Shattergrounds

Infinity

Episode 3: Night Terrors

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O-12
1DNoob
VS Combined Army
WasabiHC

Foreword

Me and my friend chose this mission to test out the new Resilience Operations game mode. Two Battlefield Conditions were Night (drawn by my friend) and Hostile Civilians.

Table from Starmada perspective

Deployment

I deployed my Security core team in the middle of the deployment zone, leaving HMG Kappa and Secudroid to overwatch longer fire lanes. A lone Epsilon took position in a good sniper's nest, but started prone to prevent any long range shooting from the core linked Yaogat. Varangians took positions on either side of the Security link, one hopefully close enough to the Epsilon for some active turn smoke+shoot shenanigans. My final model to enter was the Zeta, that I placed in cover and in suppressive fire to far left edge end of my deployment zone. The position was such that the Morat core fire team couldn't draw LoF to it from outside 24" and would have to spend lots of orders to engage.

Starmada deployment, left: From left to right. A Zeta NCO, starting in Suppressive Fire. Behind the pile of crates is a lone Varangian. Three models outside the Deployment Zone are HVTs (three Tohaa models and one traitorous human on top the pipes)
Starmada deployment, from center to right: In the center a Core Security link, with a Secudroid and Kappa HMG on the roof. Three models on the ground are Cho (masked as a regular Kappa), Bluecoat and Kappa Spec-Op behind the circular silo. On extra Kappa, the commlink operator, is inside the building close to the Bluecoat. Standing close the beacon is a Varangian and not visible in the picture is a prone Epsilon (you can see the Prone marker on the building in lower right corner). Tohaa on the building is the last HVT
View from the Epsilon's point of view (model is a Kappa sniper because the Epsilon couldn't fit thanks to holding the gun up)

Battle

Morats started by running a Daturazi haris across the right side (from Starmada's perspective) of the table, smoking all the so as not to cause any AROs. They managed to roll up through the right, swivel towards the center and Chain Rifle over the Security core, catching Cho, Bluecoat, Spec-Ops Kappa and HMG Kappa under those three templates. Cho went down, Spec-Ops went into NWI and Bluecoat and HMG Kappa saved, although the HMG failed guts and fell down prone. I got truly lucky here, as this attack run came within an inch of taking out both my Lieutenant and Chain of Command in one go. With most of table now clear of ARO threats Morats could position themselves without challenge for their Reactive turn.

Aftermath of the Daturazi assault. Cho is unconscious, Spec-Op in NWI and HMG gone Prone

On my turn I reformed my broken link by adding one additional Kappa, a commlink specialist lurking near the team. Back to full bonuses the HMG Kappa could easily take out a suppressing SMG unit despite a Mimetism penalty, but could get on LoF to the Morat core team. Epsilon, realizing that getting up was guaranteed death sentence crawled out of sniper's nest and down the other side. Right side Varangian caught two Daturazis under a Chain Rifle template, killing one as the other dodged into CC with him. With the right side bogged down it was time for the Zeta to take charge. It ran forward until it got the Morat core in it's sights and proceeded to send a hail of bullets down range. Thanks to the high burst value of HRMC I could take on two linked targets with relative ease, shooting down first the link's leader and hitting the Yaogat, although he saved. But when time came to go down his Religious rule forced him to stand and fight, allowing me to dedicate the whole burst solely to him on my next order. With two targets down I moved the Zeta back, shooting one Gaki on his way back. This left the Zeta in cover, overlooking a fire lane where I placed it into suppressive fire.

Re-forged Core goes to war. HMG Kappa takes out a target despite their mimetism and suppressive fire
Varangian engaged by a Daturazi following a Chain Rifle shot that downs the one further back
Zeta fills the air with bullets, killing two Morats out of their Core fire team and the lone Gaki.
Zeta steps back and goes into Suppressive fire.

Morats take enough damage to trigger Reinforcements at start of their second turn.

They land on the right side of the table (from Starmada's perspective).

On the next Morat turn the Dartok shot two repeaters close to the Zeta. Then they took over the Zeta, turning it's main gun against Starmada forces. Varangian fails to land a smoke and gets shot, while the Secudroid misses it's Flash pulse and also goes down. With two easiest targets down the Zeta is then moved out of cover.

Two repeaters allow the Dartok to take over the Zeta.
Morats play with two TAGs. Caskuda takes up a position that allows my Spec-Op two take a Panzerfaust shot that scores one wound.

Caskuda takes on the Core Security link, shooting down the HMG as it walked up the stairs to dominate the right side of my frontline. An Exrah marksman shoots dead the Epsilon, who couldn't get to cover as orders ran out. Remains of the Morat core fire team move to secure the center of the table.

