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Part Eight: Marauders, pirates and other threats (2246 to 2267)

RossN

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Battle of Craxima.jpg


Yldar warships and the Burning Brigands pirates exchange fire at the Battle of Craxima, 2250.


Part Eight: Marauders, pirates and other threats (2246 to 2267)


Gunnery Officer Monnobaki savoured the wave of new scents that greeted her as she stepped through the airlock and into the interior of the YSS Limpok the Baneful. Every new warship had her own sound in the faint vibrations of the engines, her own feel in the smooth touch of the walls, her own taste in whatever culinary warfare the ship's cooks were waging on their captive crew. Most importantly she had her own scent and for a second Monnobaki just stood there, tongue flickering in and out as she tasted the air: Yldars, Glost-Werheni, Kammarians... and something she had never smelled before.

That was probably the admiral.

The officer stepped into the corridor, noting the subtly different size and shape and walked towards her assigned quarters. Tomorrow she'd meet the rest of her crew in the cruiser's aft gunnery station and she wondered if the rest of them were as nervous, proud and excited as she was.

~~~~


With the Rothak Fire Tribes to their east the Yldar turned their focus back to exploring their western frontier. This was the same region that had held the secrets of the Originator shrines and the prospect of more knowledge - and resources - was too tantalising a prospect for the Free Traders to ignore. In the last years of Jondru's leadership there was a strong push towards the galactic fringe.

The first obstacle in the path of the Yldars were the automated mining droids, but the Navy had defeated them for good back in 2240 at the Battle of Rovannic [1]. The success of that operation had come at a cost with the loss of the corvettes Tetran the Vile, Avathim the Mighty and Elesana the Quick and over six hundred gallant sailors, but it increased the determination of the Yldars to contest the frontiers. The years immediately after Rovannic saw a wave of young officers and crew join the fleet, looking for fame, excitement and good pay. The invention of the disruptor as a practical weapon and the near simultaneous development of the destroyer - a much larger and more powerful warship than the corvette - sent a further boost through the Navy, though it would be some time before these developments were fully realised.

Throughout the 2240s the Free Traders had been receiving vague and conflicting reports of unidentified ships in the west. Initially there had been some hope this was evidence of the Originators or at least another civilisation but the reports of hostile behaviour and the outright disappearance of some freighters in the fringes of known space painted a disturbing picture, though others believed that any number of causes could have resulted in losses without malevolent 'ghost ships'. In 2247 an improved hyperdrive was developed and this allowed the explorers to push a little further and faster. The YSS Mitgapp the Humble, refitted with a second generation hyperdrive finally found the base of the 'ghost ships' in the Esmyke system in Tenthmonth, 2247. The science vessel barely escaped with her hull intact as an entire fleet of hostile vessels powered up against her.

The Yldar had discovered the Kobarian Freeholders.


Kobarian first contact.jpg


First contact with the Kobarian Freeholds, 2247.

The Kobarians were a humanoid species, two meters tall and bulky with prominent cranial crests. Their society was nomadic and violent, built around raiding and intimidation making them essentially a brigand kingdom on a galactic scale. Thankfully they feuded with each other, thus sparing the rest of the galaxy and organised invasion but that was more or less the limit of their virtues. Worst of all they were on the Yldars doorstep.

For the Free Traders the existence of the Kobarians was a particularly nasty shock. Marauders were bad enough but somehow, in spite of their eccentric demeanor and barbarous personas these aliens had a level of technology that exceeded the galactic norm. Scans from the Mitgapp revealed weapon signatures, engine readings and armour plating that any shipbuilder in the Cevant system would have given his fangs for. Scientists on Oros theorized that the Kobarians had either created these technologies in a prior age of civilisation or had looted them from now extinct species. Even if this assumption was true the Kobarians could hardly maintain their warships and space stations if they were simply brainless brutes. Plainly they were savvier than they seemed and should not be underestimated.


Kobarian Space.jpg


Kobarian space, 2247.

Another aspect even more disturbing than the presence of marauders so close to Yldar space was their way of life. Many Yldar had always assumed that abandoning planetary existence to live in space was a 'natural' step in evolution. The discovery of the Shrines of the Originators had given a spiritual dimension to this longstanding cultural belief. Yet here were the Kobarians who were anything but highly evolved. For most in the Free Traders this was as far as the implications went but for some of the most enthusiastic about the Originators there was a conclusion that was too distressing to ignore [2]. Could the barbarous Kobarians also be children of the Originators, perhaps even created from the same stock as the Yldars? It was not something that could immediately be proved but for Yldar intellectuals it posed a riddle.

