The Hagane's so close to Aidoneus now that Adler and Elzam are worrying they won't be able to attack it anymore if it gets any closer, and they're calling on Bian to let them attack it once again. Which didn't work the first few times, but at least I admire their persistence. Bian allows it, though: he orders Elzam to attack, using the elite unit known as the Last Battalion, with the purpose of leading the Hagane to Bian. Adler doesn't understand one bit of this decision, but his worries seem to ease a bit as Bian orders him to fortify the island for the Hagane's arrival. This includes readying the third ship*
, which pleases him greatly.
While the DC is preparing its final defense, the Hagane crew is working out its invasion plan, which turns out to have a very low chance of success even if it works at all. I wouldn't say the protagonists have reason to worry though, given that the odds haven't been much better during this journey. Masaki even gets to respond with the rather cheesy "at least it's not 0%" line. The actual plan, while risky, actually sounds like a fairly simple job, the way Tetsuya describes it.
TETSUYA: First, we'll submerge to a suitable depth and infiltrate the waters off the Marquesas Islands. Then, we'll resurface before reaching Elysium Bay, and destroy the enemy fortress with the Tronium Cannon!
It is explained that the Tronium Cannon is the giant cannon on the bow of the ship, which is powered by a rare metal (Tronium)
that was extracted from Meteor 3 years ago. The reason it was never used before is that it's still a very unstable weapon, and a meltdown would destroy everything within a 10km radius. For that reason, it's mostly used to intimidate enemies, and can be used to detonate the ship if necessary.
I do hope this stuff doesn't produce any sort of fallout, but they're probably not worrying about that by the time they use it.
The strange thing about this, as Masaki notes, is that Bian was the one that originally found the Tronium samples and could've kept them for himself. Instead, most of them were given to the EFA and Mao Industries. Seems like people on the DC's side just love giving themselves a challenge. At any rate, this plan had better work, or the PTs will have to destroy the base manually.
IRM: So, we'll have to take on the Valsion AND the Granzon...? We could sure use some more firepower...
Unfortunately, we'll be getting none of that. An update on the status of the R-Series mechs reveals that the R-1 and R-3 still don't work properly, and the R-2 won't even start. They're also working on a miniaturized Tronium energy controller for the R-2, though, so that's causing additional delays. It's gonna be awesome when it works, though.
The female characters are concerning themselves with less weighty matters, as most of them are helping Kusuha make lunch for the rest of the crew. Latooni considers it an important task though, given that the crew will need lots of energy for the coming battles. Garnet joins in to help, and tells Kusuha that she can go bring Ryusei his lunch, since she figures that's why Kusuha's doing this in the first place
. Kusuha denies it, of course, but nobody's buying it. She makes it all too obvious.
In the hangar, Ryoto is helping Rob design a miniaturized Tesla Drive based on the Lion's design. Apparently, Ryoto is not only a pilot, he's also got engineering talent, and so Rob invites Ryoto to study PT engineering under him. Ryoto accepts, and the finished design is sent to the technicians for production. Ryusei now wanders in, wanting to know if the R-1 is done yet. Big surprise, it isn't. They were lucky it worked last time, but the T-Link system is still not working and Rob refuses to let Ryusei pilot an unstable mech.
Kusuha comes in and hands Ryusei his lunch, for which he thanks her, while throwing in a little jab at Aya's cooking skills. She is, naturally, standing right behind him, though she doesn't make too much of a fuss about it. They all go their merry way, while Kusuha's still unable to ask the question
that's been burning in her mind: whether he just thinks of her as a friend or something more. I'm going for the first one, since he hasn't shown romantic interest in anything that didn't have an engine.
Now that all preparations have been made, the Hagane submerges, ready to begin its assault. The DC troops are ready as well, lying in wait for the Hagane while using radar jammers to avoid early detection. Elzam and Tempest chat a bit about their time as members of the Aggressors, but Tempest is just trying to forget about all that as soon as possible.
TEMPEST: My memories of the Aggressors bring me only pain. I joined the EFA to help them develop PT maneuvers, and they thanked me by killing my family...
ELZAM: My condolences, Major...but the revenge you seek will only lead to your destruction...
TEMPEST: I know no other way to be...unlike you, I can't forget the death of my wife.
Ow, that's a low blow. Which Tempest quickly realizes, as he instantly apologizes for that line. Elzam accepts the apology, and turns his attention to the newly-arrived Hagane. All units deactivate their jammers, making the Hagane crew very worried for a moment when they figure they've run into an ambush. Ryoto identifies them as Bian's guards, the Last Battalion, which makes Aya very worried and Irm very amused.
IRM: The Last Battalion? That's a terrible name...
Daitetsu is unfazed as usual and orders all PTs to intercept the enemies, which is probably their only option at this point anyway. In better news, Rob reports that they've finished miniaturizing the Tesla Drive, and I get one to equip on a unit before I go into combat. Ryusei, unfortunately, is nowhere to be found as he's probably intending to take the R-1 anyway. Ingram is oddly okay with this situation, as he wants to see what Ryusei is capable of.
I equip Ingram's Wildschwein with the Tesla Drive and let everyone deploy, and I'm told my objective for this map: the Hagane intends to break through and reach the bottom of the map within 6 turns. Same map as always, by the way.
