Author Topic: Campaign Updates  (Read 48551 times)

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Offline Kurt (OP)

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Cold War: Closing Notes, Part I
« Reply #315 on: May 17, 2023, 07:13:47 AM »
Author’s Notes on the last several years of trouble in the Alliance

I did not plan this, exactly, it sort-of just came together.  It all started with the D’Bringi coup.  I had designed many of my races with flaws that I intended to exploit as the story went on, in one way or another.  The nuclear war that nearly destroyed Earth is one example, as is the Torqual civil war.  The D’Bringi coup is another example of this. 

The D’Bringi coup was born out of instabilities within the D’Bringi society, largely exacerbated by their success.  The D’Bringi were a nomadic and warlike people who were assisted by the Benefactors and thus achieved world domination not because of their superior culture or economy, but because the Benefactors gave them superior weaponry.  Of course, the D’Bringi convinced themselves that they were inherently superior, because, why not?  They won; they united their world.  Given their success, they faced no pressure to change their old ways.  The old ways were marked by clan domination of their civil society, economy, and military.  The clans held the majority of their own members in a status that was little better than chattel slavery, and the clan-less were treated even worse.  The D’Bringi took this system to the stars with them, because, again, given the assistance of the Benefactors, they felt no pressure to change or evolve.  Thus, the D’Bringi society that went to the stars was primitive and warlike, bent on conquest of everything in sight, for all that they were traveling in starships and establishing colonies on other planets. 

For all of this, though, there were those within D’Bringi society who believed it had to change.  Among those were the highest clan leaders, who saw firsthand the inefficiency of their economy and society compared to the Rehorish and the other races. Many of the middle class saw this too, but had little recourse within the Clan system.   Even as the conquest of the Doraz and the Torqual fueled the D’Bringi economy and their desire for more conquests, the great clan chiefs were questioning if their way actually worked.  After all, was the goal of the D’Bringi to continue conquering every race they encountered, until they met a race they couldn’t conquer or fight to a standstill, like the humans?  Compared to a vital, growing society like the Rehorish, the D’Bringi economy was anemic, its only bright spot provided by the resources looted from conquered races. 

Even as the D’Bringi home world grew rich on loot, the D’Bringi leadership knew that they had to change.  The lower orders were growing restive.   As they saw how the various aliens lived, when they realized that conquered aliens like the Torqual had more freedoms within their own society than they did, discontent grew and spread.  And so, the great clan leaders embraced change.  They caused the conquered races to be freed and bound them to the D’Bringi with economic and military treaties.  This had become possible largely because of the service of the T’Pau during the war with the humans.  It was their bravery and service that convinced so many in the D’Bringi leadership that aliens acting in concert with the D’Bringi could be an asset and not a threat, or an object to be exploited.  The D’Bringi leadership used this growing awareness as a wedge to gain enough approval to force through the treaties that created the Alliance.  In this, the great clan chiefs stole a march on their opponents who wished to keep everything the same in D’Bringi society.  The treaties of alliance opened the D’Bringi economy to integration with that of the Rehorish, and, basically, forced change upon the D’Bringi people.  If the D’Bringi hadn’t been ready for this change it could have been immediately disastrous, however, there was a large and growing movement within D’Bringi society pushing for just this kind of change, and they jumped into the opening of the D’Bringi economy with both feet.  New colonies sprang up everywhere, settled mostly by those who wanted a new start away from the old clan system.  In spite of some cultural unrest, the D’Bringi economy flourished as the formerly oppressed lower orders took advantage of their new-found freedoms to better their lives.  All of this activity buoyed the D’Bringi economy as it integrated with the Rehorish economy, and all seemed to be going well for the D’Bringi.  Behind the scenes, though, there were those who resented the changes.  Who felt like they had lost that which society owed them.  There always is, no matter how objectively good change might be. 

The coup built up for quite a while, behind the scenes, as other events unfolded.  The plotters raised money by skimming the take from several outer colonies, which they used to convert several old freighters into Q ships that could be used to pirate regular freighters, particularly if you had their schedules, which the plotters did.  As that money started rolling in, they used it to suborn or convince D’Bringi officers to come to their side, particularly officers commanding corvette-carriers.  Once they had enough under their control, they used their penetration of the Alliance and D’Bringi governments to contact the newly discovered Khozun, and convince them to launch an offensive in exchange for help building up their technology, industry, and orbital shipyards.  The plotters raked off all of the loot from the conquest of Chirq Prime, instead of just a percentage, by turning on the Khozuni and destroying first their fleet, and then their capital city to cover their tracks.  That money was used to fund widespread social influence events across selected D’Bringi colonies, calling for a return to the old ways. This movement underlay the eventual coup, and was used as a justification for the violent overthrow of the old government. 

