The Hagane is on the open sea now, setting course for Hachijo Island, and surprisingly not being attacked by any additional enemies. Tetsuya is also surprised things are so quiet, but doesn't pay it too much mind. Regardless of their current safety, Daitetsu suggests using the Hagane's submergence function from here on so that they'll stay safe. The Hagane, being designed as regular ship, submarine and spaceship in one, can dive much deeper than DC subs and so they'll be able to travel without the enemy even being able to reach them. Unless they use a deep submergence rescue vehicle, notes Eita, though that detail is hardly relevant here. At last they reach sufficiently deep water, and they begin their descent.
The whole crew is informed of this, but Giado amazingly manages to miss the announcement because he was listening to his music again. Oh well, not likely he was planning to go out for a walk any time soon. In order to divert attention away from this feat of non-observation, he starts a conversation with Ryusei about the ship. Ryusei, meanwhile, is still worrying how to get Kusuha off the ship as soon as possible. Once again, it's a nice gesture, but it almost seems like he's obsessively up in other people's business. Giado asks him what's wrong, and isn't taking "I'm fine" for an answer. He figures that perhaps he'll be able to help with whatever problem Ryusei's got.
GARNET: If it's about a girl, he won't be able to help. He only knows a bunch of cheesy pick-up lines.
GIADO: Ya didn't think dey was cheesy last night!
As usual, more crass humor from these two. At this moment, Kusuha enters the room to deliver some medicine to Aya from dr. Kobayashi, Aya's father. Ryusei and Kusuha briefly acknowledge each other's presence, and before this conversation turns really awkward, Ryusei leaves for the hangar. Confusion among the other characters all around, along with speculation about the exact relation between the two. Kusuha, seems vaguely disappointed at his reaction, but doesn't say anything otherwise.
Back on the bridge, Tetsuya reports that they have reached their intended depth, and Rio confirms there's still no sign of enemies on the radar. Daitetsu still tells his crew to keep their guard up since they're in battle station 3, even if they're not currently in danger. Either Daitetsu has very good intuition, or it's just his experience speaking: no sooner has he said this, or Rio reports six incoming torpedoes on sonar. Turns out enemy subs CAN reach this depth, even if the Hagane crew was expecting otherwise. Given that the enemy cranks out prototypes using mysterious alien technology on a daily basis, this is not entirely unexpected. The crew don't waste time pondering this matter, and start their counterattack in the blink of an eye. While taking evasive maneuvers, the ship fires its own torpedoes, taking out five of theirs. The last one connects, though, and knocks out the Tesla Drive that keeps the ship from sinking.
A group of enemies now appears on radar, and it becomes obvious that this was an ambush. The ship can't launch its P Ts
at this depth, and Daitetsu figures the best thing to do in this situation is to make a break for it. In particular, combat is to be avoided because they can't receive supplies at the moment. If we want the Battle Mastery for this map, however, combat is the only option we have.
As stated, we can't use any of our P Ts
this time around, and obviously it's a complete water map
. If I wasn't interested in the BM, the victory objective here would simply be to reach the bottom of the map, but as it is I'll have to take out those five subs in five turns. Seems difficult at first glance, but it's probably one of the easiest maps there is given the straightforward tactics. At any rate, it's quite a brief map. The Hagane has great attack/defense, and the Divine Crusaders make some surprisingly crappy subs.
Each of them goes down in about three hits, their torpedoes do about 800 damage each (the Hagane has 12000), and that's not counting the spirit commands Daitetsu and Tetsuya have at their disposal. Focus isn't going to do much good since a battleship practically has no dodging capability anyway, so we'll mostly be using Guard and Trust. Guard (one of Daitetsu's abilities) causes damage to be reduced to 25% for 1 turn, and I can use it twice with my current amount of SP. Trust (one of Tetsuya's abilities) heals 2000 HP, and I can use it twice. Another option would be to have Daitetsu use Guts (full HP restore) once, but I generally use Guard to keep my HP up.
