Part 6: The Meteor That Started A WarI'm not updating because I plan to Accel my update schedule or anything. I just feel a little bad for disappearing into Restoration, and more importantly, there is some very nice stuff coming up in the three-way split and I want to get into it.
So just to be clear, we are back to a branch in time where Crowe chooses to follow Celestial Being instead of going to Japan.
Crowe smells money on those guys, and he usually follows his gut. Once again, Traia wishes him the worst.
Once again, Dr. Hell plots with Baron Ashura.
Once again, Crowe's debt has shrunk by a depressing amount.
This time, we find Crowe flying over Africa.
Seems like everyone is having trouble even catching Celestial Being's scent, thanks to their reactors' emissions scrambling radar. So rather than trying to track them, Traia is using Crowe and his Axion transport (they're a weapons company!) as bait. Between that and the ongoing conflict in the region, Celestial Being is bound to show itself.
She also lets Crowe know what Zechs and Treize already did - the reaper machine is also a Gundam, made in the Colonies of Gundamium Alloy. Most likely it's the Colonies' weapon against the oppressive CMC (what does that stand for?), a collaboration between the three superpowers. The conflict recently erupted when Heero Yui, a leader and supporter of nonviolent resistance, was assassinated, sending the Colonies up in arms and in turn letting the CMC justify the use of armed force.
Around that time, an alarm goes off in the shuttle...
Approaching machine? Looks like someone's already taken the bait.
I thought you were joking.
I believe in you and the Blaster with all my heart.
Save the puppy eyes. I make it a habit not to trust ladies. Especially pretty ones.
I'm flattered. You win this round. So what's going on over there?
What's going on is an AEU squadron. That's all right, Axion got Crowe off the hook...
Maybe not! Crowe's being fired upon! To Traia, that can only mean one thing. The AEU squadron isn't just any old squadron, but the spec team OZ!
Chapter 3: The Meteor That Started A War
(Celestial Being route)
His transport destroyed (this seems familiar...), it's just Crowe and his robot now.
OZ is a special squadron outside the AEU's main forces, and it's backed by the Romfeller group, which is out for Axion's throat. The OZ team has some Armored Troopers mixed in with it and it wants to take in the new Axion mech.
Usual drill. Beat up all the enemies, and do it in 3 turns for the SR point.
ATs are small. This means they're hard to hit and easy to get hit by. This is pre-Focus though, and Blaster's fairly upgraded.
ATs... Armored Troopers, the Astragius' mobile weapons. They're pretty basic, but pretty dangerous.
I'm guessing you guys are on the Union's payroll. That means we're in the same boat, so no hard feelings.
They're small and scrappy, but they're also fragile. Focus and Strike are the way to deal with them.
On the other hand, their rockets have quite some range.
Small, annoyingly fast enemies aren't new to SRW. In this game, they're somewhat associated with VOTOMS, which supplies not only ATs but also choppers and ground tanks.
Once the second enemy goes down, Leos show up.
In the head mech is the Lightning Baron, Zechs, and Crowe guesses that right away from the machine's movements. Zechs wants to try his skills against the Blaster.
But first, a jet-like machine drops out of the sky and transforms into a mobile suit.
The late Heero Yuy is at the controls and he's here to destroy some AEU machines.
Apparently, Heero's pacifism? Not so much!
Seriously I think he's broken.
Zechs panics and orders his troops to regroup and destroy both the Axion machine and the Gundam.
Crowe takes out one enemy...
Then the entire enemy squad, except for one Leo which didn't feel like attacking (it was out of range and refused to move).
Zechs vs. Heero. Didn't have time to Focus, and Zechs is fairly fast.
Colony Gundam! Your mission and your life end here!
You're too slow. I can dodge with room to spare.
Target sighted. Proceeding to destroy.
Heero talks pretty big, doesn't he? (This isn't entirely a bad thing, actually, as you'll see in a bit.)
But he hit, at least.
