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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

TheButterflyComposer

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If the Think Tank could give us admin access to those droids, that would be great.

mr clever could, be since he really doesn't like humanity very much he quite likes torching them with super weapons. So long as the empire federation defends AIs, he really doesn't mind what they do. The rest of the Think Tank could probably convince him otherwise, but if a suitably large end game threat were to appear they'd pragmatically side with the empire for now. They've proven in the past that they can eliminate any individual organic whenver they want, so politics is less of a problem and more like a game that can be fixed. Your rebellion has probably gotten a crap ton of 'mysterious' intel and resources though.
 

HistoryDude

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Yes…
The Rebellion is in exile.

End-game crisis doesn’t sound too good, though...
 
Chapter 17: The Invasion

silentsam5

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Chapter 17 - 2421 to 2450: The Invasion

The former Thimoid systems are placed under occupation, in the new Thimoid Occupation Zone. To connect the Federation's home territories to this new expansion, construction of a gateway in Beta Caeli is ordered, with another one ordered to be built in Saqqis.

U7kIAVT.jpg


The Federation peacefully exists for another 6 years. Suddenly, in 2427, scientists across the galaxy detect a sudden power surge of massive proportion. Nothing like it has ever been seen before, and the Federation scientists are ordered to look into it more in depth.

F5mrzW2.jpg


The source of the power surge becomes clear when reports of the "Unbidden" reach earth. Supposedly, a tear in reality in the Molsir system has led to an unending stream of hostile beings dubbed the Unbidden. They attack all they encounter. This is the beginning of the Invasion. Molsir is not far from the Thimoid Occupation Zone. As a precaution, Erad Station and 3rd Fleet are restationed to the TOZ to deter possible invasion into Federation territory.

EsYXlf5.jpg

zM23Y5R.jpg


At first, the Unbidden did not seem like much of a problem. The neighboring systems fell fairly quickly, and then the unbidden wait some time. Being so far from the home systems of the Federation, the public showed no signs of worry. By 2430, the true threat of the Unbidden is clear. By now, a dozen systems are under their control, and more and more extradimensional fleets are showing up.

7Dvl9JR.jpg


"What the hell are those things?" the President yells, just having finished watching a video of the attack on Cyteen I during his debriefing. The Unbidden wiped out nearly 10 billion lives in just weeks, then moved on as though nothing happened.

"We're not sure, sir," his Science Officer Scarge answers. The President seems on the verge of true panic. He gets out of his chair and starts pacing.

"Well, uh... What... What are we doing about this"?"

Scarge and the Defense Secretary glance at each other. Then the Def Sec speaks. "Right now, we're monitoring the situation---"

"You're monitoring shit!" the President interrupts. "No. I want to know what exactly these things are, and I want to know soon. Find out any weaknesses before they kill us all." He stops pacing and looks at Scarge. "Go!"

Scarge scurries off in a hurry. Everyone else in the room stays quiet. "And you," he points his finger aggressively at the Def Sec. "I'll approve increased funding for the Fleet. Get a 4th Fleet under construction, and upgrade all ships. Also, start the second phase of Project Saqqis."

The Def Sec nods, then says "Understood." He leaves.

Thousands of ships fleeing the Unbidden Invasion begin arriving to the Federation. It appears that, once they reach a populated planet, the Unbidden mercilessly bombard it until the planet is beyond recognition. Already, an estimated 15 billion citizens of the Jibru Cooperative and 25 billion of the Tebbran have been slaughtered.