The more prosaic feelings towards the Kobarians were summed up by Admiral Darmull in 2248:
'If we fight now it will be a wonderful defeat. If we wait for half a century it will be a wonderful victory. Wait.' The wily old officer's warning would be heeded in 2251 when the Kobarians first threatened a raid if not given tribute. The merchant princes swallowed their outrage, paid off the marauders in several freighters full of mineral ore and dreamed of the days when they would no longer have to 'Wait'.

By this point the government of the Free Traders had passed to other hands. Jondru's death in 2249 had led to an emergency election, though given the Chairman's age and declining health the 'emergency' aspect had been seen some months in advance. Four candidates had put their names forward for consideration by the Board, including Darmull, though at sixty seven his age told against him. Even older was Senator Listhim the eighty one year old representative of the Free Traders to the Galactic Community. The more youthful candidates were the scientists Ralpakini and Cognati at fifty and forty one respectively.


Election 2249.jpg


The Free Traders election of 2249.

As in the previous elections the different candidates received support (overt or otherwise) from the factions. Had he been younger Listhim might have been swept to power as the Xeno Rights Organization which he led remained the largest faction by far among the greater populace, and the most content. Surprisingly the venerable diplomat had focused his agenda on expanding the Navy, in retrospect a wise decision but at the time oddly out of tune with his supporters desires. Listhim believed that not only was a stronger fleet desirable for its own sake but it would also provide a platform for the growing Glost-Werheni and Kammarian minorities to gain broader recognition via the fame and success found in serving. Conversely Admiral Darmull who by default had the support of the conservative/militarist Strength Through Conquest Coalition was more focused on trade. Ralpakini and Cognati who between them split the pro-science Committee of Technological Mastery had also taken unexpectedly conservative stances. Ralpakini pushed for an ambitious foreign policy while Cognati's appeal seemed to rest as much in her positive message for a younger generation and her natural charisma than any firm plans.

One faction that had not existed in any major form in the previous election was the Council of the High Priesthood led by Governor Soki B'Eren, Jondru's old friend and a longstanding advocate of the Glost-Werheni minority. Though it had grown out of secular groups that merged together the modern Council had become overtly spiritual. The faction membership was still largely Glost-Werheni but some Kammarians had also joined as had some of the most mystically inclined Yldars. The Council had friendly links with the Xeno Rights Organization but was at daggers drawn with the Committee of Technological Mastery's over the latter's embrace of robotics. Though comparatively small in numbers the Council represented a key swing 'vote' in deciding the election.

The winner was Cognati. Attractive, with scales so polished they seemed more platinum than silver she had managed the crucial art of making herself everyone's second favourite, and in the murky world that saw the election of a Chairperson having no enemies and few friends could be better than having many friends but even more enemies. She had even managed to win favours from the Council of the High Priesthood by the use of suitably honeyed words.

As Chairwoman Cognati would be known to future generations for the building of a fifth habitat in the Ostichi system (though it was not completed until after her term) and the establishment of the Galactic Market in the Cevant system (rightfully considered an immense win for the Golden Monetary Compact.) But though economically successful and taking place against the backdrop of a population boom, for many inhabitants of the Free Traders alive during this period it would be more familiar as the twilight of the age of exploration and the shadowy threat of interstellar conflict.


Birth of space Piracy.jpg


The birth of space piracy in 2250.

Less than a year into her term and Cognati was faced with the birth of space piracy in Yldar space. The same economic boom and expansion that would later lead to Oros winning the seat of the Galactic Market attracted all manner of scum. Crime was not new to the Yldars. For over two centuries, from the earliest days of contact between the Three Daughters smuggling had flourished despite the attempts of the Patrol to crush it. Shipjackings were often a problem and until late in the previous century outright feuding between merchant princes had led to battles between armed vessels.

The Burning Brigands were much more dangerous than these suddenly quaint problems. An organised and ambitious band of n'er do wells, some with links to the late and unlamented Governor Rhass had decided to carve out a fiefdom for themselves in the Craxima system, plundering vital trade routes. They felt, rightly, that they were far too powerful for the Patrol. Unfortunately for them they had underestimated the resolve of the supposedly peaceful Chairwoman, who ordered Darmull and the Navy to restore order.

The Battle of Craxima was fought in Ninthmonth 2250. The pirates had ten raiders, modified ships of roughly corvette size that were suprisingly effective for all their rashackle origins. The Navy had twenty corvettes and the brand new destroyers YSS Kodram the Suave and YSS Khabbash the Furious. The Navy deployed their disruptors to formidable effect and utterly destroyed the buccaneers in exchange for moderate damage to their vessels and less than a hundred casualties. Pirate casualties can only be guessed but were likely near three thousand, with the few surving to be taken prisoner mostly coming from the pirate asteroid base who had just wittnessed their entire fleet being wiped out.

