Chapter 10 - Crushing Defeat

Door Plasma_Wolf op donderdag 30 september 2010 19:00 - Reageren is niet meer mogelijk
Categorie: 5: War Comes Home, Views: 1.532

Hundreds of fish swum close to the surface of the water as if they wanted to enjoy the sunlight. After having adapted to the environment of Spica Prime, they flourished near any coast. Their peaceful day met an abrupt end as they were greeted by the largest predator the sea had ever seen.

The fishes scattered as fast as they could in order to make way for the UEF Ace class vessel. The nuclear submarine moved on forward at full speed, not even notifying its parent control unit, major Funky’s ACU, of all the marine life.

“Cole, report.” Said Josh, as he suddenly noticed a gray dot on his strategic screen. It was outside of his own sensor’s range, so it could only mean that Cole had an omni sensor nearby. Josh’s memory and a glance at the area confirmed that.

“I’ve seen it sir and I’m already sending a spy plane.” Replied Cole. Half a minute later, the spy plane identified a Cybran ACU building its base. Before Josh could even open a transmission channel, the Cybran pilot did: “This is Leython Dygonn for any UEF commander in the field. Please identify yourself.”

“Leython, it’s Josh.” Sounded the answer and Leython sighed in relief.
“It’s good to hear that you survived. Is there anyone with you?”
“I’m lieutenant Cole Wigan.” Said another pilot after he joined the conversation.
Before either of the UEF pilots could speak, Leython already continued. “Whatever you do, don’t contact QAI, he’s turned to the Seraphim. I don’t know how many Symbionts know about this but we’ve got to inform the Cybran nation.”

“With all of the static throughout the whole quantum network? We can’t do anything. How did you make it here by the way? Last time I checked, you went to Sethis.”
“I did make it there, barely. Eric is still alive but I don’t know about anyone else.” Answered Leython. “When I made it to Sethis, QAI attacked us with twelve ACUs but it’s going to have to upgrade a lot of its own algorithms if it is expecting to win even one battle. I think that it’s working on that problem now.”

“Now answer me the more important questions. How did you get here? If we know we might have a way of going to Sethis, while evacuating the people here. This is dangerously close to those Aliens that attacked Earth.”

“I found an open spot within the distortions, I’m surprised that you guys didn’t see that.” Said Leython simply.
“We haven’t seen anything.” Replied Cole immediately. Leython’s heart suddenly skipped a beat...
“A trap! QAI’s done this for me.”

“Sir?” Said Cole. “I’m detecting that the distortions are dissipating. They’ll not be gone but it might be good enough for us to get out of here.”
“Let’s help Leython first.” Replied Josh to his subordinate before turning to his old friend. “I’ll be sending engineers towards your position, I’ll order them to assist your ACU. In the meanwhile, Cole will provide you with the resources you will need. You’d better build a whole base instead of one quantum gate because we’re going to evacuate as many civilians as possible. We’ve got a town nearby.”

“How big is this town?” Asked Leython immediately, ordering his ACU to construct a land factory, as he was already done with his mass extractors and power generators.
“Eighty thousand I believe. I’m contacting the governor again, to begin with the evacuation. I hope that we’ll be in time.

“Dygonn is on Spica Prime as we speak, master.” Informed QAI. It had almost been two days on Earth since the Seraphim arrived on Earth and they now made their progress in UEF territory. Unfortunately, they were slowed down within the first hours. The vast Quantum Rift turned out to be unstable, drastically reducing the forces they could make available.

Nonetheless, an adequate number of Seraphim pilots made it through and now they were not only obliterating anything on Earth, but the hunt on the highest ranked members of the UEF and Cybran societies had begun.

According to QAI, Dygonn was one of the best commanders of the current time and his immediate demise was advised.
“Gialumeth, you will go to Spica Prime and attack Dygonn. He is your first target, you should not concentrate on any other commander before the Cybran commander is dead. He is the only one commanding a Cybran ACU. The other two are, according to the Quantum AI, piloting UEF command units. They have a fully operational base but that should be no problem for our superior technology. I recommend to rely on aerial weaponry.”

“I understand, War Leader. I will go immediately. I presume that, when I am successful, I must turn my attention to the civilians on the planet?”Said the Seraphim commander. Seth-Iavow nodded and Gialumeth immediately ordered the five warriors he had under his command, to join and follow him.

“QAI,” said the War Leader, “it is no longer required to concentrate your processes on Dygonn. Superior numbers and technology will soon end his life.”
“Affirmative. There is a ninety-nine per cent chance that you are correct.” Answered QAI. “Reallocating the processes now.”

Three minutes later...

“Sir, I’m detecting a quantum wake in my vicinity.” Said Cole to Josh. Leython listened as well and he immediately answered.
“Send me the signature.” He said while he constructed his first tier two power generator. Josh’s and Cole’s assistance was more than welcome at this moment.
Cole sent the image to his own superior and to Leython while he tried to explain what sort of commander could have caused it.

“I don’t get it, it looks like some interference is causing the readings to spike off the charts but it looks like the total energy required to gate is not more than what Leython needed to bring his own ACU across the quantum network.”
“Cole, get spy planes up and send them in all directions. I can’t explain what sort of commander it is. The Aeon’s signature may look like this but it really won’t have such high readings in its chart. Not even with the current state of the quantum network. Besides, the gate to this planet isn’t even blocked anymore. I’m barely reading any distortion.” Said Josh, fearing the worst.
“It’s Seraphim. Prepare for combat.” Said Leython. He knew that the readings he saw couldn’t be caused by any ACU made by the human race.

“Seraphim?” Asked Josh, while he immediately ordered his transports, filled with artillery, to move out to the first wake eruption they had noticed. Leython called it off though.
“That’s the name of the aliens, the teachers of the Aeon Illuminate’s ancestors. Stop the transports. Wait a few minutes while we check that zone with spy planes. The Commander will be able to overcharge the first group of units, destroy the second while it is dodging the grenades and then use another overcharge shot to deal with the third. That’ll cost you fifty per cent of your squad and you haven’t done anything.”

“You want me to wait until the enemy’s got a base?”

Six Seraphim command units started their work immediately, ignoring the land they set ablaze upon their arrival. The commander, Gialumeth, had ordered the frontal warrior to construct a regeneration upgrade on his ACU immediately. Spica Prime was too far away from Earth to travel with all of the enhancements, but their tier three construction arm could be maintained while they travelled away from humanities cradle.

Lianta was the person who entered the battlefield closest to their enemies and the only one within the enemy’s active ACU range. He had to keep the UEF and Cybran forces busy while the others built their base and armies to deal with the enemy. Satisfied that all did as ordered, Gialumeth himself finished construction on his air factory and his command unit immediately turned to build some power generators. Mass extractors would soon follow and then he could upgrade his economy exponentially.

In the meanwhile, two of his subordinates had already begun construction on a tier two power generator, ready to assist the others whenever it was necessary. The last two would soon be ready to upgrade their land factories to tier two and construct the Ilshavoh bots, units designed to take out an enemy tier one army in rapid succession, while even outranging every direct combat unit the humans had in the tier two stage.

One light air transport took off, the first air unit Gialumeth had built in the heavy realm. It was ready to intercept the enemy plans…

Three minutes later...

“Josh, you should be able to do maximum damage with your air drops now. Let’s get going.” Said Leython. The UEF major immediately responded and relayed the orders to his forces. Air transports took off, carrying nothing but Lobo artillery, ready to delay the enemy.

No sooner they arrived, or the mobile artillery were taking damage by enemy tanks.
“Ignore everything, just get the buildings. Overkill if necessary. Get a factory.”
“I know, I know.” Said Josh frantically. He ordered the units to fire and they did, but not before one entire group was taken out by an overcharge shot. Another group didn’t fare any better, several units were already destroyed by small jets of plasma that seemed to come out of nowhere.

“Cole!” Yelled Leython and Josh’s lieutenant yelped in surprise: “What is it sir?”
“Get spy planes up. I want full intel on the enemy, move your ACU ahead if necessary. We must know where we can strike next. Where are the Broadswords and Ambassadors? They should be able to do something.”
“I’ll send them right away but it isn’t very much.” Answered Josh immediately. “We’ve primarily built air superiority fighters because of the enemy experimental bombers. That’s more important. One of those things can level an entire base.”

“Nukes?” Asked Leython immediately. Strategic weapons should be able to do something.
“I’ve got two in a submarine but that one’s on the other side of the battlefield. I’ll order it to return immediately.”
This was a setback. Josh Funky was an excellent commander if it came to a surgical strike on the enemy. However, such tactics were useless for as long as the enemy had an ACU in the vicinity of his own base. Realising the threat the possibility that the enemy could execute another bombing run, he didn’t build very much bombers or gunships, but relied more on the defence of his own base.
“The missile sub has turned around. It’ll take some time though...”

“That means it’ll destroy more.”
“The city’s evacuation has begun. Perhaps you could get some transports with your mobile stealth fields there. You could get the civilians out without the Seraphim knowing.”

Thanks to QAI’s vast database, Gialumeth had enough knowledge about human warfare to know what his advantage in this war was. Far before the humans discovered quantum travel, they already displayed that superior technology was capable of destroying vast enemy armies. However, with such an edge in battle, a dangerous form of overconfidence could lead to defeat.

Gialumeth understood that crafty traps were well capable of causing a setback for the enemy, if not worse. Armies were destroyed because their generals thought they could deal with the problem at hand within a day or a week, severely underestimating the enemy.

“Lianta, air transports are inbound. Ilshavohs will support you. The units will be transferred for the optimal effects of the regeneration field. I am also arriving with some engineers, those will construct tier two point defences.”

“Thank you, commander.” Answered warrior Lianta in gratitude. They had survived the first wave with ease but while they were working on their initial base, the enemy had time to send in more units in a vain attempt to destroy them. Even though everyone was confident that they would not suffer any casualties, they were very well aware of the economical disadvantage they had at this moment.

“Commander Gialumeth,” Said Ri-Entish, one of the two commanders responsible for the economy they required to destroy the enemy base and cleanse the planet. “I detect several spy planes of UEF design flying over my base. I take it that we are on an arrival site too far for the enemy to reach, as is our plan? Only Lianta is in the combat zone, is he not?”

“That is correct, warrior Ri-Entish. You know however, that we are not far from the enemy ACU’s command zone. They need to move no more than a few kilometres if they wish to reach us.”
“Should we construct shield generators immediately, commander?” Asked warrior Quen-Terah, the one who was specialised in land and air combat, who was therefore closest to Lianta, ready to support him.

