When Darius Robotics announced the first manned trip outside of our solar system the standards for crew members were incredibly high. Candidates had to pass demanding mental and physical tests as well as prove that they could provide a considerable value to the mission. The outcry from refused politicians and celebrities dominated the media for weeks. But there were still too many promising candidates and Darius Erdmann turned to an AI to select the best candidates.
Months of struggle to put together the perfect list was resolved in less than a second as the AI provided the list, balanced for response to threats, potential for healthy growth on a distant world and the public relations requirements of the mission. Many of the names were well known, renown botanist Vivaan Aditya, transport shuttle designer Eugen Bredt, etc.
There were three major surprises in the list. First, most people assumed that Darius Erdmann himself would lead the mission. He had been the first person to sign up, and had funded the mission. His name was not included in the AI's optimal colony list. Secondly, Dr. Vanessa "Persephone" Seo, a post-human who had been critical of the project, was selected. She saw little value in transporting fragile mortal forms around the universe, but unexpectedly accepted the invitation after studying some of the emissions from the planet. The last surprise was the inclusion of John Cabot, a brilliant programmer that was currently serving life in prison for killing 143 people with hacked surveillance drones.
Cabot wasn't included in the mission and was replaced by a programmer of nearly equal skill instead, much to the relief of the other colonists.
The colony is the only defense the colonists have against the alien threat. If it is lost our mission has failed. That colonies were intended to be upgraded while the colonists lived on the planet. We can supply the metal to do that immediately and increase the colonies fortifications as well as allow the Carpathia more control in the region and the ability to deploy stronger turrets and use more powerful orbital abilities.
The final design of each colony rivaled any habitat on Earth. But we were unable to ship the massive amount of materials such a structure would require. Instead a rover sized drone pod was sent. These pods produced drones which gathered nearly metal and used their lasers to forge it piece by piece into a working refinery. After that the drones stayed with the refinery, repairing any damage that was done to it.
As long as the refinery exists, it will supply us with metal. Guard it well, but not at the expense of the colony. Note that enemies will stop and attack refineries, making it the perfect place to heavily fortify and do as much damage to them as possible. But once the refinery is destroyed, they will rush right through and our fortifications might not get much use.
The LV-52 molten-salt thorium reactor is a design that for a long time was considered outmoded by contemporary fusion reactors of both Inertia Confinement Fusion and Magnetic Confinement Fusion designs. Even back on Earth only a handful of these reactors were ever constructed, mostly as proof of concept or cheaper alternatives in remote regions where construction of large scale fusion power plants was considered cost inefficient.
Early on during our struggle with the hostile forces on Centauri we identified a need for additional power generation for offensive and defensive strategic systems. Whilst every effort was made to equip the Carpathia, we could not anticipate the overwhelming numbers of invaders we need to mitigate. The power plants of the colonies can transmit large amounts of power directly to the Carpathia but there remains a limit on both power generation and capacitor retention.
However, construction of additional fusion reactors is impractical for both logistical and potentially strategic reasons. The LV-52 reactors though are quick to fabricate, we have an excessive stockpile of material for their construction (thorium, beryllium, lithium, nickel and molybdenum), and it is impractical for the enemy to repurpose the reactors as either bombs nor munitions production.
Fission Reactors produce energy that can be used to power the Carpathia's orbital abilities. They can be upgraded to provide more energy but they must be defended, if enemy units are able to get to the reactor, they will destroy them.
The invaders of this world are no more alien than I am. But why fight for a single speck of dust among countless stars? The post-humans wage wars on a thousand worlds, but Haalee has, thus far, shown compassion for humans still fumbling in darkness. Is there something unique about this world? Is this a warning that human should not leave the confines of Earth? It is my hope that these scientific outposts will provide the answer.
Outposts have no military value.
Tower platforms provide a base amount of energy to power a wide variety of military and non-military structures. It didn't take long for researchers to discover that by channeling the power of a platform back into the grid, it would boost the power of surrounding platforms. Darius Robotics Ion Engine is based on this technology and essentially uses a low yield ion emitter surrounded by alternating Amplifiers to maintain consistent and nearly infinite power.
Range is the most significant limitation of Amplifiers, so they're most effective in areas tightly packed without towers. Since they provide a percentage boost to all damage by affected towers, they are most useful when built alongside the more powerful and expensive towers.
