So... yeah, I cheated and cheated massively in this battle. To the tune of 32 points and 0.5 SWC and an irredeemably illegal list.
You might reasonably ask how this occurred, especially when the army builder checks the legality of your lists. Well, I usually just pick one of my pre-made lists for games. But this time, with a mission that required anti-material weaponry, I tried to make a new one. And failed. And spent ages whilst my very kind and patient opponent loafed around just trying and editing lists. I can only suppose that my very limited headspace was full of things I had tried to put together and therefore did not realise that the list I eventually settled on HAD A WHOLE FRICKEN ILLEGAL NAGA ADDED TO IT! I only realised this the next day when I tried to reconstruct the list for these battle reports. To compound my already very shameful mistake, the Naga was the only hacking device in the list and was necessary for the remotes to function.
So, I can only offer my most sincere apologies to my opponent and laud him for an even greater victory than he already had. Not only did he destroy me on the table, but he conquered the moral high ground. With the Combined Army, no less! Tis a dark day for Aleph...
Transcript of interview with subject Oliver T. Survivor and eye witness to incident 64827.
Interviewer: B.Surten, on behalf of O12 peacekeeping force.
O: It... It all happened so fast..."
B: Its okay son, you're safe now, take your time. Just think back to how it started."
O: O-okay... okay... It was in Glow city - you know, the place down in the passageways. We call it Glow city 'cos of, like, all the green. Pietr says its because the Nomads used to grow this freaky algae stuff there but it got out of control..."
B: I know the place, son. Been there a few times myself since the incident."
O: Ah, yeah. So, me and my brother Jack were there hunting rave-rats. They're these big green mole things that live in Glow city. Their skins glow in the dark for months after they die. We chased one into one of the tall, square buildings and it ran up the stairs. We ran to follow it but then we heard... we heard them talking..."
*Note 1: The building the boys had gone into was later identified to have been used by Shasvastii infiltrators as an ambush point. At this point before battle was joined, it is likely the boys heard the commanding officer issuing instructions to an infiltrator - most likely a Noctifer.
B: What did you do when you heard them talking?
O: They sounded weird, like, like their mouths weren't made for proper sounds. I had seen the vid-casts and we knew there might be aliens in The Passageways, but we never thought we would see one. We never thought...
B: So what did you do?
O: I grabbed Jack and hid behind a pile of garbage on the floor. We could see out of the massive hole in the wall, but I thought the aliens might not notice us if they came into the room. I told Jack we had to be super quiet or the aliens would find us. It seemed like ages went past before I noticed something out of the window hole.
B: What did you see?
O: People. But, like, not people, yeah? Those weird not-people things Aleph uses to walk about and talk. They try and look normal, but how they move is just weird. Like a really posh cave in. All fast and strong and you feel like you couldn't stop it if you tried, but also like it doesn't want to touch the ground because it might dirty up its rocks. You can always tell an Aleph walking about, even from far away. They just... they just don't move right.
*Note 2: An Aleph force had scrambled to repel the Shasvastii, commanded by the Aspect Thamoz - still undergoing [REDACTED]. Key targets had been identified - Broadcast antenna that were interfering with the command-net of the area. Analysts had identified one as disrupting our own network, while the other was disrupting the enemy. The Aleph forces had to destroy one and protect the other, driving the Shasvastii back from The Passageways at the same time.
O: I saw them move around the buildings. Them and their battle robots. I told Jack everything would be okay now, that some humans had come to rescue us. I didn't tell him it was Aleph. I didn't want him to think we would be told off for coming here. I didn't want him to be scared more.
B: What happened after the Aleph arrived?
O: I saw these strange little creatures run out towards the Aleph, followed by a bulky robot with a rucksack. It ran around a few buildings then went inside one near where the Aleph were. I didn't see what happened then but I saw fire and smoke come out of the other side. I hugged Jack and told him everything would be okay. He saw the fire and was crying. Then there was an massive bang, like a bomb going off, and then lots of loud cracks. I saw one of the broadcast poles explode near the Aleph and one of them... I think I saw one die...
B: Don't worry Oliver, you didn't see one die. She was an Aleph, you've seen Myrmidon Wars, you know they don't die.
O: Yeah.... but there was an explosion and fire and I thought I saw her body fall off the roof...
B: That was probably to fool the enemy. What did you see after that?
O: One of those little aliens, the ones that run about on four legs, it ran off down the street and went round a corner. There were some gunshot then... then a gnashing sound...
B: Its alright Oliver, the aliens are far away. You are safe.
O: I know, its just.... its just... The Aleph battle remotes started moving forward. I had seen them on the vid-casts, those big, powerful machines... One of them started firing at something below where we were hidden! The noise was so loud... then there was a huge 'wooosh' from above us and the robot exploded! I saw it, pieces flying everywhere and flames... Then one of the Aleph pretend humans appeared around the corner, firing his gun at the things around us. He got exploded too...