Admiral Darmull was able to report a 'satisfactory test' of the destroyers as ships of war.


Kobarian Escape Pod.jpg


The rescue of Kesh na-Solpan in 2251.


At the very beginning of 2253 an escape pod drifted into the Durascadon system on the hazy border where Yldar territory faded into Kobarian space. Inside was a forty one year old male Kobarian with a interesting tale to tell. Kesh na-Solpan, as he called himself, was an ex-Kobarian warlord who having lost his flagship to enemy action had lost everything under the unforgiving Kobarian warrior codes. Now he was prepared to offer his rescuers a deal.

'Admiral' Kesh na-Solpan was a cagey mercenary warrior who immediately proved right Darmull's warning that the Kobarians were no fools. The former bandit king was aware of his own value and in return for providing his expertise he wanted a flag commission. The prospect of a life of retirement rather than commanding a fleet from the bridge of a warship was horrifying. There was too a certain mutual fascination; Kesh na-Solpan found a coterie of admirers happy to listen to his tales of his exploits, and those legendary clan leaders he was descended from.

Despite his undoubted ability it would not be until 2261 that he would get his chance to actually lead a fleet. That year, the Durascadon system once more provided a significant haul of interstellar flotsam and jetsam.

Drifting Fleet.jpg


The 'Salvaged Fleet' of 2261.
While the initial hopes that the vessels could be reverse engineered proved unduly optimistic the Navy was still delighted to find itself in possession of four 'raiders', two 'frigates' and a 'cruiser'. This last ship was renamed the YSS Limpok the Baneful and was immediately seen as the most powerful warship known [3]. Kesh na-Solpan was swiftly granted the flag rank he always desired while Darmull retained overall authority and personal command of the main fleet until his death in 2263 when he was replaced by the Glost-Werheni vice admiral Mak B'Scul. The Kobarian admiral had many admirers but it was a little soon to entrust him with the entire fleet!

The 'Salvaged Fleet' would not be the only source of foreign warships in this era, though it would be a long time before the next group of vessels were under Yldar control.

The presidency of the Golden Monetary Compact was based on a twenty year term and in 2267 it officially rotated to the Kammarian emperor. In one of her last official roles as leader of the Compact Cognati had pushed for the creation of a joint fleet under the direct authority of the Compact and serving alongside both 'national navies'. This federation fleet would combine elements of ship design, naval theory, and crew and officers from across Yldar and Kammarian space. As the yet to built ships would be under the control of the President of the Golden Monetary Compact the Free Traders would have to wait until 2287 before they could order 'their' new ships around. On the bright side those ships would be far cheaper to run than the regular Yldar Navy as Cognati pointed out, with their costs split out of a combined budget.

It was this last argument that convinced even the most stubborn merchant princes to support a federation navy. Warships that they didn't have to pay (as much) for were the most exciting strategic decision in years...


Footnotes:

[1] Or so it was thought at the time. Many years later other caches of mining droids would be discovered and had to be destroyed.

[2] During the 2240s Yldar 'spirituality' was beginning to settle into a set system of belief after the confusion and energy of the previous two decades. A plurality of Yldars were essentially 'Secularists' - almost all now accepted that they had been created by the mysterious Originators but either assumed the Originators themselves were extinct or at least that they were effectively removed from current Yldar development. A large minority were 'Spiritualists' who believed that the Originators had intended a special destiny for the Yldars and were awaiting rediscovery and re-contact once the Yldars had achieved a certain level of development. The 'Spiritualists' tended to bristle at the idea they were "religious" (and much preferred to call themselves 'Proteges'), insisting they believed in a materialist universe without any supernatural elements even as they tended to talk of the "highly evolved" Originators in quasi-mystical terms and looked forward to immortality via superscience. A small minority of Yldars were 'Supernaturalists' who felt that the Originators were in fact explicitly supernatural and that consciousness transcended death. Some of these had converted to the worship of Numa or the various Kammarian folk beliefs.

[3] Excluding strange reports from the Kammarians of an encounter with a mysterious and ancient 'automated dreadnought' in a distant system.
 
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RossN

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This one ran a little longer than I expected but I hope it is still readable!

In a couple of more updates I will write another appendix piece detailing the warships of the Yldars and other species, including the craft I 'inherited' from the Kobarians. I'm a bit of a nerd about that stuff so I want to do a gazetter entry on starships. :)

