Micro-TAR: Who Let the Bugs Out?

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ZedF
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Micro-TAR: Who Let the Bugs Out?

Post by ZedF » Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:49 pm

Game creation overview:

89 star custom (double-helix), 100/100 econ, 200% randoms.
6 players, Difficult AIs, Alliances on.
- 3x Zuul each start with 2 planets, 0 tech, $1M
- 2x Tarka each start with 3 planets, 6 tech, $1M
- Hiver (player) starts with 1 planet, 0 tech, $2M

Variant rules:
A) Military leadership is direct & unsubtle. Focus on Tenacity!
- Colonies must always have 10+ defenders and/or sats
- Ships move only via CtA/Standoff/Pursue/Stop commands
- Ships may not withdraw to back line or retreat
B) Other variant rules may be revealed during play.

To be updated on an irregular basis.
Last edited by ZedF on Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

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Re: Micro-TAR: Who Let the Bugs Out?

Post by ZedF » Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:50 pm

You want to know what happened?

Ok. I guess I can tell you. You don't smell bad. Not like... well I'll get to that.

Where should I start?

I guess the best place would be when we decided it would be a good idea to leave home for the first time. Home is a nice place. It smells good and is safe. I have lots of friends there. But it was getting too crowded.

So some of us left. We didn't know what we would find. At first it seemed like it might have been a mistake. It took a long time to find new places to live. Even when we found some, all the nearest of them to home did not seem so nice. Some were big enough but we were not happy living there. One was a little better, but was too small and would not hold many of us. Some of us tried to make a new home in one of these places, but many more kept looking for someplace better. Someplace that smelled more like home.

It took even longer, but eventually we started to find new, better places to live. And those places where we lived, they became ours, and we made them safe. We built ships-that-call-to-home, and let our friends come visit. We built other ships that protect us from bad things, and made sure we always had several of them near our homes. It was very important to us that our homes be safe.

And there were things that our homes needed to be protected from. Whenever we met new things, we would always stay and find out if they were bad things. Some of the new things we met were bad things, but they stayed still. Some of them were bad things that moved from place to place; most of these called themselves 'Zuul.' Some of the new things were sometimes bad and sometimes not-bad; most of these called themselves 'Tarka.' But there was more than one group of each of these Zuul and Tarka, and sometimes it was hard to tell which was bad and which was not-bad.

When we started, things seemed simple; we were just looking for more places to live. Suddenly things had gotten complicated.

So we tried to learn some new tricks. We made our ships a bit faster. We got better at building more ships to defend our homes. We got better at making our homes nice and clean-smelling. We got some pretty green lasers to put on our ships. We even built a leader ship to help the others fight bad things.

We also learned how to talk to the Tarka and the Zuul.

They are very strange. They are very smart about some things. They know many more tricks than us. Many of these new tricks are useful, like even faster ships and bigger ones too. But they know other tricks too, some of which don't seem as useful. And sometimes, when they talk, they use words we know in ways that don't make sense. Especially when they are talking about the tricks they know. Many of their tricks are hard to understand.

Some of them can sometimes be not-bad. We always try to be friendly with these ones. But other times many of them are bad, especially the Zuul. Even the Tarka who seem not-bad at first often become bad after staying in one place for a while. They are very confusing.

Those of us that look for new homes have met the Tarka and Zuul many times during their searches. Sometimes they fight and win, sometimes they fight and lose. Sometimes they can avoid fighting in the first place. We accept that not everything will always go well for our searchers. Searching for new homes is not always safe.

But when we do find and make a new home, we make it safe. We have several homes now. Twice so far, we have defended our new homes from swarms of small things and their mother. Twice so far, we have succeeded. The Tarka and the Zuul have not yet tried very hard to hurt our homes, or our ships-that-call-to-home, other than our searchers. But they might. If they do, they will bring their tricks with them.

We will be as ready as we can be. We will defend our homes and our ships-that-call-to-home from everything that might try to hurt them, whether they seem bad or not.
Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

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Re: Micro-TAR: Who Let the Bugs Out?

Post by ZedF » Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:13 am

Here's a map to show what's where... approximately, at least.

