Turns out, those 25 of the galaxy's finest were exactly what won me the game.
Granted, they are only a tad bit overpowered.. Shoots through forcefields, does insane damage to <everything>, home command stations arent listed as core, etc.
Anyway, was truly an epic battle for the end.
I sat next door to the second AI home, watching, waiting. 5 flights of space planes had been sent through in an attempt to quell the imposing Mass Driver stationed in orbit. None had returned.. Not even a com burst from any of them.
It was time: The fleet must mobilize.
Word was sent to the industrial divisions. Cloaker starships, fighters, bombers, space planes.. Hell, even the zenith shredders.. Everything I could make, i needed it here, NOW.
Anything and everything was loaded into the transports. The centerpiece - A launched designed to cloak lightning warheads for their suicidal flight from as damn close as I can get them. Those AIs sure dont skimp on security - Warhead interceptors everywhere. The only way I would get a chance to use those warheads was if they were uncloaked the moment they were used.
And I intended to make each one count.
With the fleet, and any sorry piece of equipment I could pass off as a suitable decoy for the AIs to shot at loaded into my transports, I had a single objective on my mind. It would be us, or them at the end of today - No compromise. Either this plan would work, or everything would fall to pieces.
Transports loaded up, I formed up the fleet on the few precious pieces of safety I could bring forth: 3 magnificent mk2 cloaker starships. What beauties.. Tis a pity you can never see them until its too late. First step - Clear the way. Through the hole goes the first lightning warhead. We wait the 3 second fuse, and start hauling ass. Our objective - Beeline the mass driver. Destroy it. From there, form up with what ships we have left and make a suicidal run at the command station. Any assets unable to be useful against it will be redirected towards keeping the damned AI off our backs while we make our attack run.
Through the hole. Its quit... From my panel, I note an overwhelming number of.. Everything. There was no chance of getting out of this alive.
Silently, we stream out way from the wormhole, to our target. One of our freighters slips out of alignment and drops cloak.. Destroyed moments later. I sigh, thinking of all the good men who neednt have been lost there.. And hope I still have enough for my run.
At the target.. Theyve got tachys on our cloaker starships! Its now or never. I take a deep breath, and order it to begin.
Dampened thuds shake our ship as the warheads are launched into the mass of AI bombers.. I watch them stream across space, and wince as two of them get picked off by the Interceptor before reaching their targets. I need every piece of hardware I can get on the field, and those Interceptors sure arent helping.
With the warheads detonated, I order the transports to drop their loads and get the hell out of here. I order my Starships back to full power mode, and broadcast a target for the fleet. The Mass Driver. Volleys of missiles pour from my port and starboard batteries, and I can see the shelling from my Spire's pulling up the aft. However, they certainly arent going without a fight. A com channel opens from the lead Flagship: "Sir! Weve lost lost containment on the lower decks, and power is about to go.. I dont thi-k -e c-- -------" silence. I take a moment to mourn the loss of my fellow Captain. We went to officer school together.. Ah the bright times, the eagerness and innocence still in our eyes..
I am jolted back to reality as my port Spire suddenly drops off, listing to the side.. In a moment, I notice the gaping hole that once was the bridge of the magnificent vessel. What is this world coming to....
Suddenly, silence. No missiles leaving their bays, no hostile fire pouding on our hull. I look up, recognizing the remains of the fearsome Mass Driver tumbling across the viewport. Oh heavens how much loss that single item has caused.. The AI shall pay for this.
I take a moment to reorganize the fleet - We have taken heavy losses in almost all sections, bombers reporting nearly a third strength, fighters nearly gone. I cant even make out what happened with my planes.. They seem to have dropped off the map entirely. As for my starships.. err. Not many left. I can still see my sistership to my starboard side, but no other starship hull is in one piece. I hope its still enough.. I note a veritable flood of hostile bombers coming up from galactic north. Oh hell, I think to myself.. When I see a shiny black mass glimmering in the distance, positively identified as.. My viral shredder swarm? I watch as they effortlessly chew their way through the approaching bomber mass, almost imagining the shink shink of their blades across the AI hulls.
Sweet retribution indeed, my swarm seeming to grow in my view. What magnificent creatures, the shredders... checking their counts, they are reaching over 400 from the meals today. Must be rather tasty, these core bombers..
Well, time for the final assault. I still have a few tricks up my sleeve. This certainly hasnt been my first daring and hubris-filled maneuver, but the last time I tried netted me some very valuable pieces of hardware, and I didnt want to risk them in the first push. Now is the time, however. I make a call; Second fleet, comprised of exactly one cloaking starship, and 25 stolen Dyson Gatlings is ready to move. The order is given; We shall rendezvous in hell.. err.. The AI core station. Same thing I suppose.
Even as lightly defended as it is, the remnants of my fleet are barely able to hold them off in time for the reinforcements to arrive. But when they arrive, ohh is that a sight for sore eyes. The purely functional gatlings have their own beauty and elegance.. And its a damn fine sight to see working in the middle of a warzone. They spin up their cannons, and prepare for the order.. The order to end it all.
All weapons open up on the virtually defenseless Core station. "Not much of a threat, are yah now!" I taunt the station, coms open and broadcasting on all frequencies. This seems to get whats left of the AI forces a bit riled up - Now, ive got everything they have in the area after me, and I have no doubts they are willing to shoot to kill.
Hole after hole is torn into the AI station, with coolant pouring into space, almost covering the area in a fine mist, as if it was some bizarre morning fog. Little tunnels can be seen leading through the fog where my missiles engaged the enemy. As time passes, the gatlings seem to become slower.. quieter. Farther away, even. As the last few bits were torn off the station, it seemed almost surreal. Could this really be it? Have I finally finished this gods forsaken battle? Can I finally go home.. live a normal life?
Whats left of the command station drifts apart, leaving wide swaths of coolant in their wake. Somewhere, almost miles away, I hear sounds of celebration, people shouting over the coms..
In actuality, the battle probably took less time than it took to read through this
After the initial engagement, however, everything just seems a blur. I dont quite remember much between the first lighting strike and the station going boom..