See that map up above? That’s how much of the map I uncover before I finally find Hamous and his ice cream truck. Have a seat, children, and I’ll tell you a tale.
Leaving from Cambria, the Dispensables follow the road north to San Mona. Unique among the towns in Arulco, San Mona isn’t held by Deidranna’s troops. Instead, it’s run by crime boss named Kingpin and his mob. Instead of just passing through, the Dispensables have themselves a grand old time in San Mona.
That’s an entry of its own, though, and one that I’ll deal with tomorrow. Right now, we’re still jonesing for some neopolitan.
After the jump: road trip!
While the Dispensables are having fun in San Mona, I put in another call to A.I.M., and hire a sniper that I love dearly from past playthroughs. Say hello to Scope.
I’m actually getting scope far later in the game than I normally do; she’s usually one of my first priorities. In addition to a marksmanship stat of 99, Scope has the Teaching ability, which gives her a 40% bonus to teaching other mercs. Stick her in Drassen early to train Ira, for example, and watch Ira become a natural sharpshooter. Also, Scope is British, and says “Biscuits!” instead of swearing. I love her so.
Scope takes the west road out of Cambria, which also curves north to San Mona. Just want to make sure that truck isn’t on this road.
After San Mona, my first stop is the S.A.M. site on the coast. Scope immediately starts earning her keep. She covers the entrance and almost single-handedly picks off the guards as they run out to attack. Meltdown covers her six, and the rest of the Dispensables work their way around the fence, picking off stragglers inside.
After the S.A.M. site, I make my way north to Chitzena. My play style is unusual in that I rarely take Chitzena until late in the game. It’s commonly accepted that after Drassen, Chitzena is the next town you should take. It’s only two zones, so training militia is quick, there’s a mine there, and there are some interesting side quests that start there.
The only problem is that it’s on the opposite side of the freaking map. Since I usually don’t go for it right away, by the time I do get around to it, it’s a cakewalk.
At this point, the Dispensables have got a lot of money in the bank. In addition to the four mines I now control, I walked out of San Mona with many tens of thousands of dollars. I’ll cover that tomorrow. In any case, it’s time to spend.
The first thing I do is hire two more mercenaries. First, I make another custom mercenary to act as a second sniper, so I can put Raven back in a machine-gunner role where she belongs. Sam “Eagle” Henson is his name.
Second, any Jagged Alliance 2 game diary on Quarter to Three, (all one of them,) simply must, at some point, hire the mysterious Dr. Q. I feel like I know that guy somehow…
I also put in another order to Billy Ray, mostly consisting of weapon modifications. The highlight is four full ghillie suits for Mantis, Buzz, Meltdown, and Eagle. Raven will get ones soon, but at the moment her SWAT armor doesn’t accept ghillie suits.
While the Dispensables are training militia in Chitzena, I send Buzz off with Skyrider on a mission to Alma. There, she picks up Dynamo and Shank, who have been training up their marksmanship at the shooting range, and the three of them fly to Estoni, a junkyard between Cambria and Meduna. It will be a great place to buy fuel once I find the truck, but in the meantime, I pick up Maddog.
This guy lives at the junkyard with his Pa, who will be selling me fuel later. All I have to do is ask him to join the squad, and he does. Maddog’s CAWS shotgun is a beast, but unfortunately the guy can’t hit a damn thing with it. He’s a heck of a repairman, though, and my B team needs a mechanic.
I now have two full squads of mercenaries. A Team is Mantis, Buzz, Chopshop, Eagle, Dynamo, and Ira. B Team is Meltdown, Raven, Scope, Dr. Q, Maddog, and Shank. I send B Team to follow the coast road south to the town of Grumm, while Skyrider gives A Team a lift to the opposite coast, just west of the town of Balime. I may not have found the truck yet, but with all the cash I have saved up, I’m going to buy me a Hummer.
A man named Dave runs a service station here, and he offers to sell me a “slightly used” Humvee for $10,000. He only takes cash. I withdraw the money and in a deal that is totally legitimate and not at all under the table, buy the truck. He says it will take a day for him to get it ready for me. No problem, I say, there’s a town to the right that I’m going to take storm in the meantime.
While A Team is busy taking stuff from the rich people in Balime, B Team runs into trouble on the coast road. Scope and Raven do their thing, but one or two guys end up hiding, so Raven goes to flush them out. While she’s looking, she runs into…
Holy cripes on toast, FINALLY. What do you say, team? Time to load up the truck!
Dufresne, known to his friends as Sam, lives and works in the Boston area as a game designer. His hobbies besides gaming include the guitar, LEGO, and the occasional regime change.