Author Topic: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]  (Read 2416 times)

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Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #45 on: August 30, 2020, 04:30:54 AM »
but I really do think the easiest solution is just to maintain separate versions for SP and MP play

100% agree. MP is a completely different game. More like a chess where every single matter.

. Thankfully, it looks like Merc is stepping up with the latter. Nevill and I might post our own too, once we've a few more test games under our belts.

Anything workable to have a look at already?

Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #46 on: September 01, 2020, 02:30:32 PM »
100% agree. MP is a completely different game. More like a chess where every single matter.

Anything workable to have a look at already?
That's probably an accurate description. For one thing, actually reading what the opponent is doing becomes a matter of utmost importance.

I am not currently authorized to share any files, but I can talk about what Nevill previously modded in his games. It's been a while since I played with that configuration, so my memory might be fuzzy.
I should probably also make a new thread for this but meh, this one is starting to move towards its end, so we might as well talk about it here.

Let's start with the tech tree. I made a rather nice (if I do say so myself) graphic for it here. Keep in mind that the intent with this was to keep relatively close to vanilla, just fixing perceived imbalances rather than trying to build a new game flow. Main goals were to provide more options for gameplay, particularly where defensive play was concerned. Mostly a lot of stuff ended up getting shuffled around to what were deemed more appropriate places.

Not listed on that sheet are changes to maintenance costs. Minerals multipliers especially got saddled with huge costs to offset how powerful they are: Genejacks got 5 (as well as producing 2 drones), RoboPlants got 10, so they're only affordable at major bases; I believe this was meant as an attempt to penalize ICSing. Command Centres and Naval Yards were made rather cheap, likely to facilitate early wars and the lots-of-units playstyle. Sea base facilities were also made significantly cheaper, which caused sea bases to become actually pretty strong - we're still unsure whether this is a good thing or not.

The solution for nerfing population booms was to simply remove Creches from the game. Aside from being bugged, they were also just too much of a no-brainer facility that got built at every base. This made it actually somewhat arduous to build up one's population throughout the game, since you couldn't count on that +2 GROWTH and had to rely solely on SEs to increase the rating. I'm of two minds when it comes to nerfing pop-booming in multiplayer; I think it might actually be an important method for weaker players to stay in the game, especially when people are using nerve gas left and right. That, and I hadn't quite gotten the hang of Golden Age pop-booming until this game.

There were also some minor changes to factions. Probably the most important ones were giving Spartans 75% hurry costs (to compensate for -INDUSTRY), and raising Morgan's hab limit to 5.

Clean Reactors being available from the start and free for defensive units really sped up the game. There is still a trade-off with giving them Non-Lethal Methods or Hypnotic Trance, and defensive units could still get rather pricey, so at least they wouldn't be hogging support on top of that. It does somewhat encourage using cheap scouts to soak up expensive cruise missiles, though.

Land transports received a significant boost, with infantry transports holding 1 unit, speeders 2, and hovertanks 3. This is a quite popular and effective tactic in multiplayer, as APCs allow units to reach the front line and attack in the same turn without a hasty penalty. Air transports would probably be rather strong, albeit expensive, if it wasn't for their low movement range - but I still found them to have their uses here and there.

In games vs Thinker AIs, I found that the most common weapon seen in the early to mid game was the 5-attack Gatling Laser, which was not always effective against most AIs staffing their bases with 3-pulse defenders behind Perimeters. Those were beefy enough that I needed to use APCs loaded with infantry to have any chance of cracking bases.
Incidentally, in this game I didn't see Zakharov and Santiago building any Perimeters at all, despite being at war for major portions of the game. Only Miriam really bothered.

Social Engineering tables
Everyone and their dog seems to have their own opinion on this. You have one, Nevill has one, Merc has one, a bunch of people on this forum have one... in fact, I must be the only person without one, aside from generally "vanilla had nice distinctions between the different models but it wasn't quite balanced". I liked Nevill's configuration in this regard.

Code: [Select]
Frontier,        None,
Police State,    DocLoy,  ++SUPPORT, ++POLICE,   --TALENT
Democratic,      EthCalc, ++EFFIC,   ++GROWTH,   --SUPPORT
Fundamentalist,  Brain,   ++PROBE,   +MORALE,    +INDUSTRY,  --RESEARCH     
Simple,          None,
Free Market,     IndEcon, ++ECONOMY, ----POLICE, --PLANET,   -INDUSTRY
Planned,         PlaNets, ++GROWTH,  +INDUSTRY,  --ECONOMY
Green,           CentEmp, ++EFFIC,   ++PLANET,   --GROWTH,   +TALENT
Survival,        None,
Power,           MilAlg,  ++SUPPORT, ++MORALE,   -INDUSTRY,  +TALENT
Knowledge,       Cyber,   +EFFIC,    ++RESEARCH, --PROBE,    -POLICE
Wealth,          AdapEco, +ECONOMY,  +INDUSTRY,  --MORALE,   -PLANET
None,            None,
Cybernetic,      DigSent, ++EFFIC,   ++RESEARCH, +PLANET,    ---POLICE
Eudaimonic,      Eudaim,  ++ECONOMY, ++GROWTH,   +SUPPORT,   ---MORALE
Thought Control, WillPow, ++POLICE,  ++INDUSTRY, +MORALE,    ---SUPPORT

As I understand it, the focus was less on how balanced individual options were, and more on creating synergies between categories. It also seems to have embraced the idea that some SE choices will be optimal early game and others later.

Nevill also wasn't a fan of how -EFFIC worked in vanilla. It may be different now that WtP changes the inefficiency formula.

This did have the somewhat uninspiring effect of encouraging all the AIs to pile on Police State+Planned for most of the game - although they did switch to other SEs from time to time! (Usually after 2200.) If anything, it showed the adaptability of Thinker AI to different SE configurations.

