Chapter 6 - Twelve to Two
The two had already started their work on a base, beginning with the construction of mass extractors and power generators. They’d better be working already as the artificial intelligence had sent twelve unmanned ACUs to destroy them.
QAI claimed that he had uploaded all ACUs with a real Cybran pilot’s personality, along with his own vast strategic database. Leython was sure that this allowed the ACUs to battle efficiently, turning them into a dangerous threat.
However, he also remembered how he lost only once on the UEF’s computer simulations, which was supposed to contain the best characteristics of the UEF pilots. After he found out how to defeat a computer, he always did. QAI was probably a lot harder because it adapted according to every event on the field, be it on Sethis or any other location in the universe.
One thing remained the same though. The intelligence expert was able to learn and adapt sooner than a computer and he could also come up with a counter to any assault while he was analysing it.
By the time QAI had arrived, the two commanders had transferred the mass extractors and hydrocarbon plants to each other, so they’d no longer lack either of the two elementary resources in battle. Additionally, Eric had sent his first bombers and fighters to attack one of QAI’s drones.
“That’ll take one of them down.” Said Eric. “I’ll be sending the other bombers and fighters I’ve got now to deal with the commander closest to you.”
“No, I’ll be able to get him. I’ve got the first assault bots available and they’re going to harass some engineers. My command unit will join in the battle, supported by Mantii. You’re going to have to send additional fighters and bombers to that other guy. QAI’s got twelve ACUs in total, those will support the ones we’re attacking now. If we let our assault forces be destroyed so easily, the battle’s over. Concentrate on one enemy after another.” Answered Leython quickly.
“But we’re outnumbered, can’t I just get two at a time? That’d mean they’ve got one front more to support, so that’ll spread them thin.” Asked Eric.
“That’s true but our advantage in time is just not enough to get that done right now. We’ll be spread thin even more than they’ll be if we try that. Let’s take these two down, I’m sure we can do that, but I’m not convinced that your idea works.”
“Well, okay, you’re the strategist here.”
The strategy seemed to work so far. Despite for the supposed differences in QAI’s drones, the front command units all seemed to begin with the construction of two engineers before they built any combat weaponry. By the time the artificial intelligence had constructed the first Mantii, the engineers were under attack by Leython’s hunter bots. The drone near Eric’s position didn’t fare any better. Before it even completed its land factory, Eric’s bombers had done their initial bombing run on the Cybran power generators.
“Why does it allow us to do what we’re doing? I’m sure that QAI said he was... well, smart?” Asked the UEF pilot.
“Yes, but it based its full strategy on what I would do. He stated that you were merely an assistant. His biggest mistake is that when I am on the battlefield, the strategy from my side is to build up forces only to defend ourselves, so we’ve got the time to set up some radar towers, carefully plan our assault and destroy what we want to take down when we execute our plans.” Answered Leython while he destroyed another engineer that strayed too far away from its base.
“You’ve been doing it differently now, haven’t you?”
“Yes, the first time I was prompted to actually build a raiding party on my own was probably on the planet of Tessalis, where I later met Marisa. I was at a disadvantage in time because Marxon expected me to go there and he already sent a commander to that planet when QAI transmitted data there in order to find the planet’s exact location.” Answered Leython while he sent a couple of Mantii to the enemy base. They were to contain the Cybran ACU and prevent any backup from arriving.
“I was forced to build raiding parties and use them. I didn’t get the chance to actually raid with them but the fact remains that I learned to do something else for a time and I practiced a bit with that initial tactic.”
“QAI didn’t register those battles and your training in his database, did he?”
“He did before I left for Tessalis, but not afterwards, so he’s missing information about everything I’ve got now. He can put all of the information together but not anticipate on a surprise. He just got that and for as long as our enemies aren’t anticipating, we’re at an advantage.”
