Part 24: Planet Crackers, Inc.I didn't mention exactly who was about to die.
Because I've never done this before I gave myself one free dry run. The observant amongst you may notice that this has resulted in 32 freaking golems pummelling the hell out of my fleet. So, that was a failure. However it has taught me some important things:
- The closest Nomad to the beacon homes in on it, at 4x normal speed, across the galaxy map
- Whenever the beacon is outside of Nomad One the AI responds by sending exo-galactic strike forces once every minute
- When the beacon is on a homeworld, those exo-galactic strike forces come once every ten seconds.
- It will take roughly 4-5 minutes for the Nomad to move from its current position into range of the AI homeworld.
Some rough arithmetic shows that at 2*6*4 we'd be looking at 60 golems in a five minute period. There's no way we can survive that, especially if the AI starts churning out artillery or cursed golems. So, we're going to have to do something a little more sneaky...
If we were to move the nomad beacon onto Sholar, Nomad One would start moving towards it. Sholar is in an absolutely perfect position because moving towards this planet means that it will also be moving towards the AI homeworld. And as it is not a core world or an AI homeworld, we'd only need to eat one exo-galactic wave per minute rather than six.
Location: Nomad One
Matter converters on Sucje have come online. +500k energy. The nomad beacon wakes up.
Okay, wow. That's actually even more devastating than I was imagining. Depending on the topology of the wormhole network it could actually completely blow away part of the galaxy, not just kill planets. In this case I think we're just going to lose Nomad One and the AI homeworld. As a thought experiment though...
Actually that's not quite true, as at least one of those cluster will have an AI homeworld in it, but still. Anyway, we're as ready as we're ever going to be. Time to send the fleet blob to Sholar to clear out the local guardposts near the wormhole.
The fleet blob has absorbed the initial alpha-strike, so it's time to send in the drone spawners and nomad beacon. The first exo-galactic attack is spawning in one minute, and Nomad One changes direction and starts moving towards Sholar.
A minute later, the first exo-galactic strike force has fired. We have two massive ships en-route to our worlds. However they look to be relatively low strength, so the AI doesn't seem to have broken out the golems quite yet. Drones are doing their normal job of cleansing the planet of hostile ships and guardposts, while the fleet sits back and defends the Nomad Beacon. Let's see where Nomad One is.
That's definitely getting closer. Another minute or so and it'll be time to strike.
Two and a half minutes after warping in to Sholar, I think we're lured Nomad One close enough. Fleet and beacon retreat.
Location: Banzoris - AI Homeworld
Right, very first thing we need to take care of is that OMD. We do not want that firing on the nomad beacon. What we need is something with enough damage to take it out, and a very short firing time so that they aren't killed before they get a shot off. The AI homeworld has planetary tachyon coverage, so sadly we can't just stealth ships up to it. Spire frigates in jumpships would normally be ideal with their 120,000 attack, however it takes them 8 seconds after getting out of a transport before they can start firing, and with these kind of defences they'll melt in that time.
Oh wait, OMDs don't have immunity to minor electric ammo. And neither do the ion cannons. Time for the teleport raiders to shine, even with their 8 second reload time there's enough of them that they should survive long enough to take it down for us.
Oh. Dear. God. I have made a terrible mistake. The AI doesn't have a core CPA post on this planet. It has two core CPA posts. 15,000 ships worth of cross planet attack is coming in ten seconds.
The AI has now deployed its entire strategic reserve to defend the first homeworld, and the full force of the CPA has hit. Now, there's actually a bit of a quirk here. If the AI can't provide enough ships for a CPA from the ships already present in the galaxy, they actually commit a portion of the strategic reserve. Which is good for us, because it means we have less forces to deal with on the homeworld itself. In actual fact, it looks like the strategic reserve is so drained from the CPAs that all it can provide is a 'meagre' 1,500 Mk V fighters to defend the homeworld.
Anyway, the teleport raiders have done their job and taken down the OMD and two ion cannons. Now it's time for the fleet ships to go first, to soak up the alpha-strike.
Next the starships, translocators and half the Martyrs, along with the drone spawners, and covered by the shield bearers.
Finally, the nomad beacon passes through the wormhole. Martyrs, shield bearers, translocators, drone spawners and the nomad beacon are set into one control group and start moving as a group towards the bottom edge of the gravity well. 2,800 AI ships are present on the planet, most of them Mk Vs.
The main fleet is fighting a rearguard action, giving the nomad beacon a chance to run for the bottom, and a bunch of angry Mk V strategic reserve ships are slathering to kill them. Time for Martyr number one to step up to the plate.
Location: Nomad One
Nomad One is inching closer and closer to the AI homeworld. One of the previous exos is there, making its way through to Banzoris to go after the beacon. And we've got three Martys held in reserve, so we can pop them through the wormhole as and when needed. Because we're going in a straight line from the wormhole exit down to the bottom of the gravity well, any enemy ships spawning from the home command station are actually going to run right over that wormhole exit and into the loving embrace of our Martyrs.
That first Martyr took out 800 ships, nice going. Nomad beacon and the rest of our forces are now starting to edge out of range of the bombard post.
There are so many different types of ship on the planet now that I actually can't see anything with all the on-screen furniture. I'm going to have to drop back into a proper 1920*1080 resolution for the rest of this battle and just edit the screenshots. The red circles you see are the ranges of every single enemy ship on the planet.
A cursed golem has just spawned in, and the exo which was moving through Nomad One has also arrived. One of the reserve Martyrs will take care of them, but you can see from the ranges that our beacon is still having trouble getting away from the core bombard post and now the cursed golem. Still, our shield bearers seem to be holding up fairly well.
Jumpship has bought a mobile builder and 9 engineers onto the planet. Using shields stolen from Nomad One we're going to make a defensive position down at the bottom of the grav well. Nomad One sure as hell won't be needing them in a minutes time.
Nomad beacon has made it to the defensive position, and is sheltering under the rapidly constructing forcefields. There are now eight golems on the planet, including four infinite range cursed snipers. Six shield bearers left, one Martyr held in reserve for killing off strategic reserve ships who get too close. Reprisal level one. The big threat now is the armored golems which are starting to get into attack range. Nomad One is achingly close.
Boom. Problem solved.
Wow, that's a lot of AIP. Thanks to the 'plus 10 AIP floor on death' of all the core guardposts we're now sitting at just a hair under 200, when given our reduction we should actually be a 128. That's going to make things harder in the future. Also, I just realised that I've sacrificed every single starship I own to accomplish this. I was meaning to extract some of them using jumpships, but that didn't happen. We now have 1.8 million spare energy, meaning that in addition to the beacon itself we lost 1.3 million energy worth of ships. Thats's the equivalent of, uh, 26,000 fighters.
Sooo, that 17,000 threat...
Next time, on AI War: The Aftermath