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A betrayal within the Epsilon puts Yuri in a position to deliver the ultimate punishment and bury those,[sic] who once sided with him within the ruins of an African palace. When the plan to activate the Psychic Amplifier nearby fails, he must resort to brute force. The Creation is deployed again.
—Mission description

Operation: Obsidian Sands is the ninth Epsilon Act Two campaign mission.

Briefing

Yuri's Message: "The series of operations in Kashmir proved more insightful than I expected, Proselyte. Just before Libra's suppressor reactivated, she subconsciously used her uninhibited psychic powers to read the minds of everyone nearby, including Yunru's. While she was of strong, resistant mind, her companions not so much. Behind the scenes, the deceptive Chinese scientist had made a pact of sorts with Rashidi, who's been strengthening his connections in China ever since the events in Xizang! In exchange for advanced technology, he offered them the last MIDAS warhead he had seized. I'm not yet sure why he did this, but it would explain why we couldn't find traces of the warhead when we thought it was destroyed. Rashidi's men likely dismantled and transported it with Drillers, just like they did with the old Chronosphere. Back then, his troops must still have been among the Chinese forces when the order was given to march on Kemerovo, where we lost the warhead. He used this knowledge against us!

Deployment of a Psychic Amplifier anywhere in Africa will be met with the Cell's resistance from underground. No, to deal with Rashidi, we need to be more direct. He is crafty, and the only way to punish him is total annihilation of his followers as they stand by him. We've managed to retrieve and recover Libra after her encounter with Yunru back in Kashmir, and she will be at the forefront of your landing party, which is en route to Bissau, where the Cell's main base is. You will deploy an outpost within the city, and from there, eradicate the entire Scorpion Cell presence and crush Rashidi. Leave nothing!"

Objective 1: Destroy the Scorpion Cell bases.

Events

Landfall

Rashidi had expected the Proselyte and his forces to arrive; upon seeing Libra in his tow, Rashidi talks with the Proselyte about his decision:

You know, when I saw that European flying ship, I doubted our cause. Felt powerless, like I'd never match the genius of its designer, or prevail over it. Then you.. your leader brought that thing, that's now here, at my doorstep. I no longer know what Yuri fights for. I'm no psychic, but I can feel her intent. She can kill us all, and only Yuri holds the switch. This war will ruin the world. But, I always have contingency plans. I saved the MIDAS for your leader. Then Malver warned me. Said to use it, if Yuri's powers corrupt the Cell. My mistake was not to see what you are sooner. I will fix that mistake.

Meanwhile, the Scorpion Cell forces destroyed a Psychic Amplifier stationed near Rashidi's stronghold before it could be activated.

The Proselyte's forces, which consists of Duneriders, Marauders and Magnetrons, assisted Libra, who single-handedly destroy the Scorpion Cell outpost on the nearby shore. While Libra is on her killing spree, Rashidi warns the Proselyte:

I thought we could fight tech with tech so I made some EMP mines around. Oh, and by some I meant lots. Lots of EMP Mines. Maybe those will stop her.

True enough, Libra spots EMP Mines around the shore base's perimeter and the city. Nonetheless she made short work of them.

Once the shore is clear, the Proselyte brought in the MCV to be deployed in the area as their starting ground.

"Death to the traitors!"

The warhead is in wiser hands now, but I can still use this platform against you!!

Knowing the Proselyte had built his base, Rashidi began to fire missiles from a Topol-M, and deployed a new weapon, which is called Dybbuk-Evolver:

I have also deployed a new weapon for you. Too bad you won't get to use it.

In order to defend his base from the mininuke warhead, the Proselyte decided to build lots of Gatling Cannons. Then, he found that there was a lack of resources, and he aimed at Rashidi's Tech Oil Derricks. At the same time, Rashidi discovered his thoughts in time and began dispatching Tyrant to Proselyte's base. He also built a Tactical Nuke Silo on the site of Psychic Amplifier. Obviously, this silo must have been given by his cooperator, Yunru. Rashidi used Tyrants, Bloaticks and Dybbuk-Evolvers to attack the Proselyte's troops without interruption, but he could not be defeated. Instead, he treacherously used this advantage: As long as Tyrants appeared at his base, he used Masterminds to mind-control them. After he raised a certain number of Tyrants, he even sent them all to destroy Rashidi's nuke silo, and he also tried to use this tactic on Infiltrators.

At this time, the Proselyte's advisor also sent good news: A team of Basilisks had already came to support his actions, but Rashidi's Basilisk was still unarmed; he was authorized to build Psychic Dominator that is already fully operational on the battlefield. He also built many new Psychic Towers as part of his defense against the strength of the Proselyte's forces; at this time, he was ready to attack the northeastern city, and Rahn was also deployed at that time.

