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[LP CYOA] Epic

Discussion in 'Choose Your Own Adventure Land' started by treave, Jun 23, 2012.

  1. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
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    Not at all, no, it's just that some here are thinking in terms of Senya's pussy count. This guy seems like a professional enough officer that will work with what he has to achieve the mission he was assigned. I also think he won't do dumb shit when the Empress and Princess are on the ship he is supposed to be protecting. I also highly suspect he's a prince.

    Also, the stupidest thing we can do right now is treat the whole thing as "lololo." We have the chance right here and now to earn ourselves friends and supporters in the military through proving ourselves as tactitian and soldier (sailor...spaceman, whatever term we are using) both.
     
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  2. TOME Cuckmaster General

    TOME
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    They already have enough people at the command. What they don't have is pilots for the CFs. It's in the field where we can do the most good for the mission.
     
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  3. GreyViper Erudite

    GreyViper
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    You know about "No battle plan survives contact with the enemy" , A choice seems more passive role, while B seems more active. Second consider the human factor the plan misfires, but other pilots refuse to acknowledge your orders because they don't trust/like(not enough rank) you and improvise in the heat of battle. So A seems good for ship to ship combat, less for space mech where pilot skill counts more and orders are more like a guidelines to follow for best best of ability.
    With B you are a pilot you have more mobility to engage moving single targets and as I understand they are the main threat now.
     
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  4. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
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    Much bro-love and all, Tigranes, but the best way for this plan of ours to succeed is for us to be there on the front lines making sure it succeeds. GreyViper has it right when he says this
    Yes, Senya is great of on-the-spot improvisation (I wonder who he got that from, hm? His daddy?:smug:) and the place where it will matter most is out there, in the field where the shit will be going down. Right now, they are sending out two mechs
    against five trained, and likely experienced, enemy mechs. They will need maximum support and help if they are to succeed. And also, accepting the Captain's offer will pretty much guarantee us his protection (a man that has the balls to step up to the Empress is surely a man we want on our side); there's also the small matter that no general that ever lived got to where he got by sitting back and relaxing while men died by his plans and orders (Alexander, Napoleon, Caesar, etc) and by the time the general "will really need it," it will already be way to fucking late for us to make a difference. Think of this as our "Siege of Toulon," Napoleon made his plan and was on the front lines to see it accomplished.
    And the accusations leveled at Naim are absolutely groundless: he seems like a professional, experienced officer that will follow his assigned orders to the maximum of his ability (sure, he's hot-headed, but that doesn't equate him to Theseus); and out there, where squabbling equals death he will hold off all the bitching and moaning, I'm sure. And we aren't there to do combat, but to buy the ship time to escape, so juicing ourself up before the operation seems like the optimal thing to do, maximizing chances of success and all that.

    In conclusion: Grimrock knows the gist of our plan (it's not that complicated, really) and he seems like a competent commander, he will not let us down. And he is more than enough to coordinate three mechas. This is our call to glory, bros, let's not waste it, eh? The best thing we'll get out of staying in the command center is lose any respect the soldiers had for us (the officer who tells others to do something he wouldn't do himself isn't much liked) and maybe become Grimrock's aide-de-camp. If he doesn't drop us from the draft when we get back (seriously, the Empire can draft underage students?). Barring any sudden reinforcements for the UNS, we should be fine.
    I'd rather Senya gain confidence through actual deeds and successes, because that is the only kind of confidence that counts.

    P.S.: treave, assuming we get to the point, will we be able to create and command our own squadrons/companies/divisions (and most importantly, name them; because "Crocodiles" sounds, well, underwhelming)? Or enroll in spec-ops? And will there be combat bikes?

    Edit:
    Basically, this.

    Edit 2: I also think that the Captain is giving us this "great opportunity"
    probably saving our ass from insubordination charges or securing us some nice accolades to cement our position, or a sweet assignment in West Point (please let it be so). Really, we should trust him for now.
     
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  5. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
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    Codex 2012
    Naim belonged to the Crocodiles. You don't. The chain of command'll become clear later on once they sort out the chaos of this situation. You won't get a nickname like the 'Red Baron' (pretty much why I asked for colour preference) or name your squadrons yet. That's for if you build up a reputation as an ace pilot.

    As for the draft, well, emergency draft covers every able-bodied man, woman and teen. As long as you're at least 16 you qualify. They figured if you're legally boning by 16 you should be able to legally murder someone for the glory of the Empire.
     
