Hey Floyd, I had a thought. We have too many enemies around here. I bet if we gave the Reef Bandits some super nice gifts they'd want to form an alliance! Then we can focus on just the Sovereign trying to kill us!
And what, exactly, are you going to give them to win them over?
Leave that to me, Floyd. If there's one thing I know after years of slaughtering countless indigenous peoples, it's what they want.
There we go! Nobody could stay mad at us after we give them such generous gifts!
This is perhaps the most insulting set of gifts I've ever seen, Morgan, which is really saying something considering it's coming from you. "Sorry you lost your home. Have some beads and scratchy blankets."
I'm not sure I know what you mean by that. Did you feel those blankets? Super soft.
Lieutenant Morgan, sir? That package you sent to the Reef Bandits came back with this note attached. The box looks like it's been kicked a bunch, too.
Oh man, these blankets have been practically kicked apart, and the beads are all scuffed up. What does the note say? Can you even read it?
Yes sir, I had Karin help me translate it over the radio. It basically says that your gift was terrible and insulting. If you want to send anything, they need clean water and food and safety more than anything else.
Alright, Chief. We got you something you actually want this time. I hope you enjoy it.
He looks skeptical, sir.
If looks could wound, I'd probably have another facial scar.
Give that to me, Perkins. Hmm, he wants to see us. Well, me specifically, but I like to travel in groups so you're coming too.
Alright, Pike. We're here. What was so important that I had to rush down here before finishing my macrame project?
We're more alike than you may realize, Lieutenant. I've committed some truly horrible acts in my lifetime, but the time has come to start making amends. With your help, we can still set things right.
Kinda heavy there, Pike. I usually don't become that introspective until after a drink or two.
Fine, I'll get to the point. We need to find the Reef Bandits a home. As a former Sovereign, I feel responsible for their plight. The Sovereign drove them from their land and burned their homes. I need to help them. I must.
Hey, Perkins! Those Reef Bandits are going to need some other supplies while they get their island up and running. I put together a short list of things, mainly stuff I know I would want in their situation.
But sir, this just says "RUM" in capital letters.
I know it's a short list, but I think we can make it work. Feel free to add to it if you think of anything else, like ice cube trays or tiny umbrellas.
Um, Floyd? Where's the giant rum cask I requested for the Reef Bandits? I need to top off my drink.
Perkins showed me your "list." I threw it out and set him about gathering things they may ACTUALLY need. This is serious business, Morgan.
When am I ever NOT serious? Rum has all sorts of applications!
Everyone listen up! We've got limited time to spend in Port City so I'm going to lay down some ground rules. First, represent the Empire with dignity and respect. If someone challenges you to a drinking contest, you gotta do it. Second, Imperials never back down. If someone tries to start something with you, lay 'em out.
Um, Sergeant? I don't know if these are the best rules to be following when we're away from the Outpost. Things could get out of hand.
This brings me to rule number three. Direct all authority figures to Perkins if you get into any trouble. He'll take care of it.
Things are going smoother than I thought they would. I'm having a pretty fun time so far!
Great. We might as well enjoy ourselves while we're here. And listen, I was just giving you a hard time with those rules earlier. I just wanted to wind you up a bit.
Oh good! I was worried you were serious about the drinking contests and the fighting.
Zoey? Did you guys bury some metal pipes in the ground near the beach? This definitely doesn't look like a treasure chest…
What in the heck are you kids talkin' bout now? OH! Yeah, guys, you should move away from that before you wake it up…
Oh no! It's moving! What happened?
First, large explosions! Then, you find robot monsters and somehow activate them! I'm not usually one to put my foot down, but you kids are officially banned from playing on this beach. I don't know if the Outpost can take much more.
But! We didn't mean to! It was an accident!
Yeah, LT. They didn't mean nuthin' by it. It's a good thing they found this stuff when they did. What if those things woke up when we were all sleepin'?
Ok fine, but you have to bring a full platoon with you next time.
Floyd, Zoey, I want you two to figure out a way to get this behemoth to the Reef Bandit Chief. We can't keep it here. The Reef Bandits never visit and it totally contrasts with the motif we've got going on.
This thing might sink one of our boats if we load it on one. I reckon a little extra float's gonna be necessary.
Good idea, Zoey. I'll see what we can do about that.
