This game was amazing. It was odd how it didn’t have a start screen so Yong-Chui guessed that it might have been a prototype.
‘Maybe that was how mom got ahold of it,’ he thought.
Apparently he was fighting against some guys called the Kiruaxi Hierarchy, but honestly he couldn't care less about what they were called.
Yong-Chui looked over his base camp with a pleased expression. The list of structures and upgrades he could build were so numerous he almost fell out of his chair in when he first saw them. Even better, some sort of uber-parsing allowed him to describe anything they didn’t have and they would begin research on it. You could even give the “research AIs,” as they were called, help by teaching them certain concepts. At the moment they were almost finished researching hydrogen bombs.
Suddenly, his radar system, which was the first thing he had them build, alerted him to what looked like incoming Kiruaxi.
‘Perfect,’ he grinned, and began setting up an ambush.
Warlord Krignox was flying high. All he had to do was finish sweeping this one last planet and he could say with certainty that he had conquered this entire system. His spirits were somewhat dampened by the fact that this was on the brink of the war, but it couldn’t be helped.
What was annoying was having to manually sweep every single planet in the system. He wished Kiruaxi High Command would finance some research to discover enemy placement. But with the war going on they refuse to finance anything that wouldn’t help them in the war. He supposed they were right. How could knowing the enemy’s location possibly be beneficial in a war? Maybe if he tried hard he could come up with some justification to get them to…
One of the ships in his scouting party suddenly went down.
'Enemy attack?! No, we’re over a forest. No one would take up a position there.' “All ships, look for a clearing and begin landing sequence, Our comrades may need help!” Warlord Krignox barked.
Yong-Chui grinned. This was going even better than he hoped. ‘One of their comrades is shot down and they don’t even begin evasive maneuvers? Pity there’s no title screen so I can’t bump up the difficulty a bit,’ Yong-Chui thought. Still, he had to admit that their reaction as well as their landing was completely organic. He couldn’t distinguish his opponent’s response from that of a human player, albeit one who might have been handicapped in the strategic department. Well, no matter, it was time to close the net.
This was not happening. Not [5 minutes] after they landed, Revelius combat drones began pouring out of the forest. Even worse, they attacked from all directions. Not just the front, as logic would dictate, but from the back and the sides. Seriously who does that. Nonetheless, Warlord Krignox couldn’t deny the effectiveness of this new method, considering only himself and the most elite of his troops were left. They couldn’t even call for backup, something was jamming communications. Honestly, who would have thought something so simple would spell the end of an entire battalion.
Nonetheless, it appeared the Revelius did have someone who thought like that. He shuddered as he thought what that would mean for the Kiruaxi.
‘Well, if I make it out of this I’ll have a hell of an excuse for high command to try and locate enemy units automatically,’ he thought grimly.
Damn, his weapon was out of ammo, and it looked like his remaining soldiers were in similar situations. Krignox took a deep breath, and prayed for the rest of the Hierarchy.
Yong-Chui was simultaneously ecstatic and disappointed at the same time. His ambush had gone well. Too well. It was like the Kiruaxi weren’t even expecting a fight.
Well, no matter. Yong-Chui wondered if he could seize Kiruaxi ships. The scavenger drones had already dismantled the one he shot down and turned it into resources, but these ones were perfectly intact. Yong-Chui selected some combat drones and indicated they move into the ships. As they entered, a notice popped up. “Incompatible software.” Hmmn, this was trouble. Still, the fact that he got a reaction gave him hope. He selected some transport drones and commanded them to pick up the Kiruaxi ships.
Yong-Chui ordered his troops back to base, and the captured ships to be delivered to the garage. It was time to see if the Research AIs could handle reverse engineering.
‘What is wrong with Krignox?’ Fleet Master Alteverath thought to himself, as he looked out over the recently conquered system. ‘He’s almost never late, especially when we’re one planet sweep away from declaring victory.’
Alteverath looked over his soldiers, and while they were all diligently manning their posts, he could see the anxiousness in them. This border scuffle wouldn’t mean much in the long run, and they were all eager to get out of here and rejoin their comrades on the front lines.
One of the techs suddenly spoke up. “Uh, sir? One of our patrol squadrons suddenly went dark.”
“So? They probably just had technical difficulties.”
“Well sir, before the signal cut off, they seemed to be sending a distress signal. I can’t verify this because they cut off too quickly for me to be sure.”
Alteverath paused at this. It probably wasn’t an enemy attack. Even the dumbest captain couldn’t avoid seeing an enemy until they were right on top of each other. Still, with Krignox’s uncharacteristic tardiness, this seemed like too big of a deal to ignore outright, and he hadn’t made Fleet Master by being careless.
“Very well, tell all other patrols to ready for combat.”
“Um, sir? Isn’t that a little… ?”
“Just a precaution soldier.”
As much as Alteverath hated to admit it, he probably was being a little paranoid. In fact, he had a sneaking suspicion that his paranoia was what gotten him and his fleet assigned to this cesspool of a system.
Nevertheless, he would rather face the wrath of his superiors rather than the empty eyes of a family who lost their father.
“Fleet Master! Urgent transmission from one of the patrols!”
“Patch it through.”
“Sir! Revelius ships just came out of nowhere! They’re coming at us from both sides and… “
“I’m sorry captain, did you just say sides?!”
“Sir! I didn’t believe it either, but they’re… AAAAUGH!”
The transmission went dead. Everyone looked shaken. Only Alteverath seemed to realize what this implied.
“Lieutenant Grenthsel, send a message to all ships. Tell them to rendezvous with the main fleet and arrange themselves in the pattern I will transmit to them.”
“Sir, did I hear that right? You want to arrange troops before the battle starts?”
“DID I FUCKING STUTTER LIEUTENANT?!” Alteverath barked, still flustered from the loss of his men and the conclusion he came to a few minutes earlier.
“N-n-no, sir.” Grenthsel was visibly shaken.
Alterverath let out a sight. “This enemy attacked from the sides, Grenthsel. Do you know why they did that?”
“Well see if you can answer this question: Where can we best respond to an enemy?”
“Where are all of our weapons and defenses located, Lieutenant?”
“On the front, sir.”
“Exactly. So if you attack from the sides… ”
Grenthsel’s eyes widened as comprehension dawned on him. The rest of the crew seemed to be in similar states of realization.
“That’s not all, Lieutenant. The transmission mentioned them “appearing out of nowhere.” While I highly doubt this to be the case, it indicates that this new threat likely has more than this one trick up his sleeve.”
Grenthsel was still standing there, shocked, but he was able to stammer out, “I’ll relay your orders to the troops, and I recommend we inform High Command of this new development. If what you say is true, we might not get out of this alive, sir.”
“Good idea, get to it.” Grenthsel saluted and turned to carry out his orders. Alteverath hoped High Command would take their warning seriously, and not disregard it as more of his paranoid ramblings. Win or lose, there was no way they were going to get out of this fight without more casualties. It looked like he’d have to face the empty eyes of his men’s families after all.