Explore and Exploit — Year 5: Shevar Versus the Galaxy!

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When last we left our intrepid con artist, I believe he had just made a poopie in his space pantaloons.

Get off that god damn recorder and tell me what to do, Gizmo!

At this point? I think we’re past the Building Bridges phase. I only wish this war had been in some way your fault — not just that the Shevar don’t seem to like the look of your face.

Extremely confusing map of the known galaxy at present

Grand Appropriator’s Log, Star Date 1061.2

The Appropriator has been… out of the office for a couple weeks. I’ve been managing the colonies and fleet in the meanwhile, but we’ve yet to have a major run-in with the Shevar. Still, the fact that we are at war is not lost on the Dubtaks.

We have three colonies at the far end of the Galactic Bridge: one in the Eumenides System and two in Hope. Prevailing wisdom on the Board is that we abandon those colonies (which are not remotely ready to defend themselves), withdraw back into the Midway region, and pretend we don’t exist. I don’t have high hopes for that plan.

The funny thing is that the Dubtaks have the capability to defend themselves here. We’ve got a fleet almost the size of the Shevar’s. Almost twice as many colonies, and significantly more advanced technology — potentially meaning better weapon and shield systems.

But fighting is about as far from the Dubtaks’ nature as you can get. It would take a miracle to talk the Board and the Appropriator into —

Hold on; the Appropriator is skittering into the office right now.

I’ve got it, Gizmo. The Shevar are done pushing us around!

Don’t tell me you’re going to stand up to them.

…no. But someone else will! Get me the Marmo ambassador.

Alright… but “Marmo?”

Cute nickname, right?

We’ve been friends a long time, you and I.

“Friends,” huh?

So enough beating around the bush. We propose an alliance.

Hahahaha — I knew you’d come running to us once you’d met the delightful Shevar.

Great. We’ll be in touch.

That was… uncharacteristically direct of you.

I looked for inspiration in the history books. An even older proverb this time: “The enemy of my enemy is a great meatshield.”

The Marmos wouldn’t be enough by themselves, but there’s someone else who’s enemies with the Shevar, remember?

The Capelons.

Bingo!

The Shevar threaten all of us. Let’s join forces!

No.

…our long-term intentions … our present course… are… what? Is this the galaxy’s most confusing riddle?

They mean you don’t seem sincere about this alliance, boss.

Rude. I mean, true… but rude.

Not quite the way you’d seen that playing out, huh?

Well, my plan half-worked.

Grand Appropriator’s Log, Star Date 1088.5

All our efforts at the moment are dedicated to building up defenses are Midway, in case the Shevar come that way.

Our continued trade relationship with the Marmosians has given us a research breakthrough that the Appropriator is ecstatic about.

Are you kidding? Biggerfaster ships? What hotblooded Dubtak male doesn’t want a sweet ride?

You are never getting laid.

We’re pretty busy refitting older ships at the moment, but will start building our first large hull ship when those refits are complete.

And that’s opened up Planetary Replenishment, which will solve all our overpopulation problems for good.

Habitats are a structure that massively increases room for a colony’s population with simultaneously increasing population growth.

Don’t forget that if we figure out terraforming, we can turn all those pointless husk planets into something useful.

Very slowly. Terraforming is not a quick process.

In other news, we have discovered the Govorom homeworld.

This is one of only five colonies they have left since apparently going to war with the Shevar.

So of course the Appropriator had to run to them and beg for an “alliance.”

This diplomacy thing is not as easy as the ancient tomes of wisdom made it out to be.

You have to have some skill at talking to people first.

We’ve yet to have a direct confrontation with the Shevar, though they have taken potshots at us while we move past them.

The CS Due Diligence has continued exploring the “east” arm of the galaxy, since it’s already so far from home. And found the first Shevar colony here in the Arcturus System:

But we were struck twice by missiles fired from orbit as we passed by toward the next star lane.

The refitted CS Fortuity has left our territory to colonize planets beyond, but it has to withstand a few shots from the Shevar blockade in Eumenides first.

Missile bases are being built on Eumenides II — unfortunately, the Shevar wisely stay out of range.

…Until they don’t.

Ohohoho! So much for the “cowardly” Dubtaks! An entire Shevar fleet wiped out by a single missile battery! Did you see that?!

Yeah, and I don’t like it at all. That should not have happened.

Aw, come on. Why can’t you ever celebrate a little?

Remember that time you thought the Marmosians were toying with us? I think the Shevar are doing that for real. Now that you’re overconfident about our chances, you send in the whole fleet to its doom.

[LPer’s note: In actuality, I think Ascendancy‘s unsophisticated AI bugged out here. The Shevar ships closed in on an unshielded colony that they could have invaded no problem — but they must have been out of invasion units and the AI didn’t know what else to do with itself.]

