I’m looking for a little advice. I’m in a MP that seems to be unraveling for me. We’re using the SMAniaC mod with me as Uni and the other human player as Hive. The AIs are Consciousness, Cult, Believers, Spartans and Gaians. We are on a Water World
The Hive got a terrible start and had about a 20 turn delay before getting their second base, and their first base was on a tiny island and lost quickly to worms. Eventually they found a large landmass and started breeding – as only the Hive can.
I started on a nice landmass with the Boreholes. I pretty quickly got a huge technical lead (**gasp!**), made friends with the Cyborgs to my immediate south, Pacted with the Gaians, and held the Cult (just south of the Cyborgs and by the Gaians) at arms length. I kept expanding until I filled up my continent (~12 bases), and then started exploring. I found the Jungle to my north and got pods there. I infiltrated the Consciousness and Cult.
In the meantime the Cult declared vendetta and I geared up to take them out. I built 2 isles of the deep, loaded them with amphib rovers, probes, and worms, liberated the Gaian bases the Cult had captured, and then started pressing the Cult. Then disaster: The Cult pacted with the Consciousness who declared war on me, pasted my military, gave their tech to the Cult, and my advance suddenly stopped. I gifted the bases I’d captured to the Gaians since I couldn’t defend them and retreated home. I managed a Truce with the Consciousness, but am still in Vendetta with the Cult. I was amazed the Cult is Pacted with the Consciousness and Believers and has a Friendship treaty with the Spartans and Gaians. I wish I had that kind of diplomacy!
The Hive Pacted with the Spartans, traded tech, and eventually contacted the Cyborgs an Cult – who happily traded tech with Yang, too. Yang took offense that I was exploring near his territory, used conventional missiles against my isles (which were carrying probes and artifacts), and the war was on. Fortunately I’d infiltrated before I got whacked, but didn’t get his world map. The Gaians declared vendetta, but then traded Yang tech and my world map (!!!). ACK!! I managed a truce with the
Here is the situation:
• Uni: 18 bases, 72 pop, 30 tech, 320 tech/turn (breakthrough in 5) – although right now I’m in pop boom mode in Planned/Anthropogenic so my tech rate is 187/turn. My SPs are: HGP, MCC (great on a Water World), Univ Translator, Planetary Energy Grid, CDF, and I’m building VW. I have Fusion now and no-one else does – but that may not last long.
• Hive: 17 bases, 62 pop, 26 tech, 72 tech/turn; their only SP is Command Center
• Spartans: 12 bases, 43 pop, 20 tech, 40 tech/turn, no SPs
• Cult: 8 bases (mostly sea bases – I took most of the rest), 25 pop, 25 tech, 17 tech/turn
• Cyborgs: 13 bases, 47 pop, 25 tech, 30 tech/turn, building Empath Guild (done in 6 turns).
• Gaians: 7 bases, 27 pop, 19 tech, 16 tech/turn, has the WP and PTS
• Believers: 2 bases, 7 pop (!!) – not infiltrated, but irrelevant
So, what should I do? I out-tech everyone by a good margin, but the other factions are playing group research. I’m constantly hounded by the Cult (sealurks, isles, foils – and LOTS of foil probes!!), making the sea dangerous. Perhaps launch a massive attack and take out the Cyborgs, and then the Cult? Or should I turtle, build a huge defensive wall and dare anyone to get near – which is what the Hive is doing.
I think you should use your advantage as long as you have one.I have Fusion now and no-one else does – but that may not last long.
Fusion won't help you against the Cult.
But it should come in handy against the Cyborgs.
Are you going to let them complete the Empath Guild ?
Consider missiles vs. Cha Dawn's Natives.
Against Isles and Lurks ?
Most of the Cult's units are conventional, so fusion will be very handy.
Missiles work well against natives. The Hive showed me that when he pasted my Isles.
For the Empath Guild my plan is to attack and capture a Cult base, get Psionics (tech for Empath Guild) - the only tech they have that I don't, and then build it myself in one turn. I have a base with ~150 mins ready to go. Then I'm going gift the base to the Gaians since I really can't hold it - or it will be probed out from under me. That already happened even though I had two defensive probes! Nasty sea probes... The University running Federal Democracy has a -4 probe rating, so it is hard to win on attack or defense in espionage.
OK - it seems pretty clear and I just needed someone to tell me: take out the Cult and Consciousness. I’ll need to redeploy all forces I was accumulating to take on the Hive (but keep my guard up!), build missiles, get a few more isles, build amphib rovers, and then unleash them on the hapless Cult and/or Consciousness.
I’ll build more artillery too. They take out sea foils in one swipe (yeh!) and with fusion will pound well defended bases.
Thanks for the tips!
Do your fellow PBEMers know about poly?
Sounds like you need to work on the diplomacy front the most. Something hard to rapidly improve ingame and hard to give advice on.
Im not certain about SMAniaC-been awile-but maybe you could concentrate on a huge airforce and thus leverage the fusion advantage into military domination. Dont you have needles? Anything in range of your continent should be dust by now.
Last edited by Kataphraktoi; August 24, 2007 at 20:17.
if you want to stop terrorism; stop participating in it
''Oh,Commissar,if we could put the potatoes in one pile,they would reach the foot of God''.But,replied the commissar,''This is the Soviet Union.There is no God''.''Thats all right'' said the worker,''There are no potatoes''
SMAniaC moved needles to late in the tech line and copters have a range of 5, and 7 with fusion. I have copters now, and they are useful for short ranged work only, as you may guess. They come along at Orbital Spaceflight, which is a long way off.
Troops have to be ferried with isles. I haven’t bothered with transports. Probes are a big problems – there are squadrons of them: probe foils, special SMAniaC land probes. That’s tough on the Uni with -4 probe!
