Official Codex Discord Server

  1. Welcome to rpgcodex.net, a site dedicated to discussing computer based role-playing games in a free and open fashion. We're less strict than other forums, but please refer to the rules.

    "This message is awaiting moderator approval": All new users must pass through our moderation queue before they will be able to post normally. Until your account has "passed" your posts will only be visible to yourself (and moderators) until they are approved. Give us a week to get around to approving / deleting / ignoring your mundane opinion on crap before hassling us about it. Once you have passed the moderation period (think of it as a test), you will be able to post normally, just like all the other retards.
    Dismiss Notice

[LP CYOA] Epic

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

  1. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2012
    Messages:
    9,509
    How did you arrive at that conclusion?
    From what I see, these two were pretty much the typical big bro/lil sis duo, if we were a terrible person before whatever happened at Shangjing, then a goody two-shoes here wouldn't be trying to find us and wouldn't be protecting us from Mother and most assuredly she wouldn't be all that happy to see us alive.

    So, yeah, head stuck in the past when her and Senya were the "dynamic duo," doing whatever it is god children like to do. Thing is, Senya matured and she did not, and that's where this whole "I don't know who you are anymore" is coming from. At least, that's my take on it.
     
    ^ Top  
  2. Lambchop19 Arcane Zionist Agent Literally Hitler Batshit Crazy

    Lambchop19
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2011
    Messages:
    21,384
    Location:
    Die Reichskanzlei
    treave, am I right in assuming having Naim & Jean will slow us down? They are 1/3 our speed after all...

    Tentatively, BAB. Though BAC, if BAB doesn't have the votes.

    Last time, treave said that the key was not getting "stuck in". I believe that Naim & Jean will slow us down enough to make our speed not as advantageous. We need firesupport however - this isn't just a hit and run. We might well lose the battleship, but I think it will last long enough if we have Naim & Jean there to protect it. Jamming their transmissions will help prevent them from knowing what's going on and targeting our battleship with all their combined firepower at once - leaving us to zip through the chaos, hitting targets of opportunity as we go. Remember our role is the "sacrificial black lamb". We're there to distract and disorient the enemy by drawing all their attention. My guess is that the White Fangs will go after the ship and the Scarlet Lightning will go after us.

    Baltika may be right that the beam may lose us Rei's support. The idealist in her wants to side with the underdog. I think we all know that flipping Rei is what our plan hinges on. If we end up losing to her or stalemated again, we're dead. With her on our side, we win.

    BAC or similar might be able to accomplish this without Rei's help, but what if the enemy just shoots the mirrors? Still, being able to possibly change the asteroid's course a little bit would be awesome. I may flip if I am convinced.

    Here's my other whacky theory for you guys to chew on:
    I don't think we should use shatterpoint on the colony. We've always used it on a small scale before. Using it on something like that might open a rift. A big one.

    edit: treave, the update says we might be able to alter the trajectory, IF we are able to sustain the beam. What, in Senya's mind, would prevent us from sustaining it?
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
    ^ Top  
  3. aleam iacis Scholar

    aleam iacis
    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2012
    Messages:
    114
    Codex USB, 2014 BattleTech
    I guess would say BAA(though I would really love BAC if our sister would turn), and don't use shatterpoint on the colony like Lambchop said, we can just nuke a bunch so the surface can minimize damage. We'll still be a hero and everyone will know about the evil Indus-UNS plan, and we can keep our secret technique for later.
     
    ^ Top  
  4. Lambchop19 Arcane Zionist Agent Literally Hitler Batshit Crazy

    Lambchop19
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2011
    Messages:
    21,384
    Location:
    Die Reichskanzlei
    Then again, dropping the asteroid my be what opens the rift treave hinted at earlier, so it might be alright to use the power. Or not.

    The cult is all about sacrificing life to alter it's energy and use it for their purposes, I think. There goal is to "get God's attention", basically. What if using our shatterpoint intensified this? The life energy that would have been generated by millions of deaths within the colony and on the surface might not be necessary, if more life energy could seep directly through the fault line we rupture and get noticed by "god" (aka, the masters?).
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
    ^ Top  
  5. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2012
    Messages:
    9,509
    I'm thinking it will be rather hard to continually use our shatterpoint ability for twenty kilometers under heavy fire. So that's not even an option, as far as I can see.

    Our best bet of taking this thing down is to slow down it's escort as much as we can, draw it's attention and give the fifth fleet a window to nuke the colony. We're not taking two fleets, or the asteroid, out by ourselves, that's just ludicrous. Especially when we consider that we're all out of Ean's Special Juice, we'll be fighting to stay alive as it is.
     
