The Let's Play Archive

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri

by Fangz

Part 12: The Second Sparta-Gaia War - part 2

The following is culled from datalink archives.

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Attacking Ironholm is like trying to climb a mountain that hails bullets. The city, built on the tip of a high mountain, is circled by a gently sloping concrete wall, studded with bunkers and gun emplacements. The surface is slippery in the rain and blood and wastewater the defenders pump down the sides, and if it wasn't for the small craters blasted or melted in it by our guns and theirs, it would be completely unclimbable.

Base camp is a set of trenches dug out about halfway up the wall. It's a pretty busy place now, full of reinforcements from up north. Every day, at the same time, the Spartan take a shot at us with one of their big rail guns. But since we're so close, the angle isn't right, so the shots just sail past overheard.

If you could squeeze your way between the big gattling lasers undergoing refit, you can settle down for a chat with the folks in your squad. One guy keeps bragging about the battle for Defiance Freehold - we had liberated that a week ago.

One guy we don't speak to is the Handler. The mindworm handler. He sits, most times, curled up in a corner, mumbling to himself. The worms themselves stay out of sight. We don't mistreat him, but we can't quite trust him. He doesn't talk to us, ever. Only stares at us now and then with a look that sends shivers down your spine. He wears a little badge, signifying that his boil is of the class 'Demon'.

Demons like him exterminated Hawk of Chiron. Without the swarm around him, though, such handlers seem pretty human.

-skyelover40 (Feeling: Depressed)



A couple of hours later, we were told to make the final push. It seems that Command had finally run out of patience. Ironholm would be taken today, even if many of us aren't going to make it back.

For a moment, as we made it up the scarred trail, I thought they wouldn't shoot at us this time.

Then, one of those streaks that I mistook for rain went through the Northern Division guy's head, boring a inch wide hole. He fell over.

Well, fuck.

We all ducked down before the second burst hit. Behind us, we could hear the thumps as the poor guy rolled down the slope. A few more streaks of rifle rounds went after him, sending up plumes of blood.

"Why the fuck are they doing that?"

"To piss us off," the sergeant said. But it was already too late, since one of the other rookies had gotten up out of cover before he spoke, and now slumped down, a whiff of smoke rising from his head. Our main battle armour was too heavy for the trek up, and we had left it back at camp. Now we regretted it.

"Now what?" I asked. Our big impact cannon we were planning to do the assault with had rolled downhill as well.

The officer pointed to the worm handler, who simply closed his eyes. The worms gathered around him (while we all recoiled in involuntary horror), swirling around in a silent commune. Then, for a while, nothing seemed to happen.

At last, we noticed that the shooting had stopped, and looking out with the sights on our guns, we saw the defenders above us look at each other in confusion. There was a commotion, as some of the Spartans were trying to hold down one of their own men. It, whatever it was, was working.

Then, as we broke from cover, running up the slope, guns firing, the effect broke. The dazed men snapped to attention, and lowered some sort of tube. Our officer recognised it just in time to be just slightly too late.

"It's from their impact battery! They must have ripped it out from their rov..."

There was a solid thunk as he and the mindworm handler disappeared in a haze of red mist. Immediately, the worms around us fell over dead. I had barely enough time to dive behind the rubble before the ground around me exploded in the staccato of machine gun shots.

I peeked around the corner, and snapped off a shot at them, watching in dismay as my bullets pinged off their advanced plasma steel plating. Listening carefully over the sound of fighting, I could hear the cranking as the artillery piece was being prepped for another shot.

Then came a crunch and a crash of breaking glass, as a rover thundered over from our side, and rammed itself into the gun. Somehow, the heroes and/or madmen in the mech battalions had driven the thing up a 30% incline, and over the fortified parapet. A more heavily armoured version followed suit, wheels sliding around for purchase on the wet of the wall. Without a pause, its inhabitants clambered to the top of the smoking hulk, and pumped out the most terrific hail of fire from their roof mounted gattling laser.

There was a brief bout of screaming, and then the sickening smell of roasted flesh reached us.

And that was how the flag of Gaia reached the top of Ironholm.

-skyelover40 (Feeling: Pleased)



Police duty is a relief from military service. The locals aren't friendly, but we haven't seen very heavy insurgency activity, so far. The presence of troops, the nearness of mindworms, and rumours of new 'Punishment Spheres' are keeping things quiet for now. Still, you need to be careful when going around corners, since you never know what's waiting.

Just yesterday, I met this man in the burnt out rubble of a house. He was lightly suited, unarmed (I checked carefully this bit) and waved me over, claiming that he was a old probe team member that had gotten captured. Probably just a lunatic post mind-scramble, though. Guy was very interested in news of the war.

I relayed what I knew. How the Peacekeepers had technically joined the war on the Spartan side, but were too far to do anything.

How the main force had swung south eastwards, with the elite elements running ahead and the main mass barely being able to catch up. How Blast Rifle Crag was appropriately blasted into submission. How Training Camp and Fort Superiority fought on to the end, and were totally wiped out.

How all that were really left were the elite troops of the Liberty brigade based around Parade Ground. "The war should be over soon," I said optimistically. "Though chasing down the last of the sea colony pods will take some time."

"Man has killed man from the beginning of time, and each new frontier has brought new ways and new places to die. Why should the future be different?" he said, obviously quoting someone.

"Who said that? Doesn't seem like something a Gaian would say." I asked. He didn't seem to hear my question.

"In any case, apparently suggestions of a surrender have been offered. Santiago seems to be giving up, in exchange for assurances regarding her own safety."

He stared at me as if I had hit him.

"Santiago is surrendering?"

"She's made the offer, but it may or may not be accepted."

He made his excuses, and escaped. Some people are weird.

-skyelover40 (Feeling: Confused)



Battle map, phase 3


-Accept surrender
-Fight to the bitter end