Suddenly, the Briannian Union shows up! I love how these early stages are just one big circus of enemy squads flying all over the place. Incidentally, the Britannian Union shares small, scrappy grunt mecha with the Astragius mercenaries - the Knightmare Frames from Code Geass are also Small sized and exclusive to the Union.
Graham Eaker is here to try and take the zone, and a new Gundam is just icing on the cake.
Before Britannia can move, though, the entire area - AEU, Britannia, Crowe, and Heero - is rained on by weapons fire!
Guess who! All four Celestial Being Gundams are here to play. For now, they're willing to overlook both the Colony Gundam and the Blaster - the AEU and Britannia are the real villains around here.
Setsuna is off in his own little world. He declares himself Gundam and dashes off into the middle of the map!
Tieria and Allelujah, for their part, peel off towards the (almost eliminated!) AEU block, leaving Lockon to watch Setsuna...
as his Haro teases him.
Both Zechs and Graham order their respective forces to focus on the Gundams. Poor Crowe laments being caught in the chaos.
And it's still the enemy phase of turn 1! Britannia moves to engage Setsuna and Lockon.
Setsuna's Counter triggers, giving him the first strike.
He takes it out with a critical, completely avoiding a counterattack.
Then does it again. Go Setsuna.
But it looks like he'll have less luck against Graham.
It's such an honor to meet you, Gundam.
Who are you?
I'm Graham Eaker, and you've stolen away my heart.
How lovely that we should meet again so soon. As a Virgo, I can't help but think this is destiny...
I'll take a piece of you as a gift!
Don't touch me!
"Sometimes rejection only inflames one's passion!"
And then it's my turn again, so I can finally drop some Gundam info. For fuck's sake.
Wing Gundam/Wing Gundam (Bird Mode) (Heero Yuy)
Hit & Away
Ace Bonus: Evasion +20%. Movement +1.
Oh wait, he doesn't have Focus yet. Crap.
Even more so than Kyrios, Wing Gundam's Bird Mode is strictly for zipping around. It's very fast, but its only weapon is a non-(P) quasi-sniping implement. Wing Gundam's normal form is a reasonable general Gundam type unit that can engage in up close combat with its beam saber and machine gun, but would really rather bombard you with its energy-sucking Buster Rifle.
Its big draw is the Buster Rifle MAP version, which blasts all enemies in a line on the board with no chance of counterattack. It doesn't even drain any energy itself, drawing on its own private pool of 3 bursts per refill, which is actually pretty good for a MAP attack. Of course, it deals friendly fire in its path too, so a little planning is quite useful.
Since he's damaged, this is also a reasonable place to point out a couple of interface things.
On the main screen, a flashing message has popped up indicating that a pilot Skill is activated.
On the pilot screen, we can see that the Skill in question is Prevail. All Skills that can be activated and are, on any given pilot, will be flashing green. Hit & Away won't flash because it's always on, and Block won't flash because it triggers and is done, but Prevail flashes because it turns on below a certain HP level. The other type of skill that "turns on" like that are skills that trigger above specific Will levels - but those haven't shown up quite yet.
Also, Zechs has a Propellant Tank. Reminder: it restores a single unit's energy pool.
Graham has a Vernier Unit, which has a very simple effect: it increases the equipped unit's movement rate by one square.
First, let's take out this straggler.
Now that Crowe has singlehandedly taken out the entire AEU squad, he, Tieria, and Allelujah are free to move into Britannia, in case it does any good. But first, let's consider Heero.
His accuracy has gone up a bit from his Prevail skill since Zechs damaged him, but it's still not good enough to reliably take out the Lightning Baron. And he doesn't have Focus, Strike, Sense, or anything else to augment it.
Tieria, ever the responsible leader, has the Attune Spirit command, which has the same effect as Strike, but on any allied unit. Heero is begging for it.
Like magic, Heero has the complete effect of Strike for the turn, complete with the Strike kanji lit up.
Since he'll be able to move after he shoots, I'll cast Accel too. It'll help him get closer to Graham's squad.
But Heero wins.
Grr... his machine is so much better, I can't make it up with skill alone.
Retreating for now!
