Part 9: Turns 41-53Turn 41
Young Zuul talk excitedly about 'predator capitalism' as another breeding station goes up at Mogo with its attendant freighters. The Greatfather's plan is to rapidly construct a trade network around every star sufficiently far away from the wretched enemy.
His wisdom is borne out as the Empire begins to see the fruits of its early efforts.
That's 10% of our income now coming from trade after two small networks built. Trade is unbelievably important, even for races like the Zuul.
The 1st Awful Fleet is built, and placed under the command of Master Rithasak the Curious. It heads to Medea, where it will wait for space to become available as a result of either a bigger station at Corvus or the deaths of other Zuul. Either is fine.
Kaprica starts work on a fleet of Scavengers, headed by the Fanzay.
Thundara is cleansed once more, and a colony fleet based at Corvus heads to take possession. In the ruins, our Inquisitors find something unusual.
One of the humans survives, and a curious human indeed. Peeling away the layers of his mind reveals that he worked for the human entity known as 'Solforce' in their research division, and has access to information that the Empire may wish to pursue. He is accordingly placed in a refrigerator and transported to Kaprica.
Salvage projects allow you to get a tech you otherwise might not be able to get. You get them by having a repair & salvage vessel present in-system during combat, or just by being Zuul during any fight. They're the main way Zuul get tech they don't have a 100% chance for. More on this aspect of research later.
Further investigation into the minds picked up at Thundara reveals something worrying. The Humans living on the colony were living in fear, but not fear of Zuul. Something else had them terrified - something our Inquisitors attest they blamed themselves for. More samples of mind are required.
In our back line, the tunnels we have dug into the universe begin to tremor as ships pass through them. The Inquisitors suggest that there is a possibility that the tunnels themselves could collapse, destroying any ships found within them. This is judged to be hilarious, but plans are set down to rebore the tunnels regardless.
Zuul tunnels can collapse, unlike Human node lines. The easiest way of refreshing them is by putting a bore into a construction fleet, which you'd send round your back lines anyway, and will always be slow.
New worlds are opened up by the genius of our work, and new, hardier, Zuul will be forged by them. The Greatfather is pleased, and in a rare moment of charity decides to not immediately execute the Zuul that suggests lesser races should have an opportunity to avoid being instantly consumed, but sets them to the task of finding a way of doing so.
These only have one purpose. You'll find out what it is.
More humans are encountered past Thundara, in a system known as Gotham. While they are quickly wiped out, the speed of their expansion gives some Zuul pause for thought. The tasty new thoughts on offer are greatly appreciated.
The Scavenger Fleet is sent off to join the Awful Fleet at Medea. Our depredations on the Humans will shortly begin.
Thundara is colonised, and a naval station is rapidly built. Our survey fleets are moved there to provide defence, while the Awful Fleet rebases to Corvus, whose starbase is being upgraded.
Different stations have different icons when they're built in system - naval is an anchor, while a dollar is a breeding/trading station.
It is time. The Scavenger Fleet is now in position, and our fleets depart from Corvus, ready to write their names in history using as much human blood as they can possibly find.
Multiple ships doing the same thing is where the mission system comes into its own. Selecting a fleet and clicking 'confirm' before selecting the other fleet and clicking 'confirm and exit' allows you to gather multiple fleets from around the empire for the same purpose. Only two here, but later in the game this will be very handy.
As our victory is at hand, there comes a dreadful warning. Out of the darkness of Galactic North comes new ships, ships built with an elegant grace that reminds Zuul of their beginnings, and perhaps even causes fear of their end. They carry a dreadful message.
The Greatfather rages. "I AM NOT READY! NOT READY! HOW DARE THEY FORCE MY HAND! I need at least another year's preparatory work, and perhaps another year's beta testing. Only then may they come. But not now."