Image
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Last edited by ZedF on Fri Aug 13, 2010 2:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

Strategy & Tactics Forum Archive -- More posts on strategy, tactics, and TARs

Arm
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Re: Micro-TAR: Who Let the Bugs Out?

Post by Arm » Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:17 pm

:thumbsup: This looks to be interesting, especially the no-fancy-maneuvering rule. Are you going to allow manual weapons targeting?

Plus if I read that map correctly you're right in the middle of everyone else (:

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Re: Micro-TAR: Who Let the Bugs Out?

Post by ZedF » Thu Apr 22, 2010 3:05 pm

Yup, I can still pick targets, and create initial formations. My ships won't stay in formation long, mind, but at least I don't have to start with the CnC in front. ;)

I'm mostly in the middle of one of the two strands of the double-helix, with a Zuul and a Tarka to either side on the same helix chain. At this point in the picture my gates are just now arriving at points in the middle of the opposite helix chain. It's actually kinda hard to get a good visual understanding of the map without being able to see it in 3D, but if you imagine a short piece of DNA, picture my empire about halfway down one of the two strands and you'd be about right.

And yes, this means interesting times are likely ahead. The Zuul are of course inherently hostile and likely to form a Zuulmass once they get sufficiently in contact with one another. The Tarka will likely ally with one another but are notoriously hard to negotiate with otherwise; unlike the Liir, for instance, they tend to view a ceasefire as 'let's pause for a moment while I reach for a bigger stick' rather than as a prelude to a more lasting peace, and won't hesitate to break the treaty and attack once they have one to hand. Thus, xenotech is still an expensive investment with an uncertain return at this point in the game.

So I should expect to be on a war footing with everyone, at least until I can convince the Tarka that it's better to concentrate on the Zuul threat than to try to take territory from me. Since the Tarka are still ranked #1 and #2 overall in power, and mainly respect strength, it will take a lot of convincing to demonstrate that they can't just roll over whoever they feel like. Moreover, given that their natural hazard rating is much closer to mine than it is to the Zuul, their preferred target for expansion to start with is likely to be me...

I expected a fairly tough game, all things considered, given my variant restrictions and opposition. Moreover, I didn't get a great start but the Tarka apparently did; I'm #3 ranked as of turn 50, but the Tarka each have a fair number of worlds and have been better able to keep up with my rate of expansion than usual. So this may turn out to be a bit tougher than I expected. I'll certainly try to persevere, regardless. :)
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Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

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Re: Micro-TAR: Who Let the Bugs Out?

Post by ZedF » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:40 pm

Sorry for not being in touch. I have been busy.

You still want to know more about what happened?

Let me see... you still do not smell bad.

Sorry if that seems unfriendly. I had to check. Friendly people are hard to find away from our homes now. I had to make sure you were still one.

As I said, I have been busy. We all have been. This is because all the not-bad Tarka have gone away. Now whenever we meet Tarka, it is with the bad ones.

We are meeting them more often. And not just with our searching groups. The bad Tarka have been trying to take our homes away. And the bad Zuul too.

They try often, and hard. Making our homes safe is not easy. There are five different groups of Tarka and Zuul, and all five of them are trying to take our homes away.

So far we have kept our homes safe. But it has cost us many defense ships. And it has cost the lives of many nice people who live in our homes. Every time the bad Tarka and Zuul come, the first thing they do is destroy our ship-that-calls-to-home. And while they are doing that, they attack our homes themselves.

Our defense ships would like to stop them from doing this. But there are always too many of them. Many times they have had more ships fighting than we do, even when we brought many defenders. Our ships had no chance to defend our home. Instead they had to hunt down the enemy leader ships and hurt them. Many times they had to go far from our homes in order to find the enemy leader ships. Only once the enemy leader ships were all gone, could our own ships fight the enemy ships.

One time, we almost lost one of our homes. We thought 80 of our ships would be enough. The bad Tarka brought only 36 ships. But their ships were bigger, and their leaders were bigger, and they had new tricks. Their weapons were very strong and could hurt our defending ships easily. Their armour deflected our green lasers. It even deflected our new purple lasers. We were very upset.

We tried to hurt the enemy leader ships, but the bad Tarka had very many of them. By the time we had hurt all of them, we had only 10 purple laser ships left, and the Tarka still had many big ships. Even without enemy leader ships, we did not think our home would survive. We were very sad.

