Chapter 13 - Who fails at history is doomed to repeat it

Door Plasma_Wolf op donderdag 8 juli 2010 19:00 - Reacties (4)
Categorie: 3: Phantom Sung, Views: 1.576

“Oh crap, what are we going to do about that? We’ll never be in time!”
“Watch and learn, Shilon, watch and learn.”

Instantly, so it seemed, Leython’s engineers started building tactical missile launchers. He had very little time, but it was not undoable. If the Aeon hadn’t strengthened the armour around the Galactic Colossus’ eye, because they didn’t learn from their mistakes or couldn’t find a way to protect the eye, then only one missile was able to blow away the Colossus’ focusing lens.

“What are you doing? Those things are useless. I thought that you knew how weapons worked. You’re the intelligence expert after all!” Shilon said angrily.
“Shilon,” Leython answered quickly, “we’ve got no chance but to try this out. There isn’t time to build a proper force to deal with the Colossi or to evacuate ourselves and all the people in the Three-Rivers’ capital. We’ve got to do it this way.”
“Do what? Committing suicide while building TMLs?” The Cybran asked.
“No, finding out if they’ve learned from the weak spot in the Colossus’ design or not.”

“For as far as I know, it doesn’t have a weak spot and three of them are now moving our way. I’d say that we run and build a quantum gate to try to get the citizens off planet, then move into the water. We might just make that!”
“No need to, the spy plane I sent tells me that they haven’t learned from the past.” Leython said calmly, knowing that one missile would be enough to make the almost two hundred metres high unit virtually useless...

Three missiles were launched and they moved in on their targets at high speed, exploding when they collided, but causing little damage and Leython’s second spy plane told why.

“Oh, they did learn from the past, that’s bad.” He said.
“How so and what are we going to do about it?” Shilon was worried, Leython could tell by his voice.
“It’s eye can be shut! That’s unfair, those Aeon are cheaters!” He said.
“Well,” Shilon said, unable not to laugh about Leython’s angry tone, “weren’t you a cheater when you destroyed the eye for the first time?”

“Whatever, but now I’m just going to launch five at them. I actually thought of the time that this could go wrong and they’re coming horribly close now.” The UEF pilot answered and he immediately launched five missiles he had built, just to be sure.

This time, the plan worked. One Colossus’ eye was destroyed, the armour that was supposed to protect it, appeared to be too weak. However, it was only the eye and the rest of the gigantic unit moved forward, along with its two companions, that were still unscarred.

Leython quickly ordered all of his engineers in the area to assist in the construction of more missiles, he needed a total of ten. Within moments, the five launchers had all produced on missile, that were launched immediately, to strike at the enemy. The live feed provided Leython with an all to accurate sound of charging lasers, while the first engineers were grabbed by the gravity claws.

Shilon had moved away in his ACU and Leython decided that it was about time that he’d do the same. While he moved, a massive explosion caused one Colossus to fall down and the others to stop and process what had happened.
The five missiles had made it so close to the eye that the laser hit them and they exploded. The eye wasn’t shut and because of that, the laser’s core engine that was located directly behind the eye, exploded, causing this colossus to blow up and another one seemed to be losing its balance.

However, the only one that was still able to fire its laser ploughed on forward and it charged its laser again. More and more engineers were being taken by the gravity claws, like children’s toys. It was too late though. Another set of missiles flied upwards and went straight for the eye.
Also this eye wasn’t shut because the laser continued firing. It exploded as well.

“You see, Shilon, it’s all right. Now, there’s one which can still move but has lost the firepower of its eye. If we plant an overcharge bolt in the eye, the core engine will still explode, causing the Colossus to fall down.”
“Ok, will you do that please, you’re closer to it than I am.” Shilon said.
“Pfah, you’re just afraid of being crushed.” Leython answered.
“No comment.” Shilon replied, shrugging his shoulders.

Another five minutes later, the situation looked completely different. Leython’s base was blooming because of the three wrecks that had been reclaimed. He had upgraded every mass extractor to the highest level, every radar tower was an omni sensor too and he had also built the eight tier three Ion reactors for the upkeep.

Shilon ordered one spy plane after another to check in on the enemy bases and he waited for Leython to build a suitable force to take them out. Then...

“Leython, they’ve got a strategic missile launcher!” Shilon said.
“Ok, we’re going to build missile defences.” He answered.
“We’ve got to build one at the node’s capital as well.”
“More like four. The city’s huge and we’ve got to tell them to stop moving, otherwise they’ll be out of our protective range in no time.” Leython concluded.