    ^ Top  
  6. Lambchop19 Arcane Zionist Agent Literally Hitler Batshit Crazy

    Lambchop19
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2011
    Messages:
    21,384
    Location:
    Die Reichskanzlei
    Eh, What if we used it with C? A big ass beam would probably work - if we had that kind of control over it... Not that I'm advocating that, mind you...
    Yep, that's why I went with BAB.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
    ^ Top  
  7. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2008
    Messages:
    11,295
    Codex 2012
    If you want to keep them alive, yeah, they'd slow you down.

    The moment you repurpose it the Solar Ring's administrators will be attempting to regain control. Yua can hold them off almost indefinitely if she's not assisting you with piloting, but if you want to balance things up, perhaps twenty minutes. Also, once the enemy recover from the surprise they might start firing at the mirrors themselves. They can quickly do enough damage to disrupt the beam. The width of the beam is perhaps about a hundred metres. Stay within it long enough and even warships might go down in flames. The first thing it'd do to the ships caught within it would be to fry their cameras and blind anyone staring straight at it. After they adjust and apply polarized filters that effect should be minimized, but if you time the initial surprise right...

    Well, if this works out, next thing you know you have inspired people into turning entire colonies into solar-powered lasers. The Masters are in for a surprise when they arrive. :lol:

    edit: The lines you see are something a bit more esoteric than just the weakest points. You can memorize the path and trace the exact same lines without using your power to see them, but fail to get the same effect. Somehow it only works when your eyes are active.
     
    ^ Top  
  8. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2012
    Messages:
    9,509
    What's the ETA on the Fifth Fleet's arrival, or do we not have a clue?

    Also, and this is an obvious question, but better be safe than sorry, will using the 3A minefield take enough of the Kaguya Hime's munitions to effect it's actual combat effectiveness? Considering that we haven't done a proper resupply in quite a while now, I don't think they would have that many left.

    And here's what I think these "fault lines" we're seeing are:
    the weaker points in the fabric of our reality from which these seams can develop. Thoughts?
     
    ^ Top  
  9. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2008
    Messages:
    11,295
    Codex 2012
    You estimate that they'll arrive one hour from the moment you commence the operation, and they will be in range just minutes before the colony is about to drop. No matter what plans you pull you don't think you can buy more than ten minutes of time as you predict the enemy will plod on regardless. The window is extremely small so there's no room for mistakes. Using the spare munitions for the minefield means that you forego on missiles and just rely on beams. That's not too big of a problem seeing as we only have two missile tubes on the Kaguya-hime anyway.
     
    ^ Top  
  10. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2012
    Messages:
    9,509
    Well, I considered doing this the safe way, which would be the minefield and fire support, but this
    settles it. So far the Masters are expecting to run into primitive mechas, which I am sure they helped create. We'll need an unexpected edge to surprise them with and-

    Aw, forget it. Fukkin lasers!
    BAC: use the Kaguya-hime as the bait, and the CFs to increase it's chances of survival, and FRY THE MOTHERFUCKERS! (yes, I intentionally paraphrased that from "Marduk's deep-fried calamari" scene) Naturally, I am expecting the Senya will radio the ship and warn them that ITZ is about to happen and they better take what precautions they can.
    Or, better yet, discuss it in the strategy meeting.
     
    ^ Top  
  11. Lambchop19 Arcane Zionist Agent Literally Hitler Batshit Crazy

    Lambchop19
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2011
    Messages:
    21,384
    Location:
    Die Reichskanzlei
    Um, but don't the Indus have the same beam protection tech that we do? Maybe not on every ship, but on a few of them at least...?
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
    ^ Top  
  12. Lambchop19 Arcane Zionist Agent Literally Hitler Batshit Crazy

    Lambchop19
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2011
    Messages:
    21,384
    Location:
    Die Reichskanzlei
    When they arrive, aye? Hmm. And a surprise? In that we'd be able to put up a fight or in that we'd have killed each other with giant lasers? Somehow I doubt mere lasers would be too much of a threat to them...
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
    ^ Top  
  13. Kipeci Magister

    Kipeci
    Joined:
    May 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,956
    Location:
    Vicksburg
    Sorry guys, but as great as using C would be in terms of getting this done, we're pretty much screwed after the fact.

    Not by the enemy, no. We've probably got those guys cooked. No, we have internal threats to fear from there. Since this plan is likely to work faster than the others, the chances of the threat of this object being revealed in a credible enough way (not just us saying 'Well, we really thought this would probably happen if we didn't torch the place...) is lessened by far.

    Going rogue and breaking the chain of command in order to illegally use the Solar Ring to help us blow up 4 million people is not going to be looked upon very well if that information doesn't come out, needless to say. Actually, by doing this, we paint a huge target on our back that is undoubtedly going to be skewered; our own actions have made us the perfect scapegoat. We will have eliminated the threat plunging down from space while everyone is on the way to the peace treaty (thus our military services are needed no longer) and all that remains would be for the Empress and her board of directors (remember how they've been kicking back and building up their influence and power while we were going around fighting giant enemy crabs?) to sign off on our fate.