You’re quite right about Diplomacy, though. The sides now seem set, and oddly balanced. No-one wants to be the friend of #1.
Any updates. Hydro?
Yup. In about 2240 I formed a large invasion force, loaded them up on a fusion cruiser transport (10 units), guarded it with 2 fully loaded cruisers and a foil probe, and set off to smash the Cult. The Cult is nearby so it would only take me 2 or three turns to get into position. Then the Cyborgs broke their truce and committed at least four SMAnaC copters to kill my entire invasion fleet They were dead – all of them. The loss was huge.
Boy, I was hot. Really hot.
The gloves came off and I just pasted everything in sight with copters, cruisers – whatever I had. Anything I couldn’t immediately reinforce and secure with probe teams I burned to the ground. The first to go were the annoying Cyborg sea bases that ringed my homeland. My copters killed defenders and my cruisers took and burned the bases – the cruisers move 9 with MCC, very handy. I had to eliminate the ability of the Cyborgs to send copters to strafe my mainland, stripping it of formers and crawlers. Almost every University city switched to military production. I switched production mainly to choppers for the sheer firepower (10-1-7*2 and 6r-1-7*2), even if in SMAniaC they have a very short range. I also build lots of cruisers (10-3-7*2/radar) for sea mobility – this is a Sea World after all.
I also switched to Anthropogenic SE to get the +2 morale bump, although the -3 Planet hurts against the Cult. I also switched to from Fed Demo/Private-Protectionist/Technocrat/Frontier to Fed Demo/Planned/Technocrat/Anthro w/crèche to get pop booms, which started really spiking my population and get industrial production bumps. I had been running Private/Protectionist economy SE, which has a -1 industry that sucks in war time. My research rate went from 5 to 7 years due to the decreased economy from losing the wonderful +1 energy/sector from Private/Protectionist, though.
Fortunately there were sunspots so the other factions didn’t learn about the atrocities, although the Hive human player figured it out pretty quickly. I’m writing it up as a PBEM fiction, so it was pretty obvious what I was doing. I’ll post more there shortly. Anyway, the University-on-the-rampage worked. In short order I’d eliminated all the Cult Capital, all the Cyborg sea bases, and captured all the home Cyborg bases. It was very hard on the choppers due to the short range, but they did very well due to the firepower advantage I have. I have fusion and no one else does – yet. Yes I did take losses by random attacks, but I more or less rolled over the opposition. My production ability made replacing losses pretty easy.
Now it is 2251 and the Cyborgs have been completely eliminated. Sunspots are over and I’m now gifting the bases to my Gaian allies and Believers (who has 2 bases and surrendered to me in 2250). The Cult is down to 6 far-flung sea bases, and they won’t last long against the waves of copters, cruisers, IoDs (move 7 w/MCC), and amphibious rovers.
I’ve also scared the Hive to death. He finally called for elections for the Planetary Governor and was shocked when he found out my rating was 259 (with Empath Guild) vs his at 95. His allies the Spartans voted for him (~65 votes), the Gaians Pactmates voted for me (~45 votes), and everyone else abstained. I easily won and now I’m planetary governor. I would have called it ages ago but didn’t want the Hive to get the comm frequencies of the Believers or the Cult (knowledge is power, after all). The Hive is playing Creeping Crud and is building bases all over the place, with thick walls of defenders and tons of missiles – a true Make-My-Day Turtle strategy.
Since then I’ve finished the HSA. YES! My -4 probe problems (-2 for Uni and -2 for Fed Demo) are now somewhat reduced! I’m currently building Gattica SP, and the free bioenhancement centers will do wonders for my military. I’ve built most of the SPs in the game. The Hive has Command Nexus and Longevity Vaccine. I captured Echelon Mirror from the Cyborgs (generally useless). The only other faction that has SPs is the Gaians with WP and PTS.
So now I need to finish pasting the Cult and build a Wall-Of-Death to dissuade the Hive from getting anywhere near me or my bases. Specifically, I want the Hive more than 16 sectors away so he can’t missile me to death or be sneaky with invading my coastal bases. Plan B is to build 1-<8>-1*2 defenders (I’m prototyping Armor 8 now), which will make his missiles almost useless even if he does get fusion.
I thought fusion airpower would carry the day. Nice AARIt was very hard on the choppers due to the short range, but they did very well due to the firepower advantage I have. I have fusion and no one else does – yet. Yes I did take losses by random attacks, but I more or less rolled over the opposition. My production ability made replacing losses pretty easy.
if you want to stop terrorism; stop participating in it
''Oh,Commissar,if we could put the potatoes in one pile,they would reach the foot of God''.But,replied the commissar,''This is the Soviet Union.There is no God''.''Thats all right'' said the worker,''There are no potatoes''
Haha! Best defense is a strong offense. You have a screenshot?
The best defense is getting REALLY mad and letting all those pesky scruples crumble to dust. I realized that I was feeling paternalistic toward Ali Zeta. She was, after all, my creation. In the end scruples are a rather fluid concept to Zak anyway.
Tell you what – I’ll get screenshots for the turns and post my dialog here. The last 10 years are the most interesting anyway. I’ll work on it tonight.
The Gloves Come Off
This is an excerpt from my PBEM 15 and documents how Zakharov got pushed over the edge and loved every minute of it.
University Base, MY 2240
Admiral Conrads said it simply. “At 0815 this morning the Cybernetic Consciousness launched a surprise attack and destroyed the Expeditionary Fleet. All hands were lost, including the transport, all attack and defense military units inside the transport, two escorting cruisers, and probe foil. A small fleet of Cyborg impact copters were deployed and are currently in our sights, as is a Consciousness isle that is south of University Port.”
