Part 25: This Neighborhood BlowsThis Neighborhood Blows
The very next turn.
Nobody likes us.
'free the galaxy from the TechnoGeeks terror'. Sure. I guess they all just waited a couple extra turns to send out their diplomats?
Anyway, here's what we are looking at. Silicoids expanded quickly per usual. Alkari are stuck on the left edge and sure look inconsequential, while the Sakkra are at the top and have five systems just like the Mrrshan. You can also see our recently-acquired systems here. Still three more rivals to fit in and not much room for them at this point.
Eventually we'd like us some Sakkra for farmers, and Silicoids for workers. Also ... three repulsive races out of five?!? That rather limits the diplomatic options.
A wider picture now has the Silcoids starting to pull ahead of us at the top, the Mrrshan in third, everyone else well behind. We're equal to the rocks in Buildings, but behind in the other two categories where they've made tremendous research gains lately. Enough that I'd be surprised if some of them weren't ... hostile.
Silicoids are Xenophobic Industrialists, Alkari Erratic Expansionists which is hilarious given their situation, and Sakkra are Ruthless Ecologists. There's a lot of 'WAR. It's fantastic!' types in this galaxy. And the Alkari refuse any treaties, so right now the Mrrshans are our only friends, and tenuous ones they are even.
Cash is coming in fast and furious. Almost half of our financial bonus and total research is courtesy of our deals with the Mrrshan.
** Total: 100M (+26M)
** Farming: 30M - 30%
** Industry: 67M - 67%
** Research: 3M - 3%
I had 8-9 citizens doing research at one point, but then pulled back due to needing more food and focusing in on additional expansion of the empire. As noted we are starting to fall behind in tech, so I won't be able to keep this up much longer. We have reduced the raw number of farmers slightly while growing the population by a full third since last time, a testament to the effectiveness of our freighter system and soil enrichment.
Another wormhole, and a good-sized planet alongside a gas giant, though there's no good metals here. The wormhole leads to the Mrrshan system of Carcosa. We'll leave it alone.
This one we want. It will bring us within range of the Darloks, which is probably hazardous. This is a nice farming planet of course, and it has two Medium ones. One of which has Ancient Artifacts.
The other system on the Darlok border, between them and the Alkari. Dang. So many targets, so few colony ships. I see no reason not to continue pushing them out there, that's for sure.
Also, Silicoids and Mrrshan are at war. Have fun, and let's make it a long, pointless one please.
So that's how they are doing it. Don't care about our defensive spies I guess.
Fan-freaking tastic. It is SD 3517.5, and the peace is over. I find it bizarre how easily races declare war. We had quite good relations with them prior to this, got framed once and that's it. No chance to recover/make amends/etc. We finish a Battlestation at Bogina IV the same turn, with one at Alaozar II a bit sooner. So we've got protection at some key places, but many others don't have it. Question is how hard and soon the Mrrshan will come, and how much they'll devote to fighting the Silicoids.
The combination of this unfortunate news and our continued expansion to new systems rendered the Raider-Hydra ideas moot in my opinion. We needed a new fleet option. I hoped that enough of these hesitantly-designed Interdictor-class cruisers might provide suitable resistance against the feline menace. I thought about some PD guns, but decided instead to put up the ECM Jammer and hope they aren't using fighters. The point of this design is to be able to absorb/avoid significant amount of punishments, while dealing reliable damage at range at the start of any engagement. The reliance on big, forward-mounted guns is a weakness against any swarming enemy, but I deemed it worth the initial firepower.
By the way, we still have a full dozen agents, and the Silicoids no longer have any deployed against us so what the heck evs.
Economically, Sagan has a Battlestation as well and is about to finish a Missile Base. With such necessities dispensed with, it will take over colony ship production. Mentar, Bogina, etc. will focus on getting some cruisers out there, gradually replacing our Raider frigates, who ultimately accomplished nothing apart from deterrence. One hates to waste an investment, even partially, but I'd hate getting genocided a heck of a lot more. I'm also going to shift into focusing more population into technology a bit sooner than planned. The time to turtle has passed - I must ensure that our territory is defended. Lerion would seem to be the focal point. The planets there can't defend themselves, and that won't change anytime soon.
Extending our reach to the lower-left corner.
A Bunch of Stuff At Once
We get our first look at the Antarans up close and personal. They appear to be some sort of deformed spider-race. Also, Gravitic Fields is our next tech choice because it's fairly cheap, leads to better shields, has inertial stabilizer, etc. We meet the Meklar who are similarly blustery to the others, and scout Thesbia, yet another system with a useful world for us (Swamp Rich).
They are fairly small as well, crammed into the lower-left corner. Looks like the last two will be along the right side.
They went for a small ship defense boost this time, and will of course be better for our industry than the Silicoids. I wouldn't mind smacking them into the middle of the next dimension and exploiting their labors.
We and the rocks have an almost vertical overall growth curve. The tech gap does continue to grow, but our infrastrucure is also leaving theirs behind. I'm still fairly confident in the long-term picture, but the Mrrshan war - nothing actually happening on that front yet thankfully - will complicate things.
Here's what the Antarans sent; four frigates and they are headed for recently-colonized Irra. There's no way I can defend it, but in this case I highly don't care. Just grabbed it for the range and the Meklar have everything over in the corner, so they can have it. Good example though of how, with those on, there is no such thing as a safe backwater system.
I think I played nine turns. Maybe ten. Good grief there's a lot of stuff going on.