The Let's Play Archive

Master of Orion 2

by nweismuller

Part 19: 2970-2980-Ye Shall Be As Gods

Ye Shall Be As Gods

The 2970 elections return the Conservatives to power, and, with a Conservative government, the prosecution of the war against the Klackon resumes. Troops are landed on Kholdan Alpha by 2971, occupying the population centers and bringing the local Klackon under control with no difficulties.

A new Galactic Unification Summit is held in 2972, but the Republican government refuses to establish a unified government over the galaxy while the issue of the 'Lords of Antares' is still in question. The Summit is disbanded early with no progress.

The same year, Polybotes, one of the three colonisable worlds of the Kraken system, is settled by Republican settlers, marking the last system claimed within the natural borders of the United Republic. Polybotes, like all the worlds in the Kraken system, has brutally high gravity, which greatly increases the difficulties for the settlers on its surface.

By 2973, the Republican Star Navy, in conjunction with Fujiwara-van der Meer Computing, has completed work on high-powered fire control computers using arrays of quantum paired particles for near-instantaneous processing designed to be operated by an AI ship's officer. Recruitment amongst existing industrial AIs finds some volunteers to take over operation of existing Naval warships, using their expertise at waldo operations to handle the necessary tasks on the ship. A program of refitting the Hong Kong, Nieuwpoort, and Vigilant for AI control and increased firepower (converting all secondary turrets on the Hong Kong and Nieuwpoort to triple-barreled mounts, as well as all remaining primary and secondary turrets on the Vigilant) begins, and the design of the Majestic is revised during construction to accept an AI controller. In 2974, Antonio AI-Williamson-Lin becomes the first AI ship controller in the United Republic, having taken over all operations on the RNS Hong Kong.

Moleculartronic Computers are at the last tier of Computers research before 'Hyper-Advanced' technologies. Hyper-Advanced technology improves miniaturisation and gives better score bonuses than discovering ordinary technologies, but unlocks no applications.

2974 also brings a minor discovery of a fragment of the galaxy's past. While exploring Sal, an otherwise unremarkable system in the far galactic north near Klackon space, the RES Neil Armstrong discovers fragments of broken hull, bracing, and components from some ancient vessels, estimated, from evidence of wear, at somewhere between ten and twenty thousand years old. The metals used in the fragments are a super-dense, highly complex alloy unable to be replicated by Human science, but their extreme structural strength means that the fragments are able to be reprocessed and used as support elements in a number of ongoing construction projects.

By 2974, new Republican surface forces are in position at Kholdan, and the Naval forces at the system proceed to assault the defenses at Hive. The missile bases on the surface have been updated with warheads containing a magnetically-bottled charge of compressed plasma at temperatures that allow the charge to significantly exceed the energy storage in a nuclear warhead, but this does little to help the defense of the world. The orbital defenses are destroyed before they can take any action, and the combined point defense of the fleet is capable of destroying all inbound missiles before they can cause damage.

The defenders of Hive fight tenaciously despite their doomed position. Klackon troops and civilians in minor population center after minor population center put up enough resistance to tie up Republican troops at the position, then detonate nuclear warheads in the cities under dispute to wipe out Republican troops, willingly sacrificing their own lives for a chance to kill Humans. Although nearly 21 million Republican troops die due to these desperate tactics, this is far from enough to prevent the eventual destruction of the defending forces on Hive and the occupation of Hive by 19 million troops.

The Klackon finally manage to get ground combat kills on us. Between the Klackon propensity for self-sacrifice and the unusually high casualties for this campaign in this battle, I choose to describe it as involving rather drastic tactics.

With Hive under Republican occupation, Republican troops secure armaments factories on the surface and rendezvous with RCSPS commandos already operating on the world. Designs for Klackon plasma weaponry, permitting powerful missiles and powerful, but extremely bulky and short-ranged, plasma cannon, are recovered and reverse-engineered by Republican scientists.