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  6. aleam iacis Scholar

    aleam iacis
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    Codex USB, 2014 BattleTech
    Let's set ourselves up for being a star pilot, hero of the EMPIRE! If we do well here we can become a real pilot rather than just a one-time thing. Then we can lead our armies within the battle itself like Ean did(though lets not bite off more than we can chew and get sent out of commission floating in space for centuries)

    But let's not get an addiction, and why use our powers before we absolutely need to? The combat will almost certainly last longer than 5 minutes, and if it lasts longer than 20 even our elixir won't prevent us from needing rescue.

    BB2. Though I would be okay with AB2. No drugs, and don't use our powers unless we totally need to (probably not the very beginning of the operation, maybe the middle or the end). I mean, we still have Yua and our normal skills.
     
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  7. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
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    Another reason to go out with Naim for the sortie
    Pay attention to how he speaks to Senya and how he speaks to the captain. I'm willing to bet that after we did the equivalent of flipping him off in the fight, he will be much less inclined to pay attention to our words than he is to the captain's. Hence, us, an ensign (by the way, how the hell did we get drafted as an officer right away? I thought draftees without a diploma started from the lowest possible rank; or is Grimrock to cool to give a fuck?), barking orders to him, a lieutenant, may jeopardize the mission rather than aid it. And the imperial family along with it.
    He should be fine under Grimrock (notice the sudden respect), but Senya I'm not so sure about.
    Also, pay attention at the text for the choices
    This will, for a lack of a better word, net us a rep of a pussy from the get-go in the military ranks: we planned the suicide mission and refused to go on it. It would be different if we were a non-field officer (Commander and above) with a track record, but first impressions can make a lot for us in the future. Being a complete hero is better than being half of one.
    And being on the spot will help us react to TSHTF sutiations in a much more direct manner.
     
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  8. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
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    Codex 2012
    This is pretty much a bastardization of real life military ranks (not going to make up my own terms, these are simpler for everyone to understand), but CF pilots are called cadets in training and graduate to ensign, which is also the lowest rank for a ship officer. All CF pilots are automatically officers, outranking enlisted men, after the fashion of the Indus military. This means that once the ISC and Higashi begin deploying CFs en masse, we'll have a lot of fighter pilots jockeying for an automatic promotion. This might change later down the line when CFs become more and more common and the military requires reorganization. It's something new, so you'll have to cut it some slack. They're pressing the system into service all of a sudden in war-time.

    For navy, both sea and space, it goes like this:

    Admiral > Vice Admiral > Rear Admiral > Captain > Commander > Lt. Commander > 1st Lieutenant > 2nd Lieutenant > Ensign

    The ranks for dedicated combat pilots are slightly different, bearing a bit more similarity to air force ranks.

    Colonel > Lt. Colonel > Major > Lieutenant > Lieutenant Junior Grade > Ensign

    A colonel is roughly equivalent in rank to a ship's captain and cannot be ordered around, but in practice they defer to the captain while onboard his vessel. Right now the highest ranking combat frame pilot, whether in the UNS or elsewhere, is a Colonel, a rank carried over from his air force days. As a branch, CFs are still extremely new. They tend to be deployed under the command of the traditional branches rather than having a command structure of their own.
     
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  9. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
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    :bro:
    So, yeah, we're two steps below Nahim.
     
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  10. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
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    Tally so far, how the votes were put in:
    1
    A- Smashing Axe, Storyfag, Zwist, Lambchop19, Tigranes, ScubaV
    B- TOME, m4davis, Azira, GreyViper, aleam iacis, Baltika9
    2
    A1- Smashing Axe, Storyfag, Baltika9
    A2- Azira, Lambchop19, Tigranes, ScubaV
    B1-
    B2- TOME, m4davis, Zwist, GreyViper, aleam iacis

    If anyone hasn't voted yet, now would be a good time. And consider this: bitches love heroes.

    Just to be on the safe side: are we aware of any enemy reinforcements coming?
     
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  11. Smashing Axe Arcane Patron

    Smashing Axe
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    Divinity: Original Sin
    I think this might be a question as to if we want to be a navy bridge officer, or a navy pilot. I vote bridge officer.
     
