Just three new planets have been colonized since the last report. Two of these, Zoon and Xhakilda, are in former Cecrops territory, as our fleets in that cluster are finally getting reconstituted with additional locally-built ships and on the move once again. We'll soon have four cruiser-based attack strikeforces as well as a pair of mainly destroyer-centric defensive strikeforces to protect our fledgling colonies. While we have started to detect Hiver fleets enroute to some of my new colonies, at this point we've taken control of roughly half the cluster and expect to be able to complete my conquest of it before any Hiver gate fleets arrive in the area. We should be able to keep the cluster insect-free without too much difficulty.
The other colony we founded was at Beezaro. This was the only positive result out of a three-pronged attack we launched at the three Hiver-held worlds in the central cluster; we were able to take the most isolated world with relative ease, but the two more dangerously placed worlds from a potential farcaster perspective were too well-protected to consider assaulting by the time my fleets were able to cross the gap between stars, and they were forced to withdraw without firing a shot. We've continued to build up in the interim, and should be in position to make another attempt at these two Hiver worlds in the near future.Map
As we continue to make good progress conquering the remains of Cecrops's territory, we've sent scout fleets out to stealthily survey the remaining enemy clusters, hoping to gain more intelligence on how our rivals fare relative to one another and where there might be a weak point we can strike for further gains. There are lots of interesting signs to be read in the stars, some worrisome and some hopeful. The yellow and white Hivers have each made inroads into two other clusters, but are not friendly toward one another, so some kind of confrontation between these two relatively powerful empires might eventually be in the offing. The yellow Hivers in particular have made enemies of every other faction, though oddly enough our relations with them remain very good despite over a hundred turns of cold war. On the other hand, they have recently acquired dreadnought technology to go along with their antimatter power, so they are certainly a force to be reckoned with.
This hasn't prevented us from trying to claim another world in their cluster at Xhokotis. The yellow Hivers used to have a colony there, but it has since vanished under mysterious circumstances; perhaps it suffered a similar fate to our own colony at Prism, and fell to a VN Berserker? Regardless, the world is now ripe for the taking, so we will make an attempt at it, hopefully under the cover of jammer stealth to give the world a chance to grow under the Hivers' noses.
The acquisition of AI technology and its full integration into every aspect of our society has greatly increased our ability to pursue further research programs. The dividends include Holographic Tactics for improved fleet command, as well as Neutronium Rounds to give our destroyer defense fleets considerably more punch.
But after two hundred turns of relying exclusively on rapid-fire automatic weapons, my Tarka have developed and are in the process of fielding their first cluster munition, and one that I rarely get a chance to try out in most of my games: Nanite missiles. When they detonate, these spew out a cloud of nanobot submunitions, which have the potential to do a considerable amount of damage over time if an enemy gets caught in the cloud for any substantial amount of time. From a raw damage point of view, it seems unlikely they will out-perform antimatter rockets guided by AI Fire Control, but they do have one potentially crucial advantage: the nanobots can't be deflected by heavy enemy armour. Unfortunately they are currently rather indiscriminate in what they consume, but our scientists and their AI partners are busily researching more heretofore theoretical technologies to see if this can be remedied.
Apart from conquering the afore-mentioned new colonies, Very few large battles occurred since the last report; we had to abort two of the largest attacks on account of our fleets being clearly outclassed, and even for those battles we did fight, most were against relatively small enemy forces for the most part. We did fight one battle against a yellow Hiver gate fleet attempting to intrude upon our space near Mamoru. Thanks to our new Neutronium hypervelocity assault rifle ammo, we were able to drive these interlopers off, but it did cost us several defense cruisers to do so. We anticipate more larger battles in the near future though, especially for the first time including sizeable quantities of AI-equipped warships. Hopefully these will be sufficient to break through the expected heavily reinforced garrisons at Grayson and Koozebane.