At longer ranges, our miniaturisation and armor-piercing on mass drivers makes them more effective than plasma cannon, despite the higher raw numbers on plasma cannon- an armor-piercing, autofire mass driver currently takes two-fifths as much space as a single plasma cannon of comparable size and firing arc, allowing 45 points of armor-piercing damage that doesn't drop off with range compared to 24-120 points with very rapid range dropoff and no armor-piercing. We'll need to look into replacements for the current coilguns soon, but plasma cannon aren't necessarily the replacement we should seek...

Acheron, the tiny world sharing the Hiraki system with Sheol, is colonised in the following year, as is Gobi, the final body in the Hut system. Settlers are finally beginning to seek the least appealing worlds in the Republican sphere of influence for colonisation, and are taking chances on these miniscule worlds in the hopes that eventual ecological engineering and arcology construction will make them economically viable.

The population caps even on a tiny terran are low enough to make much development iffy on tiny worlds. A great deal of work will go to make these worlds profitable. Also, my failure to get screenshots of these new colonies is another goof on my part this update.

The next year, in 2977, the fleet arrives at Pesci and engages the defenses at Pesci Beta. Although the orbital defenses survive the initial volley, they are completely crippled, allowing the fleet to ignore the orbital defenses while they engage the surface missile bases. 20 million defenders on the surface fail to inflict any significant casualties at all on the invasion force, which recovers data on high-output electronic warfare transmitters that not only force combat to relatively short ranges, as is usual in naval warfare in the galaxy, but should be capable of baffling the seekers of some missiles. That same year, the Unified State attempts to get formal recognition of its claims from the United Republic, but is rebuffed.

I managed to fail to save the screenshot of the Mrrshan asking for a non-aggression pact. Whoops. The first of a few goofs I made while playing through this update.

This is also the year that the Majestic is completed, and she clears harbor and sets a course for Thales, as do the three refitted Naval vessels at Weg. A year later, in 2978, this fleet engages the creature orbiting Chukwu, almost entirely gutting it with the first volley of fire. A second volley is more than sufficient to rip the creature into a a spray of fragments that are nudged to fall onto the uninhabited portions of Chukwu and litter the surface. The continuous low-grade famine Chukwu has suffered under for a decade finally comes to an end with the destruction of the beast.

With a population of 2, starvation drove Chukwu's population growth negative, so it started oscillating right at the border between 1 and 2 population.

By 2979, the fleet operating in Klackon space has arrived at the Proctor system, which proves to have two inhabited worlds, and promptly launches an attack on the more fertile and populous of the two worlds in the system, Proctor Alpha. A recently-completed Klackon warship helps defend the world, and, although the ship is immediately destroyed as battle is joined, the splitting of fire allows a single Klackon missile to impact the Philadelphia and cause minor damage to her armor before all defenses are silenced. The subsequent invasion faces resistance that uses similar tactics to those used on Hive, but Republican adaptation to these tactics means that only 8 million Republican troops are lost in the fighting, with 32 million left to occupy Proctor Alpha.

Meanwhile, on Earth, ATLAS announces, on behalf of the ATLASBUILT Family, the unveiling of a new revolution in neuroscience. The ATLASBUILT Family has perfected a combination of retroviral genetic treatments that greatly increase the density and speed of development of neural connections in the Human brain and hardware computer implants designed to interface seamlessly and naturally with the Human brain in order to act as slaved subprocessors. The net effect of these alterations is a very significant increase in intelligence, with an anticipated overall increase in average Human intellect, when adoption of the technology becomes universal, to match Psilon average intelligence. ATLAS also offers, freely, retroviral treatments designed to rework the chemical balance of the Klackon brain so that Klackon are no longer dependent on the chemical rewards offered by species empathy to avoid crippling depression, while stopping the mechanism in the brain that generates the chemical rewards based on perception of the health and moods of other Klackon.

"This, finally, shall permit Klackon the ability to develop and live by a self-determined motivational structure, rather than being subject to the chemical conditioning that was their original evolutionary inheritance. In accordance with the conviction of the ATLASBUILT Family that freedom is the inherent right of sapience, I hereby announce that deployment of these treatments for Klackon shall be undertaken at my expense and the expense of those members of the ATLABUILT Family contributing, rather than as a commercial service as is the usual practise for the offerings of the ATLASBUILT Family."