“I’ll contact them right away.” Shilon said and he opened a channel to contact Ibann.

In the meanwhile, Leython sent several transports towards the city, he had to get the engineers there as quickly as possible. Shilon had finally been able to get through the enemy defence line with a spy plane and now it had revealed a strategic missile launcher that was fully operational. There was no clue that could tell them when the first missile would be launched. Leython was almost completely certain that it was going to be too soon.

“Shilon, I think that we’ll never get SMDs everywhere, to protect both the city and our base. I’m still pumping out spy planes though and I’m transferring all of them to you. Keep them outside of the enemies’ omni range and they’ll not be discovered. When you hear a strategic missile launch notification, send all of the spy planes over the missile launcher and they might just hit the missile.”
“Ok, I’ll do that, you’re pretty fond of cheating, aren’t you?”
“Yes I am, but I’d rather give it the name of ‘simple answers to complicated problems’. Of course, that’s just how you’ve got to live. Never make it harder for yourself than absolutely necessary.”

“Strategic launch detected.” Sounded suddenly from the cockpit’s audio boxes.
“Ok that’s it already, send those spy planes!” Leython yelled.
“I’m going to let them fly a bit higher, by the time they arrive, the missile has already gained speed and altitude.”

Shilon ordered the planes to go higher and higher, which was possible, but seriously decreased the sensors’ effectiveness. The sensor waves those planes sent, were too weak when they returned to the spy plane, making them unable to give a signal of the ground below them.
It was no problem though. The units were no longer meant to make a report of what happened at the enemy’s base, but they had to collide with a missile.

Seconds later, they did. The missile was hit by the improvised counter measure and it was taken off its flight path. It was flipped so much around its own axel that it couldn’t go to its original target anymore, but would crash into the ground, some hundreds of metres away from the missile launcher, in the middle of the Aeon base.

For this possible event, of which most commanders thought of as a faulty designated target, every faction had provided the missiles with a counter measure. If one would hit a friendly base, it was going to self destruct high above the ground and so Leython and Shilon were provided with some very impressive fireworks.

“It’s not over yet.” Shilon said, knowing that the explosion managed to vaporize every spy plane but did no damage to the base at all. Years and years of development had provided everyone with powerful missiles that weren’t very expensive, but their effective blast radius was limited and beyond that range, there would never be a sign of damage.

“It’s time to continue on those missile defences. Shilon, we won’t have resources to construct more units. Use what we have instead and target the weakest enemy. When that’s done, protect the wreckages and I’ll send in engineers to reclaim for more mass.”
“Ok, let’s end this party.”

“Knight Elenes, what is the status?” The Avatar-of-War asked.
“They are still alive Avatar, our enemy is proving to be a powerful foe. They’re improvising one counter measure after another. They already destroyed our three experimental bots with a couple of tactical missiles, that were targeted at the Colossus’ eye.”

“ What, is that weak spot still there?” Marxon asked.
“Excuse me avatar?” Elenes asked.

“The colossus’ eye proved to be a weak point about a year ago. Then a UEF commander targeted it with a tactical missile and blew the Colossus up with an overcharge bolt. That is why a counter measure has been installed. You may not have heard of it because you were appointed with the duty of Knight only recently.”
“The same happened here, one colossus was destroyed while its eye was shut, it had been struck with five missiles.” Elenes asked.
“That means that the armour is still weak. The engineers will have to redesign it. Thank you for notifying me, I will pass it along immediately so that this flaw will be removed. Now return your attention to the battle.” Marxon concluded and he closed the channel.

“Well, as if it were not enough, those two Cybrans have just taken out my missile with a swarm of spy planes. They may not be followers of the Way nor they seem to be willing to live by nature’s laws by imbibing them with artificial intelligence, but they certainly are crafty.” Selene Elenes said out loud, though no one could hear her.

“Fellow pilots,” she had opened a channel to her allies, “we must be able to retreat at a moment’s notice. These enemies are dangerous, construct a quantum gate and ensure that you are capable of leaving at any time necessary.”
“Knight Elenes, that were not the orders of Avatar-of-War Marxon.” Her companion Sheila Ido said. “We are to cleanse the city and not leave before that has been done.”
“We are likely to fail and would you not rather fail and live with the possible shame than fail and be unable to tell the story afterwards?”
“I am an Aeon knight, I will not succumb to those abominations.”
“You may want to dub them ‘abominations’, but they are not, I think. They are rather interesting... And dangerous.”

