Part 29: Nuke them in OrbitSo, what were we doing?
The spire archive is merrily ripping long-lost knowledge from the planet, while our engineers are constructing a nuke and a considerable number of spirecraft ships. The fleet is looking a tad different now, as due to the 8.015 patch and the recent sprite batching performance improvements we're no longer replacing multiple ships with a single image in the far-zoom mode. Functionally only a minor change, as it means we may possibly be able to see the size of an enemy cluster without having to drag a selection box around it, but still nice from a technical perspective.
There are a couple of waves going on elsewhere, like this one on Durxuha, but the focus now is really on setting myself up for the homeworld assault.
So, what are we wanting from our spirecraft. Two Ebonite asteroids for jumpships, always useful. We'll also take two Mk IV siege towers, radar damped badasses with a million health who pump out shots with the same damage (and under-forcefield-penetration) as an entire cap of Mk IV plasma siege starships. And the Adamantite can go on a Mk V version, thinking about it. Round out the rest with a half-dozen Martyrs, some shield bearers and a couple of penetrators and we're golden.
Oh, and it looks like we've also got a 13,000 ship CPA hitting in 11 minutes. We can use that to our advantage actually, as ships floating around in a CPA are ships that the AI can't pull from its strategic reserve to reinforce the homeworld. Looks like the count-down to the assault has begun.
A minor setback, as the command station goes down to a reprisal wave and the dark spire riot they inspire. Still at least it makes for some pretty explosions. I didn't even realise I had that option turned off in my graphical settings.
Five minutes 'til D-day. We now have 5,300 ships present on Pirahung, including the majority of the spirecraft ships we were in the process of building. Oh, and the Mk III and IV polarisers we just unlocked. So, let's think strategy.
I've said before that the Spire shadow vessel is the one with the most heavy hardpoints, and therefore capable of mounting the most shields. So we'll load it for bear and send it directly into the AI homeworld. Target?
If we want our nuke to survive long enough to detonate in orbit around the AI home command station, first we'll need to take out the core warhead interceptor on Naetow. Can't have our nuke being harmlessly wiped out straight out of the gate, after all.
Next up, the AI homeworld itself. As soon as the champion enters orbit both the core raid engines and the core CPA guardposts are going to fire. In 60 seconds time we'll then have a fairly large amount of threat spawn in to the homeworld. Really though, the champion's one and only goal is to take out that core warhead interceptor and allow the Mk II nuke onto the planet.
From there on, we'll have roughly 4 minutes before the raid engines fire again...
45 seconds until D-Day. I've just unlocked Mk II flagships, but they probably won't be here in time for the invasion. 5,600 units stand ready for the homeworld assault.
Three jumpships stand by to load bomber starships, flagships and spire frigates. Both the raid engines and the CPA post have only 60,000 health, while the spire frigates can do 120,000 damage per shot. These brave ships, supported by some auto-bomb chaff to provide cover, will attempt to warp into orbit and remove the timed threat ASAP once the champion has done his dirty work.
Next to the wormhole the nuke sits patiently under cover of a cloaker, protected from accidental destruction by the shield bearers. Nearby, the champion girds his loins. Five seconds.
Operation 'Nuke them in orbit' has commenced. As a worryingly large amount of Mk III, IV and V ships are released for the CPA, the champion flings himself through the wormhole to Naetow. The next minute may well define this war.
Champion nemesis exo-galactic strikeforce has synchronised with the CPA and is firing early. Raid engines are dumping 1,000 Mk IV ships onto the AI homeworld. And I suddenly realise that there is an OMD on Naetow, which is demolishing my champion. No plan survives first contact with the enemy.
As the champion dies, milliseconds after taking down the tachyon sentinel next to the Pirahung wormhole, the jumpships previously earmarked for anti-raid duty pile through onto the homeworld. That core warhead interceptor must die.
While the jumpships attrition to a rapid death and OMDs and guardposts take out the starships, the warhead interceptor explodes. Their sacrifice will not be forgotten. It's at this point of course that I remember I have teleport raiders which would have been perfect for this. Oh well, they might at least be able to take out the OMD for me.
The Mk II nuke has entered the planet under cover of cloaker starship. Just as it does the core CPA post on the AI homeworld fires. The result is music to my ears. The AI only managed to free up 172 ships for this assault, meaning that every single ship in the galaxy is now part of the threat fleet. It has also tanned its entire strategic reserve, as can be seen by the fact that it has started dipping into the special forces to make up the difference. This means no massive fleet of Mk V ships to chew through on the AI homeworld.
The left-over starships from the jumpship raid just manage to take out one of the core raid engines before the defensive fleet catches up with them.
Two cloakers have escorted the Mk II nuke right alongside the wormhole to the AI homeworld. As the first assaults on our fixed defences start to trickle in, it's time to let this bird fly.
749 AIP. 7,300 attack and 17,560 threat. The AI home command station and the guardposts all weather the attack, but the core worlds aren't so lucky. Both Naetow and Kintoothroad command stations have been blasted from the face of the galaxy. I don't think we caught that many of the CPA ships in that assault, but we sure got the AI's attention. And, more importantly, wiped out supply on the AI homeworld meaning that we don't have to deal with the Mk III fortress hidden under its core shields.
We've build an exo-galactic strike-force of our own, golems covered by shieldbearers and with lots and lots of firepower. Time to push through to the homeworld. Along the way one of the Ebonite class Martyrs sacrifices for the cause, taking out all the ships in our way and even a few of guardposts with its 500,000 damage strong blast.
The strike force has arrived. Unfortunately all the core guardposts are immune to artilley ammo, so our golem is going to be relegated to taking out ion cannons, the Mk V forcefields and starships. But there's a reason we've bought a load of penetrators and siege towers along with us.
Let's do something else while we're here. We've bought a hacker with us, who promptly drops both a sensor hacker and a sabotage hacker. In 30 seconds time every friendly ship on this planet will get cloaking. And 30 seconds after that, the core forcefields defending the AI home command station are going to start going bye-bye. Well, it's not like we don't have enough HaP after nuking them...
Right, we can't take on the home command station until all seven of the remaining core guardposts are taken out. Time to micro some of these spirecraft.
Two penetrators take their shots. A core implosion guardpost and another I didn't quite get a read on go down in smoke.
All five remaining Martyrs are rammed directly into the oncoming strategic reserve ships spawning from the AI homeworld. The lightning blast terminates almost all of them.
The last remaining penetrator makes it down to the core raid engine, and terminates it with just 23 seconds left of the clock. Meanwhile, the siege towers are blasting away the core CPA post. Lightyears away screams are heard as rampaging AI ships take out Sother command station. Three core guardposts left. We're going to have to take these out the old fashioned way.
Ubzupyae goes down too, sending us massively negative on energy. To compensate all defensive structures on Ubzupzae, Sother and Pirahung are terminated. The fleet is closing on the remaining guardposts.
Sensor hacking complete. All my ships which aren't currently firing on an enemy are now invisible to the AI.
As the last guardpost is destroyed, so too have the core forcefields covering the AI command station been terminated. The sabotage hacker in the end merely takes out an ion cannon. The AI home command station is now fully exposed.
Revenge is a dish best served with high explosives. Take that, mimes!
Wait, what the hell is that?
Next time, on AI War: Bonus Round