Elisha Unleashes her Double D's
The first of our Containment forces made a beachhead on Frecklandia when MASSENA dropped off baby ChrisGwinn and the courteous, kind and forgiving JonathanStrange at the fungal tower choke point north of Enough. Caesarbear followed by dropping off Mecha-Crux and a Thunderspark infantry unit. Although the landing point was in Believer territory, the xenofungus kept the troops hidden from sight.
To complete Thundersparks faster, we forced dbt1949 to sustain a nutrient shortfall in exchange for higher mineral production. This would be just one of many sacrifices we'd be making in long-term growth for the purpose of short-term gain. Building a military is just about the most inefficient thing one can do in this game. Bases and facilities will at least provide returns during their existence. Military action eats up Support and causes drone riots, and the effort could be wasted if one loses the troops in battle or fails to deploy them altogether. Still, if we defeat Miriam, the payout would beat any facility we could build: we'd have one less rival, a large, lush continent to ourselves, Mount Planet, and the Human Genome Project.
Nymanium waddled into dbt1949 to begin work as a police duck. The docDinghy, still mapping out the western shore of Frecklandia, popped a Unity pod that rushed Grievous Angel's Recreational Commons. Sister Miriam was in first place overall, followed by Santiago, Zakharov, and Elisha.
In 2187, Lordnine Castle
was built in the Monsoon Jungle. Nearly every square of the Monsoon Jungle was now in OO territory. Lordnine, a very old vampire, was a veteran of every war fought on Earth. He looked forward to a peaceful retirement on Planet where he could plant rutabagas and sip Country Time lemonade.
In 2189, Smoove Boutique built our first Children's Creche, where harried couples could drop off their kids on their way to die for the Queen in battle. You'd think it would be difficult to handle all those unruly brats. Well, it's not, thanks to ...
Koz Frontier Colony rush-built a new prototype: the DD
(Speeder, 4x-1-2, Nerve Gas Pods). On its rover chassis, the DD could roll right up to an enemy base and attack it in one turn--or, better yet, attack adjacent enemies twice. Its Particle Impactor could be enhanced with nerve gas for greater firepower and massive civilian casualties. (That would be an atrocity, but with the commlinks down, it'll be our little secret!) The unit was named after its designer, who had left his fellow Octopus Overlords on Earth to secretly work for Elisha as a chemical warfare consultant. The pay was good, if not the smell. DD was also the name of the nerve gas he used: it stood for Death Squared!
In 2190, the star Alpha Centauri B approached perihelion, which would dramatically increase native life activity for 20 years. For most factions, this would be bad news; for us, however, the more mind worms, the better.
The Former at Koz built our first Condenser to increase nutrient output, but we still ran the base in Hunger state to get our Recreational Commons built quicker. The grunts can eat all the moon pies they want once that's done.
In 2191, Elisha finally remembered that with the commlinks down, she could nerve staple her subjects without the other faction leaders finding out. So she merrily stapled the drones at Brettmcd, dbt1949 and Seppe. We would now enjoy a few years of maximum production without social unrest, thanks to...
The docDinghy, wandering away a bit from Frecklandia, opened two Unity pods that contained Colonel Santiago's and Brother Lal's commlink frequencies. Due to sunspot activity, we wouldn't be able to contact them just yet. Still, that's some good scavenging.
In 2192, we rushed out a prototype of our naval spy, the Nightwish
(Foil, 0-1-4, Probe Team). It was built at Grievous Angel specifically to infiltrate the Datalinks at the nearby Believer base, Children of God. We discovered Polymorphic Software one year later, which is supposed to improve Probe Team morale.
Hrdina finished the Colony Pod that would ride his Transport Foil to the unclaimed northwest island. Brettmcd built our first Sea Colony Pod. Caesarbear dropped off Varity and the first DD at the fungal tower with the other Containment forces. We now had our vanguard against Believer aggression, the Octo Eight:
They began hiking northeast, using the Probe Team to bypass the fungal tower's Zone of Control, when they ran into a Pre-Boil mind worm who would become the ninth member of the Octo Eight. Going by the name Zinfan
, he was an alien sommelier who sought to spread peace and joy through wine appreciation. This was a time of conflict, however, so he was pressed into the Containment forces and given the operational code name Déjà Vu.