I will say that I never actually used Free Market in this configuration - I didn't know how to leverage the energy from +2 ECON, I was always at war so -4 POLICE hurt a lot, and -1 INDUSTRY was always a hard pill to swallow. Maybe I just wasn't skilled enough for it at the time.

Future Society remained a late game luxury in this iteration of the mod; but I'm starting to feel that this is something that should be changed for future versions.

Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #47 on: September 01, 2020, 02:56:26 PM »

Highly-ranked scientists working at the University of Planet’s Nadezja-Hope research campus have defected to the United Nations, reporters heard today.

According to a UNPF official at UN Commerce Committee, which faces Nadezja-Hope on opposing shorelines of Lake C, the scientists made their escape in a prototype model of the University’s newly developed mobile artillery vehicle. Specifications provided by the scientists show that while it utilizes a standard design, a 155mm gun mounted on the Unity rover chassis, its ammunition features new innovations inspired by recent findings in the field of superstring theory. The shells are described as containing miniaturized superstring detectors and disruptors, which are used to home in on targets by tracking the unique vibration frequencies of their constituent superstrings, and then destroy them by exciting these superstrings to the point of destabilization. In effect, the target literally vibrates itself apart.

The scientists soon found themselves pursued by University commandos, who made use of another recent scientific discovery in the field of probability mechanics to track them. It is believed that the commandos carried devices capable of performing probability derandomization, which enabled them to perfectly predict the routes used by the scientists to escape. Nonetheless, the scientists were able to stay ahead of their pursuers, finally skirting Lake C and making it across the UN-University border with their former faction members hot on their heels.

Immediately following the incident, Provost Zakharov personally made contact with the UN High Commission to demand that the scientists be returned to the University, citing their possession of top secret data related to its study of harmonic fields. However, after hearing and evaluating their testimony, the UN Social Council decided to formally grant their request for asylum.

Transcripts of the scientists’ testimony, released by UN Data Acquisition, describe truly appalling conditions within the University of Planet, even worse than what many in the UN had been led to believe. The massive drone population produced by the University’s forced resettlement policies has been reduced to brutal serfdom, forced to work 18-hour days to turn the wheels of University industry. Those whose bodies fail under the strain inevitably become the personal guinea pigs of the academicians, whose tortured corpses are then dumped into the recycling tanks to begin the cycle anew.

Living conditions reportedly became so bad as a result of overpopulation that drone-led uprisings swept across bases in the Monsoon Jungle, only for University Enforcement to ruthlessly crush them, having the leaders publicly vivisected as an example to the other bases. All of this is justified in the name of keeping pace with the neighbouring Human Hive and its megalomaniac Chairman, from whom Provost Zakharov is believed to have adapted methods of repression with his own uniquely technocratic spin.

Even more horrifying are statements alleging that the University, under the directions of Provost Zakharov himself, is working to develop weapons of mass destruction on Planet in direct violation of the UN Charter. Following the legacy of the Soviet Union’s, later the Russian Federation’s, chemical and biological weapons programs, researchers have reportedly succeeded in producing a refined variant of the Novichok nerve agent, as well as genetically modifying samples of the Variola major virus to maintain and even enhance its infectivity in Planet’s atmosphere. While these statements have yet to be verified, if true they would represent an incredible threat to the human condition on Planet, even risking a descent into the type of unmitigated global warfare last seen on Earth.

According to a statement by UN Social Council, the defecting scientists will be resettled at UN Amnesty Town, where their safety from University reprisals is assured. A fund of 75 million UN dollars has been established to cover the costs of their rehabilitation after enduring the horrors of Zakharov’s technocratic regime, as well as providing enticement for more defectors to step forward with further information on the University’s WMD programs.

(click to show/hide)
« Last Edit: September 01, 2020, 03:14:22 PM by Tayta Malikai »

Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #48 on: September 05, 2020, 05:22:35 PM »

Left: Democratic Planet Party. Right: Centauri National Party.

Citizens throughout the United Nations were united in celebration today, in the wake of an announcement by the UN High Commission that resonated with the very core of our organization’s mission. In Mission Year 2220, exactly twelve decades after humanity’s arrival on Planet, the United Nations and its constituent agencies and sub-agencies will be holding the first organization-wide elections to determine the direction of humanity in the years to come.

Paying homage to an ancestry harking back all the way to the earliest planning stages of the UNS Unity mission, the new government will be structured using a tried and tested bicameral model. Members of the UN General Assembly will be directly elected by the citizenry, while the seats of the UN High Commission will be evenly distributed among the UN’s agencies and sub-agencies, with members of each agency voting for who will represent them.

Leading the way forward by example is, of course, the UN High Commissioner himself, who simultaneously announced his candidacy, as well as that of many current members of the UN High Commission, under the banner of the Democratic Planet Party. The first legitimate political party to exist on Planet is expected to enjoy a significant incumbent advantage, with UN citizens widely acknowledging the role of Tayta’s wise leadership in bringing order to chaos and ensuring just outcomes for society throughout the critical first mission century.

Further announcements have shed light on the DPP’s election platform, which promises to continue the economy-first policies of Tayta’s administration by way of a significant expansion in social welfare spending and raising salaries for UN officials. More funding would be allocated to the UN Social Council, UN Education Agency, and UN Planning Authority, with the goal of further trimming waste and cutting inefficiency from the UN bureaucracy, allowing it to achieve more greatly beneficial outcomes for the citizenry at large.

These changes are expected to be funded by further cuts to the UN Peacekeeping Forces budget; and also, for the first time since 2144, shrinking the infamously large budgets of UN Data Acquisition.

While the DPP’s proposed measures appear popular with the citizenry, members of the current bureaucracy are somewhat less enthused. “These sorts of promises to deliver the moon at the expense of the sun are a classic example of electoral populism, unbefitting of a democratic leader with Tayta’s stature,” UNPF Commissioner Naito Takeo rebuked his superior in a press conference, before dropping suggestions that he would be starting his own political party to run in the election.