“Elenes!” Nina Quio shot at her with an angry look. “You don’t talk about them like that. You know that they are abominations that will never understand the meaning of The Way. That is why they are still fighting, why they are not united like we are and that is also why we will cleanse them. There is not threat ---” Nina fell silent, an army was moving towards her. It could never have come so close if she had built artillery stations and point defences, but in her urge to cleanse the enemy as soon as possible, she had both of her knights ordered to construct a Galactic Colossus when the ‘normal’ assaults proved to be useless. Now, there was nothing she could do, except for...

“Retreat, Templar Quio!” Selene said, hastily ordering the construction of gunships that might slow the enemy down. She feared that it was useless though. The army moved towards her superior at high speed and first buildings were about to be attacked.

Nina ordered her fighters to take off, making them guard the Aluminar transport she had quickly constructed. She had thought that building defence turrets were a waste of time and resources by her two knights, but now she realized that it had done more damage than she thought. Because of the small firebases that Elenes and Ido had built, her base was the weakest in terms of defences.

She spent her resources in a new Colossus, which was not completed yet. Because of that, she had no other units and her base stood no chance against the Cybran tier three bots and heavy tanks that were now using their weaponry to the fullest.

Feeling that the transports gravity claws had picked her up, she ordered it to move to Ido’s base. When she arrived there, she could assist in the battle again, by the use of the Resource Allocation System she had just built. This was a slowdown in the plan, but nothing more than that.

She would be proven wrong only moments later.

“Shilon, get the fighters flying!” Leython yelled, the enemy commander had built a transport and was no doubt intending to use it to fly away. There was no better chance than this.
“What about the node?” Shilon asked, worried about the air cover that the Three-Rivers’ capital now missed.
“Don’t worry, the commander that built that missile silo has got no units, because she built that silo, the other one hasn’t even got an air factory and the third has just got that transport and a couple of fighters. No bombers whatsoever.” Leython said. The battle was going well because the enemy had wasted an enormous amount of resources and he had all the intel required to find out that the Aeon were at a major disadvantage now.

The air superiority fighters soared in, their stealth systems still protecting them until they flew in the omni sensor’s range. Then, the enemy fighters would attempt to thwart the assault, but they were outnumbered at least three to one. Leython had another idea to deal a devastating blow to the enemy:

“Shilon, order them to stop.” He said.
“Tell me, do you want her dead or what?!” Shilon asked, confused by the sudden order.
“Just do it and give them the order to attack three seconds later.” Leython answered, realizing where the Aeon commander was going to. If that other - unshielded - base was her final destination, then that base was about to be decimated as well.

“Fighters!” Elenes shrieked, seeing gray dots appear at the screen at the moment they entered the Sheila’s omni sensor’s range. It was too late though. They rushed on at full speed and Nina attempted to make an emergency drop, but to no avail. The Aluminar was struck by more than a hundred missiles and exploded above a tier three power generator. The ACU fell down and hit the spiky orb...

It was all too much for the ACU and the quantum reactor. Selene heard Nina screaming so loud that it seemed to tear the air apart. The crash in the power plant caused its core to erupt and destroyed the ACU’s resource allocation system. The ACU exploded and Templar Quio was gone.

“That’s why I wanted to have you wait for three seconds.” Leython said in a simple tone.
“Cool, nice job.” Shilon replied, retreating the air units that had survived the massive explosion. Those could do their former job again: protecting the node from aerial attacks.

“Now, what shall I do first, take out this base where the Loyalists and Rhinos are now, or move them further towards the second base?” Shilon asked, seeing that the buildings still stood and therefore that the Aeon commander was able to transfer the base just before she died.

“Leave them here, I’ll send a new group of units directly towards that other base and then we can calmly prepare our assault upon the last enemy.” Leython answered.

“I’m going to request a retreat, Sheila!” Selene said.
“What?! We still are here, we can still produce units and fight back.” Shiela said angrily.
“But we can’t turn the battle in our favour anymore, no matter how many Colossi or Czars we build. We will be eliminated. Whoever gave the order to attack Quio’s transport at the moment that it was above your base, and not before that time, was smart. We are outwitted by far. They have more experience.”
“No, I’m not giving up because we have suffered some losses. I will cleanse them!”