In 2194, Brettmcd's Sea Colony Pod built our first naval base in an area rich in energy and savory kelp. Since it was located at the mouth of Asharak Lagoon, it simply adopted that name.
All nine of the Octo Eight continued toward Revelation Base. Though they were hiding in xenofungus, the free Probe Team Miriam got at the beginning of the game happened to come by and see us. It proceeded to ambush our Probe Team. Spy fights are a bit different from regular combat:
Despite Miriam's higher Probe rating, our guy won. This turned out to be the first interfactional fight on Planet, though the treaty with Miriam remained in effect since spies don't officially exist.
The Nightwish quietly rode the waves to Children of God and infiltrated Miriam's Datalinks there.
The Nightwish reported, to our surprise, that Miriam could not have stolen High Energy Chemistry from us as she didn't have it at all.
In 2196, Orgull Island was hit with disaster, tragedy, and tear-jerking drama. There was an outbreak of the Prometheus Virus at dbt1949 and Smoove Boutique:
In previous SMAC games, my Research Hospitals always prevented viral outbreaks. Here, I didn't even have the technology to build a Hospital. It's interesting that this outbreak occurred not long after nymanium, a duck, entered dbt1949. Can you say "avian flu?" Eh, we'll let it go, nymanium. Just use a hanky next time!
Three citizen icons were lost at Smoove Boutique and two at dbt1949 (equivalent to a total of 50,000 deaths). Hey, at least we won't have to build Hab Complexes for a while.
We didn't want to suffer a reputation hit by breaking the treaty with Miriam, but we needed to do something about Revelation Base. So our Probe Team used Total Thought Control to acquire it secretly at a cost of 109 energy (leaving us with 112 in reserve). Though the treaty was unaffected, this action turned out to be the first conquest on Planet. Sadly, the Probe Team didn't survive:
Now ours, the base was renamed Theo's Hall
. Who the heck is Theo, you may be asking. Well, there was an actor whose career never quite recovered after his enormously successful show got discontinued on Earth. So he traveled with Elisha hoping his catchphrases would find a new audience.
The Octo Eight rolled into Theo's Hall without firing a shot (except for the DD, which destroyed the road leading to it so that Miriam's units would have a harder time taking the base back). Miriam wasn't about to sit back and let Elisha buy her empire out from under her: one year later, twelve Believer infantry (4-2-1), two speeders (4-2-2) and a 1-2-1 Synthmetal Garrison were parked outside. Holding Theo's Hall would be a tough job for the Octo Eight, so they were glad to have DD gas on their side.
But in 2198, the sunspots receded and the commlinks were back online. Now the other factions would hear about any attempt to gas the Believers. What lousy timing!
Elisha hailed Miriam. Miriam, feigning cordiality, asked for High Energy Chemistry. Rather than answering this plea, Elisha demanded that Miriam remove her proselytizers from OO territory or, at the very least, have them proselytize with their weapons holstered and their pants down. Miriam's eyes went wide and the connection was terminated. Oh, it was on!
Given that Miriam was the leader in Military by leaps and bounds, Elisha would need help in neutralizing her. She used the commlink frequencies that the docDinghy had decoded and hailed Colonel Santiago of the Spartan Federation. The two hit it off pretty well and signed a Treaty of Friendship after Elisha shared Lal's frequency.
The offer of High Energy Chemistry along with Elisha's tasteful recognition of Santiago's heritage persuaded the Spartan leader to sign a Pact of Sisterhood. Our first alliance! This meant, at long last, it was time for our pilot episode of ...
INT. COLONEL'S PRIVATE QUARTERS, SPARTA COMMAND - EVENING
(ELISHA and SANTIAGO sit next to each another on SANTIGO'S bed, which is shaped like a grenade. There are weapons mounted everywhere. ELISHA and SANTIAGO are half-dressed and caressing each other, breathing deeply.)
ELISHA (rubbing Oil of Olé on SANTIAGO's body): What immature writing.
SANTIAGO (stroking ELISHA'S back with her fingernails): I know. Why can't a grown man control his fantasies?
ELISHA (sprinkling fresh rose petals on SANTIAGO'S hair): Maybe he has deeply rooted psychological issues.
SANTIAGO (serenading ELISHA by guitar): Or he's just a child in a man's body.
