Part 18: Turns 160-170Turn 160
Our Inquisitors have found buried deep within the mind of a human manager of a food outlet the secret of 'freeze drying', a technique designed to aid the transportation of perishable matter. What is more perishable than slaves owned by the Zuul? Instead of our previous technique of ramming in as many slaves as possible into a confined space, all captives have the water forcibly extracted from their cells and are rendered into cube form before being neatly stacked on board a freighter. At the other end waits a Zuul with a watering can. We understand the reanimation process is very painful, but even better than that: it has effectively doubled the capacity of our freighter fleet.
Heavy Freighters allow you to carry two goods in one ship, meaning you only need one dock. They're cheaper in maintenance terms than two smaller freighters, meaning they're win-win.
We will now turn our attention to ways of manufacturing space suits for slaves to enable them to aid in the shipbuilding process. Our previous attempts at this mostly involved throwing as many slaves as possible out of an airlock to see if one didn't require oxygen.
The second round of Invasion Earth commences. Martin Cirulis immediately wraps space around himself and appears once again in Human skies. His very presence causes fear, and his whispers convince the entire human fleet to begin dismembering Earth's defensive grid.
Rapid controlling gives you an entire fleet to play with, even if you didn't bring one. Best of all, the planet will shoot at your controlled vessels rather than just your Suul'ka.
The Bloodweaver is the father of the Zuul, and of much more besides. He brings pestilence and calamity, and he brings it now.
He Who Shapes gets to fire bioweapons because he's a mad space dolphin wizard scientist. Bioweapons were allegedly fixed in the last patch - let's see if that's true.
The products of his genius fall towards Earth.
They discharge high in the atmosphere, raining down on the world below.
Having stripped away the defences, the humans have outlived their usefulness and are allowed to break free. Their freedom is brief, as their vessels are wrapped in Martin's mind.
Our Scavenger fleet moves in, pausing only to unload boarding pods on one of a pair of remaining Human vessels.
Ships taken by boarding pods can still fire their weapons. Because they're not OP enough.
Once more our slavers descend.
The new Regardless vessels move in. Their modern weapons prove highly effective.
The Pvt. Scott assault shuttles are launched. Their fire lights up the whole of Earth.
The Earth is laid to waste, and blessedly its missiles cease firing. The Murgos makes sport of the remaining Human ships.
The invasion has proven a complete success, barring the near-total annihilation of the Awful Fleet. They will rise again. Our fleets return to Dosadi to resupply, led by Martin Cirulis.
If your ship dies, it will come back as a Mk. 2 version when I redesign its class.
The performance of the Regardless class has brought it particular attention amongst up and coming captains. They have awarded it a nickname.
Ship traits can apply to designs you prototype yourself. They can be positive or negative. 'Fast in the Curves' means it gets +10% to rotation speed, which would be very handy if it was a brawler vessel. As it is, it's a bit irrelevant.
The fall of Earth has brought many rewards. Our Inquisitors are champing at the bit at the thought of all those new minds to devour.
That's not a typo; I got two salvage projects with the same name from this combat.
While the Empire focuses on the Humans, the Internet attempts another assault on Ixion. We are well prepared for them.
Once I get missile platforms there'll be a second layer to this defence as well. Overkill is great.
The cunning Publishers! They have snuck past our forward lines and now have a combat fleet heading towards the defenceless colonies at Gotham.
Apparently defenceless. Martin Cirulis can shift anywhere in the universe with merely a thought, and heads to Gotham to greet these arrivals.
The best tactical play the AI has made so far.
The Publishers seem surprised at the sudden appearance of Martin before them in space. Surprised to the point that when he crushes their command vessel they have insufficient time to even be afraid.
The slow and confused vessels quickly fall prey to his tentacles.
In order to get Suul'ka tentacles to actually hit something four things need to be true: the target needs to be positioned within range of the tentacle (usually to the side towards the front), you need to have selected it as a target, it needs to not move and the Suul'ka must remain still. You can use the Hold power to keep it in place, but that's a bit buggy when in close proximity to the Suul'ka, ironically where it's best used. However, when you get it to work, it looks cool.
Amused by this display of incompetence, the Bloodweaver strikes a Publisher vessel with such force as to send it crashing into another ship.
I really wish I'd recorded video for this one, it was awesome.
A vessel dominated by Martin uses its mysterious point defence lasers to remove the death robots Mother is so fond of deploying.
In total I managed to get four tentacle kills, with the rest Crushed to death.
His work is not yet over, however, as another Publisher fleet appears, this one headed for Dorsai. At Gotham, our Inquisitors pick up the remaining Publishers in space and commence something called Project Gram.
Elsewhere, disaster befalls Ixion. An Internet fleet appears from apparently nowhere, bypassing our defences and taking out the system's naval base. They do light damage to the colony below. The Greatfather, reasserting his role while He Who Shapes enjoys the hunt, vows vengeance upon these critical demons.
Seriously, this appeared as if from nowhere. On the combat screen it didn't list a Loa fleet - just that they were there. It appears to be a function of the Deploy NPG mission, allowing a Loa fleet to not exist until the start of combat. Luckily, there are now two colonies at Ixion, so the loss of the naval base doesn't mean the defending fleet has to retreat - although it never got within range for this combat because it was on the other side of the system. This is now the best AI play so far.
Owing to a well-organised victim management system, all three of our Earth salvage projects complete at once. We gain insights into some exciting new technology:
A welcome upgrade for my heavy mount beams, this will allow me to put off getting new ballistics for quite a while.
VERY handy. Effectively this is the king of ghetto PD, and will stand us in good stead against Morrigi drones.
EVERYONE ELSE IS NOW FUCKED.
In amongst the debris that led to these discoveries, our Inquisitors find something else - the initial Human assessment of He Who Shapes, conducted while He orbited Earth. It amuses Greatfather tremendously.