“Knight Elenes is correct, knight Ido.” Marxon interrupted. He had received word of Quio’s death by the Choir member that supervised the battle. “Build quantum gates and leave. Be sure that you leave at exactly the same time, otherwise one of you will suffer from the quantum wake. Good luck.”
Marxon closed the channel again.

“I’m not going to leave. Transfer your arsenal to me if you want, but you’re not going to get me with you. Tell that to Marxon.” Sheila said.
“That’s madness! Do you want to survive or not?” Selene was stunned, how could someone think like that?
“You’re pretty simple minded for someone who knew a possible princess of the Aeon. There is no such thing as live and death. If my ACU explodes, I will be one with the Way.”
“One with the Way that you misinterpret. It looks like I can’t convince you to leave while you still can. Farewell Sheila.”

One minute later...
“An Aeon commander left the field. One to go!” Shilon said when he noticed the quantum wake eruption.”
“Send in all of the units right away. We must not give her a single chance to escape.” Leython replied, hoping that he would finally get some rest at the Three-Rivers node. Jumping into a battle was exhausting and he had forgotten how exhausting it was, during the three weeks absence of piloting an ACU.

He also wasn’t completely familiarized with the Cybran’s ACU console lay-out, which confused him several times already. There was time to learn to work with the difference though, especially because there were days without an Aeon assault.

While he thought about this battle, Shilon managed to destroy the remaining enemy ACU. The battle had ended, but there was one other thing to do. Leython contacted doctor Brackman:

“What is it, mister Dygonn?”
“The enemy has been taken care of, but—” Leython was cut off.
“Splendid, my friend, splendid. How was the first battle in a Cybran ACU?”
“Not bad, I still have to learn to work with it though. There is only one thing.”

“Tell me, what is it?”
“We have those mobile stealth generators, yes? Well, the tanks we have, have such a low range that there’s only a small margin for them to move while firing, but not being fired at. I never really liked to use mobile missile launchers but I’d really like to have a unit that has got a long range, but fires rockets or missiles that are fast and will go directly at my enemy’s units, instead of flying around and then aligning with a hostile tank. Do you think that we could make such a unit, that would be available at the tier two stage?”

“I’ll take a look at it, we can do it, but it takes time to develop.”
“Thanks, it would be really great if such a unit could fire further than the point defences’ visual range. Then they’re really useful to lay siege upon an enemy base, even if they have radar, because we’ve got the stealth generator’s protection.

In the Three-Rivers capital...
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is Ibann speaking, I have good news: the Aeons have been driven away. They’re no longer on planet and we are safe. Thank you for your attention, more information is coming later this evening.”

“President?” Secretary Torino addressed his superior.
“Yes?” Ibann asked.
“Do you remember what I said three or four days ago?”
“You can’t remember when you said it, so why should I remember at all?”
“You’ve got a point there sir, but what I said,” Torino continued, “is that you’ll never despise Dygonn, but you might even thank him. You’ll have to thank him today already. He is one of the two commanders that saved us.”
“Interesting... This has indeed taken away any doubt I had. Thanks for telling, Torino.
Three weeks ago, we have lost John Vedder, the direct descendant of Lars and Tisa Vedder-Sung, who founded the Three-Rivers node with Ecthellis Sung. Now, we have gained a new ally, one who was partially responsible for John’s death. Life can be vile sometimes, but we must realize that life can be just as generous.”

Seraphim II...
“She did not want to fall back?” Marxon asked.
“No, Avatar, she did not and now she will be destroyed.” The Choir member said.
“Ok, contact knight Elenes and tell her that I want to speak to her.” The Avatar-of-War said, knowing that there was nothing that could change the outcome of the battle.

Fifteen minutes later...
“I am stunned. She did not leave?” Marxon asked calmly.
“No.” Selene answered, her eyes cast down, she couldn’t tell why someone would dare to do a thing so foolish.
“Do not let your emotions gain the upper hand. Acknowledge her death, but do not dwell in the event.”
“I am not saddened by her death.” Selene said and she looked up. “I am baffled by how she died. She refused to retreat and bring herself to safety. Why?”

“She did not understand the Way correctly. Fighting in the name of the Way for as long as possible does not mean the same thing as sacrificing yourself at the moment that your defeat is certain, if you can still retreat.”
“You once said, in one of your speeches, that the ones who are in harmony with themselves and their surroundings, will win the battle. Were the Cybrans more in harmony than we were? Is that why we lost the battle?”

