Stellaris Diary Part 4: Falling to the Fallen

The Unbidden have turned up in my galaxy. This is not a good thing. The Unbidden are essentially huge arseholes from another dimension that are intent on fucking up everyone’s shit. They can’t be reasoned with, nor can they be bargained with. They’re a bit like that friend who after a few too many drinks goes on a personal mission to ruin everyone else’s night and ends up in a heated argument with a complete stranger in the kebab shop. The only way to stop them is to stuff them into a taxi or, in this case, back through the extra-dimensional portal they crawled out of.

Luckily for my empire of totally-nice-and-not-at-all-crazy Space Penguins, this portal had opened at the other side of the galaxy. This meant that they were someone else’s problem, at least for a little while, and stopped me from being immediately overwhelmed by the hordes of Unbidden that were vomited out of the portal when it appeared. This gave me the opportunity to prepare: time to develop my fleet and tech, to expand my borders, and to bolster the strength and military power of my alliance. I’d been given the gift of time and I was not about to waste it.

My first task was to deal with the collection of empires to my north that were the remnants of my old arsey rivals. While they were all friendly to my empire they were not as open to vassalisation as I would have liked. Despite my successes in warfare, and my membership in a powerful alliance, these empires were not comfortable with my relatively small size. I would have to either increase my territory, fleet power, or tech level for them to consider becoming my vassal. The largest of these empires was, however, interested in joining our alliance, and with their addition we were then able to reform into a federation. Yay! Federations allow for the creation of a federal fleet born from the best technology from all member empires. They also give complete control over foreign policy to the federation president, allowing them to declare wars without the express consent of all federation members. This meant I would no longer have to convince my allies to join me in a war, essentially giving me full control over my expansion and my relationships with neighbouring empires. Unfortunately, federation presidency rotates through all the member empires every ten years, so although I would have full control for ten years, I would then be at the beck and call of my allies for the next thirty years. This loss of control wasn’t a huge deal for me at this point; my allies generally preferred peace to war and I was focused on consolidating power to combat the Unbidden.

The empires to my north may not have been open to vassilisation at this point, but if I could expand my borders and increase my strength then I knew it would only be a matter of time before they joined me. My only avenue of expansion lay to my west, with the grumpy “Stay out of my garden” , “Kids these days” Fallen Empire that had put a stop to my growth so long ago. Defeating this Fallen Empire and taking over their territory would create an open path to even more future expansion and would give me the political clout necessary to turn my smaller neighbours into my slaves…*cough* vassals. The only minor inconvenience in this plan was that it would involve defeating a Fallen Empire. Fallen Empires start the game with all technology already unlocked alongside a huge and well equipped fleet. It wasn’t going to be easy but I was confident that with the help of my federation I could defeat them. I just didn’t realise quite how much help I would need.

I declared war on the Fallen Empire and immediately sent my fleet into their territory, with my allies piling in behind me. My fleet was curb-stomped almost immediately. I lost about 90% of my ships in a pitched battle but luckily my allies were there to bail me out and my fleet survived by the skin of its beak. Each of the Fallen Empire’s systems had a powerful military station in it and their ships far, far outclassed my own. Fortunately we had numbers on our side and we overwhelmed them with the genius strategy of throwing as many ships as possible at them and jamming their guns with the wreckage. Once we had destroyed their navies and their stations they were pretty much defenceless and we began to occupy their planets until they eventually surrendered. Although we had defeated a powerful technologically superior empire, the costs to Penguinkind had been great. I had lost a huge number of ships and my economy had taken a hit from the costs of rebuilding and rearming. If this was any indication of what the fight against the Unbidden was to be like then I had a lot more work to do.

During the war with the Fallen Empire I had a small unexpected development at home. A group of Penguins on one of my planets had started to augment their DNA creating a race of Uber Penguins. This was not acceptable. I didn’t want any uppity group of snobbish Penguins to stand apart and possibly push to become a separate empire. The simplest solution to the problem would have been to have a good ol’ fashioned purge of the offending Penguins, but I couldn’t do that without severely damaging my reputation with my allies and possibly being voted out of the federation. So I figured if you can’t beat em, join em and invested in a research program to genetically modify all of my Penguins and turn them into a much more intelligent bird master race. This research program would take a long time to finish but upon its completion I’d receive a 10% boost from my Penguins in all three fields of research. I was no longer falling behind all the empires in research but this would give me the boost necessary to completely catch up and would put me on a better playing field to combat the Unbidden when they arrived.

While I had been focused on the war to the west, the mess of small empires to my north had managed to become a little less messy. One of these empires had been slowly gaining territory and power, so I decided it was about time to show them their place. It was refreshing to be in the superior military position again when we rapidly destroyed their fleet and occupied their planets. After what was possibly the shortest war I’d fought, this uppity empire had its territory divided and turned into smaller empires that were much more open to vassalisation. That showed them a thing or two about silly ideas like “democracy” and “self rule”.

I was busy sorting out my colonies and researching some new tech when the friendly empire that had emerged from the remnants of the Fallen Empire just disappeared with no trace, which I thought was more than a little rude. They didn’t even leave a note. Although it was entirely unexpected, this provided me with an excellent opportunity for expansion so I rapidly built as many colony ships as possible and colonised the deserted planets. Not only had the disappearance of this empire given me plenty of new territory, but all of the planets were fully developed with high-tier buildings and some special buildings that can only be created by Fallen Empires.

This meant that my new planets could immediately start contributing to my empire as soon as I could fully populate them. My empire had almost doubled in size in a very short space of time and I had exceeded the number of planets that I could manage effectively so I decided to establish a sector to control my new colonies. Sectors automate the management of any systems within their borders, but they are still a part of my empire and I can determine what area they should focus on such as military, resources and research. I essentially got all of the benefits of these new planets without having to constantly check up on them.

I was well on my way to being ready to fight the Unbidden. The war with the Fallen Empire had given me the experience of fighting a significantly more superior enemy and had highlighted just how much I needed to develop my military. The genetic modification of my space Penguins had given me the boost I needed to start gaining ground in my research of technologies rather than just barely holding my head above the water. And finally my rapid expansion to the west had placed me in a position to swallow up some of the empires to my north, and to create a clear front on which to combat the Unbidden when they arrived. I decided it was a good time to see how the other empires had been fairing against the Unbidden. It turns out that they weren’t doing so well.

This might be even harder than I thought.

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