All of the money taken by the plotters was relatively small, in terms of the major governments in the campaign.  However, in real terms, they stole tens of billions of dollars (equivalent), which was plenty to fund a movement and corrupt corporate and government officials.  However, once they moved on the Chirq the clock was ticking.  The Alliance would find out, and as they were in the Rehorish area of control, the Rehorish would investigate, and once the investigation started it was only a matter of time before they figured out enough to begin connecting the dots. 

Now, most of this would not have been possible without control and/or corruption of the Alliance ICN.  Just simple piracy is difficult in the Starfire universe, where the all-seeing long-range sensors can see every drive field in range, and sensor buoy/comms buoy combinations at every warp point ensure the central government can back track every ship that enters and leaves a system.  Certainly, the movements of military warships would be tracked, and any ship that deviated from its assignments would be quickly identified and queried by the ICN.  Therefore, I decided that something like that was well within the capabilities of the Benefactors, and thus the coup was born. 

It is important to realize that the plotter’s plan was never to fight the Alliance.  The plotters knew that if it came to a standup fight between the D’Bringi and the rest of the Alliance, they’d lose.  Instead, they relied on misdirection to distract the Alliance to allow them enough time to consolidate their hold on the D’Bringi people, presenting the Alliance with a situation that would be too difficult to resolve given their increased tensions with the other races.  The plotters made several miscalculations, though. 

Firstly, they underestimated how mad the Rehorish and T’Pau would be about the corruption of the ICN.  Indeed, the plotters seriously underestimated the Rehorish response to the corrupted ICN.  They believed that the Rehorish would continue to use the corrupted ICN until they could present a ‘fix’, thus making themselves the heroes that fixed the problem.  Instead, the Rehorish and the T’Pau completely cut themselves off from the ICN, believing that the corruption might be the first step to a campaign of conquest by an unknown threat. 

The second big miscalculation was the T’Pau.  The plotter’s movement was based entirely on D’Bringi chauvinism, and the old-style D’Bringi disdained the T’Pau as a client species that had risen above its station.  The plotters believed that the T’Pau would be too afraid to make a move against the D’Bringi, even with Rehorish support, thus splitting the Council and giving the plotters time they needed to consolidate their power.  In fact, the T’Pau over the years since the establishment of the Alliance had matured and come to appreciate their independence and position within the Alliance.  They did not want war with the D’Bringi, but were also unwilling to overlook D’Bringi misdeeds.  This meant that a rump-Council could be formed by two of the three full members of the Alliance, allowing them to act effectively against the plotters when the evidence of their wrong-doing became clear. 

The final major miscalculation was the plotter’s belief that they would have the support of the general D’Bringi population.  In fact, they did not.  This was randomly determined by a roll against the D’Bringi racial outlook, minus one half their racial determination.  If the plotters succeeded in their roll, they would have been right, and would have had the support of the majority of the population.  However, they lost their roll, indicating that the population did not support them.  Therefore, while they were able to gain the support of most of the critical colonies, that support was grudging in many cases, and they could not count on that support without an infusion of troops loyal to the plotters.  Worse, they could not count on the enthusiastic support of D’Bringi crewed Alliance naval units.  As the new, and apparently legitimate, government, the Empire could call upon their loyalty, but their obedience was not guaranteed and the more they knew about the Imperials the less loyal they would be as time moved forward. 

All of this meant that while the plotters had great initial success, time was against them.  Ultimately this was their ruin.  The nascent D’Bringi Empire fell when the Emperor disappeared and the D’Bringi home system remained cut off from the D’Bringi colonies. 
 
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Offline Kurt (OP)

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Cold War: Closing Notes Part 2
« Reply #316 on: May 20, 2023, 11:14:44 AM »
Some thoughts on the Cold War Campaign

First off, the start conditions: In this campaign I limited growth to every five turns, and made tech research take longer, with the intent of slowing down the growth rate of the races involved.  It worked fairly well, ensuring that the campaign was still viable much longer than either of my other major Starfire campaigns. 

