The battlefield was called Theta Passage. Most of it was no passage though, it was one large open field. Leython expected that general Clarke would send out raiding groups, early on, to deal with engineers which would go in all directions in order to build mass extractors everywhere, was this the way he had to think? Assume that things are going to happen? Leython’s commander would take the lower passage. Large amounts of tanks and mobile artillery would take the open field and as soon as he had bombers and interceptors online, he would attempt to hamper Clarke’s energy’s income.
As the first minutes had passed, Leython had, obviously, already two tier one radars up and running. One in the open field and one near the mountain ridge. Small raiding groups were moving in from different sides and the first squat, consisting of two Mech Marines and one scout, had already encountered his commander and paid the price. Another of such a squat met two joined groups of him and had been taken care of as well, but on the other side…
The rest of his groups died as he watched, he didn’t stand a chance against Clarke’s unit management, his engineers had, in the very beginning, just barely survived the arrival of her light assault bots but that had only delayed their survival up to now. He was incapable of holding on. Clarke’s economy was superior as well.
Just at the moment Leython thought he had a chance of beating back, he saw that one of his radars was destroyed instantly. The worst part was that it was the radar near his mountain ridge. His commander advanced from the lower passage, but had no intel whatsoever. He had to fall back.
Air was no option either: his first bomber was shot down quickly, without doing any damage. Leython stopped building air units, enemy interceptors flew over his base regularly.
While his command unit walked back, he saw what general Clarke had done. All of her forces that were available moved in, all at the same time. His only radar left was showing one mass of red dots, marked as land units. One appeared somewhere in the lower right of the field covered by the radar. It was a slow unit and it was the very one that destroyed his other radar tower. It could only be the commander and Leython summarized the battle.
“So, sending the commander through the lower passage does not work, it takes too much time.
Raiding groups have to be properly micro managed so that they can take out all the outlying mass extractors. Additionally, destroy enemy radar structures as soon as possible, to blind him.”
“More important is that you must not place radar tower at such an obvious point. I knew I would make it impossible for you to perform at your maximum capabilities if I would hamper your intel support. ACUs can take a real punch, so they’ll make it towards a single target, even if it is protected by some forces.
In your case, it wasn’t supported at all. You needed all units to defend against my tanks. What’s more important –“
General Clarke was cut off by a call from an EarthCom officer: “General, we’ve got something disturbing. Please report as soon as possible.”
“Too bad Dygonn, I’ve got to go, my work to check on ‘disturbances’ is more important than the personal training of a student. Good luck on your training.”
“No problem, good-bye ma’am.” Leython decided to have something to eat and then go home and relax a bit. Surely with this information he would be able to deal with Eric. No problem at all, just as long as he remembered everything and that… he would.
The next Monday, the second of June, as soon as Leython entered Stirling’s simulation room again, he was confronted by Jeff.
“Ok, take your seat Leython, Eric is already prepared and Stirling agrees to the contest rules: best of seven, first battlefield is chosen by him and it is the Bermuda Locket.”
“Oh god, that strange island houses enough place and mass to support eight commanders, that means he’s going to let us handle an army and economy that is four times as large as usual?”
“Yes that’s right Leython,” Eric had heard him, he was even more excited as Friday, “prepare to deal with my swarming skills”.
“Oh, don’t count yourself so lucky yet. There’s no real open field here, so your tier one warm is useless. A couple of Scorcher bombers and everything is burned to the ground.” Leython had already devised his strategy: He would construct air transports as soon as possible, so he could occupy the alternative parts of the island. If he would be able to pull that off, Eric would only have one third of his economy and he would naturally lose the battle. As usual, at least for him, he would construct tier one radar towers at every place he had a construction engineer. Then he would see enemy units coming.
He didn’t forget Clarke’s words: the lay-out of the battlefield gave away intel already. There was no need to fear making the wrong startup decision: he would advance to tier two so that he had pillar tanks and, more importantly, riptides hover tanks available before the tier one swarm would arrive.
He would also have bombers ready to either weaken the swarm or destroy enemy engineers that might try to gain a foothold on the alternative points.
As the battle began, another thought sprang into Leython’s mind: what if Stirling would make some fun again, what if he made up a surprise? He could control the gating points after all. Leython was at the left side of the island’s top section. For a good balance and a battle that would take the best of each pilot on several grounds, Eric should be on the lower-right. However, Stirling mentioned that commanders had to be in for surprises, and that he would see to it that they could handle sudden events without any problems, so it could very well be that Eric now was building his first mass extractors, Power generators and factory on the eastern side of the islands’ upper part, directly next to him.
His solution was simple and effective in all forms: the third unit rolling from his factory was a land scout. Leython would know everything about Eric within minutes, when air scouts would join the search.
It appeared that Eric was not found in the upper right by the land scout, but on the upper side of the island’s left part. It was still a good distance away from Leython, but it would still change the way the battle would be fought. The distance between the two bases was drastically shortened, so the use of tier one units was reasonable.
Leython suddenly had pick one out of two options again: construct tier one strikers and lobos, or tech up and block the direct passage with tier two Point defenses. He counted himself lucky that he had an air scout flying over Eric’s base already: he would know what Eric did and do the same.
Leython’s first air transport was sent out, all the way towards the other side of the island. He hoped to be there before Eric. In the meanwhile, he had lost his air scout patrolling over Eric’s base. He would be unable to mimic him.
The transport carried six engineers. As the transport landed, on the right part of the island’s lower section, his second Hummingbird was shot down by Eric’s mobile anti-air units. Leython’s Air scout had given away that Eric’s first transport took off, though.
Eric was late with his air factory. Leython however, did not have interceptors to take the transport out before it would arrive at its drop point, which was still unknown. Little time later, the transport appeared in Leython’s base and dropped of three engineers. Leython’s command unit destroyed them in six shots. He could not use his overcharge cannon for that. It would be a massive waste of energy so early in the battle.
“What!?” Eric yelled in surprise. “What are you doing there? There’s only one explanation…”
“Yes Temera,” Michelle Aiko answered, “colonel Stirling has done some work on the gating points.”
