Part 13: Turns 90-99Turn 90
Two of our scout fleets arrive at Human colonies, Lusus and Flinx. Lusus appears to be an important system to the Customers, containing two colonies and a station. Our fleet approaches the outermost colony in order to glean more information by rendering the colony to dust and sifting through the remains. Unfortunately, the colony appears determined to resist our interest.
Our gunnery crews appear to be out of practice, something for which they will be disciplined if reincarnation is real.
The barrage continues, and takes a heavy toll. Our captains unilaterally decide that the node tunnel looks more attractive than the colony.
The bore ship and the command vessel are lost with all hands. Conveniently, this leaves no-one to punish when the remaining vessels make it back to base.
At Flinx, the Lord Windy takes a more cautious approach, pulling back the fleet as soon as the colony launches its missiles.
This is the first time I've actually lost any ships, but this kind of probing attack is necessary to get an idea of what future raids will be up against. Well-defended colonies can't be taken easily with the primitive fleets we have, and we'll soon be looking to upgrade.
Projekt Gridrod is complete, and we have acquired a basic understanding of a Human technology. These 'Photonic Torpedos' are direct-fire weapons that do a moderate amount of damage but lack the tracking and sheer killing power of similar weapons. While handy to have, we are unlikely to invest the time required to bring these plans to reality, unless it becomes our only option.
Our Inquisitors direct their efforts to a technology that will extend the range of our ships, vital if our combat fleets are to leave bulky supply vessels behind.
Immediately after revealing itself, the Internet establishes a colony at Krankor, near the Xanthu Publisher incursion point. The mystery of the lone station at Xanthu is revealed: our Farseers believe these devices that hang in the space between systems are related to the Internet's mode of travel, pointing to a previous attack on Xanthu. Our Publisher Defence Fleet is moved to the system, and Shoeless are constructed to guard its approaches.
The Humans send another construction fleet against our defences at Dosadi. Even without a fleet, our Shoeless fend them off by destroying their command vessel for the loss of a single platform. We salvage something enigmatic from the wreckage.
Having finished Plasma Focusing, we plunge our resources into this new mystery.
Our colony fleet sent to Gotham to take the newly sterilised planet encounters a Human survey fleet looking over their old holdings. Other races may view their colony ships as defenceless lambs fit only for slaughter. We Zuul hold a different view.
At Thundara, our 4th Survey Fleet is reassembled following the losses at Lusus.
Rebuilding fleets is such an arse, but you have to do it every time you lose a command vessel. It's a real flaw in the system, because a natural tactical choice (BLOW UP THE COMMAND SHIP) leads to additional micromanagement, even if every other ship comes out alive. The obvious answer is to leave the command ship somewhere safe, but that's micromanagement again.
Our scouting vessels have located the Human home world! Orbiting around it are two fleets we have identified as possessing combat capabilities well in advance of any human ships we have encountered to date. Defeating these ships will be necessary to reap the bounty of Earth, but combined with the sheer number of missiles the world can pump out, we will need to go back to the drawing board for a new generation of vessels capable of sustaining such fire.
In order to assuage the growing chorus of Inquisitors complaining about the booking arrangements for mind-raping rooms, the Greatfather has mandated the construction of a space station just for them. This station will focus on Industrial technology, the better to prepare our ships for the coming Internet storm.
Our fleet at Beezaro immediately turns round. There is little sense in throwing away Zuul lives for no gain, amusing as it might be. At Flinx, our Scavenger fleet shows a little more bravery, wiping out the colony and bringing home a bounty of misery, as well as a new salvage project known as Fulton's Folly.
A huge human world is discovered at Prism. Our fleet immediately turns tail; some worry that this bout of cowardice will become an epidemic. Combat brings rewards, as our newly completed salvage project shows:
This upgraded version of our standard energy cannon provides better long-range fire than the medium version, but given that most Zuul fighting involves getting into the face of the enemy, it is unlikely to see much use. We look into Fulton's Folly.
This is problem with salvage; you might get a whole bunch of junk. On the plus side, the techs we've got so far could help us get better techs later.
After repeated construction fleet pokes, the Humans have finally sent a proper combat fleet to Dosadi.
Fortunately, the Awful Fleet is there to greet them.
We move in, and launch the women.
In a matter of moments, half the human fleet is taken, including their command vessel.
The remaining humans co-ordinate their fire in order to deliver a crippling blow to the Veloxyll.
It is to no avail, as the final human ship finds itself surrounded by Raptors and the possessed corpses of their former comrades.
Until, finally, they are literally buried under the weight of the women.
Apologies for the cluttered shot, they took they ship before I could hit pause.
In the end, every single attacking human ship now belongs to the Zuul.