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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

InfiniteGremlin

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I've played a heck of a lot of CK2. I came into Stellaris expecting to find stories that are a bit less personal but a bit more epic sci-fi. Will my expectations be correct? Let's find out!

(I've posted some of this elsewhere on the internet, but here it is in one thread.)

Welcome to the SAC


Meet the Serene Andorian Commonwealth, a desert-dwelling race of hedgehogs. On their homeworld of Immuth, they developed a nomadic culture that favored isolated individuals, though as the needs of their civilization grew they developed a complex bureaucratic system to temper their individualistic tendencies and their global culture espouses a peaceful ethos.


When we join them, fifty-five years after their first interstellar trip, they've grown into a comfortable little space empire, with eight colonized planets. They're the red blotch in the middle, with some colonies further out. The initial nearby exploration is mostly wrapped up, though there's quite a few space hazards that our science ships just ran away from. (You can see all of the red marks.)

We've got two sectors, over there on the right. The original colonization plan that the bureaucracy drew up called for them to be one sector, but the two parts were too far away from each other. We're clearly still adjusting to how to manage our planning committees at light-year distances.

As it stands, the one further north tends to be short on energy, stunting its growth. The Commissioner cut their tribute percentage, so at least they're getting by, but that'll have to get fixed eventually.



Down south, there's this unoccupied region that our science ships are picking through. There's some aliens over there but we don't talk to them much: too far away, really. The purple stripy bit is the home of a pre-warp civilization. We discovered them first, but they were far enough away that we couldn't really do anything when the Hazar gave them space-tech. Now they're some kind of client state.



Up north, on the other hand, are our good buddies in the Ozkoz Union. Together with the Jibru and Reyubb, they are a part of our federation that controls most of the western half of the galaxy. Well, except for the bit that the Nharr State owns, but we'll get to that.



Meanwhile, our scouting scientists encountered these dudes, the first Fallen Empire we've encountered. They're even further away than Hazar and the bureaucracy declared that official policy is that we're even less inclined to mess with them.


Instead, we send the combat fleet out to clean up some of the hostile hazards closer in, like these space amebas we found. Once they're no longer a threat, the scientists can study the systems. We're a peaceful people, but this gives us an excuse to keep upgrading our lasers.

Our explorers find quite a few of these dudes:

Though we're exploring far enough outside our borders that we can't do much with them.

Mostly, we're in a colonization phase.



Having researched tech that lets us expand our borders and communicate better, plus having a bit of spare influence, the council disbanded one of the sectors (which was expensive) and expanded the other one to cover all three colonies. Now it's fully self-sufficient.

The other arm of colonies isn't quite ready yet: We jumped the gun a bit on the sector headquarters, because we needed the bureaucracy to focus on the two new colonies instead. But that leaves it a bit short of resources, particularly the purple rocks that we discovered were an effective power source. Only, all our sources for it are further north, so the isolated sector has shortage. No super-powerplants for them.

The two new colonies are having a slightly different problem. One is a smallish moon. Nothing wrong with moons. Our glorious homeworld of Immuth is a desert moon. But Ultrak's Point in Lijiz is is small and full of hazards, so the population doesn't have much room and is growing very slowly. The other colony, Indig's Revenge, has plenty of space and food, but it's far too hot and damp. We're a desert species, this damp jungle is unpleasant.

We end up launching a recruitment campaign to convince people from the comfortable homeworld that these colonies are lands of opportunity. After all, back on the crowded homeworld, you'll never be personally responsible for producing the food that keeps the colony from starving, right? And you'll never have exciting adventures like escaping from deadly wildlife if you stay home on your couch.

That blue bit in between the two arms of colonies is the Bruggan Confederacy, a proud warrior race that's too aloof to accept any deals with us. We're kind of boxing them in, so if they have any expansionist plans they're probably going to end up going through us. I'm sure that won't lead to any kind of problems down the road.
 

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Ad Astra Adnorian

The publicity campaign worked, and the colonies are self-sufficient enough that the council feels confident enough to include them in the sector. Official policy aims to let them grow to the point where they can upgrade their capital from the salvaged husk of the colony ship to a proper city. It's kind of a tipping point that lets them move past the frontier-basic buildings and start being really productive.

Now that we have the overhead to support two more colonies, the Coordinator hurries to establish them, in the delightful planets on the other side of our blue Bruggan neighbors. I've been prioritizing green-class planets, which for us means delightfully arid. There's not as much competition for them, but I'd still rather not have Hazor or the Bruggans grab another system that I want.



