“The klaxon began to wail, but we felt the reassuring tingle of the Tachyon Field crackling to life around us, encasing the entire base in its impenetrable glow.”
— Spartan Kel, “The Fall of Sparta”
If the name were not sufficient, Kel’s statement is enough to confirm that Tachyon Fields are base-wide forcefields. They require Probability Mechanics to build. And they double the defensive strength of any unit defending the base. The bonus works like the older Perimeter Defenses, but it applies against attackers using any chassis type instead of just the land-based ones.
Because of the way the base strengths of weapons and armor diverge by the mid-game, Tachyon Fields are not just nice-to-have. They are virtually mandatory from the moment they become available. Without them, holding a front-line base against any serious attack is untenable.
This dependence on base facilities for cost-effective defense actually opens up an interesting spy mini-game. One of the key actions a probe team can take is to infiltrate a base and disable a facility. Taking out the Perimeter Defenses or the Tachyon Field is more difficult than aiming for any other target. But the AI very rarely defends its bases with spies, so using a couple of spy teams on a risky mission to break the siege can end up saving an entire army on the attack.
But from our critical perspective, by far the most interesting thing about this quote is the name of the work from which it is drawn. It would seem that, at some point, there was a Ragnarok-like final battle at the gates of Sparta Command. One in which the defenders were not triumphant. It’s very hard to imagine a memoir being written called “The Fall of Sparta” that wasn’t about the final collapse of the whole faction. It has to be an elegy for an empire.
It’s worth mentioning that, generally, the AI Spartans tend to end up at war with several different factions at once. Santiago has the same diplomatic problem as Yang: her preferred SE choice brings with it a serious penalty. This means that most other factions will tend to avoid it. Which will give her reasons to hate them. And as she is coded as an aggressive leader (for good reason), she’ll take any pretext she can find to kill them and take their bases for her own.
There are not any hints here as to which other factions caused the downfall. Nor are we entirely certain when in the timeline this work was written. Putting together the player’s typical experience outlined above with the fact that they are the one faction that doesn’t have an in-built opposite, the culprit could reasonably be anybody. Anybody except Yang, anyhow, since he’s almost certainly out first.
But based on what has come before, it’s a decent bet that the Gaians had a hand in the fall of Sparta. They’ve been at odds for what seems like the whole game, after all. So it would be something of an anti-climax if they weren’t there at the end.