    No, with the choices we've made thus far, we need all the hero points we can manage, and the best way to do that is to stall this out a bit longer and avoid breaking international convention. My vote thus lies with whatever option has the most votes that doesn't include C, I'll be more specific if we start getting decent amounts of votes for non-C strategies. Don't you guys know that succumbing to the path of easy power, stooping to the level of the opponent, etc. never turns out well in anime nonsense?
     
    ^ Top  
  14. Lambchop19 Arcane Zionist Agent Literally Hitler Batshit Crazy

    Lambchop19
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2011
    Messages:
    21,384
    Location:
    Die Reichskanzlei
    Well, to be fair, Kipeci, we aren't going to be able to blow up the colony using the laser unless we use the faultlines ability with it. The stated goal is to use it to destroy and blind enemy ships and possibly nudge the colony so as to make destroying it before it drops all the way easier.

    edit: That said, I'm still with BAB - which, as Baltika pointed out, has the advantage of isolating Rei from her superiors, making it easier for us to flip her to our side.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
    ^ Top  
  15. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2008
    Messages:
    11,295
    Codex 2012
    Those protect against particle beams, they're different from lasers.

    I didn't say it was a nasty surprise. :M
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
    ^ Top  
  16. Kipeci Magister

    Kipeci
    Joined:
    May 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,956
    Location:
    Vicksburg
    That observation is still kinda irrelevant. It doesn't matter if we use the laser to directly blow up the colony or just help us in general by torching frames and blinding folks; the fact of the matter is that, however this goes down, the folks are going to die, and it would be preferable for them to die without us either defying international convention by abusing the Solar Ring or appearing to have done it for the lulz, the former of which is inevitable and the latter of which is much more likely with C.
     
    ^ Top  
  17. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2012
    Messages:
    9,509
    Well, Kipeci's right when he talks about the "morning after." That, and after some deliberation, revealing our Ion Cannon this early may bite us in the ass later on, namely our opponents may repurpose it for their own use, as treave said, meaning the Masters will be able to use them as well.
    That, and since those bastards really are coming, then we'll need all the superhuman backup we can get, which now includes our sister and what's left of the Dunamis. Can't use them if they're dead, right?

    That being said, BAB is extremely risky in that, if we fail to convince Rei and the Fangs to our side, we're basically fucked, so this option will be rolling the dice and hoping Senya can pull off a Diogenes (whom he reminds me of sometimes; at other times, he reminds me of Ean; but nothing like a young Shulgi); Thing is, I think we have so far managed to avoid painting Senya as an asshole and built up a decent track record (selfless suicidal rescue of the Emperor, anyone?), so we should manage. I hope. Flippin' to BAB.

    The safest option here would be ABA: Kaguya-hime stays out of the heavy shit and snipes the big targets, our boys are protecting our flanks and laying down covering fire and we're weaving the enemy through our personal deathtrap. Of course, this will make conversing and turning little sister all that more difficult.
    Damn, this just isn't the same without Esquilax.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
    ^ Top  
  18. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2008
    Messages:
    11,295
    Codex 2012
    On the bright side, no giant crabs will be making a surprise appearance here.
     
    ^ Top  
  19. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2004
    Messages:
    8,192
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Codex 2012
    Yeah, that would've sucked. :lol:
     
    ^ Top  
  20. ScubaV Prophet

    ScubaV
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2011
    Messages:
    1,022
    Well I'm pretty much set on AB as, it seems, are most people. For #3 all the choices are viable. A is a defensive option that we can use to help convince Rei as the mines only come into play if the Indus/UNS are approaching too close to Earth. B also works as it will let us isolate Rei on the comm. And C is the trump card, which if we ever needed a trump card is now. Then again, as people pointed out C might lose us Rei.

    So basically it comes down to Rei vs. LAZORS! I really want LAZORS!, but I think I'll take Rei as her intrinsic value may be even higher and when you add the morale and confusion effects of her flipping sides... So, does A or B give us a higher chance or converting her? Probably B. Since she is big on idealism and formality, she may not be able to resist following direct orders from her superiors even if she feels they might be wrong. We've planted seeds of corruption, but I doubt they've sprouted yet. So, cutting her off from them is probably our best bet.

    BAB
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 3
    ^ Top  
  21. Storyfag Perfidious Pole Patron

    Storyfag
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2011
    Messages:
    8,589
    Location:
    A Dark Place
    You, sir, have just convinced me what the proper vote for option 3 is :salute:

    Therefore my final vote is:

    AAB
     
    ^ Top  
  22. GreyViper Erudite

    GreyViper
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,297
    Location:
    Estonia
    AAA
     
    ^ Top  
  23. Zwist Learned

    Zwist
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2012
    Messages:
    236
    BAB



    Diverting attention in this situation might actually be a good idea. Also converting litlle-sis(isn't there a horribly overused wapanese expression for that?) is pretty essential.
     