Our explorers found something. It's a bit rare at this point for us to be the first ones to explore a system, but we've been sending in the science ships to survey after the combat fleet clears out the space hazards.


We're on our third generation of very experienced scientists on these exploration missions, so researching this anomaly wasn't too much trouble. A tragic little backstory, like most of archeology.

One downside of the starting exploration burst being over is that you stop encountering as many of the cool little stories you get from the anomalies. I could play a whole game that just revolves around those. The midgame peacetime is a bit of a slump compared to the initial exciting revelations. At least so far, in comparison to CK2.

That doesn't mean there are no events, though. Here's the asteroid that was on a collision course with our new colony:



Luckily, the fleet already cleaning up some nearby systems, so it was close enough to destroy it.



That could have been really nasty, especially for a smaller civilization. But we're Adnorians! Logically bureaucratic pacifism is the correct way to explore the stars and meet new friends!

The other colony is a system with these folks:



The Zemmerpuk civilization is a bit primitive by our standards. (They have guns! How quaint.) But they're still worth observing from a distance. We could be a little more aggressive, but for now we'll continue to observe them from our orbital observation post. No alien abductions...yet. Anyway, we're far too xenophile and peaceful to really exploit them.



So here's our little interstellar commonwealth. We're a comfortable size, with many neighbors, but with quite a bit of open room to expand into still. The council expects the next hundred years will be a bit boring, really, as we gradually expand and peacefully explore the rest of the galaxy...


Oh.

And then the Coordinator immediately died, so the Andorian bureaucracy started an emergency election.



I'm sure this will end well.
 

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Wherein Pacifists go to War, badly.

Our new leader!

Gee, a war starts and the council elects a paranoid defense hawk.

I don't think we'll need much in the way of defenses, though since we've got a pretty good fleet and I just spent six thousand minerals on building some new ships with the latest technology. And they're all stationed at Voon, near the border with the Nharr State. I'm sure their 2K+ of combat power will stave off any invasion.


Oh, wait. The Nharr fleet bypassed Voon by going through Ozkox space and are attacking the station in orbit around our homeworld? With 3K of firepower?

I guess maybe Timaphon isn't as paranoid as I thought.

Fortunately, we're part of a federation, and the Ozkox and Retyubb fleets aren't far behind. The orbital starport, our first base in space, is destroyed, but the planet is untouched and the Nharr fleet is far from its supply lines and cutoff from retreat.

The war quickly disrupts my energy economy, leaving our finances a bit precarious. But I still manage to pull together a decent fleet, headed by the derelict cruiser that we recovered from an ancient alien shipwreck. (It's the biggest thing in the fleet, at least until the new shipyards come online.) Our allies do most of the heavy lifting, and thanks to the extensive research sharing that the federation has been doing we all far outclass the more isolationist Nharr.

After the coalition invades a few of the border worlds, Nharr negotiates an end to the war, which involves about half their systems declaring independence.
 

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Meet the Neighbors



Here's our galaxy, or at least what we know about it right now. As you can see, our most efficent Adnorian Commonwealth is expanding in that formerly empty void up and to the right: our surveys showed that it has multiple arid planets perfect for colonization. This means that we're starting to edge up against the Aramathi Confederation, a group of crazy zealots who are major players in the north-east quadrant of the galaxy.


We outgun them, but we're pacifists. And they're big enough and have enough friends that we probably wouldn't want to mess with them right now, even without our other priorities.

These four-eyed birds are our good buddies, the Ozkox:

They're more into spirituality than we are, but they're just as xenophilic, so we get along really well. Their emblem looks like an envelope, so I associate them with mail delivery for some reason.


The Jibru are materialists, but they're even more xenophiliac than us and the Ozkox put together, so of course they're a part of our federation. They're a bit more advanced than we are, and definitely have bigger fleets. We're not sure which end their head is at, but we're too polite to ask.


And, lastly, we have the Reyubb Union. They're at about our level, and they like us. They're also weird fungus creatures, but we try not to hold that against them. (Secretly, we don't mind: we find aliens fascinating.) They're also pacifists.

So it's probably no surprise that four highly-xenophiliac species with a shared interest in federation building formed an alliance, and that it's a pretty amicable one.

But what about the neighbors?