~~~~~

Quite the varied blend of civilisations; I enjoy the minor races there too. The Ganvids are certainly the most alarming to look at of those so far.

So much of the galaxy still unexplored though! Opportunities and dangers to be had there, I'm sure.
The Ganvids are creepy looking aren't they?

And you were prophetic with the Yldars managing to discover both danger and opportunity in the space place!

Humans! :D Always a nice bonus to see a primitive Earth show up. Hopefully they don't end up blasting themselves into oblivion, though given who their neighbors are, things might get "interesting" in all the wrong ways for them regardless...
Well, they could have ended up in worse spots to be fair. :)

It will be interesting seeing them become proper spacefarers - assuming that happens!

It seems to me, if the more radical spiritualist Yldars ever gained power, we could see a war to "open up" the Kazams so that they can properly worship *ahem* investigate and learn more about the Originators.
Now that is an interesting idea. Hmm...

Still plenty of space for another megacorporation to emerge :)

Interesting little vignettes of these various polities. I take your point about the nice variety present. The Fire Tribes do look as though they might make nervous neighbours however - as hinted at the mentioned cold war.
True and thanks. I'll be getting into the cold war in the next update. :)

I think Warhammer 40K is strong in me. :p

Anyhow, I also like the Star Trek vibe. And the fact there is Mankind in here is a nice bonus.
Heh, I guess the 'void dwellers' origin works pretty well for the Eldar right? :D

And yes nice to see humans around.

Great AAR
A well deserved win

I loved the descriptions of the different species
The Hulfirs are my favourite cause I love Venom and Carnage
Thank you!

As I've said my personal favourites are the two planets in the one system who obviously wrecked each other via war but the Hulfirs are certainly intriguing.

Quite some galactic neighborhood. Plenty of potential friends and rivals. :D
Well that is what makes it fun! :D

Really enjoying this, are space station adapted civilisations capable of eventually taking the leap of colonising planets? It will be interesting to see if anyone takes the plunge to return to planetbound life at some point in the future.
It is mechanically possible but Void Dwellers take a huge habitability hit. Theorethically I could colonise planets with my Glost--Werheni and Kammarian minorities without issues though.

I started reading this AAR thanks to it being nominated for the Weekly Showcase. Being a RossN-AAR it was almost certain I would like it and you do not disappoint. Almost fifty years in, you've only just started. It will be interesting what the Yldar will further discover and how this galaxy will play out.
Thank you, I'm delighted you are enjoying this so far! :)

Eww, getting Old Gods and Limbo in the same run is a recipe for disaster because of the ill relationships Spiritualists have with AI. Personally I'd try to nudge their eithics in a way that drop the spiritualist ethic, either by going F-Militarist or F-Xenophile depending on how the future plays out, because Spiritualists in stellaris' demands make just zero sense. Alternately just make sure there is an unconolized planet in unowned space to settle if you ever draw synths

Love your writing though and look forward to seeing where this goes.
Yes it isn't quite the combination I was hoping for, even if both events are themselves fascinating. Still I'll try and see what I can work with. :)

Half the galaxy remains undiscovered. Who knows what is out there? What do the Yldar call the Milky Way galaxy as apparently Earth is in this galaxy.
That's a good question I admit I hadn't considered before. I'll have to think on that.