    ^ Top  
  24. Bloodshifter Educated

    Bloodshifter
    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Messages:
    542
    Location:
    Somewhere with dead bears
    Tally​
    1st
    A-3- Azira , Storyfag , GreyViper ,
    B-7- m4davis , TOME , Smashing Axe , Lambchop19 , Baltika9 , ScubaV , Zwist , Kipeci(?) , aleam iacis ,

    2nd
    A-7- m4davis , TOME , Lambchop19 , Baltika9 , ScubaV , Storyfag , GreyViper , Zwist , Kipeci(?) , aleam iacis ,
    B-1- Smashing Axe , Azira ,

    3rd
    A-2- TOME , Azira , GreyViper , aleam iacis ,
    B-6- m4davis , Lambchop19 , Baltika9 , ScubaV , Storyfag , Zwist , Kipeci(?) ,
    C-2- Stygian Lurker , Smashing Axe ,

    Please let me know if I miss someone I tend to do that now for some reason. =/​
     
    ^ Top  
  25. treave Arcane Patron

    treave
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2008
    Messages:
    11,295
    Codex 2012
    Colony Drop

    "This is Rose Leader, leading Rose Squadron to intercept the enemy combat frame."

    The five Centeotls spread out around the incoming black frame. For the past ten minutes the escort fleet had been receiving incessant robotic transmissions requesting that they depart the area and redirect their path. They had finally tracked the source of the transmission to a single CF approaching them at a relaxed speed.

    "Hey, that black frame... do you think it could be that?"

    "That? What are you talking about, Rose 3?"

    "You know. The enemy that our mates behind the line were gossiping about. The black nightmare frame that tied with the Scarlet Lightning and destroyed fifty of our CFs all by itself."

    "Those are just rumours, man. I don't believe any of it. It's probably some propaganda spread by the enemy. Besides, if such a monster really did exist, don't you think command would have told us about it?"

    "Command doesn't tell us many things. Just saying, man..."

    "Cut the chatter, Rose 3 and 4! Prepare to fire, on my mark!"

    "Yes sir! Sorry, Rose Leader!"

    The Centeotls fired their weapons at the black frame, a storm of 60mm shells hitting it simultaneously. As the frame crumpled - far more easily than one would have expected - it flashed a bright white, exploding in light. The pilots of the Centeotls averted their eyes until the light dimmed.

    "Rose Leader to all units. Everyone alright?"

    "Rose 2 reporting in."

    "This is Rose 5, I'm alright. Did we get the reactor?"

    "Rose 4 here. Well, Rose 3, if that's the monster you were scared of, it didn't amount to much... Rose 3?"

    "Rose 3, do you copy? This is Rose Leader to Rose 3."

    It didn't take long for them to find out what happened to Rose 3 - the shattered remains of the cockpit floated into Rose Squadron's view.

    "Was it an explosion-" As Rose 2 flew over to the remnants of Rose 3's Centeotl, a beam lanced through his own frame, hitting the reactor and turning a good part of the frame into slag. Rose Squadron sprang into action immediately, dispersing from the area as they looked around wildly for the source of the attack.

    "Rose Squadron, keep your eyes peeled!"

    "Copy, Rose Leader - there's something coming in fast! The speed is... three times that of any CF!"

    "Is it a missile?"

    "No-" Rose 5 did not get to finish his sentence before a black and gold blur tore past his Centeotl, a molten cockpit all that remained to mark its passing. Rose Leader shouted and began firing his machine-gun at the enemy. None of the shots found their mark, as the nightmarish CF swerved away from his line of fire almost at the last minute. Its thrusters still emitting a long flare of blue fire, the black frame came to a halt by bringing its feet forward, and shot forth in the opposite direction - towards Rose Leader. A gigantic dagger punched through his cockpit before he had time to react, tearing the viewing and instrument panels to shreds. It was more than wide enough to cut him in two at the waist with ease, and it did so, Rose Leader's blood forming perfect spheres as they escaped his abdomen.

    Witnessing the total devastation of his squadron, Rose 4 could only gape in abject astonishment. The enemy frame had slowed down and come into full view, floating casually without a care in the world as if it had not just destroyed four Centeotls without taking a scratch. It was jet-black, with gold highlights. In the depths of its head unit the eye cameras glowed a dim green, gazing right at him. That was the last thing he saw before a stream of highly charged particles penetrated his frame and vaporized him.

    ***

    track: mad-nug

    That's the advance squadron down, but the rest wouldn't be as easy. Floating above the brilliant blue expanse that is the Earth, I give Yua my order. “Broadcast the signal, Yua.”

    The seventy satellites I have maneuvered all over the battlefield begin sending out signals interfering with the frequencies used in their long-range communications. The CF squadrons will find it impossible to call in fire support, and at least initially the warships will be reluctant to attack in fear of friendly-fire. The same would apply for me, but I've managed to link the read-out from the Kaguya-hime's targeting computer to Yua via a particular low data frequency that I set aside in advance, and she will be able to tell me where and when it is going to fire.