“I suggest to do so.”Advised Yxilianeth, Gialumeth’s first lieutenant. “You, Lianta and warrior Perlutowin will be the enemy’s primary targets. I have watched the grand scene and they have discovered you with their spy planes as well. Soon, you will see strategic bombers and advanced gunships.”
“I concur.” Filled Gialumeth in. “It are my air factories that will play a critical role in our battle now. While you prepare yourselves for battle, I will be able to support warrior Lianta with tier two bombers. Those weapons, whilst slower than the humans’ air superiority fighters and strategic bombers, are very capable of decimating the enemy’s assaults. Do prepare yourselves properly though, as I am not able to cover everyone at every moment. Construct shields and anti-air units.”

Werder Dorvaro, governor of Tiverda, stood in the middle of living hell. Eighty thousand citizens frantically tried to get away as soon as they could, rushing to the transport convoy. He and his predecessors always had an urge to be prepared for a surprise, to be ready for a sudden attack and in order to accomplish that, they built hundreds of transport trucks. In case they had to evacuate, by orders of a commander, they could.

However, they only prepared their materials for an immediate evacuation, but not the people, a mere instruction booklet was a critical flaw. Tens of thousands had to get away, many of them not exactly knowing how bad the situation was, none of them aware of the time they had left. Even Werder didn’t know it.

The group of policemen that were available, was already stretched to the limit. The mass of people that frantically tried to make it to the transports looked like a large colony of panicking ants. The people of Tiverda lacked organization and their governor was unable to do anything about it.

“Sir, you should get into a transport as well.” One of his police officers said. “You’re the most important person of our city, we should get you to safety as soon as possible.”
“I’m the most important person? Then why do you want me to leave? Give me some more time to be here. Perhaps I can think of something.”

“Sir, with all due respect, you do the best job in the universe while you’re behind a desk. Let us handle this. We’ve got whole security programs available for big events that draw more than a hundred thousand people, from all over the continent. The only difference between that and this is the fact that we’re caught by surprise. Really, you should get out of here so you can manage us as soon as we’re evacuated.”

“Ok then, I’ll go.” Said Werder, knowing that the police officer was actually right, but he also saw that the man didn’t allow any retort. While the governor walked to the transport, noticed an air unit arrive in the city.

“I’ve got the first group of civilians.” Said Leython as he ordered the Dragon Fly to go to Josh’s base and drop the civilian trucks off.
“Good, we have to hurry up. The longer we take, the stronger they become. We haven’t been able to do so much yet.”
“How long until you can launch those missiles?”
“It’ll still take ten minutes before we’ve got that within range of their frontal base. My strategic bombers are arriving there now, they should be able to deal with the threat.”

Josh Funky couldn’t be further from the truth. He had a squad of thirty Ambassador bombers, a number that was capable of taking any normal commander out, even if it were in an Aeon base, fortified with four heavy shield generators.

However, before one single bomber even managed to get close enough to the base, a squad of Seraphim fighters appeared in front of them and opened fire. Leython didn’t know at what tier level those weapons were built, or whether the Seraphim commanders had tier restrictions at all, but each single one of the small group of fighters took one Ambassador down.

As if it weren’t enough, the remainder of Josh’s strike force met some shield generators that turned out to be more than adequate to stop the bombers’ payloads. Tier two flak guns returned fire and tore wide holes in the planes’ wings. Before Josh could do anything, another group of fighters arrived and decimated what was left of the air group.

“I didn’t do anything!” Said Josh. “Cole, send every land unit we have. I’ll bring my army. We’re going to end this now.”
“Yes sir. My units are moving out.” Answered the lieutenant.

A vast group, larger than Leython and Eric had commanded while they were fighting QAI, moved out immediately. Transports picked them up and Cole mentioned that he had an omni sensor available that reported the location of every single Seraphim plane in the area, so that he could safely send the units by air. Josh agreed and did the same while he ordered some newly built spy planes to move out and as soon as they reached the limit of his ACU’s range, he’d immediately transfer them to Cole.

After three minutes of flying, Cole’s units came dangerously close to the enemy fighters and he decided to drop his force of Titans, Parashields and Sky Boxers.

“He’s too late, now we’ll finally do some damage in return.” Said Cole as he noticed that the Seraphim’s air force arrived to try and take his units out. What he didn’t know, was that the fighters turned out to be bombers.

“Our Nothas are only taking minor damage from the enemy.” Said Gialumeth, his satisfaction clearly notable in his voice. “Their shield generators manage to hold the first wave and will likely withstand the second as well, but only because I order my bombers to spread out for a maximum effect as soon as the shields buckle.”

“The Ilshavohs are ready to support my ACU and I will stay behind the shield layers.” Filled Lianta in. “They will stand no chance.”
No more than half a minute later, the enemy units arrived and Lianta fired an overcharge shot, destroying three assault bots. Notha bombers and Ilshavoh bots took more units out in rapid succession, one after another.

“Another wave is incoming. My bombers will intercept, warrior Lianta. I thrust that you can deal with what is left of the first group.”
“Easily, commander. Our weapons prove to be more than adequate for our work.”

“I’ve lost every Titan in my assault force, captain.” Said Cole desperately. “Your units won’t do anything.”
“I’ve sent my air superiority fighters, they should be able to deal with the enemy bombers now.” Replied Josh immediately while the Wasps already closed in. They outnumbered the enemy but Josh feared that it would be a close call if the units were to turn their attention to his air force instead of the land assault.

His fear, caused by the enemy’s capabilities on land combat, turned out to be the truth as the bombers paid attention to the new threat and attacked Josh’s Wasps.
“At least my land assault can continue. I’ll move on with the Titans and Parashields, they’ll destroy the base and the enemy commander.”

But the UEF major was wrong. Before they even made it close, two Seraphim air transports arrived and dropped mobile shield generators, along with some assault bots Leython and Josh thought they saw before, but two command units stood amongst them as well. They both fired simultaneously, but targeted two different units. Instantly, five Titans exploded.

“Well, we’ve seen the effect before but this officially confirms it, they have the ability to overcharge our units.” Said Leython. “More air transports have taken another group of civilians away but we’ll be working on this for some more time. You’ll have to help me. We’ll stand no chance against the Seraphim so we’d better build some defences near the city.”

“I’m already working on that.” Replied Josh. “Omni sensor coming online in some seconds, then I’ll build SAM sites and shield generators.”

However, before Josh could erect the first shield, he noticed a large air unit flying at high speed. None of them even had to think about what it was while the last of Josh’s Titans was destroyed.

“They’re panicking even more.” Said Leython, commenting on the civilians. Unable to do anything, Cole returned his ACU to his base: “They’ll be wiped out. We’ve got nothing.”
Still, both the lieutenant and the major frantically tried to attack the enemy bomber. Hundreds of air superiority fighters took off and rushed for the enemy.

“I hope this can do something. Cole, use every single unit of mass you’ve got to build Wasps! Leython, you should do the same. We might be able to deal with this enemy unit but we’ll take huge losses. If they have another one, we must be able to retaliate.”

The tier three fighters were too late to prevent the experimental bomber from dropping its first payload. Leython had witnessed them up close in Los Angeles, but either he forgot how powerful they were, or the bombs magnitude had tripled since as he saw how hundreds of bodies flew in all directions, whereas even more were instantly vaporised.

“Josh, how far are you with that nuclear sub? Get the first base. Most of the land forces are probably still there, only to protect their front. If they decide that they no longer have to defend themselves, we’ll face even more trouble. Nuke that frontal base!”

The UEF major reacted immediately, noticing that the strategic missile sub had the base already in its range. “Two missiles launched. That should keep them busy. Perhaps their command units can’t deal with that and we might take out three.”

The enemy fighters returned, ready to protect the experimental bomber from the UEF Wasps but apparently, the vast aircraft didn’t need any. Josh couldn’t believe the sight of his fighters crashing in rapid succession only because of some guns on the enemy bomber.

Still, the enemy fighters displayed their terrifying firepower by decimating the Federation air force, although they were unable to catch up with the air superiority fighters that survived.
“I’m hardly doing any damage.” Said Cole, although it was completely unnecessary to report it. All commanders noticed that the bomber’s integrity was incredible, almost three times more than the Cybran Soul Ripper’s.

“It’s regenerating its armour!” Said Leython, noticing how the gaps in the bomber’s wings, although it were only minor scuffs, disappeared under a layer of solidifying metal.

The bomber dropped another bomb, remorselessly killing even more citizens. In the meanwhile, Leython sent in more air transports as it was the only way the people might survive. He chose a flight path that might go unnoticed to the enemy, but he soon noticed how an armoured command unit arrived near the town and started construction on an omni sensor, with the support of several units Leython immediately identified as engineers.

“Damnit, I’ll not get out of the town in time!” Said the intelligence expert. Before he even said it, he already ordered the transports back, wondering how the civilian trucks were loaded so soon.
However, as he predicted, the seraphim’s radar tower was ready before the transports managed to get away. The enemy fighters, no longer having to protect the experimental bomber, changed direction and immediately gave chase to the transports.

“I can’t do anything.” Said Leython, losing hope for the citizens, but still trying to save them. He ordered an emergency drop for his transports shortly before the fighters arrived. All trucks were dropped successfully but Leython was sure that several civilians would be unconscious by now.

Josh had been given the command over the trucks’ automated systems and he ordered them to move away immediately while spreading them out.

Two more commanders arrived by air transports, directly ahead of the convoy. As soon as they stood on the ground, they charged their guns, destroying three or four at the same time with their overcharged bolts.

Before any other truck could do anything else, the experimental bomber arrived and dropped another bomb, instantly dealing with a large portion of the convoy .

“We failed.” Said Josh, unable to hide his disappointment in himself. “We can’t do anything, they’ll be destroyed.”
“Do you have another nuke? Launch it at the commander near the edge of the city. You’ll destroy the omni sensor.” Said Leython.
“That’ll kill thousands of civilians.” Tried Cole to retort.
Josh had his answer ready though: “They’ll die anyway, if there are any left. The evacuation wasn’t supposed to be at that location. If there are any left, we must sacrifice them for another chance to safe the others.”

Cole was horrified. How could his superior, major Funky, make such a decision? How could he so easily sacrifice people while he always had an answer to every problem. Even worse, he knew that Josh was right. There was no answer to this problem.
“We should get out of here as soon as possible, before they turn their attention to us.”
“They already have. Their land units are moving out.” Said Cole. “They’re sending them directly to you, Leython. Air transports are moving in to pick them up.”