ELISHA (removing from the oven a cake she baked for SANTIAGO): Do you ever get the feeling all men are like that?
SANTIAGO (helping ELISHA with her taxes): Yeah. Gotta love them, though.
ELISHA: Wait. What happened to our scene?
SANTIAGO: Hipolito never could hold out for very long.
ELISHA: But I was kind of getting used to the physical stuff.
SANTIAGO: Me too! Let's start over.
(ELISHA and SANTIAGO return to their original positions on the bed.)
ELISHA: Now let's have some of that Venezuelan Beaver Cheese.
SANTIAGO: But I'm Puerto Rican.
We further conditioned the Pact on Santiago declaring Vendetta on Miriam. The Colonel agreed, thus commencing the Lesbian Jihad of 2198. Sparta Command was far southwest of Orgull Island and therefore unlikely to be able to contribute to the war. However, any attempts on her part to send troops our way would stifle her own development, which was a plus. Then again, those troops could be a problem if Santiago were to turn against us.
Elisha hailed Brother Lal of the Peacekeepers. Lal promised a Pact if we would declare Vendetta against CEO Morgan. Hmm
, thought Elisha, I can please a dark, distinguished, older gentleman by making enemies with another dark, distinguished, older gentleman who has money. I don't think so
. We gave Lal Ethical Calculus and Nonlinear Mathematics in exchange for Industrial Economics and Progenitor Psych. He asked for High Energy Chemistry in exchange for his world map, but we declined. Later, we agreed to give it in exchange for 50 energy, which boosted our energy reserves enough to rush-build a Command Center at Theo's Hall. We then put the Pact proposal back on the table (without the Vendetta attachment), but Lal was not in the mood.
Elisha examined the Social Engineering table. Switching to a Free Market Economy (now available thanks to Industrial Economics) was a tantalizing proposition at 28 net income per turn and 8-turn breakthroughs (we were currently at 8 income/turn and 13-turn breakthroughs). But the severe hits to our Police and Planet ratings would make bases unmanageable and our mind worms less effective against Miriam. So we stuck with our Planned Economy, another concession to military strength at the cost of growth.
It was time to attend to the Vendetta. To prevent Miriam from using her 25% offensive bonus, we had to put her on the defensive. The driver of our DD at Theo's Hall contemplated whether to use nerve gas and risk global alienation, or use conventional weapons and risk losing.
Though he decided to use conventional weapons, he successfully attacked twice and destroyed two Believer infantry, earning a promotion to Disciplined status. Coming up the rear, the two Thundersparks destroyed three other units. The collateral damage from these attacks destroyed the remaining 14 units, clearing the square! Losing 19 units to 3 defenders must have been a great embarrassment to Miriam. One even wonders if it shook her faith a bit.
Varity, Zinfan, ChrisGwinn and the gentle and peaceful JonathanStrange took advantage of the sudden dearth of hostiles to sneak north toward another enemy base: The Lord's Wrath. On the way, they killed three straggling Believer units. The warm and human and gentle JonathanStrange promoted to Great Boil size. Zinfan didn't participate in the fighting, but found an excellent Beaujolais to celebrate the string of victories.
In 2199, the tropical resort base Arnir Island
was established northwest of Orgull Island.
In 2200, Elisha hailed Lal again. Lal repeated his Pact-for-Vendetta offer; Elisha's answer was still no. He then proposed exchanging world maps, something Elisha could agree to. Pleased by this, Lal removed the Vendetta clause from the proposed Pact, which Elisha immediately signed. And so we have another episode of...
INT. BEDROOM OF BEACH HOUSE AT ARNIR ISLAND - MORNING
(ELISHA and LAL lie together in bed, sleeping. Elisha awakens and turns to Lal.)
ELISHA: Pravin? Praaa-viin!
LAL (waking up): Hmm?
ELISHA: You fell asleep on me, old man!
LAL: What time is it?
ELISHA: Five after eight.
LAL: I'm missing my U.N. briefing. I have to go.
ELISHA: No way, we're not finished!
LAL: My little chapati, we mustn't continue this forbidden tryst.
ELISHA: Why not?
LAL: Santiago may find out.
ELISHA: I'm sure she knows, and I don't care.
LAL: I am much older than you. This in inappropriate.