While the only two biological commanders talked about Leython’s new commanding abilities, Eric’s bombers had decimated the QAI’s first base before the ACU had constructed a factory. The drone was now being bombed while it tried to walk away, hoping to miss as many of the napalm strikes as possible.
“That ACU is almost down. I think it’s a speed record on rushing an enemy to death. It’s only ten minutes since I started building my base.”
“Don’t get cocky just yet. We’ve got only one down and one is in trouble but there are ten more building their bases at their leisure.”
“I’ve got enemy air units. Interceptors.” Said Eric before Leython could say anything else. “I’m having my own fighters to take care of them, it should be no problem.”
“My units are meeting resistance as well. The ACU is building point defences. Get your new bombers over here.” Said Leython while he ordered a mass extractor to upgrade to tier two. He shouldn’t forget that.
“Do you need an air transport as well? I guess you could use it to get radar everywhere.”
“Yes, please do so but not before you’re sure about the security of your own frontlines.” Said Leython just at the moment that the first ACU exploded, thanks to a couple of Scorchers.
“I’m quite sure I’ll manage. First enemy down, I’m sending my units towards your closest enemy.”
“You’re having a problem at your end. The enemy is down but a couple of engineers have been dropped. By the time that ACU was being damaged, QAI already anticipated for its loss.”
At the moment Leython said it, Eric already ordered two of his bombers to go to the place where QAI dropped his engineers. While the bombers flew ahead, Leython had his own issues.
“I’ve got Cybran bombers at my end, can you get interceptors here?” Asked Leython while he ordered all of his units to spread out as much as possible. “I’ve got my second tier two radar online, my entire front is covered with my intel and I can tell you that QAI is slow with his assault. There’s not much coming for me. I also have my first deceivers online so if you’ve got that transport ready, I can get radar everywhere and finally get to work.”
“My bombers are moving in on your frontline. QAI’s most forward positions will then be taken out.”
Twenty minutes later...
QAI had lost its first two ACUs soon after its army of twelve arrived on Sethis. The goal, destroying Leython Dygonn proved to be a harder task than it anticipated at first. The former UEF commander managed to come up with a quick assault of Mantii assault bots and Medusa artillery, thwarting one of the forward ACU’s efforts to build a base.
After Dygonn’s ally had destroyed the other ACU at the front, this UEF commander concentrated on the first ACU and the two human pilots took it down in a combined assault of Cybran land forces and Federation air units.
Having adapted even before either of the ACUs was taken down, the artificial intelligence sent in his own batches of low-tech forces soon enough to prevent his enemies from gaining the mass deposits that were now left unoccupied.
QAI didn’t expect that Dygonn would hold against a quick rush of two ACUs but he prepared just in case he was proven wrong. Not such a bad strategy at all because the intelligence expert had adapted and he started with an advantage.
That advantage was nullified though. They still faced ten versus two odds and the Quantum AI’s bases were well developed now. Two enemy bases were insignificant to the huge force that was constructed now.
While QAI mounted his assault, it noticed the presence of three unidentified structures. Considering the energy signature of those buildings that the Cybran omni sensor picked up, it was an enemy omni sensor, with a stealth generator and a shield generator.
Having no strategic bombers ready yet, as it had prepared no army for high-tech aerial weaponry, QAI sent a dozen of Loyalists to destroy Dygonn’s most powerful weapon. It knew that if Dygonn lacked intel, he would lose the battle for sure.
“It’s taken the bait. It’s distracted.” Replied Eric when Leython told him QAI fell for the supposedly unprotected outpost.
“Don’t forget that it cannot be distracted. It can give orders in a rapid succession like no living being can. We are now luring him into a trap with this strategy, not distracting him.”
“Yeah, whatever you want, it’s still the same to me. I don’t care what it is as long as it works.”
“You’re going to be partially responsible for that. Did you load up your units in the transports yet?”
“Yes, I have, they’re going already, they’ll arrive close to the omni sensor before that Cybran computer takes it down and lets our assault force break through unnoticed.”