The Electrode Fields upgrade is essential when being used in areas where towers are spread apart or in areas where platforms are rare and valuable. The Metal Storage Array upgrade reduces the cost of building towers on surrounding platforms and makes it worth building your Amplifiers as early as possible.
If a heated discussion between Darius and Captain Husk had gone differently before the Carpathia's departure we might not have the G-32 Jericho artillery guns. Not knowing what kind of threat might be faced Darius insisted that all options were made available to the Carpathia but artillery with area denial payloads seemed either excessive or antiquated to him. Fortunately the captain convinced him otherwise.
The principles of artillery weapons have not changed since the earliest days of such weaponry. Though with the Jericho guns there are a few contemporary advantages. Auto-loader armatures, high speed servos and orbital-linked tracking expert systems all play a role in making the Jericho the most efficient artillery gun of its type. With additional loadouts available on the Carpathia the gun can lay down a "bed" of exothermic material which can reach temperatures that even burn most known alloys.
Although it's very expensive, the Artillery Post boasts much heavier damage than other splash towers, making it the ultimate weapon against masses of heavy frigates. Utilize its long range to cover multiple pathways from a single location and its ability to fire over mountains.
Out of the designs loaded onto the Carpathia, the YT-2001 "Orion" was one not originally intended for use as a deployable turret. Instead, it was part of the construct designs Milton had originally been equipped with. Only after the threat had been identified was it hurriedly adapted by Milton itself for a turret housing.
In its lighted configuration the Orion is a moderately ranged mortar capable of accurate bombardment of a single target using conventional explosive tipped rounds. It uses the same expert tracking systems used in its cousins of the Corrosion Mortar and Artillery Post allowing indirect bombardment that is cost effective.
Mortars have heavy splash damage and are effective against swarms of Reapers. In large numbers or when upgraded, they also prove powerful against heavy frigates. Place them in locations to make use of their long attack range and ability to fire over mountains. Spacing Mortars out can prevent multiple Mortars overkilling the same enemies.
Metallurgical research and development has always been one of the most important sectors of study for Darius Robotics. A new alloy or manufacturing process can be the difference between market dominance or corporate collapse. Thanks to the advances we have made in nanomaterials, bubble metals and bonded carbon we have been able to build drones capable of working on the surface of Venus with minimal mechanical stress.
It was thanks to this aggressive research and admittedly occasional corporate espionage that Darius Robotics acquired something uniquely remarkable. YK-8 is not a substance we strictly understand. But we do know that it is deeply disruptive to baryonic matter, breaking down covalent and ionic bonds more efficiently than any normal acid can. And the best part is it is easy to mass produce in any commercial fusion reactor if you know how. Of course, the details of this process are a closely kept secret.
Damage from this tower is applied over time, so place them away from your colony to give them time to wear down enemies. Despite this, the damage is considerable and the tower combines a decent rate of fire and range at a reasonable cost as well as the ability to fire over blocking terrain or towers to hit enemies.
Light Rail Gun
The original TG1 Heavy Rail Gun, sometimes called a Gun Turret, was originally designed by Thomas Husk and widely used in the Bloodless Battle. Husk developed the design based on small scale bore machines that could be dropped in remote locations, drill into the earth and take core samples. Rather than discard the bored material, Husk modified the turret to fashion them into long projectiles. The projectiles are fed into a powerful railgun and serve as an unending source of ammunition for the gun.
With limited impact and range, gun turrets are unlikely to stop an enemy assault by themselves. But at such a cheap cost they can be a very efficient defense in large numbers, especially against light targets. They are ideal in locations where you don't want to invest in more expensive towers or if a small numbers of enemies sneak through your main defenses.
The Aegis KM104 originally comes from a long line of military Close In Weapons Systems (CIWS) and hybrid anti-drone defenses. Patens Robotics briefly toyed with the idea of enhancing the technology using di-positronium based lasers which have become a staple in core fusion reactor design. Though such plans were remained merely hypothetical until the Carpathia was dispatched.
The Aegis KM104 can deliver a pulsed gamma radiation burst as light amplified radiation by using a Bose-Einstein Condensate. Whilst this type of weapon is best limited to a relatively short range attack it does deliver an incredible amount of radiation to damage the target. Upper limits of this design place the damage output potentially in the petawatt range if we scale it up.