O: Then there was a noise of gunfire off to the side and the little alien creature ran out and collapsed to the ground with blood leaking all over. The aliens all started firing at whatever was behind the building. Blast after blast. The whole street was covered in explosions. It was like they saw a monster or something. One of the aliens beneath us screamed like it had been stabbed and I heard a thump. I thought it had died. Another alien on a roof, the one that had exploded the broadcast pole, got shot through the chest. I saw blood and everything. It didn't die straight away though, it kept firing missiles at whatever it was they saw. Then this woman-thing moved into sight. It was like something out of Myrmidon Wars. This small woman running out with a gun, shooting at the three aliens. I swear an explosion hit her in the chest but she just shrugged it off. She just kept on coming. She was almost as frighting as the aliens. The road was covered in craters and smoke and fire and she didn't seem to care. She took another missile and I thought she was dead for sure, but she got up. Half her chest was gone and her left arm was missing but she just stood up and kept on moving and shooting. Then there were more explosions around her. When the smoke cleared I couldn't see her anymore.
*Note 3: This was Aspect Thamoz, possessing an Asura Lhost. The Shukra consultant's report appended at the end of this transcript covers the Aspect's performance and [REDACTED].
O: But she can't have died. Like you said, Aleph things can't die. I think she must have hidden in all the rubbish the explosions caused.
B: I am sure you are right Oliver.
*Note 4: Oliver was wrong.
B: Do you remember what happened after that?
O: I think I saw more of the little alien creatures scampering about in the distance, and another rucksack robot rushed up towards where the Asura had been, throwing more fire at something I couldn't see. Then I heard something below us. I peeped over the edge and saw... it was a big ugly worm thing. like a massive worm monster. It was curled over the body of a big alien, and seemed to be doing something to him. Whatever it was, it worked. The alien stood up again, then the worm slithered off towards where the Aleph had come from. I think I saw it nosing about in a box as I crawled back into my hiding place.
B: Very good Oliver, we are nearly done. That worm thing is a doctor, can you believe that? A doctor. I don't know about you, Oliver, but I wouldn't want a worm thing healing me.
O: Haha, no, that would be icky.
B: What happened next?
O: I don't really know. I thought I saw an Aristeia player, but that can't be right. She was another Aleph, all quick and flowing. She ran down the side of a building and round the back of the building I was hiding in.
*Note 5: This was indeed Dart. Her report states that, acting under the command of the Shukra consultant now that Aspect Thamoz was incapacitated. She ran down the flank, gunning down the revived Gwailo as she went, then swung around to engage the enemy rear guard - destroying an E-Drone and dueling an M-Drone to a standstill.
O: There was more though. The noise of battle had mostly gone, just some rattle of guns occasionally. No more explosions. Then there was a load of gunfire from the distance where one of the little alien creatures had gone.
*Note 6: A stray Taigha had sneaked around the flank and attacked the remaining Dakinis and their Apsara support. It died in the assault, but not before severely damaging a Dakini and the Apsara's Lhost.
O: I didn't hear anything more for a long time, then there was loads of guns going off right below us. Then there was nothing... No movement, no guns, just Alien voices...
B: It's alright Oliver. We know the rest. You and your brother were very brave back there, and very clever to keep out of sight of the aliens. You have been very brave today, telling me everything that happened. Thank you, Oliver. Now I am sure your brother is keen to see you again, this nice man here will take you back to him. You have don very well, Oliver. We are very, very proud of you.
*Note 7: Oliver was not in a position to see the end of the battle against the Shasvastii, what follows is Dart's summary of events before she bugged out, and the account of the Posthuman Cleo.
I had got round the back of them, no trouble. Not that anyone would have doubted me, when had I ever failed to get where I needed to be? I had dispatched a Gwailo and a remote and was preparing to make a run on where I thought the enemy commander would be, but then another drone intercepted me. It had one of those damned nanoscreens and managed to wound me in our first exchange. Then it attacked again, holding me off. I couldn't get past it's damned screen. It had me pinned.
Account of Posthuman Cleo:
I had already died once today, I was not going to let it happen again. Aspect Thamoz had done his suicide run and Dart had cleared the way - it was now all up to me. I had the only weapon left that was capable of destroying the objective.
Just as I was preparing to make my run, I heard something behind me. Quick as lightning I turned, coming face to hideous face with a Speculo Killer. It is no exaggeration to say I am as capable a fighter as any in the human sphere, all of us who transcend humanity are naturally greater than those below, but even I would not want to match blades with a Speculo. Especially in an engineer Lhost, poorly suited for close quarters combat. The enemy moved with a fluid deadliness I had scarcely seen before. It struck with a flurry of lightning quick blows, but transcendence brings many gifts. Perhaps the greatest is perspective. Stepping inside the reach of the monofilament blade, I pirouetted on one foot, effortlessly evading the wicked edge of my foe whilst bringing my bag of engineering supplies crashing around into the back of my enemy's skull. It was over in seconds, the dreaded assassin of the combined army dead at my feet.
One cannot stop to admire ones own handiwork on the battlefield, however, even with thought processes as fast as mine. I had a job to do. Following Dart's path, I ran down the left flank and out towards the objective...
My Lhost caught a shell from the enemy commander, but it takes more than a little damage to stop one of MY hosts. I carried on my run, aiming a few shots of my combi rifle up at the Mentor above me...
A rare miss, but then this was not my Sniper host. Realising that the next few seconds would be the last for this body, I flung myself forward at the objective. Shots tore through me, but I had already deactivated the quantronic pathways for pain. I slammed my D-charges onto the objective and, with the last gasp of my shredded connection, I activated them.
I cannot be blamed for the failure of this last heroic action. The objective suffered some structural damage, but when I had passed my mind back to the nearest available netrod, it became clear the damage was only minimal.
The Shukra commanding our operation ordered us to withdraw. We could do no more.