By far the biggest surprise of this election, however, was the announcement that Deputy High Commissioner Sally Mitchell would be resigning from her position, in order to run for high office independently. Her registered political party, the Centauri National Party, espouses a common national identity for all humans living on Planet, endorsing a policy of more active diplomatic intervention into other factions to safeguard human rights and ensure that democratic norms are being respected. The CNP’s platform has been gaining in popularity over the past decades, with increasingly frequent diplomatic incidents and terrorist activities along faction borders highlighting the need for more proactive foreign policy.

With these developments so far, and likely more to come, it’s safe to say that UN High Commissioner Tayta will have his work cut out for him if he wants to remain in the top job.

(click to show/hide)

Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #49 on: September 10, 2020, 03:07:27 AM »
Mission Year 2230

The meeting took place out in the middle of the ocean, with two innocuous hydrofoils rendezvousing under the searing midday light produced by Alpha Centauri A and B. To any outside observers who might’ve been watching, it was a routine inspection of cargo and transit documentation performed by Gaian eco-patrols on UN-licensed merchants to ensure that all products entering the Gaian markets were in compliance with the recently instituted environmental sustainability regulations. The merchants, of course, grumbled that this was an affront to free commerce and that Gaia’s foolish eco-populism would be the death knell for its economic growth; but that didn’t stop dozens of these interactions from occurring every year, or the tripling of Gaia’s gross domestic product over the last five mission years.

It was the cause of many a wistful sigh amongst the more romantic of Planet’s settlers that the oceans were not quite as calm and tranquil as they used to be. In the wake of the UNS Curiosity incident and subsequent UN-Gaian skirmishing over the waters, Planet’s other factions had taken the cue to stake their own claim upon the potentially boundless wealth to be found there. The Human Hive’s secret police now patrolled the coasts so as to extend Chairman Yang’s eyes and ears to the maritime realm, while “citizen militias” affiliated with the Spartan Federation loudly asserted their right to defend their territory with lethal force. Both were an equal menace to the burgeoning commercial fleets criss-crossing Planet, and it had been necessary to evade both on the way to this rendezvous.

The trouble with humans boldly going forth to explore and colonize vast and bountiful new lands, High Commissioner Tayta reflected as he descended the aluminium staircase into the conference room, was that those lands soon tended to be full of humans.

Located below the deck of Last Rose of Summer, away from prying eyes, the conference room was not quite what Tayta had come to expect from Gaia’s Stepdaughters. It was a dark and dimly-lit place, filled with trellises and flowerbeds that hosted an astonishing variety of flora. Half of them he somewhat recognized from his xenobiology briefings… the other half, he realized with a start, were plants of Earth heritage which he’d last seen a century and a half ago, during an inspection of the UNS Unity’s seed stockpile. Those seeds hadn’t followed the United Nations down to Planet’s surface... because, of course, Gaia’s Stepdaughters had taken them.

“An impressive collection, don’t you think?” a mild, yet refined voice prompted Tayta. “The native plant life, evolved to survive with a scarcity of oxygen, flourishes where the Earth plants exhale it in abundance: in turn, the plant life from our home planet benefits from the rich nitrates in Planet’s soil. A truly symbiotic relationship: one that our own species could stand to emulate.”

He looked up to see Lady Nevill standing among the trees in all her finery. She was just as beautiful as her faction’s media made her out to be: curly dark brown hair tied into an elegant grid of beads resembling a shogi board; her lithe yet muscled form, tempered by long years of practical xenobiology experience, wrapped in a colourful dress in the style of a gardener’s shawl; a gaze that always seemed to be staring at something past you off in the distance, something more important than you could ever imagine.

“They used to say that interdependence would bring about peace, back on Earth,” Tayta replied smoothly. “Instead, it bred fear and suspicion that one country would deprive the other of vital resources, which became a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

“But we’re not on Earth now, are we?” Nevill countered with a raised eyebrow. “Please, come this way.” She gestured deeper into the room.

“Certainly.” As Tayta followed behind her, he found himself reminded of the fairy tales told to him as a child, where the witch lured unsuspecting children into the woods to be cooked and eaten – or worse. It was a silly comparison, of course: those children hadn’t been accompanied by UNPF bodyguards outfitted with superstring excitement rifles and refractive field armour, for one thing. Nor was Tayta on the run from an evil stepmother who regarded him as a mere waste of resources, to be disposed of as soon as it could be deniably arranged.

Except for–

He quashed that thought as he took his seat opposite Nevill at the conference table, his bodyguards taking up positions behind him.

Speaking of bodyguards, Tayta wondered where Nevill’s were. For all her peace-loving rhetoric, and this being Gaian home ground of sorts, he was sure that no self-respecting faction leader would dare to venture outside of their territory without at least some form of physical protection. Yet apart from the usual dishevelled “eco-guardians” on the deck up above, there was none to be seen thus far.

Unless – he resisted the urge to twist and look around – unless the plants were supposed to be Nevill’s protection. He suddenly realized that his own knowledge of Planet’s flora, gleaned from tidbits in half-recollected UN briefings, utterly paled in comparison to the former Unity xenobiologist’s personal expertise. Everyone knew about mind worms, but what if the plants were capable of psi attacks? It wasn’t something he could dismiss out of hand. And if it was true… then all that expensive UNPF gear would be useless, little more than paperweights.

“Shall we begin, then?” Nevill smiled, picking up one of the datapads set on the table. “Here is the situation as I see it. With our completion of Project Harmonica five mission years ago, we have ensured total Gaian energy supremacy for the rest of the century. It’s already allowed us to advance our scientific understanding leaps and bounds beyond the University’s wildest dreams. Their pie-in-the-sky pursuit of pre-sentient algorithms will already be obsolete by the time the first paper is published.”

“All of which, of course, was built off the back of systematic espionage efforts against the University,” Tayta pointed out calmly. “I know for a fact that Zakharov would have finished his own study of harmonic fields first, if your operatives hadn’t sabotaged it a decade ago.”