With the damage done and the Zeta still serving the other team Starmada also triggers their Reinforcements on turn two.

Starmada's Gladius Team (Bronze Paramedic, Jackboot Engineer and an Oko remote) comes to the rescue

In the Tactical Phase Starmada uses one Command Token to remove the Possessed state from the Zeta.

Trying to replicate my earlier success with the Bronze (my previous game) I chose to engage the Caskuda with the heavy shotgun. But with cover now an issue the Bronze is facing a tough foe and fails to score enough damage to the Caskuda. I really needed the Zeta to join this firefight, but with two repeaters still near it wouldn't work. So I needed to cleat those out. Best option was to use the Oko remote, that luckily survives a shot from the Caskuda. It clears out the repeaters, but must come into the LoF of the remaining Morat core member and it shoots down the Remote.

Now the free Zeta can join in and tries few long range shots through the night, managing score enough wounds to put the Caskuda down. For now.

Oko remote (model is a PanOceania Dronbot, my O-12 remotes are still in the Pile of Shame) clears out the two repeaters (not visible from this angle)

Last round for Morats sees the Caskuda return to the fray as successful GizmoKit hit and save brings it back. it goes to shoot at the Beacon, only to find out that it's ranged weapon doesn't have the Anti-Materiel trait and thus cannot damage it. It turn it's attention to the Bronze instead and takes him down. Long range ARO shot from the Zeta misses, as does a Stun pistol attempt from the hostile HVT next to it. Morats move within 8" of the table's center, thus getting one of their Tactical Objectives done.

Last turn of Starmada is mostly a holding action as I didn't want to risk my Zeta (more on this later). I ran my Spec-Ops across an open road, with a Cautious Movement, but unfortunately it was still visible and took a uncontested shot. Luckily range and Mimetism -6 saves the Spec-Ops and it can move towards one of Objectives. Jackboot just manages to kill the Caskuda with their SMG. Ending close to the objective didn't matter in the end as one must be in contact with it (remember to read the cards and know what you should be doing)

Caskuda down, Spec-Ops ending their movement close but not in contact with the Objective.

Scoring this chaos

The game ends in 2-2 Draw. I had Survival, N Domination and Guard Supply Lines. My opponent had Guard Supply Lines, King of the Hill and Interrupt the Signal as Tactical Objectives.

I scored one from N Domination as my Zeta was standing in the correct quadrant and Survival as it also was enough alone to keep me above the 25%. But I had around 45% remaining points so one point. I had nothing touching Objectives so nothing for the third one.

My opponent scored two from Dominating (but not Subjugating) the center of the table. They also had nothing in contact with their Objectives and no Structure points taken from by Beacons.

Groupshot of the Starmada force. Unfortunately the camera is focused wrong and the models are rather blurry

My thoughts on Resilience Operations

I really liked this match. They are a good addition to the game. Trying to guess what your opponent is going for while pursuing your own goals is fun. And the Battlefield Conditions can give all sorts of interesting modifiers to the game, stuff you need to be prepared for in list building.

Prologue: Special Delivery

Special Operations officer Jack Evans is sitting in a VTOL aircraft that is making it's way across a placid sea below, replaying in his mind the briefing received just hours before.

"Sorry to drag you away from the fighting at Beltway at such a critical moment but something came up on our radar. You remember that firefight behind the spaceport? The one where you were trailing a suspected smuggler?". The speaker was Casanova, whose face was being projected into Evan's optical implants through his comlog.

"I remember. When those alien bastards ambushed the lot of us." Evans replied.

"They have resurfaced, near Bhai. We suspect they're reaching out to their buyer. This is our chance to nail them to the wall, but only if you move fast. Area around Bhai has seen some tough fighting, with the Combine Army trying to steal secrets from Bourak's Boys."

"Bourak won't be happy if we crash their operation at Bhai, I assume." Evans retorted.

Casanova's face betrayed no emotion. "This is our planet and Bourak operates here with our permission. I have made necessary arrangements to have a strike force standing by the time you arrive and clearance to enter the Shimmering Sky Project grounds. But for the sake of international diplomacy please be careful. Catch the culprit, touch nothing and don't break any priceless equipment"

Evans chuckled. "If the Combined Army truly is present on the ground I give no promises. Those alien invaders have caused collateral damage and killed my friends. I won't pull any punches and I will shoot to kill."

Casanova smiles slightly. "I knew I couldn't turn you away from this course. So I arranged some special equipment for you when you land. It should keep you safe when things go south."