This thing stinks, Floyd. Why does this giant computer thing of yours smell so bad?
I ran into a problem where the main circuits would overheat too easily and current methods of drawing the heat out were insufficient. I had to utilize a… less than conventional method.
Um, LT? Did you feel that? Like somethin' brushed up against the boat?
No, but admittedly, I wasn't feeling very hard. Let me try a bit harder… OK, I felt that one. Ramsey! Get the men ready for a fight! I think we're going to have company soon.
Alright Floyd. What exactly did you fill this thing with? Why is it attracting giant Groupers? What did you do?
Well, your "fish parts" comment wasn't too far off. I've found that if you indiscriminately throw multiple types of aquatic life into a big vat and make a slurry out of it, the slurry has all sorts of applications.
Look everyone! Perkins is back from his date with Karin!
Uh, it wasn't a date, actually. She made that very clear. But oh! We saw something incredible! We visited the Reef Bandits for some research she was doing and they had these Groupers trained to do all sorts of things! Even fight for them!
Wait, wait, wait. They trained Groupers to fight for them? And it worked? We should totally do that!
I don't know much about fishing nets, Floyd, but these look super sturdy. Are you sure they'll be able to hold a Grouper?
Indeed, it should be no problem. The trick was to be extra encouraging when weaving the fibers.
The Chief's asked us to check out the Fishing Grounds. He said there should be a small group of Reef Bandits there we can ask if they've seen anything worrying.
Let's get a move on then. For all we know they might be under attack right now from whatever took out those other Bandit groups.
Other than the ships we just took out, I'm not seeing anyone else. No Reef Bandits, just debris. We're too late. There's no way to tell for sure if it was the Sovereign Navy or if they were just passing through.
This is unacceptable! We need to scour the wreckage. Find some information! Something!
Pike, I know this isn't what you want to hear right now, but we're doing what we can. The best course of action is to check in on the next group we can find. We need to find survivors.
This next bit is the easy part. We need to sail to one of the Reef Bandit colonies and then we simply wait for them to come to us.
That sounds simple enough, but unfortunately I need to return to my home. I can't leave my city unguarded in case those scoundrels show up. I'll leave Karin with you to help translate. Please keep her safe.
Alright Karin, now that we're here, let the Chief know we're hiding our ships in that alcove over there, then we wait.
The Chief wants to know what you would like him and his men to do in the mean time.
Act normal, do Reef Bandit stuff. Fishing, I guess? I don't know how long this is going to take.
Name, rank, and serial number. That's all I've gotten from him so far. You're welcome to try, Morgan, but this guy's been trained pretty well.
Spill it, you piece of slime. What's your beef with the Reef Bandits? Why are you and your cronies determined to wipe them out?
Morgan, right? Whispers of you have made it back to the Sovereign Nation. We know what you're capable of. You can't scare me. Didn't that deserter, Pike, tell you what he was doing? We're just here to finish his job.
Is that so? Huh. Ramsey, wrap this guy up and stow him on one of our transport ships. I want to get this guy down to Pike but I don't want him on one of our warships.
You found one alive? That's quite surprising considering the training they're put through.
Can it, Pike. We know there's more to this whole story that you haven't told us about. Now would be a great time to come clean. What were you REALLY doing out here?
You have to understand, Morgan. I was a different man back then. I couldn't possibly fathom the consequences of my actions at the time. I was simply following orders, but that's no excuse.
Spill it, Pike. Quit stalling.
We were tasked with finding something that the Reef Bandits were protecting. The details of which were never clear, but it's something very powerful. We were to find it at all costs, regardless of what happened to the Bandits.
This thing sounds important. Let's head back to the Outpost.
Alright men. While we protect one group, Pike and his ships are going to protect the other group. I shouldn't have to tell you how important this is. The Reef Bandits had their homes destroyed, all because of some stupid thing the Sovereign thinks they have. But, we're going to put an end to this careless slaughter. Today we say, "Not this time."
We've beaten them, Lieutenant. They put up quite a fight but we won.
Hey LT! I got an idea you might wanna know about for how ta keep them new submarines away from the Outpost.
Zoey, you're by far my most valuable asset at this entire Outpost, and I appreciate anything you can do to strategically enhance our place in this world. Now, having said that, I can tell you that most of what you do scares the crap out of me. Is this improvement you're talking about going to be dangerous?