Now, I could just send the Hagane to the bottom as quickly as possible, but I intend to kill as many of these guys as possible within 6 turns for the money and experience they bring. As such, I don't have much special tactics planned beyond one big charge into their ranks and letting the Hagane through. The biggest threat on the field may be Elzam, but I have no intention of bothering with him right now, and he seems entirely focused on attacking Rai anyway. As long as Rai keeps him busy, all is well.
Best units first, as always, reducing their HP as far as possible. Each of them has 7500 HP and good attack stats, so they're all reasonably tough. The Hagane goes straight through the center with Guard on and a fully charged energy meter for maximum Impact Cannon goodness. Their attacks are quite something, though: even something like Irm's Grungust takes a good 600 damage a hit from their railguns. As such, I may have been overly enthusiastic in my initial charge, as Garnet and Giado once again attract bullets like they're giant magnets. I try to keep them out of battle but the enemies now smell an easy kill and both of them go down after two turns. I probably would have been more prudent, if I hadn't been in such a rush to beat them. Oh well.
Interestingly, the first time that Elzam attacks Rai, it produces a brief conversation between them about their respective attitudes and motivations. Rai notices Elzam never seriously attacked the Hagane, and it's not because he fears a possible Tronium explosion. Elzam remains mysterious as always, leading to Rai accusing him of being a smug bastard.
RAI: You always look down on people. You have no respect for them! You do whatever it takes to achieve your goal! That's why you sacrificed your wife Cattleya in the Elpis Incident!
Really, does everyone need to bring that up? It's like they're all trying to offend him with that one. Elzam isn't taking the bait, though, and simply responds that on the battlefield, a soldier must disregard his personal feelings. He claims this is the only way to victory, but at this point Rai has had enough of him and just attacks him.
By now, all the enemies have tightly swarmed around my troops, but luckily Masaki has finally built up enough Will to use Cyflash. In one giant circular blast, I take about 1500HP away from all of them. The battle's picking up speed now that my units are capable of using most of their moves, and I've already taken a few units down. I've managed to carve a path through the center of the group, and the Hagane bursts forward, firing at whoever attempts to stop it. It's got tons of HP and Guard though, so it's not really in any danger of being sunk. Rio isn't so lucky, as she's an easy target for them, and thus draws most of their attention. Dammit, that's three units down, I'm doing pretty badly this time. Well, they were all Gespensts, but still.
While the turns pass, Ryusei is pleading with Rob to let him use the R-1. Rob will initially have none of it, but eventually relents as he decides he will trust Ryusei on this one. He's still concerned about Ryusei potentially getting killed by piloting an untested machine, though.
On the next turn, the Hagane has almost reached the bottom of the map...causing Tempest and more enemies to suddenly appear! He had been waiting for the Hagane, and even though his orders are not to sink it, he sees this as a perfect chance to get his revenge on the EFA. He hits the Hagane with a Sonic Breaker
, instantly knocking off most of its health. He charges at it once more, but at the last moment the Hagane is saved by Ryusei.
To everyone's shock and awe, the R-1 has finally entered combat, although Ryusei notices the reaction time is still too slow to use it properly. Tempest just incredulously wonders why Ryusei is fighting if he's at such a disadvantage, which leads to another dialogue about motivations. He claims that as an EFA soldier, Ryusei is not really fighting for a cause, compared to the DC who are trying to save the Earth. Tempest's primary motivation, however, is still fighting the EFA for what happened during the Hope Incident that killed his family.
RYUSEI: So, this is revenge, then!
TEMPEST: Yes. And since you lack courage and are not fighting for a cause, you'll never defeat me! Especially since you don't even know the difference between a video game and an actual war!
RYUSEI: I have courage! And I AM fighting for a cause! I fight to protect my loved ones from people like you!
[BGM Change - Everywhere You Go
Ryusei's theme kicks in, and we get to kick this guy's ass with a host of new attacks. The R-1's T-Link Knuckle
easily eats thousands of HP off his health, and its custom G-Revolver
is excellent for picking off the extra mooks. The mooks, for that matter, can't even harm Ryusei with most of their weapons as the R-1's energy field deflects them. Time is running out, though, and if I want the Battle Mastery for this map I have to beat this guy before I go.
I divert some of my strongest units away from fighting the main force in order to get this guy's health down in time, once again positioning Rai on the island near the bottom. It takes a few turns, but eventually I've got him down to critical health with time to spare. I would've liked to spend another turn and let Ryusei finish him, but he had already taken a severe hit and I wasn't going to risk losing another unit over this. Instead I just let Latooni finish him
, which surprisingly also resulted in a nice bit of dialogue. He wonders how he could have been defeated by a child, and she talks about how vengeance can't bring back the dead. Tempest goes down, still sputtering on about how he will avenge them, and I get my Battle Mastery and a Bio Sensor.
LATOONI: ..... How sad...he's trapped in the past...like I am...
My, we even get a bit of characterization out of it. Technically, I can just escape now, but I decide to stick around and kill as many of them as I can before it's time to leave. In the end, one LB soldier is left with critical health, along with Elzam. Could've had that last one as well, but my haul for this mission is more than sufficient, even given the 10500 in unit repair costs. Now that I have loads of money, I dump most of it into maxing out my shiny new R-1's mobility and energy capacity, still leaving me with about 60000 unspent. I also give it the Bio Sensor, which adds another 20 to its mobility. This is Ryusei's ultimate unit for this game, so any upgrade to it is money well spent.