Saturday, October 7, 2017

Factorio AAR part 3

5th Log Entry:

The walls are made, but there's a decision to make on where to put them. More space to cover doesn't increase the amount of biters I have to deal with, but getting to and from the edges takes time, and I'm on the clock. Also, lazy. Running sucks. I could build the wall out to cover what I've already built and slowly creep outwards, but I think it best to grab the area I want now before the biters get to it first. They've been steadily encroaching, their expansion fueled by the smog I've been spewing. Because they can't swim and all the good resource patches are near the water, I elect to set the wall between the lakes to the east and west.

Iron, more precious to me than gold right now. And in biter territory. If I want it, I'll have to clear their spawners from the area and push them back. The biters aren't truly active yet so this should be straightforward. I establish a line of turrets and move forward. The turrets behind support the ones in front. The biters are fiercely protective of their bases, but aren't communal. Far away bases won't assist, and once these ones are down it'll be the same as before, except I've got more territory and a wall.

The carnage is both sweet and painful. Quite painful, really. If you ever find yourself on the planet make sure to check out the local fish. They're good pain relievers, and like all meat will heal wounds quickly by eating. Mmm, tasty.

Biters not scaring you if they're so easily killed you think? After all I'm already destroying their bases and taking territory. Can't be too dangerous? Then you've forgotten that they evolve. No sooner did I get the wall up and turreted that the biters evolved two new forms.

The new red biters are tougher, stronger, and all around meaner. Takes a lot of my current bullets to take just one down, much less a swarm. Better bullets is on my ever growing list of things I want to build. Copper jacketed steel rounds should do well against the new armored biters.

The other form is weaker and less armored, but able to spew acid from afar. Even works over my fancy new wall. How rude. Easy to kill, but hard to prevent damage from them, so they'll wear my turrets and walls down.

Frustrating. All I want to do is build and get off this planet. Not spend time killing biters and getting hurt. What a waste.

[Dan speaking: Quick belt tutorialish thing:
So, belts. You've probably seen them already, they move items on the ground forward, so I can get items from point a to point b. Simple and straightforward. But if you want to take advantage of what they can do and really get a well designed base, there's other things you want to keep in mind.

Each belt has two sides that don't mix. Inserters will only move items onto the far side of the belt, and if a belt is pointed into another belt, it will only spill items onto one side. If you keep track of which items are on which sides, you're able to do things like improve throughput by ensuring both sides are used or to have two sets of items on the same belt.

Good example of this are my furnace lines. The line on the left has ore+coal, in between is a furnace that needs ore and coal to produce plates, and outputs those plates onto a belt, with a similar setup mirrored on the other side. Beauty of the setup is that if I were to have two sides of ore and another line of coal, I'd need to change the belt setup anyway, as they only place onto one side. There are other designs for later, but this one makes for a great early game setup as it's cheap and works well with the starter buildings.

As well, there are splitters. You can see them here along with the underground belts (that do what the name implies). Splitters work both to split a belt into two belts or two merge two belts. They've got two input belts and two output belts, and take and give as equally as possible. This setup here is a balancer, and works roughly to take each input lane and output it as evenly as possible.

And here's a more zoomed in image of the belt lines in the main section of the base. Belts go horizontally, split off by splitters for factories above. Crossing is handled by having some go underground.

If anyone has questions, feel free to ask!]

Factorio AAR Part 2

3rd Log Entry:

We've got visitors! The others made fun of me not liking the dark, but then we end up with biters at night. Really glad I grabbed that survival pistol.

Biters - an ecoterrorist's crazy construction. How do you stop humans from despoiling new planets without breaking the bank? You bioengineer a species that grows with pollution and is incredibly violent towards that growth source. No pollution and they have a minimal presence. Start polluting and they grow to terrific sizes and can overwhelm an unprepared settlement. All it takes is a few spores and the planet's safe from harm. Quite genius. They're why the space-engineering course came with a mandatory military course. Combined with aim assist and I can make a shot between furnaces and drills and only hit my target.