“We’ll have no choice.” Said Josh, while he looked at the two missiles that made it at their destination. It instantly destroyed parts of the enemy base but it was no real use. The Seraphim assault bots were already moving out and the commanders were wreaking havoc on the town and the convoy. The third missile was flying through the air and would soon destroy the omni sensor that Leython wanted to take out of commission but even that would be insignificant as the two supporting commander had constructed more radar towers.

“Enemy units coming for me!” Yelled Cole suddenly. He stood at the edge of his base, ready to move towards his quantum gate as he saw several air units fly towards him. The units were larger and faster than the fighters they had seen before and they already dropped their bombs. Explosions that were not as large, but seemed to be as destructive as the experimental bomb’s payload, took the shields out, as well as the anti air defences underneath it.

“Enemy command unit detected!” Said Cole. “It’s in an air transport and its flying directly overhead. I’m targeting it.” Immediately, the ACU fired an overcharge shot that directly hit the Seraphim ACU. The air transport should’ve been torn apart by the blast but for some reason, the commander seemed to absorb the shock.

Terrified for what was coming, Cole gathered all forces he had to converge on his ACU while he saw the transport dropping the enemy commander near one of his shield generators. The Seraphim command unit turned its gun around while Cole fired another overcharge shot. This time, the bolt exploded even more ferociously than the commanders had seen any time before.

The shield generator exploded and a strategic missile defence silo was heavily damaged but that was nothing compared to what was about to happen. The ACU’s weapon charged, blinding Cole. As the screens lowered the brightness, a colourful jet of energy surged through the air and hit Cole’s ACU.

Instantly, the core ruptured and Josh could do nothing but watch how the command unit exploded. Shocked by this, he ordered his two quantum gates to link up with each other and the Cybran one while Leython tried to contact the gate of Sethis, unable to speak.

The Sinnta strategic bombers had done their job well, thought Gialumeth. Within the time any human would ever deem possible, he, Ri-Entish and Yxilianeth managed to gain air superiority over a fully-fledged tier three air force.

Now, while Yxilianeth waited for the nuclear explosion to dissipate, he and Ri-Entish made their way towards the two enemy commanders. Ri-Entish had a small but powerful air force available to deal with the UEF commander, he would destroy Dygonn. The Cybran ACU walked towards the quantum gate but the Ahwassa had changed its purpose and was ready to eradicate the means to escape, if not destroy the enemy ACU at the same time.

Air transports moved ahead and were taking fire from the enemy SAM sites but they dropped their forces before even one could be taken down. Gialumeth felt that his ACU smoothly hit the ground and immediately he fired an overcharge shot on a tier two power generator. One of the three reactors exploded immediately, seconds before the other two were destroyed by the Ilshavoh bots.

Three seconds later, the Ahwassa bomb would explode in the quantum gateway, but Gialumeth already contacted his War Leader: “I am too late. The attempt on Dygonn is not successful.”

Leython and Josh both took a deep breath. They survived, barely. Leython immediately contacted Eric and spoke in a: “Get Ambassadors all over the place. We’ll begin with the immediate construction of our bases. Prepare the whole city for evacuation and build additional gates so we can all make it out of here in time. Prepare strategic missiles and use what economy you have left to support us.”

The news surprised Eric and he immediately asked what was going on: “Are we going to be under attack?”
“Possibly.” Answered Josh, his face showed nothing but disappointment and defeat. “We don’t know but if they come here, we’re done for. I’m surprised we actually managed to make it here with the static and distortion all over the network.”

“QAI is responsible for that. It hampers movement but especially for me, it made a clear passage from Sethis to Spica Prime. That makes it a little harder for bring the distortions back in, if it expected it had to do that in the first place. QAI assumed I would die.”
“Why did you go here in the first place?” Asked Josh.
“I wanted to see if I could warn the Cybran Nation, but before I got the chance to look for any other way to contact Dostya, Bagby, doctor Brackman or anyone else, the trap already sprung.”

“I managed to send an emergency broadcast all over the planet to warn for the Seraphim invasion, that immediate evacuation was required. We couldn’t leave them without at least warning them, could we?” Said Josh, hoping that some would survive.

“Are there more UEF commanders on planet?” Asked Leython.
“Yes, they will assist, but I hope that they’ll survive the onslaught. The stronger they become, the harder they’re to contain. They only need those experimental bombers and when they’ll have enough, they’ll just repeat the trick of planetary bombing.”

“Leython, I’ve got your father here for you.” Interrupted Eric, before Leython could reply. “It’s got to do with the food supply.”
“Yes dad, what is it?” Asked Leython, tired because of the little sleep he got after the battle against QAI.

“We found a crops facility in Tharod and thanks to two young and smart engineers, both are up and running already. However, we have to wait for at least three months. The same goes for the farmland. The vast regions would normally provide more than enough corn but we’ve got to take a close look on the quality. It’s been growing here for several years unchecked now. Weed is growing everywhere and we still have to wait for some months before the corn is eatable.”

“That isn’t our worst concern. I’ll build a base first, then I’ll build additional food production plants. Is the broadcasting tower still holding?” Asked Leython.
“Yes it is. It’s a perfect thing to keep those small plants online but I think we’ll need another one, so we don’t stretch this one too much. It’ll also come in handy if one of them actually malfunctions.” Answered Harm.

He looked at the radio tower that stood in the middle of London Sethii. At first, he was surprised to see such ancient techniques in the modern world but he quickly realised that such things were cheap to build and probably very reliable, while most of the people knew how such things worked. Either way, technology of more than nineteen hundred years old allowed the people here to eat something, even though it was not much, while Leython could try to contact the Cybran nation elsewhere in the universe.

It didn’t work though. Instead, he met the more advanced technology of the Seraphim. Listening to Josh Funky’s battle report, they didn’t stand a chance against one single bomber, were forced back by mere ground forces, lost a UEF commander to one single Seraphim ACU and slower, seemingly less powerful fighters decimated their state-of-the-art air force.

Even now, the Seraphim could be preparing their assault on Sethis, to deal with his son and the two UEF commanders once and for all, while the human pilots had worked for an insane period of time with little to no sleep...

Chapter 9 - Beyond the Battlefield

Door Plasma_Wolf op maandag 27 september 2010 19:00 - Reageren is niet meer mogelijk
Categorie: 5: War Comes Home, Views: 1.165

“We have only been subjects of a test.” Said Leython. The commanding abilities of QAI’s drones were, mildly put, below average.
“How can you be so sure?” Asked Eric, while he sent transports, filled up with engineers, to every location of QAI’s bases, so he could reclaim everything the artificial intelligence had left behind.

“This is incredibly bad in comparison to what he could get from the databases of battle replays. It suffers from a repetitive machine complex worse than the recruits do. Even you wouldn’t try a land assault for the gazillionth time in a battle. QAI still has much to learn.”

“Well, we’d better not tell that computer. Not that we can. Its ACUs are all gone.” Replied Eric, recalling QAI’s retreat of ten minutes ago.
“There are more ways of contacting QAI than just by opening a channel to one of its ACUs.” Said Leython. “We’ve got more pressing matters though. You now have the time to get the girl to the rest of the evacuees. I’ll oversee the battlefield for now.”

“Is this pilot a threat?” Asked Seth-Iavow simply. QAI informed only of its issues against a simple commander. It had not notified the War Leader at the moment it initiated its assault upon the human, so the artificial intelligence had possibly, if not probably, calculated that twelve command units were enough to destroy someone. It had not concluded that the outcome of the battle was unknown.

“The commander in question is dangerous. If he manages to survive, he can strike back. He has the ability to survive three-to-one odds. Despite of the Seraphim’s superior technology, I suggest the immediate removal of Dygonn. I am unable to destroy him.”
“Concentrate on Brackman instead. Also continue your effort in delaying general Clarke’s meeting with Dostya. A single commander, no matter how intelligent, is nothing compared to the continued survival of the father of the Cybran nation or peace between the Federation and the Syombionts.
We have passed the Quantum Rift and prepare the finale of our assault on Earth. None shall survive.”

“As soon as you complete your task on humanity’s first planet, I will lure Dygonn into a trap on a planet near Earth, so you can find him shortly after his arrival.”
“If you find him more important than the best commanders of the UEF or the Cybran nation,” said Seth-Iavow to the artificial intelligence, “then why do we not know more of him?”

“I estimated that twelve of my ACUs were able to deal with him. My calculations are wrong. It is preferable to dispose of him with superior technology.”
“I understand...” Said the War Leader slowly. Dygonn had become one of their primary targets. It was imperative that they spread out through UEF territory as soon as they could.

“Mister Dygonn? I have been able to find a food processing centre in the city. There is one problem.” Said Reid Let, the only advisor Harm still had.
“Tell me. It’s not a manufacturing centre, but only a processing centre for the crops that grow on the lands surrounding the city?”
“It is not that bad, sir. The problem is that we can only support a mere ten thousand with the crops manufacturing plant itself. We also cannot get something eatable from it within three months. That is, if we’re lucky enough to have a specialist amongst the civilians who can get that thing to work within a week or so.”

The bad news devastated Harm. The cities on Earth, even cities of similar size as London Sethii, all had powerful food manufacturing plants to support every citizen. They were carefully maintained in order to keep the population healthy, well-fed and, most importantly, content.

On planets like these, planets that housed fewer civilians compared to Earth by far, growing crops in the natural way was probably a much better and much more preferable way of producing food.

All of this wouldn’t be a problem if Sethis wasn’t evacuated several years ago. Harm remembered that his own son had participated in it, although he heard about it much later than the actual evacuation. If he made the correct conclusions out of what he heard and saw about Dygonn and the female that was with him, in his apartment, she was his loved one and he developed that crush during his battle on Sinivar Island.

“Sir?” Asked Reid. “What are your orders?”
“That we should find the means of scavenging this land as soon as possible so that we may find food. Perhaps hunt deer, if that is possible. I’ll ask my son and commander Temera to help.”
“I understand sir. Should we half the rations in the meantime?”
“Yes. The people won’t like it, but then we’ve got six days to find food.” Answered Harm, while he was interrupted by an incoming transmission. “Wait a minute... Dygonn, what is it?”

It was Eric. He came to the town as fast as he could to get the little girl to a more peaceful environment. “I’ve got a girl in my ACU and now that the battle’s over, I’ve got the time to get her out. Can you get her some water so she can recover?”

