These little dinky tin cans are cake; can't take more than a single archer missile to asplode.
As are these odd little "light fighter" pods. These tend to escort medium-to-large sized craft, harassing interceptors that enter their range. If you take enough hits, they can successfully turn your craft around.
They're actually manned, turns out, just one sectoid stuffed into humiliating lil' cuck pod by rowdy jocular mutons one must assume.
We're not so foolish - our fighter craft are now, basically, unmanned drones. We have Mharr installed into the Mutavore and Ziiro jacked into the Mig, running literally around the clock to splash ETs.
Some engagements are abandoned altogether when the dogfight gets hairy - we're pretty outmatched with some of these new variants.
While the Mig's getting fixed up, we pour our research into a slightly better interceptor craft.
With the Red Forest, Dantero Bay, and the Shatterdome all coordinating on the same project, we're able to fast-track this pretty well. We push past Interceptor and go one better.
Being russians, we of course go with a swept-wing like our boi the SU-47:
Far better than the Mig, faster than the Mutavore. Can't take the hits too well, but it doesn't get hit as much, so, s'fine. We offload the latest crop of alien corpses, The Things, ectoplasmii, and good ol' fashioned briefcases of civil forfeitureded cash on the grey market to outfit our new fighter, dubbed the "R-Type". UAC gives us a reasonable deal on two "mass driver cannons" and we're able to work something out with the Council for a second-hand "auxiliary thruster" mod.
Ain't bad at all.
Another set of contacts off the coast of Hong Kong.
With Ziiro's core installed into the R-Type, Wheels climbs in as co-pilot.
Ziiro carves through the two light escorts like butter.
He lines up the medium-size UFO booking it for western China.
This small UFO is tasked with observation and patrol duties. It is armed for war and will provide some challenge to our interceptors.
A few flashes from the craft as it lobs heavy plasma back at the R-Type. One whiffs, one hits.
Ziiro closes the gap and opens up on the underbelly. ET drops just outside of Chengdu.
It's a pretty brutal crash through a heavily-forested area, chunks of the hull and several mangled alien corpses littering the charred path it took skidding to a halt.
With the main assault group still mostly in the medbay healing from that shitshow with the MiB, we're low on able-bodied men and women to throw into the fire here.
Ziiro circles over the crash site, shifts it into VTOL mode, and makes a landing. The cockpit pops open.
Good luck out there, Wheels.
World War Wheels
The landing zone is hot. Hot as in, "the forest is actively on fire."
We didn't really think to outfit the R-Type with much weaponry, so, he's got no flashlight, minimal armor, no firearm, and only his trusty katana to work with.
Wheels goes into a dead run from the R-Type to the hull of the UFO, barely dodging hot ballz of plasma from the dark. He rests his hand on his scabbard and waits as I mash 'next turn' twelve times.
Soon enough, a 'toid ambles over to inspect what it assumes is a smoldering corpse. Wheels plunges his steel deep into the adorable widdle belly of this unearthly abomination.
As he sheaths his steel, Wheels uses his foot to root through the multitude of bizarre, viscera-covered alien gizmos on the ground.
Alien Laser Cannon
A powerful, fast-firing laser weapon, used by the aliens mostly for assaults.
He hugs the wall and moves around the perimeter of the ship. Might be good on the outside.
HOOO that was close.
An auto-shot of plasma melts the walls, setting fire to the ground around Wheels. He pulls back and takes a few deep breaths.
IT'S GOT A KICK
The E.T. is fully incinerated by this ridiculous space gun. Nothing left but a pile of goo and one of whatever the hell this is:
This device can interact with various alien systems to calibrate or reprogram them. It converts mental input from the user to a complex matrix of fields, affecting the system on all levels - from controlling power flows to editing individual bytes of information. It is powered with a small Elerium battery.
He tosses it in Ziiro's cockpit, slings the laser cannon over his shoulder, and places a hand on his katana.
Time to finish this fight like Wheels's hero John Halo did in Halo III when he defeated Halo once and for all and killed him.
He busts in.
Ship is pitch black. Elerium reactor flickers with occasional spurs of errant power. The aft of the ship has two big ol' holes from the mass driver rounds Ziiro fired through earlier.
Wheels flips the blade to the dull end.
OMAE WA MOU SHINDEIRU
Hope you don't mind ridin' bitch back home.
Back at the Red Forest, atog gets to work interrogating the "navigator."
It has no name, none of them do. It doesn't so much crack as wither.
Never really doubt what these things tell us is the truth. They can't or won't lie, for whatever reason.
Within the week, it's all but dead. It needs something to live we can't feed it.
It says very plainly and numbly that there will be consequences.
I pull open the Kiryu-Kai file again.