I've noticed in my games, humans often only pop up as a pre-space age species.
I have seen a Human FE once. That was "fun"
Ive seen primitive humans a few times but never as a Fallen Empire.

Actually I haven't seen a Fallen Empire yet. That's odd.
 

Cromwell

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A great update, the pirates certainly underestimated the chairwomen when they over played their hands. Hopefully their destruction will serve as an example for other wrongdoers.
The starship guide in the future sounds like it will be a great update. I often think it's a shame Stelaris AAR don't seem to have as many techporn updates as HOI AARs do. It's meant to be a SciFi game! You've made me very happy with that announcement.
 
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Nikolai

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Another great update! The existence of those raiders so close is disturbing, though...
 

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It's not always a bad thing being near the Marauders. :)

I get the sense of the Yldar starting to mature as a galactic polity here - I mean, once has pirates :D
 

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It's not always a bad thing being near the Marauders. :)

I get the sense of the Yldar starting to mature as a galactic polity here - I mean, once has pirates :D
Only a serious problem if the Great Khan comes around.
 

Specialist290

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Well, the Kobarians are certainly going to make for fun neighbors... That said, every cloud has its silver lining, as shown by the exiled admiral and the salvaged battlefleet.

Definitely going to be looking forward to the tech update. It'll be interesting seeing how the Salvaged Fleet stacks up to the Yldars' native designs.
 

Viden

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Heh, I guess the 'void dwellers' origin works pretty well for the Eldar right? :D
Hm, I haven't thought about that. This game definetely needs Craftworld civilizations.
 
Part Nine: The Cold War (2267 to 2274)

RossN

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Compact vs Fire Tribes.jpg


The Golden Monetary Compact and the Rothak Fire Tribes, 2274.


Part Nine: The Cold War (2267 to 2274)

Three jumps to out of the way stars. It added weeks to the light freighter's journey but it was the only way to dodge trailing ships and get back to Yldar space intact. Captain Haghonon blinked back the sleep from his eyes and looked up from the navigation computer. Even along well traveled hyperlanes plotting courses could be time consuming. With blind jumps factored in it was ten times longer and a hundred times more stressful.

'Captain the Vengralians are off,' said the first mate. Sure enough the viewer showed the caravansary priming her engines. As she leapt to lightspeed Haghonon gave the fungoid merchants a mental salute.

'Stars and credits brothers,' he whispered the traditional send off. Even as he finished saying the proximity alarm blared across the cramped cabin.

'The Rothakans!'

Haghonon reminded himself to higher less jittery crew on his next run. His amethyst eyes flicked to the Rothakan corvette that had just dropped out of lightspeed. She was close... but not close enough. 'Engage engines on my mark. Now!'

