I don't know where to begin. My logs usually contain the operational minutiae of the Expedition, but the events of the past two and a half years render the details so much less significant. A time of great strife has come and gone, leaving some sovereign entities a thing of the past. The Expedition itself has emerged as a galactic leader, unparalleled in size and power. We’ve gone from 29 planets to 59, and expanded our galactic resources from 4 to 11. Our population has more than doubled to almost 625 billion, but over one quarter of our citizens are non-Gaian. Accommodating the influx of such a diverse population has been a challenge, and significant change has swept across the Expedition. Though there is currently a Tenuous peace in the galaxy, the wounds of war are still fresh. It has fallen upon the Gaians the lead the galaxy forward.
The Pan Galactic War
Everyone could see it coming, but none could have guessed its scale. What began as a conflict of ethics and border tension between the Gaians and Altarians erupted into a galaxy wide war involving very nearly every sentient being in the galaxy. Only a few of the minor races managed to remain neutral throughout the entire war - the Akilians, Carinoids, and Snathi. Of the others, only the Lentzlandiands survived the war as a sovereign power.
In early 2230 we laid claim to the last 4 uncolonized planets in the galaxy. Two of them, Kievi II and Sitlet II, in the galactic northwest, just north of Terran space, and the other, Quatrale III, on the far eastern edge of our range. Najmanowicz IV lay firmly in Gaian space, just west of Gaia herself. With no other expansion available we focused on development and exploration of the last unseen corners of the galaxy. We finally made contact with the reclusive Arceans and discovered the homeworld of the Scotlingas. All races were making advancements, with capitals of all types being constructed across the galaxy, along with some great achievements, such as the Dark Energy Lab and Galactic Guide book built by the Drath.
It wasn't long, however, before tensions ignited a small conflict. The Drath Legion declared war on the Drengin Empire and was quickly joined by the Arcean Empire. Given their isolation on the south and southwest edges of the galaxy, it was easy for the other races to remain uninvolved - for a time. The Altarians soon declared war on the Scotlingas, and there was little hope for the Scots. Our own relations with the Altarians quickly declined. Our close borders, colonization disputes, and conflicting ideologies had always colored our interactions with them, but events on Kievi II may have sown the seeds of war. Our colonists had discovered a base being used by criminals to deal in stolen space craft and parts and forged an agreement with them to improve shipbuilding there. We got superior ships and protection from the criminals, but the Altarians suffered the brunt of their predations. When news of the agreement was leaked, it ignited a diplomatic fiasco that helped speed conflict between us. Add to this the Torians attempt to cheat us in a technology exchange and we were quickly aware of the need to prepare for the worst.
So the Torians want to trade me Fleet Warp Bubbles III for Xeno Entertainment, huh? Notice how there's nothing on their side of the table? That's cuz I already have FWBIII. Nice try Torians! Also first contact with Arceans and Relations before the outbreak of war. Criminal ethical choice on Kievi provided a narrative background for poor relations and war.
Foreseeing conflict, we prepared by advancing our weapons research to perfect Particle Beams I. We then designed and began construction of the Hellion class frigate to deter hostility. We perfected our ability to utilize toxic worlds to best utilize our technological capital on Mamba and our projected manufacturing capital on Kupe, then perfected our economic expertise, allowing for construction of Galactic Stock Exchanges. Our scientific creativity saves us about 2 months worth of research along the way. After improving our ships with Superior Hulls, we realized that any war would involve planetary invasions and massive ground operations. To that end, we exhausted all research on invasion and soldiering techniques and began work on a grand training center for our soldiers (Tir Quan Training). Immediately prior to the war there was an influx of foreign agents attacking our interests. We began developing means to most effiiently counteract them (Counter Espionage Centers.) Our own agents were establishing comprehensive networks within most other governments.
To further improve our finances, we both established and received a trade route with the Yor and began trading with the Dominion of Korx. We were able to increase taxes to 55% while maintaining 91% approval. In a controversial move, we began establishing work camps using techniques learned from the Drengin during the technological exchange (I started building and buying Slave pits.) The work camps remain controversial, but establishing an industrial manufacturing base simply required far too much time and financial investment to be practical in the circumstances. The days of the work camps are coming to an end, but I'm certain history will judge them well.
