Part 51: It Was a Dark and Stormy Night
Commander, take a look at this.
Heavy ion storms, coming our way. I recommend temporarily halting repair work until they pass.
Doesn't look like we've got a choice. Standard ion storm protocol, lieutenant. Shield all electronic devices to prevent outages and move the crew deeper into the ship.
Sure is a bad storm, huh captain?
No kidding. This came out of nowhere. You know, the other officers used to tell stories about these storms to scare me back when I was a fresh lieutenant. About ghost ships, floating among the ion clouds filled with the souls of the men you fought and killed ... back from the grave for revenge.
Hahahaha Don't worry, Chigara. We've been through a lot worse than ghosts!
C-Chigara! Are you all right!?
Captain, we've got a situation! PACT forces, incoming!
On my way.
I almost had a heart attack!
Sorry, sorry get suited up. No need to fear the dead when we've got enough troubles with the living.
A PACT fleet, hidden inside the storm cluster. They used it to mask their approach and are already almost on top of us!
Must be forces loyal to Arcadius. They're here to get their friend back.
Incoming transmission from the PACT fleet.
Lets hear it.
Shields. You have one of ours.
Arcadius. Or should I say, Prototype. Awfully nice of you to go to such lengths to rescue your friend.
Rescue? No. She shall return to us in death. It is but a necessary step in rebirth. We ...
Cut the channel.
Fool! You interr-
What's the Sunrider's status?
Most of our systems are still shut down for repairs. We will have to fend them off with merely our Alliance escorts and ryders until we can get back online. In addition, the storm is interfering with our missile guidance systems. We wont be able to use them.
What about PACT?
They seem to have already devised a counter measure. Their missiles are fully operational.
Tsch. Looks like they have the advantage. Chigara, can you get our missiles working again?
Yes, I have already begun to rewrite the guidance system!
All right, were in your hands, then. All units, defend the Sunrider from the enemy attack until our missiles are operational again. We will provide fire support once that is done!
(He's relying entirely on her for this operation. Reckless. Too reckless.)
Is there a problem, commander?
While the Sunrider is getting back online, our ryders deploy.
Arrayed against us is a sizable PACT carrier battle group, with a few Arcadius units thrown in for spice.
Standard tactics; we drop some shields and start picking off units with long-range laser fire
and drag an enemy ryder close enough for Icari to race out and attack.
I NEVER LEARN.
While our missiles are offline, PACTs work just fine.
It keeps happening!
Next turn, a new carrier spawns at the bottom of the map, but so does an allied squadron of gunships. This new unit can fly almost across the whole map in one turn, or fire its cannons three times. They are anti-ryder units, particularly good against lightly armored PACT Mooks.
Theyll never be able to do anything to that carrier but they should be able to pick off anything it launches, so we can safely ignore this group.
For some reason PACT gets real mad at the Bianca. I mean, I can completely understand why in-universe, but in gameplay turns aggro is usually calculated by how many kills a unit has. Claude has just been dragging things over to Icari so she shouldnt be drawing very much aggro, but for a few turns PACT just lobs rocket barrages at her nonstop.
Even the Mooks get in on the action.
Arcadius, at least, goes after the real threat.
For the first time since the battle at Helion, the Sunrider is back in action. And not a moment too soon, because next turn
The second new unit of this battle, fast cruisers are basically engines wrapped around kinetic batteries. They exist to fly in close and mess your day up.
Unfortunately for them, we get to go first.
Between the Sunrider, the Paladin, and the Black Jack, none of them get a chance to do anything.
One gunboat bites it but the others are acquitting themselves well.
Theyre still real mad at Claude.
Negative, all missile guidance systems are still offline!
A-ah, I'm sorry captain! I made a mistake!
Inbound enemy reinforcements! PACT torpedo destroyers!
(The enemy knows we're sitting ducks. But Chigara can save us. I know she can.)
Captain, I can still do this! Just a little bit longer!
Okay, enough of this! Hiiyeaaahhh!
a pity it could not be tamed by us. Uncontrolled, it will bring nothing but destruction to the galaxy.
Not content with introducing two new units, the game throws a third into the mix. Torpedo destroyers fire especially large, high-yield torpedoes that do something we havent seen before now: splash damage. Which means that our strategy of bunching together for shield and flak protection has suddenly become a liability.
Support ryders and more fast cruisers reinforce the main enemy fleet ...
while down at the bottom of the map our gunboat squadron suddenly is way out of their league.
And none of our missiles work.
This could get bad.