Amy Constance looked over at Zakharov with alarm: he was quiet. Normally he would be raging, yelling about betrayal yet again by the Consciousness in collusion with the deluded Cult of Planet. His silence was more frightening than his rages.
“What forces do we have in theatre,” he said. His voice was quiet.
“Two cruisers are approaching, and our small force of amphibious rovers with artillery with cruiser support are near the Cult capital. A copter is at a Gaian base repairing.”
“Admiral, I want you to take every Consciousness and Cult base that you can.”
Sarah Conrads pause and then said. “We will be open to probe attack, Prokhor. One of the Consciousness foils we sighted has fusion, and it is likely the one that was lost near Spartan territory. There are many sea and land probes in the area.”
“I understand that, Admiral. After you capture the base, strip it of all assets and then burn it to the ground. We are done playing around. If the Consciousness and Cult want war then we will give it to them. They will be exterminated. Am I quite clear?”
“Yes,” she said, and then looked around at the rest of the Council as if for an appeal. There was none.
“Then do it,” Zakharov said and then terminated the holo link. Then he turned to the rest of the Council.
“We are done f*cking around. I want all bases’ output changed to quasar copters, cruisers, and appropriate war material. We are going to blast every single Consciousness and Cult base, and if we can’t hold them we will burn them. The threat to the University of Planet will end, and we will end it.”
Amy said, “What about the repercussions? Slaughtering tens of thousands of people is an atrocity.”
“So it is,” Zakharov said. “And in my mind so was an unprovoked attack – the second, I’ll remind you. My friend Aki Zeta-5 has crossed the line for the last time.”
“What will the Gaians say?” Immanuel Florence asked. He looked pale.
“I don’t know. We can’t talk to her, remember? And if we could we’d gift the base to her and not have to slaughter civilians. Such is war, Councilor. If you can’t handle it then I suggest you resign.”
Immanuel was silent.
Resonance bolts pulsed through the air, and the impacts shook the sea base Eta Ridge to its core. Great black slashes erupted with black smoke, and flame poured through the second level and out into the open blue sky. The University isle housing the amphibious rover seemed to pulse with every shot from the resonance lasers.
Then a resonance cruiser pulled up, blasted through the undefended sea port doors, and sheered its way into the interior of the base. More smoke billowed out of the port bay along with flashes of light.
Forty minutes later the cruiser re-emerged. A series of massive explosions rocked Eta Ridge. It slowly cantered to the east, bulkhead buckling and struts shredding themselves. The west side pealed open like an onion and the great structure issues a final unearthly groan and toppled over into the sea. It took only ten minutes for the entire structure to sink into the waves.
The isle pulled up to the capital of the Cult – Dawn of Planet. Amphibious rovers blasted the single defender, scoring huge gashes in the slightly pink-hued structure. The battle was short, and then another rover left the isle and entered the base. Over the next half hour the single plume of gray smoke turned to dozens: the entire city was engulfed in flame.
An hour later the rover returned to the isle. The funeral pyre of Dawn of Planet reached to the heavens like a broken finger.
University Base, MY 2241
Prokhor Zakharov had given up his usual blue and gray suit in favor of a more austere jumper. It was still tailored, but it seemed to fit the times. The Joint Command war room was a mass of holo images, military officers pacing around or deep in an interface with the Virtual World imagery, and conferences – live and ‘in the tank’, as virtual discussions were called.
“I don’t want to take much of your time, but I’d like an update,” Zakharov said to the officer in charge.
A young man nodded once. “We lost a cruiser to a Consciousness fusion foil, but its mate destroyed them. That was the last of the foils the Consciousness stole from us that we are aware of. Another cruiser in the theatre is currently attacking Delta Trench in preparation of a copter attack in the coming year. More cruisers will come on line to clean up the seas near our territory of Consciousness sea bases, per plan. There was one copter attack at New Azamas that destroyed a former, but that will likely be the last one before our copters come on line and remove the lot.”
He activated an interactive image to show the locations of the engagements. “We lost a damaged isle in the seas between us and the Hive. A Cyborg foil did the work and we have not been able to track it. If there are attacks in that area we have little air power to respond.”
“Build a copter at one of the bases in the Jungle. They seem to offer good flexibility even if their range is limited,” Zakharov replied. The officer tabbed it and shunted the instructions to Command.
“Our forces have also taken Node Runner on the Cyborg main landmass. Strategically this allowed us to procure Retroviral Engineering from the Cyborgs and base a copter for future work. The Admiral was not able to pull the probe team or land forces and ordered the isle away for reinforcements. A second isle is based at the new Gaian base and should be able to return to the front in the coming turn with two military units. Our best information indicates that there are no enemy land probes and only one land military unit that can try to recapture the base. If they hold out they will continue attacking bases to and including the Cyborg capital.”
Zakharov nodded grimly. Those bases were the core of the Cyborg holdings and including two bases that were working on Project and one completed Project – the Echelon Mirror. It would be a shame to destroy it, but if that was required then so be it.
“Our resonance cruiser eliminated a Cyborg isle carrying troops near Pi Squared. They have been tasked with providing artillery support if needed. Our rover artillery eliminated a Cyborg foil probe before taking Node Runner.”
Zakharov looked over the standing and was satisfied. “What forces will be have available for attacks in the coming year?”
“Three quasar copters, two resonance copters, three cruisers, two isles, and the land forces at Node Runner,” he replied.
That was formidable, but it was a pale imitation of the force that had been lost – the cream of the University military had gone down in the Cyborg surprise attack. In a way it was brilliant: an opportunistic attack that pulled a good number of their teeth, and preserved the Cult from certain destruction. The reality was that it awoke a rage that pulsed through the entire University, with the Consciousness at its vortex.
War was a dirty and nasty business, and this time the University was playing to win.