    Twinkles in the distance, slightly larger than the stars, appear briefly. A barrage of beams roar past me one-hundredths of a second later but I am already on the move, heading towards them. Yua helps overlay the optimum trajectory for my flight – I follow it closely, pushing my reflexes and fine control to the limit – allowing me to fly between the pillars of light from their initial salvo.

    “This is much harder than I thought, doing it without using my powers.” I complain. Given the duration of the operation, I could only chance using it in an emergency. “Just rely on me, Master. I'll back you up as much as you need.” Yua seems up for the fight. That's good; one thing about injecting personalities into an AI is that they tend to develop mood swings. I don't think I could strip that away from her, though. “I'm counting on you then.” I reply. “Activate the barrier for me if I miss an incoming beam.” The large anti-ship missiles come seconds later; their limited turning radius and Anhur's speed allows me to slip past them, closing in on the enemy fleet.

    “There's the black frame!” Unable to use their encrypted long-range communications, the enemy squadrons have resorted to using public transmission to coordinate their movement. They're not experienced enough to work with each other just via hand-signals, which in itself is of limited use in space combat. This is entirely fine with me – I don't need to worry about saying anything to my teammates as Naim and Jean are back there defending the ship. Listening to their communications is going to help me plenty.

    “Are you sure we can take it?”

    “Don't be a fool! It's our job to crush that thing!”

    “Confident, aren't they?” I grin. Five more Centeotls and six Vizala IIs incoming – there is a beep on the viewscreen as Yua indicates the Kaguya-hime is about to fire. I wobble my flight-path, darting briefly upwards. Timing is everything. As the enemy frames approach, I immediately reverse direction, dropping downwards as the salvo from the Kaguya-hime streaks through where I had been. Two Vizalas and one Centeotl are incinerated by the beams. The rest scatter, shouting about an enemy warship. I pick off another Vizala with my rifle, as they are the bigger threat.

    “Master, more incoming enemies!” warns Yua. It looks like more than thirty frames are headed towards me. They probably want to surround and stop me before I get any closer to the colony.

    “Don't pile on it all at once! Some of you go take down the enemy's warship!” shouts one of the squadron leaders. Sure enough, ten of them break off, heading for the Kaguya-hime. I fly after them, but their comrades begin firing on me, preventing me from continuing my chase. I take two potshots at the enemy receding into the distance; one of them misses and the other nails a reactor, with the resulting explosion taking out two frames at once.

    I turn my attention back to the enemy. “More incoming fire, I suggest evasive action now, Master.” The enemy warships begin firing again. This time, between keeping an eye on the enemy frames and dodging the warship salvos, I manage to miss spotting a few beams coming my way from the Vizala IIs. Luckily, Yua is on the job. The barrier shimmers into existence as the particles are released around me. There is a flash as the shots are blocked.

    “Thanks, Yua.” I sigh in relief, as I return fire. The Vizalas evade my shots quickly.

    “Don't let the black frame get too close. Keep laying down suppressing fire.” orders an enemy squadron leader. The anti-ship missiles arrive again, later than the warships' particle beams. Just in time. I fire at one of them with my head vulcans as it passes by me. It tumbles and explodes in a fast-fading spherical glow, the energy from its demise helping to camouflage my heat signature. The Scarlet Lightning's little trick with her propellant tank had been insightful. I instantly change direction and begin to dive.

    Picking out a particular group of three Vizala IIs, I approach them from below. One of them is caught off guard and my precise shots render it mission-killed instantly. The remaining two notice me and begin charging at me, their lances held up. “We'll get the bastard from both sides with a cross pattern!” shouts one of them. The infamous rocket lances – this is the first time I've fought a Vizala II equipped with it. Moments before they reach me, the thrusters on the lance begin firing, suddenly increasing the speed of their thrust and spinning the body of the lance itself at the same time.

    “Hey, wait, doesn't that make it a rocket drill?” I mutter. The rocket lance-drills – I'm not too sure what to call them anymore – catch me off guard with their sudden speed. I make an emergency evasive maneuver, but the spinning bits still tear into Anhur's sides. The two Vizalas jet past me, their thrust carrying them away. Using my superior agility, I flip Anhur around with some strategic firing of its multiple verniers, before they can turn. I track them with my eyes and fire Anhur's head-mounted vulcans. The 35mm shells punch large holes into the enemy frames, and I continue firing until they stop moving.

    Enemy frames are continuing to close in, and I narrowly evade a few shots in the nick of time. Alright, I need to keep being on the move – if they hem me in I'm a goner. I'm not sure how the Kaguya-hime is doing – as I move further and further into the battlefield and closer to the colony, I can only hope I will distract enough frames from going after the ship. The enemy's fleet continue to aim their salvos at me rather than the Kaguya-hime, fearful that I will get too close. That part of my plan is working, at least. I keep a good distance from the enemy frames, taking a shot at them once in a while to keep their eyes on me, but I do not commit myself any further.