At the start of the campaign there were four ‘races’.  One of the starting races was the D’Bringi, and there were two human governments, the USSR and the Western Coalition.  More about the fourth race in a bit.  My intent was to focus on the conflict between the D’Bringi and the human governments, and the rivalry between the two human governments, and their internal disputes and pressures, well into mid-game.  This largely worked as anticipated, although I did not know exactly how this would work out at the start of the campaign.  Essentially, my original idea was that whomever won the initial human-D’Bringi war would then face internal dissent that would likely lead to a civil war.  I wasn’t sure who that was going to be when the campaign started.  As it turned out, neither side won, but I decided based on the way things went that the humans would be the one that faced the internal problem, leading to the devastation of Earth.  This was largely because of the random fact that the D’Bringi had met an ally, the Rehorish, and an enemy, the Mintek, neither of whom I anticipated at the start of the campaign. 

The Human nations both started on Earth, of course, and each had a medium population and were almost at HT-1 tech level.  This put each individually behind the D’Bringi, both in terms of income, technology, and population, but combined they had a much better income than the D’Bringi.  This was by intent, as I wanted each government to have a problem dealing with the D’Bringi alone, but if they teamed up, they would hopefully have at least parity with them. 

When I originally generated the D’Bringi, SA indicated that they were a “wild-card” race, which meant that they had one or more tech items from above their actual tech level.  I liked that, as it made them special, and gave them a bit of an advantage against the humans, whom they otherwise might have trouble facing in a straight up fight.  As the campaign went on, I decided to keep giving them an occasional wild-card tech from the next higher tech level, to keep things spicy, or if I felt they needed a little help.  This eventually evolved into the “Benefactors”, whom I then had to flesh out. 

Now, about that fourth race.  To provide a late-middle to late game threat, I also started a hive mind race at the start of the game.  I was ambivalent about this at the time.  Hive minds had been the “big” bad guys in both of my major Starfire campaigns before this, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to do them again.  I was worried, though, that the late game might need some spicing up, so I decided to start them and then decide later if I wanted them to become a factor or not.  By around turn 150, though, as the campaign was entering mid-game, I had realized something about my hive mind race.  In a normal Starfire campaign, hive minds are like a metastasizing cancer that just grows and grows.  They get a better growth rate than normal races, and income bonuses for larger populations, as well as reduced colonization costs, all of which means that after a while they become a spreading threat with an incredible economy.  Their weakness is that they are slower to research tech than other races, and don’t use fighters.  In my previous games this meant that they were an incredible threat to mid-tech races, but as time went on their economic advantage began to lose out to their tech and fighter disadvantages.   When the ‘player’ races began advancing to HT-9 and 10, even if the bugs were at HT-9 themselves, they began having problems dealing with opposing fleets.  Higher tech levels introduce more fighter defenses, but the problem is that the bugs take longer to get to those levels than the other races, meaning that they are a substantial and increasing disadvantage going forward, unless they are at a higher tech level than their opponents to begin with.  That makes bugs hard to balance, even in a normal campaign.  They tend to have larger economies than everyone else, but once fighter tech become prevalent amongst their enemies, they have significant difficulties militarily.  If you give them superior tech so they can deal with the fighters they tend to roll over their opponents due to their economic superiority, and if you don’t they become a steadily diminishing threat as they fall further behind.  The major race in the Phoenix Campaign, the Allied Sentient Races, had just become focused on a major campaign against the bugs, and it was looking touch and go.  Knowing what I knew about both sides, though, I was becoming concerned that the bugs were a house of cards that was going to crumble faster than I had originally anticipated.   Unfortunately, I was unable to resolve that campaign due to its size and complexity.   

In the Cold War campaign, however, the lower growth rate really hurt the bugs.  Their income advantage only applies to large and very large populations, if I remember correctly, and with the growth rates reduced it takes forever to grow a population to that point, even with the bug’s increased growth rate.  And, worse, the bugs in this case had some initial bad luck exploring, which slowed their growth as well.  Those two things combined to limit their growth in a way I hadn’t expected, meaning that by turn 150 the bugs wouldn’t really be a threat to either major race, if and when they met.  So, I gave the bugs a big boost in population, bringing their economy more in line with the major races.  However, by then I was focused on the Mintek, who were having their own problems. 