Heavy metal

Zeta officer W. Keffer, ready to serve

Officer W. Keffer, of Zeta Squadron, was patrolling the perimeter of the Shimmering Sky Project. His massive armored frame took heavy steps that shook the ground as the several tons of armored steel and teseum walked past a perimeter fence, scanning the horizon. Keffer wasn't there in person, as all Zeta Squadron's Tactical Armored Gear were equipped with remote presence suite that allows the operator to remain far away from the real fighting. Suddendly his HUD lit up with red notification light. "Weapons armed, clear to engage" flashed across the HUD.

"Warren"

The voice belonged to one of many many technicians Keffer knew circled around his control pod at all times. It had come from the pod's comm.

"We have some unusual activity at your quadrant. Local officials claim that have no active units near your location, so assume hostile intent. You are free to engage if fired upon, but don't go starting a shooting war. "

After a brief pause the technician continued.
"We have some operatives who claim they have the authority to take over the situation. Looks like PSI-units or some Noir shit. Keep your head on a swivel, this could bad."

"Don't worry about me". Keffer replied. "We're a thousand clicks away from the real action. Just keep my pod running cool and I'll take care of the dirty business there in Bhai"

Touchdown at Bhai

It was night by the time Evans touched down in Bhai. The present Cas had left for him was a powerful Optical Disruption Device, nice addition to his own skills at avoiding enemy fire.

"Are you Evans?", a shout heard over the engine noise.

Evans nodded.

"Welcome to Bhai. We have full security team ready to join you on your patrol, plus additional detached units to provide specialist support. If you run into real trouble we have several Zetas ready to deploy. One is already out on patrol, we have seconded him to your command for this mission."

"Nice to have some real firepower for once, let's see those monkeys try that dropping a TAG trick this time". With those words Evans turned to walk away.

Shots in the dark

Glowing tracers cut the darkness of the night as Evans' team takes position near residential building. From above he can hear as the heavy machine gun, wielded by Kappa officer Jones, rips through the night sky. He can barely see movement in the darkness, hearing the shouts of the wounded. An alien warrior had just blasted his team with a cloud of shrapnel from a chain rifle, cutting down some of his comrades.

++++++

Officer Keffer piloted his suit forward, scanning the scenery of potential threats. Seeing movement on a high building he pointed up his three barrelled chain gun and willed his TAG to pull the trigger. He could only imagine the high pitched scream of thousands of armor-piercing bullets streaming across the night sky, since he was nowhere near the actual machine unleashing this fury. Through TAG's optics he witnessed as the bullets blasted apart glass, steel and concrete along the line of fire. He moved this stream of death left to right, right to left until he was sure that nothing had survived his barrage. As he was moving to better firing position his HUD suddenly began to flicker, then show strange alien symbols. Keffer couldn't control the suit any longer and could only watch in horror as his TAG turned to fire at his allies. Any attempt to reset the controls was hopeless, until the technicians severed the connection and rebooted the whole remote control suite. Keffer was back in control, but damage had been done and some of his allies were now dead on the ground.

+++++

Evans could barely see a shape of the alien warmachine as it ascended the stairs. Another goddamn Caskuda! Those things were such a plague, with Evans having to face off against one such monsters in his earlier encounter with the Combined Army. It had gone down, so it was killable, but not before causing havoc among their ranks. Now as it marched forward it turned it's gun at officer Jones on the roof, cutting the man down. Evans brought up his Panzerfaust and let loose a missile, hitting the large bulky target and covering it in an explosion. As his eyes recovered from the flash he could see the TAG smoking from the impact, hurt but not down.

+++++

Keffer turned his HRMC towards the dark shape far across the dark yard and pulled the trigger. Distance, cover and darkness made it difficult to get a clear shot, but volume of fire could make up for finesse. He kept the volley of fire going until a heat warning from the gun forced him to let go. He could see a faint glow from the gun as the barrels cooled down.

"Seize fire! Seize fire!"

Tactical quantronic identification tag told Keffer this was man called Evans, one of the Kappas involved in the mission.

"All targets down, hold fire and withdraw towards the rendezvous point." Keffer began to walk his TAG back, keeping his optics pointed at the direction of the enemies' original attack direction. "Officer Keffer hold that ground, we'll secure this side."

"Copy that." Keffer responded as the first rays of the morning sun begins to creep up from behind the buildings, illuminating the burns and scratches of the mighty warmachine. What a night that was.

Epilogue: Some Noir shit

Evans was watching as three Tohaa operatives were being lead to awaiting transport. This smuggling operation had taken a massive hit from this night's action, but something still bugged him. What were they smuggling, for whom and why is the Combined Army willing to send Morats to take care of it? But this success, as marginal as it was, should get him back in the game. Some hush hush Bureau Noir shit.

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