Part 28: Mrrshan SqueezeMrrshan Squeeze
Here's our new cruiser aimed at planetary assaults, the Invader. I didn't give it extra armoring, just made it tougher to hit. Idea is that I'll use the other ships in the fleet for point defense, and it still has the shields (but no capacitors). We'll see how that works out. I don't know if having the bombs split up is useful, but the idea is to tailor the damage to the target.
Right now I'll just go with one of these. Perhaps more will be built later.
After some pondering, I terminated the services of Magistrate Crassis. He helps with industry, but in a far-flung empire he only helps so much. Rash-lki does that better plus a lot more, Grogg is more valuable overall, and Yota helps bring new leaders in. I decide it's best to try to open up that slot. We'll see if that gets any more military types to apply, but whether it does or not hopefully we'll have a shot at more high-level governors. Crassis served us well, and there is no ill will. At least from my end.
SD 3521.1 - We have the cash burning a hole in our pockets, so I decide to fund a rush job on a Battlestation in Vela. Just to make sure the Antarans are well and truly defeated.
Next turn. This is what the ship repair do-hickey looks like.
I know we're behind in physics, and it's cheap. The scanner detects enemy ships five parsecs away, and reduces enemy missile evasion. Not that we're focused on those anymore, but still a good thing to have. The blaster is actually just lethal radiation, specializing in damaging shields and killing marines on board. I'm not as interested in that for our present purposes.
Our first Radiation Shield is up, on Lerion II. As soon as the Stock Exchange is built, we'll get to work terraforming it. It used to look a lot like it's sister planet, which the Mrrshans still hold. Now it's already better, though only Barren, with the radiation kept out. It'll be a long process, but eventually this will be a decent planet.
In much less positive news for us, the Silicoids and Mrrshan have signed a peace deal. Which means we'll get their full attention again. But first things first ...
We manage to strike profitable - well, eventually profitable - deals with the cybernetics. This means we will destroy them slightly later than we were already planning to.
Antarans Attack Vela Prime
So basically the Antarans laid waste to most of Vela Prime. Their particle beams were a lot more effective than our Mass Drivers, to put it mildly. I kept scanning the ships because I didn't understand why we were doing so little damage. They have high defensive capabilities, meaning we were missing a lot - +95 beam attack against about +110-120 beam defense on their end. But most important is the Damper Field, which apparently reduces all damage a ship takes by 75%. Egads. It's an 'exotic' tech which cannot be researched by standard means. They are worse than I remember them. And I remember them being bad. Only the Pulson missiles were able to do any significant damage. Antarans are also immune to the Battlestation's Ion Pulse Cannons, which didn't do me any favors either. Bottom line; we aren't capable of taking on the Antaran raids yet, and it's a waste of my time and resources to try until we tech-up. It's good that they are a worthy opponent, but we're just going to have to deal with a certain amount of their destruction for the time being it seems.
The Klackon-Mrrshan war, on the other hand, is most welcome.
Here's what is left. One citizen, and Elder Sensei Yota. I should have relocated him, and am very fortunate he's still around. Vela Prime was producing a significant amount of our food - the Natives are all dead now - and something on the order of 20% of our imperial research. So this is a significant blow.
I do not think it a coincidence that this came in so soon after firing Crassis. Until I find someone better, I'll hire Captain Nile. Aaaaand ... Alkari-Sakkra war.
** Tip: This is the second time this has happened that I recall this game. Research missed on a 94% chance to finish (boo!) so I didn't need all the scientists to get it to 100% the next turn. I pulled a bunch of them out and into production so it was barely guaranteed - but the catch is you have to remember to move them back the next turn.
Looks ... well, it looks like you might expect a scanner to look. We'll stick in the same field for Artificial Gravity.
** Graviton Beam we've already seen - I think it's what the Mrrshan were using. 3-15 damage that wreaks havoc on a ship's structure, but shields are a good defense against it thankfully.