Then the time came. The spectre of war loomed darkly, and all preparation would be put to the test. The Terrans were already moving against the Paulos and the Yor against the Lentzlandians. On the eve of Pan Galactic War, our diplomats met with their counterparts in the Yor Collective and Drengin Empire. Swift negotiations and our gift of Xinathium Hull Plating to both partners brought about an alliance against the coming assault along with financial aid to our war effort. We also traded weapons and economic technology to the Yor for miniaturization and improved Impulse engines. Our diplomats were still en route to return home when they hailed us with the news. We were informed of the outbreak of open war throughout the galaxy. A coalition of the Altarians, Torians, Drath, and Thalans had declared war against the Yor and Drengin. Knowing our fate should our allies fall, we had no choice but to side with them. We brokered a peace treaty between the Arceans and Drengin,but the Arceans quickly sided with the coalition. Thus we found ourselves at war with 5 major powers at once. Knowing we would be busy with our immediate neighbors the Altarians, our diplomats managed to convince the Korx, who then had the mightiest fleet in the galaxy, to join the war against the Thalans. The Terrans remained neutral for a time, but expanded their war to include the Dark Yor as well. It seems they considered it an excellent opportunity to strengthen their hold on the northwest while we were otherwise occupied.
The outbreak of war and our Hellion MkII. The Hellion isn't much, but it did its job. So, here's what happened: I saw how things were going and decided to ally with the Yor and Drengin. That way if the Altarians made a move they'd be in trouble. I click the turn button and everything goes crazy. Yor were paid to attack Altarians, Altarians and Thalans were paid to attack Drengin. I smell Drath manipulation. So Altarian Super Organizer makes Torians and Drath Attack Yor. I get the prompt to aid my allies against 4 civs and decide to go for it. Drengin make peace with Arceans, Arceans are paid to attack Drengin right away, so I got drawn into war with them, too.
The outbreak of war saw immediate action. With a number of our trade routes passing through Altarian space, they were easy prey for raiders. Two of our planets repeled invasions - the last invasions of Gaian planets throughout the war. We also lost a couple of our newly acquired mining starbases. It didn't take long for us to realize that we'd need to overhaul our fleet. The technology exchange ensured that everyone had good shield defenses. Our Hellions were running into trouble against well shielded enemy vessels. Fortunately, the Yor had powerful missile systems and were able to defend our southwestmost colonies from Torian and Drath incursion, though we did lose a number of warships to raids. We were also lucky that the Altarians weren't geared for total war, as they had good shields and mass driver weapons. Our own shields were little help against them. To address this, we designed the Firestorm corvette and Exterminator Missile Frigate.
The earliest Exterminator was rushed into service. It served adequately, but was obsolete even as it came left the shipyard. The Firestorm AB is a much later version designed to defend against the Thalans powerful beam weapons.
To further improve our fleets, we research Stinger IV and began development of Harpoon missile systems. We also traded with the Carinoids and battered Scotlingas for Xalax Defense technology and Titanium armor. Other trades allowed us to progress up to the Exterminator MkIII, with Superior Duranthium armor and Stinger IV. The new MkIIIs had little trouble dealing with Altarian incursions and even venturing into their space. In December 2230, our Tir Quan training center was complete. It was time to finally take the war to the Altarians. Hestia Forge became a stronghold in enemy territory. The Altarians were right to contest our colonization of it. Before the end of the year Hestia IV fell and we were set to sieze the Hestia system entirely. The radioactive world Tacitus IV also fell. The loss of Tacitus was a significant blow to the Altarians. Not only was it very close to our own technological capital, but it was fully developed and home to both the Altarian's economic and manufacturing capitals.
In our final dealing of the year, we sent diplomats secretly to the Dark Yor and Paulos to offer them asylum in the Expedition. With their fleets crushed and Terran transports on the way, it was join us or face annihilation. Knowing of our history with peoples absorbed into the Expedition, they were initially hesitant for fear of being sent to the labor camps. We assured them, however, of complete integration into our society, access to all our technologies and goods, and full voting rights. We even gave them a small fleet of our older fighters. Although we had assumed some Altarians into the Expedition through conquest, the Dark Yor and Paulos became about 10% of our total population. The Terrans were a bit put off, but relations remained businesslike.
It turns out that the AI is fairly willing to trade its planets off if it's losing anyway. I was able to trade the Dark Yor and Paulos all my techs and trade goods plus about a half dozen of my old Phoenix class fighters each for their planets. Thus their full society was integrated into the Expedition. I've since decided only to do this with minors, as majors will do it too. For example, near the end of the war I could have traded for all the planets of the Torians, Thalans, Drath, and Arceans. That's almost 40 planets! Feeling it was a sorry way to end the story, I decided to play it out!
Wow, it's taken me a few hours to get this up. I still have 2231 and half of 2232 to post! I have to stop here for now, but will continue the story later.