Part 27: Disintegrating the Core Shield NetworkFive minutes later. All three of my previously destroyed worlds have been rebuilt along with their defences. The fan riots have stopped, although not before they took out another couple of hundred threat for us. The fleet is mostly rebuilt with the exception of some of the more expensive starships from the advanced starship constructor. Oh, and the dire guardian on Nomad Four has finally spawned. I'm sure we'll be seeing him soon.
Let's take a look at our objectives. Uh, ignore that 'scout for second AI home command station', unless we particularly want to go looking for dust. To assault the last remaining home command station first we need to take out the shield networks. Capturing any planet with a D class generator will destroy that network, however we need to take out all but one of the A-class shield generators before the network will go down.
Handily, we already own two planets where the A class shield generators are sitting.
Make that 'were sitting'. This leaves us to take two out of a three of the remaining planets. And as two of them are both hanging off Wipios, which is right next to Sother, it seems sensible to head out in that direction.
The most usefully situated class D shield generator looks to be on Admkauz. It's an otherwise uninteresting planet, however it it only four hops from the AI homeworld. That allows us to perform deep strikes from here, if we wanted to. More likely though we'll use it as a jumping off point for an attack on Pirahung, which has a spire archive on it as well as being right next to one of the AI's core worlds.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves though, we need to take Ubzupyae. Two hops away from Ifice, this world has an ARS, spire civilian leader and a class A core shield generator. 3,000 ships are currently stacked up on Ifice ready to go, so let's neuter the Mk IV world in the way (Ceurhung), and see if we can't capture it before the clock hits 9 hours and the spire civilian leaders increase our AIP again.
Even a reinforced Mk IV planet isn't going to be able to stand up to an artillery golem and 3,000 ships, as we can see by the strength estimates. My forces are just put into free-roaming defender mode, which essentially means go hog wild and attack anything you can see. Artillery golem starts making mincemeat of the guardposts, while the drone spawners warm up the launch bays.
Okay, there's so much attacking going on here that I'm just going to assume everything under that cloak of ships is dead. Reprisal level one, meh. Ships are told to rein it in and regroup by the wormhole to Ubzupyae.
How to clear a planet in 82 seconds. I'm now firmly in the end game, at this point I've picked up enough firepower that when blobbing my fleet up there isn't really any single planet (bar the homeworlds or maybe a core world) which can hold me off.
Something quite similar happens on Ubzupyae. Free roaming defender, artillery golem shooting up the guardposts etc. If anything the process is a little quicker, given this is only a Mk III world.
A transport (just a regular one, not even a tacticool one) has arrived on Ubzupyae and is sitting next to the spire civvy leader. That means it's time for the command station here to die.
Command station goes down, AIP floor goes up to 202. Our command station goes up, and we get some tasty polarisers from the ARS. Oh, and this planet is five hops from the exile which means Oorto is pretty much confirmed as its hiding place.
Reprisal wave hits, from the mime of course. Annoyingly they've bought along teleport raiders who do a number on my lone forcefield. This means my command station and energy collector go down before they inevitably run off, which is a problem because...
The special forces are here. I knew this was going to happen because they were already on the way here as soon as my ships entered the planet. However I've decided that rather than waiting for them to go away I'm going to meet them head-on for a change. Winnowing down the special forces is something I'll need to do before hitting the AI homeworld anyway.
Handily the vanguard do their usual trick of filing into the planet gradually, as they are all moving at different speeds. This gives my fleet time to breath between each assault and generally overpower them. Then the carriers hit.
While the fleet chew through the enemy ships the regen golem finds herself unable to repair any more ships. And engineers are beavering away speed-building a Martyr from the recently claimed rocks.
Martyr is completed just as the last of the enemy ships go down, and is ordered into the fray anyway. When the dust finally settles we've lost about 1,500 ships. But the special forces have been eliminated entirely and will take a good hour to become a significant force again. And, because we did this on a planet I own, I get all the scrap metal.
Over on Ifice a wave of anti-armor ships takes me by surprise and blasts straight through the forcefields around the command station. And, inevitably, triggers a tirade from the dark spire. Annoying, but it'll be taken back soon enough.
The regen golem is getting healed by engineers, as are the rest of the fleet. That may well cost me more money than I saved in terms of rebuilding ships, but I use her more as a force multiplier anyway. Literally, any ship she regenerates multiplies my forces without me having to actually build it and wait for it to arrive at the planet where the attack is taking place. Oh, and the two remaining civvy leaders add 2 to my AIP.
Five minutes later, defences are up on Ubzupyae and it's time to move on. Let's take the somewhat diminished fleet and go neuter Wipios.
I've set up some intra-galactic warp gates on Sother to gather up the rebuilt ships. We've got about 1,000 already that we can throw into the attack.
Wipios has an advanced factory, which would allow us to build Mk IV fleet ships. Although we haven't actually even unlocked any Mk II fleetships yet, let alone Mk IIIs. We could capture the planet to take it, or we could hack it. But hacking it would cost 100 HaP and take 15 minutes. On reflection, I think we might as well just take the planet.
Our ships are attacking from both the Sother and Ubzupyae wormholes. There are 25 hybrid hives here, but let's be honest they are just gonna go down in a hail of gunfire. Actually, the hybrids haven't done anything particularly interesting all game. As mentioned before, their 'mission' system is so hidden from casual view that really it's almost like it doesn't actually exist. When in reality...