Image

We decided that our home could not survive without help, so we made a new ship-that-calls-to-home. We hoped we could protect it until more help could come. We were very lucky then. The bad Tarka were leaderless and confused, and some of their ships did not want to fight any more. We killed a couple of the bad Tarka ships that still wanted to fight, then for a moment there were only ships that did not want to fight. And we agreed not to fight for the rest of that battle. This let our ship-that-calls-to-home bring more help to save our home.

We were very relieved!

But we knew that we could no longer rely only on small ships for defending our homes. We needed to learn some of the tricks the bad Tarka and Zuul knew. Most importantly, we needed to learn how to build bigger ships.

It took time, but we learned. Now we have bigger ships. We have bigger leader ships. We have a new yellow laser that does not get deflected. And we have a new ship that helps fix our other ships when they get hurt.

Image

But we have not been able to learn some of these other tricks the bad Tarka and Zuul have used. They have deflecting armour. They have small red lasers that shoot very fast. They have green energy cannons and chasing energy balls. They have guns that shoot many bullets quickly. And they have very large orange lasers that shoot very far.

Some of these tricks, we think we can learn. Others are a complete mystery. But our new repair ships look after every fight to see if there are more tricks we can one day learn. Already we are studying one new trick this way.

Still, it takes a long time to learn new tricks. And a lot of effort. We have spent a lot of effort on building freighters. We are spending a lot more effort on protecting our homes -- especially since we are having to fight every group of bad Tarka and Zuul all at once. It seems as though every year we are fighting to defend our homes from some bad Tarka or Zuul, somewhere. We do not have as much effort to spare for learning new tricks as we would like.

We are running out of new freighters to build, and new homes to make. For any new world our searchers would like to visit now, they would need some of our defenders to help them survive the search. So we do not even have any searchers out looking for new homes right now. We have been focusing on defending what we already have.

Even that may be too much of a strain on our ability to build more defenders. Some of us think it might be good to abandon some of our homes that are far from our most important homes, so we have fewer bad groups to fight at once. But our ships-that-call-to-home work best when there are more of them. And maybe we can learn more new tricks fighting more enemies.

It is hard to say what would be best. But one thing remains true. Wherever our homes are, any bad Tarka or Zuul that wants to take them away should be ready for a hard fight. We will not give in easily.

Image
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Last edited by ZedF on Fri Aug 13, 2010 2:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

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ZedF
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Re: Micro-TAR: Who Let the Bugs Out?

Post by ZedF » Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:16 pm

Deep scan = political map is now useful! :)

Image

Also, fighting stormer using enemies without polysilicate is painful. Ow, ow, ow! :P

Hopefully, someone is reading and enjoying this. All comments welcome! :D
Last edited by ZedF on Fri Aug 13, 2010 2:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

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Re: Micro-TAR: Who Let the Bugs Out?

Post by DervMan » Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:56 pm

Yeah, we're still reading this! ;)
Image

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Re: Micro-TAR: Who Let the Bugs Out?

Post by Arm » Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:10 am

Is it just me or does dark green look like Max?

Also, why particle beam over a medium mount weapon, say MD/APMDs? Hiver CRs only have one large mount after all.

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Re: Micro-TAR: Who Let the Bugs Out?

Post by ZedF » Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:59 am

Arm wrote:Also, why particle beam over a medium mount weapon, say MD/APMDs? Hiver CRs only have one large mount after all.

Now that is a good question! :mrgreen:

If you care to look a little more closely at what I've shown so far in this thread, you may find the answer. ;)

One hint -- regular mass drivers would not be suitable. I know the Tarka have highly reflective armour and a 100% chance to get Poly through Tarka Living Steel. But I researched them anyway, after I got UV lasers (which are slightly harder to deflect, and have better range and DPS.)
Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

Strategy & Tactics Forum Archive -- More posts on strategy, tactics, and TARs

Arm
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Re: Micro-TAR: Who Let the Bugs Out?

Post by Arm » Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:35 pm

Hmm, I'm guessing it's because particle beam takes about 1/3 the time to research than APMD, plus mass drivers probably won't be good enough in the interim. Also, you've got war sections with two heavy mounts, so that's a plus for particle beam too.

