Part 12: Rocks, but not as we know themNow that the dyson sphere is free and the CPA quashed we've got a bit of breathing space while we wait for the fleet to rebuild fully. Let's take a look at the latest scouting reports.
We now know the location of three different advanced research stations, three different advanced starship constructors and a couple of golems. That ASC over on Dormeluv is looking mighty defensible, but taking it would require probably mean taking Ospiash as well. Given that, and the fact that it doesn't have a regen golem on it, Savkeael is probably still the best option for an ASC.
Hold on, that's interesting.
Scouts report that they can't see anything on Derae except for a single, solitary structure. A planetary cloaker. If we want to find out what's here, we're going to need to destroy it. Oh hey, know what's fast and has a bonus against refractive hulls?
Teleport raiders. Buuut of course the cloaker is immune to minor electric ammo. Time to get tacti-cool.
Two assault transports take on a load on bombers from Boomquonxu and start heading for Derae.
Transports arrive, dump out the bombers and take out the cloaker. Suddenly, everything becomes visible.
In the end sadly the planet ends up being nothing more than another uninteresting P3, but at least the assault transports got an outing. Welcome to hour four.
Oh, just a quick aside. Remember the 3,000 ship attack that came, without warning, from Zarvo during in the CPA? Let's make sure that can't happen again. Spirecraft scouts are immune to tachyon beams so let's put one there as a picquet to counteract the tachyon command station.
Huh, those teleport raiders really are surprisingly handy.
So, the eggheads tracked down a subspace signal to this location. Looks like it's time to neuter the place.
Couple of things to comment on here. There appears to be a self-destruct guardian, which we haven't encountered before. Only unlocked on difficulty 8+, these guys are essentially the AI's answer to Martyrs. So, we'll want to burn that down before most of the fleet gets here. Other than that we have an anti-starship arachnid, so probably don't want to be warping in starships until that dies. Oh, but wait, our teleport raiders have a 4x bonus against polycrystal hulls! Seeing as I've only had them for five minutes, these guys are rapidly becoming my favourites. Finally, there's a fortress well out of the way over in the corner.
Without too much hassle the planet is cleansed and the survey ship bought in to get this party started.
Meanwhile on Oorto the remaining AI threat has decided it has a chance while my fleet is engaged elsewhere. The Spire modular fortress intends to prove them wrong.
Well, that sure ain't no reactor. And the AI response is instant, warping in a sizable chase fleet. Fortunately this time the ship is both better positioned and much faster than the original shard with its jury-rigged thruster system.
That's quite some reprisal they have planned. Makes me wish I had the botnet golem already.
The spire want to build a refugee outpost near a metal deposit. Well, it just so happens that I have a handy-dandy one right next to the Zivu home command station. The spire refugee facility is also equipped with a nice set of beam cannons, which will be helpful if the AI ever sneak some raiders on to the homeworld.
The reprisal wave to Durxuha is dealt with fairly easily. Here we also see the appearance of a few previously reticent allies in the form of the neinzul roaming enclaves. Essential a bunch of carrier ships who float around either attacking everyone, attacking just us or working with us to attack the AI as the mood strikes them. These ones are good guys, and generally hang around on our homeworlds until something nearby is sufficiently threatening to warrant them dumping out a load of younglings.
The spire outpost is complete, and although suspicious of us (we did create the blasted AIs, after all) they offer to let us build a few 'tiny' ships based on their designs. The spire frigates actually aren't all that tiny, they're a pretty damn good starship.
A few science labs are extracting previously lost knowledge from Yarzon, guarded by a group of dyson gatlings. Wait, what's this? Mining golems?
Mining golem vs. Spire modular fortress. Modular fortress wins.
Mining golems show up once in a while to eat planets. How else do you think the Zenith get enough material for a dyson sphere? Also goes some way to explaining why this galaxy is so small...
In this case, the only planet we care about is Oorto. The AI can't see the golems, so we would need to send strike forces to Darkjayaq and Yarzarmas to kill them while facing stiff resistance from the AIs. Both are low priority planets without much interesting on them, so we'll let the golems eat them.
As the last trickle of knowledge is extracted from Yarzon we unlock a new racial form for our champion. The spire destroyer is capable of mounting lots and lots of heavy weapons, with less overall slots but more 'large' slots. Unfortunately the only large modules we currently have unlocked are shields, which would make it quite tanky but not particularly shooty.
Wait, the spire have something to say about our champion...
This is where we leave the spire campaign. Carrying on past this point incites constant exo-galactic strike forces, and turns the game into more of a straight-up slug-fest between the us and the AI. For now, let's stick with the 'classic' under-dog story. We've got a useful defensive structure and a few nice starships from our new allies, as well as some backstory, so let's let sleeping rocks lie.
Next time, on AI War: Taking on the Advanced Starship Constructor