    The colony gradually gets closer and closer. Fifth Fleet is still some time away, and I don't seem to be slowing the enemy down by much. Perhaps it was over-confidence to think that I could attract all of their attention – they have so much numerical superiority they can afford to try to roll over me. That doesn't stop me from finally reaching the front of the enemy's fleet. I hear their panicked shouts as the anti-fighter turrets begin swivelling around to focus on me. Thankfully, with this many ships around I have plenty of dead angles to hide in. I would appreciate some fire support right about now, but Yua had lost signal from the Kaguya-hime's targeting computer a while ago; I hope they're still alright. I don't see any signs of the White Fangs or the Scarlet Lightning yet, but I'm sure they are around somewhere.

    Right on cue, five familiar white and red Centeotls approach. The White Fangs... Dunamis.

    It looks like they had been guarding the fleet. They fly in perfect coordination, splitting up swiftly to avoid a shot from my rifle, and begin surrounding me. They'll attempt to pin me down with machine-gun fire – I feint to my left and dash to the right, attempting to break free of their formation. It doesn't work; they start shooting with good aim. I stop my dash just in time to redirect my thrusters upwards. As two of them try to track me with their guns, another comes for me with a sword. That's the leader. I know how good they are in close-combat, but yet I have no way to distance myself, not with the other thirty or so CFs closing in on me and the enemy fleet all around. I can't stay here for too long. I move towards the gigantic bulk of Lothal.

    As the White Fangs come after me, one of them moves just a bit too hastily, straying ahead of the pack. Dodging another hail of fire, I turn the Anhur upside-down in a flip, surprising him and sending a beam from my rifle right through his cockpit at the same time. His comrades ignore his plight and try to make use of my pause to close the distance. I don't let that happen; I'm close to Lothal now – I fly around the large solar panels as they chase after me. The shells from their guns make deep dents in the colony walls as I weave my way around the infrastructure jutting out from the colony's surface.

    “I can't find any signs of life within, Master.” comments Yua as I continue evading the White Fangs. “That's good. I suppose they managed to do a bait and switch on us for four million people somehow.” There's a nagging feeling I have about this, but knowing that it's currently deserted will make my job easier.

    Changing direction, I plant Anhur's feet on the colony. The CNT muscles flex and push off, sending me tumbling back into open space. I catch yet another of the White Fangs unawares as I do so – he tries to slash at me with his sword as I pass by him. He misses, over-extending himself. I stop my tumble by firing all of my verniers, bringing Anhur to a stop, and fire my rifle. The first shot catches his right leg, blowing it off, and the second hits one of his thrusters. The unbalanced Centeotl goes out of control and flies into one of the gigantic rocket thrusters pushing the colony, getting incinerated instantly.

    “Master!”

    Yua shouts her warning a little too late, and my evasion a little too slow. A great jagged gash is cut down the side of Anhur's right leg by the White Fang leader's sword. Before I can retaliate, a familiar voice calls out to me over the comm.

    “Senya.”

    “Long time no see, Erika.” I mutter. “Do you know what you are doing?”

    “I'm carrying out what Uncle wishes. Perhaps you should leave.” she replies nonchalantly, pointing her sword at me. What does Shulgi have to do with any of this? I have no time to wonder about that now; I can see she's about to attack.

    “It doesn't look like you're letting me leave, Erika.”

    The rest of the surviving White Fangs back off, watching the both of us. So they're not going to all jump on me for once? That's great, but knowing their behaviour, they'll try it if I win. I equip the beam saber, its burning yellow blade flaring to life.

    “Well, I've missed fighting you, Senya. Let me see how much you've grown.” says Erika, with just a hint of a smile in her voice. As she pushes her Centeotl forward, I grin to myself. “That might have to wait, Erika.”

    A hail of beams falls all around us, smashing into the colony and blowing holes in its thick walls. I scramble out of the zone of fire, and so do the White Fangs. The Fifth Fleet is here, and just in the nick of time. The escort fleet starts maneuvering into a position to return fire. Within minutes they do so, engaging the distant Imperial fleet. I make a silent apology to Admiral Langorn for not having managed to destroy any of the warships by myself; I had taxed my own piloting ability just to stay alive in there. I better get out of here – the nukes should be coming in soon.

    “Senya, where are you going?” I spin the Anhur away from Erika's attack – she seems to be able to sneak up on me without registering on the radar. No point releasing my barrier for a jamming field right now; I'd rather have it for defense.

    “I don't suppose I could convince you to see things my way? Things aren't going to be pretty if we stay here,” I say hurriedly. She aims another swing at me, not replying to my words. My counter-attack misses as she darts backwards, her Centeotl displaying greater agility than the usual model. Damn, if I don't get out of here soon...

