The Let's Play Archive

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri

by nweismuller

Part 22: 2301-2310: The Rigors of War

The Rigors of War

As the twenty-fourth century dawned, the first assaults by troops of the Spartan Federation broke against Bushnell Center's defenses in a hard-fought battle which nearly broke the lines of the defenders. A rover platoon operating out of Bushnell Center began to launch hit and run raids against the gathering Spartan enemies, thinning out the formidable opposition arrayed against Bushnell Center. Far away, in Prometheus, Talon Security rovers wiped out a swarm of mindworms threatening the settlement, after one company of local defenders were already shattered by the psionic terror and hallucinations induced by the worms. Marcus Li, head of Talon Security and new Colony Executive of the Republic of Pholus, swore to ensure the Republic's victory in this war.

The Flowers Preach fell to an overwhelming Spartan Federation force in 2301, before any forces could be mustered to support it from North Pholus. With this, the last East Pholan holdings on the continent fell into the Spartan Federation hands, leaving only the settlements in the Sea of Nessus independent.

By 2302, expanding productivity in robotic industry in Prometheus and the development of new hab facilities paved the way for continued population growth in the settlement. Across the Republic, the impact of robotic industry has been steadily changing human life.

Meanwhile, raids against Spartan attackers at Bushnell Center continued, while local security forces at Memory of Earth fought off the first platoon of attacking Spartan rovers. Although the victory near Bushnell Center weakened the attackers, the rovers launching the raid were caught out in the open and destroyed.

Damage to units can reduce their total movement allowance; the damage the rovers took in the attack didn't leave them enough movement to fall back into Bushnell Center again.

In 2303, researchers for Morgan Industries announced that the problem of fusion power had been cracked, and began offering fusion plants ranging from small 'backpack' units to major industrial generators on the market. Although the Unity had used a fusion reactor, and the theory behind it was preserved, the construction of fusion reactors using Earth-native technology required massive reactors with huge investments of materials, far beyond the resources of Chironic economies. With new superconducting fiber to transfer power and dissipate heat and with advanced computer systems to actively monitor the reaction, much more efficient and compact fusion reactors were now possible, and the deployment of fusion power on Chiron became realistic.

With fusion reactors providing power to military vehicles, it became possible to propel thicker armor and heavier weapons with no loss of performance. In fact, backpack fusion plants made for a power source powerful enough and with sufficient endurance to make self-propelled infantry armor suits possible, providing a formidable advantage to infantry equipped with the new armor suits. The Republic of Pholus began the expensive process of upgraded equipment and vehicles for military and security forces under its command, although the process was, by necessity, slow.

Fusion reactors for military units double their hit points, improving their strength both on offense and defense. This applies even for infantry. All I can assume is that new power sources improve performance, which implies that infantry units must be able to take advantage of fusion power to drive their weapons and armor. Fusion Power also allows for the very valuable Fusion Labs facility, and upgrades Technician specialists (+3 credits) to Engineer specialists (+3 credits, +2 labs). New reactor technologies increase the upkeep cost of Command Centers- our Command Centers increase from an upkeep of 1 credit per facility to 2 credits per facility.

While Morgan Industries unveiled the promise of fusion, Talon Security Solutions announced the opening of the Talon Security Hospital for Cybernetic Medicine in the settlement of Talon. This facility, funded by Talon Security for service to its troops, was equipped for providing cybernetic augmentations to large numbers of patients in parallel. New recruits for Talon forces agreed to augmentation procedures as a condition of enlistment, and were modified to ensure swifter and more precise reflexes, protection for vital organs, and more acute senses. The new military units mustering in Talon were, with the aid of their augmentations and a new, rigorous training program, a match for any soldiers of the Spartan Federation.

The Command Center and Bioenhancement Center, combined with the High Morale special, which represents special training for a unit, allows Talon to produce Elite units without any combat experience. Elite is the highest possible Morale level for units, so we now can muster units that match the best the Spartans have to throw at us.

