Explore and Exploit — Year 4: Meet the Neighborhood!


Put on your Diplomat Hat, Mr. Appropriator. Or at least take off your Philistine Hat; the alien transmission is coming through —

…I’m not even going to say what that looks like.

Diplomat Hat. Diplomat Hat.

R-right! Hello, Govorom… We look forward to many inter-breasting encounters.

As… do we…?

Um — please excuse my master here. He has a bit of a cold. Don’t you, sir?

Huh? Oh — yeah! Real stuvvy nose!

Well, the Govorom hope you feel better soon.

Thags very mbuch!

Map of the known galaxy at present

Grand Appropriator’s Log, Star Date 814.2

First contact with the Govorom went as well as expected. The second new alien species encountered here in the Eumenides System neglected to reach out to us. Which is always a great sign.

Their ship, though, bears the markings of the “Kambuchka.”

LPer’s Note: Which is just great. Any time the Kambuchka are in a game of Ascendancy, I always end up locked in this dumb little cycle with them where they declare war for no reason, make no aggressive moves, and then come back begging for peace. Rinse and repeat for the entire run…

However, when the Startrotter sees them again in the next system, they finally do make contact.

Am I really supposed to say this same thing every time we meet someone new?

At least you got it right this time.

Now that three other intelligent species in the galaxy are known to us, it’s worth checking in on our intelligence reports and seeing where we stand.

Current data suggests that —


Yeah, does that mean what I think it means?

Current data suggests that the Dubtaks are the dominant species in the galaxy, at least of the species we know of.

God only knows how that happened.

Fleet sizes are all very close, with each two pips representing one medium ship or two smalls. Our research is somehow significantly more advanced than anyone else, despite little emphasis being put on research facilities. But out colonies? 18, with a closest second being the Kambuchka with 8.

Our space oats at work!

Grand Appropriator’s Log, Star Date 873.8

Our future relations with the Govorom and Kambuchka remain uncertain, but we’ve made a breakthrough with our closer neighbors, the Marmosians: the trade of star lane data.

As it turns out, in spite of originating in the same corner of space as us, the Marmosians have explored much further past the Galactic Bridge than we ever expected.

And we’ve continued trading with them as often as we can. They refuse to offer up star system data or any technological research, but it’s progress nonetheless.

The Appropriator may have his misgivings, but the Marmosians already know exactly where all our planets are if they ever want to invade them. I don’t see any downside to trading our starmaps.

As for the kind of “trade” the Appropriator favors… stolen research is now also flooding into our databanks:

Molecular Explosives allows orbital bombing to eliminate surface shielding structures.

Strong Force Weakening grants a new type of weapon: what would have been our best weapon if not for the earlier, very lucky, discovery of the Plasmatron.

And Cloaking — which you can likely guess the purpose of.

So does–

No, it doesn’t mean we can hide our planets yet.

Meanwhile, there’s another alien race coming to the table:

These are the Capelons, the new Most Advanced of the not-us species, with a fleet matching ours.

So far, they seem to own this region of space, with colonies in three of the four systems we’ve explored this end of the Bridge.

But they aren’t the last of the new races we’ll be meeting out here. Courtesy of the previously-mentioned Marmosian intel: we’ve got this unidentified purple blip on its way toward us.

Slow… but steady…

Grand Appropriator’s Log, Star Date 885.4

Development on the core colonies continues.

Defense Post 1 and 2 are complete, while the homeworld is dedicated to technological research.

In the Midway region, industry is beginning to boom, and Midway Prime will soon be the home of a refit station to repair and upgrade ships defending the edge of our space.

The Vishnu System, home only to two huge husk worlds, is the gateway into that space, and so we’ll be stationing our combat-ready ships there.

But also colonizing both planets, which can’t be turned into much of anything… but can at least support a couple orbital missile bases and a shield.

They’ll provide backup for our fleet here, and since they’ll be the first two planets new species see if they wander into our territory…

Well, I think the Appropriator is still snickering about the names he gave them:

Back at the Philadelphia shipyard, construction has begun on a ship designed specifically to hold the Midway.

All aliens we know of at present have a level of technological development of less than we do, meaning their most powerful weapon is the molecular disassociator. It takes four of these new shields to absorb one shot from that weapon, but these shields are completely free from energy costs.

Meanwhile, plasmatrons can fire on enemy ships from way out of range of a disassociator. As far as battle tactics go, I’m sure the Dubtaks find that preferable.

The Warship Midway will be complete in 19 days.

Unfortunately, not soon enough to be ready for the first non-Marmosians to entering our territory:

That’s what looks to be at least two Kambuchka ships about to arrive at Vishnu.

Grand Appropriator’s Log, Star Date 945.8

The Kambuchka ships arrived at Vishnu. Followed by a Govorom vessel. And then another one from the Kambuchka.

But they haven’t budged from there. On top of a number of Marmosian ships on the other side of the system, and two of our own guarding the red link…

It seems the Vishnu System has become the hip new galactic hangout.

Hang out somewhere other than our front lawn.

Are you going to do anything about it, grandpa?

…Well, no.

Only just now, two months later, is anyone making a move.

And that move is to head deeper into our space.

Including passing right by a very vulnerable Midway Prime.

…everybody just play dead and they won’t notice our glowing rainbow weak point…

Fortunately, neither the Kambuchka nor the Govorom seem interested in easy conquest at the moment.

On the part of the Kambuchka, there may be a reason for that.

Notice their fleet size and number of colonies. Compare to this, approximately a month later:

The Kambuchka are at war with someone. I can’t see any other explanation.