    All of a sudden, there is a great flash in the distance. Both I and Erika stop our fight. Six large spheres of raw, glowing energy dissipate almost as swiftly as they had appeared, scattering into the void. In that light of destruction, I can see a Vizala II silhouetted against it. My cameras pick up two small drones returning to it, with another moving shakily and sparking, dying in a little puff before it manages to dock with the Vizala. Did Langorn just fire all of his nukes at once? “Damn it!” I curse. He must have. As the escort fleet's line of sight was largely blocked by the colony, he must have deemed it safe to do so. No one would have thought that there would be any frame capable of intercepting those nukes in time in the first place. That Vizala must have used remote drones to accomplish it safely, though it probably lost most of them just to shoot the nukes down.

    This is bad. This is really bad. The colony is just about to reach the path of no return. The escort fleet is already dropping back, exchanging fire with the Fifth Fleet. They must think nothing can stop it now. I switch off the interference signal – rather than continuing to keep the enemy isolated, it is more pressing for me to contact Captain Grimrock right now.

    He does not respond. I'm only getting silence whenever I try to hail the Kaguya-hime. Did the ship go down? As Erika starts moving towards me again, I get a call from Admiral Langorn, of all people.

    “Pilot of the Anhur! Do you hear me?”

    I smash Anhur's right arm against Erika's Centeotl in a desperate attempt to keep it away.

    “I'm a bit busy right now! You guys have anything else to throw against Lothal?” I shout in return.

    “We're sending one last nuke your way! Off-the-record, you understand. Help us make sure it isn't shot down.”

    “Roger that!” I narrowly evade another of Erika's attacks – the blade skims the top of Anhur's head, taking out one of the communications antennas. Well, I don't think it's a problem for me to ensure it isn't shot down – the frame that could do it is headed straight for me. It also happens to be coloured red.

    “Master, the Scarlet Lightning is coming! What should we do? Should I put the barrier up to full?”

    “No need for that yet!” This is what I've been saving up for. I can't expect to win any other way if I have to take on Erika and Rei at the same time. The two triangular drones from the red Vizala II detaches as it closes in, but my mind is already piercingly cold. They home in towards me, firing beams as they do so. I begin evading amongst the battered structures on the colony's outer surface immediately. These move much more savagely and less predictably than the Crab Frame's bubbles – just two of them can manage to corner me. I wonder if that is due to the person controlling it. Erika has managed to keep up in the Centeotl, trying to cut off Anhur's rifle arm while I am distracted with the drones. I fire off the decoys hidden within that arm. They inflate into life-size models of Anhur almost immediately. As one of the decoys blocks her view, I fly backwards while firing my vulcans into the decoy. It explodes in a fiery flash, taking out one of the drones that had strayed too close.

    “Don't stand in our way, brother!”

    Rei tries to get the drop on me, a beam saber in hand. It looks like the Indus had managed to create those too. They must have scheduled her Vizala II for some upgrades; it's a pity I couldn't get any before I had to come here. Time to see what happens when two sabers clash – I drop the rifle and swing my own saber to meet it. The fields mingle and cause bright sparks to fly, a shimmering halo surrounding the point where both sabers met. It looks like it'd hold, but her Vizala is strong. It begins to push my arm back. At the same time, Erika's Centeotl bursts forth from the remains of the decoy's explosion, swinging its sword down at me.

    Well, that's why I requested an extra saber. It detaches from a newly rigged compartment on the right arm, floating in space. Anhur grabs it, switching it on. I turn off the saber currently clashing with the Scarlet Lightning's – as the blade vanishes, her swing meets empty air. With my right saber I cut through Erika's sword and take off the Centeotl's head. I reactivate the saber in my left at the same time – the hot plasma shooting forth skewers one of the Vizala II's wrists, melting it off.

    “Anhur's pilot, the missiles are arriving!”

    A rain of missiles begins falling around us, blowing more holes into Lothal, and the three of us start to evade. The nuclear warhead should be arriving right about... now. There is a blinding flash of light all the way at the back of the colony, close to where the rocket thrusters are.

    “Master, the nuke managed to take out one of the thrusters!”

    That will definitely alter the trajectory, but there is no stopping the colony now; it's far past the point of no return. It will reach the atmosphere within minutes. I still see no sign of the Kaguya-hime, though we have passed its position. I suppose if I don't find its wreckage, I still have something to hope for.

    “It's too late to prevent the drop now.” says Erika, her Centeotl starting to float away from the colony. “It's our victory.” As the White Fangs escort her away, Rei's frame raises the beam saber in its remaining hand. “That's right. It's our victory.”, says the Scarlet Lightning. She swings, and I meet her swing. We begin exchanging blows, saber clashing against saber, as we dart through the ruined colony surface. “Is this your idea of justice?” I ask.