Terraforming teams, isolated on the peninsula east of Memory of Earth, attempted to return to the safety of the settlement, but were intercepted and wiped out by Federation troops. The cost in lives was not limited to military personnel.

In 2304, the area around Morgan was struck by a severe drought, with poor rainfall and colder temperatures. Agricultural outputs suffered, and a sudden desperate need arose for major food imports to Morgan. What could have been a major famine was mitigated by the strength of the Republic's commerce, responding to soaring food prices in Morgan.

Morgan went from +5 nutrients to -5 nutrients, which begins draining nutrients stockpiles. Unaddressed, this would certainly result in starvation and dropping population before the crop failures let up. I know I said that overuse of supply crawlers is essentially 'cheating', but, in order to react to this disaster, I started producing new supply crawlers transferring nutrients from other settlements to Morgan for the duration of the emergency. Each crawler only transfers one nutrient, mineral, or energy between settlements, so a total of five from various settlements would be needed to stop the nutrients deficit. The plan is to disband the supply crawlers once they are no longer needed.

Fighting continued over the course of 2304 and 2305, with the defenders of Memory of Earth and Bushnell Center inflicting daunting losses on advancing Spartan Forces, and with Republican artillery setting up in Bushnell Center to bombard approaching Federation forces with chaos shells. Although the Federation had a formidable advantage of numbers, Republican defenses erected by the efforts of the Citizens' Defense Force, superior Republican weapons, and the advantages presented by Republican power armor helped render losses extremely lopsided in the Republic's favor. The Federation offensive began to stall.

Meanwhile, the Intelligence Service succeeded in surveying a Unity cargo pod for salvage in 2305, providing valuable tools and industrial materials that Lily of the Valley was able to use. Although most Unity cargo pods had by now been salvaged, the ones remaining still had their treasures to offer the colonists on this harsh world.

In 2306, ongoing efforts to improve forestry methods and related industries in South Pholan territories bore fruit. Improved forestry and agriculture continued to cement the prosperity of the humans on Pholus.

The Intelligence Service's attempt to salvage another Unity cargo pod in the Howling Straits reveals that this pod has been infested by mindworms, while another swarm of mindworms emerging from the fungal forests near Memory of Earth ended up destroying a platoon of rovers before being eradicated.

The fighting with the Spartan Federation was less intense this year, with only one Spartan rover platoon being destroyed near Bushnell Center.

By 2307, the worms that had infested the Unity cargo pod had beached themselves near Memory of Earth, while several major industrial firms in Prometheus went bankrupt as they failed to adapt to changing market conditions. The Prometheus economy struggled on, while outside firms worked on acquiring local industrial assets. Intense exchange of artillery fire near Bushnell Center ended with Spartan railgun artillery destroyed and unable to threaten the settlement.

In that year, the Planetary University Free State approached the Republic's government, seeking aid against the UNCC and making blustering demands of technical information. The Hercules People's Party in the UNCC had gained dominance in the UNCC government, and proceeded to pursue their foreign policy objective of a united continent and the fall of the Free State's government.

In 2308, Torrson Industrial Chemicals, a medium-sized firm still owned by Lars Torrson, the original founder of the settlement of Torrson, announced the development of 'smart' lubricants that actively seek out areas of high friction and wear, along with 'smart' coolants that actively regulate the heat in high-temperature machinery. The use of 'smart' coolants combined with fusion power sources allows for a major breakthrough in the potential energy output of lasers, allowing levels of power that would previously have completely destroyed a laser emitter to be dumped safely and efficiently at a target.

Another new weapon system unlocked, although we'll have to deal with prototyping expenses to deploy it.

Meanwhile, Morgan Industries completed the first major industrial fusion power plant to serve the needs of the settlement of Morgan. With the power available from the fusion plant, high-energy industrial and scientific processes became much easier to finance, and the productivity of Morgan continued to climb.