It took Leython a complicated explanation in order to convince Eric of his idea that was just as complicated. Sending an assault force into enemy territory was dangerous and it would all be for naught if the enemy noticed it and sent his forces to intercept.
This time however, it was their goal. The result would be that QAI had to take the pressure off at the front, allowing Leython and Eric to break through there, gaining another ten mass deposits together, allowing them to increase their mass income by fifty per cent, which they needed badly.
As QAI’s weaponry moved in closer, Eric sent several spy planes, all the spy planes he had, to scout for QAI’s four closest bases. Air transports followed, all covered by Leython’s stealth generators. The ones full with Leython’s Loyalists Eric’s Parashields were to be dropped near the omni sensor that was about to be destroyed. The others, only carrying a mobile stealth generator and as many tier one light assault bots as they could, moved on and followed the spy planes.
As soon as Leython spotted an omni sensor in one of QAI’s bases, he’d alarm Eric who would then immediately order the transports to land and drop the assault bots off. The chance that the enemy radar stations would actually be destroyed was slim, because the base would probably be protected by flak guns and land-protective weaponry alike, but it was worth the try nonetheless, especially because of the cheap units that were very capable of destroying such high-tech equipment if they came close.
“I’ve spotted an omni sensor Eric, the north-western base.”
“Ok, I see it too, I’m ordering the units to be dropped now. Our forces near your own radar station will land shortly as well.”
“This is where the fun begins.”
Dygonn was known for his strategic plans but this was a grave mistake. Having used spy planes, QAI could tell that Dygonn and his ally had used seventy five per cent of their army only to prevent his twelve loyalists from destroying the forward omni sensor they had. The small task force didn’t stand a chance but now the Quantum AI could take out the enemy bases with ease if it pressed on immediately.
Dygonn’s attempt to destroy its ACUs was futile and ridiculous. He could have saved himself already
but chose for a crushing defeat in the hope of keeping the civilians alive.
Moments later, QAI noticed how he was about to lose all information about the battlefield. Having sacrificed all spy planes in order to keep the intel about the enemy bases at a maximum, QAI could do nothing but watch as several transports, too much to take them all out, arrived at one of his bases. Detecting unknown units arriving at other bases as well, it knew that Dygonn aimed for all omni sensors it had.
At first, the artificial intelligence assumed that building omni sensors at a remote location, concealed by stealth, was a mistake. Dygonn would surely search for those places, like QAI would have done if its first omni sensor didn’t reveal any. It was a better idea to build the sensors in the middle of the bases, where they were safe, especially if there was an economy for ten commanders pumping out units to put the heat at the enemy.
Yet, QAI had not accurately predicted Dygonn’s behaviour. In the millisecond it took the Artificial Intelligence to realise this, it had also come up with his counter-measure and its units immediately went to work. Fifty per cent of the Loyalists, Deceivers and Trebuchet artillery that were preparing for the assault on the enemy UEF and Cybran bases, moved back into QAI’s own territory. They were to pursue the enemy spearhead.
All of the units that were inside QAI’s four bases that were closest to the front, converged upon the location where the transports would drop their units. Whilst not enough to prevent the fragile omni sensors from being destroyed, they could keep the enemy units from doing any worse.
Seconds later, the task force of twelve Loyalists was destroyed, while the enemy omni sensor still stood, now protected by three UEF mobile shield generators. As if it wasn’t enough, QAI had lost its own radar towers and its only option was to use spy planes in order to find the enemy army back. It would take half a minute to restore the intel capabilities but that was long enough for the human commanders to retreat with their armies, to any location where QAI’s intel was limited to conventional radar, which was any location near the frontlines.
Given the fact that the enemy army was equipped with mobile stealth generators, Dygonn and his friend had just started playing hide-and-seek.