“Well, that changes the whole scenario: tier one units are useful! You’re dead Leython.” Eric said.
By mistake, Eric had realized what was going on. Leython’s short advantage in intelligence had been lost. Eric did not notice earlier by the direction the Air scout came from, because he thought that it had scouted the upper section of the island first. It all appeared differently. He would produce a large amount of tier one units and attack.
Additionally, he would construct bombers to attack at all different sections. He would not be stopped, he thought, while his second C-6 Courier transport landed at the lower section.
The dropped units were destroyed. Leython was there. “How can you be so fast!? I thought you wanted to know everything about the battlefield before you even planned your movement.” He said.
Leython answered him with similar words Clarke used to let him know how to collect his intelligence: “I know where you gated in, so I know where you are. By noticing that you didn’t have an air factory yet, I knew that you were only at the left section. You didn’t have anything else.”
However, Leython made a stupid mistake. After he had sent the first transport out to occupy the island’s lower section, he forgot about the eastern side. When he finally had constructed mass extractors at the land bridge in between, he noticed this. He quickly send engineers, this time forgetting about his lack of intelligence in the eastern region. Eric had occupied it in secret.
Cursing that he was so stupid, Leython had to come with a plan quickly. He did not realize that Eric was so adaptive. As far as he knew now, he stuck to his first plan, no matter what happened. Surely he would not come up with the idea to go to, for him, the far side of the island? Even now he realized Leython started in the upper section, he would understand that Leython would be at the eastern part earlier than he? The questions did not matter in the least. The fact that Eric had occupied half of the island, Leython had the other half meant that the battle was balanced between both sides.
The best of the island, for Leython, was that the land bridges could be closed by the construction of a pair of Triad point defenses. The land bridges were not very wide, so swarms of land units would move slowly, or in groups packed together. The triads weaponry caused large explosions on collision, so it would damage more units at the same time. Leython noticed that all of his plans had changed as the game progressed, his strategy to hold his ground was not as it was before he started the battle.
The next fifteen minutes went by without anything special happening. Leython had upgraded his tier one radar towers and now he had four SA2 – 2000 systems. Additionally, he provided himself with two SP2 – 2000 sonar systems as well. He continued upgrading those. The tier three sonar, as opposed to the tier three omni sensor, did not require enormous loads of energy to maintain. He would be able to see almost the entire sea, which would be very helpful for his idea to attack Eric’s bases with cruisers, destroyers and even a couple of battleships. He would need much more time for building such a navy, however. At the moment, he only had some gunship and triad point defenses to stop any of Eric’s possible attempts to attack via the land bridges. The rest of the resources were spent in the production of more resources.
Just at the moment he finished the upgrades on his Sonar systems, he noticed a large group of hovering units moving on the water, both from the western as well as the eastern section. He did not understand why those red hovering dots were shown, while the radar towers did not cover that area yet. He wanted to ask colonel Stirling, but he was instructing Jeff what to do in a particular situation.
Leython noticed that he lost all notion of what happened around him. He did not notice that Stirling has teamed up Aiko and Lancet against Beck and Funky. Those were practicing a two versus two war now. Leython was distracted for a moment, but he suddenly noticed that all of the hovering units were moving towards the upper section, he had to work on the problem quickly. He did not want to send in any of his air forces to deal with him, he would give away what he had.
Leython had already constructed various tier two defenses near the land bridges, now he sent his engineers closer to the shore to build some triads there. He was out of time however, he had to think of something more….
He quickly sent his tier one engineers at work. They would construct factories which, in turn would build lobo artillery. They packed quite a punch and Leython could station them behind the hills. The riptides hover tanks would be unable to reach the lobos, but they would be destroyed by the fragmentation artillery.
A minute later, the battle commenced. Riptides moved in on the shore, immediately being fired at by the small group of Triads Leython had constructed. The swarm was large, however and it advanced quickly. It looked like one destroyed hover tank was replaced with two new ones. By the time the riptides moved in on the tier two point defences, the lobo artillery kicked in and started their fire.
The first group of shells came unnoticed and Eric was surprised to see them coming. He tried to make adjustments, but the riptides did not respond well. Neither of the commanders had ever seen such behavior. The tier two tanks refused to change course and now only stayed where they were. The force was suffering badly now. What could have become Leython’s defeat turned into a major setback for Eric.
He lost the battle and Leython gained a large amount of mass in wreckages, which he ignored.
Eric had to think of a new strategy now. He had concentrated all of his resources on building this hover army and now it was lost. He was at a disadvantage. He and Leython both had no chance of winning the battle by land or hover units. That was made certain now his attack had failed.
He guessed that Leython could to attack in the same way, but he thought that his opponent would not event try. Leython would assume that he expected such an attack and therefore he would take pre-emptive measures. Eric would not have to try another attack by the use of hover tanks. Leython had dug in.
Eric realized that he was overconfident. He did not think of a second plan. He would not make up for a good commander in this way, he couldn’t stand his own if things did not go according to his own plan.
Ten minutes later, Leython had produced a fair amount of tier two gunships and added some tier three broadswords as well, he decided it was time to attack. He did not forget to continue the upgrade on his radar towers. He now had the best intelligence a commander could wish for. He only had to spot the enemy commander. Eric’s ACU was nowhere to be found, but suddenly Leython noticed a single red dot moving in, in the water.
This dot moved slowly, it was the enemy commander. Completely unprotected. It continued moving in and stopped in between the western and the northern section of the island. Leython saw that the commander suddenly launched tactical missile. This missile had something special, Leython noticed on his third screen, which gave a zoomed in view on the commander now it was exposed. The special thing was a word written on the missile.
Leython remembered that he did not build shields or tactical missile defenses. How could he forget so much things? He quickly ordered the removal of all of his gunships, so that they would not be destroyed…
His commander stood underwater, on the outside of the island, near some cruisers. Since those ships automatically were equipped with tactical missile defences, he did not have to worry so much. He moved a small portion of his fleet, away from the shipyards he constructed.