“And as I recall, you were quite happy when those operatives happened to knock out his virtual reality project on the way out,” Nevill answered wryly.

“Maybe, but the UN certainly didn’t see any benefit out of all the other research you’ve pilfered from him over the years.”

“My, is that a touch of envy I hear? All the science and technology on Planet won’t help if you don’t know how to leverage it. But in your case, you haven’t even got that, have you? All those ‘education reforms’ have left your United Nations without any scientists worth the title. We’re already a generation ahead of you, and by the time you catch up, we’ll only be another generation ahead.”

“We’ll make up the difference soon enough,” Tayta retorted, feeling justifiably needled.

“Will you now?” The Lady’s smile took on a mocking quality. “Is that what your agents in UNDA tell you? It pains me to tell you this, but Gaia infiltrated it decades ago, while we easily foiled all your clumsy attempts to break into our datalinks. For all it drains the UN budget, UNDA is a bloated and ineffectual intelligence service, which only exists to sustain its own power, while getting its operatives killed in all sorts of humorous ways. I recall this one incident involving a University centrifuge and the operative’s–”

“That was classified at the highest level,” Tayta snapped hotly, and then he realized that he’d just admitted to everything Nevill had said.

“Which only goes to prove my point, doesn’t it?” Nevill set down the datapad, propping her head up on her elbows. It made her look rather dreamy… until Tayta angrily aborted that train of thought, wondering what the hell he was thinking. “Admit it Commissioner: your faction is obsolete. It may take decades for it to finally fail, but rest assured, it will. That’s if any of the sharks circling you as we speak bother to wait that long, anyway.”

“And so what would you have me do?” Tayta demanded. “Surrender? Bend the knee to you?”

“Surrender?” Lady Nevill widened her eyes in faux innocence. “I would never dream of humiliating you so. I have a rather different proposal in mind, if it pleases you. Instead of squandering both our factions’ time and effort on pointless competition, let the two of us join forces, and sweep Planet beneath our combined might.”

“Me? Join forces with you?” Tayta barked out a short laugh. “You must be joking. My faction would never countenance sharing governance over Planet. We are the legitimate successors of the UNS Unity mission, after all.”

“On the contrary,” Nevill spoke, and for some reason, Tayta just couldn’t bring himself to look away from her dazzling turquoise eyes, “this partnership would be just what you need to bring all those militarist parties in your faction to heel. How are your approval ratings, by the way? Lower than fifty percent? With this, you’ll have all the ammunition you need to make those numbers go your way. Nobody will question your commitment to human rights and democracy, not after you’ve enforced them on Planet’s wayward factions.”

She’s using psionics on me! Tayta realized with a jolt, a sickening feeling going through his stomach. It was true, all those rumours about Lady Nevill’s so called Planet Cult, the apocryphal seventh Unity landing pod, whose passengers fell victim to fungus-induced hallucinations and Gaian pseudo-empathic brainwashing. In that very moment, he knew it was all true.

But he couldn’t look away. His bodyguards continued to stand impassively behind him, unable or unwilling to assist.

“Be honest with yourself, Commissioner,” Nevill’s melodic voice sang pleasantly in his ears. “Haven’t you ever wanted to crush that pesky Zakharov and his ranting about the enlightened future of mankind? Or to put that uppity Santiago and her little band of boy scouts in their place? Well, I can provide you with the means to deal with them. Join me and none of them will ever bother you. Not Zakharov, not Santiago… not Mitchell.”

Tayta flinched at the mention of Mitchell’s name. “What do you–”

“I’m right, aren’t I?” Nevill nodded to herself, satisfied. “That woman’s been a thorn in your side from the day your boots touched Planet’s soil. She was happy to play the part of the loyal retainer who makes everything run from behind the scenes, while you smile and wave to the adoring public. But you’ve always known, haven’t you, that she would never be satisfied with that? All this time, she’s been using you to further her own ends, subverting your authority with every helpful suggestion she makes.”

“That’s not true,” Tayta defended automatically, but it is true, isn’t it?

“And at the first opportunity, she challenged that authority in front of the whole faction. She may not have succeeded, but it made every other two-bit bureaucrat smell the same blood she did. They all know you’re weak now, and the moment you move against her, you’ll only become even weaker in their eyes. She’ll make herself a rallying flag for the powerbrokers behind her, and this time, she’ll be sure to finish the job.”

It was everything Tayta had dreaded and feared over the years. All the sleepless nights, the half-mad journal entries, the surreptitious glances, that inherent human sense for lies which not even twenty-third century biogenetics had managed to replicate, laid out bare on the conference table between the two of them. He didn’t need to ask how she knew, how she could be so sure about him. She knew everything about him. Why try to hide it?

“And you’ll be left nothing more than a has-been, a chapter in the history books, the old doddering grandfather of the United Nations, pushed aside to make way for her youthful vigour. If you’re lucky, you’ll live long enough to drink yourself to death. If not, well… it’s a dangerous Planet. Tragedies happen all the time, out of sight and out of mind. One more won’t make any difference. What will it be? An anonymous bombing by Spartan terrorists? Ex-Peacekeepers radicalized by constant budget cuts? A fungal toxin slipped into your tea? An ‘accidental’ perimeter failure letting in the mind worms? They might even ask me to help with that last one. I have a lot of those to spare, after all.”

It didn’t matter how she knew, Tayta decided. All that mattered was that she did. And if Lady Nevill could find out these things about him… it wouldn’t be long until everyone else did.

And once that happened, everything she said would come to pass.


“Alright,” he ground out carefully. His head was pounding, and his breathing was short, but he retained the presence of mind to speak clearly and precisely. “You win. I’ll do it. You’ll give me the technology I need to destroy my enemies – our enemies. Then we’ll see them swept beneath your might. Our might.”

“I knew I could count on you to see reason, my dear Commissioner.” For the first time, Nevill broke out into a genuine grin, finally allowing her persona of cool reserve to give way to eager glee.