Not that it would be that much of a problem to find them and wipe them off the face of the universe, but considering it was Dygonn, more unexpected things could happen.
“The first part of it worked out. Now move the units to the east at full speed and prepare to engage one enemy group after another. I’m upgrading the radar in your base to tier three so even when we lose the only Olympus we have at the moment, your front is covered perfectly.” Said Leython, glad that it all worked out so well.
“What are we going to do with the rest of our forces? It isn’t much but I’m sure that we’re needing them badly.” Said Eric, anxious to do more.
“Those will join the battle at the east.” Answered Leython while he ordered the loyalists and mobile stealth generators to load up in the transports Eric had left.
One minute later, while QAI destroyed the forward radar post with the massive force he had taken away from the front, the symbiotic army clashed with the enemy units that were left behind at the edge of QAI’s territory.
Leython’s complex strategy worked out, for as far as now. Just before the forwarded post was destroyed, Leython established a new intelligence centre at Eric’s base and that allowed him to keep track of the enemy units they were about to attack first.
They were outnumbered by at least three to one but the sudden surprise gave them the ability of taking on the enemy forces in an advantage of five to one odds.
“How much time do you think we have with this strategy? I’m sure it won’t work indefinitely.” Said Eric while he did his best to keep all units protected by Parashields. As the Titans’ guns fired without a pause, the enemy Trebuchets and Loyalists were destroyed, one after another. One of the groups was destroyed but there were six left to deal with.
“Not long enough and I missed a detail. Our force just exposed its position. QAI knows where we are and it also knows what we’re going to attack now.”
“That what are we going to do now? Turn around and attack the enemy base instead?”
“That’s a good idea, but we’re going to have to take one of these groups at your front down as well. If we can do that, we’ll secure that destroyed base and its mass deposits. However, QAI is sending half of its army there for support so we’re going to have to find another way of dealing with them.”
“I’m going to dig in and build point defences, lots of them.” Replied Eric after Leython explained the new problem they had. “If he goes for me, your base won’t be suffering from an attack, assuming that he keeps his squads there in order to keep his frontline under control.”
“Yes but whatever he does, I’ve got a surprise for him. My upgrades are almost all completed and the only thing he can do about it is building an omni sensor somewhere in the middle of the field or use a lot of spy planes.”
“Cloaking generator?” Eric said the two words that summarised Leython’s new strategy perfectly. The two commanders had put all effort in controlling their economy and it paid off now. QAI had chosen to attack with sheer numbers and it was Leython’s speciality to win a battle despite for the overwhelming odds. Eric did everything he could in keeping his units alive and by neatly obeying Leython’s orders, those units formed a devastating army.
“My next question is,” started Eric but before he could continue, Leython already answered.
“Ten minutes at most, then QAI will realise he really needs strategic missiles to do the job. That means we’ll really have to build some defences now.”
The enemy’s army had taken QAI’s forces away from the front, delaying Dygonn’s defeat. Despite for the fact that QAI was still certain of his victory, it realised that it couldn’t afford any mistakes. Therefore it checked every possible scenario with the intelligence it had. QAI concluded that it needed more but it also knew that Dygonn couldn’t do without sensors either. It had made an important mark in the file of the former UEF commander already.
Apparently, Dygonn was able to fight while he knew little to nothing about his enemy. With only one omni sensor, it was able to locate every single squad QAI had. Granted, the artificial intelligence didn’t use mobile stealth generators, assuming it would confuse Dygonn. However, his enemy saw right through it.
Yet, even after he destroyed Dygonn’s tier three radar tower, the commander still managed to do the unexpected. Sending a large force to trap the small group of Loyalists, before taking this group towards the UEF base in order to give that commander some breathing space, Dygonn kept the artificial intelligence busy.
What was most surprising and very important to note, was that Dygonn didn’t bother about the forces near his own base. While QAI considered the possibility to attack, it realised that whatever it did, he had just lost his frontline again.