9/14/2014 2:40:24 PM (8.013) 9:02:35 Hybrid Neophyte (845335) taking mission: DefendPlanet with related planet: Zarvo
9/14/2014 2:40:26 PM (8.013) 9:02:37 Hybrid Neophyte (845335) taking mission: DefendPlanet with related planet: Dafufi
9/14/2014 2:40:27 PM (8.013) 9:02:38 Hybrid Neophyte (845335) taking mission: DefendPlanet with related planet: Arkhag
9/14/2014 2:40:53 PM (8.013) 9:03:05 Hybrid Stalwart (675220) taking refit modules mission
9/14/2014 2:40:53 PM (8.013) 9:03:05 Hybrid Besieger (675235) taking refit modules mission
9/14/2014 2:40:53 PM (8.013) 9:03:05 Hybrid Captain (675219) taking refit modules mission
9/14/2014 2:40:53 PM (8.013) 9:03:05 Hybrid Besieger (675218) taking refit modules mission
9/14/2014 2:40:57 PM (8.013) 9:03:09 Hybrid Besieger (675235) bandwagoning onto attack mission against Savkeael
9/14/2014 2:40:57 PM (8.013) 9:03:09 Hybrid Captain (675219) taking mission: AttackPlanet with related planet: Durxuha
9/14/2014 2:40:57 PM (8.013) 9:03:09 Hybrid Besieger (675218) bandwagoning onto attack mission against Savkeael
9/14/2014 2:40:57 PM (8.013) 9:03:09 Hybrid Besieger (675217) taking mission: AttackPlanet with related planet: Udoniusma
9/14/2014 2:40:57 PM (8.013) 9:03:09 Hybrid Besieger (675223) bandwagoning onto attack mission against Savkeael
9/14/2014 2:43:14 PM (8.013) 9:03:43 Hybrid Stalwart (675220) taking replenish drones mission
9/14/2014 2:43:50 PM (8.013) 9:03:49 Hybrid Stalwart (375970) taking refit modules mission
9/14/2014 2:44:44 PM (8.013) 9:03:55 Hybrid Attacker (675227) taking refit modules mission
9/14/2014 2:47:26 PM (8.013) 9:04:46 Hybrid Stalwart (675230) taking mission: DefendPlanet with related planet: Dafufi
9/14/2014 2:47:28 PM (8.013) 9:04:46 Hybrid Stalwart (675230) taking mission: DefendPlanet with related planet: Wipios
9/14/2014 2:47:37 PM (8.013) 9:04:55 Attack Hybrids (count:79) on (at least) Jobark holding back from attacking Savkeael because 200 > our current percent of target planet strength (34) ourStrikeforceMainHullsStrengthOnPlanetsAdjacentToTheTarget:3895.22 ourStrikeforceModulesStrengthOnPlanetsAdjacentToTheTarget:26761.61 ourStrikeforceDronesStrengthOnPlanetsAdjacentToTheTarget:2054.77 alliedStrengthOnTheTargetPlanet:0 theirStrength:95178.09
Anwyay, that was easy. Planet cleansed in, what, 45 seconds? It's at this point that I notice the rather, uh, nuked looking backdrop. I think I may have let this planet get eaten by a mining golem earlier. Whoops, might have to hack it after all.
Meanwhile, ships are stacking up next to the Gorini wormhole for some more dynamic entry shenanigans.
Ships warp in, looking to decimate the planet once more uh oh. There's a translocator eye here. And it's safe to say that I massively outnumber the AI.
Time for the artillery golem to really shine. He does one million damage every 8 seconds to the eye, meaning that we can take it down in half a minute. The race is on to find out if the eye dies through the free-roaming defender fleet taking out the guardposts or the artillery golem killing it directly!
As the translocator eye goes down the half health, the scrappy attacking fleet have taken out 5 of the 12 guardposts supporting it.
But in the end the artillery golem wins, with the eye going down with just one remaining guardpost. Better luck next time, fleet ships!
Soon the transport arrives, command station goes up, and the fleet prepares to move on to their next target.
The new toys this time are Zenith Autobombs, which are a very cheap EMP immune suicide unit. Not the greatest in the world, but you can make a good dock cannon out of them.
As the shield generator goes down and the network implodes due to feedback our champion unlocks the final racial form in the guide of the Zenith shadow cruiser. This has slightly more heavy hardpoints than the human cruiser but less than the Spire one, so it's about halfwy between the two. I don't actually have any race-specific unlocks for this anyway, so our champion shall remain unchanged for now (although with a lot of unlock points I could potentially spend).
Scouts have found the final spire civilian leader on Kahar. The champion moves in to resolve the issue. There's also a design backup server here, but it's for eyebots so I can't really be bothered to hack it. We now only have seven planets left unexplored.
The jumpship on Sother which previously pulled remains rebuilder duty now delivers a quartet of bomber starships to Aeoul. The last civilian leader goes down in a blaze of plasma, leaving only the two under our loving, protective embrace.
Ah, what the heck. Let's go for the triple. The fleet hits Admkauz and starts the usual process of wiping the AI scum from the face of the planet.
Soon the enemy command station goes down, ours goes up (a Mil II this time, as we've run out of Mk IIIs), and the planet is mine. The ARS from Gorini comes over to celebrate by ripping all the hidden knowledge from the planet. Five planets neutered, three captured in just under 30 minutes. Not too bad.
Oh, and the class D shield generator gets blasted out of orbit. Which leaves the AI homeworld open to attack...
Next time, on AI War: Final Preparations