The guys in the ship get all proud when they make a head shot in Halo 27, by comparison.

But why do all the work myself when I can automate the killing? Next on the research list: turrets. As soon as I mass produce research, at least. The clock is ticking.

Doesn't take long for the biters to wreak destruction. The next night they target my road production again, but do a much better job. Production will be stalled until I can do heavier repairs. The turrets must take priority. Then lights. This flashlight ain't cutting it.

[Dan here, here's some more base pictures:]

This is my first time putting down bricks to speed things up and I'm really liking them. Especially with that long trek down to the boilers/iron ore and back. Things are looking good though, mass production is really starting and I'm enjoying not being resource starved.

Factorio AAR Part 1

Hello! I started this Factorio (steam link) AAR a few weeks ago and posted it on a gaming forum that I frequent. Given that the forum itself is behind a registration block, I'm reposting the content here. The nature of the reposting and this site's somewhat lackluster formatting options means that some of it may feel a little out of whack. Still, shouldn't need more than a little leeway for the read to still be enjoyable.

To explain the format a little, an AAR (stands for After Action Report) where the writer plays the game and effectively narrates what happens from the perspective of the ingame persona. The narration uses both pictures and the written word to tell what is hopefully a good story.

If anyone is interested too, feel free to message me if you want to hop in and play with me. The multiplayer experience with this game is quite good, and I heartedly recommend people give it a go. There's plenty to do, even if you're completely new to the game, and I can give a decent tutorial if you're interested. It even has a demo version if you're on the fence about buying!

I've got two mods for this run. Resource Spawner Overhaul (RSO) to spread out resources and make for a better looking map, and Space Extension (SpaceX) that extends the end game a bit so I have time to play with all the fancy end stuff while still having a meaningful goal.

As well, I'm playing on the "deathworld" setting. Enemies are more plentiful, power up quicker, and are more of a pain. In addition, everything is more expensive, and research takes 4 times as much time and resources. Essentially though, it's the same game as normal, but a little stretched out.

I hope anyone that reads this enjoys! It's been fun to make so far, and I'd love to know that others enjoyed reading too.

1st Log Entry:
That lake wasn't quite so big before we got here
Well, that was unexpected. I take a quick nap and find that we've crashed down on a planet the ship's log has named "Nauvis". Everyone else was content to sit back and play video games while we waited for rescue, but not me. "It's crazy for one person to build an FTL ship" they said. I'll show them! How hard can it be? I've got my trusty engineering suit, some scrap metal from the ship, and a condensed copy of space-wikipedia. I've got this nooooo problem.
First step is to get production started and the electricity running. I'd prefer not to be alone out here in the dark and I'll need the soothing glow of molten metal to get a good night's sleep.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

XCOM 2 AAR - We're on fire!

It's guerrilla ops time! Same mission as last op; aliens have an unsecured terminal up. Go in, grab the data we need before they lock us out, and make sure all hostiles in the immediate area are eliminated. The battlefield today is a small town out in the suburbs, with a large group of aliens on one side of a small bookstore, and us on the other. I hope he has insurance, because that store isn't going to survive the fight.

The team sets up, hidden from the alien squad, and Lovenought begins the ambush with a cute little trick on his modified GREMLIN: set off a large discharge, potentially stunning and damaging any foes within reach of the blast.

That little machine is a beast. The uninjured soldier rushes towards us and is met with a rather unhealthy sight:

Boom! Headshot! Gedierond gets a kill with his first shot.  Culise takes up a forward position and grenades the wounded trio, killing the trooper and viper, leaving the archon disoriented and horribly wounded. Susanne is forced to retreat from the roof by a surprisingly nimble heavy MEC bearing down on her.  The aliens aren't able to do much besides fire suppression fire down on the newbie. We're that well setup. Hyme can't get a good shot from her position, so instead opts for a grenade on the MEC to damage and distract it.