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  12. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
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    Codex 2012
    You aren't aware of any reinforcements for the enemy. Your own is estimated to take at the very least two weeks to get here in perfect conditions. All you know is that the Ghostlot is supposed to have five Centeotls.

    This isn't actually a career path choice. Given the scarcity of people who can actually pilot a mech (which you aren't actually too horrible at considering the lack of training), and the many obstacles ahead of you on the way to Earth, now that you've entered the Flight of the Kaguya-hime scenario, you might find that steadfastly refusing to pilot no matter what may lead to a bad end (not for this choice, though).

    This choice is about where you think you can do the most good.
     
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  13. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
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    Not really, no. Senya is already specced to be more of a direct-action type (rescuing Sargon, aiding that cultist girl, practicing kenjutsu and cqc with Butterfield, not to mention this
    our "fault lines" ability is made for offense and being in the thick of battle to apply it, not standing on a bridge yelling into the intercom); we can take him into the direction of a political officer (think Curtis LeMay), it's just that we'll make more of him through direct action CF pilot/war hero (think Major Dick Winters/samurai).

    There's also the matter of this plan of ours succeeding or not dpending on our presence, nothing is ever a handout and you still haven't rebutted any of my points.
    Edit:
    Yeah, heading out with these guys now sounds like the best option: keep as many alive as we possibly can and we'll make it through this in one piece and a fucking hero for saving the Empress and Princess of the Shinar by coming up with an audacious plan by ourselves and having the balls to go out and do it in a half-assed mech.
     
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  14. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
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    Codex 2012
    Or you could not into applying your powers and fuck up catastrophically on your first battle in a zero-G environment.

    How much faith do you have in the guy? :troll:
     
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  15. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
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    Considering that Senya already was in quite a few life-or-death situations and handled his first kill quite well, enough to believe that he will succeed.
    Although Mentats will help:troll:
     
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  16. m4davis Scholar

    m4davis
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    with choice about using our powers or not it works like on the school roof where when we activated them when we needed them right
     
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  17. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
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    If things go wrong with not using the power, it is probably one of two ways:
    1) you activate your power too late to change a losing situation
    2) you don't get a chance to activate your power before you are defeated

    Let me clarify the plan a bit further, so you guys are clear how long each part of the plan should take and if you need the drugs.

    -3 minutes: Blast colony wall with particle beams and torpedos. Ghostlot will be alerted almost immediately and launch CFs in response.
    0 minutes: Safely exit colony. <- powers activated here if on bridge
    2 minutes: Mechs engage enemy 3 km away from the Kaguya-hime, relying on a combination of the warship's anti-CF weapons and fire support to suppress the UNS CFs. <- powers activated here if in mech
    7 minutes: Kaguya-hime sets course to cross asteroid trajectory. Maintains deceptively slower speed to allow Ghostlot to close in. Engages ECM to prevent long-range combat.
    12 minutes: If enemy CFs still around, mechs begin to disengage and retreat to the Kaguya-hime at this point.
    15 minutes: Kaguya-hime crosses the asteroid trajectory and engages top speed the moment it does so.
    16 minutes: ???
    20 minutes: PROFIT!!!

    It's a very short and quick operation. If you don't choose to use the powers now, Senya might use it himself if he needs to depending on any unforeseen circumstances that pop up, though if you use it early he might have the chance to nip those in the bud.
     
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  18. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
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    Codex 2012
    I stand by my vote to pilot a mech, use the powers and don't inject the concoction. :salute:
     
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  19. Lambchop19 Arcane Zionist Agent Literally Hitler Batshit Crazy

    Lambchop19
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    BA2
    I agree with Azira. Naim, is pretty experienced and was worried about taking on the enemy with just two mechs. If we're on the bridge and DON'T use the serum, we'll run out of juice before the fight is over, potentially losing the other mech & it's pilot, forever turning Naim into our enemy. In a mech, we'll run out at the end of the battle - hopefully after dishing out major damage to the enemy with our powers - unless we use shatterpoint...then Naim ends up dragging our unconscious body back...but let's hope for the best here...
     
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  20. Stygian Lurker Scholar

    Stygian Lurker
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  21. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
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    Codex 2012
    BB2
    AA1
    AA1
    BB2
    AB2
    BA2
    BB2
    BA2
    AA2
    BA1
    AA2
    BB2
    BA2

    AA1 - 2
    AA2 - 2
    AB2 - 1
    BA1 - 1
    BA2 - 3
    BB2 - 4

    1. A - 5, B - 8
    2. A1 - 3, A2 - 5, B2 - 5

    Since it's ended up as a tie for the second choice, I'm inclined to have BB2 take it as the winner if counted by block. Any objections or last minute flops? If not, the update should be out in perhaps three hours or so.
     
