As ordered, you report to the briefing room at 0800 the next morning. Ecker is ready and waiting for you, armed with printouts and the ever-present overhead projector. He motions for you to sit down as you enter, noting the notepads on your desks.
“Ok, kids,” he begins, “Your performance yesterday was good – damn good – as I indicated yesterday. Now, here’s what you did wrong.”
You each get the feeling you should be taking notes, and do so as he begins. He definitely gives it the feel of constructive criticism rather than a gripe out. Nothing significant comes out until he gets to the final two scenarios.
“Scenario Four pitted you against Destroid Squad Magenta,. I’ll start with the second set.”
“2 and 6 – Phillips and Von Hammer. Nice job on the quick kills, but remember your missile conservation. The multiple missile strikes were good for quick kills, but your opponents didn’t really warrant the extra firepower.”
(Allow questions or comments, field – staying on that tack)
“Moving to the third set – 3 and 5 – Phillips and Stone. You did a good job of realizing that you were between a rock and a hard place. Splitting up was the best option, and taking out the arm of the Raidar X, followed by finishing it off, was the correct way to handle the situation. But, Phillips, you should have backed off from the MAC II, merely drawing its fire so Stone could get behind it. Getting yourself killed made the kill on the MAC II that much harder to accomplish.”
“Stone – good tactical try, and good maneuvering to finally get the kill. As I noted before, teamwork would have helped.”
(Stone, Phillips comments)
“And now, the first lane. 1 and 4 – Meadows and Piazzalini. Your duo waas a toughh nut to crack…and you couldn’t quite do it. Your approaches were textbook.. maybe that was your problem. But you were up against the best of that squad, so don’t beat yourselves up.”
“Piazzalini. Once Meadows went down – what the hell was that? Your thinking was sound, but I’ll remind you of the KISS principle – Keep It Simple, Stupid. Getting inside the Raidar X was good, but that attempted leap? That’s what got you killed.”
As I recall, the “what the hell was that” moment was when Tony managed to get right up next to the Raider X – inside it’s gun arms, so it couldn’t shoot him. Instead of playing that advantage, he decided to boost over it and take it from behind. Problem was he blew his piloting roll and went straight up – allowing the Raider X a few easy skeet shots.
“Next – you versus Veritech Squad Blue. Excellent results, but again, a few comments.”
“Lane One, we had 1 and 3 – Meadows and Phillips. Tough luck with the missile backfire, but way to pull it out. Staying in the firefight drew off the second attacker from your wingman and allowed her to finish hers off before coming to help you.”
“Next, 2 qand 5 – Phillips and Stone. I don’t know what sort of hairbrained maneuver that wass that he pulled, but way to roll with the punches. my only negative comment was your plans to toy with the second target. That’s hot-dogging, and we won’t stand for it – that gets pilots killed. Move from target to target with experience – lingering on a kill tends to draw in his friends. Got it?”
“Lastly, 4 and 6 – Piazzalini and Von Hammer. You two need to watch your visuals more. That one Veritech was packing SMOKE missiles – non-damaging, except to waste the actions of the non-observant. Like you two. I counted no less than three attacks wasted by you on those missiles. The excess smoke should have clued you in when he fired the first time.”
“Other than that, passable job, Piazzalini, but excellent to Von Hammer. If you have to go out, do it in a blaze of glory.”
“Now then, any other questions?”
(Field questions as best you can, then get down to business)
For the next two weeks, you are assigned more simulator missions of varying degrees. Your squad begins to meld as a team, although you all acknowledge tha the computer is a less than challenging foe. Your off-duty time is required to be spent within the confines of the base, and you are all beginning to go a little stir-crazy.
Finally, Ecker makes the announcement you’ve been waiting for – a weekend off. he encourages you to spend the time together, getting to know each other personally as well as professionally.
You have 48 hours leave.
GM NOTES: Shore leave on Macross Island.
This is a time for long term role-playing elements to be introduced.
Specifically, these relate to: Tony Piazzalini, Scott Stone, and Jackie Phillips.
1) Allow Jackie to be pulled away from the group at some point. She is told to be on the lookout for suspicious activity, something abouty anti-Robotech elements at work on Macross Island.
2) Scott Stone and Tony Piazzalini are unwittingly linked through the mysterious Corlizone family. Responsible for the death of Tony’s parents and Scott’s current situation on Moon Base, they are looking to tie up some loose ends. Separate elements determined that both Stone and Piazzalini weree on Macross Island, so a decision was made to begin an undercover operation.
The operation mainly consisted of opening an Italian restaurant on Macross. Due to the latenss of their intelligence, they opened late, but by this point, in late January, they are open and, as a side bonus for them, business is booming.
Pictures of Scott and Tony have been circulated to all employees, but they will not make a hit in public.
At any rate, let the characters spend their 48 hours, however, but encourage the Italiian scene to push this plot element along. Also include possible encounters with other student squads (i.e. Blue or Magenta).
So, as the tagline notes, this is where is all went wrong (or right, looking back now). My group was pretty accepting of the format, and the premise of military cadets on leave was too much fun to pass up. Von Hammer got hold of a newspaper where the lead story was his dad clocking the Soviet rep during a floor debate. They did end up at Mussolini’s for dinner (the aforementioned Italian restaurant of the Corlizone family – the group picked Italian on their own, believe it or not). There was a fun little car chase (the Corlizone’s had the group tailed, and Jackie noticed), but the group eventually ended up at a mud wrestling bar. I went ahead and had Veritech Squad Blue there as well, just to set up some NPC interactions, when Jackie challenged Janice McMurray to a match. The two lovelies were going at, with both squads ringside, when, for some reason, Piazzalini decided to reach into the ring to give his squadmate an assist. What he ended up doing was removing the g-string of Janice. Needless to say, the session ended right there, and I had about a week to figure out what would happen next…