“I just have one condition.”

“Which is?”

“I get to be Planetary Governor.”

And Lady Nevill’s eyes shone brighter than Planet’s binary suns.

(click to show/hide)

Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #50 on: September 13, 2020, 12:35:56 PM »
“–ongoing grassroots protests by drone rights movements across Nadezja-Hope campus soon escalated when University Enforcement attempted to shut off access to amenities, culminating in thousands of formerly oppressed drones storming the residences of local ruling academicians–”

“–abandoned supply crawlers were declared environmentally unfriendly, and therefore dismantled on the spot in accordance with UN Planetary Trust directives–”

“–refused to recognize the democratic will of Nadezja-Hope’s population, claiming that they were being masterminded by UNDA agents, and threatened to carry out reprisals–”

“–elections would be delayed yet again, citing the ongoing risk of University hacking–”

There was a particular thrill elicited by listening to the news, a sense of validation that came from knowing that those headlines and more were happening as a result of Tayta’s actions. It was the simplest of feedback mechanisms: by ordering these actions to occur, those desirable outcomes could be brought about. At the start of his century-long tenure, Tayta had shied away from such decisions, fearing that their consequences would reflect on him; now, he welcomed and sought them out for exactly that purpose. Any negative outcomes could be easily ignored and swept under the rug; a positive outcome could be amplified and enshrined for the rest of time. In this way, his own stature could only ever increase as a result of what he did.

Not everybody agreed with him, of course. His many critics in the UN called it a sign of egotism and narcissism, traits unbefitting of the impartial and selfless leader demanded by the United Nations Charter. Not that they really needed an excuse to slap derogatory labels on him. But after today, it wouldn’t matter what they called him.

Such thoughts buoyed Tayta’s spirits, carrying him aloft through the grandiose doorway leading into the currently-designated chamber of the UN High Commission. Things had come a long way since that first emergency meeting, held inside a cramped room of the landing pod that would become UN Headquarters, with Commissioners promoted out of what few remained of the UNSA’s loyalists. In those days, practically any decision with even the slightest significance to the mission had been made in that room.

As the years passed, however, and more and more powers were delegated – first to the UN General Assembly, and then the internal bureaucracies of individual agencies – the High Commission found its importance to the organization being steadily reduced. As it should’ve been, for it wouldn’t have done for a democratic organization such as the UN to have all of its decisions made by executive committee. Subsequent relocations of the High Commission to venues more “appropriate” to its stature occurred alongside the re-introduction of proper democratic mechanisms into the United Nations decision-making process; by Mission Year 2239, having been awarded its most magnificent space yet for its contributions to humanity, it now solely convened to debate those matters pertaining to life and death of the United Nations as a whole.

Such was the democratic way.

As he took his seat at the head of the chamber, Tayta made a point of locking eyes with each and every one of the twenty-four elected UN Commissioners doing the same. Most of them still occupied the same posts that they’d held ever since Planetfall: they just did so under a different flag these days. Naito Takeo, Commissioner for the Peacekeeping Forces; Elizabeth Dazermet, Commissioner for Data Acquisition; Navin Thakore, Commissioner for the Settlement Agency; Shila Kiaei, Commissioner for the Social Council. Once upon a time, most of them had been faithful colleagues, working side-by-side with Tayta to prevent the final collapse of the Unity’s mission.

Now they were his bitterest rivals.

And then there was one more figure present today, the one now standing up to address the room, as confident and self-assured as she always was. Not like him. The one whose informal qualifications had proved so essential to backstopping Tayta’s formal authority over the mission. The one who resented his inexperience, even as she took advantage of his naivety. The one who was always destined to one day take the reins he’d so unfairly been handed, and put him out to pasture for a well-earned retirement.

“My fellow estimable members of the United Nations High Commission,” Deputy High Commissioner Sally Mitchell spoke, every word carefully and deliberately enunciated. “Today’s session has been convened so that we may deliberate on a matter of the utmost importance to the future of the United Nations’ mission on Planet. We are here to debate and determine whether Tayta remains fit to carry out his duties as High Commissioner.”

There were no signs of surprise around the traditional semi-circular table. Everyone had known this was a long time coming.

“Now, I realize this may be a difficult matter for some of us. High Commissioner Tayta is someone who has not only been dear to our hearts as a treasured colleague and friend, but has also been the centrepiece of our settlement efforts on Planet. His leadership was not only what kept us all together in the chaotic days following Planetfall, but also what led us through the next mission century, allowing us to reconstitute the United Nations as a truly global organization once more. Throughout that time, he always strove hard to keep the foundational values of our mission alive; the hopes of billions of Earth citizens who watched us depart for a new beginning weighing down upon our shoulders. Human rights, freedom, democracy; none of these things would exist on Planet today if not for his tireless efforts. To the United Nations, to all of humanity, High Commissioner Tayta is a hero.”

“But there was a saying, back on Earth: you either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain. And it is my belief, and I expect it is the belief of many of us here, that High Commissioner Tayta is becoming that villain. I am fully aware that this is a shocking accusation, and one that I would not level lightly. But the evidence is clear for all to see: Tayta’s conduct in the decades following our centenary has been an unconscionable and flagrant abuse of power. Left unchecked, he threatens to destabilize everything that we have worked so hard to accomplish.”

“In retrospect, the signs should have been obvious to us all. A mere eight years after the long-awaited return of democracy on Planet, Tayta unilaterally suspended it on the basis of spurious claims that the University of Planet was conspiring to hack our elections. It was purely coincidence, I suppose, that he should do this during the year when his polls were at their lowest point, and his electoral defeat was all but inevitable, as the result of repeatedly broken campaign promises.”

