Part 6: Turns 27-35Turn 27
Our long-range scanners at Argelius pick up an odd disturbance at mouth of one of the tunnel rips leading back to Aaryn. Initially it is assumed that the colony fleet on the way back to Kreelar has come through early. Our sensors have difficulty picking out exactly what the entity is as it moves towards the planet, resolving it as a purplish cloud.
The picture is rapidly improved, and colony command reports a host of cloud-like objects, moving with substantial speed.
Panicking, the colony fires a single missile at the approaching objects, which strikes a smaller cloud and appears to disperse it slightly. However, the objects rapidly reach the atmosphere, and all contact with the colony is lost. The fleet lead by the Captain Foo, recently returned from establishing a colony at Kreelar, is sent to investigate.
What the fleet finds is puzzling. All the Zuul - males, females, larvae - are dead, seemingly drained of vitality, but all the infrastructure is untouched. The few garbled black box recordings remaining make references to a smell not unlike that of carrion as the clouds descended. It is likely that such an event would cause concern for lesser races, but every Zuul knows there's plenty more Zuul where he came from, and so the Captain Foo deposits its colonists on the planet to restart the colony.
Our first random, folks. Spectres are beings that live in nodespace, and their presence is prompted by the tears the Zuul have been making in the fabric of reality. In essence, they're the white blood cells of the universe, attempting to remove what is perceived as an infection. Unfortunately for the universe, a developed colony can normally fend them off with ease. Argelius was a fresh colony and so was instantly wiped out.
Following promising results at Thundara where a highly habitable planet has been located, the Lord Windy heads to W'kanda.
As part of the next phase of the master plan, a colony fleet heads to Corvus, accompanied by scout vessels for protection.
One of the missions you can assign is 'Patrol', which tells a fleet to stay in a specific star system until its supplies run out and it has to return to base. It's handy for preventing new colonies from getting sniped until they can support a fleet of their own.
Away from the threats to the east, the empire expands towards galactic north, sending a colony to Hyperion and surveying Xanthu.
Now we're getting away from the early game I'm going to show you fewer of my less interesting moves.
We have established a colony at Corvus, and have dispatched a construction fleet to build another naval outpost. Because the world is so ripe for the taking, our colonists can support a fleet in orbit straight away. Fresh from victory at Thundara, the 2nd Survey Fleet is rebased there, after being repaired at Medea.
The Lord Windy reports disappointing news from W'Kanda. The world there is too hostile for the kind of rapid colonisation that our plan requires. The forward base is instead planned for Thundara, although some colonists have noted the tremendous development of Corvus and suggested using the base there for initial raids. They were promptly eaten for their insolence.
With our construction fleet away preparing the ground for invasion, any infrastructure in our back space will require new ships to prepare. The hull of the Agent Interrobang is laid down at Kaprica. It will lead a fleet of two construction fleets and a supply vessel.
Sorry, I'm unlikely to be making colony fleets for a while as I have several already, and this is the closest I can get. Multiple construction ships in a fleet make construction go faster, and are practically required for larger stations, which we'll need when...
Our inquisitors have finally found a way of bringing Zuul to terms with the notion of 'commerce'. Previously, it had been mandated that all Zuul will consume the same goods (i.e. games designed by the Greatfather), but the informal slave-bartering networks set up between the Fathers of our various colonies have given way to something greater. We now have plans to permit trading of all types of goods between the slave breeding stations intended for orbit above our colonies, and it is expected that this will make the empire rich.
The colonisation of Aaryn 2 and Salusa were tremendous struggles, costing the lives of many Zuul. However, we have accurately judged that these struggles were insufficiently hard to truly test the faithful Zuulmass, and plan to open a new tranche of worlds on which hardworking Zuul families may suffer and die as proof of their faith in the Greatfather.
This tech isn't particularly important for Zuul, as their terraforming is pretty fast already. The most important impact it has is to open worlds with higher climate hazards to colonisation. Each race has a threshold of CH above which it is simply unable to colonise a planet, and this technology increases that. This will enable us to backfill worlds in already colonised systems to maximise trade, and terraform new colonies slightly quicker.
While construction proceeds apace on the outpost at Corvus, the Greatfather spies an opportunity. No response from the humans has yet been detected, giving us an opportunity to gain some additional intelligence. The 2nd Survey Fleet is dispatched to Dosadi, believed to be at the heart of human-infested space.