In the aftermath of their defeat, the Nharr State split in two:


The Nharr Coalition inherited what I believe to be the core systems, and whatever legitimacy the original government retained. Plus their rivalries.


Nharr Interplanetary Empire is the breakaway group. While internally despotic, they're much more open to outsiders. And I think they're impressed with our fleets. They get along well with Bureaucratic Coordinator Timaphon.


These birds, on the other hand, are the Inari Progenitors, who have been spacefaring for thousands of years, and are now sitting on the galactic rim keeping to themselves. Our expansion north has been getting closer to them, but there hasn't been much contact, other than them telling us to leave them alone.


Down south, the purple area is Hazar. Their Star Empire has been pushing into that open space between us and the fallen empire on the southern rim of the galaxy. There aren't very many planets that interest us down there, so it wasn't as high a priority, but they're grabbing a lot of territory. And they're much more militaristic than we are.


Remember that striped area where the Hazar gave a pre-warp civilization starflight? That's these guys. They don't like us much; I think the Hazar have been telling them things. We certainly don't fit into their theocracy very well.


We don't have a lot of contact with these folks, since they're at the southwestern side of the galactic center, but they're one of the major players over there.


There's also a bunch of other civilizations that we have very little interaction with, some quite large. But neither the Hazar nor the Arimathi are willing to let our ships through (we asked) so for practical purposes they're out of reach.

I'd like some additional charts in the contacts tab to parse out the relationships more easily, but right now our neighbors are the only practical interactions to worry about. Besides, we've got a different project that's occupying our time right now. See that mollusc-like critter in the corner there, the Alvothari? Isn't it cute? We're going to be uplifting its species to sapience.

Yes, our colonization efforts have put us in position to bring another species to the stars.
 

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Making Our Own Friends


Though we've never attempted to modify a species this radically, our gene tech is fairly advanced. Project Uplift Cute Slugs lives up to its slick promises. The Alvothari are ready to step out onto the galactic stage.

Uplifting new species is easy!



Well, maybe not so easy for them. Our culture evolved through millennia of nomadic conflict in the great dune seas of our homeworld. They're a newly-sapient species that more at home in damp, tropical jungles. There's some friction along the way.



Turns out that raising a newly sapient species is a lot like raising a child in Crusader Kings 2, though not as many people get pushed off of balconies along the way. They listen when we tell them about how meeting new aliens is exciting, though some of them quietly disagree.


The galaxy as it stands today is a crowded place; the past hundred years have seen many young civilizations rise to take part in the grand quadrille that is being danced across the galactic stage. We're pushing north, into that void around the Inari Progenitors. There's a ton of unclaimed arid planets up there, and quite a few tropical ones for our new little buddies, and we'd rather grab them before someone else claims them.


The Coordinator hands off the new colonies to the growing sector sooner than the Central Management Council would prefer, because our central bureaucracy can only manage so much at a time.

That red circle up against the Aramathi Confederacy is the Alvothari homeworld. There's two colonies there: the growing Alvothari society, and our Adnorian colony on the next planet over, there to monitor them and ease them into larger society.

Hopefully, being next to the Aramathi border won't become a problem in the future.


When we uplifted the Alvothari, we placed a priority on making them charismatic and ensuring that other species would like them. Since they'll have to live in the context of our grand coalition of xenophilic aliens, that seemed like a wise thing to do. We don't have any other nearby molluscoids around, so they'll have to get along with many different species.


Meanwhile, there's trouble at the opposite end of the commonwealth: one of the pre-warp planets we've been observing has become a hideout for smugglers. Fortunately, we still have the army we trained in the last war, and they're eager to see some actual action.

We manage to evict them with minimal cultural contamination.


The empty space around Inari territory has a lot of hostile phenomena. One of our science ships actually got a bit trapped out there, having trouble getting by the hazards to return home. So we sent the fleet out to clean things up a bit and take care of the weird threats and abandoned robotic mining drones that have been attacking innocent people.

These void clouds are some of the strongest, and one of the last to be addressed.


The might of the 5th Armada. We believe that pacifism should speak softly and carry a big stick, and maybe a tea chest.


They can attack us from great range, but we've studied their kind before. We've even developed tech based on it. The battle is short but decisive.


One of our captains was promoted to admiral as a result of their actions in the void battle.


Our science ships are still encountering a few anomalies in the territory that the fleet has cleared out, in places we weren't able to get to before.