At the moment that one of its bases was equipped with an omni sensor again, QAI noticed an abundance of enemy units converging on that base. It had to work quickly in order to destroy as many of those units as possible. Unfortunately, QAI had built nothing but air superiority fighters in order to preserve control over the skies. Sending some strategic bombers quickly was no option.
While the artificial intelligence constructed as many point defences as possible, knowing that the weapons couldn’t do much more than just scratching the enemy assault bots, it also noticed that Dygonn had started with his second assault. A microwave laser seemed to be coming out of nowhere, decimating any weapon it met. QAI immediately ordered his spy planes to move to the group that was under attack but it knew that those units would be destroyed and the enemy ACU would be gone before the spy planes arrived.
It now had four squads left at the front, with his main army being at the wrong place to begin with. Nothing could be done about the enemies with this weaponry. QAI immediately adapted and started construction on strategic missile silos.
“Leython, why doesn’t QAI send his main army yet? What’s going on here? It should’ve attacked already, shouldn’t it?”
Eric’s question caught the Intelligence expert’s attention immediately. Having destroyed the second group and having built another tier three sensor, Leython had perfect intel about his part of the battlefield, but using his ACU at the front cost him time he should’ve spent paying attention to the whole battlefield.
After one quick scan, he knew what was going on.
“He’s building missile silos already. Get some proper defences up and see to it that you destroy that enemy base.”
“I’m almost done with that.” Eric said. The two commanders had decided to keep the enemy ACU intact, as its explosion would cause all of the mobile shield generators to collapse and QAI could have prepared some strategic bombers.
“Good, as soon as you’ve destroyed the base, the enemy ACU will likely go with your force and try to destroy it, or at least keep track of it. QAI’s main force is still going to pursue our battalion.”
“I see, it’s going to try to kill us in another way, right?”
“Yes. I’m working on my defences as well. You’ve got some engineers in your transports to work on reclaiming the enemy base?”
“Those are ready to go. I’m sure we’ll take that base before the enemy nukes come down.”
“We’d better. Don’t build something else than tier one mass extractors, those won’t be a waste instead of a gain.”
Nine missiles were launched at the same moment. QAI had spent the majority of his resources in order to build the silos but now he could send nine missiles every minute. Being able to wield such firepower to would be thrilling to any human commander but was nothing more than a formality for the Quantum AI.
All missiles were targeted at locations of which it was sure that the enemy would lose something. QAI didn’t target either the UEF or Cybran base. Those would probably be protected by missile defences already and those had to be destroyed first, or being out-produced by his own silos.
While the latter was a possibility, it would take too long. Many things could happen. Dygonn would see it coming and retreat before he was destroyed. This battle was still mostly in QAI’s control, especially because it could now spend his resources on building Loyalists and Strategic Bombers again, but Dygonn was able to do the unexpected.
The missiles hit their targets. QAI had located five spots where Dygonn would have built his omni sensors. After extensive calculations, the Artificial Intelligence found out that there was a one hundred per cent chance of finding a radar tower at all of those locations and a chance of zero that there was a intelligence station at any other place, except for Dygonn’s base and the base of his UEF ally.
The other four missiles were supposed to destroy the only army the two human commanders had and also those succeeded. QAI had sacrificed some spy planes to keep constant visual contact with the Titans, Deceivers and Parashields, changing the strategic missiles’ coordinates as the enemy force moved.
Unfortunately, one of the ten remaining ACUs was lost. As soon as the spy planes took their role of bringing in visual contact, the automated command unit retreated. It was no hard guess for either of the enemies about what was going to happen. The Titans’ guns responded immediately on the retreating weapon and it went nuclear only seconds later, leaving the army, protected by the Parashields, unscarred. Those mobile shield generators collapsed, leaving the army underneath open for an attack but QAI had nothing to attack with, not within a couple of seconds.