Many Humans are willing to undergo the treatments developed by the ATLASBUILT Family, and the effectiveness of the Republican research establishment is greatly increased by the improved intelligence of the Human population. Klackon given the treatments designed for their species break free of their drug addiction rapidly, and, although they maintain a strong habit of obedience, the development of individual personalities, interests, and motivations amongst those freed of their addiction is surprisingly rapid. At least one observer on Ezra Alpha notes that it is as if the entire population is going through adolescence at once, struggling towards self-sufficient adult personalities from their earlier dependent state.

Evolutionary Mutation is just plain fun, letting you customise your race further. We get +1 research per scientist for Humans, with one point left over modifying our final score. I have a personal rule that leaving points on the table during race design is just rather silly, but you can't avoid leaving one point behind if you get a three-point ability with Evolutionary Mutation. Evolutionary Mutation is also the technology I planned to finally permit Klackon to truly assimilate, so we finally overcome the issue with drugging them. Evolutionary Mutation is at the final tier of normal Biology research, so we have completed two of the eight big research fields. Construction, Power, Chemistry, Sociology, Physics, and Force Fields all have work remaining on them.

This same year, both the Council of Enlightened Matrons and the Commonwealth of the Compact seek permanent military alliances with the United Republic, but both governments are refused by the Republican government. The Conservative government has no desire to ally with the Council, and the risk of a war with the Nations from allying with either is too great to undergo as things stand.

My final goof- I managed to miss getting the Gnolam alliance request.

In 2980, the assault on Proctor Delta commences. The orbital and surface-to-orbit defenses are easily destroyed, and, although the Klackon have mustered significant reinforcements to the surface forces on the planet, the surface invasion proceeds with only around 200,000 Republican casualties.

While the fighting for Proctor Delta is underway, approximately 70 million Klackon, yet to be pacified by the United Republic, muster with what weapons they could gather or manufacture in secret over the past year, and stage a simultaneous revolt around the globe on Proctor Alpha. Many Republican military positions are stormed by surprise within a single day, preventing reinforcements to any individual battle. Although the occupation forces fought desperately and inflicted heavy casualties, many positions were overrun, and surviving forces were forced to fall back to the primary military headquarters near the launch site. Eventually, the last two million Republican troops on Proctor Alpha stage a hasty evacuation into orbit, leaving behind the bodies of 30 million of their comrades and of 54 million Klackon combatants killed in the revolt. The 38 million Republican losses on Proctor Alpha make it the most costly world yet occupied since the United Republic started to fight the Klackon, and the United Republic's first defeat in a ground campaign since it took to the stars. The 40 million troops still in transports in Proctor are eager to avenge their fellows against the exhausted and disorganised Klackon forces now in control of Proctor Alpha.

Occasionally revolts break out on occupied but unassimilated planets, with the rebels attempting to outfight the occupation forces. Win or lose, the results are only reported in the start-of-turn event notification list.

The United Republic in 2980

Earth remains the bright center of the United Republic, largely unchanged from a decade ago. Surface military forces are being mustered on the planet for transport elsewhere.

Earth is as developed as current technology will allow, thus the fairly uneventful status update.

Mars now hosts missile and surface-to-orbit fighter defenses, and 1 million industrial AIs have been constructed to manage much of the heavy industry of Mars. Industrial subsidies keep both Humans and AIs working to churn out a constant stream of durable consumer goods and capital equipment for use across the United Republic, providing a great deal of revenue for investment and a great supply of goods for the people of the United Republic.

Mercury's population of AIs has stopped growing, now stable at 2.5 million. Puppeteer technology is fully in place, allowing Mercury to manufacture and export enormous amounts of heavy capital equipment for use elsewhere in the United Republic. HERMES ATLASBUILT has been constructed on the surface. HERMES prefers to depict himself in the uniform of a Starways Logistics, Limited commercial freighter captain, and appears as a slender, handsome youth with olive skin and dark hair.

