The Let's Play Archive

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri

by Fangz

Part 20

Excerpt: Blitzkrieg! The Clapton War

"Comrades! The time has come to cast off the shackles of the bourgeoisie! Chairman Yang has come to end the tyranny of the individual!"

Long live Chairman Yang!
Long live Chairman Yang!
Long live Chairman Yang!

With that, the long predicted Hive invasion of the UN began. Information from this period is very hard to come by, despite the infamous Hive tendency to document and record every minutiae. Many records were deleted, or heavily encrypted, or edited post-facto. Perhaps this is understandable - the astonishing success of the campaign involved many military secrets.

Despite persistent assertions by apologists, it is abundantly clear that Hive forces crossed UN borders before the declaration of war, on the express orders of the Hive military leadership. However, these numbered only two regiments of light vehicles, which carried no battle marking. In contrast, the UN mounted a large scale military buildup to the north end of their border, numbering no less than 8 regiments of vehicles and infantry, with the intent of deterring an attack by an overwhelming counterattack against the Hive's weak underbelly.

Ironically, it was this very same buildup that provided the validation Yang required. When Hive intel services intentionally botched their final operation, the UN response looked to the outside world to be a case of Lal making up trumped up charges for an opportunity to invade - something that Yang had every right to break treaty and respond to.

Yang compounded this factor with his first target - UN Commerce Committee, which had once been a Hive holding. Many in the international community felt that Yang was simply fulfilling charter obligations of individual self-determination. An airstrike soon broke the light defenses, and one of the vehicle regiments took control of the town even as the planes turned tail for home.

What happened next shook the world.

The news arrived just as Lal was delivering truce terms, confident that his attack force would put him in a favourable position. In 24 hours, one unit of Hive light mechanised with light air support annihilated the entire UN first retaliatory army, taking only light casualties. The elite 'light' vehicles were armed with heavy Chaos guns, overcharged using fusion generators, a technology unexpectedly equal to what the Gaians could field. The same applied to the new Skies of Everyman model of aircraft. (The fusion laser based Ten-Thousand Dragon series came into production too late to join the offensive) The UN forces, with their backs turned to the enemy, using lightly shielded fission generators, and packed together with little room to maneuver on the open ground, stood no chance at all. Rarely has technological superiority and tactical advantage come together in such a potent way.

The fervour with which the Hive troops fought matched that of the Believers. Veterans often talked of how they felt the guiding hand of 'Father Yang' beside them, or perhaps ancestral warrior spirits urging them on. There is indeed some evidence that stimulants were given before the battle so that troops would fight without fatigue, fear, or mercy.

By the end of the day, a fleet of needlejets blasted away the defenses of Planning Authority and Equality Village. By now, the Hive were running out of men to take charge over their conquests - the entirety of the Seat of Proper Thought garrison had to be pressed into occupational duty, leaving the original base entirely undefended.

Many at this time expected the Hive to pause. Even with the drama of the first attack, established military opinion dictated a period of consolidation, and integration of technological advances from espionage or rewards from allies like the University. A brief sojourn from the UN had to be repelled by the mounted guns of a refueling fighter jet. For a brief moment, it seemed as though the University could recover, or at least, hold a long siege.

Then, in a perfectly orchestrated media appearance, Chairman Yang ordered the planes to launch.

For a moment, it appeared that night had fallen, even though it was just after dawn. The noise was deafening - many soldiers of the UN simply broke down in horror. But the planes, flying in dense formation, cared little for the scattering foot soldiers - to them, they were just relics of another age of war, where territory actually had to be gained and slogged through. Brushing past ineffectual air defenses, they each delivered their deadly payloads, and the elite mechanised units followed them, conquering what had been cleared out for them.

9 AM - UN Information Agency Falls

2 PM - UN Humanity Base Falls

4 PM - UN Education Agency Falls

The attacks went like clockwork. The greatest problem for the Hive was keeping control over their new possessions - by this point, they had six conquered bases, and only 3 land units to control them. The Hive solved this problem with typical brutality - in each conquered base, a small band of collaborators, showered with gifts, was left to control the food supplies and air systems. At the slightest signs of disloyalty, these were to be cut off. Heavier retribution was promised with the return of Hive air units. As a result of such measures, UN cities suffered an average of 25% civilian deaths. Hive documentation records the tactic as a success - there were no significant rebellions. Such was the survivors' Stockholm syndrome that many joined pro-Hive militia forces to police their own citizens, so that no 'accidents' could happen.

A further three UN cities were captured shortly afterwards, including the UN headquarters. In doing so, all that was left to resist Yang in West Clapton was a paltry 2 minor UN towns, a stream of Believer opportunists constantly harried by Hive aircraft, and the 12-regiment strong Gaian expeditionary force based in the former UN aid station, who could not attack due to lack of communication with Gaian command.

UN collapse was complete. Lal offered his ultimate humiliation to spare his followers - to be the mere puppet of a force that was his total opposite.


To the East, Miriam's forces, buoyed up by Gaian tech and indeed Gaian aircraft stationed in their cities, thought themselves safe. Raw technological innovation was, for once, on their side. The belief was that Hive forces would take a long time to traverse Miriam's protective deserts, providing their own air force the opportunity to cut them down on open ground.

Poor Hive economics figures further bolstered morale, as well as the belief in public circles - based on loud and uncharacteristic allegations from Yang himself - that the Gaians had perfected some sort of long range psionic weapon, with which to plague the minds of their rivals.

But the Believers had not counted on Hive ingenuity.

The new craft was not even properly named when it first entered action. The design was clumsy, with the un-aerodynamic cargo placement obscuring the pilot's vision. If the Believers had any fighter cover at all, its slow speed would have made it a sitting duck.

But when the heavy VTOL engines blasted twin rings of scorched fungus and melted dust at the doorstep to Hallowed Ground, the design showed that it could do something even the state of the art Gaian drop-troops could not do. The ship could grab a regiment of any untrained unit, shift it five klicks, land in rough terrain, deposit troops fully ready for battle, hover until the troops have taken an airfield, land and refuel, all in the same day.

Hallowed Ground was taken, at last, and Divinity Base fell soon after.

The Morganites, ever sycophantic, were quick to adapt to this turn of events.

In but a few days, in a war on no less than three fronts, the Hive had emerged as the world's third great power.


Gaia is still pretty far ahead, I'm afraid. Looks like Hive will have to take over Zakharov, or at least Morgan, before there is parity. Or I could go to Gaia and do some fuckups. I kinda regret giving Morgan fusion power, but well, most factions have them now, so if it isn't us, it'd be someone else.

Bunch of choices this time: Firstly, the Morganites have offered us a loan - 1100 credits, in return for 18 credits per turn for 100 turns. On the plus side, it would let us rush though some units to purge the Gaians from Clapton, and maybe get back on the secret project races. And in terms of an interest rate, it isn't all that bad - the rates we can get from Zak or Santiago are *much* worse. And vendettas interrupt loan repayments. On the minus side, this will hurt research, since our current income is 50 credits per turn, and we have almost everything dumped into econ at this point.

-Don't borrow

Secondly, what do we do with Lal and Miriam?