On the left there is the homeworld of our uplifted cute slugs. We're encouraging them to do most of the development themselves, and anyway we have a strict policy against forcible relocation. So we're not going to evict them, and we're not going to move any of our people in, except for those who migrate voluntarily.

Which, admittedly, is something that a xenophilic species who have a chance to see newly uplifted cute alien slugs up close might just do in droves.
 

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More Friends, More Problems

The Glost-Werheni are a bunch of pre-sapient fuzzy monkey things from Epsilon Indi, which is inside our borders. The Serene Council decided to wait for better gene tech before we tried to uplift them. Plus, we needed a lot of resources to get the Alvothari established. But now that we have the new technology and the Alvothari colony ships are starting to spread out in the empty, tropical-planet-rich region, we can turn our attention to our second uplift project.

Before we finish it, though, the genemod tech gets put to another use...

Indig's Refuge is in the southwest side of our commonwealth, settled a long time ago. You'll recall it was one of the two systems we were trying to build up before spinning them off into the westernmost sector. The colonists struggled bravely to keep our traditional ways going in a very moist world, but generations later some of them have embraced our new genetic modification ability.


We're getting good at this uplift thing. We can make our own alien friends! These ones can live on the colder worlds that we don't like, so there's lots of room within our territory for them to eventually expand into.


Meanwhile, we've found a primitive, atomic-age civilization on the far north rim of the galaxy, near our new colonies. We establish an outpost to monitor them. They seem nice enough potential neighbors, but we'll wait and see if they can get through their current crises without mutually assured destruction. We're pacifists, not saviors.


The super-Adnorian rhetoric of superiority is causing conflict; violent conflict. This is exactly the kind of thing that the bureaucracy was designed to prevent, but the crisis of ourselves becoming aliens is too much for some of the inhabitants of Indig's Refuge.

We're pacifists, but we're also individualists. Not to mention that the colonists who left Immuth were generally less pacifist than those who stayed. Some of the extremist groups aren't too happy about being replaced by people who are better at living on their home planet. The Super-Adnorans, perhaps as a reaction to this, are also noticeably less peaceful than the baseline Adnoran population.

The Coodinator decides to send a colony of the Super-Adnorans to a tropical planet on the west side of the new colonial expansions. I don't know if it will help in the long run, but maybe it can defuse some of the tensions.


At Daxush, that atomic-age planet, one of the countries detected our shuttle as a UFO and shot it down. They haven't figured out what it is yet, so the nearest scientific ship was sent to retrieve the survivors and cover up the incident, hopefully without alerting the natives that there were aliens present.

Aside from some relatively minor incidents like that, things are going pretty swimmingly. The colonization is a bit more hands-off than the Council would prefer, but the Coordinator has decide that it's a tradeoff we need to make. So current protocol is to hand them over to the local sectors quickly, speeding up the process of claiming territory.

That was just before the next elections, but if anything the new Coordinator is even more enthusiastic about colonizing the northern border. Meet our new leader:



Unless Hazar or the Aramathi Confederation wants to start something, we're due for a long period of calm progress. A bit boring really.



And then our reclusive, hyper-advanced neighbors ring the doorbell.
 

volksmarschall

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Your game seems to be exciting and action-packed! Well, it looks like a great and magnificent war will break out soon...

Cheers!
 

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In Defiance of the Gods

Well, now we know why there was a big empty space around the Inari Progenitors.


This is what our northern colonies look like now. The empty space has been filled with nice Adnorian red, but apparently the Inari think that having an actual border with someone is tantamount to living in an apartment with cheap walls.

The problem with the demands from the Inari is that they want us to abandon the six colonies that are in that zone. Which includes every single one of our cute Alvothari slug children. Not to mention the Super-Adnorian colony. If it was just a matter of our own colonies, we'd probably curl up in a ball and burrow under a sanddune, which is what our primal instincts tell us is the right response when the shadow of the vulture passes over you. But we can't abandon the Alvothari.



We start researching better tech right away, because better telescopes are only going to tell us when they're coming. Fortunately peace has left us with thousands of minerals in reserve, so our fleet gets expanded quickly, and the distant detachments are ordered closer to home. It'll take them awhile, since some of them are desperately in need of a warp drive upgrade, but they'll be ready.


The Super-Adnorians are pursuing their own plans.

The uplift had some side-effects on the Glost-Wergeni, altering their phenotype a bit. They're now weird hairless monkey-things. Not as cute as they were originally, but smarter and hardier. They'll probably be good additions to our growing commonwealth.