Particle Lasers are cheap and provide good single-target damage. Multiple Particle Lasers are excellent against medium targets but lack the rate of fire to be useful against lighter enemies. When being used against heavy frigates, spread them out slightly to avoid overkilling the same target.
Out of all the weapons at our disposal the Minos WRX 108 Cannon comes from some of the more peaceful origins. During the early days of interplanetary colonization before we left the Solar System several sublight engines designs were trialed. We wanted an engine design that would enable us to achieve a high level of thrust, at high energy efficiency without the need for a fusion engine which at the time were largely of the "dirty" kind before helium-3 mining could scale up.
We needed something better than ion thrusters or kerosene and liquid oxygen. Darius invested heavily in several research projects and one of these, for a magnetoplasmadynamic thruster, unintentionally created a working pulsed plasma drive. Whilst the design was not considered desirable for several reasons related to space travel it was seen as having potential for a weapons system. By the time the project was concluded several designs had been tested in a virtual grey box and stored for any future use.
Minos Cannons are the ultimate damage dealing tower. Use them to take out enemy heavy cruisers and dreadnoughts. Mix with Ion Disrupters to disable enemy shields and use Overcharge to rapidly increase rate of fire. Place Minos Cannons where they're able to make use of their long range, but without being blocked by mountains.
Full economic automation for all manual labor tasks has been a matter of course for life back on Earth and Mars. Though not truly sentient, the dumb AI systems of these machines are able to handle most tasks that would have been the domain of the blue collar jobs of the 20th century. The physical shells of these machines take many forms but as a rule colloquially referred to simply as drones.
Before we sent the colonists, we sent the drones. Each centered around a fabrication and control facility they toiled to clear forests, collect material and construct the initial infrastructure which our colonists would use. However, labor is not the only thing these machines are used for. As even on humanity's first new home beyond security and keeping the peace are a concern.
Riot drones are one of the most ubiquitous designs and some sense one of the few true weapons the colonists even have. Each unit is equipped with an electrolaser weapon that ionizes the air to deliver an electric shock to the target. Normally these are used to merely render grown men or women unconscious, but can be adapted to more destructive ends and in numbers they are as dangerous as any cannon.
Drone Bays excel on large maps with winding paths, giving the Drones long periods to chase the enemy down and finish them off. Avoid using them on tiny maps as they are expensive for the damage they provide.
Out of the weapons Darius has loaded onto the Carpathia the "Gilgamesh" Ion Disrupter system was one that was still being actively used. Originally designed for orbital use, the weapon works on the basis of accelerating electrically charged particles in a cohesive beam. Whilst the name of the weapon might inspire something with incredible destructive potential, in actuality its primary use back in the Solar System was an intra-satellite weapons system.
Modifications were made and personally overseen by Commander Husk for a ground based system. Some of the components are in fact cannibalised from our gauss guns including the tracking system. However, the result we believe is worth it as the Ion Disrupter is an effective deterrence against energy projection systems. Whilst hardened systems are immune to the disruptive effects intended for earlier fragile artificial satellites we have found a significant impact on EM field projectors.
Use them to remove the shields of tough enemies. Place them in front of your main defensive lines to disable enemy shields before they enter attack range of the rest of your towers.
The Icarus KT401 SAM was one of the very first weapon system designs that Darius Robotics acquired during the early days of company acquisitions. Originally the system was designed for military forward base operations, cheap to deploy but effective at single target elimination. It uses a pair of independent surface-to-air missiles with shaped high yield explosives that can tear through most airframes in a matter of milliseconds.
For its use in the Carpathia’s arsenal the Icarus has undergone some minor tweaks by the vessel’s executive Commander Husk and finalized by the AI Milton. With some highly encrypted one way communication the missiles have been tied to the turret hardened tracking system augmented by the Athena LIDAR suite. This helps to eliminate chaff and other conventional countermeasure from throwing the guidance systems at the cost of reduced effective range of the missiles.
Icarus SAM's are essential for clearing the skies of enemy heavy aircraft. Place near enemy flight path and utilize Scavenger Modules to collect Metal from air units destroyed by the Icarus SAM.