“I’ll do what I can, but we’ve got more trouble than just this, captain.” Said Harm. “I need you and Leython here immediately.”

Leython didn’t know what to do after his father explained the situation. “We must act immediately. With supply for six days, on half rations, we simply don’t have the time to support seventy thousand people. I have got blueprints for a food production plant in my ACU but it is only for a few people. I would have to build thousand of those things and every single one requires contact with its ACU.”

“And it would take some time before the first supplies are produced, I assume?” Asked Reid Let to Leython.
“Yes, a couple of hours. It’s not much but it can be critical if we require so much.”
“But not everyone has to eat at the same time, right?” Asked Harm. “If we can distribute the food correctly, everyone will be eating at a different time. That’ll surely double the number of people we can support.”
“I didn’t think of that. Good idea.” Answered Leython. “I think we’ll triple the number but we’ll still be able to support a mere thirty thousand. I don’t think that the civilians will be happy with less than fifty per cent rations of food that doesn’t even taste well.”

“No, that is correct.” Said Eric. “We’ll need something better. We’ll have to explore the area. Perhaps go to another city and see if they have a major production facility there. That’ll relieve us in a couple of months.”
“Yes.” Said Harm. “Reid, search for some scientists. Some engineers who know how this stuff works. We’ll have to get that working as soon as we can. Leython, you will build food production facilities while Eric will build a defensive base and use spy planes to explore the area. Any fertile land can be turned into farmland. We’ve got a great chance of finding ourselves in the middle of farms that have been abandoned years ago. With a bit of luck, we can get something eatable from that pretty soon.”

“Well, we destroyed part of the farmland in our battle with QAI. So you can be sure that we’re compromised. Cybran strategic missiles pose no nuclear threat despite for the fact that we still call them nukes, so we’re luckily save from any sort of radioactive contamination.” Said Leython.

“Leython, get to work immediately. We need everything we can get.”

Three hours later...

“I’ve almost finished construction on my supply base. We’ll need the means of distributing it to the people, dad.” Said Leython after hours of work. The small structures had their own power supply and required very little resources to work, compared to the Cybran weaponry, but Leython had built more than nine hundred.

“I can take care of that. Don’t forget that I’m good with any kind of logistics.”
“We are still short on food, we’ll have to think of something.”
“Perhaps one of you can go to another city and search for a large food processing centre to power up. We can then distribute food from there.”

“It’ll not be much. I think that the only cities in the vicinity are Tharod and New Venice. We can take a look, if those cities still exist.”
“How do you know that?” Asked Harm. As far as he knew, Leython wasn’t so interested in the current geographical state of a planet.
“How I know it, isn’t important. We’ve got to take a look, but I’m not sure how we can do that. I’ve got my fighter though. I’ll work on that as soon as I can but I can only take one person with me.”

“Perhaps you should leave that to someone else. You’re more use to us in that ACU.” Interrupted Reid Let.
“I know, but I doubt that you know of any pilot who can fly my plane.” Replied Leython. “The handling is ancient, from the twenty-second century or something like that, so if you can find someone who can fly with that sort of equipment...”

“I’ll do my best. I can do that while I’m looking for other useful people. I already found some new assistants for your father. He can’t do it all by himself.”

“I’m trying to find a way to get the production plants to work without the ACU’s contact. There should be a way to do this, but I haven’t found out how.”

“Why do you want to do that? Building another base? Asked Reid.
“No, I want to find out what’s going on in the universe. We might be one of the few who actually know that QAI has turned against us. The whole Cybran nation relies on that thing and not having it is an issue, but having it fight against you while you just send thousands of requests and enormous files of data to that thing is nothing short from direct suicide.”

“The trap for Dygonn is ready to be deployed at your discretion, master.” Said QAI. It had dedicated one of its major processes to the search for Dygonn. If it found out that the human was travelling through the quantum network, it could warn the Seraphim warriors immediately, who would arrive within Dygonn’s vicinity five minutes later. If the human pilot was lucky.

“We are currently in the stage of cleansing Earth.” Answered Seth-Iavow. “The Ahwassas are successful, but most of our ACUs are here as well because we are seeking to see the entire planet free from any humans. We will not continue until Dygonn is the primary target. We are engaging the high-ranked members of the UEF and Cybran nation soon, they are more important.”

“Affirmative. My calculations conclude that the death of Clarke or Dostya is fifty point three times more significant than the death of Dygonn. When you are ready to attack the strategist, I suggest to do it immediately.”
“You will arrange the trap, yes.” Said the War Leader. “This is the second time you wish to elaborate about Dygonn’s destruction. I will not forget.”

“I really wish we had the support of some more commanders, Leython. We can’t possibly hold the line on our own if those Seraphim come to attack us.” Said Eric, tired by what had become hours of work.
“Not to mention that we’ve got to keep ourselves awake for twelve hours, in this ACU. We’ll have to keep watch in turn.” Replied Leython simply.
“I’m sure that we’re going to live in our command units. I’m the only one with a proper base now.”
“Yeah, one with only three omni sensors. You’ve got to build them all over the field. We must know all about it.”

“Oh, sorry. I’ll start working on that immediately.” Said the UEF captain. “Hey, I’m sorry about what I did at the Academy.”
“Oh please, you’re not getting sentimental, are you?” Asked Leython, unable to hide his irritation. “I know it’s not easy to apologize and even harder to find the right words for it so I understand that you’ll sound stupid, but please don’t make it too bad. Besides, I’ve had my share in our constant arguing as well.”

“Yeah, but you were right about everything you said.” Retrted Eric, as if he hoped he could condone Leython’s behaviour.
“So were you, except for the ‘loyalty to the UEF part’. Or maybe you were right about that too. I don’t think I could turn to the Cybrans so easily if doctor Brackman hadn’t explained his situation.”

“How was it there, in the Cybran nation?” Asked Eric, suddenly changing the subject.
“Well, I’ve been in a node that’s got a society much like the UEF. I can’t tell you much about the other nodes, except that they’ve all got the same ugly tasting food.”

“How ugly?”
“I think that the first groups of citizens have found out by now.” Answered Leython, hoping that he didn’t do more wrong than right by using the Cybran manufacturing devices.

“It’s dreadful. Disgusting.” Said Edward. His mother sighed. Edward had always been a troublesome boy if it came to food, but this time he was absolutely right about it. He wasn’t the only one who hated it, only by taking a look at the other people in the street was enough that Dygonn’s food production facility turned out to be bad.

“It’s not that it actually tastes bad, I don’t taste it at all and that makes it bad because I’m chewing on something that feels and looks like... Like molten plastic.”
“I know Edward. I know, but there’s not much we can do about it.” Sighed Sephia. “We’ve been told we can eat some of the food from Earth, but we’ve got to try to do five days with that... and this.”

Edward didn’t answer, but took another bit of the gray goo on his plate, trying not to vomit.
Suddenly, they both heard a sound of something flying through the air. As they both looked up, like many around them, they saw a plane that was of Cybran design.

Leython landed at a clear spot on the street, thanking his ability to take off and land vertically. He jumped out immediately and ignored the angry glares cast at him by almost everyone who saw the former UEF commander.

Sephia noticed that the twenty-six year old man carefully looked around while he walked and that he eventually turned to her, seemingly forgetting everyone else.
When he stood close to her, he immediately talked: “Are you Sephia Alaric? I’m Leython Dygonn and my father’s assistant has identified you as a pilot.”

“I’m sorry, what is this all about?”
“Have you learned to fly with the twenty-second centuries’ plane equipment? With that I mean the cockpit of that fighter.” Said Leython and he pointed at his plane.
“I think I can.” Replied Sephia, still not knowing what Leython wanted her to do. “Why?”

“We need you to check neighbouring cities. I know of two cities nearby, named Tharod and New Venice. The UEF type of food manufacturing plants produce much better crops than the Cybran ones, as you have experienced by yourself now. There is one plant in London Sethii, but that’ll not do for more than ten thousand people. I suspect that most of the food here was still done by manual labour on real farms, a concept that is barely known on Earth.”

“You want me to look at cities nearby to see if those have a manufacturing plant as well? Why me?”
“If you can pilot the plane, I’m relieved of that duty and I can do what I’m best at, protecting this place against any sort of enemy, I’ll be of better use in my ACU but we still have to see if we can get more UEF food, if you know what I mean.”

“I get it, so what do I do if I find those production plants? How will I find them in the first place?”
“My father’s assistant, Reid Let, is searching for either of the engineers who work in such a plant. We’re very lucky to have them, because they might know how to get such a thing started.”
“What if we manage to do that?”
“Then you’ll come back here and we’ll discuss the next step. We hope that we can have enough people to run such a thing.”

“Ok, I think I can do that.” Said Sepia, looking a bit scared nonetheless. “But what about my son?”
“I’ll take him to my father. I think he found someone to take care of the girl captain Temera took in his ACU, he’ll also find someone for your son for the time being.”

Chapter 8 - Breaking the Odds

Door Plasma_Wolf op vrijdag 24 september 2010 19:00 - Reageren is niet meer mogelijk
Categorie: 5: War Comes Home, Views: 1.137

Dygonn’s ACU disappeared from QAI’s sensor range like six times before but this time, it didn’t appear anywhere else. The artificial intelligence responded immediately, ordering spy planes to scout anywhere it had no radar towers in the vicinity. If Dygonn managed to stay unnoticed for too long, he could easily mount up an army and build a new base without fear for a counter-attack.

The spy planes rushed towards the front and flew further as fast as they could. While QAI sent in another wave of strategic missiles, it immediately changed their targets. They were no longer flying to be taken out by Dygonn’s defences, but had to destroy several Olympus radar towers that QAI failed to detect earlier.

Immediately, the Seraphim’s creation programmed and compiled a new set of algorithms, again. Dygonn had built the omni sensors at locations QAI would not look in case its forces would be attacked. QAI understood why.

Dygonn had been monitoring every single one of its forces and took the time to plan a trap. The traps were set at the end of the line: the Cybran and UEF bases owned by the human commanders. Any unit that would be sent in, was destroyed. QAI had taken all possible scenarios into account, safe for this one. Dygonn was a commander who always wanted to deal with a certain threat as quickly and as efficiently as possible, so that he suffered the least harm and was absolutely certain about his success, but that wasn’t the case this time.

Within a millisecond, the artificial intelligence found a way to find Dygonn and started to calculate where it exactly had to target its strategic missiles, so that the strategist noticed he was going to die when it was far too late.