Local heavy industry on Nieuw Vlaanderen is now controlled by 2.5 million industrial AIs, which have displaced the Human industrial workforce. The growing population of the United Republic has continued to draw persons into Nieuw Vlaanderen's agricultural sector, which now employs 800 million persons. AI industry has helped the planet to grow even wealthier than it was before, and a program of shipbuilding to supply various commercial shipping firms in the United Republic is underway.

You can see with the food a display glitch I've sometimes noticed with very high outputs and high upkeeps on a world, where many more icons appear spent on upkeep than are actually being used. We are not eating ~200 food on Nieuw Vlaanderen. You can still click on the display to get the correct numbers.

With the Forge's growing population, the Forge's heavy industry sector has continued to grow. Construction on the RNS Terrible has begun. The Terrible should be completed in 13 years or less, depending on military spending in the interim. The world remains wealthy and happy.

The Anvil continues to prosper, with population now exceeding 14 billion persons. A new Naval training facility has been established in orbit, and commercial shipyards turn out more freighters for the United Republic's transport needs.

The population of Fool's Hope has quintupled over the past decade, from 1 million to 5 million AIs. Puppeteer deployment on the planet is complete, and an ATLASBUILT AI is within a year of activation.

Gobi hosts a population of only one billion, with the basics of modern industry in place. It has already constructed arcology-cities in order to permit growth of the population beyond the initial seed population. The small population and the rigors of the local climate make life difficult and rugged for the settlers of Gobi.

New Greenland now hosts a Psilon population of somewhat over two billion, as well as gravity correction plants creating regions of low gravity that they can more comfortably inhabit. They live seamlessly integrated into the local culture, and enjoy an immense improvement in quality of life from that which they had experienced under Klackon enslavement or what they expected under the rule of the Union of Peace. Their loyalty to the United Republic is unshakeable. A million industrial AIs now call New Greenland home, with more being constructed by the day.

We also have an Alien Control Center on New Greenland, negating the 20% morale penalty otherwise experienced in mixed-race colonies. The United Republic is capable of allowing smooth integration of alien species working directly alongside each other.

With the completion of an ATLASBUILT educational system on Wotan, wages have increased to match local productivity, and a new Naval base helps supply Republican naval operations. Wotan now enjoys a standard of living comparable to other core worlds.

Atmospheric scrubbing plants have eliminated Thor's need to sequester industrial waste, and ecological engineering should greatly moderate local weather patterns and temperatures within a year.

A local technology industry and the introduction of large quantities of frozen water and a basic biosphere have helped improve overall quality of life on Loki. The world now also supports a Naval base linked into the Naval logistics and command system. A new round of ecological engineering is underway to thicken the atmosphere and warm the planet, while introducing more life onto the surface.

Hel now has more sophisticated industrial infrastructure and a population of 1.5 million industrial AIs. Expanded industrial complexes to house further population growth is underway.

A garrison of surface forces and a naval training facility hosted in the local naval base on Laaxaayik have been established over the past decade, while the population now exceeds 12 billion persons, who enjoy the extreme wealth and comfort of a Republican core world. Local heavy industry has been building commercial shipping to bolster Republican transport capacity.

Cherenkov, like Wotan, has experienced an improvement in productivity and earnings to core world standards with the completion of an ATLASBUILT educational system on the world. Surface-to-orbit fighter bases and a naval training facility have also been established locally. As with many other worlds, a local commercial shipbuilding industry is currently active.

Atmospheric processing plants have addressed local demand for waste disposal solutions on Naraka, and a ground garrison has been founded on the planet. The program of ecological engineering of the planetary environment is complete, with Naraka now enjoying a lush, Earthlike environment. Naraka now is undoubtedly a Republican core world in living standards.

Sheol has experienced full-scale adoption of consumer positronics, and the growth in local population has permitted the growth of a large enough community of local experts to fully staff the educational system without difficulty. Life is now quite pleasant here. Local industry is currently adding more water to the environment and a more diverse set of life forms for the biosystem in order to help establish an Earthlike environment on Sheol.

Acheron strains to support both a basic modern industrial base and the arcology-cities needed for further population growth. Puppeteer deployment is underway on the planet.