The fleet would go to the land bridge, the cruisers would stop the billies and the destroyers would kill the enemy commander with their torpedoes, but Leython estimated that at least four of the tactical nukes would be able to make it through.
By the time he finally found his tier two engineers, they were destroyed in the nuclear explosion, along with the rest of his base. He would have to use every other engineer he had to build the buzzkill gatling guns he suddenly needed.
He had lost his air factories, so constructing torpedo bombers was not an option , but luckily his gunships remained unharmed. He sent them towards the eastern part of the island. If he, by chance would be forced to abandon the northern section entirely, he still would pay Eric back in kind.
Leython lost one of his omni sensors, but his intelligence was not bugged down by that at all. He still had three others at full capability… If they had energy.
Leython had built sensors at more than one location, but he had not done the same with his energy structures. He in fact had only one large base which provided his energy income and his air construction.
That base was lost, most of it had been destroyed in the first nuclear missle. For the rest, the other three gating zones he controlled…
Those only consisted of one land factory, he did not even give the proper tier two upgrade, the mass extractors that could be built there and a couple of tier one power generators.
His energy income was destroyed, he had no intelligence. If Eric would come with one large group of hover tanks again… He would lose.
The group of Stingers and Broadswords arrived at the eastern part of the island. There were no Riptides in sight. Had Eric stopped building them? It did not matter in the slightest, this base was going down. It consisted out of four tier two land factories and the engineers that assisted them were still there, idly standing by as the base was destroyed.
Leython’s fleet also arrived at Eric’s commander, but some torpedo bombers moved in, as well as a large fleet Eric had constructed. Eric expected Leython’s move, he built a large fleet that could support his commander. Leython was surprised by everything that had happened in the past moments.
Eric’s sixth billy missile was launched. It would destroy the last remains Leython’s main base, but one of Leython’s cruisers shot it down. Leython only saw one chance, he now moved the cruisers in between his destroyers and Eric’s fleet. Those would serve as a metal shield, so the destroyers could not be reached so easily. The torpedo bombers were destroyed and Leython had rearranged his gunships, they would join the fight.
By the time Leython’s cruisers were destroyed, the Gunships arrived. Broadswords and Stingers made short work of the enemy ships. Five tier three air superiority fighters now joined the brawl above the water. Eric’s Wasps concentrated on the Broadswords, destroying two in each pass. Unfortunately for Eric, it was too late. Seven of Leython’s Valiant class ships were still launching torpedoes on Eric’s commander, which exploded not long afterwards.
“Mister Dygonn, you had a hard time with it, didn’t you?” Stirling addressed him personally.
“Yeah, but would you please not tell the others?”
“Well, no, I’ll not keep it between the two of us. Now, why didn’t you respond to everything immediately? You did not link groups of engineers to hotkeys in your console. That is a one-way train to problems.
If you would have done that, you would be able to put up that one vital Buzzkill you needed, before the missile would arrive. Don’t think about relocating the gunships. That is not necessary because you would have constructed the missile defense in time. You are the one who comes up with the quick and flawless plan, aren’t you? I have seen little of that this time.” Stirling said.
“I don’t really know how it happened, but it could be that I panicked.
“It does happen regularly, sometimes that pilots are surprised by the sheer amount of enemy forces suddenly popping on screen, like you did when all of those riptides attacked. You’ll have to learn to live with it, so that you can respond accordingly.”
“Yes, panicking only wastes time.” Leython replied.
“Yes, but you’ve got one advantage now. You are not the one who faces a defeat. He’s got to make up for it. There is something more important however,” Stirling addressed the whole group now, “listen up everyone. There are a couple of things I want to talk about. I have watched both battles.
Both show that you all still have a lot to learn.
Let’s start with Mr. Dygonn and Temera. Mr. Temera, you lacked intelligence. You just started the attack with the tier two hover tanks without knowing anything. It turned out that you took Leython by surprise, but you did not check in on his forces at all.
Even if you would have scouted the area just before attacking, you would be too late. What if Leython would have taken pre-emptive measures? Then the construction of those riptides would be one waste of mass.
When you sent in your commander with the tactical nukes, you again lacked intelligence. That was the very reason of why you lost the battle. If you had proper intel, you would have known that he had a naval force and you would send in your own.
When it comes to that, why did you not send in your navy at the first place? I don’t know what you thought back then, but it is really bad.” Next, it was Leython’s turn to be lectured:
“Mr. Dygonn, you were not as good as usual. Now it can happen sometimes, but you must prevent it at all costs. You did not send in engineers at the eastern part of the island. You were so fast getting the southern part, but you forgot about the only section left. That allowed Eric to do everything he has done.
For the rest, don’t let yourself be surprised by a sudden appearance of large numbers and be very happy with the end of the battle as it was. It could have ended differently.” Stirling was not done yet.
“For you four, it was kind of a mess. You did not really have a plan. Now you can see how much you lack without someone as Mr. Dygonn, you guys stumbled around a bit, until Mr. Funky comes with an idea which was, I must say, quite awesome.
Apart from the sudden air drop in Ms. Aiko’s base, the battle was not worth mentioning. You also make so much mistakes.” Stirling continued, with another important note:
“I have already mentioned the importance of reclaiming, but it seems that you have not really remembered it. In total, I saw one pilot actively reclaiming. Mr. Lancet, good job. It was too bad however, that you did not have the proper energy income available to use all that mass. That is one important note for you.
Don’t forget about one thing, if you try to remind yourself of the other. For now, that is all. Get these basic concepts perfectly under control, before you can go to the more advanced tactics and strategies. You may have been able to do so many things good during those exercises I gave the last months, which explicitly told what to do, but you don’t remember it here. Do so from now on.”
Colonel Stirling ended his lecture and very one mumbled with “yes sir” in the next two seconds, before he asked Eric what the next battlefield would be.
As Leython expected in one way or another, Eric picked Open Palms. “Let the spam festivity begin,” he said.