Whatever this shop was selling, it's clearly out of business now. Susanne gets her revenge on the poor MEC with a burst from her cannon, finishing it off. Lovenought misses his shot on the disoriented archon, but Gedierond lands his second shot for a second kill. That's the first group down. Next to destroy is the restaurant holding our target. Susanne spots the next patrol, two sectoids and an andromedon having tea or something. Culise blows out the side of the restaurant with an acid grenade, shredding the armor off the andromedon and exploding the gas tank injuring him further.

But the hulking thing is far from dead and manages a brutal bunch on his aggressor. Her anger and pain prevent the first sectoid from messing with her mind, and the second does his ol resurrection parlor trick. Fires everywhere, Hyme lands a quick pistol shot on the andromedon, killing the alien but leaving the suit still intact. Gedierond lands a grenade on the nearby sectoid, destroying the rock it was using for cover. Gaius fires two shots into the andromedon, but fails to kill it. Hyme finishes it off with her rifle, then kills the wounded sectoid with her pistol, which also ends the puppeted soldier. The last sectoid is held down with suppressive fire from Susanne, giving Culise a chance to outflank and kill it.

A squad of reinforcements comes to try and salvage the situation, but we've already gotten our information with a rough hack from Gedierond. The elite trooper drops down and is immediately killed by Susanne and Hyme. The accompanying shieldbearer drops from Lovenought and Gedierond's combined fire, leaving only an unwounded heavy MEC to contend with. Lovenought has it handled though and easily executes the machine. All that's left is to find the last remaining patrol and deal with them. Preferably without taking any damage from the numerous fires we've started. Or the fumes of deadly acid we dropped that are currently eating through the roof of the restaurant.

Gaius's stealthy movements let her spot the new patrol undetected. Two soldiers and an archon, taking a stroll through the nearby woods. Apparently not understanding that the smoke and fire in the distance means they should probably be helping.

Susanne enlightens them as to why they should have helped by firing her rocket from a far-off defensive position. (And starts a forest fire). Lovenought easily handles the soldier on the left, while Gedierond gets his first miss of the day firing on the archon, missing and setting the fridge on fire. Culise makes his shot though and brings it down. Susanne seems angry, using a strong grenade to obliterate the last soldier.

I have a feeling Smoky the bear would be very ashamed of us right now, if he weren't already dead from the alien invasion. Sixteen aliens dead and a town and forest on fire, we head home for the day.

Back at base, life is boring. The science team is still waiting for enough supplies to start researching the psionic gate we brought back, or for additional corpses to carve up. Shen lacks the resources to use our new weapons tech to build weapons for the team, but does manage to construct a new suit of armor from the leftover bits and pieces we have in storage.

The wraith suit. Less armored than the warden suits the rest of the team prefers, it does contain an interesting "Screw you physics" device that lets the wearer phase through solid objects. Should come in handy. Shen also attached a grappling hook to the suit for maximum mobility. Will be handy for any additional missions.

Such as the new rescue the VIP mission that Mr. Mysterious now has for us.

Monday, October 17, 2016

XCOM 2 AAR - Chryssalids!

That mission done, we've bought ourselves some time on stopping the alien's AVATAR project. I certainly want to investigate the coordinates we found in the last codex brain, but Tygan has sent news that he's almost finished with a new type of plasma weapon and we do find ourselves with a fair amount of supplies on hand for a weapons upgrade. I can't resist a good new weapon.

He gives me an even better surprise: not only does he have a new sniper plasma rifle, but also a plasma pistol and a fusion sword. Those should all come in hand for future missions.

Our waiting does give the aliens time to launch another retaliation strike against the resistance, so off the team goes to stop them. The new weapons are perfect for this kind of mission, and I send two each of the rangers and snipers. The area we land in is typical for the resistance: lots of trees and good cover, away from any population center, and with most of it burning. Seems like they even have a bug infestation this time around:

Chryssalids. Bradford tells me of them when he fought them occasionally after my capture. Their claws are quite sharp, able to cut through armor with a fair amount of ease, and they reproduce by killing humans and injecting their larva into the corpse, creating a zombie that will eventually mutate into a new chryssalid. I'd think he was pulling my leg if I thought he had a sense of humor. Lucky for us, we're heavily armed and our armor should be capable of withstanding at least one blow from these bugs.