“Having stolen another twelve years of his rule, Tayta promptly sought to return the UN to the model of unilateral decision-making he grew so accustomed to during the chaotic Planetfall years. Nowhere are his autocratic sympathies more clear than in his executive decision to pass Resolution 130, the so-called Global Trade Pact that merely facilitated the commercial enrichment of authoritarian factions on Planet. He might defend himself by pointing to the years of prosperity that occurred under his watch, but they were built on the back of forced labour in Morgan Industries and the Human Hive, while increased social spending was used to cover up the steady offshoring of jobs to these exploitative factions.”

“And as we know, much of this social spending took the form of wasteful infrastructure projects, leading to the creation of ‘ghost bases’ on our borders with these factions. And just where did Tayta find the needed funding for these project? By once again using the Peacekeeping Forces budget as his personal piggybank. While our boys and girls in blue were lucky to even be issued their own rifles, let alone ammunition, the UN bureaucracy was being bloated to greater widths.”

“All this only served as a smokescreen for even further acts of blatant corruption, which served to fatten Tayta’s hidden Morgan Bank accounts at the expense of the UN and its mission. By far the most obscene example of this was when he ordered the dismantling of the UN’s scientific infrastructure, privatizing vital research facilities for bargain rates under the guise of his ‘economy-first’ policies. No doubt a hefty percentage of that one-hundred-and-sixty million dollar payout found its way into his pockets!”

“It was around this time that members of this organization became aware that Tayta was engaging in secret, and illegal, negotiations with the leadership of Gaia’s Stepdaughters. Circumventing the regular legal procedures for inter-factional exchange, he arranged for an enormous transfer of technologies to cover up his hollowing out of the UN’s research base: technologies which had not even touched the desks of the ethics committee at UN Humanity Base before being unleashed on an unsuspecting wider society. This also led to another opportunity for corruption, when Tayta pushed through plans to upgrade our tried-and-tested fusion reactor designs with dangerous and untested ‘quantum splitting’ chambers. While the UN was obliged to pay for the expensive infrastructure needed to mine, process, and supply tritium where simple deuterium sufficed before, Tayta made off with a neat half-billion dollars in ‘efficiency dividends’.”

“Now, you may wonder, how could technologies be transferred on such a massive scale without their source becoming apparent? The answer lies in the incestuous relationship between High Commissioner Tayta and UN Data Acquisition. The two of them were in cahoots ever since Planetfall, with UNDA agreeing to cover up all of Tayta’s endlessly embarrassing scandals, for which he would repay them with constant budget increases and ever-expanding mission creep. Indeed, UNDA is the only agency that has remained flush with funding throughout a century of cuts and waste! One only needs to review the expenditures which were recently approved for UNDA missions: six hundred million to finance protests at the Library of Planet, eight hundred million for today’s headlines at Nadezja-Hope. Over a billion dollars in spending on covert operations, and for what? A couple of impoverished bases totally lacking in modern facilities? A hundred thousand drone refugees whom we’ll have to shoulder the burden of feeding, housing, educating, and employing? Needless and reckless provocations of the University of Planet, which could easily spark off a Planetwide war?”

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“In fact, it is all but certain that such an ill-conceived, all-out war with the University of Planet is Tayta’s exact intention. Or, should I say, the exact intention of his paymasters, Gaia’s Stepdaughters? For who else would condone starting a war with the potential to devastate all human development on Planet, if not the faction that has publicly declared all such development to be an immoral sacrilege against their so-called Planetmind? Is this what Tayta has brought us to, then? The legitimate government of Planet reduced to taking marching orders from a band of eco-radical lunatics?”

“No, I think not. High Commissioner Tayta might have done irreparable damage to this organization and its values, but there is still time to pull back from the brink. By uniting for the common good, we can still redeem this mission’s values and return humanity to its proper course. It is for that reason that I am now calling for a vote of no confidence in Tayta’s leadership.”

Then, and only then, did Sally Mitchell deign to look at him. “Is there anything you’d like to say in your defense, High Commissioner?”

“Yes, actually, there is.” There wasn’t a reason for Tayta to speak now, it wouldn’t have any meaningful effect on the outcome, but before he knew it decades of frustration had surged to the forefront. “You and your cronies have been complaining about everything I do for the last century, pushing the Overton window rightward with every little debate, every little innocent question, every little allegation published on the net. You’re the ones who pushed me to ‘be tough on the University’ and ‘hold Zakharov to account’ in the first place, who demanded that I put UNDA to good use, who insisted that I devote all my efforts to procure superior equipment for the UNPF. So yes, I did everything that you’re now accusing me of, but it was you who forced me into this position. Go ahead; you can vote to get rid of me all you want. Just spare me the moral grandstanding while you do it.”

“I see.” She blinked for a moment, evidently surprised by Tayta’s open admission: the only sign of emotional weakness he’d ever seen from her. He took what satisfaction he could from it. “In that case, I propose that the High Commission proceed with the vote.”

“Seconded,” Naito Takeo instantly spoke up. Of course he would.

“The motion to express no confidence in the High Commissioner will now be voted on. All those in favour?”

Hands began to rise all around the table. Commissioners for the Settlement Agency, the Planetary Trust, the Criminal Tribunal… even Data Acquisition had turned against him in the end. And after all those budget subsidies he’d lavished them with.

“Twenty-five for, none against. The motion passes unanimously.”

On cue, the door to the chamber opened again. A squad of men and women wearing the ceremonial blue helmets and dress uniforms of the UN Enforcement Guard filed into the room, quickly fanning out around the table. Two of them approached Tayta at the head of the room, ceremonial-but-very-functional superstring excitement rifles in hand, their faces steely and professional.

Tayta just remained seated and smiled.

The last members of the squad entered. Four of them were rolling something on wheels covered by a blue tarpaulin into the centre of the room.

“What’s that, Guardsman?” Sally Mitchell asked, looking genuinely puzzled.

“Something to mark the historicity of this occasion, ma’am,” the guardsman answered.

An expression of self-important comprehension came over Sally. “Ah, I see. Carry on, Guardsman.” She turned to face her nominal, soon to be no more, superior again. “Well then, any last words before you retire, my dear High Commissioner?”