Surely he had said that in a gentle way? Apparently not and here he goes again, remembering the previous evening.
Back in reality, he logged in into the simulation computer, he knew he had to do a bit of training because even though Eric would not understand a single thing about intelligence warfare, he knew exactly how to rush ahead and take control of areas early on, using nothing but tier one units.
Leython would not survive if he started construction on his base and army as usual. However, if he managed to live the first ten minutes without getting significant damage, he would be able to deal with Eric.
The simulation program was constantly updated, every battle of the UEF, no matter on which planet, was carefully recorded. Every pilot would contribute his or her strategy to a large database. While all strategies were analyzed, they would be managed in profiles, creating a variety of more than fifty in total, from the steamrolling profiles to the ones which would only construct an economical base as support.
Every person in training would face all profiles, all in combination with other ones, but not so much in their first year of training. Aside from that, they would also face each other. The best way to learn was by experiencing how other humans fought.
Leython would experience it in two days and even though he probably knew Eric’s combat strategy - by analyzing his way of fighting and the way he talked and worked here at the academy he already learned a lot - Leython thought that he would face a surprise.
A person’s strategy in on a battlefield, or in a war-game, could be predicted by this person’s closest friends and colleagues, by putting together all of the abilities, tricks and ideas he had. One requirement was that the colleagues also had some experience in the game.
If the person was able to make his statements, say what he thinks and do what he wants, all without fear of that other people might think badly of him doing so, then he would be a confident commander on the battlefield.
However, if he was uncomfortable with almost every situation, uncertain of what others might think of him, it would take a serious amount of time and effort to train him into a good soldier. He had to learn to make decisions, think fast when facing a thread and be able to counter it without a second thought. Not only he had to be familiarized with the way a battle was fought, he also had to grow confident.
Eric was arrogant when he was talking and working. He thought he could take things on, alone, he underestimated his assignments sometimes, but he could usually make up for his faults just in time.
On the battlefield, he would work fast, make his decision immediately, and he would act without even a first thought, because he already assumed his battle would be won with his moves.
Leython knew that he was not arrogant like Eric, but leaning more to the opposing edge: uncertain. Not that he literally was uncertain in situations, he knew what he had to do, if he knew what he faced.
The only thing that made him in uncertain in some way, was that he had to know what he was facing. This made him a slow starter in a battlefield. If he would not know whether tier one tanks would fit for the first battle they had to fight, he would not build them. What if his enemy already advanced to tech two? His tech one rabble would be turned down into smoking debris in moments.
However, if he advanced to tier two, but his opponent would start up a quick rush of tier one units, his base would be levelled and Leython would not be given a second chance. He needed intel before he could do the job.
What Leython had never noticed, was his own arrogance. He would be just the same as Eric, as soon as he knew what he was up against. He devised a strategy, a tactic and then he would strike.
His movements were always correct, so he did not think of himself as arrogant, but only as smart and a correct thinker.
Whenever someone else told him he was arrogant, because his ideas worked, he only thought that this person was mad because he did not think of it.
Eric would not think of an issue like the lack of intelligence, he would send in his tier one tank swarm and see what would happen, certain that he would put his opponent at a major disadvantage by destroying at least some mass extractors, engineers and power generators.
If he suddenly would face a much stronger army, he would be the one put at the disadvantage and he would have a hard time turning the tables.
Leython’s main issue was his slow starting. Eric was just so much faster that he really had to train himself in the skill called rushing. What would be a real “rush and spam” battlefield? Certainly Open Palms would be one.
If only two commanders would wage a war there, it would be one festivity of tier one spam. A smart commander would keep his tier one swarm to a maximum, while upgrading a factory towards tech two or even tech three, build up a large force of stronger forces and then suddenly strike with an all-out attack on the enemy.
This would be Leython’s strategy on dealing with a scripted profile. He started the simulation…..
Within sixteen minutes he was swarmed to death.
“That’s not the best use of a commander like you I hope, you can’t start a decent tier one swarm. What are you best at?” Leython heard a female voice and wondered how it was possible that he was observed without getting the request to let her observe.
“Ma’am, how is it possible that you can observe me from your console, without having to request it?”
“My rank is high enough to bypass such requirements, now please answer my question. I saw you getting that intel pretty fast, and then suddenly speeding up your build process on tier one units, but before you had that radar coverage, you were working so very slow, you did not even expand a little bit.”
“Well, that’s the problem, I only expand to locations I am sure of that are under my control. To know what is under my control, I build those radars as soon as possible.”
“In these simulations, the commanders all arrive at exactly the same time. In reality, there is some time gap between the arrival of two opposing commanders. That difference can be deadly, but usually, you’re not put a such a gigantic disadvantage.
This should ring a bell to you. What do you know if your enemy arrives at the same time, but more than 5 kilometers away from you?”
“Well, I could reach about my half of the battlefield in between the two of us, while he gets his…”
“Correct, so get those engineers towards the mass fields on your sides. As soon as you have got some tanks, send those to protect. You’ll have to rely on speed instead of intel for the first part of the battle.”
“Yeah, I know that, I just don’t know why I don’t change it. It has been my bad remark since we started these simulations. I’m perfect if it comes to rushing intel coverage all over the battlefield.”
“That’s a good member for in a team, but it is useless if you are on your own, and such moments happen regularly.”
“Ok, so that’s one thing. Expand without relying on radar coverage, anything else?”
“Yes, definitely. What about building an early raiding group? A scout unit and two Mech Marines. Our Marines are the strongest Light Assault Bots, stronger than those Cybran or Aeon ones. Such a small raiding group is faster and more versatile than a larger army, or even a couple of tanks. Use the Mech Marines to kill unprotected engineers, or guard your own engineers with them until you have tanks to take it over.”
“Ok, then I’ll send those engineers into the unknown, build a radar tower immediately, then I’ll even have more radar coverage, even if it means working without for a small time.”
“That is pretty much a requirement on a battlefield like that. Construct a radar tower in the middle of those mass fields you have at your side. Those fields are a priority to control, so put structures that you need at the same place.