The principle behind the E-16 "Falcon" Flak Turret goes back to the old wars on Earth. Darius Robotics personally created the Falcon as a variation of the ACL-7's gauss gun configuration. This "slug thrower" is loaded with a payload that detonates into a field of short lived micro explosives. In unison they detonate creating small but highly destructive shockwaves, with overlapping sonic forces it is enough to disrupt and ultimately tear down most lighter airframes. However, sturdier airframes can endure this barrage for minutes or even hours.
Originally these micro explosives were deployed as part of Darius Robotics' space program in the late 21st century. Designed to create shockwaves in natural rock formations with the minimal amount of explosive material needed thus conserving mass for ground to orbit launch vehicles. They were used during the earliest excavations under Mars to make space for prefabs and tunnel systems underneath the surface of the red planet. Here the first colonists would be safe from the harmful radiation from the Sun and could work on more sturdy structures to be setup as the planet's first domes pre-terraforming. Later these same explosives would be used on Centauri for limited demolitions work.
Falcon's have short range so be sure to place them directly underneath the enemy flight path. In large numbers can be used to counter Punishers as well as Sparrows.
When the posthuman Persephone joined the Darius Robotics-sponsored colonization efforts an agreement was struck for a limited exchange of technical knowledge. Though philosophically aligned her lack of membership in the Post Human Coalition probably also played a role in this. Of the technologies Darius was most interested in at the time, the one that Persephone was both able and willing to share insight on was the advances made in gravity channeling.
Specifically, this included technical specifications for a new type of higgs boson moderator capacitor. With directions to help create innovative solutions for a defensive action, Polina Zhukov has taken some of these new capacitors outfitted on the Carpathia and fabricated a limited higgs field projection system with them.
Now we can mass fabricate the new FH-1 "Houdini". Whilst its offensive capabilities are limited, we can in effect amplify small zones so that those who pass through them especially with gravity channeling of their own have their mobility hindered. Long term side effects of the device’s use are still pending full case studies./
Gravity Channelers slow enemies by a percentage so they're especially useful against fast enemies. Place them around corners where enemies will stay in the slow radius for some time and have towers nearby to capitalize on the slowed enemies. Stacking a Gravity Channeler with Stasis Hammers can cause dreadnoughts to crawl nearby defenses for long periods.
The Melia M105 ""Zeus"" Arc Projector is the Carpathia's very own weaponized tesla coil. Well, not in truth a tesla coil as Polina keeps telling everyone aboard the Carpathia. It uses similar principles to common types of EM field projectors used by both humanity and the post humans, albeit only to excite and direct a jacob's ladder type effect from the energized coils of the tower core. It is then through the excitation and ionization of air from this effect that super-heated plasma is directed from the base of the tower.
At full power the arc projector can inflict devastating electrical burns and overload the power systems of dozens of targets at a time. Although many have expressed a weariness of the apparatus and are thankful that its only fielded use is intended to be automated with no on hand operators required.
Arc Projectors are a devastating weapon against large numbers of frigates but lack the firepower against cruisers. Place them in corners where enemies will spend the longest time in the field of fire.
It is thanks to Polina Zhukov that we can set these new and improved IO-4 scavenger modules up. These stations are repurposed from the colony IO-4 fabrication stations. Under their intended use they would use drones to slowly clear space on the planet, taking any useful ores and material back to the station for processing into useful materials. Much of the infrastructure, at least that which still remains, was originally setup by stations like these, or at least the foundations were before the colonist arrivals.
With a little reprogramming thanks to Zhukov we now have what we are affectionately calling our "hyenas". The drones will collect anything that is of use within a radius of the station and bring it back for recycling. This should improve our fabrication systems by a significant margin if deployed strategically. However, the processing does not have 100% efficiency even after factoring in material degradation from weapons damage.
Scavenger Modules collect debris from the surrounding environment and convert it to metal that the Carpathia can use to construct towers. They are most valuable when placed near locations where lots of enemy units will be destroyed. Upgrades for Scavenger Modules are cheap, but they don't increase the amount of metal recovered. Instead they significantly increase the range they can gather metal. Lastly, Scavenger Modules do not stack, so if there is already one covering an area there is no use in placing another.
The 9-LS ""Faraday"" Nova is a projected energy weapon designed for the purpose of wide scale EM field disruption. Its history is mired in conspiracy theories not unlike the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP). Similar to the ionosphere research project, the original testing of the Nova came with concerns of the military attempting to manipulate Earth's weather patterns and even tectonic activity. This is because the testing phase for the weapon was almost impossible to hide and its effects on machines not hardened to it were disastrous even kilometers away.