ELISHA (coming closer to Lal, her chin resting on his beard): We're not leaving until you teach me every page of the Kama Sutra.
LAL (placing a finger on her lips): The Kama Sutra is false intimacy.
ELISHA (resting her forehead on his): Then teach me the philosophy of Tantric love.
LAL (taking her body and rolling her over on her back): There isn't time for that. We Indians have what is known as the Call Center Quickie.
We added a condition to the Pact: Lal must declare Vendetta on Miriam. He agreed. Now poor, dumb Miriam has a war on three fronts!
Caesarbear found an Alien Artifact and unloaded it into dbt1949's Network Node, leading to the discovery of Industrial Automation (the technology we've been trying to get for nearly 50 years). He picked up Qantaga, who could make an effective living artillery piece against the Believers.
The thoughtful and trustful and childlike JonathanStrange destroyed the garrison at The Lord's Wrath while Varity wasted its Former, allowing the other mind worms to take the base and rename it TheMix
. A flustered Miriam hailed us, offering "friendship" if Elisha would renounce her Pact with Lal or give High Energy Chemistry. Not a chance. The Vendetta continued.
In the year 2201, on the 100-year anniversary of Planetfall, setaside was wandering Elisha's penthouse suite, looking for her. He was weary from making the special gravy Elisha demanded in her poutine; it was no easy task for a eunuch. On top of that, he still had the sniffles from the Prometheus virus. But it was his nervousness that bothered him the most, as he was about to make the Queen a proposal that could lead to the restoration of his manhood and the realization of his wildest dream.
He coughed and blew his nose into a handkerchief as he wandered from room to room. "Queen Elisha?" he cried out. "Your Thighness? I have an urgent matter to--"
In walked Elisha, stark naked. Setaside quickly averted his eyes. "My Queen, forgive me! I did not know you were with consort."
"Huh?" she replied. "Oh, I was just doing Sudokus. They're addictive!" Unhurriedly, she put on a dressing gown and sat on a stool, crossing her legs. "So what's up?"
"Your Majesty," setaside began, "I know we have discussed this before and you find the subject distasteful, but I beg you to consider having a child."
Elisha rolled her eyes and crossed her arms. "What makes you think I will answer differently now, setaside?"
"I realize that the poutine I make for you keeps you young indefinitely, but in these violent times, there is no guarantee that I and your other loyal minions can protect you from harm. Should something happen to you, the empire will be in shambles without an heir."
She bounced her knee as she considered the proposition. "All right," she sighed. "How does the artificial insemination process work?"
"Artificial insemination? We ... uh, don't have that level of technology yet."
"How could we not? We had it on Earth."
"Yes, but much scientific progress was lost in Planetfall, you see." He wiped his brow with his hanky. "We are still trying to fill the holes. Until then ..."
Elisha glared at him. "Are you saying I have to ..."
"I promise that he will be your most loyal and trustworthy subject, and the experience will in no way interfere with your current romantic interests. I promise utmost discretion and taste!"
"And how should I select this ... DNA donor?"
Setaside nervously rubbed the back of his neck. "My Queen, think of the one you trust the most. The one who has given you the best guidance."
She didn't answer, only continuing to glare at him.
"I humbly submit," setaside continued, his breath quickening, "that you consider the one you are most comfortable with, who has even seen you naked. A small operation is all it would take for me to--"
She got up from the stool. "Do it," she said.
"Oh, wow! Shall I come right back here?"
"Here? There's hardly room for everyone."
"Have all the male servants assembled in one of the bases tonight. We'll hold a ball there to celebrate the Planetfall centennial, and I'll choose my companion from among the suitors. You're right, setaside. I must have a child to ensure the future of our faction and you, my favorite eunuch, are the only one I can trust to make the selection process smooth and painless."
"Buh ... buh ..."
"What's the matter?"
"Nothing. Your will be done."
Setaside shuffled out the door as Elisha pondered over her choices. She thought she heard setaside screaming and swearing in the hallway. He is dedicated
, she thought. Already barking orders at the slaves to make sure this ceremony will be a success. I wonder what I should wear?
The next update will be in a couple of weeks. Don't enjoy your break too much, though; find a tuxedo, pluck your nose hairs and look your best for the Queen. You never know, you just might be the chosen one!