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4.2.1 New Resources

4.2.2 Strategy Overview

This rank's operations shift dramatically from almost trivial missions to intense combat, and back again, three times over the course of about two months. You must use the quiet moments to build up your resources in order to survive the intense combats. This may require you to exhibit a sixth sense: You will need to build just the right sort of resources at just the right time. You risk not knowing precisely what you will need until it is too late. First focus on building up basic ground defenses (to deal with a ground invasion), while simultaneously building up a solid tax base on your colonies. In the second phase, start producing fleet enhancements (so you have just enough to protect the Admiral from attack). In the third phase, maximise your tax base, while ratcheting up production to the point where you can field a large, if technologically backward, fleet. As with Lieutenant, don't delay this rank's missions - doing so will make the later stages of the game harder.

4.2.3 Opening moves

Immediately pause the game and take stock of changes, notably the two new planets. Both have power shortages, which can be mostly fixed by turning off the Dev. Centres - you don't need them yet anyway. Both will benefit from further development, but you probably cannot afford much at the moment. Priorities should be radar and housing on New Caroline and additional food production on Centronom. Centronom has a high proportion of unbuildable areas, so expect to curse it plenty in months to come as you try to fit new buildings in ;-) .

Ensure Achilles has a full deployment of Light Tanks - strip some from neighbouring planets to bring Achilles' deployment up to 8. Let time pass, and you'll see a Garthog fleet decloak (you don't get the kind of radar range warning you'd expect) off Achilles. Ground combat will start. Deploy your units and start the battle. Pause the game by pressing space, and issue orders, then press space again to return to real time. The Garthog will primarily attack buildings, specifically the radar, power plants, and fire station. Defend buildings by ensuring you engage every enemy tank, and use you superior numbers to overwhelm them. Don't fight in narrow streets where only a few of your tanks can engage and move heavily damaged units to the rear of the battle if possible. You should be able to win the fight without your buildings taking heavy damage, and without losing any tanks.

4.2.4 I repelled the Garthog fleet and the plot seems to have stalled. What did I do wrong?

From Peter Knutsen: "I also found out that you can miss on the storyline, if you fortify your planets while you're still Lieutenant rank. I built 5 Ion Cannons on each planet, and they managed to repel the Garthog fleet. The result of this was that the storyline stopped advancing. Apparently it was crucial to the storyline that the Garthogs manage to land some ground units so you can have a ground battle. Because of this, I had to backtrack to a saved game and then turn off the ground artillery. Once I got to Captain rank, I turned the cannons on and had no more storyline problems."

4.2.5 How do I produce a Cruiser 1?

Cruiser 1 requires research before it can be produced. You cannot research at this rank, so you won't be able to produce it, even though it appears on the production screen. At this stage you can only have one Cruiser 1 - your command ship.

4.2.6 Colony development

It is tempting to immediately try and start producing things. However, production facilities are expensive to build, items are costly to make, and a lot of what you can make you probably don't need at the moment. Instead build additional Barracks (at least one Barracks per colony within the first two weeks - I cannot stress this enough if you want to survive the month), and facilities to encourage population growth (housing, power, food, Hospitals) and morale (Churches, Bars, Recreation Centres, Police Stations). Once morale and population start to rise, crank up taxation. You should aim to sustain Very High+ taxation with 75%+ tax morale. Push your Earth-like planets the hardest, since they will happily support Demanding taxation if basic morale boosting buildings are in place. Once you have upwards of 40,000 credits a day coming in from taxation, you should turn your attention to production, see below. Don't get too greedy and attempt to milk every last credit by building *very* expensive items like Stadiums and Water Vaporators straight away.

4.2.7 Garthog pirates

About 2 days after the Achilles attack, Garthog pirates will start attacking traders. The approach is the same as before, but the enemy is stronger and better equipped. You'll receive a 5000 credit bonus for saving the trader. Garthog pirates will return again after the first Virus infection (see below). Saving the second trader improves your reputation with the "Free Traders Alliance" - I presume this means better relations with the "Alliance of Free Traders" (an alien race).

4.2.8 Doctor Catherine Reinhardt

A day after the first Garthog pirate attack, you'll get a message to talk to the ship's doctor. Go to the Bridge and complete a test by clicking the appropriate multiple-choice boxes:

Does how you answer this test make any difference? From Mega Products: "Failure to answer these questions adequately can get you thrown off the ship but only the most rabid psychopath is penalised so if this happens to you... you probably deserve it." In the months after this test you will see a series of flash-backs. Shortly after the first flash-back, visit the Local (F9) and talk to the doctor about the dreams and the test (click with the mouse on her).