Faraway now supports atmospheric processing plants and a naval base, and is supporting an effort to establish an AI colony on Inferno. The AI colony should be operational within a year.

Conditions on Parch remain very primitive by Republican standards. Puppeteer deployment should be completed soon on the planet, helping to improve local productivity.

Ecological engineering now ensures that Crossroads has a great deal of frozen water and a minimal biosystem providing oxygen for the atmosphere. Atmospheric scrubbing has eliminated previous problems with waste disposal, and the population is expected to plateau temporarily at approximately seven billion persons within a year.

Puppeteer deployment, pollution treatment facilities, and atmospheric scrubbing facilities have helped increase productivity and standards of living on Pasteur. The increasing sophistication and diversity of the local economy has helped to drive more widespread adoption of modern business methods on the planet, which should help encourage another increase in local living standards.

The end of the famine caused by the world's blockade, the construction of radiation shielding, and the development of expanded commercial port facilities have helped make life almost immeasurably better on Chukwu than it was a decade ago. Still, minor accidents remain relatively common here, with the local population of expert labor stretched thin on vital tasks.

1.5 million industrial AIs on Harper now have access to a basic modern Republican industrial base. There is still a huge amount of growth potential on the colony, which continues to fund its development by exports of mined and refined gold.

The high gravity and primitive conditions of Polybotes make it gruelling for the local settlers. Although work is underway on gravity correction facilities, military spending has soaked up much investment capital over the past decade, and progress has been slow despite local civilian demand.

Consumer positronics have penetrated both through the Human population of Chezak, and, through trade, through the Zetel republics now organised on its surface under the aegis of the United Republic. Atmospheric scrubbing facilities largely eliminate waste products from local industry. The Human population struggles to keep up with the local infrastructure, and local work hours are considerably longer than elsewhere in the United Republic. The Zetel, on the other hand, now enjoy the highest quality of life in their history, and popular support for the United Republic amongst the Zetel is immense.

Lesath Alpha has stabilised at an Earthlike environment after the completion of ecological engineering. It now has surface-to-orbit fighter bases, a formal surface military command headquarters, planetary radiation screening, and a naval training facility to bolster its defenses. The surge of individualism amongst the local Klackon has led to a sudden demand in consumer spending by the local population, which is adapting to the new and strange experience of self-motivation. Local stress levels amongst the small Human minority on Lesath Alpha have started to greatly decrease as individualism amongst the Klackon has blossomed.

Ezra Alpha has, like Lesath Alpha, been stabilised at an Earthlike environment and had its defenses strengthened. Also like Lesath Alpha, it is experiencing a surge in consumer demand by Klackon suddenly capable of expressing their own individuality and taking pleasure in things other than their drug addiction.

Arcology-cities and pollution treatment facilities have been established across Formica, helping to improve local conditions and permit further growth, while a naval base over the planet is nearly completed. The earlier need to rotate personnel off of Ezra Alpha to address Human stress levels in working with Klackon is far less pressing with the recent developments in Klackon neurology.

Puppeteer deployment, commercial spaceports and orbital warehousing, and atmospheric scrubbing facilities have bolstered the local economy on Yad greatly, while equatorial missile bases help secure the planet. More modern business practises are in the process of being implemented on Yad Alpha. As on other assimilated Klackon worlds, a surge of individualism has swept the local population.

Hewel Alpha now hosts basic modern industry and pollution processing facilities, but remains quite relatively primitive and backwards. It, too, has seen the local Klackon begin to adapt to their new capacity for individualism.

Kholdan Alpha has been fully assimilated, but remains extremely backwards, with only primitive industrial facilities. It is one of the poorest worlds of the United Republic. Equatorial missile bases to help secure the world are under construction.

Hive possessed both atmospheric scrubbing facilities and local research laboratories when it was conquered by the United Republic, and has quickly established basic defenses, a temporary occupation administration division, and basic modern heavy industry. Much of the population still has not been properly assimilated, and the planet remains under military administration. The occupation forces are on heightened alert, lest a repeat of the events on Proctor Alpha occur here.

