Part 8: Trafficking Violations
Before we fly off to blow up some slavers, were contacted by a representative from the Mining Union, who offers to sell us some stuff.
A shield generator for the Sunrider is an absolute must, but alas were a little short on funds at the moment so well have to do without for now. But that is definitely the first thing were saving up for.
Fortunately, that weakness is somewhat ameliorated by our new ryder, Chigaras Liberty.
The Liberty is a support ryder, which automatically makes it pretty much the most important unit on the battlefield. Not only does it have a shield, that shield extends one hex surrounding it, so any units next to it are protected from laser attacks.
Also, the Liberty has the ability to repair friendly units.
That would be enough to make the Liberty a key part of any battle, but where it really shines is in its ability to turn off enemy units defenses. Chigara can turn off flak, shields, or completely power down an enemy for a full turn. As you can imagine this is a pretty important strategy, especially later in the game after the Sunrider gets some torpedo upgrades and strategically disabling flak can let us wipe out a half dozen units at once.
Finally, the Liberty also has a laser attack; not great but plenty to finish off an already-damaged unit if you need to.
I talked about the Black Jacks abilities last update so Ill just include the blueprint here for completions sake (and because I think its neat). The Black Jack doesnt have much nuance; its there for DPS, mostly centered around the lasers. The melee attack is a nice bonus but well have other, better options in that department going forward.
Warp complete, captain. We're arriving at the Astral Expanse.
Scan for unregistered starships. They couldn't have gotten very far away.
Pirate signatures detected dead ahead! It's the traffickers!
Battle stations! Launch ryders.
All hands, battle stations, battle stations. Set condition one throughout the ship. This is not a drill, repeat, this is not a drill. Our two new pilots are away, captain.
We start nose-to-nose with a pirate force of several ryders. Fortunately most of them are grunts, but there are two new-ish units we need to keep an eye on:
Bombers are units that you need to be careful of. They come with several volleys of torpedoes and multiple rocket barrages. Cosette was flying a bomber-class ryder; these arent that strong but there are two of them.
The Libertys shield bubble. In late game you can boost its range to two hexes, and the Sunrider can get a similar ability, meaning that you can effectively negate laser attacks on any units that you keep inside the bubble.
None of the pirates have shields either, so lasers are the best bet.
After killing a grunt I bring Asaga into the shield bubble. Unlike a lot of games in this genre, Sunrider encourages you to keep your units bunched up for shield and flak protection. Getting enemies away from their own overlapping defenses like lions peeling off a wildebeest from the herd is pretty much the core strategy for this game.
Almost forgot, but theres one more mechanic to manage: command points. These allow you to buy bonuses. More will be available later but for the most part you pretty much always want to be running with either Full Forward or All Guard.
The bombers are just out of range to rely on taking them out in one turn, so were going to have to eat at least one torpedo barrage. To keep it limited I have Chigara turn off one of them. This is a super useful ability as you can imagine but also uses up all of her energy for the turn at once.
The Sunrider and Black Jacks flak lets me down. I didnt get a good screenshot of it but that one torpedo dropped us to 1230/1500 HP. These pirate bombers carry a limited number, fortunately, but later on well run into units that have unlimited torpedoes and also torpedoes with splash damage. Fun!
Until that unhappy day, though, this is why you want to keep your units bunched up inside the shield bubble.
Get fucked, bomber.
Pulse weapons hit multiple times for low damage individually but can really add up. They come in both laser and kinetic variety, and are good for finishing damaged units off, especially if they are unshielded or their armor has been degraded. Against a fully shielded or armored unit though theyre pretty much useless.
Aggro is based on kills, so Asaga and the Sunrider both end up drawing most of the enemy fire. Which is how it should be; the AI will target your support units too but if youve got a unit thats killed three or four of their ships theyll prioritize that first.
Okay thats enough explaining. Gotta save some for future battles. With the bombers taken out the remaining grunts and destroyers dont pose much threat so we mop them up.
This is where the money comes from. Yes Im playing one level down in difficulty: I want to be able to get good screenshots first, sue me.
Eh-heh, serves 'em right! Let's make an example of them and space them for good!
A-ah ... But shouldn't we turn them over to the authorities on Tydaria instead?
The Tydarian justice system is underfunded as it is. It'll be years until these traffickers face trial. I say we speed the process up by leaving them here to their fates.
Jesus, Ava. Still, they are human traffickers. Vote time!
We still have an obligation to the law. Pick them up and lock them in the brig.
Let them get a taste of their own medicine. Jam the distress beacon and get us out of here.