Either that, or the randomiser decided to be particularly nasty today. (:

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Re: Micro-TAR: Who Let the Bugs Out?

Post by ZedF » Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:40 pm

The latter guess is closer... :twisted:
Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

Strategy & Tactics Forum Archive -- More posts on strategy, tactics, and TARs

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Re: Micro-TAR: Who Let the Bugs Out?

Post by ZedF » Thu Apr 29, 2010 5:44 pm

Sorry, no pics just yet; I'll see what I can dredge up when I get home!



Excerpted from the Encyclopedia Galactica, Volume MCMLXXXIV, Issue 2001

"A Brief History of the Kappa Draconis Sector: The Six Principalities Era"
Time Reference: SPE+90 to SPE+112


.... During the Age of Strife, tensions between the various polities that had come to power in the sector remained at a high level. The oligarchical Angels of Sardo Kal and the military dictatorship headed by Lan Mak'Kona maintained cordial relations with one another, if not friendly ones, but otherwise every nation-state remained on a war footing with every other one. Of particular note, was that the splinter Hiver clan known as the Bountiful Children remained under constant military pressure from each of the other empires, by virtue of both its position and its policies.

The reasons for the constant skirmishing varied, as did each empire's approach to the continual conflict. The Zuul empires of the Faithful and the Devoted occupied relatively small volumes of territory, with few worlds suitable for their form of life. In each of these cases, their goal was simple survival, with the hope of eventually being able to be in a position to compete with the other empires on a more equal footing. As a result, their attacks on neighboring empires were more sporadic, and they focused more of their effort on trying to expand to areas that might not already be occupied by their rivals.

The Zuul empire of the Servants, in contrast, had been able to claim a greater volume of space, and were more financially solvent as a result. This allowed them to mount serious attacks more frequently, mostly against their immediate neighbors, the Angels of Sardo Kal and the Bountiful Children. It also allowed them to mostly keep pace with the state of the art in military technology and design, though they were clearly following the pace set by others rather than leading it themselves.

For the Zuul empires, seeking conquest was a natural state of affairs; it had been bred into their natures. The twin Tarka empires also sought conquest, but their motives were less primorial, and centered in theory on preservation of their species and way of life from external threats. In practice, however, their military policies were just as bloodthirsty and expansionistic as the Zuul were, save only that each Tarka empire was willing to tolerate the existence of the other, reserving their ire primarily for those not of their own species.

The Tarka empires in general, and the Angels of Sardo Kal in particular, were the trendsetters in the Kappa Draconis sector. They had found more fortune during earlier years of expansion, and it had paid off for them in terms of the number of colonies on habitable worlds they had founded and in terms of their overall economic strength. A relatively large percentage of that economic strength went to further enhancing their technological and military advantages. They were not very interested in such niceties as commerce, but their warships were inarguably the most advanced in the sector and they had many effective tools at their disposal to make life unpleasant for their enemies. By SPE+112, the Angels of Sardo Kal had completed field trials on their first Dreadnoughts, and were undergoing prototype development on their command variants. On paper, their military force was second to none.

Despite these advantages, they had thus far failed to make more than a temporary impression on the extent of space claimed by the Bountiful Children, their nearest rival for military supremacy. To understand this one must understand the different approach taken to war by this splinter Hiver clan.

At the time, the Bountiful Children were not what one would call a clever race. Their initial colony in the sector had been derived from the offspring of a single renegade Hiver princess and her singluar consort. Neither of these would have been considered brilliant in their own right, and the relative lack of genetic diversity among their progeny did little to improve the intelligence of their offspring. They could not keep pace with the Tarka military juggernaut in terms of technological advancement. They were the last race in the sector to develop cruiser hulls. By SPE+112, when the Tarka were starting to dive deeply into Dreadnought production technologies, the Bountiful Children had just completed prototype work on their first Fusion power plants; again, the Hivers were the last principality in the sector to migrate to fusion power by a large margin.