You’ll get three major zones that you’ll have to control by that. If you put radar towers at distant places, or, like you did, in front of that plateau in the middle, you’ll create a much larger area you have to control.
You are fast with getting intel on-line, but slow with unit construction and base expansion. In such cases, you are best with a not too large area you have to control, and then utilizing a steady advance strategy.”
“Ok, I understand. I’ll try again.”
“You’ll notice that a scripted profile is very repetitive and predictable. As soon as you have toppled it, you’ll be able to beat it always. Train with other people, that is a much better idea. We have an open lobby on-line, in this simulation room, since a couple of years. You can ask other commanders any time they are around.”
Leython thanked the unknown officer and started the next simulation. It didn’t take too long before he was in trouble again, with enemy units coming from all possible directions. This time, he was capable of keeping them away from his three important zones. All three were equipped with tier one radar structures, so it knew exactly where to send and how to manage his forces.
As strikers and lobos moved in on each other, Leython saw what happened why training with a scripted profile was a problem: the micro management was not optimal. He wondered whether it was so hard to script an artificial intelligence to make it capable of micro managing it’s units correctly. The artificial tanks were trying to evade Leython’s first series of lobo shells, but it was impossible, while Stirling had taught his pilots a simple trick. He stopped the two lines of tanks from moving forward, while his artillery continued. The enemy units were all moving forward.
Since all units were designed to calculate which direction to fire at by checking their own moving speed, the enemies’ moving speed and the muzzle velocity of their own projectiles, they would all target a bit in front of the enemy units. Artillery shells needed the longest time to travel, so they would be targeted at a point very far in front of the enemy advancing unit. This would give time to redirect the unit, something Leython did, but the profile didn’t.
While Leython’s tanks stopped, he saw the lobo shells crashing into empty ground. However,his lobo shells decimated the enemy army. The tanks moved forward again and took care of the enemy mobile artillery.
“Ah, I’ve got my radar on the left side upgraded to Tech two. I’ll be able to see his left side and guess what, no protection.” Leython said, speaking to himself. He moved his attack group in on the enemy’s mass field.
In the meanwhile, he had to defend against a slightly larger group on his secondary base on the right, but he had his ACU, which killed one tank after another.
Suddenly the enemy’s stream of units stopped. He wondered why, until he saw an enormous group of enemy units moving in the left radar’s field of coverage.
The AI had regrouped all units and was going to charge an attack on the left. Leython immediately knew that he could stop the enemy attack by regrouping his forces in his own mass field on the left, but then he would lose all of his progress and the whole situation would fall back in balance. He had a better idea.
He sent his commander in on the right, along with all the forces he directly available at that point. The AI had a choice, continue the attack, with the possibility to destroy his base on the left, but then it would lose his own base on the right.
The AI could also split his troops into two again and attack or defend on both sides of the plateau. This would not gain him anything, but not make him lose anything either.
A quick upgrade of his radar on the right and one air scout flying over the enemy base told Leython that the AI had completely chosen for the first option: all units were going to attack on the left.
Leython knew he had won the battle on the right, but now had to prevent losing on the left. Bombers would deal with the problem at hand. If he only had ten, he could severely damage even up to more than twenty units if they all managed to bomb one run.
The five bombers that he already packed up did one run, and then immediately went down against enemy air and anti-air unts, but they damaged and destroyed a couple of tanks. All the little bits would help.
Leython’s second trick would come shortly. He still had lobos around, which continued shelling the enemy tanks, which didn’t stop moving. The lobos superior range took them out of commission, making the enemy’s main force fail in its movement.
The rest of the battle was not worth noting. It had taken more than sixteen minutes, but Leython had won.
“A decent job, Dygonn, but you still do several things wrong. Now, are you going to train more? If you’d like, I’ll battle you. It’ll be a challenge for you to keep up with me, even for the first few minutes, but if you expand and construct radars like you just did, you’ll be able to slow me down a bit. Don’t’ worry about losing, just analyze my work afterwards. Then you’ll know what unit swarms really mean.”
“We’ll, I’d love to learn, so get it on. However, I don’t believe ‘keeping up’ is that much of a challenge, surely I can do that, even if you’re a high ranked officer.”
That thought quickly ended as soon as he saw that he was up against major general Clarke.
“Hmm, I’ll take that back. This will be a challenge.”
At the end of the year of 3836...
Leython Dygonn remembered his first six months at the Earth’s Commander Academy as he was making the last in his second series of tests, which required sufficient marks in order to be allowed to enter the final and real stage of the training, which would last for two and a half years.
It was said that the tests were hard for everyone, whether they were good at their previous school or not. It could be that they were, but Leython didn’t notice it at all, maybe because he learned all necessary theory thoroughly, maybe because he expected the tests to be almost impossible to pass when he heard the word “hard”…
True, he would answer some questions wrong, there was no escaping to that, but he was sure he would pass with a eighty per cent score, maybe even a eighty-five one.
Sixty minutes after his test started, the screens automatically went blank and the computers were locked. Leython knew the data was automatically saved and stored in a database. He would get his results in a week, which meant that he could clear his mind from it for the time being, although it would be hard: everyone else was talking about it.
“Hey Leython, how did you do it?” It was Jeff Lancet, who never would stop talking.
“Jeff, I thought I said that I wanted to take tests only once, and not a second time by talking about it with the others?”
“Ah, come on, it’s something we always do, you didn’t screw up did you?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Well then, why don’t you just say so ---“
“Jeff, stop it, I don’t want to know if you can answer question 6b or that you know the exact effective ranges of our intelligence structures, like the basic sonar. I also don’t want to say that I do know that range.
Now, I’m going to the sports centre, care to join me, or are you going to talk about the test with Michelle?”
Going to train in the sports centre was his favorite way of spending any free time Leython had.
It was just unfortunate he wasn’t in Japan any longer, where he had lived for almost all of his life.
Leython’s father was an officer, who made his way up to the top of the UEF’s main office centre in Japan, within two years after he was relocated there. Leython was six years old when he moved to Japan.
