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by Marcus Wheeler & Mike Proudlock

Background

The year is 2106 AD. Despite the Western Alliance (WA) victory over the Eastern Alliance (EA), the resulting strategic situation is not quite as anticipated. The thorium 232 proved much more difficult to refine and process, than previously envisaged. The structure of the isotope is often impure and frequently unstable. Evacuating EA forces also destroyed the starport at Lowell imposing logistical constraints on the exploitation of Martian resources. The extraction of the thorium deposits, regardless of these difficulties remained critical to the WA as despite being marginally economic in relative terms due to the aforementioned problems, they represented a strategic commodity that the WA could not depend on external suppliers for.

While working to develop the thorium extraction process however, scientists have made a startling discovery. The thorium can be processed with a native martian plant extract to not only ease the production process but add stability and enrich the effectiveness of the thorium by up to 130% over the normal isotope. Exo-biologists had discovered this indigenous plant life "awakening" in the Martian soil following the initial stages of terraforming. It was named the excati by settlers (a contraction of exo-cacti) These excati have the potential to grow as big as large as a house. It was discovered that these secrete a resin like substance, which could be artificially combined with thorium 232. Speculation was immediately rife that these were bio-engineered plants, eons old though dormant in the soil for millennia. It was hypothesized that the plants were created solely to produce this valuable substance. Of course this is entirely supposition.

The WA have invested in specially constructed harvesting technology and have begun to recover the valuable resin. Giant refinery/tanker vehicles are the focus of the operation. They interface directly with hovering tanker shuttles to transfer the refined liquid isotope to ships in orbit.

The EA were already aware of developments as a result of the active resistance of some of the local population to WA activities in the Marineris Valles region. Following their defeat they have invested heavily in prospecting for and extracting naturally occurring deposits of the 232 isotope from scattered deposits in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. They have also invested in the star-ships and bases to protect these operations. This initially appeared a more expensive and less reliable option than the reserves available on Mars. Subsequent developments at first belied this but now threaten to undermine the economic value of the investment in the asteroid belt mining operation. Nevertheless the significance of these most recent developments on Mars has not been lost on the EA. They are ready to intervene to prevent the WA gaining an economic and military advantage by exploiting the 239 isotope and the resin/bio-technology which substantially enhances it's value. Gaining revenge for the earlier defeat is also a not inconsequential incentive.

The plans for a second invasion of Mars, prepared, analysed, played out and refined over the years since the last encounter, swing into action. This time however, the forces are already available for a lightning strike at bases in the asteroid belt. The objective is not to hold Mars, but to seriously damage the WA infrastructure while, most critically, also gaining as much in the way of samples and information as possible on the resin and the processes involved in synthesizing the enhanced isotope. The only question is when to strike at the lynchpin of the WA's defences, the naval base at Eureka 5261, a trojan asteroid in the same orbit as Mars.

The Campaign

Interface Between the Two Games - The Campaign Element

Performance in the space game will determine orbital fire support (each capital ship surviving provides the equivalent of an artillery battery fire mission at 65/14, each cruiser the equivalent of a single gun firing at 60/12.) For each surviving fighter except interceptors, the players gain one airstrike. Surviving interceptors may be used to counter these. These elements will be interfaced using the command cards.

Jamming levels are also affected by command cards. However, as a guide the victorious team will have at least a 10% greater jamming capability overall.

Morale levels will also be affected by the preceding game. I suggest a standard morale level of 5 for all the players. Players may then gain +1/-1 depending on performance on day 1, as a result of team/personal performance.

Space Battles


Space Results


Land Battles


Land Results

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