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  22. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
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    Flopping from A1 to A2 if you're still taking 'em.
     
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  23. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
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    Codex 2012
    Flight of the Kaguya-hime

    The hangar is busy with activity – the technicians are swarming all over Anhur, attempting to get it fixed in time for the operation. The right arm that was damaged when I piloted it is already fixed, so that's probably most of the job done. I can see Naim inside the open cockpit, recalibrating the combat frame to suit his own sensitivity. He flexes his arms and gauges the response of Anhur's own. Strangely, there is a perplexed look on his face. It looks like they haven't removed the extra propulsion units strapped to the frame's back and legs; if they did that, the entire balance of the mech would need to be retuned, and they probably don't have the time. There are also a few other maintenance staff getting the other pilot's construction mech battle-ready. They're loading the weaponry onto it right now.

    I turn away and look around for the construction robot I'm supposed to pilot. There it is. No one's caring for it. It's standing alone in the corner like some neglected, sad little child. Well, I'm not surprised I don't get priority care. I should probably check on it myself anyway. As I walk over to it, slightly disheartened, a goggled-technician climbs out from the cockpit. Judging from the red hair and curvy overalls, it's Tabitha.

    “Yo.” She gives me a two fingered salute. I return the favour.

    “Everything's a-okay with your ride here, Senya.” grins Tabitha as she leaps down from the ten-metre high mech. She pushes her goggles down, letting them hang around her neck.“I took the liberty of getting your piloting data from the Anhur and calibrating the little one over here with it.”

    I'm pleasantly surprised. “I was going to ask someone to do that. Thanks.”

    “No thanks needed, but have you seen your own data?”

    “No. Why, what's wrong with it?” Was it that bad, I wonder. I thought I did pretty well to get out alive in the first place.

    “Nothing wrong... but what's with the sensitivity setting you were using? I've never seen anyone set it that high – hell, I didn't even know it could go that high.” My eyes dart away. Yua must have hacked it for me. Tabitha continues excitedly. “We forgot to check for it before Naim got in just now, and he pretty much crashed to the floor when he tried to move.”

    That explains his look when I saw him in Anhur earlier.

    “I don't know. It just felt right to me.” I reply. Tabitha arches an eyebrow at me. “Anyway, the construction mech won't be as responsive as Anhur no matter what magic I do with it, so you'll have to compensate for its slower movements out there.”

    I nod. I look at the mech again; it's a ISC Heavy Industries G-81 model, a bulky machine with two heavy duty actuator arms protruding from the back in addition to the standard four limbs. The pilot usually switches between the two pairs of arms depending on what work is required.

    “I've packed it with one of the prototype particle beam rifles and one mono-molecular dagger in the thigh storage compartment.” explains Tabitha. “Without connection to a powerful reactor like the one in the Anhur, the rifle will only be good for about 6 shots.”

    I'll have to try not to miss.

    “Senya!” I turn to see Kyrie running up to me. “What are you doing here?”

    “I'm sortieing in the next operation. What, did you come to send me off?” I grin.

    “Ah, no. I didn't know you were here. I saw you by chance...” she mumbles and looks away. Her eyes dart towards Anhur briefly, where Naim seems to have finished his calibrations. To put it simply, she came here to see him, not me. I wonder why she can't be a bit more honest about it. It's not like I'm going to get offended, nor should I, right?

    “By the way, what are you doing here? Shouldn't you be evacuating to the shelters about now?” I change the subject for Kyrie. She takes the chance gratefully. “Ah yes, that's right. I'm going to be on board the Kaguya-hime. So's my mother and the Higashi VIPs. They say they aren't about to let Captain Grimrock run off into space unsupervised.”

    A smile passes across Kyrie's face. “They probably just think it's safer to be here than inside the emergency shelter.”

    “I wouldn't be so sure about that,” I groan. “I hope the Empress doesn't try to interfere with anything.”

    “It's too late,” sighs Kyrie. “She's already found a comfortable seat on the bridge.”

