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4.1.1 Initial Resources
- Screens: Bridge, Starmap, Colony, Equipment, Information, State Room.
- Fleet: Destroyer 1 (no shield), Fighter 1 x3.
- Planets (building damage in brackets):
- Achilles: Desert, population 8150 (declining), low tax, Light Tank x6, Nuclear Plant (84%), Radar Telescope (95%), Prefab Housing (90%), Church (98%), Fire Brigade (82%), Police Station (63%), Military Dev Centre (53%), Military Spaceport (64%).
- Naxos: Earth-like, population 4600, moderate tax, Light Tank x8, Colony Hub, Nuclear Plant, Prefab Housing, Radar Telescope.
- San Sterling: Frozen, population 4850, moderate tax, Light Tank x8, Colony Hub, Nuclear Plant, Prefab Housing, Radar Telescope.
- Equipment: Light Shield, Survey Satellite.
- Credits: 32,000 (15,000 on hard setting).
- Date: 13 August 3427.
4.1.2 Strategy Overview
This rank involves rebuilding Achilles and using your fleet in a series of escort/protection missions. Whilst all this is going on, start building up your colonies. Don't delay any of the missions - the quicker you gain early ranks, the easier the later stages of the game will be.
4.1.3 Getting started
First thing to do is freeze the game (icon in the top left hand corner or press space), and take stock of what you have and familiarise yourself with the interface. You'll notice that Achilles is in bad shape. Move your fleet into the centre of the map, where it will be better placed to respond to threats (select the fleet, and press M or click the Move button and then click on the destination, or ALT + click on destination), and temporarily increase the tax rate a notch on Naxos and San Sterling to fund the reconstruction.
Now turn your attention to Achilles. The manual includes a method of solving the problems, but misses a fundamental issue and omits to mention how useful the Fire Brigade is at this stage. The most immediate problem is a lack of Colony Hub, living space and power, however you cannot initially afford a Colony Hub. Start to repair the Nuclear Plant, Prefab Housing, and Fire Brigade and let time pass. Once these buildings are operational (51% repaired), stop the repairs, and hoard your cash until you can afford a Colony Hub. Note that the Fire Brigade will repair everything else to just under 50% (made operational) for *free*. Initially turn off non-critical buildings: Military Development Centre, Police Station and Spaceport. Once you have built the Colony Hub, build a Hydroponic Food Farm to solve your food shortages. With the worst problems under control, you should now be able to increase taxation on Achilles, and drop taxation slightly on the other two planets. Address power shortages and start to finish repairs on critical buildings. Not all buildings need be fully repaired. For example, the Military Spaceport seems to work just as well at 49% damaged as they do at 0% damaged. Repairing the Military Spaceport fully will use a lot of credits, so don't repair it now.
4.1.4 Requests for help
During the first day you will receive a message from a ship needing assistance. Go to the bridge and play the message. On the starmap, select your fleet, and press A or click the Attack button and then click on the target labelled "Pirate", or CTRL + click on the target labelled "Pirate". If you can't see any pirates, they are probably outside of your radar coverage, close to Achilles - move your fleet towards Achilles and hopefully they will become visible. Once the attack starts, pause the battle, and get familiar with the interface: There is quite a lot of information on units, and different commands, none of which one has time digest real-time. To attack, select the attacking units (your units are on the left), and right click on the enemy unit. Don't loss any of your fighters - retreat damaged fighters by moving them out of the frontline, if you need to. From Mega Products: "The most important thing to remember in these actions is that you have direct control over any allies in the combat. This means you can direct the merchant behind your own fleet while your fighters destroy the would-be pirates. As long as you keep the merchant moving you should be fine."
After about 3 days, you will receive an assignment from the Colonel. It involves escorting a cargo ship. Within an hour a fleet labelled "Transport" will appear in the top left of the map and start heading towards Naxos. Select your fleet and issue move instructions, with the destination target the Transport. Your fleet should follow the Transport close enough to protect it when the inevitable pirate attack arrives just off San Sterling. Ensure the cargo ship survives to receive a free Light Shield.
Shortly afterwards (about 19 August) another pirate attack will occur. Dealing with this one nets you 1000 credit bonus.
Two days later you'll get a message from the governor of Naxos, reporting combat. Set you fleet to attack one of the pirates. When battle commences, you'll notice two pirates firing on a third. Engage the pair of pirates, and protect the rebel.
The next pirate attack occurs around five days later, this time involving a destroyer. Avoid loses by moving heavily damaged ships out of the battle. You'll get a bonus of 5000 credits for defending the trader.
4.1.5 Re-equip your command ship
Once the Military Spaceport on Achilles is operational, move your fleet close to the planet (until the "near planet" in the fleet panel says Achilles), then on the equipment screen (F4), equip a Light Shield from stores. Shields will make the next few battles easier.
4.1.6 Colony development
The first new problem you will face on all of your planets is a lack of food (build Hydroponic Farms), followed by a lack of living space and power. Don't neglect morale boasting buildings like Churches on Naxos and San Sterling, which are good for taxation.
4.1.7 Cover the Thorin's retreat from Garthog forces
Around 26/27 August (assuming you haven't delayed), you'll receive instruction to meet the Admiral Mark Tullen on the flagship Thorin. You must protect the Thorin from Garthog attackers as it retreats. The Admiral suggests requesting reinforcements, which you can do by sending a message from the Bridge. This will add 3 more Fighter 1 to your fleet. Escort the Thorin past Achilles. As the Thorin escapes, a slow moving Garthog fleet will appear on the map. Attack it. If you saved the rebel pirate earlier, you'll receive the help of the rebel pirate and his friends. With reinforcements and the rebel pirates this fight will be easy. Use the pirate fighters as cannon fodder if you need to; they are only available for this battle. Without rebel help and reinforcements, the fight will be somewhat harder. You will probably get beaten if you only have the starting fleet available. Completing the battle promotes you to Captain, and makes you a new enemy - the Garthog.