Part 26: Special Ops: Super Tax-ManSpecial Ops: Super Tax-Man
Super Tax-Man is otherwhise known as 'North Carolina'. Only a single emitter here, but as we will see it's a very powerful one. The lower plain where the Totems are will flood quickly, but it's size gives us some respite on the high ground.
Doom Timer: 19:34
In a lot of ways this is similar to the just-finished Classic Earth mission. No imminent danger of destruction, but establishing a sizable network will not be a simple matter.
40 seconds later the sixth collector is about to come online, basically exhausting the easily available territory. You can see how fast that emitter is pulsing, having already flooded better than half of the map. Already we are going to have to fight to gain more territory. Even so, I still had no real clue what I was in for here.
A couple blasters are sufficient to expand at first ... slowly. Similar to the point made by Pierzak, it's essential to keep them shooting only at what's on the central part of the state here -- I had one of them further south but it was blowing ammunition on the surrounding plain. There isn't enough to spare on that.
Slowly, painstakingly, I carve out about half of the middle section here and place three more collectors. However, I soon discover that time is quite against us. As the plain fills up, the volume of creeper that flows that way is lessened ... and more of it comes towards me. The blasters can barely keep up, and I don't have the energy to build more. We've stalled, and in the long run the creeper is going to win if this continues.
I'm forced to surrender my position in the middle -- though it would have been better to save the blasters. A few more collectors are added to harvest every last pixel of fractal energy from the one secure area I do have, and a mortar built to pound the depths some.
I fire it some from the north coast, then move it to the south, but soon realize it wasn't the most brilliant plan ever conceived. I just don't have enough territory to get it into position to hurt the creeper much. Let's build a drone base instead, so I can target where I want. This is just over eight minutes, and already the Creeper totally dominates the map. That emitter is no joke.
I build more of them, and a couple storage units to buffer resupply 'funds' so I can rearm them quicker when they return to base. This isn't going to help me expand I don't think, but the idea here was to at least try to kill as much Creeper as the emitter is producing while I try to figure out a plan for eventually fighting back. At least this way I can target the greatest concentrations for maximum impact.
I built a couple blasters and tried another push, but this failed woefully and predictably. I just didn't have enough energy to support them at the necessary level. There wasn't much room left, particularly the way I have things arranged, but I did finally start to address the real problem(lack of energy) and got a reactor building.
Just one reactor increased the income from 1.4 to 1.7, more than a 20% reduction in the inadequacy of the economy. I also started bombing the emitter itself. That's normally not a great idea when it's elevated, but with the amount this thing puts out and it being stacked up against a ridge like it is here, it's actually pretty effective here -- there's always significant depth within seconds of a pass. This was the best we'd looked in about ten minutes.
It probably would have worked too, if I hadn't gotten too greedy and built a couple reactors simultaneously on the lower ground. Wasn't long before the ammunition slowdown to the blasters made me lose it all. The next push mostly failed as well, but I did manage to hang on to a collector and a blaster in the middle section -- and get a second reactor up and going. 2.1 energy now. Progress.
Started up a third, but it was a bit risky. If that blaster gets overwhelmed, it now has nowhere safe to return to. It'll be hung out to dry -- err, the opposite of dry actually in this case. I'm hoping it can survive and I can then have enough energy for a more substantive push to gain more territory. I found that as long as regular bombing runs were made on the emitter, the blaster could hold off the rest of the creeper by itself. A corner was finally being turned, almost 20 minutes into the struggle.
As we crept to the east, more collectors and reactors were built, and eventually we got over the energy hump. The three drones were flying out regularly and the creeper no longer gathered to dangerous depths. The situation was under control. It was time to bring the mortar forward and reactivate it. I wanted to go for the jugular, and take that super-emitter out of commission.
It didn't take long to accomplish that, and now there was plenty more territory available. The Creeper should melt before me at this point.
Then I pulled this brilliant manuever, pulling all three blasters away to start clearing out the plain. Because brain fart. All the lower area and most of the middle were lost before I could equalize the situation. It took about three minutes to recap the emitter.
No problem, I got this now. I'll just leave one blaster in place to keep things under wraps, and ...
Oh. GOODY. The emitter escapes again, as one blaster isn't enough with this beast. This wasn't as catastrophic at least, because the thing wasn't pulsing unimpeded.
Leaving two to guard it did prove enough, and more blasters were sent out to carve paths to the Totems. Finally this struggle was about to end.
A worthy opponent passeth. That's the longest, at least so far, that it's taken me on any level by a goodly margin.