    She mutters in reply, “Justice... what else can this be? Sometimes a few must suffer so that all can be saved.” Her last drone manages to surprise both me and Yua, appearing from seemingly nowhere and ramming itself into my thrusters. There is an explosion at the back of Anhur and it tumbles through one of the jagged holes into the colony itself. The inside has also lost all gravity, but I can feel the acceleration of the colony as it begins to speed up, drawn into the gravity well of the Earth. The incessant roar of the huge rockets die off as the colony is allowed to coast to its final position.

    “This is not my idea of just a few suffering. Do you know how many will die?” I ask, as Rei continues to come after me. “Of course I do! I don't really want this!” she shouts.

    I fire my vulcans at her – she dodges easily, but I take the chance to fire the homing micro-missiles mounted on my leg armour. Cornered from every angle, even she can't find a way out of it – the missiles explode against the Vizala. It continues charging at me, missing a right arm she had sacrificed to block it; whatever she's doing to strengthen its muscles must also harden them, and I hurriedly bring up my saber to defend myself from her swing.

    “It... this idea... you came up with this.” hisses Rei. “You said it would be alright, everything would work out in the end. Even if you don't remember, I remember how convincing you were about this.” She appears to be moving more sluggishly than she was in our first fight. There is doubt in her movements.

    “I...” I have no words for her, no counter-argument to offer. I came up with this plan to drop a colony, when I was a child at the cult? That's ludicrous. “There's no way...”

    “Mother might have rejected you, but that didn't stop her from stealing your ideas. Since they are yours... I went along with it. You were always the smarter one, so why wouldn't it work? You insisted it would save the world.” she continued, her voice now unnaturally calm... almost peaceful. "I believe in you, brother. No matter what." Another furious swing, sending my frame flying backwards even though I blocked it perfectly. With my thrusters damaged, I can't evade all too well right now.

    I steel my resolve. Whatever it is she said I did, that doesn't matter now.

    “It won't work if you don't want it to. We can stop this right now. The both of us, together again. If you believe in me, help me with this. Trust me.” I call out her name. “Rei.”

    She falters. “Senya. I don't... can't...” I move closer to her, slowly, but then she lets out a piercing scream and starts babbling nonsensical syllables. Rei flies off jerkily, escaping the colony in her damaged Vizala trailing smoke and sparks. I watch her leave, wondering if she will be alright.

    “Damn, that girl is more unstable than I thought.” I grumble. Being brought up in the cult must be horrifying; she must have undergone large amounts of conditioning. There's no time to worry about her right now though.

    “Master, the colony will begin its final descent soon. We should leave immediately.” reminds Yua. I begin to do so, wobbling towards one of the many holes torn in the colony's side by Fifth Fleet.

    “What's the projected trajectory right now?”

    “It won't hit Ankida, but it will land in southern Africa.”

    That's not too good either – most of the Empire's production facilities are there... but it could be something that they can recover from.

    “Wait, Master, I'm picking up something.”

    “What is it?”

    “... nuclear warheads, Master. My scanners indicate at least fifty megaton-level warheads stored at the front of the colony's cylinder. I'm sorry, I didn't detect it until now because I was too focused on the battle.”

    Well... fuck.

    Things just keep getting better and better. If this was my plan, I'm a master at adding insult to injury. Even if they use nukes to successfully intercept the colony in the atmosphere, the resulting EMP blast would be absolutely massive, causing widespread annihilation to civilian infrastructure worldwide. It would definitely take the Solar Ring offline for a long while too. If they don't, the nukes don't add too much to the damage as the impact of the nearly eight-billion tonne colony itself would be sufficiently devastating.

    “Master, there's a call coming in from the Kaguya-hime!” Well, at least that's one good news I have.

    Grimrock speaks to me, his voice strained and weak. “Hey! Sorry, we took too much damage and had to retreat. Lost quite a bit of good men in the process – I think we're going to have to scrap this ship afterwards; it's barely space-worthy now. Anyway, we finally managed to patch up the communications array. Where are you right now? We'll pick you up.”

    ***

    A. I can't retreat, not now. I still have one last trump card to use – my power to see lines that I can cut. If it's just part of the colony, I should be able to find a way to cut it away, since I am now alone in the colony. I probably won't be able to alter the trajectory or destroy it entirely, but at least I can prevent the warheads from entering the atmosphere and break away sufficient pieces of it in a manner that can mitigate the damage to allied regions.

    B. I've done enough. Going any further with damaged thrusters would be suicidal; at least, I'm not confident I'm going to survive it. If it's not going to hit Ankida, our mission is done – we never realistically expected to be able to stop the drop in any case. We've tried our best. It's now time to retreat, recuperate, and plan our counter-attack - I don't expect the fighting is going to stop at all, not after this.

    1. I ask Grimrock to try and warn the ground forces off attempting to nuke the colony.

    2. I let them try to nuke the colony.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 2
    ^ Top  

As an Amazon Associate, rpgcodex.net earns from qualifying purchases.