Part 28: Final PreparationsI may have gotten a little bit distracted by Wasteland 2. And probably will again. But anyway, where were we...
I now have only two real objectives left before taking the fight to the last AI homeworld. I want to hack the advanced factory on Wipios, and I want to capture the spire archive on Pirahung. Let's see if we can't accomplish both in the next half hour or so.
The usual crumple zone defences have gone up on Admkauz, and we're ready to move back to Wipios. 600 bombers will hit our newest acquisition in around a minute, so I'll leave my 382 fighters behind temporarily to help deal with them.
The fleet comes in and does their usual free-roaming defender thing, while a hacker from Sother floats over to the edge of the gravity well to place an advanced constructor hacker. Unfortunately we let this planet get exploded by mining golems at some point in the past, which means we have no supply here. So no forcefields, no turrets, no forts to help us defend. Just 3,000 odd ships and a pair of golems.
Remember that Adamantite and the eight Ebonite on Sother? Let's do something with those. The Adamantite can go towards a Mk IV penetrator I think, which will give us a single shot stealthed sniper capable of doing 560,000 damage in a single blow. From the ebonite we'll spend two on Mk III shield bearers, to give our hacker a bit of cover over on Wipios. Two will go towards Mk IV Martyrs (25 million damage worth of boom, 500,000 max per unit), and I think four will be left in reserve to make rams when we're closer to killing the homeworld.
Hack is two minutes in and we've got those four shield bearers covering the hacker now. A wave of cutlasses has been eaten by the botnet and mines over on Oorto, and fighters from Admkauz have dealt with the bombers and are coming to reinforce the hacking fleet.
Because we've done a fair amount of hacking in the past the AI is starting to get annoyed with us quicker. Hence starting to throw out waves, blanketing the planet in tachyon radiation etc.
Looks like around 2,000 threat is calling Tolgartol home at the moment. Let's scrape together whatever dregs of ships are left on this side of our empire and go discourage them. We have lots of metal to rebuild them, and when rebuilt they'll pop out of the intra-galactic warp gates in a more useful position on Sother.
Oh yeah, and we'll send in the botnet golem too, of course.
We chewed through about 1,000 threat and the botnet is at 93% when I tell him to retreat. Everything else is either in carriers or immune to the bottie's charms. It wasn't until I was editing this post that I noticed there's also a dire disassembler guardian sitting in the threat fleet, so I guess we know what that beastie spawned from Nomad Four was now.
Looks like the fleet has acquired a fair number of new ships from the AI. Gotta love leeches. Anyway while we're hacking this place for the advanced constructor, why not hack it for knowledge as well? Covert knowledge extractor goes up and starts annoying the AI even more.
Reprisal wave hits, looks like those dastardly mimes again. I'm sure they'll run away before they can do too much damage. It also looks like the knowledge raiding has flipped us over the threshold for a new upgrade to our champion - we now have battleship class chassis.
Look at this beast. It's massive, and capable of mounting Mk V modules. And quite probably capable of taking down a planet on its own.
Even after upgrading all my tech to the max level I've still got about 16 upgrade points left over. The champion alternate progress sure does shower you with goodies.
3 1/2 minutes left on this hack, and almost 1,900 knowledge extracted. Should be done soon.
Knowledge, the gift that keeps on giving. And in this case, giving us champion unlocks. This specifically is an unlock for the Zenith racial form, which allows us to use a 'tachyon blast' ability rather than the standard shield. Has it's niche, but not worth swapping forms for.
Our covert knowledge extraction finishes on Wipios, and soon after the advanced constructor hacking. One final post-hack pulse is triggered from the AI, but it's not really enough for me to worry about. And in fact, most of it is cowardly and runs off to join the threat fleet anyway.
The fleet is slowly regrouping on Admkauz, where one of our stolen advanced research stations is just finishing off some knowledge extraction. We now have 17,500 knowledge in the bank, and seeing as we can produce Mk IV fleet ships it might be an idea to spend some.
Let's go for Mk II, III and IV bombers, which will be helpful against forcefields. Mk II, III and IV cutlasses, for handy chaff ships. And Mk II polarizers, which should be good against any nemesis ships hanging around on the homeworld. That leaves us with 2k knowledge, so after we take Pirahung we'll unlock Mk III and IV polarisers as well as Mk II, III and IV lightning torpedo frigates (you can never have too many missiles).
A look at a space dock before we even start building any of these ships is interesting, however. It looks like we've already captured a significant number from the AI. Take a look at the Mk II polarisers in particular, we've only got 14 of the 192 available to build because we've stolen so many.
Five minutes later we have a fleet of almost 5,200 ships. Including two golems. This is a hammer that can annihilate most anything the AI can throw at us.
A mere pitstop on the way to Pirahung. A mere minute after entering orbit the FRD fleet has wiped it from the map, and is ready to move on.
Just look at that juicy spire archive, begging to be captured. Fleet tactics have long gone out the window at this point, releasing the berserkers and allowing them to play with the metallic entrails of the AI is more than sufficient.
The warp counter-attack guardpost is a tad annoying, but not a major issues. Artillery golem pops it, unleashing a 600 Mk III ship reprisal upon Ifice.
Seconds later a transport brings in a colony ship, and the archive is ours. We also capture a pair of ion cannons, which I intentionally left alone during the attack. Not like we need to hold on to this planet for long, though.
The archive will give us 9,000 knowledge, as long as we keep it alive. If the AI manages to kill it however, we'll get an 80 AIP penalty. Seeing as the hammer of vengeance is currently residing on this planet and we've covered the archive with a quartet of forcefields, I don't think we have to worry about it getting killed.
We're now in a good position to assault the AI homeworld. There's just a few final things we need to do ...
Next time, on AI War: Nuke Them In Orbit