JCan starts the battle with a grenade into their group, as they for some reason decided on sticking together. The entire battle seems a bit different this time around, as both Gaius and Van Wezel are quite skilled with melee combat, wading into the fray and each getting a kill. Culise follows up with cannon fire to kill the final beast. A fourth chryssalid comes from out of the darkness. Health manages a glancing blow on it with her pistol, followed up with a second for a kill. A wandering soldier and heavy mec come around the corner, but we're ready for them. Health fires three pistol shots into the soldier, easily killing him. (Don't ask me how the new pistols fire so quickly)

Gaius shoots twice into the heavy mec, weakening it enough for a plasma blade slash from Van Wezel to kill it. Another chryssalid appears and slashes at him, but he dodges. Spyhawk shoots from his perch but the darned thing is too nimble for him to get a solid shot in. Culise tries the same but his cumbersome weapon isn't quick enough. The beast can't dodge quick enough for JCan though.

In a blasted out church is a horrid sight: two ADVENT soldiers, a heavy mec, and a chryssalid attacking a civilian. If Bradford is to be believed, that means zombie time. The mec advances towards us and JCan gets two good shots in, but the mec's armor holds. A grenade from Culise and a pistol shot from Health later and it goes down. The grenade also removed cover from the heavily armored shieldbearer, giving Spyhawk the opportunity for a well-placed head shot. Gaius takes down the nearby chryssalid, and JCan manages a good shot on the remaining soldier.

Spent, we wait for the upcoming zombie. Instead, what pops out is a very quick, very angry baby chryssalid which promptly starts tearing away at Van Wezel. JCan heals him up, reports that the poison from the baby was also cured, and then shoots it dead. Poison? Baby chryssalids? Time to uncover what's going on over there. I have Van Wezel toss a grenade in and destroy the cover blocking our view of the dead body.

That...does not look like a zombie. Gaius and Culise both burn the cocoon out with heavy fire. No more baby chryssalids for us. Off in the distance we hear the sounds of mimics transforming. Why are these aliens so disgusting?

Out from behind JCan comes the mimic, ready for a strong swipe at him. JCan has his weapon ready, and his aim is true, but these things are too tough even for a plasma rifle.  Thankfully, Spyhawk is watching and his aim is also true, bringing the alien down before it can do any damage. The other mimic targets Gaius, but she's experienced with melee combat and easily able to dodge the cumbersome blow. Van Wezel cuts at the the thing with his blade and even manages to set it on fire, but it stays standing long enough to get cut down with cannon fire from Culise.

9/13 civilians saved. Our best record yet. Why Bradford is so scared of these things, I don't know. The mission went so well, I have the team suit up for another mission, with a few replacements.

The coordinates lead to a rather lonely looking place in the middle of the Asian desert. With what looks like purple psionic rain. Something seems fishy here. We land near an abandoned house, inside of which is a group of three chryssalids standing near the gas container. Culise starts the ambush by igniting the container and leaving them easy kills for the rest of the team. One kill each to Health, Lovenought, and Trajan. As long as we stay cautious, I don't see the chryssalids being any real threat. No civilians around here to reproduce with.

Near the house is a small ADVENT storage area guarded by a turret. Turrets seemed tough with ordinary bullets, but it's nothing against plasma weapons. Two other soldiers and a heavy mec guard the outpost. The first soldier goes down to a burst from Gaius, while the second soldier hits only cactus with his return fire. Trajan locks the mec behind a psionic stasis wall, giving JCan the chance to get close enough for a successful hack. Gaius kills the second soldier with her new blade. The team advances, mec first.

