As the Securitate came to release Czernobog, he detailed the strange series of events that lead to his release. The Interventor who was responsible for intercepting and identifying the falsified requisition forms submitted to conduct the initial raid on the Haqqislam territory had mysteriously died against the Aleph incursion into Johnny 5. Forensics report that not only was his hacking device sabotaged, but his cube was promptly stolen from the battlefield, and his private servers that contained the only available copies of the evidence against Czernobog were all corrupted, rendering any further investigation into the matter impossible.
"Oh, and there was a special delivery that arrived for you, too, while you were in the brig. Just sign here, and it's all yours, you lucky bastard." The Securitate handed over a handheld console and stylus, and Czernobog butchered his signature on it as per usual.
"So, it really does pay to have friends in high places. Time to see what hardware I've been provided with this time!". With that, Czernobog left the Securitate standing in the hall, wondering how he could acquire such friends for himself...
I won the initiative roll and took first turn. Given the size of the game, I needed to put some early pressure on and try to gain order superiority. The right flank seemed to present a reasonable opportunity for my Kriza to do some good work, too, so I seized that opportunity, moving my duo of the Kriza and Hollow Man up. I was able to get in a position where I could see four camo tokens at one stage, which is when ecky’s troops broke camo and returned fire. As I suspected, one of the tokens was an ambush camo marker, connected to a Spetsnaz HMG, there was a Tank Hunter with Autocannon, and up close was an SAS with assault pistol. I decided to ignore the assault pistol SAS altogether, as the Autocannon was giving me a conniption, and my main targets were the big hitters now they were out. I was able to stave off a hit from the Autocannon, hitting the Tank Hunter instead, but the real action came when I rolled a crit against the Spetsnaz. I repeated a similar action, looking to take care of the Tank Hunter while I could, and opening up the right flank for the Hollow Man to close the distance with his boarding shotgun. I split 4 shots into the Tank Hunter and 1 into the SAS. Once again, the Kriza came through, rolling a crit against the Tank Hunter. That pluckly little SAS, however, got a second shot through, and I failed my second ARM roll!
Lieutenant unconscious, I figured that was a problem for a later day, and pushed the Hollow Man up. I was able to take down the Irmandhino on the far right flank by super-jumping up above the fence line and landing shotgun shots into him – that super jump can really be nice! The Hollow Man rounded the corner and shot into the SAS, catching a Chasseur who was in the Camo Token state under the template. The SAS went down, but the Chasseur passed ARM rolls, getting into partial cover. I took this advantage and moved my Hollow Man right up to the top building, to drop some more rounds into the Spetsnaz’ corpse, just to make sure he was dead, and ended the turn tucked up in the far right hand corner of the table, waiting for a chance to break free and cause havoc.
On my left flank, the situation was much tougher. There was a camo token on the far left, on my side of the table (hi Uxia!), so I positioned my 8 points sensor bot close by and made my discover check. I then moved the Reaktion Zond out, and fired at Uxia, but we rolled the same numbers in the face to face and that was the end of that. Still, I had Uxia pinned, and it was going to be tough for her to murder my link team, which was a significant concern of mine. With my remaining two orders, I saw a chance to get my Kriza back on his feet – the Daktari could emerge from her building on the right hand side and pop a Medkit shot off into the Kriza. I was in the good range band, and managed a hit. I checked my physique score before I rolled, and managed to roll the exact number I needed to get the Kriza back up on his feet! You should get two wounds back for a crit on the doctor roll, I reckon ;)
On eckyt’s turn, he dashed all of my hopes, though. A plucky little camo token moved up into LOS of the Kriza. I thought it might have been a Spetsnaz Sniper… but boy was I wrong. The Tank Hunter AP HMG roared to life, and rolled a crit and two hits, taking the Kriza not only back to unconscious, but killing him outright. Dr Fireaxe then moved up to try and get the Autocannon Tank Hunter back on his feet, but the experimental drugs he was packing were more potent than expected, and the Tank Hunter died of a FireAxeTM overdose. Having lost his far flank to the advance of my Hollow Man, eckyt moved his Vet Kazak HMG up, spending several orders after I retreated around the corner, but eventually putting my troop down. There was some more positioning of pieces to bust into the command room on the next turn, but that was largely the extent of the action.