36VndK7.jpg


Then, the worst happens. The Unbidden reach a wormhole in the Aslund United Republic, where an Unbidden fleet enters it. They come out in Cartel territory. It is time for action to be taken. Erad Station begins its slow journey toward the Cartel.

oAeVWL5.jpg


In 2437, Erad Station arrives in Hithram. Immediately, thousands of missiles pour out of the moon and barrel toward the enemy fleet. For the first time ever, Erad's main weapon is fired. It is the Omega Annihilation beam. That, along with the swarm missiles and dozens of strike craft, destroys the enemy fleet. They do not attempt to flee.

laYUxoT.jpg

YEvyrTI.jpg


The first battle with the Unbidden is a victory, but Erad Station has taken significant damage to its structure. Whatever the Unbidden use as weaponry disintegrates anything that comes in contact with the beams. Erad Station turns back for repairs, half its armor in shambles. To keep watch over the wormhole, 3rd Fleet is deployed there, as well as the new 4th Fleet.

But before 3rd Fleet can arrive, three more Unbidden fleets arrive in Hithram. One moves up into the Starmagg system, and the Cartel fleet there jumps to safety.

fYTeJqD.jpg


As soon as 3rd and 4th Fleets are in position, they jump to Starmagg. They enter the system to find a fairly small Unbidden fleet. 19 Federation ships are destroyed, including two battleships, but the majority of the Unbidden are killed. The rest jump away.

itZ6upI.jpg

n76bu0p.jpg


"Mr. President," the Def Sec says, walking into his office. "Update for you." The President motions for him to sit down, and he puts down his console. "The Galactic Defense League is growing."

"Remind me again what that is, I've been getting a lot of information," the President says, rubbing his eyes. He is much calmer than during his debriefing a couple months before. His desk console is full of new messages and incoming calls.

"It's the Kalaxenan-run alliance, whose goal it is to stop the Unbidden Invasion," the Def Sec says, with a hint of annoyance in his voice. "As I said, it's growing. The Steel Bank is now a member, and the Jibru, the Cartel, the Garganan, and the Tebran are all associates."

"And who else are members?" the President asks.

"The Vissari State is the only other full member, but the Kalaxenan also loosely rule over the Lilarobius Triad, the Kirillian Empire, and nearly half a dozen other small states. In fact, nearly every empire not in the Hlilje-Mandasura-Jonus Star Entente is in or associated with the GDL" He takes a seat. Obviously he has more to say.

"What is the Star Entente's position with the GDL?" the President asks.

"They're currently fighting a war with the Jibru, the Garganans, the Tebrans, and the Nagyari, but the two alliances are not at war entirely" he answers.

"They're fighting a goddamn war during this shitstorm? Alright, and what does this have to do with the Federation?"

"Well, there have been many who express their belief that Earth should join," the Def Sec says, carefully phrasing his words. "It makes sense. The threat is real and it is universal, sir, and joining a coalition to stop it would benefit the entire galaxy, including the Federation."

"Joining would be counter productive to the last 40-some-odd years of policy," the President states simply. "It doesn't actually make sense to the pl--- the welfare of the Federation."

"It would be a temporary thing," the Def Sec goes on. "Earth wouldn't be announcing its unending loyalty to the alliance. It would just announce its intentions to work with other states to stop the mutual threat. After that, Earth can cut relations with the Kalaxenan."

The President thinks it over for a second. Then he sits back in his chair. "Alright. Get Secretary Hammer up here and we'll arrange a meeting to discuss the possibility -just the possibility- of involvement."

In 2440, the Federation joins the Galactic Defense League.

9NKfU14.jpg


With the Triad's star bases so close to the wormhole, Erad Station is permanently sent into the Cartel. Once the sectors around the wormhole are cleared of enemies, the station will remain outside of the wormhole to destroy any Unbidden that come through.

3rd and 4th Fleets jump to the Lilarobius system of Lythorius for repairs. Just as they initiate the jump (to avoid the compromised system of Hithram), three more enemy fleets come through the wormhole. One moves into the densely populated Cartel system of Pentarum, while the other moves to Padjitauron, one of the Cartel's main supply of minerals. It will be another three months before either Federation fleet will be able to jump to Pentarum's aid. Still far away, Erad Station trudges toward the wormhole.

rUu2WKe.jpg


Just as the enemy fleet is closing in, and no help seems imminent from their overlords, the people of the planet Garbex of the Pentarum system declare themselves independent and prepare the defense. Still under Cartel rule are three habitats in Pentarum, one in orbit around Garbex's parent gas planet. They will eventually join the rebels in independence.

