Part 14: 2221-2230: The Droids We're Looking ForThe Droids We're Looking For
In 2221, Bushnell Center completed its own security command post, overseeing security operations on the eastern front of the conflict with New Gaia. Although the fighting was more sporadic there, periodic raiding parties still came over the border, and added coordination for defensive units would be of use.
Meanwhile, the newly elected Colony Executive, Tabatha Ragland of the Party for Planet, attempted to contact the Gaian government to negotiate peace, even after Gaian covert operatives penetrated North Pholan data networks, providing them more reliable intelligence on North Pholan activities. Unfortunately, the Gaian government refused to accept any communications. Following the failure of negotiations, Rat Patrol engaged and easily defeated a company of Gaian infantry who had filtered over the border.
Meanwhile, in New Lacedaemonia, the Spartan Federation reported that an invasion force from the Lord's Alliance had overwhelmed the settlement of Hawk of Chiron. The Federation vowed to launch a counteroffensive to drive Alliance troops from their shores, while the exploratory mission launched from Tellus discovered an intact group of scouting rovers in a Unity cargo pod floating in the Sea of Mnesimache. Without the resources to maintain these vehicles and unwilling to let them fall into enemy hands, the security forces on board the exploration ship scuttled the cargo pod and sent it to the bottom of the sea.
The rover would have been supported from Tellus and cause Pacifism drones, which wouldn't be worth the new unit, which was well out of position. So, instead, I simply disbanded it.
Fighting continued into the next year, with a Gaian covert ops team wiping out the counterintelligence forces newly posted in Gaia's Landing before themselves being wiped out as the forces in the settlement assaulted the company of Gaian infantry escorting the covert ops team. As this was going on, Apollo Meditech opened the first major research hospital in North Pholus, helping to develop new treatment methods for disease and refinements for anti-agathic treatments.
A year later, forward defensive positions failed to block off routes of access for spies inserted from New Gaia, but a company of hostile infantry was destroyed before forces fell back to Gaia's Landing.
Meanwhile, the Spartan Federation began efforts to develop a massive command complex in Fort Liberty, at the edge of Mount Planet's caldera, while the exploration team crossing the Sea of Mnesimache recovered a pod with sonar survey equipment that allowed charts of the sea to be updated.
2224 proved to be a major year for military news, with repeated covert operations breaches in Gaia's Landing betraying North Pholan weapons technology and military doctrine to the New Gaians, while another Gaian covert ops team was wiped out outside of Torrson. The Spartan Federation, true to its word, succeeded in recapturing Hawk of Chiron from the Lord's Alliance, once again securing their core territories.
The exploration vessel from Tellus, meanwhile, suffered severe navigational failures, sailing far off their original course.
'Tidal waves' teleport the unit, in this case a rather improbable distance straight to the Geothermal Shallows, and refresh their movement allowance. A second pod contained a SECOND tidal wave, this one sending the vessel a shorter distance away. Honestly, this was a reasonably silly turn of events.
By 2225, two Gaian covert operations teams were stopped cold by heroic action by the counterintelligence operations in Torrson, while the project to convert computer hardware into espionage equipment in Lily of the Valley finally came to an end. With growing poverty and unrest unable to be held in check by military checkpoints, the settlement had erupted into riots, and the last remaining remnants of their project to develop a rival to Project Bushnell was hastily converted into a much less ambitious entertainment complex to provide a new source of pleasure for a hard-working population, even as the worst troublemakers were being arrested and pressed into military service. A raid by a New Gaian rover platoon against Torrson was easily beaten back, and a rover platoon dispatched to Bushnell Center succeeded in reclaiming the mines from New Gaian rovers that had occupied the position. With these losses, offensives from the Dominion petered off, much of their force spent for the moment.
Two years later, in 2227, the exploration mission from Tellus finally came to the eastern coast of Chiron Minor, discovering both a settlement of the Lord's Alliance and a strange jungle of rich and varied vegetation with actual trees unlike any other observed region on Chiron. With their position now fixed, they continued down the coast.
The Monsoon Jungle has +1 nutrients in every tile in its area.
Three years later, in 2228, Morgan Industries Robotics Division and Kusisitiza Datametrics made major announcements in advances in robotics technology within a month of one another. While Morgan Industries had been perfecting industrial robotics systems to automate significant portions of factory work, increasing production and freeing up labor for other sectors, Kusisitiza Datametrics had been developing remote-operation drones that would allow major mining, farming, or power generation facilities to be operated with a minimum of human staff.
We can now build hab complexes, representing the improvement in industrial logistics allowing higher populations, as well as develop supply crawlers, which can be used to harvest one of the three resources from a remote site and deliver the production to its home settlement, or can be disbanded in a settlement to provide their full production cost in minerals there, representing major shipments of materials. Supply crawlers, when overused for remote resourcing, are MASSIVELY overpowered, but by popular demand I am allowing each base to operate one supply crawler, which may only exploit a special resource tile.
In 2229, news began filtering from the Lord's Alliance suggesting that the military command officers of the Alliance were starting a major project, while a Gaian rover raid was utterly annihilated by an ambush from Torrson's defenders. A year later, an Intelligence Service team snuck into Lily of the Valley, penetrating a biology lab, downloading vast quantities of data, then seizing control of a major radio transmitter for long enough to broadcast their stolen data back to North Pholus. Unfortunately, Gaian security forces had already surrounded the transmission station, and none of the Intelligence agents escaped.