“You ask an interesting question.” The Avatar answered, his face revealing nothing, but he was furious about the fact that Elenes seemed no longer be understanding what the Way meant. The Cybrans are abominations and yet she wondered if they were more advanced in the Way than she.

“They are not more in harmony than you are, you are less in harmony than they are. It would be better for you not to participate on the battlefields just yet.” He said
“Avatar, respectfully, are you saying that I am barely advanced in the Way?” Selene asked cautiously.
“That is correct, but not a shame. Many knights have this issue but most of them will understand eventually.” Marxon answered, still revealing no trace of anger or resentment, though he fully realized his disappointment in Selene because she failed at her duty to assist the Aeon military.

“I do not understand. I have known a good friend, she was advanced in the way and –”
This time, Marxon cut her off and made clear that he would not be negotiated with.
“Knight Marisa Zelda Gawain did not understand either.” He said firmly. “If she did, she would still be here and perhaps be a Crusader. She was a good strategist, but did not understand the Way as well as I did and as you will eventually do. Now go. Within an hour, you must have cleared your ACU from any personal belongings. The ACU will go to another knight while you will take your time to study the Way so that you may become a knight again, one day.”

“Yes, Avatar-of-War Marxon.” Selene admitted her defeat and looked forward to what she was about to learn. She did her utmost best to hide her questions about Marxon’s ideas, but to no success.
“Know that I will be unforgiving were you to fail again.” There was no doubt that the Avatar-of-War was serious, his tone cracking like a whip. “When you think you are ready to serve the Aeon military again, return. However, do not return as long as your doubts are still in your mind.”

Volgende: Book 4: Tessalis 07-'10 Book 4: Tessalis
Volgende: Chapter 12 - Leaving the past 07-'10 Chapter 12 - Leaving the past


Door Tweakers user Tarilo, vrijdag 9 juli 2010 00:53

Love to read your stories. I'm still playing the game daily. It's fun to read about the supcom universe. If only the developers had come up with such a story. It would have made the game even better.

Door Tweakers user TrekDude101, vrijdag 9 juli 2010 10:24

I've been reading your posts since the first one, and I have to say that i really enjoy them. I always thought the Supreme Commander universe should be used in a movie, or book, or even a comic, and it's nice to see that happening :)

I do have some things I want to say though; when you describe the battles between ACU's, I always have the feeling that you're describing the game, like a multiplayer match, and that makes it feel 'less real' to me, it feels more like they are playing a game, and not a live-or-death battle. I really don't know if it is even possible to write it differently, since its all based on a game anyway, but I thought maybe you'd like to know.

I also thought Leython and Shilon got over their problems really quick, too quickly if you ask me. Maybe there was more time between their battle and the time they went to Sung's abandoned island, but it really feels like one minute they're trying to kill eachother, and the next minute they are happily talking and working together on finding the QED. Maybe you could have written a bit about their hate towards eachother, as I'm sure they must have had in the beginning.

Please don't see this as a rant, or something negative, it's just some small things I noticed, and I'd love to see more of your stories :)

Door Tweakers user Plasma_Wolf, vrijdag 9 juli 2010 11:27

Bedankt voor het commentaar. In het Nederlands reageren mag gewoon hoor. En maak je geen zorgen over de toon van je reactie. Klinkt als uitstekende opbouwende kritiek.

En ik ben het er eigenlijk wel mee eens, maar zoïets moet met de ervaring komen (al deed ik dit wel bewust wat een beetje een verkeerde beslissing was). Hoe dan ook, m'n commentaar naast het blog heb ik er neer gezet nadat ik een paar onelines als reacties kreeg.

Door Tweakers user TrekDude101, vrijdag 9 juli 2010 12:11

Plasma_Wolf schreef op vrijdag 09 juli 2010 @ 11:27:
Bedankt voor het commentaar. In het Nederlands reageren mag gewoon hoor. En maak je geen zorgen over de toon van je reactie. Klinkt als uitstekende opbouwende kritiek.

En ik ben het er eigenlijk wel mee eens, maar zoïets moet met de ervaring komen (al deed ik dit wel bewust wat een beetje een verkeerde beslissing was). Hoe dan ook, m'n commentaar naast het blog heb ik er neer gezet nadat ik een paar onelines als reacties kreeg.
Oh haha, ik had je commentaar niet eens gezien :P Ik probeerde gewoon beleefd te blijven, aangezien ik weet hoe sommige mensen kunnen reageren op commentaar ;)

Dan zullen we maar zien wat de toekomst brengt :)

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