As the familiar blur of hyperspace blossomed across the viewer and the independent ship leapt forward to safety Haghonon leaned back in his chair. This was ridiculous, but what could an honest merchant do if he wanted to trade with the galactic east? The borders were closed for reasons a lowly light freighter captain couldn't begin to comprehend. There was good money in the discrete run through Fire Tribe space, but by the Orignators it aged a man.

~~~~~


The existence of the Kobarian Freeholders to the west dominated Yldar foreign and war policy for over a decade after first contact but there was another crisis bubbling in the background. For many years the Yldar Free Traders and the Rothak Fire Tribes had been gnawing away at the unclaimed territory between them. This area was known to the Yldar as Najuggas Veil, a term that technically only applied to the large nebula further to the east but had been taken as shorthand to apply to the entire eastern frontier. This vast expanse was known to be rich in minerals and from the beginning there was competition to claim the choicest systems. By the mid-2250s the east had begun to supersede the west as a focus for exploration and exploitation and diplomatic difficulties with the Fire Tribes intensified.

Hyperspace, the universal known method of faster than light travel made exploration and competition for resources harder than they might appear when first glancing at a stellar chart. Sometimes systems that were closer in terms of nominal distance in light years were effectively out of range because of the layout out of hyperlanes. This also left particular systems strategically important beyond their mineral, energy and scientific value. There was also always the chance that any given unexplored system might hold an anomaly, anything from rare resources to ancient ruins to a hostile life form. The Yldars had learnt that last one the hard way.

In 2269 Cognati's term as Chairwoman of the Free Traders came to an end. She had decided to run again and given her relative youth - she was then sixty one - and the economic success of her time in office it might have been thought she'd be re-elected. The Xeno Rights Organization, still the largest faction in Yldar politics supported her. Cognati's opponents were the the administrator Governor Monnobaki; Rhethan, a noted scientist and ship designer and her old rival from the 2249 election Ralpakini. Unfortunately for the sitting Chairwoman most of the merchant princes, the same people who had benefited so much from the influx of credits through the Galactic Market, were not famous for their gratitude. The ever worsening relations with the Rothakans, the spectre of renewed piracy and the fear of the Kobarians deciding mere tribute was insufficient all worked against Cognati. After the behind the scenes bribes, horse trading and occasional sincere conversations finished Rhethan was elected Chairman of the Free Traders.


Rhethan.jpg


Rhethan, the newly elected Chairman of the Yldar Free Traders.

A dusky scaled male of medium height the fifty eight year old Rhethan had made a fortune as an industrialist in the shipbuilding industry but he was better known as a designer than a plutocrat. The new Chairman made no secret of the fact that he thought war with the Rothakans a probability. He was determined to increase the Navy just in case time proved him right.

Sadly increasing the Navy was easier said than done. After a rapid expansion that lasted until just after the Battle of Craxima the rate of shipbuilding had dramatically slowed. Ships needed alloys and for several years during Cognati's period in office most of that vital material was diverted into the construction of a habitat in the Ostichi system [1]. The discovery of the 'Salvaged Fleet', though welcome had also impacted on ship building as crews were earmarked for the converted ships and the 'saved' alloys were employed elsewhere. Finally the pace of technological development itself was to blame as existing ships needed to be modified with new engines, shield systems or weapons and it was always better and cheaper to upgrade an existing hull than build a new one.

None of these issues were trivial and even the most bloodthirsty member of the Strength Through Conquest Coalition would agree that modernisation was vital. If needs be alloy could be bought on the private market. A more serious problem that couldn't simply be 'moneyed' away was the lack of shipbuilding facilities. Even in 2269 the Free Traders only had one major military shipyard with the venerable docks in Cevant. Given the lack of threats in the early years of space exploration there had never been quite the drive to get additional shipyards up and running. Rhethan resolved to fix this, but with one thing and another it would be a long time before new shipyards appeared.


Vultaum system.jpg


The location of the mysterious Vultaum homeworld proved surprisingly close to Cevant.

Even as the new government came to grips with the defensive situation exploration had continued. In 2269 the Vultaum home system was located and surprisingly it was close to the Cevant system and well within Yldar space (though the actual system itself had to be charted.) The quest for the ancient annelids had been a key scientific concern in the early hyperspace years but over the decades the trail had run cold. In recent years it had been assumed the Rothakans, whose territory sprawled across the (presumed) territory of the old Vutaum Star Aseembly had uncovered key secrets and were not sharing. Then a minor artifact was found in the private collection of a merchant prince. The fossilised crystal data rod had been misinterpreted as an objet d'art by its owner, who approached the government with an offer just the right side of being unreasonable. Rhethan ignored the rumblings of dissent from some of the more miserly plutocrats and paid the credits.