Leython’s first action was to build a static stealth generator. As soon as he realised that QAI wasn’t searching for him behind its own lines, he started working on his base.

Seconds later, the Twilight stealth generator was active and Leython added a tier one land factory to it. With those two buildings, the base should start working on its own so that the former UEF captain could teleport back to his main base if he had to.

Suddenly, he noticed that he was going to be set back in his plans. A strategic missile descended close to the two Monkeylords he had destroyed just before they entered his base. No Strategic Missile Defence was able to take the weapon down and Leython didn’t understand why QAI hadn’t done this before. An artificial intelligence could not feel any emotion and was therefore unable to be nervous. Its capabilities on the field were not depending on a good or bad mood and would be employed in the best way, always.

Then again, they were still alive even though they had eight ACUs against them. It should’ve ended badly for the two human commanders before they even got their hands on the destruction of the fourth command unit.

“Eric, how much fatboys do you have?”
“None yet, I don’t have that much resources available and it’s just been thirty seconds since we’ve been working on our new plan.”
“How far are you with the first one?” Asked Leython impatiently.
“Thirty per cent at this moment, don’t rush me!” Shot Eric back.

“Sorry, but I’m not very sure about whether this is going to work or not.”
“Neither am I but we don’t have much of a choice, do we?”

While Leython continued with his base in the middle of QAI’s territory, he noticed that his enemy wasn’t doing very much. It was waiting for something and that meant they would be in trouble very soon.

A minute later, Leython knew what QAI was waiting for. The omni sensors near the front, carefully hidden by stealth generators, were now facing the devastating power of multiple strategic missiles.
They didn’t stand a chance.

“We just lost our main source of intel, Eric. Be ready for anything, especially strategic bombers and experimental Spiderbots.” Said Leython hastily. “I’m discarding my stealth generator and rebuilding the teleporter. I’ve got my land factory upgraded to tier two and it’s building mobile stealth generators, which will cover up my base. Tier two engineers, and tier three versions of them later on, will fortify my base and build an assault force.”

“What do we have to do in the meanwhile? Like you said, we can’t sit here and wait for QAI to come.”
“QAI knows that it can’t breach our bases with land forces, it is building air units now. So we’ll be safe if we use our own land units to deal with one of its bases.”

“What if QAI knows that as well? Then it’ll wait for us to fail and attack us afterwards.” Said Eric. “I’m going to send in spy planes to check in on his defences.”
“You make a valid point and that’s why you’re going to have to hurry up with those Fatboy experimentals.” Said Leython. The better Eric could defend his own base, the safer they both were. Leython could protect his own hideout with his ACU and the possible support from Eric’s experimental factories.

A minute later, Eric’s spy planes disclosed the secrets of QAI’s bases that were located closest to the front.
“Nothing special.” He said while his Blackbird planes fell like leafs. “I’m losing my aircraft to base defences, not to air superiority fighters. You’re right about that assault. We should do it now.”

“We’re going to have to be careful. We’ll bring the forces in with air transports, covered by Deceivers. Then we can get close to the enemy base without being detected. We’ll have to send spy planes with our force too though. We cannot allow QAI to destroy our air fleet if it accidentally stumbles on us with Geminis, or if we forgot about one of its omni sensors.”

The eighty-ninth wave of Spooks detected Dygonn’s ACU in his own base but QAI calculated that the enemy had enough time to build a stationary stealth generator and at least two factories for the time that the ACU’s location was unknown.

Building additional omni sensors everywhere, in order to disclose the enemy’s hideout, was an impossible task. It would cost too much energy and by the time the job was done, Dygonn would have constructed an army that was very capable of destroying his economical bases.

The strategic missiles QAI had sent, continued though. Those were targeting the exact location where Dygonn was while he wasn’t found on the artificial intelligence’s radar. That was the area where the human pilot would have built a base.

QAI didn’t have to build tier three radar towers to find Dygonn’s secret base, it only had to calculate the location by known intel and vast databases about the strategist’s strategies.

To be absolutely certain, QAI started building yet another group of spy planes, which were to find the remains of Dygonn’s futile attempt of a backdoor assault after the strategic missiles exploded.
In other words, they were to find a pile of rubble right now.

“I’ve got my first fatboy up and running, Leython.” Said Eric half a minute after three nuclear explosions occurred at some random location of the battlefield. “How are things on your end?”
“The usual, I’m being besieged by strategic missiles.” Replied the former UEF captain while he built another missile defence structure to cover his latest addition of his base. “I’m building some mass fabricators and power generators. Getting myself lots of Loyalists, Trebuchets and mobile flak as well, along with the deceivers.”

“Good, when were we attacking again?”
“Let’s load up the transports, are your gunships ready?” Asked Leython. Whether their new plan worked or not depended on the Stinger class gunships that were supposed to draw QAI’s attention.
“Everything’s ready. Give me the flight path for our diversion.” Replied the UEF captain. Leython could hear his eagerness in his voice.

“Don’t get too excited. We don’t know if this really works or not.”
“Doing nothing will definitely not work.” Said Eric while thirty air transports took off. Every transport carried a mobile stealth generator, a Parashield, a Loyalist and a Titan. Leython was sure that he and his ally were able to destroy the entire base before any strategic bomber arrived.

While Eric concentrated on the flight paths of the gunships and the air transports, Leython sent some Dragon Flies to follow. His tier two transports carried nothing but engineers and a single Deceiver. A destroyed base was still very useful and Leython wouldn’t allow QAI to have it.

“The front is incredibly silent. We’re facing no land forces and air units aren’t coming for us either.” Said Eric. “I really wonder whether this computer is stupid or actually preparing a trap for us.”

“Perhaps I can answer that question for you. I’ve got some units on radar. Send some Blackbirds to find out what it is. I’m fairly certain about what we’re going to see but just in case I’m wrong...” Answered Leython and several UEF spy planes took off immediately to find out what it was.

Leython’s expectations became truth with the first sight on QAI’s weaponry.
“Well, I can answer that question. This computer is just stupid. It’s not creative. I wouldn’t expect anything but Hunter bots as a diversion of his tier three assault.” Said Leython and Eric became so excited that the little girl who watched what he did became scared of him: “Leython, just teleport in with your ACU and shoot those things down with that laser.”

“I might actually not want to do that. QAI’s got bombers as backup and I’ll be dead in an instant. Calm down a bit, Eric. It’s not for me but you’re about to give that girl a heart failure.”
“Oh yeah, sorry.” Said the UEF captain and he glanced at the girl. In that tiny moment, Leython noticed the tier three land force that the spy planes discovered shortly after they left the light assault bots.

“Ok, I’m in trouble if we don’t do anything about that. It’s forty Loyalists at least, with backup from Wagners, Deceivers and two Monkeylords.” Said the strategist. Eric immediately ordered his first fatboy to move to Leython’s base and Leython thanked him for that.

In the meanwhile, the Air transports arrived close to their target. The Stinger gunships had to be targeted by now, thought Leython, but the simple fact was that nothing happened.
“Land with the transports here.” Said Leython, marking the closest possible location that was still out of reach for the enemy flak towers and SAM sites. “Attack the base to the west with our gunships. Perhaps we can kill two bases with one plan.”

“This is ridiculous.” Answered Eric. “We should have been attacked already.” He had barely spoken the words or all of his air transports were destroyed. It was too late to salvage the damage, all hope for QAI to thwart this plan was gone. The UEF Sky Lifters had already dropped the units, only moments before the one hundred Gemini shot them down.

“There’s the response we’ve been waiting for. QAI anticipated on our plan. It’s about time.” Said Leyhon, glad that his Dragon Fly transports still flew. They were supposed to arrive a minute later than their UEF counterparts and that saved them. Leython immediately turned to the situation of Eric’s gunships: “Divert all power to their thrusters and see if you can destroy the power plants in that other base.”

“If we get these two bases down, QAI’s intel won’t reach to the location of its first two losses, will it?” Asked Eric.
“No, it won’t. That’s why I asked you to attack the other base as well. If we can deal with this, we’ll push the frontlines away from our bases and QAI will lose a lot of its zone of control. We can finally expand forward instead of having to use our backyard.”

Thirty Titans and thirty Loyalists continuously fired their guns as they entered the enemy base. Leython had told Eric the targets of interest: tier three power generators, mass extractors and mass fabricators. As usual in this battle for intelligence, QAI’s omni sensors were to be destroyed as well.

“It’s barely got any volatile buildings clumped together. This isn’t really good for us.”
“Divert your groups. Make groups of two Titans and two Parashields. I’ll do my best to include two Loyalists as well, but I’m a little busy retreating the stealth generators.” Said Leython while he sent every Deceiver back to his own base. They had served their purpose by concealing the UEF transports but were useless now QAI had spotted the army within its own base.

Meanwhile, the tier two Gunships had arrived at their target and the first part of the group already fell.
“I think we made a mistake by letting them attack this base. It’s thick in anti-air.” Said Eric while he managed to destroy two Ion Reactors.
“Locate the omni sensor and destroy it.” Said Leython shortly after he powered up his teleportation module, although it was too late. The gunships that survived the first waves of anti-air grenades were quickly destroyed by the several SAM sites that all targeted an individual Stinger.

As the last gunship crashed, Leython suddenly stood directly in front of the light assault bots that were only two minutes away from his base. The tier three army would follow less than a minute later.

The Cybran ACU’s heavy microwave laser powered up and the red beam cut through the enemy ranks like a hot knife through butter. Leyton added an overcharged shot to it and then activated its teleporter again.

The Gemini fighters arrived shortly after the last gunship fell. QAI had successfully ignored the diversion but was too late to destroy the real threat nonetheless. As if it weren’t enough, the UEF gunships had managed to destroy a critical component in the artificial intelligence’s front lines.

Not only they destroyed three ion reactors, one of the last few that were to be destroyed, took the tier three radar tower with it in its crash.
The only two Olympus towers QAI had left now, was the one in the base that was under attack and the one hidden in the long since destroyed base: the first outpost that was attacked by the UEF commander Temera.

QAI counted on the fact that Dygonn had found it already but apparently, the strategist was not smart enough to do so. The longer it would take him, the better it was for the Seraphim’s creation.

Ten of the forty Revenants that were to destroy the compound of UEF and Cybran assault force, were suddenly ordered to turn around. QAI noticed Dygonn’s bold move as it detected a Cybran ACU in front of the Hunter bots, decimating five within a second. Within fifteen seconds, they would arrive and end Dygonn’s life.