With this new data, it became clear that New Gaian researchers had compiled a huge quantity of data on the human brain, and had traced the mechanisms whereby physical processes were translated into a self-aware system. It became clear that Gaian theology was designed to hijack certain of the processes of concept-formation in the human brain, taking advantage of research to develop propaganda of compelling power when reinforced by repetition. A more benign application that occurred to researchers in Atlas Neuroscience was the development of headphones with a simple algorithmic noise generator that, when the wearer switched them on, closed their eyes briefly, and waited, could very rapidly induce a state of trance, dissociated from emotion. Although this state was worse than useless against human enemies, as it slowed reactions and dulled responses, it could be a literal lifesaver against mindworms, insulating the entranced people against horror and hallucination long enough for them to mount an effective defense.
Hypnotic trance doesn't add any manufacturing cost to add to a unit, and adds +50% to its psi defense. Upgrading existing units will still take money. I will take advisement from Colony Executives on how to implement Trance in units, although it is most commonly useful for garrison units and armored terraformer teams.
The Republic of North Pholus as of 2230
With the Party for Planet in power, security restrictions on entrance to the xenofungal forests have been instituted, stopping new clearances of the xenofungus for now. The waters between Morgan and Xochimilco have begun to be developed with kelp farms, thorium collectors, and subsurface geothermal plants, while thorium sifters and mines have begun to supply Talon.
Charts of the Sea of Unity and Sea of Mnesimache have been greatly updated by the explorers from Tellus. As the explorers have moved further south along the coast, they have discovered the original settlement of the Alliance, New Jerusalem, as well as evidence of Alliance settlers working in terraforming teams to tame the landscape.
The Spartan Federation, now out of its state of emergency, has begun to solidify its position, with two new settlements and with the people of Greenhouse Gate having more or less fully assimilated into Federation culture.
Innovation has increased over the past decade, while mounting infrastructural expenses have slowly reduced the generation of liquid capital for investment. Still, the economy remains strong, and the expansion of industrial operations to support growing populations is expected to provide a major surge in the economy soon.
Investors in Morgan have been backing development in the coastal waters of Rockefeller Bay, preparing for the expected population boom as new habs are built and the output of newly-automated factories is provided to supply the growing population. Confidence in the future is high.
The planned improvement of reactor outputs in Torrson will finally be completed within the year, which is anticipated to bring major growth in industry and investment. With that work completed, new priorities must be considered for the future. Although no Intelligence Service team is currently in position to protect the settlement against covert action, one is expected to be stationed there within a year.
Clinics for maternity care and high-quality educational institutions for young children have proliferated in Tellus, easing matters for parents in the settlement. A group of investors forming a new company, Titan Geothermal, have floated a colonisation effort further north along the Great Pholus Ridge, and have assembled other firms and colonists to support the new endeavor, while new patches of forest have been planted nearby.
Growth of trade volume with the Spartan Federation has been good to Bushnell Center, helping improve overall incomes and quality of life here. Bushnell Center, like Torrson, is just now completing expanded reactor facilities and storage vaults for thorium, helping secure its industrial future.
That one point of commerce allowed us enough extra Psych to move from two Talents to three here.
Military investment has slowed since Ragland was elected Colony Executive, and Talon Security's work with Ares Armaments to develop effective new missile-armed rovers has only continued slowly. Although new mining on the ridge helps somewhat, it would take more advanced mining engineering to fully exploit the scattered metals and mineral deposits of the region.
We will need Ecological Engineering to remove the Minerals cap for tiles.
Xochimilco has been connected to the mainland by high-capacity cable, and local facilities are being set up for full connectivity to take advantage of this as quickly as local resources will allow. With the growing farms and business here, the settlement is truly beginning to thrive.
Gaia's Landing has grown back to its population before its capture by North Pholan forces, and unrest here has only multiplied. With the forest to its northwest destroyed by New Gaian artillery bombardment, the local lumber and paper industries have collapsed. New businesses have slowly begun to filter in, offering new entertainment and shopping options to Gaia's Landing, but the process has been slow. It is hoped that the growth of new businesses will lead to growth in the economy of Gaia's Landing in the near future.
The Gaian ideocracy remains a bitter enemy of North Pholus, although it has offered recognition of the UNCC. Commissioner Pravin Lal has issued statements urging New Gaia to reconsider their theocracy, while New Gaia bitterly disapproves of the UNCC economic model as out of touch with Planet, but thus far their differences have not led to a complete collapse in relations. With their new stolen military technology, the threat from the Gaians at the borders may soon be increased, but thus far a force with coilguns has yet to be deployed against the Republic.
With the Alliance forces driven from New Lacedaemonia, Colonel Santiago has surrendered her emergency powers and returned authority to the elected government. The relaxation of strict police controls and emergency travel restrictions has proved a major blessing to the Federation's innovation and income, although it once again finds it more difficult to maintain a large standing force. Over the past decade, the Spartan Federation has established permanent recognition of the Planetary University Free State, although trade volumes between the two nations remain minimal. Intercolonial trade, by volume, is almost entirely between North Pholus and its trading partners.
The continued growth of the UNCC's population has brought with it modest economic growth, although the colony still struggles in many ways. The diplomatic and social situation in the UNCC remains almost identical to that of a decade ago.
The Planetary University Free State remains a tiny presence on the western edge of Hercules. Perhaps, in time, the peace brokered between it and the UNCC will pay off for Zakharov's little kingdom.
The Lord's Alliance continues to grow in population, and its victory in Hawk of Chiron, however short-lived, raises worrying questions about their military might. Still, without reliable intelligence sources, little concrete can be determined about the Alliance.
North Pholan victories have bought a period of respite in the war with New Gaia, even if the New Gaians are unwilling to negotiate at this time. Slowly growing trade volumes and development have bolstered the Republic's economic strength, while expanded industrial production promises to bolster it even further. It is hoped the next decade will be good for North Pholus.