At its most basic level the 9-LS throws a series of high-frequency EM pulse charges, contained within a carefully contained ""bottle"" of plasma. Whilst being hit full on with one of these would kill a human, it is designed more as an artillery losing cohesion when it falls back to the ground. The resulting electrical discharge is disruptive to EM fields and was designed as a mass countermeasure to emerging defensive technologies.
Nova Cannons are deadly against Martyrs and leave them vulnerable without their shields. Upgrading the Nova Cannon gives it even more power to be effective against shielded cruisers. Although, their slow projectile speed leaves them weak against the swift Hooded Turbines. Place them in key locations to make use of their long range and indirect fire.
The QSL318 Gravitic Pulse Cannon is a specialist weapon that was spurred in development by events from the Bloodless Battle. Those events demonstrated the clear superiority of constructs and drones over any human combatants, but it also presented new strategies required for developed nations to keep in mind when considering potential proxy wars or even acts of terrorism. Whilst not directly involved, Darius Robotics did have some insight into this weapons program by way of some corporate espionage.
The QSL318 has in effect a singular purpose in disabling EM fields which became standard for hardened combat drones beyond a certain mass. These fields act to protect combat units, mainly through deflection of metal projectiles. It has limits in its use with a limited amount of damage the weapon is able to inflict to target with no shields and a thick hull.
Pulse Cannons are versatile and provide modest damage against all enemy types due to a rapid rate of fire. However, Pulse Cannons excel as a means of countering shielded cruisers as they completely bypass enemy shields and damage the hull directly. Be sure to focus on shield disabling towers like the Ion Disrupter or on Pulse Cannons to ignore shields, don't mix in both at the same location.
Whilst examining the Gravity Channeler Commander Husk quickly realized there was another potential application for the same technology. Whilst not sure if it was achievable at the time he set a joint task for Zhukov and Milton for the creation of a weapon that could all but freeze an opponent. Rendering it immobile whilst firepower can be brought to bear. This was what he would go on to dub a "Stasis Hammer" using the same higgs boson moderator technology.
The SH-1 ""Pokrok"" stasis hammer was mentioned uses the same technology as the Gravity Channeler. Albeit condensed to a single point. Tracking one target at a time it can create an incredibly dense effect that can warp space-time. Its effects are sadly limited, with no damage being inflicted and a limited duration for the effect. However, some elements of this could be adapted and improved upon for a large scale effect.
Stasis Hammers are very helpful when dealing with enemy dreadnoughts. Place Stasis Hammers next to your offence towers and units will be stunned in the killing field. Stasis Hammers are designed to assist against dreadnoughts, but can also be useful against heavy cruisers. Spread Stasis Hammers out slightly to avoid stunning at the same time.
"In space even our light will die.
We are a flash in endless night.
Stars grow cold, living worlds collide.
Though hopeless, we struggle and fight
and war against the end of light.
Entropy claims the worlds we made.
With time, even memories fade.
Pulled beneath the abyssal sea
into unknown depths far from shore.
The dark graves of eternity.
A landscape of unending horror.
The shattered remnants of war.
Though lost we have just one hope left
that others benefit from death.
Let the executioner come,
I do not fear the coming night.
Though the next war cannot be won
they will be bloodied by the fight
and blinded by the new born light.
A world is lost, but in its place
a memory of the human race."
The Fusion Detonator is designed for one purpose, to transform a planet into a star. This is a complex process and will take upgrading the detonator twice. After the upgrades there will be a long delay while the detonator activates. Enemy are likely to become even more aggressive during this period. Be sure to have strong defenses in place before upgrading the detonator, especially since, unlike the Colony, it doesn't have any defenses on its own.
Early attacks targeted the Energy cells at the outskirts of the colony. After an explosion wiped out a fleet of enemies, they began bypassing the cells and concentrating on other structures instead. But the event wasn't missed by the colonists who weaponized the store cells by placing remote detonators on them. The Carpathia can access those detonators and cause them to explode as well.
Clicking on an Energy Cell will cause it to explode and damage all nearby enemies. This is a good defense when tower support isn't in place yet, or desperate measures are required. But beware, once a cell has been detonated it is gone. We will have to survive the rest of the rest of the assault without it.