University Base, MY 2242
“Status?” Zakharov asked.
“The Cyborg chopper and defenders at Delta Trench have been eliminated. The base was secured, stripped, and sunk. Approximately 60,000 Cyborg citizens were killed. A Cult foil destroyed our cruiser near Pi Squared, and our chopper destroyed them in return. Five Cyborg military units near Node Runner were destroyed without loss, and the garrison there was upgraded. With some luck an isle will be able to deliver two espionage units, and we can continue capturing the Cyborg bases. Or we can capture and burn them down.” The admiral quickly got the details out of the way. It was unpleasant business.
“And what of the fungal bloom near New Azamas?”
“Partially controlled. We’ve killed one worm, damaged another with an old artillery unit, and three empath or resonance rovers are now in position to attack in the coming year. The only base that is threatened Tsiolovski Institute, and they have a trance and backup defender in case of emergency. Part of the worm advance is blocked by one of our worms. We may take losses, but none should be debilitating.”
“Very good. Keep the Council informed.”
University Base, MY 2243
“Report,” Zakharov said. The rest of the Council turned toward the Admiral, who had been appointed by the Joint Command as liaison to the Council.
“We have captured and destroyed Iota Point, and the cruiser is proceeding west. With the help of two copters it will be able to eliminate two more Cyborg sea bases in the coming year. I anticipate no real resistance.
“On the Cyborg mainland I am happy to report the capture of Pi Complex and the Echelon Mirror Complex. This was one of the early Projects, and it appears we will have no trouble holding the city. Each city now has two or more probe teams to defend, and they are formidable with their fusion reactors. We took no losses.
“A copter engaged forces at Alpha Basin, which was one of the first and largest Cyborg sea bases. The Cyborg foil based there destroyed one of our cruisers and it had to be eliminated. The copter is low on fuel but will be able to assist in the capture of the base in the coming year. One of the damaged isles will be able to assist unless they are destroyed by enemy action. We plan on sinking the base since we have no probe teams to defend and cannot let it fall into enemy hands.
“We located and engaged a Cyborg foil that destroyed the isle that was repairing between us and the Hive. The chopper made quick work of it and was able to return to base. I recommend that this chopper be based there as a quick response force.
“I am happy to report that all the mindworms infesting the area near Tsiolovski Institute have been destroyed and that the trance garrison there survived a mindworm attack. We took no losses, although some of the units were damaged.
“Our latest projection is that we will take at least Pi Squared and perhaps also the Cyborg capital Alpha Prime in the coming year. These plus the three sea bases we anticipate destroying will mean that the Cyborgs will be down to about a half dozen bases, and although they can still hurt us that they will not be a meaningful threat. The Joint Command recommends building more probe teams, getting them to the bases we intend to keep, and then work from the west to the east and eliminate or capture all Cyborg or Cult bases. This will prune the threat in a systematic manner.
“As a side note, as we destroy the bases we are crippling the industrial potential of the remaining bases. Apparently they draw support from other bases, and the smaller bases can’t support the additional units. Having their industry bogged down is to our advantage and, if we are able to strike quickly, we will be able to capture the bases before they can respond.
“I am now open to questions,” she said.
Zakharov had a broad smile on his face. “Excellent Admiral. Please convey my pleasure to the Joint Command and the valiant men and women of our armed forces. They are doing an outstanding job.” He gave her a short bow, which she acknowledged with a nod and then ended the link.
University Base, MY 2244
“We have captured and destroyed the three Cyborg sea bases Theta Barrier, Kappa Kelpfarms, and the large base Alpha Basin. Approximately 100,000 Cyborg citizens were killed during the fighting or the scuttling of the bases,” Admiral Conners said as she activated the schematics with live holo overlay. The images showed the two small sea bases being attacked by copters and then a cruiser swooping in, securing the base, and then rending its struts and sea supports. It took only minutes for the bases implode and sink into the fungus-strewn sea. Alpha Basin was a large base – one of the largest in the Consciousness – and the images showed a damaged that was station keeping remove the two defenders and quickly head south toward Pi Complex. An isle then flowed into and all through the base. Explosions racked the base, and pinkish tendrils of wormlets pulsed into the open as they enveloped the panicked citizens. After three hours the isle re-emerged – undamaged and much larger – as the last of the explosions ripped the southern half of the base apart and it settled into the sea. There were no humans left to attempt an escape.
Zakharov smiled grimly. “Very good, Admiral – just as you anticipated. And I understand there were advances on the Consciousness mainland.”
“Yes. Rovers and copters converged on Pi Square, eliminated military units that were either retreating to Cyborg bases or moving into position, and then took Pi Squared. The base is now defended by a fusion defender, a copter, and a probe team. It is highly unlikely that any Cyborg land assault can take the base from us. Next year we will be able to take their capital.” The image showed a choreographed sequence of artillery, rovers, and copters destroying supply crawlers, rovers, probe teams, military units near the Cyborg capital Alpha Prime, and then the defenders at Pi Square. Thin plumes of smoke rose into the air after the base was captured, but it was mostly intact.
“We do have an upcoming threat,” she continued as she changed the graphic to show the Cyborg sea base Epsilon Reef. “The combined fleet of Cyborg and Cult air force of choppers has converged on this base. Five copters are currently staging there, and as we discovered and are demonstrating to the Cyborgs that they are a considerable danger. As of right now we have only one asset – a new cruiser – that is in danger. However, I have directed further copters to stage near the area and then take them out in a coordinated assault. The timing of the assault depends on what the air force does. They have a limited range of 5 sectors and were damaged when moving from the eastern Cult sea bases. It is likely they will repair, but it is anyone’s guess. We will have at least two copters in range, and our extended range due to the fusion reactors will be useful to get at first strike. The Joint Command will keep you apprised.