The reason why he was not happy for no longer being there was because he missed the lessons of sword mastery, an ancient style of fighting, which changed every day, but had the same swords, the Samurai Katana, for over two thousand years.
Not only he was taught how to fight, even with a wooden stick, he was taught how to express an art in his personal style. Compared to the martial arts teachers in Los Angeles, well, he could not call them teachers at all. He was faster than anyone.
Leython actually did little else than training in sword mastery and going to school in those fifteen years he lived in Japan. It made him a hard working student, who knew what to do at which time.
It also made him a person without much social abilities. The way he talked to others, especially Jeff, was the perfect example. Jeff never talked less than he could, Leython never talked more than he would have to.
A week later, the result of the series of tests arrived. Leython was nervous, but no one would see it. In the six months that passed at the Academy, he was quickly known as the emotionless person who would rarely speak. It was something which put him at a disadvantage.
He remembered, back in Japan, that the slowest students would be the last chosen for teams when playing basketball or something like that. When groups had to be formed here, he always was the person left alone, simply because he was not a social person.
“Seriously, you have to be more outgoing, live with more persons around you, not live on your own.” Jeff surprised him when he said that, but not with what he said. Leython knew it was true, his life wouldn’t be much with only his Japanese sword and serving the UEF.
“I know, I know I’ll miss a lot of everything going on these days. I’ve always thought that if I missed something, it wouldn’t matter because I wouldn’t know anything about it.”
“But you’ll regret it eventually, because you’ll know what you’re missing.”
“Yeah, it actually all began when I returned from Japan. I couldn’t spend all the time I had with training in sword mastery, I miss that. Now I’ve got to fill it up.”
“Come with me this Friday, you’ll enjoy it.”
“Ok, what ---” He was interrupted by Samuel Trac, the Academy’s captain who teaches them how to control their almost forty meters tall command unit:
“Everybody quiet please, here are your test results. I’m glad I can say that everyone has passed. Tomorrow, you’ll be introduced to simulated combat, the area for that is located at the Zephyr wing of the Academy, your schedules will be updated automatically .
What you have to do, and how you’ll learn to control the interface, will be explained the first day when you are there. Now, I’ll give you all your result of this series’ of tests. I’ll give those with the lower score first.”
“Now what did you want to ask me, Leython?”
“At which time we’d meet Friday, and where.”
“I’ll get to your place at eight o’clock… Ah, an average score of 74%, and my worst test is that one about the facts of all those intel structures, it’s just a 61%.”
“God, here we go again.” Leython sighed. “You just can’t stop about it, can you?”
“No, I can’t” Jeff said.
“But that was a close call for you, 61% on intel structures.”
“Now, who’s talking about those tests? But it may prove you’re already changing, you’re not such a cold person at all.”
“I don’t know, but I think you’re right, I must find myself something more to do than just training in the sports centre, or learning facts about those radar towers…
Ok, I refuse to believe this.”
“A 95 per cent average score? Intel structures, 97 per cent? Yes, that can’t be true, you should’ve gotten the full 100, at least.”
“No, it’s too high, I couldn’t possibly answer 95% of the questions correctly.”
“It’s impossible to change you, you know that? Not only you rarely speak, this conversation is longer than any other we ever had, you also don’t give yourself enough credit.”
Leython wanted to retort, but captain Trac appeared to be in a hurry:
“Ok everyone, I’ve got to go, so you’ll all have to get out of this room, then I can close it. I’ll see you again on Thursday.”
As the months passed, the students learned more and more, all in a slightly fastening pace. Not that anyone would be stressed too much, everyone was capable to keep up with the increasing pace.
The first odd thing already occurred at the Academy: since it was Los Angeles, earthquakes were to be expected every fifty to seventy years. Three weeks ago, such an earthquake occurred. One of seven on the Richter scale, which had little effect on the daily life in Los Angeles.
The city was carefully rebuilt after an earthquake thirteen hundred years ago. It killed more than two million people and the city was laid into ruins completely. After that, Los Angeles completely rebuilt and kept up to date, like it was a computer system. Since then it was chosen over New York as the main governing centre of the North American continent, and a military academy had been built.
The very one which now provided the place for Leython to learn to control an ACU.
Now Leython and his fellow students had completed their primary ACU piloting training, they could completely concentrate on their first combat training, which started three months ago.
The simulation consoles were exactly the same as the actual ACU consoles were, so that as soon as the new students were familiar with the piloting controls, they would be ready to learn to manage an army in real time.
For simulated combat training was led by a veteran commander, colonel Stirling. Stirling was almost fifty years old and has fought his last real battle over thirteen years ago.
Despite of not piloting a real ACU for years, he was not only familiar with the latest UEF technology and strategies, but also with all known information about the Aeon and Cybran.
“There’s little what can stop a cloaked Cybran commander, people. What we you will have to do, is locate and destroy one within a time limit of fifteen minutes. You will start with nothing but an ACU which has just gated in at a Landing Zone.
Your simulated enemy is already on-planet for ten minutes, but has nothing but an economical advantage. Any questions?”
“Sir?” Simon Beck asked, a person who always worried about situations he was facing.
“Yes mister Beck?”
“How are we going to locate and destroy an enemy ACU, if it has an economical advantage of ten minutes? Assuming this enemy is programmed correctly, it can build tier three units within seconds, fly them towards our LZ and kill us. All of that would be done within seven minutes. We’d not survive that, let alone kill that hidden ACU.”
“You already said the correct word: ‘Assuming’. This is a simulation in which the enemy will not build units until you have been detected on his radar. You will not be told where he has got a radar device, but if you take a proper look at the geographic layout of the battlefield, you can predict it. Any other questions?”
No further questions were asked, so the simulation started.
“Hey, we’re working together and we’ve got a lot of resources, sir, you didn’t tell us that.” Jeff said.
“No, I didn’t, you guys have to be able to deal with surprises too, you know, but did you really think that you’d all six have to deal with this hidden on your own? You should know by now, you’re being sent on missions with others, that’s something you don’t have to do on your own either.”
