"Mom! Curt is cheating again!"
"I am not! You're just a sore loser."
"Yes you are. You reprogrammed the game! You cheater."
"How could I do that? It's an AI! Hey, leave my setup alone. House! Secure battle plan!"
"No, show me what he did."
The two squabbling boys continued bickering just a bit too long.
"All right you two. Knock it off!" Veronica came out of the bedroom wearing only a nearly transparent robe. She was upset because her evening quickie had just been canceled. Larry would finish in Hazel and then she would probably suck him dry as well, the greedy gut. Veronica liked her sex and she wasn't getting enough since the pickup last year. Well, to be honest, she was getting a lot more than before actually, but she seemed to need it more as well, and girl-on-girl only counted for half in her opinion. Maggie and Tamara were both about to pop, so they were off the heavy sex roster for now or it would have been even worse. It would be another year before Hazel's thirteen-year-old, William, was ready to start really helping with her needs. Of course, Hazel had even longer to wait before Jason and Curt were old enough to help her out. That is, if Veronica didn't just kill them both right here and now. They weren't backing down from their fight.
"House! Was he cheating?"
<No! Neither player was capable of cheating. The parameters were set in advance. However, Curt did use a quite ingenious plan that has quite exceeded the prior maximum theoretical results. >
"See, he cheated!" Jason started yelling again.
"Jason, that is not what House said. Be quiet for a minute. Ok, House. What did he do?"
<I am sorry, but the Battle Plans have been secured and you do not have sufficient clearance to access them. Curt will have to release them to you. > When the AI was in Game Mode, the mothers sometimes found themselves relegated to second-class citizens all over again.
"Ok, Curt, open it up."
"No, if he sees it, I can't ever use that tactic again. Although, it probably wouldn't be as much fun again, anyway."
Larry stalked out of the bedroom. He was nude and rampant. "Dammit. I just want some peace and quiet when I come home. What the hell is going on out here?"
Jason muttered something that Veronica thought started with "Wants a piece of as..." before Larry glared at him.
"You had BETTER not finish that sentence!" He turned back to the game display. "Squad Tactics: Valley Ambush set up. House, what is so special about this?"
<Jason was on the offense with the Sa'arm side. He had the forces of one entire hive available. Curt was tasked with defending several valleys with limited troops and equipment but with two days of preparation time. The scenario is scored by relative casualty count and the time that the Sa'arm are delayed. >
"Ok, What were the totals?"
<Jason lost thirty thousand troops, and never transited the passes. Curt had several of his Marines placed in medical tubes to repair the radiation damage after the Sa'arm used a nuclear weapon, but he lost no troops. >
"Thirty thousand to zero? And they resorted to a nuke? What did he have? A brigade?" Larry was impressed. These game scenarios were based on real battlefield data.
<Curt had one reinforced infantry squad. >
Larry turned to stare at his, sometimes difficult, sometimes brilliant, always unpredictable, eight-year-old son. He never even noticed as Hazel followed him out of the bedroom and wrapped a towel around his waist. "House, set it up again. Curt has the Marines. I have the Swarm. Jason can watch over my shoulder, but not over Curt's.
<Aye, Aye, Commander Meeker. >
"Gunny, it was the damnedest thing. I was mainly watching while the AI ran the Swarm. My units would just get shot, without seeing anything. I mean, we found the occasional booby trap, but we never saw a single Marine. And this was a simultaneous attack on three valleys. It didn't matter where we were; we got attacked. Five hundred swarm in a quarter mile square area and they just start dropping with bullets in them. It took a while to attrit me down, but they were just sniping away, picking off the units, and the AI had the Swarm do the standard things. Search the area for snipers, so that set off booby traps, which killed more Swarm, so the reserves get deployed and more bodies fell. They called in the armor, but it never got hit, other than by mines. Since we were taking damage for the entire length of the valleys the Swarm gestalt figures it's not secure so it keeps searching. It was like the enemies were invisible and everywhere. I checked the after-action data. There were only 12 weapons firing. Rifles with grenade launchers. No lasers, which is important. No plasma launchers or rockets. Of course, he was using the transporters as well, and we set off a lot of buzzsaws and five-hundred-pound transporter bombs, but even using playback and watching the bullet strikes, I could not back-trace to a shooter. A few times, I caught a hint of muzzle flash. The gestalt took nearly 25% casualties and then it triggered the nuke on top of his own units. Apparently that is the AI's break point on that setting where it figures it needed to kill the 'super units' more than it needed to force the pass. The nuke, actually three of them this time, one per valley, did most of the damage."
"What was he doing, commander?"
Science Fiction /