Five seconds later, they turned around again. Dygonn had, without knowing it, activated its teleportation module a second too early and QAI made another mark in Dygonn’s extensive database: the commander had an increased quantity of what humans called ‘luck’.

It was not much of a problem, so concluded QAI, ordering the other bombers to fly in five groups of six. Each squad would be able to deal with two shields and their generators, while damaging the heavy assault bots as well. The Revenants that were lagging would end it.

Having to do that three times over meant that most of the base was lost, but this was the fastest way to deal with the problem.

Engineers reclaimed as fast as they could and it paid off for Leython. While he originally planned to stop production in his factories of his primary base, in order to build an army for a sneak attack on QAI fast enough, he could now just build weapons with everything he could.

Sadly, it meant that Eric got no advantage from the wrecks yet, while he did deserve at least half of it, thanks to his role in the battle.
However, Eric didn’t need it, yet. He wouldn’t be under attack so soon and he would probably not face any enemy unit in his own base anymore. Not today.

As Leython teleported back into his own base, closely monitoring all progress on the known battlefield, he thought about a possible secret omni sensor that QAI could have.

While he continued with his job, he noticed the Cybran Revenant bombers that closed in on the compound of Cybran and UEF forces. The bombers were carefully grouped and could almost destroy one squad in one bombing run. For some reason, QAI made a mistake though, by being one bomber short in each group. The shield generators would be destroyed but all assault bots were strong enough to survive the first run.

Leython carefully looked at what happened and the result was exactly as he predicted. It was a flaw in QAI’s plan, one that came apparent as the units managed to take some structures down before another squad of bombers arrived and finished the job on five of the fifteen groups he and Eric had.

“You’re right Leython, we can take this base down.” Said Eric. “I took the liberty of building some spy planes again. Where do you want them?”
“Scout the gating points of the first two of QAI’s drones we destroyed. I’m sending stealth generators to you, order your engineers to assist them so that I can order them to move out and then we can finally claim those locations.”

“How is the enemy land force doing?”
“Still alive. I’m working on trebuchets and I’m also trying to get my cloaking generator again. If I can do that, my ACU will be able to help.”
“Isn’t that dangerous with those bombers near?”
“The bombers will be shot down long before I put my ACU on the line. I’m allowing the land force to enter my base, the Revenants will follow in order to take my fragile shields out. They will fall like leafs and then I’m safe.”
“That’ll cost you your base.” Retorted Eric. Leython was all too easy with his sacrifices. Eric remembered that it was the other way around at the time of the Academy. Normally, it was Dygonn who thought the plan through and won the battle with the least casualties. It was Eric who didn’t care about his units and just sent them in.

“It’s a necessary sacrifice. I heard you saying such a thing before. Wondering whether it couldn’t be done in a better way.” Answered Leython while he checked his base in the north, far behind QAI’s lines.
“I don’t, frankly. I usually don’t care about how much I lose, as long as I can keep going. You won’t be able to do so at all if you lose your base.” Said Eric, destroying the final buildings of one of QAI’s bases. The attack had been very effective. A base that seemed to cost more than ten minutes to break down with tier three weaponry, was actually flattened little more than three. It had to be anyway, because that also happened to be the time the bombers needed to deal with the threat.

“It was when we had to destroy a Cybran commander, hidden by its cloaking generator. Under my command, we used tier one bombers and dealt with the problem. You objected, thinking it wouldn’t work and it would take too much bombers down.”
“Oh, yeah, but what does that have to do with this?”
“What I want to say and what I wanted to explain back then, was that if the casualties are worse on the enemy’s side, then they’re worth it. Especially because there’s not a single human life on the line.”

“Will your casualties be worth it?”
“Yes, assuming I can keep some SMDs alive, I’ll be able to reclaim and rebuild everything that’s destroyed. It’ll actually make me some mass I think. Don’t forget that I will also be able to take one of QAI’s economy bases out of commission.”

Six thousand three hundred and thirty ancient ticks, or, as humans phrased it: ten minutes and thirty three seconds.

It was the time Dygonn and Temera needed to destroy one of QAI’s bases and thwart the renewed assault on the strategist. QAI now had eight bases and eight commanders left, as the ACU in the besieged base could retreat soon enough.

However, it didn’t do the artificial intelligence any good to have it. By now, the Cybran command units were nothing more than a glorified engineer. However, every ACU could control thousand units and that was needed in order to succeed.

The total of its arsenal could rise to eight thousand, while Dygonn and Temera were limited to two thousand. It was time to dig in and leave the uncontrolled zones uncontrolled. Constant use of strategic missiles could prevent the two human commanders from gaining the mass deposits that once belonged to the drone ACUs, but it was expensive, even with its massive economy.

Another five minutes went by as QAI constructed one unit after another, launched several nukes, all hitting their targets and sent spy plane after spy plane in order to find out what Dygonn was up to.

Unfortunately, the former UEF captain was up to something that would frustrate any human being.
Out of nowhere, more than hundred units appeared. By the time QAI detected them on radar, they already entered a base. The base solely built for economical purposes.

Visual contact immediately showed the Artificial intelligence that he faced tier one artillery, covered by Deceiver stealth generators.

On their own, facing an enemy unit of some sort, these weapons could do virtually nothing, but now a vast group converged on the only base that had no defensive weaponry, because there was no chance that Dygonn would find a way to attack the base.

Not even when he managed to get away with the construction of a secret base, he would be able to reach out here. He couldn’t possibly send his units through. It would only be possible if he had built the base incredibly close to QAI’s economy farms.

Within a millisecond, the Seraphim’s Creation simulated this scenario and by reversing the program, it calculated exactly where the base would be. Another millisecond later, the strategic missile launchers opened their hatch and launched every missile they had.

More than twenty nukes ascended in the air, their course being plotted to the nanometre precise.
Not only the base would be destroyed, but the whole surrounding area would see death itself.

The damage on its base had already been done though. QAI could do little but send the ACU in and charge with its overcharge functionality. The ACU wasn’t equipped with a microwave laser to save some mass. Additionally, if the assassination attempt of some time ago would fail badly, QAI still needed a command unit to control the battlefield.

Artillery shells exploded at the edge of the base and their explosions were immediately followed by the destruction of three economy farms. One minute later, forty per cent of the base’s income was gone.

Another ten seconds later, the air was filled with a massive thermonuclear explosion.

“Five down, seven to go.” Said Leython. The explosion caused by an Ion Reactor created an enormous chain reaction and instantaneously decimated the base. As if the catastrophe wasn’t enough for QAI, one of its drones was inside. It couldn’t hope to survive the explosions that were good for several nukes.

“Don’t you think it will find your secret base now?” Asked Eric. Even for someone who’s weakness was intelligence warfare, it was obvious that QAI knew where it had to search.
“It will. I think it has already launched its entire nuclear arsenal in order to deal with it. We both know that QAI’s built so many omni sensors everywhere, that it deemed its own backyard secure. I’m certain that it has build a perimeter, around its economy base. Using bombers then, as soon as some units are detected, is better than any other sort of defensive weaponry.

The fact that I managed to break through virtually unnoticed, means that QAI knows the base can be at only one location. QAI calculated where that would be.”
“It calculated it before and was wrong. What’s the chance that it’s wrong again?”
“Nil. I’ve been able to hide my ACU relatively easy and walk away from where I teleported, early on. Then I built the base at a completely different location than QAI expected. That’s why its calculations were wrong before.

This time, I’ve sent a large army, making it impossible to manoeuvre through QAI’s nets of omni sensors. So a simple calculations remains.”
“If QAI knows where your base is, you can tell where its omni sensors are.”
“I already know that. I’m working on that issue now. Medusa artilleries were not the only units I built.”

With a series of orders, Leython sent several air scouts and tier one bombers in the air. Being fairly certain about the location of QAI’s radar installations, he only had to find the exact spots. He wasn’t so good with calculations as the artificial intelligence though, so it would still take some time. Time his enemy could use to take his small air force down.

Nonetheless, the assault would prove disastrous for QAI, because Leython soon found three sensors.
“This means I can easily build a new base.” He said to Eric, ordering engineers to leave his old one, protected the mobile stealth generators that were used to guide the Medusa artillery.

“I finished another Fatboy. I’ve got ten now.” Replied Eric. He also had a new tier three army, carefully covered by more than fifty tier two shields.
“Send them in. Fatboys covered by the Parashields. QAI’s bombers will attempt to take those out first and your experimentals aren’t the strongest that could be built in the field.”

Eric obeyed Leython and ordered his army to move. Less than half a minute later, Leython’s air transports dropped several mobile stealth generators off, so they could hide the assault force.

The advance went excruciatingly slow and it took them ten minutes to get halfway through. Leython sent another group of transports to join the assault force. This time, they were carrying engineers, covered by Deceivers, as usual.

While they continued with their creeping death, Leython had built another base behind enemy lines. The strategic missiles QAI launched, had done their job and his old base was completely vaporized. As the new base, concealed form QAI’s radar, slowly but steadily grew, Leython noticed that the artificial intelligence had decided to give it another try. Another wave of Spooks surged through the sky and discovered the platoon of Fatboys. It would certainly not take long before the strategic bombers arrived.

“Eric, stop moving, order your Fatboys to build tier three engineers and build some tier two shield generators.” Said Leython, while he constructed some SAM sites.

Shortly before the experimental factories had built their engineers, ten Revenant squads arrived and dropped their payload. The ten Fatboys’ shields immediately collapsed, as well as the shields directly in front of them.

Tier two mobile flak responded to the thread, launching grenades into the sky. Fast as they were, the first few Revenants made it through without any damage but the ones that followed took the full folly. Despite for the deadly barrage, none of the bombers crashed to the ground.

“Leython, why don’t you build an omni sensor here? Then we can see the bombers the whole time.” Said Eric. Leython wanted to agree, but they had more pressing matters at hand.

“Build SMDs, QAI will launch strategic missiles and the Fatboys won’t be able to get out in time.”
The missile defences were expensive and took some time to build, but Eric had a second batch of engineers available and he ordered them to work together.

While suddenly half of the bombers fell out of the sky due to the extensive damage dealt by the mobile flak guns, managed the two human commanders to build two defence silos and the engineers immediately went to work to fill them up to the maximum.

“You’re able to get some extra construction drones, Eric, so you’ll have to build the omni sensor now.” Said Leython. Without a word, the UEF captain went to work with his third group his Fatboys built for him and ten seconds later, his new radar tower detected a vast group of units moving in on the assault force.

