Shipwreck area this time. More Lobstermen, and all you rookies. 50 TUs, nobody new better than 60. This is gonna go badly!
Deathfun brings it down after the other two rookies miss. BloodEagle softened it up.
Meet the prototype tanks. We sold the design for startup funds, so they're pretty common in the world now. We called them Sea Wolf, but they weren't as fast as the Coelancanth and they were about half again as large as the new model. Of course, the Coelancanth is itself pretty much at the end of its useful lifespan, with the Gas Cannon model at the least. We need a new tank.
LordMelvin and The_Force (Is he a cop? A Jedi? A Jedi cop? We never did find out!) killed this one...after deathfun missed.
The_Force has the honor of making the first one-shot genuine kill on a Lobsterman.
Parts of ships all over the place. Bridge areas, deck houses, shaft tunnel and prop, ship bits of all sorts. There's a huge mess here. More than one vessel's worth. Frankly the area off Port Said shouldn't be this much of a mess, I can only assume the Egyptians aren't being truthful about their ship disappearances due to aliens. We'll have to station a Barracuda for patrol to map all this and see what's up.
Small alien craft take away the problem with having enough people and instead make it impossible to jam enough people in to reliably gun down Lobstermen. I was lucky BloodEagle was standing in the right place to fire a pair of snapshots with his Sonic Cannon and kill the Lobsterman here.
Despite what it looks like, this isn't from the alien ship blowing its engine. An alien threw a grenade at everyone inside the ship...but they were inside the ship, and the grenade was actually pretty short too. Some idiot just gave himself away.
Then on the next turn it throws two more. What the ****. There are a pair of grenadiers. BloodEagle gets one. LordMelvin hits the other with one shot and misses the second, but then deathfun and The_Force strike out. It looks like everyone's about to eat a grenade...when Jack Folstam fires from all the way across the map, a good eighty squares, to place a beautiful hit right into the Lobsterman's chest. You rookies owe him, 'cuz otherwise you'd all be fish food about now.
Mission Complete. A good outing for the rookies, though less-tough opponents would have been preferable.
Xenowatch performed its first successful interception, above the Arctic Circle. Since they don't yet have a Triton, we'll be sending Triton 1 and Squad 1 to handle the recovery. They'll be carrying with them some new technologies.
We knew for a long time that the aliens were using a plastic-like material of incredible strength, even better than Alien Alloys from the First Alien War, for their UFO hulls and weapons casings. But we couldn't do anything with it. It was nearly impossible to just cut in the thicknesses we recovered it in bulk off UFOs, and we couldn't cast it or mold it. It wasn't until we examined the first Deep Ones we killed that we even had a clue.
Deep Ones are coated in Aqua Plastics. Literally. The layer is very thin, far too thin to stop a weapon despite the obvious nature of the coating as an attempt at armor, and the stuff is flexible, but our examination concluded it wasn't flexible enough to eliminate the need for articulated joints in the material. Deep Ones don't have articulated joints in their coating. Examining the anatomy of their joints revealed instead natural electro-magnetic organs that we realized must be able to reshape the Aqua Plastic coating on the fly.
The result was Plastic Aqua Armor. The design is conceptionally quite advanced: compartmentalized, it reseals itself if damaged within seconds, and good to about eight hundred meters depth for the length of the typical mission. But though it was a sound design, we never deployed it. The first reason was a huge shortage of materials, as at the time we'd recovered only a couple of small UFOs. The second was that it had already been outpaced by the deployment of new alien weapons. The armor won't protect against Sonic Rifle hits and most of the Aquanauts we had at the time simply wouldn't have survived even the decreased damage.
(No seriously, Aqua Armor has 60 frontal protection. The Sonic Rifle has an average damage of 90 and max of 180. 60 damage negation ain't **** by April.)
Research into live Deep Ones, so we could better understand the mechanism, and UFO power systems eventually gave us a better option: Ion Armor. These are direct descendants of the Power Suit and Flying Suit of the First Alien War, but they have a number of new features. As with the Aqua Armor, they are self-sealing, but the rate of sealing is much improved. Someone wearing a breached suit will barely even get wet. They're also good at nearly any depth. You'll note that the all-around protection has been somewhat lessened in comparison to the Power Suit, and Flying Suit, but the frontal protection much improved. The reason is simple: we demanded and got a suit that will stop a Sonic Cannon hit to the chestplate without breaching most of the time.
We still didn't deploy it, because we were still short of materials. And by the time we weren't...
Magnetic Ion Armor improves the protection of Ion Armor much the same way Flying Suits did for Power Suits. It also solves some of the issues we've had fighting underwater. Many of the places we deploy have serious bottom currents, and visibility is usually less than forty meters. Anybody who swims up ends up getting swept along and hopelessly lost pretty fast. The Magnetic Navigation, based on alien tech, and the miniaturized alien propulsion system which can actually propel an Aquanaut around at nearly twenty knots, make it possible to move around in three dimensions safely where previously we were pretty much limited to walking around on the bottom. Bad news: it doesn't really fly on land.
The first use of Mag Ion Armor: BloodEagle parks himself on top of the Triton...
...to shoot this Gillman.
This one shot at the tank, missed, got shot at by the tank, hit, and while staggering around with a giant harpoon bolt sticking out of his chest then had The_Force blow his goddamn head off with a Sonic Cannon.
And this one? He was magic. The E, The_Force, LordMelvin, and the tank all took an aimed shot, and all missed by a good bit. We were about ready to declare him The One, when BloodEagle shot him in the crotch. Which still was kinda suboptimal, but he's a Gillman getting shot with a Sonic Cannon, so optimal placement isn't that big a deal.
Never underestimate the power of a Spoonzer. Even one that's technically obselete. Or you end up like this guy, who thought it'd be safe to step out the door and got oneshot by the tank.
The last guy runs out of the sub while The E and LordMelvin are blocking the door, rebounds off The E's armor, and gets shot in the chest by LordMelvin. Mission Complete!
You probably remember when I said we needed a new tank. We have a new tank. Two, actually. The first is the Coelancanth/Gauss.
We don't think we'll use it. The design team came in late, and it's effectively obsoleted by the next vehicle. Because our research into alien submarine construction lead us to...
A teleoperated one-fourth scale prototype, which we nicknamed “Displacer” because of its alien engine systems. It floats; it even manages to render itself so light that it floats in air, and it actually has an impressive top speed of 240 knots in or out of the water, making it more akin to an attack helicopter in behavior than a tank. As soon as the test program was completed, though, someone pointed out we had built a new tank without meaning to. The testing gear was removed and a Sonic Cannon added.
Is it the Spoonzer V or VI? Up to you guys how you want to number the Gaussie, if you do.