Part 52: Expansion** Note: I realized after the fact that I did something super, SUPER STUPID during the combats here. Thought about going back to replay it, but decided that it wasn't worth the hassle. Suffice to say that the Overmind needs to space a few admirals here. Go ahead and laugh at it, because it's worth l laughing at.
After pondering the situation a bit, I decided to go for the Trilar planet. A Barren planet, Rich or not, isn't going to be of great immediate value. More importantly though, I'm in this for the long haul. In the short-term I'll just get pounded so there's no point in worrying too much about that. I think the monsters will keep a lot longer than a secondary planet in their home system. If they take it before the colony ship is done, I can just switch the stockpiled production over and not lose that much. The only way I would really lose out is if they grab it while I'm on the way, and there's only so much you can plan around.
Whaddya know, he showed up anyway - just waited a bit longer. Right now his research boost, even though it's small, it worth it to me.
Tough call, but after a short term of service Houri is sent packing. I think Crassis will be better in the long-term as we get pollution reductions, and Rash-lki is of course the centerpiece.
After a couple turns to get the Pollution Processor out there, it has become tenable to go for mass-production. We can now produce colony ships, or whatever else we might need at this stage, in a reasonable time-frame.
SD 3504.8 - I'm informed of an Alkari-Bulrathi NAP. They're making peace elsewhere, and that tells us that the bodacious bears will be making an appearance.
SD 3505.0 - We're a dozen or so turns too late, as the Trilarians finally grab their second planet. Using a colony ship, not a colony base, reports my scout. Go AI.
Space Academy is in, and so I need to build up a maximum force of frigates ASAP. For now, I think I just want to grab some of the cheap stuff indiscriminately here on the research side. I'll go Astro Biology after this.
I'd like better options, but sure. We are sadly lacking in ship fortifications. More importantly, I'm able to convince the Trilarians to part with Automated Factories for the same price. Battle Pods they have as well, but we need something better to pry that from them. The factories boost us up to 90 Industry maximum on Char III.
The armor isn't as important to us now as it might have been prior to the Alkari trade. We don't need the fusion beam yet, but I think I'll get started down that path given the low cost. Meanwhile both scouts have been scrapped for a combined 16 BC - the real benefit of course being to free up the command points.
SD 3505.9 - The entire Klackon fleet of eight Worker Ants departs for Nir. The Overmind has impressed upon them that the hopes of all our species are along with them. The journey will take three galactic cycles, and at the end of it will be a battle that we cannot afford to lose.
Eel Battle (2:28)
Welp the good news is we only lost one ship. Bad news is we didn't do enough damage, and need more. We're going to have to drain the treasury significantly in order to make this happen. Based on the results, we need at least 12, possibly 13 frigates - with eight the Eel still had a third of it's 'structure' intact.
I decide it's time to beeline for more research and the planetary supercomputer that comes after this.
Well, this is fortuitous. He is hired, and ordered to go back out with the fleet to Nir as soon as they are ready to return to Char. His full name is Commodore Kronos, the Ancient Seafarer.
There are Darlocks. Of course there are Darlocks. And Meklar, Silicoids, Gnolams who we haven't seen before. Three systems each for the Bulrathi, Darlocks, and Gnolams. And the Trilarians steal Research Lab, because I've been too lazy to build spies even though I had a chance to *slap self*.
LOL. We're still in our home system, yet nominated in the first Council. Everyone has two votes, except for Quorzum who has three. Everyone else abstains. So a bunch of boring nothing there.
SD 3507.0 - Let's try this again, this time with 13 frigates and the good commodore along with them. Correcting the previous error, I have a couple of spies up now. We can't support this size a force for long ...
EelBattle, Take 2 (2:02)
I did some experimenting at this point, and couldn't find a way to do it with fewer ships. 10 failed, for example. The Eel's darned lightning shield just sucks up too many of the missiles, and for whatever reason it seems to work better if I launch them from a few squares away - more of them got through then just launching each ship from right next to it.
So basically, this fight was just kind of dumb and I admit I don't fully understand it. Thought about refitting everyone with fusion beams but even with the missiles lost to the Eel's defenses, they still wouldn't have done as much damage.
In any case, Nir falls to the indomitable will of the Overmind. I've now got a use-it-or-lose-it fleet that will last exactly four more turns.
Nobody asked you. As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, Bethmoora is just three turns away. Let's try our hand at the Space Crystal before scrapping some of these ships. I switch on Trade Goods briefly to ensure we have enouch cash to make it.
He'll take charge of Nir.
Crystal Battle (2:36)
Close. We'll be back, vile entity.
Upon returning to Char, five of the 11 surviving frigates are scrapped - those with the most inexperienced crews. We can't afford to keep paying the maintenance on them right now.
The Alkari have taken Achir while we dithered about. Ecu is still available for now; Umm, even if we defeated the Amoeba, would still be a parsec out of range. Further below, Arkab has an absolutely fabulous planet - and is therefore almost certainly guarded by another monster. This figures to be a profitable monster-hunting galaxy, if we can pull it off. I think that's the route to relevancy.
And the quickest route to that is trading with the Trilarians for Battle Pods. The Bulrathi won't agree to anything right now, even after a bribe - Balrokzor is awesomely an Aggressive Expansionist. Aquailis reports that we don't have any technology that they want.
To which I say; would you mind repeating that? Kronos's information is even more extensive than I thought, but we spit on the galaxy already in terms of technology. We just don't have some of the stuff we want.
Four of our seven rivals have a ship combat bonus. Also, the Meklar are stuck in their home system on this game and are the only race with better labor than ours. We want them yesterday, but would have to go through Alkari or Bulrathi to get there. Which is less exciting. And fast-growing Silicoids? What manner of heresy is this??
Anyway, I want to grab Ecu if I can, build up Nir so I can get colony bases out to claim the other planets there, and research so that we can improve to being able to improve our anti-monsters fighting force, or else trade said research for options to do so. I throw the kitchen sink at Balrokzor in order to get an agreement. ANY agreement. I couldn't even get them up to neutral. So we could be fighting the most combat-capable force in the galaxy at any time, and there isn't a darned thing I can do about it.
Just in case we didn't hate them enough already. Mortane is an Aggressive Militarist. I offer him a bunch of tech, boosting relations to Relaxed. And still declines every last manner of agreement. *sigh*. I throw a 10% annual tribute at the Bulrathi. Hate doing this, but I really don't know any other way to mollify them. And I'm not sure even this will be enough.
SD 3507.9 - Trilarians take the only decent planet in Ecu. It's not good by any stretch, ultra-poor with gravity issues, but it would have been something.
Boo. If it wasn't for the monsters, we would be totally screwed. And might be anyway. Everyone in the 'Not Klackons' category has Battle Pods. None will even discuss trading it. I sign a tribute guarantee to the Darloks, quite literally trying to buy more time.
SD 3508.2 - Meklar-Alkari war. Don't you dare kill them, birdbrains. Also, one of our spies is killed. I queue up a couple more.
SD 3508.4 - Bulrathi-Silicoid war. Getting hostile out there. We're not ready for it.
Darloks gotta Darlok. What, exactly, are you planning on doing with that??
The rest of the planets around here are worse, but at the very least they will give us taxpayers and not belong to the others. I'm going to snag them anyway.
Highway robbery, but we can't live without it. The Trilarians are only willing to offer the Planetary Missile Base ... which I still for sure need. I take that deal as well. The other two jerks who don't like us? Yeah, not trading them squat right now. Amazing what happens you finally get in a toy everyone wants.
The new-and-improved design. Enough of these should get us over the hump. The question now is whether our economy can support 'enough' of them.