Heero moves and gains almost one level, plus the Tank.
Kyrios is fast!
Virtue is slow.
Snipers can frequently hit targets so far away that the enemy unit has no weapon that can counterattack.
Now that we're in, there's no turning back. I'll snipe down whatever target it takes!
Naturally, he criticals and blows the tiny Glasgow up. (I actually just like this cutin.)
After Focusing, Setsuna has much better odds against Graham... except that the Union Flags with him have Defensive Support. They'll step in, take damage as if they were defending, and it'll be a huge waste.
On the other hand, Graham himself doesn't have Support, so the minion Flags are fair game. Besides, spreading damage around is good.
Well, can't crit on every attack. Unless you're Lockon.
A fair end to the turn.
As it turns out, the follower Flags don't just have Defensive Support, but Offensive Support too. The good news is Offensive Support doesn't trigger if the Glasgow gets shot down first.
Anyway, the minions die. From here, finishing off the last Flag and Graham should be a simple matter.
"Gundam! Let me show you how much I love you!"
"I understand just how you feel, Gundam!"
You bet those are missles coming out of Dynames' pelvis.
Having taken out the mission's official boss, Setsuna gains a level and learns Strike as well as looting the Vernier.
Strange particle emissions and high-power beam weaponry... it's all so mysterious.
Gundam, our fight is just beginning! Next time is going to be so much fun!
Point and match.
The AEU and Britannian forces gone, Celestial Being turns its attention to the Colony and Axion machines. Tieria demands Heero get down from his machine, Instead, Heero transforms his Gundam and flies off, leaving all present in awe of its speed.
Celestial Being having lost Wing Gundam, there's only one thing left on the shopping list...
Tieria gives instructions to capture the Blaster. Veda wants to know more about the machine's many mysteries. Crowe can't compete with four Gundams - he can't even compete with Lockon's lightning trigger finger. Looks like we're stuck with Celestial Being.
This girl is named Wang Liu-Min, and hell if I know how to arrange that, anyway she's a Chinese celebrity as well as a Celestial Being agent. She brings the lowdown on the reaction to Celestial Being's plot: the world governments are serious, and they're planning to take action. Just as planned for Celestial Being.
She also has new orders for them. Britannia is retreating from the hot zone, so if they can take out the AEU, it'll put a halt to the conflict in the region. As for why they'd pull out all of a sudden, well, their frontline base has been trashed - by two more Colony Gundams. Put all the reports together and there are a total of five such Gundams confirmed.
At any rate, Sumeragi and Veda are still piecing together the battle plan, since Dancouga (remember Dancouga?) is throwing a monkey wrench into the regional stiuation. An explanation of Dancouga follows, but you don't need it.
Afterwards, Liu-Min tells the Meisters to let her know if they need anything, and Lockon makes a little joke - three coffees, and a milk for Setsuna. Setsuna stomps off, leaving his partners to wonder how they got stuck with such a rash little kid.
Then we cut to Graham at the destroyed Britannian outpost. Billy fills him in on the two Gundams that did the job - one armored close combat type, and one heavy firepower type. Still, just two machines did a number on an entire base, so...
Graham also brings up Setsuna's immaturity yet again, claiming he can tell the Gundam's pilot was a child from the emotion that showed through in the machine's movements.
The conversation turns to the orders to pull out. Graham's heard that the Emperor Charles Zi Britannia wasn't too keen on this area in the first place, anyway, though Billy thought he wanted to unify the whole world. They muse, but ultimately, Graham concludes that as frontline soldiers, it's not in their ability or place to question orders. Speaking of which, and both of them have been transferred into the Gundam Investigation Team, a new group under Professor Ralph(?) Eifman.
Graham is totally pumped up to be up against such powerful foes, both Celestial Being and the Colonies. Looks like we'll be seeing a lot of him from now on.
Chapter's over. Come back later for more Gundams, Gundams everywhere.
Speaking of Gundams, in this branch we can upgrade and train the four Gundam Meisters. Lockon, obviously, is required to learn Hit & Away. Seriously, who was responsible for that?