It’s not us, that’s all that matters.

So while the Kambuchka and Govorom press into our space, the Startrotter is delving deep into Capelon territory…

…including their home system, Hannibal:

We’ve also traded with the Marmosians for some interesting star system data — the first time they’ll give up anything other than star lane maps.

At the “north” end of the galaxy is our first look at one of the mysterious purple species’ planets. And at the “south” is the Kambuchka homeworld.

Without many obvious planets nearby to colonize, I’ve convinced the Board of Directors to focus a bit more on military spending. The WS Midway is complete and on its way to the Vishnu System, while the Birthright, formerly a colony ship, is being outfitted at one of our first orbital docks into the WS Birthright.

That means plasmatrons, light shields, and a newly-discovered (or stolen; I can’t keep track anymore) power system, the Quark Express.

Research is about to make a huge leap forward as well. A breakthrough called Scientist Takeover will allow us to turn all of a colony’s industrial output into research output.

Any of our backwaters, or planets not actively building anything, can then provide a boost to our overall research.

Combine that with this:

The Hyperpower Plant, which increases a colony’s industry by 40% across the board.

All in all, I’m feeling pretty good our future prospects.

Grand Appropriator’s Log, Star Date 957.5

I am not feeling good about our future prospects.

I know that yellow species symbol.

You’re freaking me out with that ominous talk.

They’re hailing us. Just give them the usual greeting, be polite, and then pull that ship out of there.

… And that’s not helping me feel at ease.

We look forward to many interesting encounters…

Uh, sure. I’m a big fan of Graveesha too. Great discograph– Hey, did you just cut the transmission?

No, they did.

Rude. But what’s so scary about these guys? They’re just overgrown fungus blobs.

Overgrown fungus blobs who we’ll be at war with within a month or two.

[They may not look it, but Frutmaka are the most aggressive of all the species in Ascendancy. They will always declare war on you, even in “peaceful” games. They’re so war-crazed that they’ll often actually get themselves wiped out before you even meet them.]

Well, now we know who’s been chipping away at the Kambuchka.

Geez. They’re at war with every other species!

Not doing very good at it, though. This is their only colony left, and I can guarantee they’ll be very territorial about it. Their mindless aggression may be about to get them voted off the galactic island, but I stand by my suggestion that you pull that ship out of the system for now.

No objections from me!

Grand Appropriator’s Log, Star Date 988.9

We’ve withdrawn from the region of space around the Frutmaka’s last colony. The caution was worth it… even if they only lasted another 31 days.

Guess they won’t be Frut-making any Frutmaka babies anymore.

That is an awful joke even for you.

We have been in accelerated production of orbital defenses for the last month.

Even our colonies on Welcome Center and Gift Shop are nearing completion of as many orbital structures as they can support.

We can calm down on the whole preparing for war thing for now, though the overhauled WS Birthright was just finished a few days ago.

Other refits are being done on our oldest ships. The CS Fortuity has been given some new engines, power generators, and had its colonizers replaced.


Those may help in exploring these far corners of the galaxy:

Our first glimpse of a seventh spacefaring species. Perhaps we’re learning something about the value of honest trade? And friendships?

Psh, trade! We could have just helped ourselves to that intel.

Ehem. I’m still here.

Right. So… the “Shevar?”

Never heard of them.

You guys have been there. What can you tell us?

Strange creatures. Very mysterious. But we will let our charming little Dubtak friends help themselves to their own conclusions.

No other developments to report. Though I suspect we may be meeting the Shevar fairly soon.

Grand Appropriator’s Log, Star Date 1018.6

As expected, they have arrived. In Eumenides, the system at the end of the Galactic Bridge, which we quietly colonized a while back.

Let’s do this.

You sound confident.

I’ve nailed five first contacts already. How bad could this one be?

None of the other species had saw blades on their ships.

We look forward to many interesting enc– …sorry, what?

You will assist us in eliminating the lifeforms in the Eumenides System.

…are they serious, Gizmo?

Um… thank you for bringing this to our attention, Shevar ambassador. We’ll, uhh… take a look at the situation.

Do that. Death to all organic lifeforms.

Transmission ended.

Holy crap, Gizmo! What the heck was that thing? Spread death in Eumenides? Does it mean us?

I’m bringing the system up on the display now:

They came with… three, four, five ships? Is this a hostile takeover? Is this what it feels like to be invaded? Oh God of Gadgets, where’s that planet-hiding tech now?

Calm down, boss. Look who else is there. Three Marmosian ships. And take a look at this:

The Shevar are already at war with two other species. They’re asking us to help them destroy the Marmosians.

W-well… if it means we stay on the Shevar’s good side…

You’d throw our friends under the bus just like that?

Look at that fleet! Five versus three? It’s one of the Dubtaks’ most ancient proverbs: When caught between two predators, cling to the underbelly of the bigger one.

Too late to debate on this anyway! They’re on the move!

The Marmosians are taking fire.

One down. Two.

I can’t watch!

There goes the last of the Marmosian ships. No losses on the Shevar side. Damn — it was a huge hit to the Marmosian fleet.

Grand Appropriator’s Log, Star Date 1041.3

23 days since the massacre at Eumenides.

At the other end of the Eumenides red link, the Vishnu System — gateway into our territory — the Possibility and TechnoGuard wait with their weapons trained on the exit point.

And the completed Birthright races to join them.

That, however, may be too little too late.

Somehow I doubt the Shevar ever do much smalltalk.

No, I suspect they don’t want to talk about the weather.

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