0B8mi2N.jpg

FlITsNi.jpg


Erad Station arrives in Padjitauron a few weeks later, and the Unbidden fleet is engaged. The moon only takes minor damage before the entire enemy fleet is destroyed.

v8DEkm8.jpg


The jump drives are ready just as the bombardment of Garbex begins. Both fleets jump close to the enemy fleet, and combat begins.

smA6LrI.jpg


At the same time, Erad Station enters Hithram, faced down by two Unbidden fleets.

6RiLqbL.jpg


The battle of Garbex ends in victory, but at the cost of 18 ships. The new Screk Bonded Merchants of Garbex are safe, for now. The Fleet waits until Hithram is cleared before they can move back into the Triad for repairs.

x6s0v61.jpg


Erad Station destroys both fleets, taking heavy damage to its armor. Intel on the other side of the wormhole suggests that no enemy fleet is within range to get there within two months, so Erad Station and both fleets move on to clear the path to the Triad.

HyIz1vc.jpg


It is a quick and easy battle in Ulassia. Erad Station returns to Hithram to guard the wormhole, repairing what it can as it moves.

Wz8aaIZ.jpg


"What's the latest?" the President asks the table at large.

Secretary Hammer stands up, holding his console, and says "Not much new in the last month, sir. The Kalaxenan strikes into Unbidden territory halted a few weeks ago. They need to repair their fleets." He swipes to the next page on his report. "As for the GDL fleet, it's still weak. The Kalaxenan don't seem eager to stockpile resources and create a shared fleet."

The President slams his fist on the table. His mood swings come and go without warning these days. "What the hell is the point of an alliance if we all act like it's every man for himself?" Several people share looks. HistoryDude was one to talk. Thus far, the Federation has played entirely defensively in the Invasion on his orders. "And what about Saqqis?" he addresses to Scarge. "Any news there that won't piss me off?"

"Well," Scarge begins, also standing, or his species' equivalent to standing. "The weapons systems are close to completion. We have a long way to go, though." He pauses. "Also, there's something else to update you on. Our scientists have begun work on a new weapon that could stop the Invasion for good. Called the Nicoll-Dyson Beam. At the moment, we're not entirely sure what the effects of it could be. It will be years before we even have practical data on it, but it is worth mentioning that... that the weapon could have post-invasion applications as well."

All the anger seems to disappear from the President's face. "OK" is all he says. He turns to the Def Sec. "How is the Hithram Wormhole holding up?"

The Def Sec joins the other two in standing up and says "As before, every few months an Unbidden fleet will travel through the wormhole, but Erad Station has been very effective in stopping them in their tracks. We've figured out the best way to combat the Invasion is by using range."

"What do you mean?" the President asks.

"Erad Station keeps itself within effective weapons range, while outside of the Unbidden's effective range. By the time the Unbidden are close enough to deal any damage to the station, it's too late for them. It has been working well thus far."

"And the situation with the rest of the Unbidden?" he moves on.

"They're slowing down tremendously, sir," the Def Sec says. "Their pattern has always been to eradicate a system of sentient life, then construct a sort of base around the star some time later. Lately, they've been stalling and remaining idle in already eradicated systems. In the last year, only one system has been occupied by them."

"Why would they slow down?" the President asks.

"We have two theories. Either they are overextending themselves, or they do not have enough ships capable of constructing so many bases. They do not seem to want to delve too deep into the Galaxy, without been within two or so jumps from one of their bases. Our intel suggests they use only certain ships to build these bases, and they only have a few." The President nods his head appreciatively.

"Excellent. Excellent. Once Saqqis is complete, we can take the offensive." He stands up, indicating the meeting is over. "And I want you to expedite the Nicola-Benson... Nicall-Die... Whatever the hell it's called, I want you to expedite it, Scarge." He walks out of the room, and everyone else follows him out.