    Thankfully, that's now Captain Grimrock's problem to deal with, not mine. I'll be busy fighting for my life out there, not trying to coordinate the mission with an outspoken and somewhat hostile Empress on the bridge. I wonder briefly which is worse. The siren begins sounding. The operation is about to start.

    “That's your cue,” says Tabitha. “Good luck, Senya. Come back alive.” As she heads to her position, I spot Kyrie still looking at Naim.

    “Aren't you going to go wish him luck?” I prod her. She turns to me with a start, an embarrassed look on her face. “What? Oh, no, I already- no, there's no need to. You need all the luck you can get. Don't try to be a hero, Senya. I have no idea why you decided to do this in the first place. Just let Naim handle it.”

    I laugh. “Don't worry about that.”

    I don't have any intentions of being a hero at all.

    ***

    The Kaguya-hime rumbles as it soars through the hole of molten slag that it had made in the colony wall. A violent flow of air accompanies it, along with bits of debris being sucked out into the vacuum of space.

    I sit in my construction mech, awaiting the order to launch. The robot is powered on and the monitor panels are showing the feed of the hangar. All three of us have parked our mechs on the catapults that lead out of the ship. My intercom buzzes to life.

    “Hoshikawa.” It's Naim. “You may have come up with this plan, but I expect my orders to be followed during the battle. I understand that the objective is to intercept the enemy frames and prevent them from reaching the Kaguya-hime. To that end, I will be in charge of on-site tactical decisions.”

    “Alright, I got that.” I reply.

    “I don't want any repeat of that bullshit stunt you pulled earlier with the Anhur, understand?” pushed Naim. “Stick with Jean and follow his lead. Then you might not get killed. Jean, we're going with Pattern Iota. No need for any fancy moves, just lay down fire support for me.”

    “Roger that,” says Jean cheerfully. That's the other test pilot. “Stay close, rookie.” The gravity shifts as the Kaguya-hime pulls clear of the colony. I hear one of the bridge operators announcing the signal to launch.

    Besides me the Anhur crouches slightly as it braces its feet against the catapult. I do the same. Naim and Jean launch first, catapulted into space. Then, it's my turn. I report my name, as they did, and receive the all clear to go ahead.

    “We're ready to go, Master.” says Yua. I can tell she's nervous about this, but I'll definitely need her help in this.

    “Hoshikawa Senya, sortieing!”

    Again I find myself pushed back in my seat as the catapult throws my construction mech into the void of space. The weightlessness is something I'll have to get used to. Maneuvering is hard – the slightest movement throws my course astray. Keeping my hands firmly on the slave levers, I fall into formation besides Jean. We would stay behind the Anhur and fire upon the Centeotls to distract them, while Naim makes use of the combat frame's high mobility to pick apart the enemy formation.

    I check the location of the Kaguya-hime and the Ghostlot. Everything is still progressing according to plan.

    “Five enemy CFs detected straight ahead,” warns Naim. “Jean, execute Pattern Iota.”

    “Roger.” Jean's response is curt, and he immediately pulls away towards the left. “Stay on my right side, rookie.”

    track: mobile suit

    The enemy comes into view. The Centeotl is similar in design to the Xolotl; squat and brick-like. They could almost be twins except for the thrusters that are attached to their legs for space mobility. The Centeotls moved five abreast in a straight line formation. They were painted entirely in white with red highlights.

    “The White Fangs?” mutters Jean. “Why are they here?”

    “Who are these White Fangs?” I ask.

    “A band of mercenary UNS pilots that appeared about a month ago. They've been building quite a reputation for themselves.” grimaced Naim. “That doesn't matter, we have our job to do.”

    “Make them scatter, rookie!” shouts Jean. He raises his particle beam rifle and fires a well-aimed shot at the center Centeotl; the leader, judging from the spiky antenna sticking out from the top of its head. With an agility belying its clumsy look, the CF spins downwards with ease, evading Jean's shot. Following his lead, I take careful aim and fire at the formation. The condensed, highly energetic particles in the beam tear through space at an appreciable fraction of the speed of light. It misses the Centeotls, but Jean and I are already firing our next shots.