They may never be as popular with others as our cute slug Alvothari are, but we like them anyway.



See what I mean? Weird mammals. They don't even have things that look like proper spikes.

Meanwhile, our shipyards are busy constructing what we can afford. The newly-developed battleship-sized craft turn out to be shockingly expensive, and it's the general opinion of the bureaucracy that peace is much cheaper than war. Our accountants say so. All this buildup is costly, and we're not even sure what we'll be facing.

Still, it's been awhile since the Inari actually did anything. Not just that they haven't done anything since threatening us. But they've been spacefaring for longer than we've had a civilization, and its been thousands of years since they left their little cubbyhole. Maybe that was just an empty threat?



I guess not.
 

InfiniteGremlin

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So let's look at that map again:



That's a lot of border to defend. Fortunately, the main expeditionary fleet is already in the area, with firepower in the 6K+ range.



The first Inari fleet is detected in a border system, at Ponnel. Ponnel isn't important. It doesn't even have a colony, just some mining stations. There's minimal risk in engaging them there.

And they only have 3K firepower! This is going to be easy! The expeditionary fleet is dispatched to deal with them, while the newly-built home fleet upgrades some of the older ships that were sitting around from the last war.

We have to set war aims. Our allies push for liberating multiple planets, and for the Inari to cede us control of one of them. The Inari all have weird names like "Trade District" or "Industrial District". We figure that after a few thousand years they got really, really organized with their planetary development.

The Coordinator talks our allies down to just demanding the liberation of one planet. This is a defensive war, and we'd rather win it and walk away with our colonies, rather than try to overreach and lose.

Astonishingly, It's looking like we might have a chance. Our frontier fleet converges on the Inari's last known position.

Then alarms go off in Holdebanna, which is south of our capital and very, very far from the front lines.


Where did all those battlecruisers come from???

And then the homeworld traffic alarms go off.


Turns out that the first fleet we spotted was just a supply detachment. The Inari have multiple superfleets, all of which are descending on our core territory. Voon, Holdebanna, and worst of all our home in Immuthor are being invaded simultaneously with entire fleets of the biggest ships we've ever seen.
 

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Twilight of the Alvothari

You want to know why the Inari planets have weird names? It's because they're not planets:



They Inari have spent the past few thousand years on their two ringworlds, each of which has more surface area than our entire sprawling commonwealth.

We believe that it is to our credit that this discovery sparks grim resignation rather than outright despair. This confirms our beliefs that war, even a defensive war, is a wasteful and tragic endeavor.

The home fleet puts up a valiant fight, but they're blown away without even scratching the Inari fleet.



The expeditionary force is racing back to the core worlds, for all the good it'll do, but their engines are outdated and it takes far too long before they arrive. The Inari defeat our fleets separately and thoroughly.

Many of our oldest starports are destroyed, and Trijam falls despite our best efforts to intercept the troop transports with what remains of the combined fleet. The genetically enhanced Inari shock troops march through the city streets on Bontargi's Citadel, and they're preparing to land on Immuth.

There's not much more we can do. We can keep fighting, but at terrible cost and for little gain.



It's going to take a year or more to get an Alvothari slug colony ship built, in a desperate bid to ship some of them out of the conflict zone. We don't want to forcibly relocate them, and they don't want to leave their homeworld.

This is goodbye.
 

InfiniteGremlin

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The war is over. We lost.



Well, at least the Inari aren't gloating about--



Well, at least they are willing to leave our defeat at--



Sigh.



Here's the aftermath. They let us keep the frontier outposts--the Council suspects they were beneath their notice--and the colonies far to the east were apparently far enough outside of the zone of exclusion that they were left untouched.

But all of the inhabited colonies are gone. The buildings are still there, but the people are no more.

For a while, some held out hope that a few Alvothari might have made it outside the zone, but they didn't like to migrate that much. They were much less nomadic than our desert forebearers. While a handful might have escaped, there are far too few for an effective breeding population, especially for such a young species.

There will be no more Alvothari. The galaxy is an emptier place without them.
 

Rapop101

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Great aar, have been enjoying it
Those stupid space penguins and there personal space syndrome gone too far. The hedgehogs will rise again and wipe out the pitiful penguins.
Also the Alvothari haven't been wiped out right? If they have its a sad sad day
 

InfiniteGremlin

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After the war there was an extensive effort to find any Alvothari who managed to escape the wrath of the Inari. The search was unsuccessful: as far as we know, no surviving Alvothari are left in the galaxy.