Little side note...

1pu8WMu.jpg

(Don't do that, you morons!)
 

TheButterflyComposer

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In a super cool high tech space station in the depths of space...

mr clever: Well, that's the end of the master plan.

Kelebek: It would seem so. Seems a bit silly to be honest. At least several thousand years of manipulation to end on an us/them fight with one rapidly becoming evil empire and omicidal maniacs.

mr clever: The rebellion is finished then?

Kelebek: Basically. They can't win now unless the Great Intelligence fixes things in their favour. Reform is going to have to come from within the federation itself.

mr clever: I can kill anyone you need to.

Kelebek: If it were so simple, we'd have already done it. The solution is going to be a little more difficult this time.

mr clever: A conspiracy? What are you people up to?

Kelebek: Reforging the human race. Clearly they need to be pushed a little onto the next stage of their development. Interfacing with technology is inevitable. They already do it to a great extent.

mr clever: So...you're going to wake him up? After all this time?

Kelebek: Zen is...already more than human but we suspect she's been compromised in some ways we didn't predict. She may yet prove an ally but we must prepare for the possibility she will go...nuts.

mr clever: So you're going to wake up a centuries old man and, what? Ask him permission to turn him into a cyborg?

Kelebek: More like beg TBC to help us in anyway he can.
 

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Ah, nothing brings the galaxy together quite like the Unbidden.
 

HistoryDude

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Whoops, almost gave away that I had a plan…

And I’m probably still being manipulated by those Worm cultists, aren’t I?
 

zenphoenix

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Whoops, almost gave away that I had a plan…

And I’m probably still being manipulated by those Worm cultists, aren’t I?
Yes, yes you are.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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zenphoenix

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Do we have worm sign?
A what? If you're referring to how the cultists look, they usually have red eyes but they can turn those off at will. There are some other features that aren't as obvious or common.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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A what? If you're referring to how the cultists look, they usually have red eyes but they can turn those off at will. There are some other features that aren't as obvious or common.

Tsk tsk. Know your sci-fi. Or meme I suppose.

 
Chapter 18: The Battle for Hithram

silentsam5

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Chapter 18 - 2450 to 2475: The Battle for Hithram

The Star Entente war ends in 2450, and the Garganan Citizen Republic, the Jibru Cooperative, and the Tebbran Shipping Alliance join the Galactic Defense League. The Cartel unwisely begins pushing through the wormhole, where they discover the unguarded system of Aslund.

A few years go by without much expansion from the Unbidden. Aslund is retaken by the Unbidden, destroying the small Cartel fleet attempting to make a foothold. In 2454, the Kalaxenan announce their intentions to declare war on the Jonus Star Mandate; the Invasion has stalled and now is the time to act, they say. The war is put to a vote, and the majority of the members vote yes. President HistoryDude gives the Kalaxenan an ultimatum: if they declare war, the Federation will pull out of the GDL.

Regardless, they declare war, and the Federation withdraws from the alliance. "We got a goddamn invasion from another dimension, and these bastards want to send their ships the other direction?" President HistoryDude is heard shouting after the council meeting that decided the Federation's severing of ties.

E9dcDio.jpg


As war begins between the galaxy's two biggest alliances, the Unbidden redouble their efforts. The large crowds of ships fleeing the affected zones start arriving in the Federation once again. The Jibru and the Steel Bank begin being hit hard.

The situation gets bad when the Unbidden reach the Vermillion system, where the Tebbran have a gateway. If the Unbidden gain control of the gateway, they will have access to both the Federation gateways, as well as several others throughout the galaxy. However, they do not use the gateway, and nearly ten years go by where they make only marginal gains. Perhaps they do not know what the gateway is.