“Guys, concentrate on what we’re doing!” Michelle Aiko interrupted. “We’ll need a strategy, Dygonn, any ideas?” She continued.
“I’ll rush an omni sensor, it’s conventional radar can cover more than half of the battlefield. Simon, you will have to rush an omni sensor too. That’ll give us coverage of the rest of the battlefield. The other four will spam Air units. Mostly tier one bombers. In larger numbers, they’ll burn the base power supply in moments. Control them carefully, so there’s as little overkill as possible. Don’t move them out of your base before we know where the enemy base exactly is-”
“Leython, we know where it is, in the middle of the field. That’s the only place left.”
“Eric, we don’t know the exact location of anything, we cannot try for luck, because our enemy will start building massive amounts of anti-air as soon as bombers go in range. Bombing the enemy power supply as soon as possible has two reasons: The enemy ACU has to turn cloak and stealth off, and the base has no resources to produce anything, so our bombers can put it to waste completely.”
“We’ll need one to rush spy planes too though, he’ll have stealth generators in his base.”
“That’s right Simon, that’ll be our task too. Everyone else will build tier one bombers, and tier one Power Generators too. We’ve got enough mass directly available, so we can build our base, units and upgrade mass extractors at the same time. Do so and, when Simon and I need them, transfer as much Power Generators to us as possible, so we can afford the maintenance of an omni sensor and the construction of spy planes.”
“That’s not going to work Leython.” Eric said.
“If this doesn’t work, we try again and do it in your way, now just spam bombers and power generators.”
A couple of minutes went by without anyone saying a word. Simon was the first one to say something again:
“I’m running out of energy, can all of you transfer three tier one power generators to me, all except Leython that is….
Thanks, I’m almost done with upgrading my radar to an omni sensor, and the upgrade of my factory towards tier three is at thirty five percent.”
“Dygonn, how are things on your end?” Michelle asked.
“I’m at Tech three, my engineer is constructing an omni sensor, the others are about to assist, so I’ll need twenty five tier one power generators in total.
“That’s six from every single one of us, I can’t give you more than three, Leython!” Eric replied.
“Then give me three, all transfer as much as possible, then I’ll fill up on my own, but I’m running out of energy now, really fast.”
“I’ll transfer some stored energy.” Jeff said.
“Thank you, that’ll suffice, I’ve completed my omni sensor, and by the looks of it, Simon has almost finished construction as well.”
“Hmm, no static stealth generators.” Jeff said.
“Spy planes are going to fly, send in the bombers, give them attack orders on something and change target’s as necessary.”
Within a minute, in which the simulated enemy managed to construct only five tier two flak artillery, the bombers hit the power generators, disabling all of his energy. However, the enormous air fleet took severe damage too.
“I told you this wasn’t going to work, Leython.” Eric reminded him.
“I can see that by now, any bomber which can still be saved, retreat it. Our enemy should lose energy soon, so we’ll be able to find that commander and get a way to kill it.”
“Dygonn, that commander is out of the base, without any protection.”
“I can’t believe that, but yes, a spy plane already has a visual on it, it is the commander.”
“Let’s get rid of it.”
All bombers, which made a fifth of the numbers compared to the initial attack on the base, went towards the enemy ACU. In two bombing runs, it exploded, causing all bombers directly above it to melt, even vaporize, and crash down.
“Good job guys, an enemy ACU destroyed in ten minutes. The best recorded time before was eleven.” Stirling said. “Today’s training is over, have a nice weekend now.”
“Nice work Leython.” The fifth member, Josh Funky said
“Nice work? We could’ve done it faster, even in five minutes.” Eric said.
“How then, how could we have done that? Five minutes is not even enough to advance to tier three and find that commander with omni. It is also not enough to build a massive amount of bombers and kill that scorch that enemy base to ash, assuming you even know where it is, before he has enough flak and SAM sites to thwart any air attack. You even saw, and said by yourself that the air attack with tier one bombers was quite a failure, we lost ninety per cent of our air force because of a couple of quickly built flak guns.” Leython actually enjoyed lecturing someone else because he had flawed ideas.
“But we knew where that base was, at the only place location left, in the middle of our operational field.” Eric retorted.
“We didn’t know where it exactly was, we didn’t know the base lay-out, and most importantly, we didn’t know the location of the commander. I assume you noticed that it was at an unexpected place?”
“Well then, will you finally get some brains and think of the word ‘intel’ for once? Or think of the term ‘Don’t be so damned hasty!’” Leython expected Eric to get even angrier than he already was, an assumption which appeared to be correct.
“Will you finally stop being a stupid, selfish and self-absorbed know-it-all? You haven’t changed your attitude of that emotionless idiot when it comes to work. You think you’re that good, don’t you?”
“Yes, I do. Well actually, I don’t think, I know, that I am that good. I am a better commander than you are. Probably better than anyone of our six-man team of today, because Michelle asked me what to do!”
“You’re just arrogant, not a good commander, but an arrogant commander who thinks he’s good. I at least know what it takes to be a good commander. Firepower, and the will to serve the UEF!”
“Enough of this,” Jeff interrupted: “I have a plan. Why don’t we start a combat challenge to see which one of you is better? We’ll ask colonel Stirling if we can do that. He’ll pick the first map, then the person who loses the fight picks the second, then the third is chosen by the one who loses on the second map and so on. The two of you will fight a best of seven with Stirling’s supervision.”
“Good plan Jeff, you’re going down Dygonn.” Eric said, with a joy in his voice that he couldn’t wait for the weekend to end and see the simulation rooms again.
“Oh, so now I’m suddenly called ‘Dygonn’? I thought that Michelle and our superiors were the only ones that helped remind me of my surname.” Leython said, showing no emotion, as usual. “But it’s fine by me, a challenge, best of seven, I’ll see you again on Monday. Now Jeff, if you don’t mind, I’m going to the first date in my life, so we’ll not do anything special this weekend. See ya.”