4.2.9 San Sterling smuggler

Shortly after the test, you'll get a message from San Sterling, warning that a smuggler is inbound. Send your fleet to San Sterling. After around two days, a ship labelled "Unknown" will appear on the radar. Move your fleet to attack it. Don't destroy the smuggler, just attack it until you see the text message "Don't shoot...".

4.2.10 Governor escort

Two days after you dealt with the San Sterling smuggler, the Colonel will request that you escort the governor of Centronom. Shortly afterwards the governor's fleet will appear off San Sterling and heads for Naxos.

4.2.11 Garthog invasion

About two weeks after being promoted, you'll receive a message that one of your planets is being invaded. The strength of this attack can take you by surprise if you haven't prepared. From Karl Davis: "Build a barracks. It'll allow 4 more tanks. 8 is the max without one. If you have one you need to go to the equipment screen for the planet they're going to and add the tanks. Don't waste your fleet on them at this stage of the game." Tanks can be stripped from planets that aren't being invaded and re-deployed on the one that is. This should give you enough tanks to fill your Barracks. Without at least one Barracks, this fight is almost impossible - you might just do it if you are prepared to have a few buildings destroyed, but such loses will be hard to recover from.

From Jason Westpfahl: "At the Captain level, allow the Garthogs to attack your planets. At this level you don't have the firepower to defeat them in space combat. Just build up your planet defense systems with barracks and tanks. After you have successfully fended off several land invasions, the Garthogs seem to leave you alone."

If you don't have a chance to build Barracks try this trick just after escorting the governor: Deploy several tanks on every colony except New Caroline. Remove all tanks from New Caroline. This will make New Caroline appear to be the weakest target in your empire, and will probably be the planet the Garthogs invade. Once their fleet is close, deploy 12 tanks to the planet (this is the only colony you have that starts with Barracks >:) ), maybe even build a second Barracks and deploy a further four tanks to make the battle decisive.

4.2.12 Virus infection

Two or three days after the Garthog invasion, you will receive a message from the governor of New Caroline, explaining that a virus has taken hold on the planet. You need to quarantine the planet. This means stopping any of the traders that leave New Caroline from getting to another planet, and preventing any traders heading to New Caroline from other planets from reaching their destination. You don't need to kill the traders, merely get them to turn around: Attack them. At the start of the battle you have two options: (1) select the lines that appear at the very top of the text box to converse with the trader (you can converse whilst paused), or (2) engage them with fighters until you see something like "Don't shoot... we'll turn around" in the text box, then pull your fighters off and let the trader flee. You may notice that if you use method 2, rather than 1, traders will keep on trying to leave the planet. If you use the first method, they tend not to try and break the blockade a second time. If dealing with many traders, split your main fleet into two, with one capital ship and some fighters in each fleet. Do this via the equipment screen (F4). Avoid any ship getting through the blockade - they'll infect whatever planet they arrive at, immediately quadrupling the healthcare requirement there. You will probably need to build additional hospitals on infected planets. This mission can become very annoying if too many traders get trapped on New Caroline, since you'll need to jump between battles that are only a few pixels apart. DuaneVP notes: "It is unnecessarily hard to sort out the stacks of trader ships when trying to enforce a blockade even with all the other graphic elements turned off." If you get it under control rapidly, the first infection will last about three days.

After the first virus infection, send a message to the Colonel about it (via Bridge). He suspects biological warfare of some kind, and will dispatch some new sensor equipment to look out for virus carriers, although nothing happens immediately.

4.2.13 Build up your fleet

By the time of the first virus infection, you should have developed your colonies sufficiently to have a daily tax revenue of about 40,000 credits. It is time to start planning ahead, which means building up your fleet: Build factories and start producing things. What follows are my suggestions. You may adopt a slightly different combat strategy, in which case modify the production strategy to suit: Construct two Spaceship factories, and order some Fighter 2 and Destroyer 1. You will need more Spacecraft factories than any other type if you favour fighters. Next, build a Weapons factory, and crank out 5 extra lasers to fit to your existing capital ships. Produce additional lasers to maximise the weapon loadouts on the new destroyers (this doubles their firepower). Do not waste time on bombs or missiles (you don't have any ship that can use them yet), and do not build tanks or radar cars at this stage. A pair of Equipment factories follow, primarily to produce shields for your new destroyers. Ensure you have enough cash after new construction to keep production turning. As new items are produced add them to your fleet.