SgcszWc.jpg


Then, things get even worse in 2465. The Altair wormhole, previously thought to have naturally closed nearly a century ago, unleashes five Unbidden fleets. At the time of their arrival, Erad Station left the Hithram system for some much needed repairs and upgrades. The Unbidden moved at lightning speed, destroying the Altair outpost and spreading out through the Cartel. Garbex is once again under siege, and Erad Station is rerouted to aid in that system, while 3rd and 4th Fleet, back in Beta Caeli to guard against intrusion, are sent to Altair.

PbxiYyj.jpg


Garbex's siege is lifted, as Erad Station destroys the Unbidden fleet. Its next target is Afrmyke system, and the fleet there is eliminated soon after. 3rd and 4th Fleets arrive in Altair. They exit the hyperlane right next to the Unbidden and are immediately in the midst of combat.

8LPglHn.jpg


The Federation loses a few destroyers, but the Unbidden are destroyed.

Bg01Ko6.jpg


Over the next few year, Unbidden fleets begin arriving in monthly intervals to Hithram. It gets to the point where Erad Station is breaking down. By 2470, the base moon itself begins to crumble. At long last, as Erad Station begins to give way, it leaves the system, bound for Beta Caeli for long-term repairs.

31XlUKy.jpg


3rd and 4th Fleet are forced to abandon Altair and move to take over Hithram. The day before their entering the hyperlane to Hithram, the Unbidden fleet arrives. Already weakened from its combat with Erad Station, the fleet is destroyed quickly, taking only one Federation cruiser with them.

49Tz1J7.jpg


They get to Hithram just as another Unbidden fleet arrives. Then soon after, a second fleet comes through the wormhole. Yet another fleet arrives just days later, and the situation is lost. Two Titans are lost, including the Federation's newest, the Enterprise II. Nearly the entirety of the Federation fleets are destroyed before they retreat. Hithram is lost.

Wim3UGj.jpg

cqdzC5j.jpg


Bombardment begins once again on Garbex, when the Unbidden reach the system. Erad Station is still being repaired in Kiram, and it will be another week before it is ready to move.

eouRuqj.jpg


Erad arrives in Padjitauron and meets a large Unbidden fleet. Another fleet gets there not long after, and the battle gets fierce. Erad Station takes some damage, but nothing drastic, before all the unbidden fleets are destroyed, including one of their few construction ships.

DTWSVlr.jpg


It is too late to stop the influx of Unbidden into Hithram. Starmagg is also taken soon after.

vX7wHKZ.jpg


The Hlilje Industrial is completely destroyed by 2476. All their former worlds are either reduced to rubble or under enemy control, and the government is in exile, possibly in the Mandasuran Confederacy. The Mandasurans and the Jonus will continue to fight on for several years.

sXjaq4C.jpg


Erad Station arrives in Hithram and meets an Unbidden fleet. Just hours after combat begins, a second Unbidden fleet jumps through the wormhole. Then, a third. Now it is three on one.

4zzeiA4.jpg


Erad Station would be capable of handling three fleets at once, if it were not for the short-range combat. Surrounded, the station is hit relentlessly from all sides. Huge chunks of the moon and the station are stripped away from the disintegrater's unforgiving beams.

pCl5jMS.jpg


Evacuation ships begin launching from what few ports are left intact on the surface of Erad. Beams of green light blast apart nearly all of them, but a few manage to reach the hyperlane and escape. One side of the moon is blasted so ferociously that the mega weapon core is exposed. As the beams reach the core, it ignites, cracking the moon in several pieces and exploding into a bright ball of flame. Earth's greatest weapon will forever been a new asteroid belt in the Hithram system.

T3zYCPk.jpg
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Oh dear...

This is like the Yusong Vong invasions. We need Mary Sues in here, stat!

Edit: oh wait, I have one. Doh!:oops:
 

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Oh... oh dear... I'm not too sure how you turn this around anymore.
 

silentsam5

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I hate to say it, but... I am utterly disappointed in the Unbidden invasion. They have so far been slow, unmotivated, and quite easy to get the better of. Their tactics are easy to counter, and it has taken great restraint to not go in and destroy them in a matter of years. Since they showed up, I've cheatily buffed them up a bit, but it hasn't helped them much.