The last remnants of resistance on Pesci Beta are beginning to die down, and the first glimmers of true individualism are beginning to show in its population. It currently possesses only its native Klackon infrastructure and the command center for the occupying forces.

Proctor Delta has just been conquered, and its population has yet to be properly assimilated. The establishment of an administration apparatus to ensure the period of occupation goes smoothly is at the top of priorities for the temporary military administration.

Contact has been lost with the Star Empire after the destruction of the colony at Etana in their war with the Nations. Although trade volume has greatly increased with the Union of Peace and somewhat increased with the Nations, the loss of contact with the Star Empire has meant a drop in overall volume of foreign trade. RCSPS staffing has dropped to 210,000, several divisions having been dissolved with the loss of commando teams in Klackon territory and the failure of analysis projects. Operatives in Klackon territory have withdrawn, and the RCSPS has refocused on internal security for the moment. The Nations continue to exist in a state of war with the Commonwealth of the Compact, the Star Empire, and the Council of Enlightened Matrons, leading some to express concerns about the conduct of the Nations.

Growth in development and in territory has bolstered the size of the Republican economy. Investment capital has significantly increased, as has innovation, driven in large part by increases in Human intelligence. Construction of civilian shipping has allowed transport capacity to expand to comfortably handle increases in demand, and the Navy's logistics are stronger than ever, capable of supporting further expansion. Republican population now exceeds 230 billion biological persons, primarily Human, Psilon, and Klackon, although small minorities of Gnolams and Sakkra exist, and 16.5 million sapient AIs exist alongside the biological population. The Nations appear to have destroyed settlement by the Star Empire in the Etana system, and have captured the Trifid system from the Star Empire.

With the coming of 2980, elections once again approach, and the voters of the United Republic once again must vote for the Senators to lead the government.

The Conservatives wish to continue the current program of military buildup, industrial subsidies, and funding for research into advanced weapons and shields. Under a Conservative administration, advances in certain special modifications to shields permitting greater defense against missiles and improved absorption of damage are certain to occur, as is the development of a new generation of highly advanced kinetic weapons. Whether full refinement of weapons designs to permit them to effectively replace current coilguns will occur is less certain. They wish to ensure that the war against the Klackon ends with complete victory.

Conservative voters only- Conservative primaries are filled with debates about which foreign power most needs to be addressed by Republican military might next. Full annexation of the Council of Enlightened Matrons, full annexation of the Unified State, or a war to weaken the Nations and relieve the pressure on the Star Empire and Commonwealth of the Compact have all been advanced by Conservative candidates in primaries.

The Social Democrats wish to maintain industrial subsidies, but refocus them on the usual Social Democrat transfer projects. They wish to develop new matter/energy conversion technologies to supply synthetic food as a public subsidy, and otherwise promote some research into theoretical physics and power sources. They will continue military buildup, but at a slower rate than the Conservatives, freeing investment capital for other purposes. They also intend to fund a new expansion of the RCSPS, and focus on aggressive espionage operations beyond Republican borders.

Social Democrat voters only- given new developments, there is debate in Social Democrat primaries about whether the war against the Klackon should be pursued to total victory, or the last pockets of the Klackon 'hive' system permitted to exist outside of the United Republic.

The Liberals wish to see the last Klackon liberated and industrial subsidies eliminated, returning conditions to a true free-market basis and permitting growth in the civilian economy. In several well-developed worlds, civilian investment is expected to focus on real estate development and the building of new cities. They will continue military buildup, although at a slower pace than the Conservatives, and will permit investment capital to address civilian demand. They will sponsor some advanced shields and weapons research, although much research will be driven by civilian investment and focus on advanced economic methods and new industrial technologies. They wish to render government research into matter/energy conversion for food illegal, arguing that the costs of maintaining such a program will be 'catastrophic'.

Both Liberal and Social Democrat voters- once the Klackon war ends, one way or another, the United Republic may have a chance to deal with the Unified State, and both hawkish and dovish candidates on the question of the Unified State have entered party primaries. Whether the United Republic should choose to liberate the people of the Unified State or maintain a policy of peace is under question.

Sorry for the delays on this. It was a long weekend in more ways than one.