    Their formation breaks up. In their haste to dodge our attacks they did not see Naim bearing down on them, going at Anhur's full speed. He fires his own beam rifle, taking out the back thrusters of one of the Centeotls. It tumbles off into space, unable to regain its balance. With a quick spin, Naim redirects Anhur's trajectory to the right, again creating distance between the Centeotls and himself. From the wobbly, uncertain movements, it seems that he's not used to the speed that the high mobility prototype is capable of. Still, he's performing admirably and dragging out our time with his hit and runs. At the same time, Jean fires yet another shot at the distracted Centeotls. It misses, and he curses. It seems that he expected to hit that one. Four Centeotls left, including the leader. The leader of their squad makes a quick gesture, and the three white Centeotls begin heading towards us.

    “Master, they'll be here in six seconds!” shouts Yua. She has been guiding my shots to make it easier, but the sluggish movements of the G-81 means that even aiming is a chore.

    Damn. I raise my rifle again and fire. Even with Yua aiding my aim, the Centeotls evade it easily, splitting up their formation and reforming, closing in on me all the while. These are no normal pilots. I can see Naim rushing back to intercept the enemy CFs headed for us, but the lead Centeotl suddenly stands in his way, pulling out a mono-molecular sword from its back.

    For now we're on our own. This doesn't look good. The Centeotls have a massive mobility advantage over us, and now that they are on guard I can tell that they also have the skill advantage. Two of them split off and approach us from the sides at high speed, making intricate maneuvers as they do so. Jean wastes the last of his shots attempting to hit them in futility. The remaining one fires its machine-gun at us. In these damned construction mechs we cannot dodge very well; though I try, the hail of bullets blow away my mech's right leg, sending its fragments spinning into space. These mechs are nowhere nearly as well-armored as Anhur was. I don't have the luxury of taking any more hits.

    Before I can react, I hear Jean scream over the intercom. I turn the mech around, but a massive impact throws me backwards. I can see a thick, gigantic blade passing right by my side; it barely missed me by centimetres. I ensure my pilot suit and helmet is secured tightly, and kick the mech's legs outwards, pulling it away from the Centeotl that had just tried to stab me with its sword.

    Jean's mech has been torn apart by the other Centeotl, its parts scattering in the void. I'm not sure whether he's still alive. Naim is probably still busy with the leader.

    I should have done this earlier.

    My mind freezes over as I focus.

    Things are... different.

    Out here in deep space, separated from the cold void by only the mech I am in, my senses seem to be far more expansive than they were before. I do not know how, but I sense more clearly and acutely than before the flames of life; three around me, two far ahead, and many more clustered together behind me.

    “Yua. Enslave the actuator arms in simultaneous control!” I shout. She responds without complaint. The actuator limbs whir to life, their manipulator claws opening and closing wickedly. They grab the surprised Centeotl that had almost run me through with a sword. I concentrate on the delicate balance of controlling four arms at the same time. I'm about to be fired upon – I whirl my mech around, placing the Centeotl in my grasp between me and the line of fire. The bullets smash into my hostage's body, but I remain unharmed. With a violent throw, I toss the Centeotl at its comrade. Three beams burst forth from the barrel of my rifle, one after another. They rip through the armor of the Centeotls, but none of them manage to land a killing blow, as the Centeotls recover unnaturally quickly and dash apart. They immediately retreat to a distance, suddenly wary of me.

    At the same time, Naim finally returns to my side... but the Anhur is in terrible condition. It is missing both its head and arms. Its armor is cracked and dented at multiple places. He appears to be blindly attempting to retreat, trying to salvage whatever is left of the prototype CF. The lead Centeotl dashes past me at high speed, intent on striking the killing blow on the Anhur. My actuator arms lash out and grip its legs as it does so. The surprised leader turns around and swings its sword at me, cleaving one of the arms into two. I draw my dagger and attack it while it is distracted; that does not work. The Centeotl moves faster than I can predict and cuts off the hand holding the dagger with one clean, beautiful stroke.

    Something strikes me as familiar about that sword move...

    On a hunch, I immediately begin hailing the enemy, shouting just one word: “Dunamis!”

    I can just about sense them freezing up. Perfect. That delay is all I needed. I couldn't care less about why the Dunamis are here for now. The mission is already a success; we have held them off long enough for the Kaguya-hime to reach its destination. The construction mech might not be fast, but if I engage all of its thrusters at once it moves at a reasonable speed, and its acceleration is not too shabby.