Through the attacks of Masterminds and Basilisks, the fighting in the city eventually ended in the Proselyte's victory. After capturing a large number of oil derricks, he turned his sights towards Rashidi's Palace. But Rashidi did not stop. He simply commanded a large group of Bloaticks to rush to the new forward outpost of Proselyte, causing him a not-small loss. His advisor also pointed out that the two statues next to Rashidi's palace can create more distant ranges with topographical advantages and can also be used for air-defense. Therefore, he decided to activate Domination, which hit Rashidi's hordes of Bio Reactors, and neutralized the defenses in his base. Then he came up with another trick: Allow Engineers to enter a Driller and go straight to Rashidi's Construction Yard. With the Drillers sent out, he used Shadow Ring for them, then quickly released the Engineers to capture Rashidi's Construction Yard. After his troops pushed west, Proselyte insisted on sticking to a Tech Artillery Bunker to destroy the remaining Bio Reactor underneath it, and from time to time let Engineers repair it. When Rashidi’s base was shut down, The Proselyte promptly let Basilisks destroy the two statues and the palace. After destroying the palace, both the Proselyte and his advisor thought that Rashidi had been buried in the ruins together with his rebellious thoughts. However, Rashidi had already escaped quietly on an unknown vehicle.

The scorpion's last stand

The Proselyte continued to advance southwards, clearing the enemy forces there and establishing another outpost. While launching a general attack to the west, he discovered several strange buildings resembling Bio Reactors. However, his advisor immediately responded: These buildings are not used to generate electricity, but they contain toxins. And he pointed out that this should be another masterpiece of the Scorpion Cell chemist and reminded the Proselyte to be careful.

Eventually, the Proselyte's troops assembled to the site with many Chinese armament enemy forces and destroyed all the buildings including the Neurotoxin Plants. The remaining units of the Scorpion Cell fled after seeing their failure.

Aftermath

Their main base of operations destroyed, the disoriented and scattered Scorpion Cell forces will be switched to our side once we rebuild the Psychic Amplifier where Rashidi's Palace stood. After their defeat, the Paradox Engine remains the only threat to us.
—Yuri's message

Although the battle against the Scorpion Cell was a hard-fought one, the Epsilon loyalists nonetheless managed to destroy the rebel forces and killed Rashidi (or so the Proselyte believes) as the sands silently witnesses the fight. While many of the Scorpion Cell forces had survived, their resistance won't remain for long as a new Psychic Amplifier will be constructed in where Rashidi's palace once stood, thus hopefully ensuring the Scorpion Cell's obedience to Yuri's cause. However, this plan is foiled by the Allies due to their Paradox Engine, forcing the Epsilon loyalists to reactivate another Psychic Amplifier in Zaire.

Several weeks later, the Allies was ready to attack Epsilon's Headquarters in Antarctica, with their epic creation, the Paradox Engine. No sooner was the Proselyte told to protect his master Yuri chronoshifted to Moscow safely than they received this information.

Difficulty changes

Casual

  • Starting credits: 95000
  • Scorpion Cell will not build a Nuke Silo at Psychic Amplifier site. Instead, they'll build a Grinder.
  • The intensity of enemy attack is the weakest in this difficulty.

Normal

  • Starting credits: 85000
  • A Tactical Nuke Silo will be deployed where the Psychic Amplifier once stood. The countdown of said superweapon will begin as soon as Rashidi says that he gathered enough troops and weapons to prevent the proselyte from getting to the palace. Countdown before Tactical Nuke is ready to launch: 25:00
  • More tech defenses is controlled by Scorpion Cell initially.
  • Enemy will send Drillers carrying Engineer to player's base.
  • Some Bloaticks will appear from amplifier's position to attack player's base.

Mental

  • Starting credits: 75000
  • A Tactical Nuke Silo will be deployed where the Psychic Amplifier once stood. The countdown of said superweapon will begin as soon as Rashidi says that he gathered enough troops and weapons to prevent the proselyte from getting to the palace. Countdown before Tactical Nuke is ready to launch: 20:00
  • The intensity of enemy attack is the strongest in this difficulty.
  • More tech defenses is controlled by Scorpion Cell initially.
  • Enemy will send Drillers carrying Engineer to player's base.
  • Some Bloaticks will appear from amplifier's position to attack player's base.

Easter egg

SPOILER
  • If the player has one Eradicator under their control when they destroy the Nuclear Reactor in Rashidi's base, several radiated humanoids will spawn out of its destruction. Killing them will award the player with a one-use Invulnerability support power.
    • A video explanation can be found [here].

Behind the scenes

  • Back in 2011, this mission was originally an Allied mission created for Mental Omega 3.0 (see Gallery).[1]
  • During development, the Neurotoxin Vats near Rashidi's Palace were originally research modules (as seen in Foehn reveal trailer). It is currently unknown if the vats existed in the mission during its early development.

Trivia

  • Shortly after Rashidi's Palace is destroyed, a Jackal Racer prototype can be seen leaving the flooded tunnel located to the south of the palace, but it cannot be destroyed except by Libra's gravity field.
  • Malver may be discovered with stealth detectors during the mission, but he almost cannot be killed. As a result, ironically, this is the only mission to feature all three Epsilon heroes from Skirmish mode, although not on the same side of the conflict. Click here for more comprehensive information.
  • The Topol-M used by Rashidi is able to be mind-controlled or hijacked.

References

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