But now, the Cybran nukes did a better job, as they had no problem penetrating the layers protection that was formed by the mobile generators. Instantly, all enemy units were destroyed, mostly vaporized by the intense heat.
“This isn’t so very nice. We’ve got an enemy army incoming and we can’t do anything about it. There are spy planes covering the army’s vicinity so I can’t go in and destroy it. We’ll need a plan or we’re done for.” Said Leython only moments after the first strategic missiles destroyed their only military force.
In the meanwhile, they had spent all of their resources on building the defence to QAI’s strategic missiles, assuming that their land force could delay the enemy’s land units for even longer. That was no longer the case.
“What if I start building some superiority fighters?” Asked Eric. Leython had told him not to do so because QAI would probably be able to outnumber them in the skies by four to one odds. In addition to that, the UEF weaponry had no stealth ability and would be seen on the enemy radar all too soon. They had made a mistake by letting Eric concentrate on air at the beginning of the battle and let Leython do the work on land units.
Whilst both had their land factories up and running at the tier three stage, only Eric had a proper air production centre. Letting Leython take that job over would take too long, but letting Eric continue with the tier three Wasps, Broadswords and Ambassadors was a waste of mass.
“No, that’s just stupid. I admit, we’ve only seen QAI working on spy planes but I’m sure that it’s building a massive air force, hoping to surprise us. Part of the air force is the precaution, protecting the bombers with fighters and I’m sure that QAI has also thought about that, even though it allowed itself to make more mistakes already.
If we’re going to build fighters on our own, in order to deal with those spy planes, he’ll just send new Spooks in, protected by Gemini. So that’s just a waste of time.”
“What’s the plan then? We can’t do nothing, can we?” Asked Eric desperately. “I’ve got nothing, only protection with Point defences and Demolisher artillery, which might stop them.”
“I’ll build as many Loyalists and Trebuchets as I can. We can only wait. I think we’ll be able to stop QAI for now and I also think we’ll survive its spree of nuclear missiles for the next five minutes. I’ve got about a hundred anti-missiles in my base.”
“Ok, then it should work. Would that computer decide to attack you first?”
“No, it assumes I lost most of my intelligence centres and that I can’t see anything. We’ve also just seen those units disappear, so QAI has just added mobile stealth generators in his army, that was about time.”
“If it thinks you can’t see anything until its units are virtually in your base, why wouldn’t it attack you first?”
“Our success depends on my intelligence warfare and your incredible unit management. QAI has adapted and finally understands how dangerous you are. It already noted your abilities at the beginning of the battle but now that latest ACU is destroyed, it really marks you as dangerous. The priority to kill you is as high as the priority to kill me now QAI thinks that I can’t see his force coming.
Because QAI assumes you’re more dangerous in the current situation, it will attack you.”
“That’s what you think, but wouldn’t you think that QAI finally understands he has to think a couple of more steps ahead and turn its plans around and then attack you.”
“Well, it’s turned its plans around too much. You seem to be the most dangerous one, so QAI attacks me, but I know that and it attacks you again.” Said Leyton with a smile.
“Then why are you building units?” Asked Eric, looking at the little girl behind him. They had forgotten about her but she had fallen asleep, standing and leaning on one of the cockpit’s walls.
“Because of the Monkeylords it’s going to send at me as soon as the battle at your base has ended and the nuke’s it’s sent at me have all been shot.” Answered Leython quickly.
The battle was far from over and despite for being smarter than the Cybran computer, Leython knew they still had a lot to do.
Ik lees je verhalen met veel plezier!
Ik wilde je even wijzen op een spelfout die je vrij consequent maakt; (toevallig niet in dit hoofdstuk )
thrust moet vaak trust zijn (vertrouwen).
Maar verder keep up the good work
dat is een fout die de spellingcontrole er ook nooit uithaalt. Dat wordt flink checken.
Bedankt voor de reactie, ik zal er naar kijken zodra ik tijd heb.
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