Part 72: The Mailman
Last time on the Moon we managed to steal an advanced CPU from the LC's Moon tunnels. The terrain above ground is very hazardous and the chip would be destroyed if we tried to transport it in a standard unit. Fortunately the UCS realized this and brought a new unit with them to the Moon, the Cargo Salamander. We get the shortest of all videos in the Earth 2150 trilogy introducing it.
Yes! The UCS's AI NEO is online. Briefings are going to be fun now! KAIN is still trying to piece everything together for our base construction so we'll be working with NEO I this mission. The Cargo Salamander must be delivered along with the Assault units to the rally point somewhere in this area. Where? Who knows, everything is a bit chaotic right now.
We immediately start getting bombarded. The Assaults still have not fully recovered from their last operation and a direct meteor strike would surely destroy them.
LC scouts have found us. The hive on the Moon is awakening and if we get bogged down on our way to the rally point we'll never be able to stop the LC. It's crucial we keep a quick pace here.
We meet some light LC aerial resistance. Or well, levitational. There's no air here so calling Meteors part of an air force is a bit of a misnomer. I hope you all forgive me for continuing to say aerial and air force.
Of course, we aren't the only ones bringing out new tech. This is the new LC Super Fighter. It bridges the gap between the Meteor and the Thunderer, giving the LC the chance to actually contest airspace without overwhelming numbers. The LC still have yet to figure out our anti-air plasma cannons though so they're quickly dispatched.
We have a choice ahead of us: south or east? I go south since there's more undiscovered map that way.
From the minimap it looks like the eastern route is just a longer version of the route we took. Smart choice on my part to go south then! The escorts for the Salamander are looking pretty brutal right now. I've put the few healthy units out in front but we cannot repulse any sort of serious attack at this point.
We must hope the LC does not realize our weakness.
Aw shit. Thunderers. Guess the game is up. The LC must know how dire our situation is, it's the only explanation for their commitment of heavy units.
That's a direct hit on one of the Assaults. I thought it was done for but it kept on trucking. Hats off to the robots for putting their most critical stuff in extremely hardened units!
More LC heavy units attempt to intercept.
We're down to only 3 escorts: 1 Tiger P and the 2 Assaults. Making matters worse, the Tiger P is almost dead. We've nowhere to go but onwards though as there's no supply depots like we saw last mission.
Come on! An entire Meteor squadron? When we're this badly damaged? There's no hope now, we need to make a run for it.
The Assaults mount a diversion to allow the Cargo Salamander to pass unscathed. Thankfully the Assaults are heavily armored and can take this sort of punishment. At this point we've lost all our other escorts.
The LC have put some sort of new medium hover tank out there. It has 4 weapon mounts! Run Salamander! Save yourself!
The Salamander is clear but more LC aircraft are in pursuit. I order the Assaults to flee as well. If this is the wrong way, we're dead for sure.
It looks like the entire LC army in this area is now after us. Run! Run as fast as you can!
We...we made it. I don't know how, but we've made it. The Assaults are safe, if badly damaged and the Cargo Salamander's cargo is still intact.
KAIN IX has finished it's calculations and set up our new HQ for this campaign. NEO I has sent for an Albatross to take us there. The real campaign begins now.
Horrific losses, but now that we have a foothold and this new LC chip we can start striking out against Project Sunlight.
rest of NEO I's message posted:
ENJOY THE SHOW!!!
Remember, both Assault units are vital to your mission. You must not lose them.
NEO I introduces himself and brings us up to speed on the situation. To recap, Project Sunlight is believed to be some sort of weapon aimed at evening the playing field on Earth following the dissolution of the LC-UCS Alliance. Our task is to gather information about this project and determine a best course of action for either capturing or destroying it.
Our Moon Base is nowhere near as extensive as our base back on Earth, but it should be more than adequate for this mission.
To begin, we're to investigate Alpha Quadrant, find as much info as we can about Sunlight and destroy any LC presence.
We've also received news from Earth. Former General Fang of the UCS has defected to the Lunar Corporation following the dissolution of the Alliance. If we encounter him on the Moon he is to be killed on sight. NEO I was able to get us a copy of his asylum request.
The Fang - Deserteur posted:
Here is the recorded statement of Fang (UCS) to the Celestial Council of the Lunar Corporation. Fang's request for political asylum was unanimously approved
The war of 2140 was pure hell. I was never too interested in politics and getting drafted was the last thing I expected. Since the machines did all the work, hardly any UCS citizens were what you would call battle-ready, so the army was made up mostly of college grads. The losses suffered in the first few months of the war were horrendous. GOLAN miscalculated and we paid the price - in blood. But it was worst for the cyborgs. Half machine
and half human, the official version says that only the bodies of volunteers were used. But that's a lie. After the war they all disappeared suddenly and all inquiries into their whereabouts ran into a stone wall of silence. At about this time the first NAIOS (Neuronal Architecture Independent Operating System) were unveiled. Black cubes big enough to house a human brain and some interfacing electronics, they were capable of running all battle machinery by themselves. Human recycling resources - that's all we are to these damn AI's. Of course I should mention that I can't prove any of this.
I don't know who won back then and frankly, I don't give a damn. The press, not surprisingly, gushed on and on about the glorious UCS victories, but I never attached much weight to propaganda. Like I said, I'm apolitical, even more now than before. CAD - Computer Aided Democracy - that's what we call it. What good can come out of it?
Neo started out as a console jockey but later got his radio-controlled drones into battle. We were in the same unit and experienced a lot of shit. Around the end of the war he threw in his lot with the ED, probably because his shenanigans were discovered. He managed to stash away tons of hardware for his "plan". I have no idea what exactly he was planning, but on a few occasions he implied he was onto something pretty hot. "Man, its just like the X files" he once told me. Then he kept calling me Scully. Most of the time I couldn't understand what he was talking about - he's sort of a walking dictionary of phrases, old films, books and that kind of stuff. We're talking mostly index, but he sure had a photographic memory. He could see or hear somebody or something once and never forget it. That's why the inspectors never managed to find any incriminating evidence on him.
When war flared up again, the Defense Ministry pulled the glider out of their hat like a rabbit. AREA 51 had basically been known since the last century. The only thing new was that those UFO freaks were right after all. Since they were unable to build in a NAIOS, a real live pilot was needed. Now, I'm not the best flying ace around - Rickenbacher had a dozen more kills than me. But these days the old guy needs at least a full tumbler of bourbon to stop his hands from shaking. For the last ten years, I've never been without my gun. I know I'm paranoid, but when I see what happened to my old comrades I realize I've been lucky. I experience no joy in killing, but neither do I recoil from it. I am a professional soldier and I do my job - that's it. Do I know what a human life is worth? Of course I do - 1.65 credits! That's what a .50 ACP bullet for my pistol costs. At least that's the price at current UCS exchange rates. And this is why I want to remain here ....
Today's musical feature is the second new UCS battle track. We still have one more since the UCS got a whole lot more battle music in The Moon Project.