The exploration of the extinct species home system took place throughout 2270 and into the beginning of 2271. Aside from the resources provided by the system - which proved very welcome - something of the secrets of the vanished Vultaum were recovered. They made for disturbing reading.


Vultaum homeworld.jpg


The grim revelations about the vanished Vultaums.

Most Yldars were unsettled by the self-chosen destruction of the Vultaum but it went no further than that and they were prepared to write off the Vultaums as delusional. Even the vast majority of 'Spiritualists' saw little link between the Vultaum, extinct for millions of years and the (possibly) still extant Originators. A fringe group of more mystically inclined Yldars saw something more to the Vultaum philosophy, but unlike the aliens they did not see this in distressing terms. The Yldars knew they had been artificially created. Was it so different to the idea that the entire universe was simply a simulation?

While the expedition to the Vultaum system was being prepared another Yldar expedition had met with disaster. The venerable YSS Hempest the Fearless, the oldest vessel in Yldar service famed for her voyages of discovery was lost with all hands in the Chiminol system in the 'Slice', an unexplored frontier region fiercely contested with the Rothakans. At first many assumed that Captain Timaphon and her crew had met their end in a Rothakan ambush but cooler heads prevailed over the cry for war and it was soon proved that the Hempest had run afoul of ancient automated mining droids. A naval expedition in 2271 easily wiped out this dangerous cluster of renegade machinery.

The leap to blaming the Rothakans in the absence of evidence revealed how poor relations had grown between the two powers. The Fire Tribes had gone so far as to claim star systems held by the Free Traders and of course they restricted any possibility of merchants traveling to the powers to the east. By the 2270s the rivalry had grown so intense that a state of cold war existed. Far from isolated paranoia Rhethan's prediction of war within the next couple of decades seemed almost innocent.


Rivalry with the Rothakans.jpg


By 2272 the cold war daily threatened to turn hot.

Spirituality, the one element that might have provided a bridge between the Yldars and Rothakans only drove them even further apart. The religions had nothing in common, not helped by the fact that most of the more 'religious' Yldars scoffed at the very idea of gods and spirits.

This brooding on the border was temporarily set aside by astonishing news from a distant part of the galaxy. A second marauder 'civilisation', very similar in habits and technology to the Kobarians was discovered by Pelsimian explorers along their southern frontier. This was remarkable enough but what shook the Free Traders was the revelation that this species of marauders called themselves the Yldars...


Yldar Barbarians.jpg


The southern 'Yldars'.

Yldar Raiders.jpg


'Yldar' space, 2274.
There were only so many sounds a humanoid throat could make and in a galaxy with dozens of sapient species a coincidence was not so impossible. The Pseudo-Yldars were thousands of light years away and in the scheme of things it was highly unlikely they'd ever even enter Free Trader space. And yet to those who had been unsettled by the Kobarians and saw in them a twisted mirror of the Yldars, these Pseudo-Yldars were eerie.

Adding to their mystery the Pseudo-Yldars bore an uncanny physical resemblance to yet another sapient species - the Cyzrnians of Sheraton III. As far as anyone knew the Cyzrnians had never achieved interstellar flight, having destroyed themselves four hundred years ago in a war with their neighbours the Pyorunans of Sheraton IV. Was this simply another strange coincidence, a quirk of convergent evolution? Some in the Free Traders wondered about that. The controversial theory that there was some connection between the (real) Yldars and the Kobarians was now expanded by its adherents into a link with the Pseudo-Yldars, the Cyzrnians and even the Pyorunans who had some slight resemblance to the Yldars in their scales and other anatomical features.

Rhethan remained above such abstract thoughts. A scientist himself he was not immune to the Yldar fascination with the diversity of life but he had concrete problems to focus on. By early 2274 he had succeeded in building another four corvettes. It was a paltry number set aside the figures he might have wished for but it was better than nothing and the introduction of advanced combat computers across the Navy made him confident that the Free Traders fleet was at least modern if it was not an armada that would blot out the stars.

The Chairman also had a force that didn't appear in the Yldar Star Navy rosters: the Golden Monetary Compact Federal Fleet. Kammarian technology, especially in warship design was thought to lag behind their Yldar counterparts and Yldar and Glost-Werheni officers visiting their allies brought back gloomy tales of 'museum ships'. Even accounting for exaggeration and the friendly but intense rivalry between the YSN and their counterparts in the Kammaian Imperial Navy the Yldar Naval Command doubted much could be expected from the 'Imperials' in a war. The Federal Fleet was a different matter. Drawn from the budgets and crew of both the Free Traders and the Centralized Systems the Federal Fleet had been constructed in Kammarian shipyards but with technology and theory supplied by the Yldars. Approximately four in ten of the officers and crew of the Federal Ships were either Yldar or Glost-Werheni [2]. By 2274 it was still smaller than its national counterparts but much was expected from it.