“The Fatboys will deal with that, keep them where they are.” Said Leython, watching at the strategy screen, with Eric’s information forwarded for him. QAI apparently knew about the new UEF omni sensor as well: “The units are trying to retreat. That computer knows it can’t deal with the threat.”

“Strategic launch detected.” Leython and Eric heard it in their cockpits simultaneously but neither of them were alarmed. Even though they didn’t have a missile now, the nukes would take too long before they’d arrive. By the time they should explode, the two commanders had gotten their hands on four defensive missiles.

QAI was unable to do anything, safe for witnessing the loss of two more bases. Apparently, some of Dygonn’s units had survived the missile strike that was supposed to deal with the secret base behind the artificial intelligence’s lines.

The wrong calculations set QAI further back by every moment that passed. Fatboys took its bases out while it was unable to do anything against it.

QAI spent many of its processes in analyzing the battle, to find out what went wrong. While the seventh ACU went nuclear, it could not conclude anything, safe from the fact that the approach of destroying Dygonn had failed to begin with. The intelligence expert had been able to analyze the artificial intelligence’s movement and used that to his advantage.

UEF wasps appeared and it was obvious that QAI now had to give up its air superiority as well.

Every moment that the Seraphim’s Creation discovered another of Dygonn’s tactics, the strategy expert altered his approach and changed small but important details in his battle plan. Along with the advantage in time, it gave him the edge required to hold the line, reclaim anything that was within reach and strike back.

There was only one way to destroy Dygonn now. However, the creators had made it in this universe only several hours ago. They could not go here immediately, having planned a relatively slow but steadily moving apocalypse. It was time to lure Dygonn back into the centre of UEF territory.

Chapter 7 - New Algorithms

Door Plasma_Wolf op dinsdag 21 september 2010 19:00 - Reageren is niet meer mogelijk
Categorie: 5: War Comes Home, Views: 1.289

Despite for the fact that it would take too long, QAI unleashed a constant stream of strategic missiles on Dygonn’s base. Dygonn had lost all of his intelligence capabilities but still knew how he was going to die. He had constructed several defence structures, forcing QAI to spend many resources on building nukes. This would cost the intelligence expert some resources as well, too much to mount a defence against QAI’s next strike, or so concluded the artificial intelligence after its extensive calculations.

In the meanwhile, the bulk of his army moved towards the base of Dygonn’s assistant. QAI had found information about him only moments after the Seraphim invasion, it was a profile retrieved from the UEF main database. The commander’s strongest points included quick rushes and powerful tank management. He was good with air and naval units as well, which explained his strong initial bombing runs that destroyed one ACU and assisted in the destruction of another.

According to the file, the commander was named Eric Temera and he was a captain under command of major Josh Funky. All information was irrelevant, except for the name of Temera’s superior. QAI had also retrieved Funky’s profile and was now using it.

Several Cybran commanders had perished because of Funky’s superior aerial assault drops. The Artificial Intelligence had noted that of a long time ago, but all of the information had finally been compiled together and it had now been uploaded into the ACUs. Dygonn’s time to play was over, he would be destroyed.

“Your defeat can be the only outcome.” Eric repeated the words QAI said to them. “That computer was overconfident.”
“So are you now.” Answered Leython while he built as many Trebuchet mobile artillery as he could. “It may have been caught off guard but it no longer is. It has taken control over its units back and finally understands that I cannot be fooled by employing the wrong tactics on purpose. It also knows that I can do something without intel.”

“Yes, true,” admitted Eric, “the battle’s just begun actually.”
“Exactly. QAI will now find out that attacking your base cannot be taken out by that simple assault force. It’s coming within omni range now, just as I suspected.”
“Yes, that looks an awful lot like mobile stealth generators in its army, but QAI’s a bit late don’t you think?”
“Yes, it’s up to something. Watch out and prepare for anything.”

“Like I haven’t done that yet.” Answered Eric, his base was enormous and protected with every sort of defence turret the UEF army had available. Perhaps he should self destruct the tier one point defences in the middle of his base. The last time those fired was two minutes after the first two ACUs went nuclear. The Quantum AI had sent in some land scouts.

Eric quickly set his thoughts aside as he looked at what Leython warned for: “Air transports coming in! Get ready and take them out. Whatever QAI’s got in there, it can’t be good. Air transports are coming to me as well!”

Despite for the constant stream of spy planes, Leython’s and Eric’s anti-air guns didn’t have to fire at anything. None of those spy planes revealed the omni sensors the two commanders had in the middle of their base, the two towers that allowed them a constant view over the majority of their front until QAI finally included some mobile stealth generators in its army.

Leython was sure that the air units were Dragon Fly transports, despite for the fact that he hadn’t seen them with visual contact. Only moments after the units showed up on their radar screen, the flak cannons and SAM sites came to life and greeted their enemy with a massive stream of missiles and grenades. Many transports were destroyed by the surface-to-air missiles but not all could be taken out of comission. QAI’s drop ships carefully changed their course every fraction of a second, trying to evade the rain of grenades, set upon them by the flak guns.

The transports didn’t drop immediately and QAI seemed to accept more losses in order to get a little bit closer to the centre of their bases. Leyton immediately knew what was going on. As Eric’s units responded to the main land force’s threat, QAI understood that they still had omni sensors that gave away its Cybran units. The airborne assault was planned, but QAI’s target had initially not been the tier three radar stations, but probably their economy.

“Guard that omni sensor at all costs Eric.” Said Leython, fearing that QAI would win this round.
“I’m working on it,” answered the UEF commander, working frantically on the construction of several mobile shield generators while Titan assault bots converged on the various open spots in his base. “We’re lucky that we can predict the enemy’s drop zones. I’ve got assault bots everywhere so that QAI’s units won’t get far.”

“Good, I’m working on my part as well, but I’ve got a problem because I don’t have any Loyalists available. I will probably lose my radar tower but I’ve got backup on that end.” The intelligence expert quickly ordered his trebuchets to hold their fire, in order not to destroy his own base. Then, he charged with his ACU, charging up the main laser.

Targets destroyed. The simple conclusion was enough for QAI to initiate his second move of his plan. His land force was on the move again, now unnoticed by the enemy, and it was to destroy the UEF base.

While the tier three army moved on, QAI’s experimental Spiderbots approached Dygonn’s base. They were carefully protected by several spy planes, ready to expose the cloaked Cybran ACU.
Continuously launching strategic missiles, ready to adjust their flight path every millisecond, QAI ensured that Dygonn would be nuked as soon as the missiles exploded in front of his own Monkeylords. This time, Dygonn would finally be trapped. This time, he would pay the price.

The Monkeylords came closer to the base by every minute, still unnoticed by the enemy but it would not be for long. Dygonn had lost his omni sensor but knew all too well about the two massive weapons coming for him. His ACU would soon be spotted and destroyed. The nuclear missiles would destroy his experimental soon but Dygonn wouldn’t expect it and go down with him...

QAI’s plan was repeated in an infinite loop, it would not be stopped before Dygonn’s ACU was destroyed.

Which would not take long.

The careful planning had paid off. Leython had been able to find a pattern in the flight path of QAI’s spy planes. He now knew where he should not be going to in order to stay hidden from the artificial intelligence’s sensors. That was exactly where he was going.

Having dropped his strategy of cloaking, Leython’s ACU was now equipped with a teleportation module. Moments later, he stood right behind the Monkeylords. QAI would have noticed it immediately, thought Leython and he wasn’t disappointed. The Spiderbots tried to turn around immediately but Leython’s ACU walked closer and charged his ACU’s microwave laser.

“Can you take them down?” Asked Eric, frantically working on his own problem. “I mean, can you take them down fast enough?”
“No.” Answered Leython simply. “But I can teleport away and then try it from the other direction. Or I could teleport away and wait for QAI’s missiles to strike.”
“How do you know that so well?”
“QAI never expected that only two Monkeylords could ever break down my entire base, with me in it. It might take down half, or seventy per cent. There’s just no way that to experimentals, backed up by some spy planes and a lot of nuclear missiles will deal with my whole force. So it also prepared for a trap, if I’d fall for it, I’ll die.”

“Don’t tell me you just got trapped, did you?” Eric was shocked by the simple way Leyton seemed to face the most powerful of the Cybran arsenal without a second thought, being sure that he would foil QAI’s plan. “What kind of an idiot are you?”
“An idiot who’s spending too much time on planning the most stupid strikes, even though I could’ve taken those Monkeylords on with the mobile artillery I’ve got here.” Answered Leython while his microwave laser cut through one layer of armour after another.

“I suppose you’ve got something useful for planned for those artillery?” Asked Eric, who did everything he could on slowing the enemy progress down at his base. The enemy force kept moving, ignoring the rain of shells that descended upon the Loyalists and their escorting units.

“Get some transports ready, I’ll fill them up with Trebuchets and deceivers. We’ll get as close to one of QAI’s bases without being noticed and then we’ll see if we can take that base down, one way or another.” Said Leython, who fired another Overcharged bolt to the Monkeylord he wanted to destroy. Sensors showed that the experimental had lost more than seventy per cent of its armour and a part of its structural integrity already, but the former UEF commander couldn’t continue.

Immediately after his ACU unleashed its powerful main gun for a second time, Leython ordered it to activate its teleporting module. By the time the command unit would be gone, the Monkeylords would have turned their guns towards Leython’s location and commenced firing.

“Strategic missiles, coming for my ACU. Did QAI really think it could deal with me in such a manner?”
“What do you mean? Did he use those in the hope of destroying you? The Monkeylords would’ve done that job.”
“Not because it knows I’ve got a teleport upgrade. I’m gone before the Monkeylords turned around far enough to fire at me. But then...” Started Leython. He didn’t understand why the strategic missiles were fired. He could see them coming more than fifteen seconds before they arrived.

“You can see the missiles in time, but QAI can probably adjust the course of his missiles?” Asked Eric, he finally saw the end of the seemingly endless stream of units that breached his base defences.

“Yes but that isn’t useful with my teleporting upgrade. I could be at the other side of the planet.” Answered Leython, now safely back in his base. The Monkeylords had fired at him with their laser for a second, melting his ACU’s armour away faster than anyone would deem safe, but he was still alive. “I believe that QAI didn’t know about my new upgrade yet.”

“Regardless, we’ve got rid of his Spiderbots now.” Said Eric. “Wait, shouldn’t those nukes have exploded already?”
“The missiles need a very powerful detonation trigger to explode. They normally do blow up if they reach their target but QAI has cancelled it, like we can too, if the missile is under our control.”
“Oh, can we? I really have to pay more attention.” Said Eric, now destroying the last of the enemy units. He put his own ACU on the line and used several Overcharged shots to take out more than one Cybran assault bot at the same time.

