Stage III. Battening Down the Hatches

Once the PCs have had time to explore the facility, restore power, deal with the giant burrowing space-worm, and set up their command post, they finally begin to receive some good news – along with more bad news, of course.

Fallback Position

Bravo Company's base isn't going to last, and Adm Nelson has ordered Lt. Col Callahan to pack up shop, converge with the rest of the force, and take command at Rock Ridge Station. He's ordered all surviving units to redirect there, and will be sending all future supplies and reinforcements there.

Drop-Pod Ahoy!
As promised, the Megaera drops additional supplies from orbit into the courtyard of Rock Ridge Station, along with a squad from Charlie Company (“The Sea-Bees,” an SCV construction battalion unit) and one from Hotel Company (“The Florence Fightin-gales,” a corpsman unit). The pods land in the courtyard, and contain:

  • Parts, armaments, and armor to repair recovered and incoming Terran vehicles, and enough to upgrade up to 6 civilian vehicles to their military equivalents – e.g. Wheeled ATVs to APCs, Hover Jeeps to Stingers, Utility Hovercrafts to full Armored Hovercrafts (p. UT227), and Utility Vertols to (Assault or Medevac) Dropships.
  • A pre-fab Command-and-Control Outpost kit, including 5 automated missile turrets, 10 sentry guns, 5 squad-sized combat bunkers, and a control module that hacks into the facility's computer network, installs needed software for automated weapons, etc, and takes over all relevant functions (security/surveillance, etc), handing it over to the on-site commander.
  • Enough medical supplies to restock the facility hospital for military use.
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Rescue Missions

Without support and/or evac, most of the scattered survivors simply won't make it to the relative safety of Rock Ridge Station before being overwhelmed and torn asunder by the Swarm. In all cases, Zerg forces ignore casualties, as their fallen are replaced by vanguards from the approaching Swarm.

Victor Company (Vikings)
Trapped in the canyons (west of Tango Company's crash site) by an unending stream of Zerg below and a ring of spore-crawlers above, the Vikings of Victor Company have collapsed the canyon entrance to keep the enemy at bay, but are now well and thoroughly trapped. They could escape by transforming into flight mode, but would be shot down before they could clear the spore-crawlers' range. Their position is relatively safe from aerial or ground assault – at least until the Swarm envelops them. Unless the PCs make Victor Company their first rescue priority, they'll be overtaken within about 10 hours of the crash.

The Zerg force consists of a never-ending stream of Zerglings (at any given time, about 4xPlayers – half regular, half Raptor-strain), Hydralisks (1xPlayers), and Roaches (1xPlayers), mostly coming from the northern end of the canyon, many of whom can be boxed in by crafty use of heavy weapons. New Zerg should arrive from the edge of the map at about the same rate that they're killed.

The Vikings can do little to help from their position – at least, until the spore crawlers are destroyed, and they're clear to take off. The spore-crawlers ring the canyon above, protected by Mutalisks (1xPlayers), who can't maneuver well enough to effectively attack ground targets in the canyon, but will harass anyone on the cliff-top (e.g. attacking the spore crawlers). Likewise, direct ranged fire from the bottom of the canyon to the top is essentially impossible – Guided Missiles are possible from below (giving a spotter above), but direct-fire attacks on the colonies requires being on the cliff-top. Top-side, attacks are possible against any target, and PCs are safe from the hydralisks and roaches below … the Raptor-strain zerglings, however, can leap up the cliff-face (as can a Reaper), and several will respond to serious attacks on the colonies.

Rescue consists of destroying at least 8 of the 10 Spore Crawler (SM +5, HT 14, DR 100 (Hardened 1), 200 HP) that have rooted themselves along the canyon-top; it takes multiple hits from heavy weapons to destroy one (e.g., eight 64mm shaped charges, either direct hits with missiles, or 2 turns of setup and a single Demolitions roll with limpet mines). They can't attack ground targets, nor make active defense rolls of any kind, but will uproot (take 1d+1 turns) and flee (Move 6) if attacked by ground-based enemies. Against aerial targets, they fire homing spores (RoF 1) that chase an enemy's engine exhaust or psionic signature with Skill-16, and inflict 6dx10(2) cr ex inc.

Once rescued, Victor Company can assist in as many as two additional rescue missions – most likely including Lima Company. Vikings have no passenger space, but a single battlesuited trooper can fit (rather uncomfortably) into the small cargo hold, so they can at least give a few injured PCs a ride home if need be.