After crunching the numbers and my plans, I converted a couple of troops from irregular to regular, and had 6 orders in the pool for this turn. Overall, not too bad, all things considered. I knew I needed to earn some board space here and make eckyt’s advance difficult, so Spector came out of the fortress he’d been hunkered down in, and advanced up the field. He threw a Drop Bear down on the left, so that if Uxia wanted to try and cause me grief, she had another threat to handle. I then moved Spector further up the table, and was able to throw a second drop bear next to a camo token, as there was a Galwegian behind it. 2 for the price of 1! At this point, I had maybe three orders left, and I wanted to get to the Chasseur before it got into objective room. I advanced up so that I could let fly another Drop Bear (I love these things so much now), but didn’t squiz the Camo token on the right hand side. Big mistake. I try to fire back, but I am out of range, and with a resounding crack, the Spetsnaz Sniper shoots Spector off the table, his NWI doing nothing to protect him from the skull-shattering impact of the expertly fired sniper round. My link team was able to fire off a burst of Multi-sniper fire at the Tank Hunter AP HMG and down him in a single volley, which was a boon at this point, but it was clear that we were both losing most of our dedicated attack pieces. On the far right, one of my Spektrs moved out of hidden deployment, with 2 orders to spend, and was able to stack the mods against the HMG Vet Kazak. It turns out I only needed one crack at it though, as it lost both its wound and its NWI state with a single short, sharp burst of combi-rifle fire. I used those remaining 2 orders to connect to the console on my right hand side, and sit with some AROs into the objective room should the Chasseur move directly in.
Eckyt was starting to run out of options here – my Drop Bear had him pinned in on the left flank, and again the right flank was empty. The Spetsnaz sniper moved across to try and take on my link, but unfortunately, Grenzers are amazing shots. At this point, eckyt made his move, and the Chasseur mined up the objective room, while the remaining Vet Kazak moved in also, avoiding AROs and getting into a threatening position. Getting into that room was going to be difficult now, and I was fast losing the pieces with which I could do it. Uxia tried to advance and get an angle on my link, but after advancing and trying to get smoke down to ‘sneak’ past the TR HMG, a failed smoke left her with 3 HMG rounds deep in her chest, and her threat was over.
This was the turn that I needed to go perfectly, and it pretty much did. I had very few close-range fighters at this stage, and I didn’t want to have to bust in to the objective room with HMGs in close range against a Vet Kazak, so I decided to abandon the room altogether. I threw a cheap flash pulse remote up and past the door with the mine, so that I would be clear to move a Spektr on the left flank without getting hit by it. Once the mine was cleared in the most explosive fashion, I was able to move the Spektr down from the corner of the truck and capture the left hand console on my side of the table. That’s 2 beacons down, to eckyt’s 2. To score my third, the Spektr on the right flank advanced through a corpse-strewn scene straight out of a Bosch painting, and was able to connect the far right hand antenna. With a cheeky forward observe on the corpse of the Vet Kazak to score Telemetry, I was finished, and hoping that I had done enough to secure victory.
On eckyt’s turn, there really was only one option to swing the game big. As it stood, I was just ahead by points, so if one of my consoles wasn’t converted, there wasn’t any way of winning. Still, because orders were at a premium, the Galwegian on the far left did run his impetuous order, triggering the drop bear and getting both himself and the camo trooper killed in the process. Spector gets his revenge from beyond the grave! Still, this was the end of my celebrations. The Vet Kazak moved out of the back of the objective room, taking aim against my Spektr as he went. One burst of fire, and the poor Spektr fell over, bleeding out. With a mad dash to the antenna to switch it, and nailing it first try, the Vet Kazak had just enough orders left to dash back into the objective room, and cement an absolutely thorough demolition of my score, in spite of my having momentum for most of it. 9 – 1 to Ariadna!