** Planetary Gravity Generator removes negative gravity effects on a planet once built. Some good space-magic to eliminate one economic problem.
** Tractor Beam slows down ships, or stops them completely if you have enough (1 beam per class size of ship). Appears to be nearly a requirement for boarding actions.
The gravity generator is what I'm most interested in here.
Battle of Lerion III
Got a little tedious once I got closer to the planet, but the Invader managed to deal with the missile base quite effectively.
Now we just wait to see if we can handle a Mrrshan Battleship, which is incoming. If so, we'll press the attack further into their territory.
SD 3521.9 - Several planets now have nothing useful to build, and we can't expand the fleet any more. There is no need for more Colony Ships. So, the only thing left to do is invest even more in research.
The gravity generator looks quite generic.
Chosen from among multiple worthy considerations. Subterranean Farms is the successor to Hydroponics (+4 additional food anywhere), while Weather Control System is an upgrade on Soil Enrichment, boosting farming to +2.
The empire-wide terraforming work is mostly done. Here is Sagan, which is now up to 27M max population, tops among our current systems. In general this has resulted in less food being shipped around. The big planets have all done soil enrichment and started producing enough to feed themselves, unless they are mineral rich. Atmospheric renewers allow for a LOT of production before any pollution accumulates. This kind of thing is happening on a somewhat smaller scale elsewhere; Bogina has three terran planets and one that is nearly-so.
Rich planets are going all-in on production whenever we need it, poor ones focusing mostly on research. So while the Antarans may laugh at our ships, the economic engine of the TechnoGeek Empire is doing very well, thank you.
SD 3522.1 - I'll spare you the intercept of the Mrrshan Panther III Battleship, led by Caern. They have neutron blasters, graviton beams, some missiles ... not very impressive defensive capabilities but they do have shields. And they ran away. Looked like it was going to go a lot like fighting one of their starbases - it would take a while, but our mass drivers would wear them down.
That's a rather ... disquieting image.
Battle of Tah II
Combat against a Fighter Garrison is seen here. By the by, the Panther Battleship was headed to Tah as well ... but we were faster so it couldn't assist the defense. So engines matter and stuff. Anyway, the weakness of fighters I think is seen here. If they can't overwhelm your PD, then they are sort of stuck. And that lovely missile that stayed on the map when they were all killed '0 missiles targeting Interceptor blah blah blah' was a fun bug as well.
This is the structure that outwits such minor nuisances as ozone depletion, global warming, and the like.
I can no longer ignore the rewards of Astro University. +1 to all farmers, workers, and scientists! I think I might be able to find a use for such a structure. Clearly this represents advanced educational infrastructure on a global scale.
We didn't have the option to exterminate this time, because Democracy. These Mrrshan workers need assimilation of course; the Alien Control Center we are building will make that happen faster, make them more productive while we wait, and make them less likely to revolt. Don't remember when we picked that up. At any rate, they are better farmers than we are, but not really because of the Aquatic bonus. The only thing their people do better is breed faster and pay more in taxes. I'm not particulary interested in spreading them around.
Most of the work was not done by us. The Silicoids took some territory, and we just grabbed one system - Caern's Battleship honorably chose to face us in hopeless battle rather than surrender - but mostly it was the Klackons.
Being the insufferable genocidal nitwits that they are, the Klackons simply destroyed every planet they found. Including the Fieras, the homeworld. We want the nice planet in Anchat - they just recolonized Carcosa, so they can have that - and are sending ships in the other directions to see what's what. If the bugs are dumb enough to let us grab any of this territory we will certainly do so. And if the peace holds - questionable, but K'kalak has agreed to a trade deal so who knows - we will turn our attentions elsewhere.
I do very much like the fact that Mrrshans gotta Mrrshan. And there is nothing more Mrrshan than being in constant wars, biting off more than you can chew, and exiting stage left before anyone else. They have TechnoGeek mercy to thank for the fact they did not all go violently into that good galactic night ... a few of them were suffered to survive as our servants.