Most species would find that losing a war against hyperadvanced progenitor aliens a real downer. The Adnorians would like to state for the record that they are no exception.



The humiliation of defeat and the loss of our colonies has caused the bureaucracy's influence to plummet. After the assassination of our previous coordinator, the new administration is having trouble establishing their legitimacy. There isn't a lot of open protest, since that's not our way, but the council's decision to keep the frontier outposts active has tied up a lot of bureaucratic resources. Our merit-based system of leadership selection isn't getting the attention it needs.



We do meet some new friends! (The sound effect when you meet these guys is great!)



The resources that we do have are being poured into research. We now know how far behind we are in technology. We don't even have point defense weapons, or decent shields.

We were comparing ourselves to our fellow travellers, but we've now seen the might of the gods. And in our methodical, plodding way we are quietly forging the weapons to defy them.

We'll bury them in paperwork if we have to.


Our next problem is that we're short on cash.

Rebuilding from the war was expensive, and the new fleet we're constructing isn't cheap. The upkeep on everything we're trying to hold on to is exorbitant. This is a long term problem. We made a couple of quick deals to exchange our excess minerals for energy (it's nice to have friends, or at least weird aliens who are willing to make deals). That covers most of the gap for the moment, giving us some breathing room. The council shifted the sector priorities and hopefully a gradual upgrade of our financial base will stabilize us in the long-term.


We're keeping our secret military experiments under wraps for now; the colonies are less pacifist than the homeworld, but the military still isn't super popular. Still, if it lets us challenge the gods who struck down our cute slug children there's a lot of main-bazzar support.

Just don't tell anyone about the clone army experiment.



The generation that coordinated our organization during the war is getting older. Coordinator Linntyl worked hard to uphold Coordinator Veltassa's visions, but the worlds have changed.


Tetran has naval experience. Tetran fought in the war. Tetran is fully on board with the plan for revenge.

Tetran is a bit of a pacifist war hero. Turns out that leading the fleet in a defensive war can win you elections, even among pacifists.



Not that our domestic troubles have gone away. The Super-Adnorans have been advocating for succession as the conflicts on Indig's Refuge continue.


The problems with the bureaucracy's influence have affected our merit-based leadership mentoring programs. Tetran wasn't just a pacifist war hero. Tetran was one of the few individuals with leadership experience, despite his age. Choices in these last few elections have been slim, due to the shortage of younger active leaders.

Unlike Tetran, Darmug is a believer in Veltassa's visions for our future. For practical purposes, that means expanding into new planets. Fortunately, our research has opened up new, colder planets for colonization in our presently controlled systems, and the Glost-Wergeni are perfectly suited to colonize them. They're native to the tundra, but we needed to develop the tech to send with them.

We're making sure to send Glost-Wergeni colonists to planets that are spread out across the Commonwealth. We don't ever want to repeat the tragedy of the Alvothari.

There's a couple of tropical planets that the Super-Adnorans can go to, but most of the prime candidates are our abandoned colonies in the Inari Exclusion Zone. We make a point of sending some of them to continental planets, which they like almost as much, and that baseline Adnorans really can't stand. All that dampness gets under your spines.

Despite the risks, Darmug also authorizes two colonies close to the edge of the Zone. Hopefully they're far enough away that the Inari will see it as being beneath themselves to bother mentioning them.



Remember that purple-striped theocracy? The Photecian Covenant? Out of the entire galaxy, they're the ones who hate us the most. They've been sending us insulting messages. Darmug hasn't bothered to respond, because a tiny principality on our southern border isn't a priority and the Hazar are still their protectors. We'd rather not tangle with the Hazar, since at this point they have the largest territory in the galaxy and as mostly-pacifists there's not much for us to gain.



The Nharr, on the other hand, don't mind us. The Combine is a successor state to one of the Nharr regimes. We really haven't been keeping track, since interfering with other civilizations is more of a Reyubb thing.


Meanwhile, we now have the technology to build space fortresses.



I don't know if it would have made a difference against the Inari, since they swept aside our fleets like they didn't exist, but homeworld feels a lot safer now.

So, we're slowly recovering from our tragic defeat. We have dreams of someday reclaiming the Exclusion Zone and turning it into a memorial for our lost Alvothari.