Over the course of this year, the Intelligence Service recovered more valuable industrial materials from a Unity cargo pod, while the Republic's military forces forced a Spartan rover platoon to fall back from Bushnell Center while half of the worms that had emerged from the Howling Straits were eradicated by incendiaries. The military situation was slowly stabilising.

2309, by comparison, was a relatively quiet year. Another artillery duel weakened Spartan forces near Bushnell Center, while the last of the worms near Memory of Earth were eradicated. Memory of Earth developed educational and medical facilities to aid with prenatal and early childhood care, helping improve life in the settlement, despite the looming military threat to the north.

In 2310, the Republic engaged in secret negotiations with the UNCC, helping draft a peace treaty between the UNCC and the Planetary University Free State. When Commissioner Pravin Lal, as the chief diplomat of the UNCC, presented this treaty to the UNCC Colonial Assembly, the Unity Party broke with its coalition with the Hercules People's Party, approving peace and renormalisation of relations between the UNCC and the Free State. Peace in Hercules was preserved, for now.

The Republic of Pholus as of 2310

The Protectorate of South Pholus has been formally incorporated into the Republic, which is now named simply 'the Republic of Pholus'. Only the barest traces of the previous Gaian culture remain in South Pholus, which has largely accepted North Pholan attitudes and practises. Spartan military forces in place have been greatly depleted, although there are still three companies of infantry, a platoon of rovers, and a counterintelligence team in or around the Flowers Preach. Both the Spartan Federation and the UNCC have engaged in new settlement over the past decade. The xenofungal forests around the Great Pholus Ridge are being steadily pushed back. The Spartan Federation still holds all East Pholan territory on the Pholan continent, but the East Pholan holdings in the Sea of Nessus are still secure for now.

The overall economy of the Republic has continued to grow, and investment and innovation remain healthy. Scientific breakthroughs continue to come at a rapid pace.

The desperate need for more agricultural labor around Morgan to offset the hardships of crop failures has drawn labor away from mining, but the overall industrial productivity of the settlement has shot up as it has taken advantage of fusion power. The laboratories and factories of Morgan can more than match the entire output of the UNCC. The rapid work of the Republic's internal trade network has kept the settlement from catastrophe, but it is hoped that local agricultural yields will recover soon. Work has once again started by Gruber Advanced Engineering on an orbital launch facility in Morgan, after delays forced by shifts in investment from military demand and the advent of fusion power.

Torrson's population has ballooned over 50% over the past decade, with a corresponding growth in its economy. Work is underway to set up large-scale fusion generation in Torrson, helping to bolster industrial productivity in the settlement.

Tellus Bay has begun to undergo heavy development, while shipments of food to Morgan are still being organised in Tellus in response to rising prices. Investment into industrial-scale fusion generation has been planned by a number of firms looking to the future.

Bushnell Center's population has grown to rival Morgan in population, although economic growth here has been slow, with the rigors of war cutting into operations. The railhead and sensor stations to the east have been destroyed by Spartan activity, while food shipments have been organised out of the settlement to supply Morgan. It is hoped that investment into large-scale fusion power can be started here, soon, as well. Two companies of infantry and a platoon of artillery have reinforced local forces here to hold the line against the Federation's offensives.

The civilian economy in Talon has lagged in development in the face of the demands of war. A new company of infantry is being mustered here to reinforce the front.

The massive shipyard complex in Xochimilco is expected to be completed in 2316, after which labor can be freed up for other construction projects in the settlement. It is anticipated that with the shipyards in Xochimilco expanded to handle shipbuilding for the entire Republic, that the future of the Tlaloc Project will be secured indefinitely.

Prometheus' local security forces are under-strengthed, and the local Settlement Executive has been unable to muster the funds to recruit a new company under the current industrial slump in Prometheus. Conditions remain relatively good, although local unemployment has risen compared to the rest of the Republic, and much of the local population has been forced to live on savings and insurance as the local economy reorganises.