4.2.14 Escort Admiral

There will be a further Garthog pirate attack after the virus infection, but the overall pace of events will seem to slow down. Approximately 10 days after the virus, you'll receive a new order from the Colonel - to escort Admiral Benson to New Caroline. The Admiral's fleet will start from Achilles. Deploy and equip recently produced items (ideally you will have your fleet near to Achilles to start with, where you also have a Military Spaceport from which to add equipment and units), then move your fleet towards the Admiral's. You can also request reinforcements by sending a message to the Colonel - this will add a Destroyer 1 and a few Fighter 2 to your fleet. Late production may be shipped out to the main fleet by creating a new fleet and adding the new ship to it, moving the new fleet to the main fleet, and then merging the two fleets. As you approach New Caroline, you'll be engaged by a Garthog fleet that includes a flagship. If you have not built a few extra ships, this battle can be unpleasant. Remember that the Admiral's flagship *is* combat capable. Vakundok comments: "If you equip the reinforcements and use the admiral's flagship correctly, the battle can be won with only fighter losses (without building additional ships)." In particular, don't forget to use the missiles it carries to soften up one or two of the larger Garthog ships. Winning the battle nets you 5 free Lasers.

4.2.15 Second virus infection

About 5 days after escorting the Admiral, a second virus infection will occur on New Caroline. You'll need to repeat the method above. Whilst you are doing this, Hubble 2 orbital radars satellites will be added to San Sterling and Naxos: You'll see a video sequence showing satellites being launched, and the radar coverage around those planets will increase dramatically. If this sequence does not occur within a day of the infection appearing, check that you have sent a message to the Colonel about the virus (the option to send such a message should no longer be available). With the improved radar coverage, watch Garthog space and you should see a slow moving fleet marked "Virus trn". You may also see a second enemy fleet marked "Garthog flt" - ignore that one for now. Split your fleet, leaving one group close to New Caroline to engage any traders that appear, and set the other group to attack the virus fleet. The virus fleet is made up of *unarmed* destroyers... if only other battles were this easy ;-) . Send a report to the Colonel from the Bridge. The infection will clear up about a day later.

4.2.16 Spies

Around this time, you'll see a video in which your character will start to think some...thing is spying on them. Go to the Local (F9) and talk to Kelly. He'll talk about how advanced alien technology is, and then discuss alien spies. He will suggest using the state room computer to record activity in the room. Go the state room (F8) and click on "Record Message". A day later, you'll learn who the spy is. Report your findings to the Colonel (send a message from the Bridge), and he'll "deal with it" (although nothing will seem to happen as a result of your report).

4.2.17 More building

Use the two or three 'quiet' weeks to build the additional facilities required to sustain Demanding taxation (Water Vaporators, Stadium). You may be able to push the Earth-type planets up to Oppressive taxation. Build additional factories - aim for one of each factory type per colony. Ratchet up fleet building - aim to have a full stack (25) of fully equipped Destroyer 1 with some Fighter 2 escort. Lastly, build a few extra Barracks, which may make the early part of the next rank easier.

4.2.18 Escort money transport

A week after the virus infection, you'll get another minor mission. View the Colonel's orders, and then move your fleet to escort the "Money trn" that will appear off New Caroline. As it approaches San Sterling, a Garthog pirate fleet will attack. You will only face a few destroyers and fighters, but some are quite well armed.

4.2.19 Stolen prototype

A week after the money transport escort, the Colonel will inform you that the Garthogs have stolen a prototype ship (it's a destroyer, not a cruiser). Time to use those resources you've built up. A Garthog fleet labelled "Prototype" will appear off New Caroline. Attack it with everything you have. The Garthog fleet will contain a pair of flagships, with destroyer and fighter escort, plus the captured prototype destroyer. Each Garthog flagship has about five times as much firepower as your Destroyer 1s, and will initially try to fight at range, where their flagships have a significant advantage. You can approach this as a methodical battle, destroying all the armed enemy ships first, then destroying the prototype. Alternatively, at the start of the battle throw everything at the prototype, and hope to destroy it before they destroy you. The former will tend to minimise loses. The later is a useful tactic if you don't have a big enough fleet to deal with their flagships. An alternative approach is suggested by vakundok: "Build five cannons on Achilles and attack the Garthog fleet with two fighters." If you launch an attack close to a planet the defenses of the planet will be added to the battle. This adds a lot of 'cheap' firepower, but such a strategy requires careful timing and advance knowledge of the enemy fleet's flight path. Destroying the prototype promotes you to Commander.