I removed the previous message because the formatting was borked and I couldn't figure out how to fix it. Sorry.
Beam Frigates are quite dangerous to your turrets, especially if you use Ctrl-click like I do. They were probably my least favorite wave to see in this game. So. Much. Carnage.
I took the rebel colony and found out just how tough those rebels can be. If they can clear out a quadrant by themselves, why did they need me to rescue them?
They freed up the rest of my fleet to capture the Warbird and Bomber IV Factories. It was easy to clear and hold them, and I got to play with some new toys.
I really, really like the new Warbirds. They're deadly but not invulnerable, and just a lot of fun to play with. I used them with Raid Starships to make a fairly unstoppable raiding force. Bomber IVs were exactly as I remembered, turning things into debris quickly and efficiently.
All was well, and I was happy, and then...
"2,407 ships are massing for a Cross-Planet attack." I had less than 12 minutes to prepare and I had just crashed my economy building very expensive starships. You can probably see where this is going.
A more skilled player probably could have fought on that many fronts and managed better. I should have unlocked fortresses earlier. I had time to build one before the warning, and none after. That could have made a tremendous difference. I also probably should have unlocked some mk II and III triangle ships, but I was too enamored with my reclaimers. Once your reclaimed fleet goes down, the mk I gets chewed up pretty quickly by mk II and III fleets. My empire was fragmented, with too many places to defend. I expanded too quickly after getting giddy with how much power I had.
Still, I held out for quite a while. The Zenith fleet dealt more than its share of death to the AI and managed to hold the the Nanoswarm and Blade Spawner Fabricators. They just turned out to be the wrong planets to defend in force.
The Resistance fleet was a standout, holding its colony by itself, then carving a path through AI-controlled space to the Homeworld, only to arrive too late to save it. It's doubtful how effective they would have been against 800 ships, but I would have liked to see it.
I had used all of my Starships to protect the Warbird and Bomber fabricators, and they were very good at it. A full cap of Mk I and II starships, supported by the Warbirds and Bomber IVs, cleared at least 300, maybe closer to 400 ships worth of Mk II and III threat without any fleet support, and very few turrets.
So, lesson learned: don't forget defense and consolidate your empire. You would think I wouldn't need to learn any more, but...
Still, this was the most fun I have had with the game in a long time. It turns out I was playing a Zenith Descendant (big surprise) and a Tank. I think the next time I pick parasites as a bonus ship, I might choose Zenith Descendant and Spireling opponents. Maybe I'll get lucky again...