“At this time there are seven remaining Consciousness bases. Three of these – Alpha Prime, Iota Station, and the sea base Beta Mudflats – are the current priority. If we take the two land bases then the vast majority of the Cyborg population base will be secured. The sea base will simply be eliminated. When the west is secured we will move south and take the last remaining Cult bases Invictus and a base they newly founded at the site of their old capital. With new probe support we should be able to hold the bases instead of burning them to the ground. Then the forces move west to mop up the last of the resistance. I anticipated the actions will take 10 years”
The Council members squirmed at that announcement. Ten years was a long time.
“Thank you for the update, Admiral. If you will excuse us the Council needs to discuss the continuing stresses of our population boom.”
Alpha Prime, MY 2245
“Word of your atrocities against the Consciousness and the Cult of Planet will be known all over Chiron, Zakharov,” Aki Zeta Five said. Her voice was cold with barely controlled fury.
“You can’t prove anything, Aki Zeta. Nothing. The sunspots rendered all such electronic monitoring useless and severely corrupted. Everything could just as easily be ascribed to the fortunes of war, which you so blatantly initiated twice. Did your logic dictate that you had to support the venal and backward Cult by attacking us? Once might be an error, but two is a trend.
“Quiet, Aki Zeta? You should be. Your capital Alpha Prime is now in University control and has been renamed University Prime. All your bases have been renamed. And know this: you can win a battle but you will lose the war. You have six bases left, and soon that will be four. And then two. And then none. Your allies the Cult are next.
“Oh, and in case you get any grand ideas on your massive buildup of your combined copter fleet, we are ware of it and the two copters at Upsilon Depot and Lambda Farms and all other defenders have been destroyed. More copters are on the way. Imagine waves of copters, Aki Zeta – waves of them, and then think of how hour copters destroyed a fleet of University warships that had no designs on you or your holdings. You have initiated your own fate.”
The line abruptly went blank. Zakharov had misgivings, of course. The Cyborgs were as much his creation as any other, and it might even be his fault that they will end as they were fated to. Could he have reached out more? Offered more inducements?
No, not really. He’d offered technology and support and they’d consistently chosen the Cult.
Now, there were more pressing issues to consider.
University Base, MY 2246
“And the artifact gave us the key insights in Neural Grafting?” Zakharov asked.
“Yes. We’d been making some progress but we’d missed a key element – the still only generally understood resonance fields that propagate throughout Chiron’s ecology. This advance will allow us to enhance our military and civilian units, and also will allow us to build Bioenhancement Centers. Simply put, the biomechanics of neural grafting will be implemented at all units constructed at a base, which will improve their performance considerably.”
Zakharov’s eyes lit up. “Just what we need. And the cost?””
Amy shunted an analysis to him. “Prohibitive, but not out of the question. Fortunately Tsiolovski Institute is working on the Planetary Datalinks and is a few years away from completion. The Gattica Project – as it is known – will a third more.”
Zakharov waved his hand dismissively. “We’ll assign a few supply crawlers to it and that won’t be a problem. We also need to make sure the Planetary Datalinks doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.”
“Such as any other faction,” Amy said with a note of irony in her voice.
“Exactly,” he replied, missing the nuance entirely. “Assign a few bases to construct supply crawlers, or see if there are surplus crawlers. More territory is needed for population expansion. We’ll be in that situation at University Base, won’t we?”
“Yes. Currently we have 140,000 citizens at University Base and we could grow by a few more tens of thousands in the next few years. This is putting a severe strain on our infrastructure. Social stability is starting to break down.” Amy consulted a few charts, and then nodded to confirm her statement.
“Yes, yes. We can deal with that. What we need to do is keep growing and then get rid of the d*amend Anthropogenic Society. It gives us fits when fighting the Cult’s natives and rogue natives. When can we migrate?”
“Likely a few more years. Most bases have topped out, although with a few more hatcheries coming on line we may have a few more years of expansion. At some point there will be diminishing returns.”
Zak nodded. “There always are. Oh, Deirdre accepted the Cult base Beta Mudflats. She was quite happy to hear from me and is expanding nicely. She has a good number of sea probes, transports with probes in them, and a good number of foils. I wonder who she’s gunning for?”
“Simple exploration. Or maybe she’d gunning for the Hive,” Amy replied.
“Fah. The Hive would eat her for lunch. I hope she doesn’t provoke the Spartans. They have two foils lurking in our territory. If they decide to attack can we respond?”
“We have copters on all fronts along with upgraded defensive garrisons. The energy spoils from the Cyborgs has been put to good use. We’ll have to make ourselves an unpleasantly dangerous target.”
Zakhrov was grim. “That didn’t stop Aki Zeta. Speaking of such, did the attacks go as planned?”
“All known enemy copters have been destroyed, although a few are unaccounted for and more are being built. We can deal with those, however. As Winston Churchill said, it is now simply a matter of the application of overwhelming firepower.
“We also procured a copy of the Cyborg world maps,” Amy continued. “Apparently they traded maps with the Spartans, so we have maps of their territory and that of their ally the Hive. It is very interesting,” she said as she shunted over the images.
Zakharov cycled through them fairly quickly. “A broad and tight expansion for the Hive and a chaotic and far flung expansion for the Spartans. Big continents, too. That is a new volcano. Interesting – that must be what Yang was concerned about. Well, time to reply.”
To: Chairman Yang, Hive
Subject: Truce accepted
The University of Chiron accepts the truce between the University of Chiron and the Hive.
As to the volcano, we just noted it on our world map. Our understanding is that volcanoes can be completely natural or it is possible that they are a result of ecological pollution. The University currently has no ecological pollution, and any we had in the past has long since been ameliorated. Other factions have not been so fastidious. Pollution from the Hive could explain why the volcano is near your territory. But again, it could have a completely natural explanation. Regardless, it is an interesting feature and I hope it does not cause any ecological disruption.