Moreover, their technological development also suffered from a marked lack of creativity. There were many avenues of technological investigation that other empires in the sector nearly took for granted, that the Bountiful Children failed to consider time and again. Only the most basic necessities of space travel and warfare seemed to percolate through the collective consciousness of their research and development community. Despite repeated battles where their ships took heavy pounding from enemy rapid-fire light weapons, they were unable to come up with better protection for their ships. Point defense remained a mystery despite heavy missile bombardment. And even when their own best offensive weapons were rendered partially ineffective by enemy reflective armour and disruptor shields, their responses to these weapons remained tactical in nature rather than scientific.

Despite these disavdantages, and their many enemies, the Bountiful Children had thus far prospered, due in large part to their single-mindedness, tenacity, and a propensity to recognize their occasional moments of insight, and implement them quickly and thoroughly. As much as possible, expediency, rather than politics, guided their decision-making. As an example, they were the only polity to consider the idea of an interstellar trade network, and then follow through with a thoroughly successful implementation; other empires treated the concept as no more than a passing fad, to be pre-empted in favour of purely military construction. They had also had military success with a single-minded tactical focus on the elimination of enemy command-and-control vessels as a priority before all else, while other races allowed their warship crews considerably more latitude in target selection.

Where the other races sought conquest by bringing warfare to the enemy, the Bountiful Children were content to simply defend; they had too many enemies to undertake large offensive sorties despite their large (if underequipped) navy. But this did not mean they did not seek to elevate the status of their race; they just went about it differently. Rather than attacking enemy planets directly, they instead sought to occupy every possible planet that was not already colonized by another race, and hold onto it. This approach was necessitated both by the technological basis for their travel method, and by a desire to restrict the development of other races' economies, in addition to the obvious potential benefits in terms of expanding their own economy. Thus, where other races concentrated on technical superiority on the battlefield, the Bountiful Children focused instead on the economic underpinnings of that technology, by way of relatively peaceful but none-the-less rabid expansionism.

Of course, the other races recognized this passive-aggressive form of imperialism for what it was, and so continued hostilities even though the Bountiful Children could and did claim that they were not interested in attacking anyone and sought only peaceful coexistence. Accordingly, the other empires kept up military pressure on the Bountiful Children, in order to slow the latter's efforts to develop an economic stranglehold on the sector. As a result, despite the best efforts of the Bountiful Children military and scientific leaders, the technical gap between the Hiver warships and their opponents' continued to grow faster than the Children's ability to build increasingly large fleets for five fronts at once. Even the most strongly held systems like Xhokotis remained constantly at risk that a large enough strike, from more than one enemy at a time, could depopulate the system.

Still, with the translation of the Tarka Gutter Dialect and the advent of Fusion technology, there appeared hope for the first time that a peaceful resolution to the thus far unending conflict might be found -- at least with the Tarka. Some Bountiful Children scholars believed that the Tarka might be placated with an offer to share the fruits of their economic strength, in the form of what others might call bribes, or weregild. Others considered that new classes of vessels might be constructed, in order to put a better face on the Children's desire for peace and fellowship with their neighbors, while continuing to play down accusations of economic imperialism....
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Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

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Re: Micro-TAR: Who Let the Bugs Out?

Post by ZedF » Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:00 am

This can't be good.....


Image


The rules are, no fancy maneuvering. So, the defenders stay in one group on close to attack, moving toward the first enemy formation they see, dealing with the biggest threat first. (Using the defense manager to split the defenders up would seem contrary to the spirit of the variant.)


Image


Meanwhile...


Image
Last edited by ZedF on Fri Aug 13, 2010 2:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

Strategy & Tactics Forum Archive -- More posts on strategy, tactics, and TARs

ZedF
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Re: Micro-TAR: Who Let the Bugs Out?

Post by ZedF » Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:51 pm

I had never thought of myself as a Hiver-lover... at least, not in any sense other than 'served with a tub of drawn butter.' I am a Maalk Tar of the fleet of the Angels of Sardo Kal; I go where the Var Kona directs, with the Council of Nine standing behind his throne, and serve for the greater glory of the Empire. The imperial ambition for the Hiver world of Xhokotis was well known. We had previously launched several attacks against that same world; each had been repulsed, with heavy losses. The Bountiful Children, as the Hivers called themselves, were known to be particularly tenacious on defense. But our war dead called for vengeance upon those who had killed them. The Hivers had been seen as a stone in the path of our glory, to be trod on and overcome.