Not ta us, no. Only the people in the subs near our Outpost.
Zoey, great job taking something that Floyd cobbled together and making it more useful. That's the kind of thing I like to see.
I've just inspected the "enhancements" Zoey added to my sonar device and I must say it is truly appalling! Anything in the water remotely near our Outpost is either going to go deaf or be driven mad from the noise!
Wow … that sounds ... pretty amazing actually. Well done, Zoey.
I've received word from Pike, sir. The Sovereign forces... they've all been destroyed. Someone, or something wiped them out after they used that key stolen from the Reef Bandits to open that ancient vault.
This could be really bad, Lieutenant. Anything strong enough to take out a group that tough is gonna be trouble. Whatever it is could be headed towards innocent people right now.
Alright, calm down! We don't even know what happened yet. First, we need to head out there and see what we can figure out about all of this.
Ok, we're here, and all I'm seeing is a bunch of formerly Sovereign shaped debris. Anyone see what's responsible? I think we owe them a fresh batch of cookies.
Sir? Am I the only one seeing a giant red-ish island thing moving slowly this way?
Oh crap. This is VERY bad.
Victims of their own hubris. Those poor Sovereign bastards never stood a chance.
What the hell, Pike? When did you get here? And how the hell did you get onto my ship without me seeing?
The sounds of battle were easy enough to follow after you'd engaged that horrid beast unleashed by the Sovereign. We knew where the Sovereign forces had been defeated. We just had to wait for you and your men.
Oh yeah. Things got pretty loud for a while there. Did you see us kick its ass?
Yes, Lieutenant. It was very impressive.
I know, right? I wonder if there's anything cool we can sell in that vault it came out of.
You know what? I wish we had Heavy Tanks. That would be BOSS. If we had tanks bigger than the other guys, we could just blow up their tanks with ours. Like rock, paper, tank... Heavy Tank.
We do have Heavy Tanks! I mean... we received pre-authorization to construct Heavy Tanks from High Command. We just need to print out the authorization confirmation forms. Of course, we do need to fill out each form in triplicate, have them notarized, sealed, and then hand deliver them. The process usually takes several months.
Explain to me why we didn't start this process when we got the forms? Or several months ago, so I could drive a Heavy Tank over your feet?
Well... Morgan. He's had me organizing his shoe closet. And then, when I went to go print out the forms, we were out of paper! So we're going to need to make more paper. Hopefully some homegrown paper will be okay.
Okay, we have the wood. Now we just need to figure out how to make it into paper.
That should be easy. First, you'll have to turn it into mulch. After that, we can just press and dry the pulp into sheets of paper. It's amazing what you can do with a few household materials and a little know-how!
I'm sure there's something at the Tool Shop that I can use to do that. I'll just clean off anything I use when I'm done.
I did it! There's mulch all over the floor, but I managed to make a few good sheets. I even perforated the edges by hand for the printer's feed mechanism. I just hope it doesn't cause a jam!
If anything ever called for a party, this does. Let's get something together.
We did it! We finally got rid of that maniac! It should be easy marching from here, boys!
That was some damn fine soldierin'. Proud to serve with the 95th!
Guys, we just got a message from the capital...
Hooray! Thank you for helping us! Our people will be forever grateful!
I must say, it was something of an unqualified success!
Did you see the size of the explosion when their ammo stores went up? POW!
GUYS, PLEASE! We just got a wire from the capital. While we were attacking Warlord Gantas, the Rebels made a surprise attack from the Taray Mountains. They killed the Emperor. The capital city is in ruins... The Empire has fallen.
I probably coulda made these sooner if you'd just asked.
Build a Gun Foundry
Build an Armor Shop
Train 1 Heavy Tank
Okay, so... I was stamping all of the forms with the official seal, and at the bottom of the stack I got to some forms that were already stamped. Turns out we already had the authorization confirmation response from back home, and the Heavy Tank plans were just sorta paper-clipped onto the back of that one. Oops.
Ah, wartime. I bet the paper-pushers back home don't even know what a tank is. Well, what are you waitin' for! Get those plans to Zoey so I can have my tank.
OK, it's done. So what's the big deal? Seems like just another tank to me.
You don't understand. It's... it's beautiful. Majestic. An engineered killing machine, like a shark... but on land.