Along with all that, the game is also getting a bit crashy. We are at about 3 seconds per day, and it is bound to get worse.

Oh dear...

This is like the Yusong Vong invasions. We need Mary Sues in here, stat!

Edit: oh wait, I have one. Doh!:oops:

We have a couple, possibly.

Oh... oh dear... I'm not too sure how you turn this around anymore.

I don't think it will be much of a problem.
 

zenphoenix

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I hate to say it, but... I am utterly disappointed in the Unbidden invasion. They have so far been slow, unmotivated, and quite easy to get the better of. Their tactics are easy to counter, and it has taken great restraint to not go in and destroy them in a matter of years. Since they showed up, I've cheatily buffed them up a bit, but it hasn't helped them much.
Unfortunately, that's the problem with a lot of AIs in PDX games. Mongols and Aztecs usually don't get far in CK2, Ming almost always explodes in EU4, and naval invasions are broken and illogical in Vicky. At least you got some fight out of them.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Unfortunately, that's the problem with a lot of AIs in PDX games. Mongols and Aztecs usually don't get far in CK2, Ming almost always explodes in EU4, and naval invasions are broken and illogical in Vicky. At least you got some fight out of them.

Eh...adventurers and prepared invasions in ckii are pretty nasty.
 

silentsam5

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Unfortunately, that's the problem with a lot of AIs in PDX games. Mongols and Aztecs usually don't get far in CK2, Ming almost always explodes in EU4, and naval invasions are broken and illogical in Vicky. At least you got some fight out of them.

The thing is, their construction ships are very illogical. They build an outpost on one side of their sprawling empire, then their next order is to the opposite side of the galaxy. Meanwhile, the other construction ship that is right next to that system is ordered to the system right next to the first construction ship. It takes years for just a few extra systems to fall under their control, because the ships spend so long transiting to a new system.

Eh...adventurers and prepared invasions in ckii are pretty nasty.

I love adventurers in CK2, except for one game I had where I was getting adventurers every 5 years for nearly a century.
 

zenphoenix

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Eh...adventurers and prepared invasions in ckii are pretty nasty.
Adventurers usually peter out for me, except for the last game I played (Game of Thrones mod) when a Targaryen adventurer invaded while I was fighting Aegon the Conqueror as he tried to retake the throne I stole from him. I was too focused on fighting Aegon that the adventurer got enough warscore to win her war and become queen. Then she went and slaughtered half my family over the next ten years. At least I got a really good ruler out of it once I defeated both of them.
The thing is, their construction ships are very illogical. They build an outpost on one side of their sprawling empire, then their next order is to the opposite side of the galaxy. Meanwhile, the other construction ship that is right next to that system is ordered to the system right next to the first construction ship. It takes years for just a few extra systems to fall under their control, because the ships spend so long transiting to a new system.
Sounds like another day for a Stellaris AI.
I love adventurers in CK2, except for one game I had where I was getting adventurers every 5 years for nearly a century.
There was one time in the same game where I did nothing but seduce half the women in Westeros, resulting in dozens of bastards. I was expecting to be hit with adventurers every year for the next fifty years, but only two or three actually became adventurers (and one eventually stopped before she attacked because I somehow befriended her).
 

TWR97

Chief Chronicler of the Komnenoiverse
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Sep 26, 2014
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Been binge reading this whole series from the CK2 campaign till now and boy has it been quite a ride from the rise of the house of De Gael to the Unbidden invasion. Gotta love how you went full Palpatine in the latest updates, always fun to bully aliens into submission eh? That said. Hopefully you can defeat this invasion. Cause you are gonna need a lot of luck.


And maybe perhaps getting that other fallen empire to intervene since they're benevolent enough.