The Serene Adnorian Commonwealth controls a huge swath across the galaxy, anchored at one end by the Exclusion Zone, and on the other by the galactic rim. The civilizations behind us are our deep allies, with centuries of mutual trust and exchange. We even have a significant minority of Jibru citizens who migrated here due to our open borders policies; they share our nomadic tendencies. They can fully participate in the Serene Bureaucracy if they want: we instituted that policy for the benefit of the Alvothari, but it was intentionally non-discriminatory.

The Aramathi and the Hazar are the two major players near our borders. The Aramathi have divided into subfactions and seem more interested in their mutual disagreements than in challenging us. Possibly because challenging us means they'd have to move into the Exclusion Zone.

The small part of our territory that was on the far side of the Exclusion Zone is organized as its own sector. It's well defended, but I'm not worried about the Aramathi invading it either. You see, while it's close to Aramathi space, it's even closer to the Zik-Mok Primacy, a Fallen Empire that we've had very little contact with (and would prefer to keep it that way).

The Hazar are much more unified, but we haven't had much trouble with them. If they decided to challenge us it might get ugly, but so far neither side has had much conflict.

So, despite all of the rebuilding challenges, things are going fairly well for us. The Adnorains look to the future with hope again, turning our faces to the distant stars that have become the many new homes for our wandering species.


Oh great.
 

InfiniteGremlin

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Bad things are coming.

Fortunately for us, while we never expected this impending crisis, we've literally spent an entire generation forging the weapons we need to tear the aloof rulers of the heavens from their thrones. We not be ready for that yet, but we have the most advanced fleet on this side of the galaxy.

I'm afraid that we might need it.



Before the encroaching storm hits, these aliens have been zipping around our systems, though they don't bother to stop and say hi. We sent some ships after them, but they were too fast for us to catch.



The Inari, annoying downstairs neighbors that they are, leave a note on our door.

We acquiescence, since we now have much more immediate problems to worry about.

Whatever is coming, it's going to go through Ozkox space first.



We activate the home fleet and send them toward the invasion. The ships from elsewhere in the Commonwealth are sent to homeworld, to shore up the defenses.




Admiral Rhass is leading an armada of 240 ships, including 17 of our latest battleships. Our military tech still has a few weird gaps, and our research is progressing fast enough that even our latest ships are a bit behind the times. But it's a force five times stronger than anything else we've ever fielded.



Before the intrusion occurs, we run into another problem: fleets on active duty are super expensive to keep running.

The Serene Bureaucratic Council quickly authorizes directing the remaining resources to upgrading starports and installing solar farms in the hopes that it'll reduce the cost of supporting the fleet and increase our energy income to it's not as far in the red. Sector governors are instructed to focus on producing as much energy as possible, and the central tribute is increased to support the war effort.

It's the Space Mongols! They're here!


Negotiations didn't really fail, as such. It's more like they never took place, since they started shooting at us instead.



The massive 4th Armada warps into the Ozkox system of Borbagon, and Admiral Rhass prepares to confront the invaders.

The initial engagement was decisive. Those ships were small and there were only a handful of them.



But don't get cocky. We may have defeated these ships handily, but they were just a scouting vanguard in one system. The bulk of the invasion is still on its way.


The Battle of Borbagon


Borbagon was a fairly minor Ozkox system, and the spaceport had already been destroyed by the time our fleet had arrived.


Their main fleet dropped, a host of vast demons. Their swarm is nearly as big as the Inari fleet that overran our homeworld.


But we've been building godkillers.

It was a hard-fought battle, but we had very few casualties on our side and managed to wipe out this fleet.

It is, alas, not their only fleet: we can only be in one place at a time, and the invaders have sent other fleets, as big as this one was or bigger. But we've prevented them from gaining a foothold in Borbagon, protected a portion of Ozkox space, and kept the fight far away from our own territory.



During the battle, these dudes poked their heads in, and then took off again. No idea what their game is.

In the aftermath of the battle, our science ships were sent to research the debris from the ships destroyed in the battle. The fleet withdrew to Markaz to repair.
 

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Wow, this has been great. I read it all today. Very interesting take starting the AAR once you developed the Space Hedgehogs and found allies and a federation. So many highs and lows.

The Alvothari must be avenged. That Stagnant Ascendancy simply wiped them off the face of existence. Perhaps this technology from the far beyond may aid in giving you even more potent god killer weapons.