The University has no objection to the Hive claiming the volcano for your territory. We will strongly object if colonization or your self-proclaimed territorial waters starts to infringe on territory already controlled by the University. To be perfectly clear, the Hive and University bases need to be 28 sectors apart – the range of missiles from both of our territories. Considering how concerned the Hive is with territorial integrity and our previous violent conflict this distance will help prevent additional misunderstandings. Moreover, we have had very bad conflicts with our neighbors the Cult and Consciousness so you can understand why close neighbors cause us grave concern. Chiron is a very big place Chairman and there is no reason to encroach on other’s territories and interests.
Our conflict with the Consciousness is extremely unfortunate. As you are well aware, Aki Zeta is one of my proudest creations – a prototype of cybernetic and algorithmic enhancement that was far ahead of her time. Unfortunately she has chosen to ally herself with the odious Cult of Planet, and together they have both declared unprovoked war on the University four times. A truce after the first declarations of war lasted merely a year with the Cult, and Aki Zeta broke her truce after the first war to assist the Cult. Therefore, they are not to be trusted, have caused the University considerable loss, and are prime examples of bad neighbors.
Any loss of life is regrettable since civilians do not make the decisions; they are caught in the middle. Most of the bases we capture will be gifted to the Gaians since Deirdre Skye has proved to be an enlightened steward that is friendly toward all of her neighbors. Hopefully this will ease any distress on the part of the Cyborg civilians.
But, to answer your question: the University will press its war until the Cult and Consciousness agree to surrender to the University of Chiron. With their history of egregious breaking of treaties that is the only solution we can now accept.
University Base, MY 2247
University of Chiron Communiqué
To: Chairman Yang, Hive
Upon checking the world map it appears the new volcano is quite near existing University bases. In fact, it seem to be within 14 sectors of territory that has been already colonized by our people. Therefore I am glad you are not going to press the issue. Perhaps you can understand that the University is as protective of its territory as is the Hive, and it is in neither of our interests to allow needless conflict. There is more than enough conflict on Chiron already, I’m sure you will agree. .
The University is going to respectfully decline giving you the Cultist communication frequency. Our policy is to isolate the Cult as much as possible due to their warlike nature and tendency to cause extreme trouble. At this time they are still a noticeable threat to the University and recently destroyed a sea former, attacked a cruiser, initiated multiple espionage attacks, and have sent a small wave of copters into University territory. Once they are no longer a threat we will be pleased to reconsider the option.
It appears you have been misinformed on the nature of the war between the Cyborgs and the University. Unfortunately may have died, but that is a sad byproduct of an attack on any fortified location. Indeed, in almost every case at least 20,000 people die during the attack and subsequent occupation, and this can increase markedly if the battle is pitched and multiple attacks are made. For instance, during the last year the University attacked the Cult city of Upsilon Depot, which was a staging ground for copter attacks on our forces. Our copter attack eliminated the last defender and the subsequent occupation resulted in the total destruction of the city. Larger cities also suffer, but are less likely to be totally destroyed. You will note that most of the bases that no longer exist were small bases, although the back-and-forth battles at the beginning of our offense were admittedly less effective and resulted in more damage and casualties.
To date Aki Zeta has refused to come to terms even though she only has three cities left. We will take one in the coming year, and the last two sea bases will fall when we are able to get forces in the theatre. We will also have to deal with the Cult bases, too, although that will be difficult since they are spread all over the seas.
It is my earnest hope that the Aki Zeta Five and Cha Dawn will see reason and allow us to end the war on terms the University can accept. Until that point we will be forced to press our war. To promote grater harmony and minimize the loss of life we will gift most of the bases to the Gaians, per our previous communication.
University Base, MY 2248
“We’ve taken Invictus from the Cult and Lambda Farms from the Cyborgs. We weren’t quite able to take Hermitage due to unexpected Cult units the chopper found on the way in and had to eliminate. Hermitage should fall in the coming year.”
Admiral Conrads paused. “There is a problem. Our choppers crews are all exhausted and almost all have significant damage. We either need reinforcements or a respite to repair. We lost a chopper when combat went badly, which was a calculated risk in its damaged condition. That will only get more pressing as we have to span longer distances to eliminate the Cult bases to the east.”
Zakharov nodded. “Use your discretion, Admiral. There are three new chopper crews on the way, but moving seven sectors per year is slow. I’d rather have a secure movement than a risky one. I do not want to jeopardize our gains in foolhardy moves. Now, what is this I hear of developments near University Port?”
The Admiral continued. “It seems the Gaians are raising land near their new base. If they raise terrain one more time it will completely seal off the sea lanes in that area, and University Port will be landlocked. For land-based units this isn’t a problem, but any sea units will be trapped. Currently we have two cruisers making their way to repair. I’d hate to lose them inadvertently.”
“Can you have them go to University Base?” he asked.
“Yes, but that doesn’t answer the issue of the blocked access. I recommend that they base at University Port to repair and then immediately move east. It is a calculated risk.”
“Very well. Thank you Admiral.” The admiral’s image winked out.
“Now, to the proposal: shall we call for planetary elections? With the Empath Guild and our recent population expansion we are assured of victory. Thoughts?” Zakharov asked.
“Not a good idea,” Immanuel said. “As soon as we have elections all factions will have the communication frequency of all the others. That would give isolated factions like the Hive the ability to contact the Cult and Believers, and who know what sort of issues that will initiate. At least we should wait until the Cyborgs are eliminated, which won’t take too long.”
Richard Korath interjected, “We need to consider the economic benefits. We will get more trade with the Gaians.”