    My G-81 rams into the leader's Centeotl, carrying it towards the fleeing Anhur. Sure, Naim would be able to escape while the Dunamis pile on me as they are wont to do – those pricks – but I think I can get out of this with both of us alive. As expected, the Centeotl tries to push my mech off. I open the cockpit hatch and jump just as it does so. I float out into space. The added inertia sends me sailing towards Naim's CF – it's hardly traveling at top speed. I manage to grab hold of one of the ruined limbs and begin banging on the mech. After what seems like forever, the cockpit opens with a hiss and I climb in.

    Inside, Naim stares at me dumbfoundedly as the cockpit closes. He looks almost as bad as the frame he's in; there's blood everywhere. I'm sorry to do this to an injured man, but I unstrap him and push him out of his seat. He floats around, groaning. It looks like he's still dazed. I'm lucky that he had enough presence of mind to let me in.

    “The Centeotls are catching up, Master, and the Ghostlot is not too far behind. What should we do?” says Yua worriedly. I check what's left of the monitors; Yua is right. I slam on the Anhur's throttle. Nothing happens. The battle had damaged most of its thrusters. The Kaguya-hime is just ahead, but I won't be able to reach it before the asteroid passes. My mind works furiously, considering all the possibilities; with the wrecked mech that I'm in, my abilities are still useless. Ignoring the robot, I can't exactly fight off four CFs by myself with nothing but my tendrils and powers – there wouldn't be enough time to take them all out and escape.

    I hate to admit it, but I'm stuck.

    It's too late. I can't reach the Kaguya-hime. I bring Anhur to a gentle stop and turn around. Behind me I feel the asteroid tumbling past, on its way to gods know where. Ahead of me, the Centeotls approach slowly and warily at my sudden pause, the Ghostlot following close behind.

    The intercom flickers to life.

    “Drop down!” shouts Captain Grimrock.

    I immediately angle my combat frame and rocket downwards.

    As the asteroid passes, it reveals the Kaguya-hime waiting, having done an about-turn right after the asteroid arrived. Its weapons were all pointing towards the enemy, and not a second passes by before they fire their salvo. Beams and torpedoes rain on the Ghostlot and its CFs. Though the Centeotl's manage to evade the salvo, the Ghostlot is not so lucky. I can barely see through the bright explosions that flare up in front of me. When the glare fades, the Ghostlot has turned tail. Taken by surprise, the enemy begins to retreat, fleeing the counterattack of the Kaguya-hime.

    The operation is over, and not in a way I had expected...

    ***

    In the aftermath of the battle, we found out that despite the Ghostlot's retreat to lick its wounds, reinforcements from the Indus Confederation would be arriving at Neo Heliopolis within three days to support the Ghostlot. Staying here was now a futile endeavour; the Indus warship would carry a squad of ten CFs, which would likely be their new Vizala IIs – a machine that far outperformed the Centeotls even though they both belonged to the 2nd generation. Even the Empress acknowledged, unwillingly, that they had to leave.

    But where to?

    We had two choices; the Apophis asteroid at Sun L5, run by the Atman Foundation which has remained neutral thus far, or attempt to rendezvous with an ISC patrol of three warships on the way to Sun L4. The former is a longer trip of about one week, but the latter would run a high risk of encountering the enemy. If it were left up to me, I would probably prefer to...

    ***

    A. Head to the Atman Foundation's asteroid, where we can rest and resupply. We will leak notice of our supposed attempt to meet with the ISC patrol in order to distract the UNS and Indus warships hunting for us.

    B. Attempt the rendezvous with the ISC patrol. It will take only two days to find and reach them. If we succeed, we should be able to gain a proper escort, which would be sufficient to break through towards Earth.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
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  24. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2004
    Messages:
    8,189
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Codex 2012
    Tsk tsk. If just one more person had voted for engaging the power from the start as I urged, things might've gone better. :roll:

    Anyways, time to salvage what we might. My hunch tells me that the Atman Foundation's asteroid will probably involve dirty diplomacy and no small amount of possible backstabbing, so off the bat, I'm slightly more inclined to take the quick and risky route. Will postpone my vote for a while.
     
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  25. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Tigranes
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2009
    Messages:
    9,441
    I'm almost suspicious of how well we seem to be doing, though I guess failure here would have meant death, so there had to be a bit of deus ex machina.

    A is basically luring the enemy towards the ISC patrol, no? Which apparently has three warships versus one Indus (+ Vizala IIs)? Would we be potentially screwing them over?

    I also suspect A may see us not return to Earth for quite some time, though that's not really a bad thing...
     
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