Lima Company (Siege Tanks)
Pinned down much like Victor Company, Lima Company is in a defensible canyon, able to hold out against the Zerg swarm above with machine guns, but unable to escape without taking heavy losses until the fliers are engaged or destroyed by air (or anti-air) units. They're farther from the approaching swarm, and have at least 20 hours before they're overrun.

The most effective way to rescue Lima Company is actually to save Victor Company, so that they can make for Lima and engage the Zerg there. In this case, as long as at least four Vikings survive, the rescue is automatic, and Lima makes it to Rock Ridge Station without further trouble. If the PCs are unable to save Victor Company, or decide to help Lima Company themselves, they'll need to take down the Mutalisks (2xPlayers) and Guardians (1xPlayers) that are circling the canyon, most likely with surface-to-air missiles. The Zerg will of course fight back, often with large amounts of explosive damage, so ground-based Marines will need a great deal of mobility and/or cover; the twisting canyons and rocky terrain may provide the latter, while hindering the former. New Zerg do not arrive, nor are their numbers endless in this place; killing at least two-thirds of the Zerg will disperse them enough for the siege tanks to make a run for it, and each tank provides mount-points for up to two battlesuits to hang on for the ride.

After they make it to the habitat, Lima Company can provide artillery support to virtually anywhere on the map, most likely in the effort to assist in further rescue missions. They can provide effective aid in as many as two such missions.


Romeo Company (Reapers)
The Reapers of Romeo are high-tailing it across the canyon, but have a sizable flock of Zerg in pursuit, and even more trying to cut off their approach to the habitat. They'll probably make it without help, though they anticipate losses unless someone can keep them Zerg off their flank, and open a path to the habitat. Rescue operations will consist of engaging the north-bound pack trying to intercept them, and/or providing cover to throw off their pursuers. Once Lima and/or Victor Companies have made it to the habitat, one of the two can easily provide such support, allowing Romeo to reach the habitat without further losses. If the PCs instead decide to provide support (or if Lima or Victor aren't available), they're up against Zerglings (4xPlayers), Hydralisks (1xPlayers), Roaches (1xPlayers), and Mutalisks (2xPlayers) in pursuit of the fleeing Reapers. New Zerg do not arrive, nor are their numbers endless in this place; killing at least two-thirds of their numbers will disperse them enough for Romeo to escape.


Bravo, Golf, and Kilo Companies (C3I, Diamondbacks, Goliaths, Powered Infantry)
LCol. Collins' forces have been driven from their base, and are retreating south to try and make it to Rock Ridge Station – ETA 6 hours or more. They're in the thick of the swarm, however, and will surely be overwhelmed without serious support. The Megaera is trying to maneuver into position to pull off some ground bombardment, but is currently engaged with orbital Zerg forces. (Delta Company has deployed in defense of the Megaera, and is thus presently unavailable for air support.)

A small group of battlesuited Marines isn't going to make much of a difference for Bravo and entourage; rescue operations consist of providing sufficient support to allow them to survive the dash. This requires the action of at least two companies (i.e. Lima and Victor), and is automatically successful if such resources can be directed. If only a single company can provide support, only half of the forces make it to the habitat (cut all TS in half); if none can be directed to help, they don't make it.


Sierra Company (Powered Infantry)
Like Romeo Company, the powered infantry of Sierra Company must make the mad dash across the canyon – unless someone comes to pick them up. They come under heavy attack about halfway across, and won't make it without help. Lima or Victor Companies can provide support (automatically ensuring that Sierra makes it in), or the PCs can rendezvous and pick them up in some kind of transport (e.g. utility vertols from the habitat, hopefully upgraded with drop-pod supplied armor and door-gun).

In this event, each player controls a single vehicle (Wheeled APC, Stinger, Armored Hovercraft, or Assault Dropship), with a crew of two (driver/pilot and door gunner), chosen from among surviving or rescued characters. Picking up battlesuit troopers consists of moving to them, and stopping for at least three consecutive turns (plus one per additional trooper boarding at the same time) while they climb on and strap in. Victory is achieved when all of the members of Sierra Company (who should be scattered in a loose formation around the center of the map) have been picked up. The Zerg are in a standard zaggle of Zerglings (4xPlayers), Hydralisks (1xPlayers), Roaches (1xPlayers), and Mutalisks (2xPlayers), endlessly replenished by new Zerg at the far edge of the map as quickly as they're killed.


Echo Company (Ghost Recon)
The psychic specops of Echo Company make it to Rock Ridge Station on their own, shortly before the Swarm arrives.

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