Part 97: VapenVapen
Some ... uh, new stuff here. On a big map - they seem to be trending larger as we proceed. Because plot, I'm sure.
We're seeing more and more of this kind of thing ... there's somebody or something interfering in this timeline besides us. Perhaps multiple somebodies.
Say the words "I don't know" Lia. It'll be therapeutic.
Here's one of the three Power Centers or whatever. This one is on initially -- the other two appear to have emitters too close to them to function or somesuch. You can see the red lines above and below indicating they aren't working.
Our starting spot is in the west, where this schematic allow us access to a third Command Node. There's a thin fortification here and my goal is to set up a line of defenses at that point. If you want to know how not to play this mission, carefully observe how I went about it.
Largely due to the time I spent looking around the map, blathering on about how I really didn't need the third command node, etc., and me generally not knowing how close the danger was, the creeper burst through the wall and started tearing into the nearest collectors and still-building pulse cannons. If I'd gotten them going even 30 seconds sooner, things may have well been much different.
Then I followed the time-dishonored strategy of 'If under attack, build stuff you can't use yet'. Hence the forge and ore mines go up as I'm really losing the thread here. I do have three active cannons, but the wall is basically a memory. And there is the siphon at least on an energy resource to make up the difference.
I look around at specifically what the opposition is; a few spore towers, the emitters produce 40 six times a second -- and the inhibitor far in the least is 10x that strong, 400 creeper every 0.17 secs. Ok, that's starting to up the ante a bit. The one saving grace there is most of the inhibitor's flow is cut off, except a small area at the north and south of that 'ditch' there. We're less than three minutes in at this point. Vapen doesn't twiddle it's thumbs.
Back at the base there's five cannons running, which isn't quite enough to stem the tide -- and the siphon is slowly depleting. I need to do something now. Reactors go up, but the spore towers are finishing. It's too late.
Quoted for truth: "I am just screwing this mission up left and right, and now I'm gonna pay for it big time!"
Like everything else, the Beams are coming ... but they are too late.
Hmm. That's ... not good. A little under five minutes mission time. I observe the creeper ripping apart what's left for a short while, and then ...
(with obvious sarcasm)"Yeah, that was just monumentally stupid. Monumentally. We're gonna try that again ... THE INTELLIGENT WAY." So that's our first for this mission; Vapen is the first CW3 restart. Yay?!?
I treat the planet with greater respect, and get pulse cannons up as soon as possible here. I wanted six since five wasn't enough last time, but I ended up building seven. I also deploy all three command nodes in the far west to help boost initial energy a bit. Only a couple small differences except that I'm just doing things faster and more efficienctly; 1:17 on the clock here.
Before three, I've got a handful of reactors going, beam defenses up, and I can start to escalate. I've got a fighting chance now. Ore mines, a trio of bombers to help slow down the flood, and a forge are next. Then more reactors as energy becomes an issue again. A big one; double-digit shortfalls at all three nodes.
Eventually I get enough reactors down, and a couple mortars at the defensive line clear out the more concentrated depths enough that the cannons can clear out the rest. I've added a few more of those as well. Confident that we've reached stability, I bring out the big guns. Early upgrades go a bit to storage but mostly energy efficiency for self-evident reasons.
I decide to push off to the north here. The brown area of cleared ground shows that we have a solid buffer established.
Here's the classic method of moving blasters forward that were protecting the relay that is their lifeline. The relay goes, and soon the blasters do to, and then the first couple that I built to replace them ... I get it figured out eventually.
This shows why I struggled with this at first. I didn't really understand the requirements of overwhelming force here. Approaching 20 minutes now and those emitters have pumped out enough creeper that it's just a flood. I had enough energy, and more weapons helps some, but what I really needed here was weapons upgrades, esp. fire rate. More firepower within a small space or front. Once I started doing that, things started to improve.
But not before this happened. Our energy supply wasn't exactly ready to deal with the increased stress. MOAR REACTORS! was the natural solution. Once that first emitter finally went down, as usual things began to turn more quickly.
I put a cannon on the PZ at first. Which was like shooting a BB gun at a freight train. Mortar was a better idea, until I'd cleared enough of a berth for a Bertha.
This Power Center is operational, with the plateau defended and the PZ utilized for heavy artillery. It's time to roll.
The Spore Towers in the center of the map were the next to go, along with the emitter in between them. A SuperNullifier worked well here.
This is a big enough planet that I felt compelled to bump packet speed a bit, and deploy multiple relay arteries to get resupply forward faster. I could have also moved one of the nodes, which probably would have made more sense.
That ... was unexpected. Once all three Power Centers came on-line, the machine basically turned some sort of wide translucent beam-thingy towards the inhibitor, clearly a pathway most effectively. There wasn't that much left anyway due to bertha bombardment, but ... somebody was testing an anti-creeper weapon? Who?? Do we have a new ally, perhaps?
Message Artifact Sez ...
After which he pulls a Lia and goes silent. Cool Skars -- care to share what the purpose is? Why are the Loki testing out ways to destroy the creeper? What in the name of Platius is going on here??
I pretty much raged, mostly silently, at the screen here. Whatever it is that Skars knows will wait for another chapter though, because all that's left to do here is take out the now-defenseless inhibitor and leave Vapen, and the Frykt system itself, behind. No more clues are proffered, so events will continue apace another time.
A most cruel and puzzling cliffhanger.