Grand Appropriator’s Log, Star Date 1201.7

The fleet is assembled at Vishnu.

And if the Dubtaks were smart, that’s where it would stay. Regrettably, against my advice, they’re moving them toward Eumenides — a less defensible position — and then even considering advancing on the Shevar.

Overconfidence is a hell of a drug.

On the other side of the galaxy, the Due Diligence has arrived at the end of a long red link — seemingly on the edge of Shevar territory.

Our unarmed colony ship faces off against the Shevar. Between them is a conveniently-positioned Govorom colony.

Any weapons on the planet?

Looks like.

Aha! Watch and learn, Gizmo. Here’s where our strategy comes into play. We’ll position the Due Diligence behind the planet and draw the Shevar in — for the Govorom to handle.

Oh, I’m watching with bated breath.

Here they come! Just a little closer…

Yo shit. They can hit us from here?

Looks like they have plasmatrons now too.

Okay, maybe too close. Retreat!

They’re giving chase. …right into range of the Govorom missiles.

Not too shabby, boss.

Told you.

Grand Appropriator’s Log, Star Date 1297.6

That’s two victories. It may be the ultimate in coward tactics, but I’ll be the first to admit that our last run-in with the Shevar was a genuine success.

Closer to home, colonization efforts are booming.

The Sagitta, Tensoric, and Tonsberg systems are mostly in Capelon-occupied space.

They’re colonies that, were the Capelons or the Shevar to come to take for themselves, we don’t have any intentions of defending. But the recent victories have at least given my Dubtak friends the nerve to get out and claim some planets while there’s alien ruins to be had.

Our ships have begun fortifying the Eumenides System, where the Capelons and Marmosians also have forces stationed.

The Capelons have even come around on trading with us, at least. Even if they won’t join the alliance against the Shevar.

But the biggest development:

The Amoroso, our newest warship, is in production. It will come out of the shipyard with the new star lane drive, and the large hull gives us room for four of each of these: plasmatrons, power systems, and our most advanced shield generators. Plus this new discovery, allowing a second volley from all four plasmatrons:

Don’t forget the best part.

And the best part is that this juggernaut will be complete in 15 days.

God bless the industrial wasteland that is Midway Prime.

Grand Appropriator’s Log, Star Date 1373.4

This update is purely about tech developments — the results of both honest research and our various excavations. I’ve made the Appropriator leave the office while I list these off, so as not to get his sex fluids on any of my sensitive recording equipment.

Fergnatz’s Last Theorem: Fergnatz Lens, a fair-powered weapon that costs no power to fire, and the Gizmogrifier, a gadget that locks onto and destroys a device on an enemy ship.

Large Scale Construction: Metroplexes, a factory, laboratory, agriplot, and two outposts rolled into one building, and Gigantic Ship Hulls, which can house almost double the devices of a large hull.

Doom Mechanization: the single-use Disintegrator, which destroys ships in one shot, and the Self Destructotron, a device that scuttles a ship and does massive damage to all ships nearby.

Are you kidding me?

Aaand Illusory Machinations. Yeah, that thing makes ships temporarily invincible.

I’ll check in with the Appropriator and you folks on the Board once your erections have subsided. Cheers.

Grand Appropriator’s Log, Star Date 1402.8

Everybody calmed down? Okay, great — because it’s time to get serious.

We’ve lost our first ship. It attempted to skirt around the Shevar colony while passing through the Arcturus System, but briefly ventured too close.

It was able to limp to the star lane and proceed to the next system…

…where it was immediately destroyed by two Shevar ships.

We just don’t win anymore, Gizmo…

What we need now, though, are warships — and we have two of those on the way.

The WS Amoroso was completed months ago, and our newest ship is entering production: the WS Gadgeteer.

These ships may be more vital than we ever expected. The Kambuchka have joined the ranks of the species at war with the Shevar, meaning all intelligent races are now fighting them.

But the Shevar are not slowing down.

It’s the Govorom who are feeling the heat. This was the state of their fleet and colonies a few weeks ago:

This is what it looks like today:

The Shevar have invaded the Govorom colonies here and here:

Which effectively cuts off their homeworld from the last other Govorom colony, and from the support of the rest of the “alliance” races — that is, everyone also fighting the Shevar.

Even I can see that the Govorom homeworld is doomed, and I don’t know jack about war.

Something like a third of the galaxy lies within Shevar space, and with their new colonies, they’re in striking distance of what’s left of Kambuchka territory.

If those last three Kambuchka systems fall, it’s a clear path right down our throats.

At this rate, we could be in store for some epic space battles within days.

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