The newly operational mining platform exploiting the metals deposits east of Kusisitiza Future has proven a significant boon to the local economy, and local industry has begun to swell in response to dropping raw materials costs. The legal disputes with the UNCC have been firmly settled in the Republic's favor, helping ensure the prosperity of Kusistiza Future.

Gaia's Landing, ironically, has become the most backward settlement in southern Pholus, still working to cement expanded robotic industry and establish larger hab facilities for new families. Still, the settlement is prospering reasonably well, and the future looks bright.

With recent improvements in local agriculture and forestry, the food situation in Autumn Grove has more than stabilised, and the settlement has begun growing rapidly. The growing wealth of the population has brought with it expanding demand for medical services, and the Southern Star Medical Group has been formed and begun construction on a new advanced hospital to fill that demand.

Lily of the Valley, like Autumn Grove, has enjoyed significant benefits from implementing advanced forestry techniques, and has likewise seen growing medical investment in the settlement. The standard of care in the former Protectorate is steadily growing as new medical ventures bring their services to the citizenry.

The strategic importance of Memory of Earth in the war against the Spartan Federation has led the Republic's government to invest in a major military base and command center here, in the hopes of better coordinating local forces. A strong force has been assembled here, although many of the units in place need equipment repairs and replacement personnel to fill in losses in battle.

Popular protests have forced the religious leadership of the East Pholan state out of office, and the state of civil liberties in the remaining East Pholan settlements has been improving. The fragile democratic government of East Pholus has currently been focusing on securing its territories in the Sea of Nessus in the hopes of preserving its independence.

The Spartan Federation, despite its losses against the Republic of Pholus, remains a formidable empire. A military council, similar to its original government, has been reconstituted, relying on religious fervor to motivate its masses. Although economically weak compared to the Republic of Pholus, its economy is stable, and dissent across the Federation is ruthlessly and efficiently suppressed. Its military remains formidable, although recent recruitment by the Republic of Pholus has narrowed the military size gap. Although generally less advanced than the Republic, the Federation has made certain breakthroughs in physics that allow it significant advantages in electronic warfare.

With the newfound dominance of the Hercules People's Party in UNCC politics, major economic reforms have been undertaken in the UNCC, with major wage, price, and output boards and a detailed regulatory code dictating economic policy across the colony, and with government-sponsored enterprises taking up significant positions in finance and heavy industry. Economic growth in the UNCC has become more sluggish, and consumer spending has dropped. To a certain extent, the impact of these reforms has been mitigated by the adoption of robotic industry in the UNCC, which has helped industrial output significantly.

The Planetary University Free State has concluded an alliance with the Spartan Federation in response to the continuous threat of the UNCC on their eastern border. Mass protests about living conditions have paralysed Baikonur, although improved amenities and services for the civilian population are expected to help relieve the social pressure there. University social scientists have begun to allow for services, entertainment, and luxuries for the general population in their planning, which should, in the long run, improve the Free State's social stability.

The Free State finally got Social Psych, which will help them quite a bit.

Although the Holy States have continued to enjoy military success against the Human Hive, and their population has continued to grow, their situation remains crippled by a disintegrating economy and mass riots and heresy across their territory. It is no longer possible to even estimate the number dead from riots, military crackdowns, and simple starvation in the Holy States.

The Human Hive stands at the brink of complete military collapse. Socialism Tunnels is expected to fall within the next five years, if not sooner. Local dissent has been suppressed, although the rebel leader Domai has fled across the border to the Holy States where he has begun loudly publicising the crimes of Yang's regime. It seems certain that Yang's terrible experiment in totalitarianism will shortly be destroyed.

New technology promises new prosperity for the Republic of Pholus, while the challenge of the war against the Spartan Federation promises new tragedies. We can only hope the future remains bright.