The Mintek are a Federal Theocracy type race, like the Thebans in the canon Starfire universe.  Federal Theocracies are built around a central religious belief that they feel an overwhelming urge to proselytize to the rest of the universe.  A Federal Theocracy will readily make trade or trade and military treaties, but only as a means to spread their faith.  Once the relationship is made, they will convert all population growth from the receiving race within three jumps of their border to their religion and ‘steal’ the population.  This will continue until the other race stops it.  They are also able to convert conquered races to their religion, reducing the time needed to amalgamate conquered pops into their empire.  They are the only government/race in the game that have this ability, and there is no real explanation for this ability given.  They just do it.  By this point I had created the D’Bringi Benefactors, and I realized that a benefactor type situation would be a good explanation for the Mintek conversion ability.  In addition, it could be a linking concept in the campaign.  Therefore, I decided that the Mintek would also have their version of a benefactor, which would explain their ability to convert other races. 

The Mintek were discovered by the D’Bringi and thus started long after the other main races.  This put them in a disadvantageous situation from nearly the start.  The only thing that saved them was that the D’Bringi had concentrated nearly their entire fleet on the front lines with the humans, far from the Mintek home system.  Still, even so, the D’Bringi were able to handily stop the initial Mintek thrust into D’Bringi space, and they then launched an assault into the Mintek home system that was only stopped by the Mintek home system defenses.  The Mintek were a happy accident, not intentional.  But accidental though they were, they fit into the campaign very well as a ‘bad-guy’ race and foil for the rapidly growing D’Bringi Alliance, something I was becoming increasingly convinced the bugs would not do well.  However, they were never strong enough to pose an actual threat to the Alliance, unfortunately.  They did have a brief tech advantage, when they developed HT-9 well ahead of the Alliance, and that actually gave them a chance against their bigger adversary.  They developed a plan to overwhelm the D’Bringi defenses at their initial contact point in the Phyriseq system, using SBM pods, which at that time were unknown to the Alliance, and from there they intended to move from Phyriseq to the Chruqua warp nexus and seize it, fragmenting the D’Bringi empire.  They hoped by that by chopping the Alliance up into numerous smaller pieces they could take those pieces one by one while resisting the uncoordinated counter attacks that came from the fragments.  It was a pretty good plan, and it might have worked.  The D’Bringi at that time knew that the Chruqua nexus was a critical link to much of their empire, but had not realized that it was a vulnerability as well. 

Unfortunately for them, Mintek resources fell short of being able to provide the fleet strength they estimated they would need to make the plan work.  And in trying to build up that fleet they almost destroyed their economy and dug themselves a hole that only the conquest of multiple NPR’s allowed them to climb out of.  Unfortunately, by the time they were able consolidate their hold on their conquests and rehabilitate their economy, they had fallen behind the Alliance in terms of technology and had discovered too many other threat/opportunities to focus their military back on the Alliance. 

Thus, the Mintek had become little more than a nuisance and would have inevitably been put down by the Alliance at some point, particularly after an Alliance associate member (the Zir) found a closed warp point into the Mintek home system.  Enter the Shiba Ascendancy.  I originally introduced the Shiba to provide an additional threat to the other races, as none of my other threats were working out.  I decided to do something a little different with the Shiba, giving them implants which assured loyalty to their government, and would allow them to convert other races after contact, if they were given time.  And then, by random chance, the first race they discovered when they went exploring was the Mintek.  And by that point I realized that the Shiba ability to convert other races was analogous to the Mintek-Theban ability, and was perhaps a better explanation for what the Mintek were doing.  At that point a merger became inevitable, as both sides tried to convert the other.  This merger revitalized and enlarged the Mintek Empire, and made them a credible threat again. 

It was as this was going on, around turn 200+, that I realized I had yet another problem in the way the campaign had developed.  Essentially, humanity as an independent race, was screwed.  The slower population growth rate of the game had found yet another unexpected way to express itself. 