“We can’t trigger those weapons by firing some artillery shells, could we?”
“No, that would only destroy the bomb, not trigger it’s detonation. It might have worked with the first atomic bombs humanity knew, but not anymore. The current triggers are much better designed. It’s really sophisticated nowadays.”

“Ok, that’ll not work, can you beat the Monkeylords in the conventional way?” Asked Eric.
Before he got an answer, Leython’s mobile artillery fired a folly of shells, targeting the enemy experimental units. As nine more strategic missiles were shot out of the air by Leython’s defensive arsenal, the Monkeylords were hit by almost one hundred highly explosive rounds.

Having targeted the damaged experimental unit, Leython knew that the first one had to go down soon and he wasn’t disappointed. The second wave of grenades made one Monkeylord collapse and explode.

“That’ll give us some mass.” Said Leython. “Now we have to find a use for it.”
“I’d say it’s time to build up a massive assault force and attack some enemies.”
“Yes, but attacking a base now, when facing nine to one odds, including enemy nukes, is suicide for our units. It’s a complete waste. We need spy planes, a lot of them. An enormous lot.”

“We’ve got to destroy his omni sensors. He may not be creative, but he responds sooner to a detected threat than any living being does.”
“Our assault will be the best example of creativity, it will be QAI’s downfall. He will lose two ACUs within the oncoming ten minutes.”

Two Monkeylords lost. The main tier three army lost. QAI worked on a new army even before its first one attacked but the artificial intelligence understood it couldn’t break through. Dygonn’s strategy was powerful enough to keep the Cybran forces away. The time QAI estimated it needed to overwhelm Dygonn’s strategic missile defences was too much as well. They now had long enough to retreat.

At this rate, QAIs victory was no longer certain. It required a new strategy. Dygonn was adapting excellently. He learned from scenario’s that he didn’t even experience in person and already found the counter of anything the Seraphim creation could throw at him. A vast mass of units could do the trick, but it just took too long.

QAI compiled new data every fraction of a second. Vast quantities of options were all checked but discarded. Dygonn would see it through. The lack of good options would infuriate any human, but QAI did not allow any of its processes to simulate the emotion that humans would call ‘disappointment’. All of its power was used to create a strategy that worked. A tactic that was capable of destroying Dygonn.

Then, it finally got the answer. New algorithms were uploaded into the ACUs on Sethis. QAI upgraded itself with new algorithms as well, so that if the new strategy would not work, the artificial intelligence had the next step prepared.

“They’re constructing teleportation modules. QAI’s got a new plan and I know what it is. We’ve got to get out of here with our ACUs!” Said Leython, after one of Eric’s spy planes made it all the way through in the enemy base.
“Roger that. I know what you mean. Those ACUs don’t have pilots, right?” Answered Eric and he discarded his construction drone backpack, redistributed his resources and five seconds later, his ACU had a new upgrade.

“Where are we going?”
“We’re going to set up shop behind enemy lines. Far behind enemy lines. We’ll see if we can destroy some of those ACU’s that merely support the ones at the front. Destroying those will not instantly help us out of trouble. We’ll have to survive the first ten minutes of fighting after the ACUs and their bases are down. Their economy is still represented in the army that’s left.”

“I understand, but now’s the question of how we’re going to get close enough to them without being noticed.”
“We’ll have to find out where QAI’s constructed its tier three radar towers. We can’t get anywhere close. We’ll have to be outside of the conventional radar’s range.”
“Those will just be in the bases, won’t they?” Asked Eric, he saw QAI’s intel equipment in the middle of the well fortified bases, so why would the artificial intelligence consider a badly protected location?

“No, it realised that those places are unsafe, so it’s built at random places in the field as well. There’s no chance of guessing when we’re not inside of the sensor range.” Answered Leython, basing QAI’s new strategy on his own. Situating a sensor in a base was a sound thought, but the seemingly flawed idea of constructing one in the middle of an open field, only concealed by a stealth generator was very smart.

“We’ll just have to be as far away from the bases as possible and then look for the best spot.” Said the UEF commander, understanding Leython’s reasoning.
“Absolutely true, Eric.”

No sooner had the two agreed on their new approach on the battle, or QAI sent another wave of spy planes to scout their bases. Leython and Eric immediately activated their teleport upgrades at the moment they were sure that QAI’s live intel was gone by the destruction of these Spooks. Their target was an unimportant zone where they could build a secret base, or so they hoped.

Before they were gone, two of QAI’s drones appeared in front of Leython’s ACU. Leython heard the air shriek and saw his artillery turn their guns. While he, again, quickly ordered all of his Trebuchets to hold their fire, to prevent himself from blowing his own base up, the two microwave lasers activated and hit his own command unit.

He could not even hope to survive for more than two seconds but it was too late. With fifty per cent of his armour left, he felt the nauseating effects of a successful teleportation. Because his ACU had weaker armour than Eric’s, he was sure that his ally made it through as well.

“What was that? I don’t feel well.” Said a weak voice, Leython suddenly remembered they still had a four year old girl in their battle. A four year old girl who would probably be traumatized beyond help by the death of her mother and the battle that followed shortly afterwards which still endured. This teleportation and the many that were to follow would not help her cause.

“We just teleported. It feels funny, doesn’t it?” Said Eric kindly, while Leython constructed an omni sensor.
“It makes me feel sick. I hope I don’t have to throw up.”
“I’ve got to have these sickness pills somewhere...” Started Eric, but Leython cut him off immediately when the two commanders finished the construction of one omni sensor.
“No time Eric, we’ve got to go again. QAI’s got a sensor very close to us. We’ve got to go.”

Ten seconds later, they were gone again.
“I really don’t feel good.” Said the girl. Eric wanted to calm her down, but Leython didn’t let him to:
“We’ve got to keep moving. We totally forgot to think about him having the sensors concealed by stealth generators, like I have. We’ve got to get out of here.”

Eric obeyed reluctantly and continued searching for his cure against nausea, but faced another problem when he found it.
“I can’t give these to you, it’s not good for anyone under the age of eight.” Said the UEF commander shortly after they teleported again. “Leython, we need a better plan of action.”

Another drawback. Dygonn’s ACU disappeared a second before it would be destroyed. QAI immediately noticed that they arrived in behind its own lines. They were going to play a game of agility. Whoever was the best would win. Dygonn only had to shut down QAI’s radar towers and the human commander would be able to build a base at his leisure.

A second base, backed up with stealth would prove devastating. Especially near the bases that were supposed to give nothing but economical support.
The command units that the Quantum AI had sent to destroy Dygonn and his ally, were called back immediately. Their destruction was only worth it if the human commanders would go with the nuclear explosion.

QAI immediately distributed enough energy to the assassins so that those could make it back but the Eric Temera was too fast. While the UEF ACU still stood in its base, its owner gave all of his titans the order to attack one of the ACUs. Five seconds later, the Cybran command unit was pounded from all sides. Two seconds later, the teleportation module overloaded and exploded, causing the command unit’s core to rupture and explode as well.

Luckily, QAI had transferred the four bases before any of the command units made their jump to the enemy ACUs, but the loss of one of its own was another setback, another step closer to defeat.

QAI launched some extra missiles, now at the new location of its adversaries. Before the nukes reached orbit, the UEF and Cybran command unit were gone. QAI immediately gave the missiles a new target but was certain that it would be of no use. Dygonn would be able to evade the weapons.

Therefore, the artificial intelligence searched for a new target. One of its spy planes had just found a lone omni sensor. Humans would feel surprise at this moment, so indicated QAI’s vast database, as it was certain that it had destroyed all of Dygonn’s omni sensors near his base and in the vicinity of the front lines. The Quantum AI had its response ready though.

One strategic missile had its new target, the tier three Olympus tower. Within moments, another missile was given a new flight trajectory as well. The two destroyed Monkeylords were about to be vaporized completely. QAI had found the exact location to make the missile arrive and detonate close enough to the experimental Spiderbots, while it was not within an SMD’s range.

“Strategic launch detected.” Leython heard it over and over again. Teleporting from one end of the battlefield to the other, not knowing where the next strategic missile would strike.

“It’s really hard to tell whether I should ignore that or not. I have no idea what QAI’s doing and it really hurts my efficiency.” He said.
“I’m just building units.” Answered Eric, he was in his base again. Luckily, the little girl felt a bit better now, resisting the urge to vomit all over Eric’s instruments. “What’s the plan with it, Leython?”

“Keep them in your base. Build fatboys. We’re going to need those. Those are the only UEF weapons on the ground that can keep a full scale army at bay.”

“Ok. How are we going to attack now?”
“We’ll stick to the plan. We just have to find out where QAI’s got his omni sensors and then we can plan a course.” Answered Leython.
“We can’t sit here indefinitely, you know that, don’t you?” Asked Eric, urging Leython to work as efficiently as possible.

“I know, QAI still has four times the mass as we’ve got, if we’re lucky. We still only have access to what’s behind our lines, the locations of the first two ACUs we destroyed are still inaccessible and we can count on that computer that it’s claimed the base of the third ACU we killed. The fourth base is still operational. He’ll be sending more units to us eventually. We’ll have to reclaim the mass of those units in order to keep up with him. Even then, it’ll be hard.”

“Do you have any idea why he’s not sending in more units now?”
“He’s building strategic bombers, in the hope of destroying me. I’m going to discard my teleportation module and revert to the stealth generator, move away and then build another omni sensor.”

“That’s too dangerous! If it finds you...” Eric couldn’t continue, but he didn’t have to. Leython knew all too well what would happen if QAI found him.
“I know that as well. It’ll be a huge gambit because QAI has finally become a bit efficient. That’s why I’m going to start with it right away. Stay in your own base at all costs. As soon as I get detected, you’re going to have to send your forces in with air transports. Use tier two gunships do draw attention of its Gemini fighters and then use your land force to attack one of the enemy bases.”

“Should that give you the opportunity to get away safely?” Asked Eric, uncertain about a good result.

Chapter 6 - Twelve to Two

Door Plasma_Wolf op zaterdag 18 september 2010 11:00 - Reacties (2)
Categorie: 5: War Comes Home, Views: 1.754

Even before Marisa left Earth, Leython and Eric were already fighting QAI, knowing more about their new enemies than many others in the universe.
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.