“It’s funny,” Tayta mused, almost to himself. “After all these accusations of becoming a dictator, I was thinking I should try it for real sometime.”

The tarpaulin was whisked off.

It had been covering a coercive psionic wave emitter, the sort that was extensively used by intelligence agencies all over Planet to subvert their targets, from individual soldiers in the field all the way up to entire faction bases. Even UNDA, as regularly maligned as it was, had access to them and had used them successfully in operations, although it had just as frequently seen its operatives suffer fatal mishaps from equipment malfunctions.

A significant fraction of that UN$1 billion had gone to compensating the families of the victims.

This model, however, was something special. It had been secretly built and transported all the way across the ocean from a secret laboratory by Gaia’s Stepdaughters. The UN Enforcement Guard troops now present in the High Commission chamber were, in fact, all Gaian operatives. Not that anyone would’ve ever guessed. Having finally met Lady Nevill in person, Tayta now understood why the Gaians always appeared so bedraggled and uncoordinated. It led everyone else to underestimate them.

And now they would never have the chance to again.

There were gasps all around the chamber as the device activated.

Sally’s eyes widened. “You–” she managed to get out, just before the psi-wave washed over her.

Because she’d been looking him in the eye at that moment, Tayta was able to watch in stark fascination as the final vestiges of Sally Mitchell’s self-determination and free will left her forever.

After a short time, it was done. Those eyes, which had burned so fiercely with the desire to see the ineffectual and undeserving High Commissioner Tayta fall from grace, were now glazed over and blank. She could still breathe, react to danger, and even perform a series of complex tasks of her own volition; but her motivations and reasoning all now belonged to him.

Horrifying, inhumane technology. The ultimate violation of every ideal that the United Nations had ever stood for. But oh so useful.

“High Commissioner Tayta,” one of the Gaian operatives prompted.

“Hm? Ah, yes, of course.” He’d fallen into a reverie. Tearing his sight away from his former subordinate, he straightened up, adjusted his suit. It was time for the next step in the operation to reshape the United Nations in his name, beginning with the total repeal of the UN Charter. Before, it would have taken months of media campaigns, drumming up public support for the measure, negotiations and horse-trading behind closed doors, just to secure a slim majority in his favour. Now, all he had to do was call the vote, and it would be done.

Just before he did so, a thought struck him. “Hey, you,” he said to the operative. “How come you didn’t just use the device on me at the same time?”

“What makes you think we already haven’t?” the operative replied with a sly grin.

There wasn’t very much Tayta could say to that.

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Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #51 on: September 14, 2020, 12:27:34 PM »

The UN Peacekeeping Forces have successfully carried out a decapitation strike against the headquarters of the University of Planet with the assistance of UN Data Acquisition, UN officials revealed this morning.

The strike marked the official beginning of Operation Monsoon Thunder, the codename assigned to the United Nations’ humanitarian intervention into the University of Planet, with the objective of liberating the entirety of the University-controlled Monsoon Jungle and the enslaved drone population inhabiting it.

According to UNPF Commissioner Naito Takeo, the strike took the form of a lightning assault in the early hours of the morning, spearheaded by a brigade of modified Unity-pattern rovers outfitted with superstring excitement munitions and composite armour. A second brigade was standing by in reserve, but was ultimately unneeded.

Despite their much-vaunted probability de-randomization technology, the token defense force stationed at University Base utterly failed to predict the UNPF’s assault. Analysts speculate that the University Enforcement “commandos” were asleep on the job, having entered a so-called “hypnotic trance” as the result of excessive indulgences in alcohol and “performance enhancing” recreational drugs.

UNPF mechanized infantry entering University Base have reported finding evidence of horrifying atrocities being carried out against the base’s drone population by University academicians, providing long-sought confirmation of decades’ worth of testimonies by defecting scientists. Fragments of University records recovered by UNDA operatives at the scene describe in clinical and detached detail how tens of thousands of drones were rounded up and exterminated in job lots by University Enforcement, under the orders of Provost Prokhor Zakharov himself. Most were used as test subjects for newly developed chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction, which demonstrated lethality far above that of previously reported stockpiles of Novichok nerve agent and Variola major virus.

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It is believed that these atrocities were ordered in response to the popular uprisings that took place at Nadezja-Hope research campus and the Library of Planet, with Zakharov fearing that a similar event at University Base could threaten his tenuous grip on power.

The newly democratically-elected local government of the Library of Planet has stated it will open its borders to all refugees fleeing Zakharov’s technocratic regime, expected to reach hundreds of thousands in the coming years.

Regrettably, it appears that Provost Zakharov and his inner circle were able to flee from the scene in an unmarked civilian supply crawler, evading arrest to make their way to a secondary command centre at Academy Park. UNPF patrols have since been ordered to halt and search all supply crawlers operating in the area, in case any more members of the University’s leadership are attempting to escape judgement for their crimes against humanity.

(click to show/hide)

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #53 on: September 14, 2020, 01:39:29 PM »
Will to Power goes to great lengths to ensure that human players can’t lazily overwhelm the AI with a few high-attack units, most notably in rebalancing weapons and armour to be roughly equal on the tech tree, and in adding the +50% territory bonus on top of the +50% base defense bonus to further augment that. The human player can still eventually overcome the AI, but they’re supposed to work for their conquest to the point where it’s not really worth it a lot of the time.

Atrocities bypass all of that.

Here you see me engaging in the classic one-two combo of gene warfare followed up by a nerve gas attack. Gene warfare reduces all defenders down to 50-90% HP, while nerve gas boosts your units’ attack by +50%. Both cause population loss: gene warfare does it according to a more complicated formula, nerve gas just straight-up halves it.

Normally, atrocities result in sanctions being applied according to a formula, scaling up as you commit more and more; but repealing the UN Charter removes this effect.

I actually planned to take University Base intact, seeing as it had the Empath Guild, but the atrocities were too effective at wiping out the population and so the base was razed when my rover moved in to capture it. Troops got a little carried away!