While relations between the Yldars and the Rothakans had been bad, relations between the Rothakans and the Kammarians were worse if possible. The Kammarians had skirted the galactic core in their own push east and run into the Rothakans pushing the other way. All the same problems that hampered any understanding between Yldar and Rothak were present and the imperious and status conscious Kammarians and the democratic Rothakans could scarcely even attempt diplomacy with each other. Border skirmishes and sabrerattling were even more common than along the Yldar/Rothak frontier.

In Eightmonth 2274 the inevitable finally happened and the Centralized Kammarian Systems declared war on the Rothak Fire Tribes. As fellow members of the Golden Monetary Compact the Yldars were bound by treaty to join their partners in the war and many greeted this first true interstellar conflict with relief. Rhethan and the merchant princes of the Board were unanimous in their support of the Kammarians...


Declaration of war.jpg


The Golden Monetary Compact declares war.

Footnotes:

[1] The new habitat, known as 'Irjamma's Treasure' would officially be settled in 2272, easing the threat of overcrowding on the four older habitats.

[2] The large Kammarian minority in Yldar space supplied many recruits to the Yldar Star Navy. Comparatively few volunteered for the Federal Fleet despite generous pay. Most Kammarians that lived in the Free Traders habitats had emigrated precisely because they couldn't fit in with the society back 'home' and the last thing they were interested in was manning warships alongside and under the command of their Imperial counterparts.
 

RossN

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A great update, the pirates certainly underestimated the chairwomen when they over played their hands. Hopefully their destruction will serve as an example for other wrongdoers.
The starship guide in the future sounds like it will be a great update. I often think it's a shame Stelaris AAR don't seem to have as many techporn updates as HOI AARs do. It's meant to be a SciFi game! You've made me very happy with that announcement.
Thank you, glad you like it!

The ship overview will come soon. :)

Another great update! The existence of those raiders so close is disturbing, though...
Definitely. I remember what kind of damage a Great Khan can cause!

It's not always a bad thing being near the Marauders. :)

I get the sense of the Yldar starting to mature as a galactic polity here - I mean, once has pirates :D
Hah! Yes I have to admit the admiral and the drifting fleet were pleasant compensations! :)

And yes, proper pirates! I should feel honoured I guess!

How good is that Merc compared to your other Admirals?
Better - he starts as level IV with the 'Mercenary Warrior' trait. My longstanding Admiral died not long after so Kesh na-Solpan is certainly my best officer, at least mechanically.

Only a serious problem if the Great Khan comes around.
Which is a distinct possibility of course!

Well, the Kobarians are certainly going to make for fun neighbors... That said, every cloud has its silver lining, as shown by the exiled admiral and the salvaged battlefleet.

Definitely going to be looking forward to the tech update. It'll be interesting seeing how the Salvaged Fleet stacks up to the Yldars' native designs.
Thanks and yes you are very right about the silver lining. :)

I love 'collecting' alien warships, at least as much for the curiosity factor as the power. I have fond memories of my last AAR where I picked up a very diverse fleet.

Hm, I haven't thought about that. This game definetely needs Craftworld civilizations.
True. I am certainly having fun with 'Void Dwellers'. :)

Good to see that these dangerous new neighbours are being mined for all the opportunities they can provide :D
Well said! :D

Thrawn gives you a thumbs up across galaxies;) been loving this AAR and can't wait to see it continue... hopefully you can form some relationships with more wholesome people...
An honour and a privilege Grand Admiral! :)
 

stnylan

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Cold war is cold no longer. One can only hope that it is not a miscacluation to force the issue now.
 

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The game trolled you with those Yldar barbarians. :D

Let's see how the first interstellar war goes, but if the Tribes power is equivalent to yours and you have the Federation with you... It seems it is going to be too much one-sided for their taste.
 
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Specialist290

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A second marauder 'civilisation', very similar in habits and technology to the Kobarians was discovered by Pelsimian explorers along their southern frontier. This was remarkable enough but what shook the Free Traders was the revelation that this species of marauders called themselves the Yldars...


Seriously, though, between the Vultaum and the Pseudo-Yldars, it does make one wonder whether the Progenitors might have been having a laugh at someone's expense...
 
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Nikolai

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Hopefully you have many claims and luck in war!
 
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