By this point, the way colonization was happening across my races, was as follows:

1.   New System Colonization: Newly discovered systems would be colonized with enough population units to create a small population (150). By turn 200, these systems were typically 8-12 jumps from the core worlds.  Which meant that they were 2-3 months travel from the worlds with large or very large populations, which were best able to handle new colonization. Because the Imperial transportation network moves at a speed of four per turn, that means that a colonization effort sent to a colony site ten jumps from the origin will take three turns to complete.  This is problematic, as that means the capacity tied up in the effort won’t be available for use on anything else for three turns.  It is also very expensive.   If you are depending on colonization alone to create large populations capable of sustaining both in-system and out-system colonization, though, you are going to have to wait a long time. 

2.   In-system colonization: This was colonization of moons, barren planets, and asteroids within a system, using the in-system colonization ability.  Essentially, each system had a certain amount of “free” colonization ability, that didn’t count against the race’s colonization capacity, and is cheaper than regular colonization.  This is an important and cheap way to expand a system’s population, but the system has a limited per-turn capacity based on the productivity of the system, and thus it can take many turns to completely colonize the entire system.  There is another important limitation.  A world with a small population, or a settlement, outpost, or colony, can still use in-system colonization, but if it does so it will quickly deplete its central population.  A world with a population of medium or higher can typically support both in-system and out-system colonization, although it may need to have its population boosted occasionally or it will fall to the small population level.

3.   Boosting population: This one was new to me, and is largely based on the slow population growth in this campaign.  Under the original rules, populations quickly grew to medium sized, and thus were able to support both in-system and out-system colonization fairly rapidly.  Slower population growth, however, subverted this.  It took over 200 turns for the earliest colonies to reach medium size, and by this point the expanding edge of the empire had moved far beyond them.  So, I realized that the best way to promote in-system colonization, and to shorten colonization times to the frontier, was to boost the population of suitable colonies on the periphery (meaning the most productive or most strategically located), with additional colonists.  These boosting efforts were expensive, as it took over six times as many colonists to create a medium population as it did to create a small population.  But, by the mid-game, the Alliance and other more-or-less mature races were well capable of undertaking this effort.  However, the important limitation was that a large or very large population was needed to support these population boost efforts.  A medium population would be quickly drained by such an effort. 

By boosting the population of suitable systems, I created a situation where both in-system colonization, which is very profitable, and limited out-system colonization, became possible.  The out-system colonization was important, because it reduced travel times to new colonies on the periphery, and thus costs as well. 

It was at the turn 200+ level that I began realizing that the Colonial Union had a problem.  They had only one world with a large population, and that world was on the bottom end of the scale.  Thus, they had no worlds capable of boosting a planetary population to medium level without seriously compromising their own populations.  They were able to handle #1 above, albeit with increasing difficulty as the periphery moved farther and farther from their systems with medium populations, but boosting over the long term was beyond their capabilities.  I considered a careful plan of boosting using the excess population from every system that had over the minimum medium population level, and that would have sustained the Union’s colonization effort for some time, but it was a short to medium term solution at best.  In fact, the excess population available to the Union using that method wasn’t enough to boost the suitable candidates the Union already had, much less new opportunities discovered by ongoing exploration.  And it would have left the Union with a bunch of planets barely capable of supporting any out-system colonization at that point. 

All of this was an outgrowth of two factors.  #1, the humans in this campaign nuked their home world.  This removed the only very-large population the humans had.  #2, the humans refused to incorporate any alien races, unlike both the Alliance, the CSR, and the Mintek.  Thus, the humans had no way of obtaining a very large population within the likely time frame of the game.  This also seriously hurt the human’s ability to expand their economy and military through absorbing other races, which was the primary strategy of both the Alliance and the CSR. 

Thus, I realized I faced a future in this campaign where humanity would be increasingly sidelined and marginalized, without any hope of remedying the situation without merging with another race, which would have meant that they wouldn’t really be a human nation any more. 

I did have plans to move forward.  They will be detailed in the next post, which will cover the future of the Cold War Campaign, had I continued it.   
 
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Offline Kurt (OP)

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Re: Campaign Updates
« Reply #317 on: May 27, 2023, 08:53:05 AM »
The future of the Cold War Campaign

First, the major powers and their situation as they see it as of month 231:

Colonial Union
The Colonial Union is certainly a significant power; however, its leaders know that it is nearly at a population-growth dead end that will put them at a serious disadvantage against all of the other races.  Worse, the humans are divided in how to deal with this problem, with about half willing to consider joining another alliance, like the CSR or Alliance, while the other half are human-chauvinists and would only consider conquering other races, not joining them.  Indeed, the Union government is determined to move forward with improving relations with the known alien races and ultimately merging with the CSR, and is therefore facing significant resistance in the Sligo District, and perhaps even attempts to leave the Union. 