On the first turn, I move towards the group of four as fast as I can, while launching a torpedo to the one on the side. Torpedoes have an eight-square attack range and can be used after moving, so they're good for a quick attack while passing by an enemy. Both our hit rates are 100%, which is is kind of to be expected when you're doing ship-to-ship combat. In contrast to their subs, however, the Hagane has energy shields, thanks to which I occasionally receive a whopping 0 damage.
On the second turn, we get a conversation between Ryusei and Irm. Ryusei's wondering why they can't go out there and fight, but Irm helpfully explains that the pressure at this depth would destroy a PT within a second. The crew is trying to fix the Tesla Drive without much success, and the ship is quickly sinking to the bottom of the ocean. Tetsuya has the ship run its engines at full blast now just to keep the ship level, but this'll only work for about 4 minutes (turns) before they start sinking again. Seeing no other way to return to the surface, Daitetsu issues a highly unconventional order: activate the ship's overboost, which is only to be used to launch the ship into space. Normally not an advisable course of action, but this is an emergency.
Can't do much on this turn except get closer to the group of subs. They don't do anything yet, and only the single sub on the left is attacking me. Same as before, I think off a good chunk of his health on the counterattack. On turn 3, I use Guard and position myself smack-dab in the middle of the group, launching a torpedo at one of them. The subs barely do any damage at all now, and during my counterattack phase I get to deal massive damage with the ship's Impact Cannon because I haven't moved. Eventually my Impact Cannon is depleted so I'll have to switch to the weaker Sub Gun, but I still manage to finish them all off at the end of the 5th turn. Battle Mastery earned, and the Hagane automatically proceeds to the surfacing point. When they reach the surface, they decide to head to South Bird Island for now, repairing the Tesla Drive along the way.
Now that the mission is over, more idle character dialogue. Garnet asks Kusuha if she and Ryusei are childhood friends, and whether she "likes" him. Kusuha confirms the former, but on the latter she notes that it's not like that. Not because Kusuha dislikes him or anything, it's more than Ryusei doesn't seem particularly interested in her, since up to this point he's only been drooling over giant robots rather than anything remotely human. I think that even if he was interested in her, she'd just have a really nerdy boyfriend. Her main concern, however, is that it's really hard to talk to him nowadays because their interests clearly don't overlap. Garnet says she has a plan to help Kusuha, though she doesn't reveal what it is. As we all know, unspoken plans are the best plans
, so I suppose Kusuha can trust her on this one.
At the same time, Ryusei is in the hangar with Irm and Rob. Irm has just finished inspecting his old mech, the Huckebein 009. He piloted this one when he was part of the now-disbanded PTX team, which seems to be a predecessor of the SRX team. There were three of these Huckebeins back then: the 008L, the 008R and 009. Irm likes the 009, though still not as much as the 008 mechs, which had a completely different engine. Even though they had good performance, they were powered by experimental and highly dangerous Blackhole Engines.
RYUSEI: Blackhole Engines...those sound dangerous...
IRM: It was...the Blackhole Engine in the 008R went berserk and blew up the base! The only survivors were me, Dr. Hamill...and Rai.
Not wanting to try that again, they've since abandoned the Blackhole Engine idea. Rai lost his left hand in this accident, but being the person he is, he never tells anyone about this. So if for some reason you were still wondering why he constantly wears one glove, there it is. Also, since Irm likes the 009 that much, he says he'll be piloting it in the next battle. Thus, the game automatically assigns him to this new unit, and Latooni is automatically assigned to his old Gespenst Mk II M. While there's a lot of room to shuffle pilots between mechs, sometimes pilot/mech combinations will be locked either for a mission or by default. Sometimes this is necessary for an upcoming story point, but it regularly happens that a mech can canonically only be piloted by one person.
Since I know already that Latooni isn't going to get a better mech, I pour whatever money I've amassed so far into upgrading her mech's mobility
. With her evasion stats, she'll remain pretty much unstoppable throughout the game.