Another chryssalid appears in the open, and Culise nets another kill. Lovenought fires at the mec, because it certainly doesn't look like the chryssalids will kill it before the hack wears off.

The mec spots more chryssalids in the distance, this time springing out from the ground. Guess that explains why the chryssalids are guarding the area. Why they don't wait before springing out, I have no clue. Gaius lands a shot on the approaching chryssalid, followed up by Culise and Health. The thing stood no chance having to traverse so much terrain. Oddly enough, Lovenought managed to protect the mec from the attacking chryssalid. The mec lands a shot on another chryssalid, weakening it for Lovenought to kill. The mec, having done it's duty, is killed by Health with a headshot in the back.

The last chryssalid is too far away for the team to reliably hit, but too close to allow to roam free, so Trajan binds it with another stasis. I'm beginning to think she might have a thing for that kind of work.

Before now it's been standard desert terrain (if you ignore the purple crap falling from the sky), but behind this chryssalid the land turns alien. Lovenought lands his hit on the chryssalid, with a followup kill from Culise. I get everyone in range before I start walking on that...whatever it is.

At the end of the alien pathway sits a psionic portal. Creepy. Looks like this is where the coordinates lead.

Out of the portal comes what I can only describe as a giant, mechanical, psionic eye. It quickly rockets forward, well in range of the team. It wants to die, I see.

Culise fires his acid grenade right on top of it, but it still has plenty of armor. JCan uses his precision fire to strip the armor off the eye, leaving it vulnerable. Health fires five pistol shots at the eye, and while you'd normally expect the sound of "plink plink plink" coming off the shots, her laser does serious work on it. Trajan ends it with a blast straight into the center. We group up and reload in case another eye comes out of that portal.

Instead, three chryssalids come from behind the portal. Trajan and Gaius take out the first, while Culise kills the second. The third makes it surprisingly far before JCan and Lovenought kill it. JCan moves up towards the portal, but the last chryssalid, the smartest chryssalid, stays buried until he gets close. It pops out of the ground and gets him in the face. He and Culise kill it, but we'll have to see how he does with that injury.

We bring the gate back and hand it off to the research team. They think they can manage it, but will need additional supplies - supplies which we don't have. We'll have to wait for the next supply drop.

Our newest recruit has finished his training. I hope he's luckier than the late Ms. Potassium.

XCOM 2 AAR - Forge Assault

We're in luck. The day we pick is a dark and dreary night lit only by the evil red glare the aliens seem to prefer for lighting, perfect for a quick smash and grab. The aliens have the place too fortified for us to take down or even better to comb through. Like the refinery, we're here to see what they're up to, take what we can, and get out. Hopefully without any major injuries or death.

Out in front is another heavily armored andromedon and a codex. The alien forces certainly have evolved since we first started this mess. The ambush goes off flawlessly. Susanne begins with a plasma grenade, weakening the andromedon's armor and scaring the codex into cloning. The rest of the team batters the suit with a barrage of fire, Health landing the killing blow on the andromedon. The suit, naturally, begins working autonomously, but Trajan is there to put it into stasis and eliminate the original codex. A followup shot from Hyme kills the clone.

The stasis lasts long enough for us to catch our breath and give it another barrage of fire. JCan,as usual, tries for a hack but the software is a little too strong. Our snipers take it down instead. We spot another patrol, two soldiers and a heavy mec. They take some weakening fire from our team, giving Van Wezel a good opportunity for a sword strike. His initial blast had missed, but did hit the vehicle they were using as cover. Trajan thinks fast and works to distract the soldier's mind with a psionic attack. Her first attempt and she mind controls him, keeping him nice and close for when the car inevitably explodes. The last soldier, wounded and clearly outmatched, retreats back to the bridge.

We give chase, but aren't fast enough to catch him before he reaches the next squad, an archon and an armored shieldbearer. The archon moves to fly over the chasm, while the hybrid soldiers fortify the bridge. Unfortunately for them, their fortifications haven't advanced enough to really protect against our new weapons. Van Wezel's plasma grenade blasts their cover and kills the wounded soldier, leaving the shieldbearer vulnerable to cannonfire to the face from Susanne.