Immanuel responded. “Trivial. If we had more trading partners that might make a difference, but not right now. Considering the attitudes of the Hive and Spartans and our vendetta with the rest an improvement in our diplomatic standing isn’t likely.”
Zakharov nodded. “Agreed. We’ll postpone for now. And what of our latest breakthrough in Probability Mechanics. I hear this will give us an armor factor 8, and an espionage project Hunter Seeker Algorithm. I have to say that I like the idea of being mostly immune from espionage attacks.”
Amy Constance said, “We have too many Projects and now enough military production, Prokhor. This is the same trap we fell into initially with our war on the Cult – we tried to do two things at once. It didn’t work. We need to keep at least two thirds of our primary bases producing military hardware if we are going to bring the conflict to a close. Remember that the Projects we can complete vary from 300 and 500 industrial units, which is significant. That is projection that isn’t being used for other purposes.”
She looked around and saw skeptical glances. “If we have to choose we should work on the Hunter Seeker Algorithm. That will speed up our advances, and give us some defense against the Hive and Spartans.”
“Very well,” Zakharov said grudgingly. “Unless there is dissent we will keep our focus on the war. And switching from a Planned economy to a Private/Protectionist?”
“It will take our breakthrough rate from eight to five years and our surplus from 30 to almost 150 megacredits a year. We can consider upping spending on science, which will improve our scientific output. The penalty will be reduced industrial production, which may not be a good idea for the time being.”
“Yes. There is that. Any other issues?” There was no response. “Good. Let’s get some dinner.”
University of Chiron Communiqué
To: Chairman Yang of the Hive
It appears we have a few issues to resolve. If the Human Hive colonizes the volcanic island that will place your forces within striking distance of bases and units on official and long-standing University territory. Likewise, your bases will be within striking distance of University missiles. We remember all too well the extreme measures that were taken by the Hive against University units that wandered into your self-proclaimed sphere of influence . Further, there will be additional University bases established within current University territory, and these bases will be relatively near the volcano. If we are not very careful there will be further hostilities if the Hive insists on colonizing this landmass and keeps it policy of blasting any unit that is within missile range. There are plenty of unoccupied lands and seas on Chiron, Chairman, and establishing bases that can strike University lands is a provocation. This would be a grave error since, as has been demonstrated against by our actions against the Cyborgs and Cult, the University is fully prepared to go to total war if sufficiently provoked.
If the Human Hive has data that implicates the University of any atrocity then please send it to all factions. The Cult and Cyborgs have, I am sure, sent whatever data they have to support their groundless accusations to all other factions, and to my knowledge the Gaians, Spartans, and even the Believers have found it to be unconvincing. Your data will be no better. I would caution you to be careful that your datalinks have not been corrupted by Cyborg algorithms. They are quite adept in such actions due to their very nature as cyborgs and affinity to data networks, and they are quite motivated to draw in others into a war they initiated and are losing badly.
Your position that the Cult and Cyborgs present 'no credible threat' to the University is perplexing since the Hive has the stated policy of destroying or at least bombing any foreign military unit that comes within 14 sectors of your ever-expanding territory. By your definition the University should have reduced all Cult, Cyborg, Gaian, and Believer cities to ash long ago. Indeed, I would venture to guess that you would take great umbrage with any foreign unit that attacks or destroys Hive property - as the Cult and Cyborgs have done regularly and without provocation to the University. Please clarify your positions since, at face value, it appears to be inherently contradictory.
University Base, MY 2249
The Hive had called an election for Planetary Governor. Apparently they’d finally gotten the communication links for the Cult and Believers from the Spartans, or maybe the Cult gave the Believer’s communication frequency. Regardless, the result was the same: a resounding victory for the University of Chiron. When all the votes were tallied the University-Gaian alliance had twice the votes of the Hive-Spartans axis. The Believers, Cult, and Consciousness had abstained. Apparently they didn’t have any friends except for the Spartans.
The University was in the same boat with only the Gaians as allies. This irritated Zakharov, and then he had an idea.
“Sister Godwinson,” Zakharov said in a neutral voice.
“Wretched heathen. You have only caused us grief since we made first contact. But regardless of your foul deeds you will do penance by gifting us your technology Mechanical Probability. Consider it a small down payment to be right with God.”
Zak cocked his head slightly to one side. “Sister, you know I can’t do that. I’m calling to see if we can come to an agreement. The Gaians are pressing you…”
“Witches, all,” she interjected.
The Prokhor ignored the comment. “…and you only have two bases. Your allies the Cyborgs are almost destroyed, and you know the Cult is next. Other than declaring war on us you have done us no wrong. Consider your options.”
Miriam was silent for a moment. “A truce then. I will agree to a truce.”
Zakharov shook his head. “I’m afraid it has gone beyond that. I will make you a pledge, Sister. You can run your society in any way you wish with no interference from the University. I will arrange for you and the Gaians to be at peace, which will remove a severe threat against your people and your faith. In return you will join with the Gaians and University in our alliance. We will do what we can to protect you, provide gifts of technology, and even bases. We have done so frequently for the Gaians, which demonstrates that the University can live with differences and that we do what we can for our friends. What do you say?”
Her face seemed to twist between a sneer and despair. “We can discuss it. Just keep those witches away from us!”
Zakharov gave her a sympathetic smile. “Agreed. Within the hour you will have a peace treaty with the Gaians, and if it goes well a friendship treaty. The enemies of the University will be your enemies.”
“Yes,” she said and then terminated the holo link.
Amy Constance and the rest of the Council came into the room.
“Who would have believed it?” she said. “Now we can use the Gaian and Believer bases to finish off the last of the Cult’s far flung bases,” Richard Korath said.