“No problem, I told you that getting a more outgoing life was good for something, you’ve got a chick now.”
Een halfjaar later kwam de uitbreiding, Forged Alliance, uit en die heb ik een paar dagen voor de officiŽle release in de winkel gekocht (wat verder totaal niet uitmaakte).
Al snel ben ik ook daar online gaan spelen, waar ik intussen vele uren aan kwijt ben geraakt, het overgrote merendeel was best leuk, maar ik kreeg er ook frustraties bij wanneer het een keer niet wilde lukken. Met wat handige tips ben ik uiteindelijk in de hogere regionen van de 1v1 ranking list gekomen, al mag het met de mogelijkheid die ik had om nog beter te worden (ik was gewoon wat te lui en stopte geen 100% van mijn aandacht in de games) eigenlijk geen naam hebben.
Op het forum had ik het evenveel naar m’n zin, vooral in het off-topic gedeelte (mede dankzij de over het algemeen goede community), maar nog meer in het subforum genaamd fanfiction.
Rond die tijd kreeg ik idee om daar zelf aan te gaan meedoen en nu, ongeveer een jaar later, ben ik een heel eind op weg met m’n verhaallijn.
Met m’n Tweakblog achter de hand, lijkt het me wel een aardig idee om de publicatie (want zo mag je het eigenlijk wel noemen) wat uit te breiden en daarom kom ik hier met het eerste hoofdstuk van het eerste boek. Ik ga niet te veel hoofdstukken tegelijkertijd in m’n blog neerzetten, want daarmee zet ik direct de frontpage vol met mijn eigen uploads.
Ik moet erbij vermelden dat het ook de eerste keer is dat ik fictie schrijf en ik in het begin nul evaring had. De punten van kritiek die jullie willen leveren zijn uiteraard zeer welkom, houd het liever wel constructief. Daarnaast wil moet ik vermelden dat ik al een behoorlijk eind op weg ben en dat de eerste hoofdstukken niet representatief zijn voor de schrijfstijl en ervaring waar ik nu meer schrijf.
Mochten jullie dus kritische noten willen leveren, doe dat dan gerust, ik zal echter waarschijnlijk zeggen dat ik een dergelijke opmerking al eerder heb gezien en het resultaat daarvan is te vinden in latere hoofdstukken.
Voor degenen die niet weten wat SupCom is en hoe de sciencefiction technologie daar werkt, verwijs ik door naar de wiki.
http://supcom.wikia.com/wiki/The_Infinite_War vertelt in het kort waar het verhaal om draait. Mochten er dingen onduidelijk zijn, vraag het dan en ik geef antwoord.
Overigens is het gehele verhaal in het Engels. Reageren kan zowel in het Nederlands als in het Engels.
Dat was de eerste gedachte die ik had toen ik mijn blog had geactiveerd in de karmastore. Vervolgens begon ik me af te vragen waar ik het eigenlijk over wil hebben.
Ik heb over het algemeen geen idee over hoe ik met iets moet beginnen, als dat begin tenminste bij het begin is. Bij heb maken van een redevoering (die moest ik houden in het kader van Rhetorica bij KCV toen ik in de 5e klas zat, dat is nu iets meer dan twee jaar geleden), kon ik maar geen woord op papier krijgen omdat ik met de inleiding wou beginnen.
Vervolgens maar bij het tweede (van de vijf delen) begonnen en toen kwamen drie, vier, vijf en tot slot het begin ook wel. Ik ben uiteraard niet vergeten om het begin ook daadwerkelijk bij het begin van het bestand te zetten, want anders zou ik een opening aan het slot hebben en dat kan natuurlijk niet.
Maargoed, met een Tweakblog bij de tweede post beginnen heeft niet zoveel zin, aangezien je daar met het probleem van tijd zit. Eerst de tweede posten en dan de eerste, doet anderen vreemd opkijken. Misschien had ik er wel mee weg kunnen komen bij jullie tweakers maar ik probeer het maar niet.
Omdat ik niet iets kon bedenken voor mijn blog om te schrijven, had ik de lay-out opties maar bekeken. Erg uitgebreid, maar voor ongeveer de helft moet ik toch echt eerst een post hebben om te kijken of het er wel mee door kan. De achtergrond moet er ook bijpassen want ik verwacht niet dat er ook maar iemand leest als ik op het onzalige idee kom om een gele achtergrond te gebruiken met gifgroene letters.
Ik ben in ieder geval al blij dat ik verder kom dan de 140 toegestane karakters van Twitter. Zolang ik daar niet in de buurt kom, is m’n blog geslaagd want met 140 aaneengeschakelde ASCII nummers kun je niet zoveel. Ik krijg dan het gevoel dat er dingen komen te staan als “ik ga nu strijken” of “nu hang ik de was op”.
In de tijd dat ik m’n computer aan zet, naar Tweakers.net ben gegaan om zoiets te plaatsen, heb ik de was al wel afgewerkt.
Tot zover de bloggersperikelen, al vraag ik me af of ik het wel perikelen kan noemen aangezien ik de tijd heb om me af te vragen wat ik op een Tweakblog kwijt moet.
Trouwens, ik zet in m’n blog geen informatie over wie ik ben en wat ik doe, dat staat in m’n profiel. Mochten jullie geÔnteresseerd zijn, dan verwijs ik jullie door.
Ik wil graag vertellen waar de lege categorie voor bedoeld is, met z’n vijf (dat worden er zeven, minimaal) submappen, maar ik ben erachter gekomen (door van tevoren te kijken op m’n Tweakblog) dat de categorieŽn niet zichtbaar zijn als er geen posts in staan.
Jullie merken dat wel als ik er m’n posts inzet. Ik hoop, en ik denk, dat jullie het wel leuk zullen vinden. Ik heb er positieve feedback van ontvangen op een ander forum en nu wil ik m’n werk hierheen brengen.
Maar dat merken jullie later wel
Tot slot hoop ik dat jullie m’n als grappig bedoelde opmerkingen hebben ontdekt, want anders komt het vast als een saai verhaal over