The aliens bring in reinforcements in the form of a sectopod. These things are massive, and were used extensively to defeat conventional forces in the initial war. It's going to be tough to bring down. This thing walks through cover as if it weren't there, when I was proud of this cover being blown up by a grenade. The remaining archon makes a foolish leap across the chasm, running into fire from Trajan and JCan that drops it down into the chasm. Now it's just us and that sectopod.

Can you guess what happens next? JCan attempts a hack! Which fails, of course. But he couldn't resist. We're going to need conventional weapons instead. Susanne fires an acid grenade right on top of it, melting the armor and leaving it's unprotected innards available to a lucky shot from Health. Down goes the sectopod from a single shot.

Earth's armies were pansies if this was what killed them. The team reloads and makes their way across the bombed out bridge, thankfully made out of rather stern stuff.

Ahead of us looms the building we've come to investigate. The aliens don't seem to build anything that isn't intimidating. No more troops are in front, the rest remaining inside to defend whatever it is that's in there. The ADVENT troops take up a fortified position along the walls and behind the door, ready to shoot. Susanne drops a grenade from above to make her own "door". JCan goes for a hack on the heavy mec, "Making new friends" he calls it. He succeeds, and the remaining hybrid soldiers are really looking at a bad day. Van Wezel hacks the shieldbearer, burning out his mind and Trajan puts the officer in stasis. He gets to watch as a full squad of XCOM soldiers surround him and train their weapons down upon him. JCan gets the honors with two shots to his noggin, and then has his new "Friend" go scouting down the halls for the next patrol.

Tygan and Shen, working off the feeds from our soldiers, look along the halls and speculate on what's happening. As far as they can tell, this seems to be a factory of sorts. Hybrid soldier clones are being grown here. No wonder there's been so many; they don't need to recruit. Who care about losing a bit of meat and metal? At the back of the facility is a peculiar looking stasis pod, like the one they initially found you in. Looks like we've found our prize, as the techs want it brought back for investigation.

Guarding the pod is another archon and two codices. Our new friend is inside, but they're smart enough not to fire on it. It's beefy and hard to kill, but it doesn't have the aim to hit such quick targets.

There's no hiding from Trajan though. In a real display of power she sends a null lance through the wall into both codices. The blast of psionic power outright kills the nearest codex, while the second clones out next to our resident sword wielder who puts it down quickly. The remaining codex teleports out and creates a null field, but fails to find any cover. JCan ends it with a well-placed shot. The archon and mec have a bit of a duel while this goes on, neither doing much damage.

The aliens regain control of the mec, but Health is there to put it down before it can damage any in the team. Hyme works on the archon, weakening it for a melee attack from Van Wezel to put it down. The pod secured, we move in.

(At the beginning of the mission there was an evac zone put up near where we started. I thought initially that we'd need to make a run back to it , as there's usually only one evac zone and I had the squad setup for a run back the way we came. As it turns out, opening the pod leads to a new zone being created ahead of us, which makes this next bit fun)

Inside the pod is another stasis suit, exactly like the one you were found in. Just what are these aliens doing here? Time to grab it and run. The aliens are already setting up reinforcements for us, it won't be long until we're overrun. Just to keep things interesting, the new evac zone is ahead of us, behind the reinforcements. Two soldiers and a heavy mec, oh joy! Susanne uses her last remaining explosive to wound the mech and shred its armor. Hyme follows up with a strong sniper shot, but can't bring it down. For once, JCan neglects attempting a hack and instead just shoots it to bring it down. He follows up with a grenade into the first soldier, who's finished off with a pistol shot from Health. Health uses her pistol and grenade to kill the last soldier, leaving the field open for us to move towards that evac zone.

The reinforcements arrive before everyone is safely away, and they're setup to shoot anything that moves. Rather than fight them, Susanne runs forward attracting their fire so the others can get out unharmed. She's armored, but that still did some damage.