And so they were for me, until our fleet arrived.

We had learned from our previous failures. The Bountiful Children were known to hunt the heads of the leaders among enemies arrayed against them. We brought extra command ships, four in total; mine would be the last to take the field. The Hivers were known to lack armour on their vessels. Our newest vessels had fewer missiles and particle beams, and more stormers and heavy stormers, to rip the enemy apart at the close ranges to which they would have to come, if they wished to hunt our commanders. We were confident of victory; surely we had brought enough firepower to tear apart their flimsily-protected cruisers before they could eliminate all four of our command vessels, this time!

And we were right. Finally, we had the force mix to prevail upon the field of battle. The Hivers lined up to face us, and charged in as usual. Their hulls shuddered and ripped apart under the force of our guns. Enemy cruisers were swatted like flies as they sought to eliminate our leaders. The Hivers were not without their own measure of success, hopelessly outmatched though they were. First one and then another of our command ships was lost with all hands. A third was badly damaged. But it was not enough.

Finally, the Hivers ran out of cruisers to throw into the grinder. Still they came, with many destroyers. Enough to overwhelm our battered first wave and our damaged third command ship, though it cost the Hivers several destroyers as well. But we had brought over 30 cruisers to the fight, and the Hivers had not yet destroyed my ship, the final command cruiser. They would not get the opportunity; we could not afford to risk it as we had the first three, to draw the hivers in. As long as we could maintain command parity, we knew we would defeat the Hivers. Our ships were far better quality and now we had more of them. The scent of victory was in our nostrils, and it was sweet!

But as our second wave took the field, for me that scent faded to ash. For as soon as the Hiver destroyers finished the remaining ships of our first wave, they turned and burned back toward the planet. Coming around from the dark side, was a pair of Zuul cruisers. A pair of Zuul cruisers that had been bombarding the planet with thermonuclear fire, while we had been busy eradicating the planet's defenders.

The Zuul were no friends of ours, nor of any Tarka. Intellectually, we knew that they were no friends of the Hivers, either, but now that knowledge struck home with greater force.

What good would it be for us to command the skies of Xhokotis, if it was reduced to an uninhabitable wasteland as a result of Zuul depradations?

What did it say of us, that in our lust for glory, we attacked another race that had done no more than to defend itself -- attacked without provocation, just as the Zuul do?

The Hivers hunt their enemies' leaders, which may seem to some as a coward's tactic. But have these headhunters not proven themselves valiant in the defense of their home, even in the face of certain defeat?

They throw ships away like water, seemingly unconcerned for casualties, confident they will always have more reserves. But given what they have to work with, what else should they do? Can they really be blamed for working with what strengths they have? Is that not honor enough?

They seek to expand their empire by claiming the space over any world they can reach, and colonizing where they can. But is that so very different from our own dreams of empire? Is it so great a sin that they should give up their very lives to appease our ire and lust for power?

Today, when I saw that pair of Zuul cruisers round the planet, I felt as though I had kicked one of my sons' pet takli. The Zuul are truly rapacious beasts. If we defend ourselves proactively from them, that is well and good; they will not change for the better if we leave them be. But by defeating the Hiver navy at Xhokotis -- destroying an estimated one-quarter of their overall warfleet in the process -- we had not only prevented them from resisting our dreams of dominion. We had also left their planetary population, including hundreds of millions of civilians, open to the tender mercies of the Zuul. Not even the Hivers deserve that fate.

I realized something important. It is not enough to have more and more power. What matters is using that power responsibly and with honor. It is time we stopped seeking to make the Bountiful Children pay for our war dead in blood, where coin would be enough to satisfy honor. It is time for us to safeguard not just our own species, but to work with those who seek only to safeguard theirs in the same way. It is time for us to live up to our name: the Angels of Sardo Kal.

I am only a Maalk Tar... but I am not without a measure of influence. My bloodlines are strong, and I have allies among the Kona. They will listen, if I talk. Perhaps if they see what I have seen, they will also listen if the Bountiful Children do.
Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

Strategy & Tactics Forum Archive -- More posts on strategy, tactics, and TARs

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