“Trade from the Believers and from the Planetary Governorship has increased our research rate by 15 percent, Prokhor – much greater than we expected,” Amy Constance commented.
Zakharov nodded. Privately he was relieved. He had no wish to pulverize the Believers who, as he said, had done the University no harm. In fact, they were rather pathetic. It would take a long, long time to build them up. But in the end it would be worth it. If the Gaians for whatever reason didn’t want a Cult or Consciousness base now he could gift them to the Believers, who would be grateful.
Options. There were always options.
University Base, MY 2250
The Planetary Council was assembled. Miriam Godwinson looked generally irritated, and Zakharov noticed that the Cult and Consciousness were glancing at him with undisguised loathing. What was amusing to him was that they were also glancing at teach other with hatred. If his contacts were correct the Cult and Consciousness were now at war and were tearing each other’s guts out. That was fine by him, but it was truly unfortunate that the Cult had to drag the Consciousness down with him. Although soon – within the year – he and Aki Zeta would have a long, long time to discuss her failings. All of her bases would be conquered by then. The choppers were repairing, so the long strikes against the Cult would come soon enough. His fate was sealed, too. And with that distraction gone there would be other matters to attend to.
Now, to the issue at hand: The Hive had called to have the restriction on atrocities repealed! Zakharov smiled to himself. After all the lecturing Yang had subjected the University to on the rights of man, humanitarian assistance in dire need, and general finger wagging that old opportunist wanted to do to everyone on Chiron what he was doing to his own people: brutalization and subjugation.
The vote came down quickly. One by one everyone voted NO, except for Yang. Then as Planetary Governor all eyes came to him.
“Chairman Yang, now we see you for what you truly are. The entirety of humanity on Chiron is against you, and I utterly reject your repeal of the Charter of Human Rights. I will happily veto the measure to ensure that it fails.”
Cha Dawn and the Consciousness were muttering to themselves. They had few friends and many enemies now. Few would listen to them.
There was a nod from Santiago, a curt glance from Miriam, a small wave and a smile from Deirdre and they all winked out. Cha Dawn and Aki Zeta left just as he’d finished speaking.
Zakharov glanced at Chairman Yang. “Nice try.” Then he severed his connection.
Tsiolovski Institute, MY 2251
Zakharov was happy. Very happy. The Hunter Seeker Algorithm project was complete, and with its completion much of the paranoia he felt every day with the possibility of espionage was almost eliminated. Granted, the monitoring and encryption systems were not full proof, but with the levels of technology the other factions had it certainly was at this point. Now they University could expand far and wide and now have to worry nearly as much about infiltration, theft, or having units co-opted. Any enemy agents that tried such an act would die a horrible and well deserved death.
And then there was their new technology Centauri Meditation. By itself it was nothing more than one more link in their understanding of the strange Chiron ecology, but if they chose to invest they could gain access to the secrets of the Chirophany Dome – turning the fungus into true allies all over Chrion! Considering the trouble that fungus gave them this would be a true achievement, with advances in terraforming fungus and in native life cycles, too.
That was not at the top of his list, however. Their next project would be Gattica for free bioenhancement facilities at every University base! New Azamas was already working on it, and he knew he had to contain his enthusiasm. It was too easy to become lulled into ‘builder’ mode. Making shining cities was good, but it was useless if someone could then take them away from you. Investing just as much in defense was critical to keep what you had. The Cult and Cyborgs had taught him that the hard way. Overwhelming force was what would be required to keep their position on Chiron.
And speaking of force, the Cyborgs lost Epsilon Reef and the Cult lost Sanctuary Dome – both sea bases. Now the blitz would start, with copters and transports leap frogging each other to take one base after another. If there weren’t yet more setbacks the Cult would be rolled up into a ball very soon and there would be no more ‘incidents’ like the sea former they had destroyed in the last year.
And what to do with the bases? Half would be given to the Gaians and the other half would be given to the Believers. The University had 31 bases now, and that was far too many. It was much better to have a solid number of well developed bases then have a wide and thin expansion like the Hive. Yes, it had its uses and might suit the Hive very well, but not the University. Such an expansion was a liability. Plus, the trade gained from more bases by the Gaians and Believers was worth it all by itself, oh yes!
University Base, MY 2252
The last Cyborg city Lambda Lair was taken and Aki Zeta-5 was in custody and under armed guard. Under no circumstances was she allowed anywhere near an integrated node, nor any inter-operational electronic device. She was simply too good at infiltration to be trusted near any of the University’s datalinks. In the old days she would have been invited to join and add what she wanted. But now there was too much bad blood. She had been humiliated and her dreams shattered. Zakharov knew he didn’t need or really want to rub salt in that wound. It was enough that she wouldn’t trouble the University every again.
The next Cult base Arc of Edicts had fallen easily to the combined amphibious rover and copter assault. The copters were at the end of their fuel range so they could only attack once, but the coordination had been correct. There were no losses, or even any significant damage. The forces massed at Ark of Edicts was more than enough to take out the rest of the Cult. They simply needed time and spaces since the Cult bases were far apart. That might be a problem, but in short order all the main bases would be captured and the Cult of Planet would be a rump empire that was waiting to die.
Now that gave Zakharov no joy either. The Cult was a nuisance, but a dangerous nuisance. They’d landed a rover and destroyed a supply crawler, but had lost the rover and their isle in return – a very bad trade, and one they could ill afford. It was a great trade for the University, who hardly noticed the loss.
In the not too distant future the University would have to decide to focus on research and development. Admiral Conrads was fairly certain that the forces she had were sufficient to eliminate the Cult, so perhaps half of the University bases could be devoted to development. Another phase of growth would be useful, as would migrating to a Private/Protectionist economic system again.
No, that would wait for a little while longer.