The Alliance
The Alliance is at peace, and is rapidly repairing the damage caused by the recent wars and unrest.  The fleets are being refitted and reorganized, and once complete the Alliance Navy will be stronger than ever.  With the departure of the Zir, the Alliance Council is focusing on shoring up its relationships with the other associate members, especially as there is some information that the Zir have tried to convince some to leave with them.  Fortunately, it does not appear that any agreed or will agree in the future, but the incident has shown that the Alliance needs to be more responsive to the needs and opinions of the associate members.  While always watchful of the Colonial Union, given their history, the Alliance and the Union are currently enjoying good relations.  The same is true of the Alliance-CSR relationship. 

Confederated Sentient Races (CSR)
The CSR is focused on integrating Tomsk and Bjering territories and infrastructure, and improving its navy and defenses against the possibility of the Mintek advancing out of the former Bedu space.  To this end it is discussing the possibility of a military alliance against the Mintek with the Alliance, although these talks are hampered by the innate mistrust that many politicians have for the Alliance, given its behavior in the past. 

Zir Commonality
As the newest major power, the Zir are expansive and eager to make their mark on the known galaxy.  The Zir navy is the smallest of the major powers, but growing, and as a “swarm” fleet, it is fundamentally different from those of the other powers.  Largely based on corvette-carriers, the Zir fleet is designed to be fast and hard hitting, and also easy to replace.  However, the Zir would never threaten any other race with the use of force except in self-defense, but are firm believers in peace through strength.   The Zir are exploring and expanding in every direction, and are planning on contacting the races discovered through the Villiers warp nexus in the near future, once their refits are complete. 

Confederated Free Systems (CFS)
The CFS is not really a major power at all, and was created as a buffer state between the Union and the Alliance.  For the last several years the CFS has been decentralizing as its weak central government has been unable to resist the calls of the powerful system governments within the CFS to provide defensive forces for their systems, which has led to a dispersal of the CFS fleet across their territory.  The CFS government spends most of its time keeping the Alliance, the Union, and its own constituent system governments happy and has little time for anything else.  The CFS has largely reached the limits of reasonable colonization efforts and their exploration program has largely ended. 

Pan Sentient Union (PSU)
The PSU is focused on reorganizing after the merger of the Ascendancy and the Mintek, and is developing a plan to launch an assault on the Alliance through warp point connections discovered in Bedu territory.  The stats for the PSU were not included in the recent post comparing the income and fleet sizes of the major races, for various reasons.  The PSU’s income was slightly higher than the CSR’s, but lower than the CSR’s once its allies were included, so it is approximately 40% that of the Alliance and its allies.  The PSU’s fleet was larger than the Colonial Union’s or the CSR’s, but smaller than that of the Alliance.  The one area where the PSU has an advantage is that its fleet has been completely refitted to HT-10 standards, unlike the Alliance’s fleet, some of which is still at HT-8 due to the recent wars. 

The future, as I saw it:
I often see the way I want the campaign to go, usually on the short to medium term, and quite often it goes that way.  However, many times things have happened that I did not anticipate that changed the entire complexion of the campaign.  Below is how I thought things would move forward in the campaign, but a critical defeat or victory in battle, an unexpected ally popping up, or exploration ships finding a new route into your enemy’s core systems would certainly be a game changer, and are essentially unpredictable. 

Short term (6-12 months or so)
The Colonial Union
Facing internal divisions and wildly divergent goals between its two districts, the Colonial Union will split in the near future.  The split will be largely peaceful, as neither side really wants a war, although there may be some standoffs and tense moments early in the division process.  The Sol District will remain the Colonial Union, while the Sligo District becomes the Republic.  There will be some friction points.  For example, the Solar System and Earth will be solidly anti-alien and will join the new Republic, but this will require transit rights through loyal Union territory.  The Tlatelolco will insist on remaining in the Union, as they won’t trust the anti-alien Republic, and this will require transit rights through Republic territory.  The Union will be willing to grant Earth’s request if the Republic agrees to Union membership for the Tlatelolco, and transit rights through Republic territory.  This should go fairly smoothly, along with a division of the fleet.  The Colonial Union will join the CSR in the near to medium future, making humanity the dominant economic and military force in that nation, although not the most populous race. 