Given a little bit of time, Tygan sends words that he's discovered what that thing in the suit was. It's a template of sorts, with holes in the genetic code that the aliens could potentially add in codes from other species. What seems bad about the situation is that they seemed to be focusing on the psionically gifted portions of humanity. More soldiers that looked vaguely like humans is scary, but not the worst that could happen. We've been lucky that very few of the ADVENT forces are psionically gifted. Having hordes of them against us would be quite deadly. And that's before factoring in that the elders seem to be looking for something to stave off their muscle degeneracy. Perhaps this is what they were looking for? Moldable human DNA?

We'll need to visit the final site to find out. We'll go as soon as the team is healed.

XCOM 2 AAR - Interlude

I said before that it was time to hit that blacksite at the vial's coordinates and I meant that, but previous experience has taught me that bringing a specialist along for healing would be much appreciated. I'd like our entire squad to come back in one piece, if possible. Six days and JCan would be out of sick bay. That's short enough for me.

In the meantime, there's another UFO just waiting to be looted. For a longer mission I dont' want to go without a specialist, but a short mission like this should be just fine. Shen even has a present for us: a new W.A.R suit, she says is an upgrade over the previous EXO suit. Heavily armored, with a heavy weapon hard point, and the ability to generate short range shielding. Could come in handy.

Culise is given the new suit, while Susanne keeps her old EXO suit.

At the mission site, the group sets up in a very favorable position. Couldn't ask for better terrain. The archon goes down in three shots, finished off by Van Wezel, but surprisingly both mutons stay alive. One grenades Spyhawk and Susanne, the other bashes Culise upside the head, hurting and disorienting him. Perhaps he should have worn a helmet?

Susanne finishes off the injured muton and Health fires three pistol shots from her perch to end the second. The rest of the team gets up close to the UFO. As per the last attempts, we'll have to move quickly if we want to stop that distress signal, especially without a specialist handy to unlock it from afar. As is also usual with UFOs, there's a whole wealth of cover inside. Normally I might say to reduce damage so as to make sure we get as much as we could from this place, but we've got more than enough supplies at the moment. Susanne and Culise get the go-ahead for a full bombardment.

A patrol steps outside and sees our forces just beyond the door. They retreat inside, but Susanne fires in a grenade to break it all open. Behind them is another patrol, this one filled with heavier elements. Culise fires his own grenade, destroying what was left of the original patrol and shredding the armor off the new heavy mec. Van Wezel goes in for a skulljacking on the advanced officer, but fails and spots the last patrol of two vipers and an archon. It's an all out brawl here! Gaius goes in for a slice on a viper, but fails to land a killing blow. Well, this looks ugly. Spyhawk takes care of the pesky codex clone behind our lines with a well-placed grenade.

We're now outnumbered, Gaius and Van Wezel are behind them, cut off from the rest of the team, and they're all relatively healthy. Health has a perfect view for a good kill zone over the entire UFO, but things still look ugly. Van Wezel takes a shot from the soldier, but the new armor is more than capable of absorbing the blow. Gaius is hit by the plasma staff and then grabbed by a viper, but she should be alright. The wounded viper is, thankfully, finished off from a sniper shot by Health.

Susanne continues her shelling of the entrance, launching a rocket and then a grenade into the heavy mec and archon. The archon goes down and gives Culise a good angle on the viper holding Gaius. He frees her from the viper's grasp, giving her the chance to cut it down. Spyhawk kills the wounded mec, leaving two soldiers behind still working Van Wezel.

Just look at all that destruction. Van Wezel is easily able to take care of himself, killing the soldier on top of him, leaving the final officer surrounded and vulnerable to every member of the team. Everyone gets a shot before Gaius finishes it off. Mission well done.

The more *ahem* gung-ho nature of that little brawl did leave the team with many small injuries. Nothing too major though.

It does mean though that Gaius, Spyhawk, and Culise won't be available for the blacksite mission.