your next choice would be between 16A, 15M and 15S. And so on and so forth. This does of course mean that what would normally be around the two-thirds point of Campaign becomes the halfway point, but I'll live.
Don't worry if you didn't follow all that, you'll see it in practice soon enough. For now, the choice is simple: Andy, Max or Sami? Couple of notes on each of their missions: Andy's is the only one not in Fog of War. Sami's is a property capture mission (again ). And it so happens that I've never done the Max missions before - although the Max missions have the reputation of being the easiest route through Green Earth so hopefully that won't be a problem. Our new opponent, Drake, is a naval specialist with a CO power, Tsunami, that does 1 damage to all enemy units (so a kind of inverse Hyper Repair). He's also a pretty cool guy. With a very scary face.
But enough rambling. Where do you want to go next?