Terran Republic
Formed out of the Sligo District of the now defunct Colonial Union, the Terran Republic will have its ceremonial capital on Earth, but its working capital in the Sligo system.  The Republic will start out as an uneasy alliance of corporate interests and the most powerful system governments, but they will rapidly begin feuding amongst themselves trying to consolidate their power and elevate themselves within the new government.  While they fight, the Governor of the Union, who is mostly viewed as a political kook and not taken seriously, will move behind the scenes to exacerbate their fights and ensure that none of them manage to get ahead of the others.  Governor Holcombe is actually the head of the Humanity First movement, something very few know, and has used this association to rise to his current position.  Holcombe has worked very hard to cultivate his image as a safe non-entity, allowing others to think that they are in control while he moves behind the scenes.  While this is going on, Governor Holcombe will be working to secure his own position by pulling off a massive coup.  The Sligo District was home to a closed warp point linking the District to the Confederated Free Systems, something that had been kept highly secret by the Union government and Navy.  This info had been leaked to the governor some time ago, and even before the split with the Union the governor and his Humanity First movement had been funneling money and resources into the CFS.  These resources have been used to fund the rise of Humanity First parties in the CFS, and has been driving the division and dissention within the CFS that has greatly weakened their central government. 

Within a year of the split from the Colonial Union, several systems within the CFS will experience widespread unrest, which the central government will attempt to respond to with ground troops.  The Terran Republic will use its clandestine influence to ensure that the response will be both large enough to frighten the system governments and completely incompetent and ineffective.  Once several systems have seemingly descended into chaos, the Republic will reveal its link to the CFS and several system governments will appeal to the Republic for “security assistance”.  The Republic will, of course, be more than happy to provide this assistance.  The system governments coopted by the Republic will make it impossible for the CFS and its military to respond effectively, or at all, and in a short period of time several of the systems will declare that they are joining the Republic.  Within six weeks or so it will all be over and the CFS will be completely absorbed by the Terran Republic.  This will all happen fast, and will be over before any of the other nations can do anything about it.  This annexation will boost the Republic’s economy and military, but it will still leave them far behind the major powers, approximately equivalent to the Zir. 

CSR
Once the Colonial Union joins the CSR the nation will be completely focused on absorbing the Union systems, reorganizing and modernizing the fleet, and rebuilding its infrastructure to coordinate with the rest of the CSR.  This will take some time and will completely occupy the CSR’s attention for the near to medium term.  Because of their inward focus, and their innate distrust of the Alliance, the CSR will be unwilling to take issue with the Republic’s annexation of the Confederated Free Systems. 

Unfortunately, divisions between the human Tomsk-led areas and the former Colonial Union areas will mean that humanity is unable to dominate the CSR’s politics as its economic and military strength might indicate that it should.  However, the addition of approximately half of the Colonial Union’s economy and fleet will push the CSR much closer to the Alliance, although they will still be at around 60-70% of their size and strength. 

The Alliance
By month 232 The Alliance is the dominant nation in the campaign, and is poised to grow further as it amalgamates three associate races over the short to medium term.  The Aurarii, Doraz, and Torqual all will amalgamate with the Alliance as soon as they can raise their tech to the required level, and the Aurarii are already there.  Amalgamating these races will boost the Alliance’s income by 40%, putting them even further ahead of everyone else.  The amalgamation of the Aurarii will take place within the next year, however, it will be medium term before any of the other races are ready for amalgamation.

The Alliance will be very concerned about first the Colonial Union’s dissolution and then the rump Union joining the CFS, dramatically increasing that nation’s strength relative to the Alliance.  When the new Republic annexes the CFS, the Alliance will strongly protest, but the Republic will argue that it was not a signatory to the original treaty creating the CFS and ask for negotiations.  By that point the Alliance will only have light forces deployed to their border with the CFS, as their naval reorganization has concentrated their forces in a few nodal locations, so they won’t be able to intervene militarily for some time.  By the time they can intervene the annexation is over and it would mean open war, so they allow the Republic to absorb the CFS.   

The PSU (Mintek)
The PSU will be focused on integrating their territory, refitting and rebuilding their fleet, and developing its plan to attack the Alliance.  In essence, their plan will involve the use of light raiding forces hitting widely scattered systems through contact points known to them.  They believe this will draw off significant reaction forces from the core systems of the Alliance, at which time they will launch a major assault from the Mintek home system through the fortified warp point to the Alliance Phyriseq system.  The Phyriseq system is known to be fortified, and so massive numbers of SBM pods will be used to clear the fixed defenses, along with minesweepers to clear the mines and automated weapons.  This attack will take several years to prepare for. 

Zir Commonality
The Zir will finish the refit to their fleet in a few months, and then will begin a program to contact the races found through their Villiers warp nexus.  Their original exploration ships found four different races through the nexus, and they agreed to defer contact as the Alliance requested.  As they are no longer in the Alliance, that contact will now go forward.  Of the four races beyond the nexus, one is known to be the Mintek.  The Zir have agreed to avoid contacting the Mintek, after reviewing records of Alliance contact with that race, but they will go ahead with contacting the others. Two of those contacts are actually human, one in space that by that time will be controlled by the CSR and the other by the Terran Republic.  Obviously, contact will not go well with the anti-Alien Republic, although there almost certainly won’t be a war.  Contact will go very well with the multi-racial CSR, and the Zir will find much affinity with the CSR’s lack of warlike history.  The third race will be problematic.  This is one of the alien races that was absorbed by the Mintek before their merger with the Ascendancy.  So, this system is now controlled by the Mintek.  Finding themselves in contact with the Mintek, the Zir will almost certainly go ahead with efforts to establish productive and civil contact with that race, which obviously won’t work.  The Zir will almost certainly be at war with the PSU by the end of the short term.  The PSU will be much stronger than the Zir, and the Zir, with their swarm fleet, will find it impossible to assault Mintek systems even if they do manage to hold them off, so they will ask the Alliance for help, which they will give.   

End of the short-term
By the end of the year, approximately month 245, the Zir and the Republic will be approximately equivalent in strength, with the CSR around twice as large, and the Alliance still larger than everyone else.  The Mintek-led PSU will find itself at war with the Zir-Alliance group, and its plans for an attack into Alliance territory will be completely derailed. 

Longer Term
Predicting what is going to happen for this period of time is largely problematic, because so many random events or unlikely battle-resolutions can change the course of the campaign.  However, I expect that the fighting will be intense between the Alliance-Zir combo and the PSU.  The Alliance will heavily campaign with the Human-Bjering CSR to bring them into the war, and, as they are already convinced that the Mintek are a threat, the CSR will agree.  The CSR will launch an assault across its points of contact with the Mintek, dramatically widening the war, further dispersing Mintek forces.  At this point the Alliance will launch a coordinated assault into the Mintek home system from both the Villiers and Phyriseq system, and this should prove decisive.  The Alliance is large enough that it has enough fleet strength to engage the Mintek across all points of contact, and with the addition of the CSR and coordinated assaults into their home system, it should be a foregone conclusion for the Mintek-led PSU. 

In the meantime, the Terran Republic will use everyone’s distraction to expand at the expense of the aliens around it.   First, they will nuke the Tarek out of existence, and then colonize their worlds.  Then, they will try attacking two alien races discovered through their warp points by the Colonial Union.  The CU had decided not to contact those races, but the Republic will now launch invasions of one of the two, trying to expand its economy by conquest.  Unfortunately for them, neither will really work out for them.  One of the races is the Alliance Associate Member race Torqual, which is one of the strongest and most advanced associate members.  While the Alliance will be distracted by the war with the PSU, they will likely leave the Associate Race’s fleets in place, as they are backwards compared to the Alliances.  Also, if the CSR is involved in the PSU war by this point, they will view this attack as a willful attempt to take advantage of the situation, and will help the Alliance fight the Republic.   This will mean that both the Torqual and the Doraz fleets will be able to respond to an invasion, and Alliance and CSR help will be available, eventually.  And the other race is worse.  This other race is the Assimilators, the bug race I mentioned in the last post.  If the Republic tries this one first, they will unleash a plague on known space.  In either case, the Republic’s days will be numbered. 

In the end, the CSR-Alliance team will almost certainly win the wars, and at that point all of the races involved would amalgamate to face the future. 
 
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