They voted for that, haven't they? Probably planned to commit few atrocities too. The game is actually quite logical in that. We sure can try to tone it down somehow but this is why lifting UN charter is there - to aid aggressive nations. It is fun element of the game.
I don't think it is too easy to lift it. You need to become a planet governor or ally few factions or bribe them, etc. It is a work too. PKs with their voting power are in unique position to avoid other governor veto. That is a nice bonus too.

I suggest you keep atrociting away and let us know about consequences whether from University or others. Did they build hospitals anywhere to reduce unit health loss?
Do you think we should reduce unit health loss even without hospitals?
Do you think we should reduce population loss from gas?

Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #54 on: September 15, 2020, 08:13:32 AM »
They voted for that, haven't they? Probably planned to commit few atrocities too. The game is actually quite logical in that. We sure can try to tone it down somehow but this is why lifting UN charter is there - to aid aggressive nations. It is fun element of the game.
I don't think it is too easy to lift it. You need to become a planet governor or ally few factions or bribe them, etc. It is a work too. PKs with their voting power are in unique position to avoid other governor veto. That is a nice bonus too.

I suggest you keep atrociting away and let us know about consequences whether from University or others. Did they build hospitals anywhere to reduce unit health loss?
Do you think we should reduce unit health loss even without hospitals?
Do you think we should reduce population loss from gas?
Yeah, the whole Planetary Council mechanic is actually quite robust and sensible. One of my favourite parts of the game for sure.

I forgot to mention it earlier, but the Thinker AI goes seriously crazy with nerve-stapling the instant the Charter gets lifted. It's a rather amusing sight to behold. Makes you think about how different all the factions are...

The AI did not even have the technology needed to build Research Hospitals in this game. I think Nevill commented somewhere that the AI stagnates hard around mid-game, and being unable to research Gene Splicing at level 6 is the result. This was part of why I suggested making BioLabs count as defensive facilities, since they're available a lot earlier.

As for whether the effects of gene warfare or nerve gas should be reduced, that's a tough question. The thing is that there are a couple of not-immediately-obvious dimensions to using atrocities:

1. Is the Charter still in effect?
  • If so, then atrocities come at a high price. You get slapped with sanctions (lost commerce income), and get eco-damage at your bases (leads to fungal blooms / worm spawns), and the target will hate you forever (so you can't negotiate for peace). For the potential benefits (capturing a base that's lost most of its population), it's not really worth it.
  • If not, then most of the consequences go away. No sanctions, no eco-damage. The target still hates you forever, but you're presumably already committed to exterminating them, so it doesn't really matter. And this will make the extermination go so much faster. (Other factions will complain about your atrocities in dialogue, but in my experience this doesn't actually affect relations with them.)
  • However, as you pointed out, it takes some effort to repeal the Charter in the first place. Since I was Governor and knew Nevill would vote yea, we'd only need to get 2 other factions on our side, hardly impossible. This might not always be the case in singleplayer games.
Which brings us to:

2. Are your opponents humans or AIs?
  • The game mechanics behind atrocities remain the same, but the context of their use is quite different. While humans don't have a choice over whether to impose sanctions or not, they are obviously not obligated to hate each other forever.
  • Furthermore, human players often wage wars in multiplayer with the intent of explicitly wiping out the enemy's bases (using the obliterate button), rather than capturing them. As I understand it, this is usually done to a) deny that base's economy and military benefits to the enemy, and b) to avoid having a base controlled by you on the front lines where it can be probed. So atrocities causing population loss is not exactly seen as undesirable.
This is an important question, because it leads to:

3. How counterable are atrocities?
  • As it stands, the AI is pretty much helpless when it comes to atrocities. Not only does it not really defend against them, but it can't use them effectively either. However, in human-vs-human play there are several ways to mitigate or prevent the use of atrocities.
  • Stationing defensive probes (typically just a probe module on an infantry chassis) inside bases prevents gene warfare from being used. The attacker will need to risk probes in probe-vs-probe combat (and the defender now gets a territory bonus!), or else attack the base conventionally (which misses the point of using gene warfare). Either option is expensive.
  • Nerve gas does not activate in psi combat! This means humans will station mind worms or units with the Psi Defense armour to defend their bases. Even if the defender dies, the base won't lose population.
  • And finally, if you do end up losing a lot of population to atrocities, in vanilla and vanilla-adjacent mods there is an easy way to bounce back: pop-booming! You still have your facilities and terraforming, so it's a simple matter to flip to Demo+Planned and just boom back all the lost population. This is obviously not the case if pop-booming has been nerfed.

So to answer your questions:
  • For singleplayer: Definitely. Atrocities allow players to cut through almost any level of defense the AI can put up at present.
  • For multiplayer: Possibly. Players are responsible for their own defense, so if they let the other guy through to pull off a successful gene warfare / nerve gas attack, that's on them. But if the goal is to help weaker players stay in the game for longer, a bit of nerfing might be a good thing.

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #55 on: September 15, 2020, 01:32:10 PM »
and the target will hate you forever

This happens regardless of charter, obviously. Charter is there only for others to either stand united against atrocities or let everybody suffer individually.

Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #56 on: September 17, 2020, 01:08:24 PM »

Nearly a century and a half after human settlers first touched down on Planet, citizens of the United Nations celebrate the passing of another successful mission year. And what a tremendous year it was! Tonight, as we mark another orbit of Alpha Centauri A and B, the UN Information Agency takes a moment to look back on all of the major events that took place throughout Mission Year 2247.

The number one story of this year, featuring at the top of every citizen’s datalinks feed, is of course the news that Provost Prokhor Zakharov was finally arrested and brought to justice, bringing an end to the seven year-long Operation Monsoon Thunder that saw at least a million drones liberated from pseudo-scientific slavery at the hands of University academicians. On the run after UNPF armour brigades crushed his secondary command centre at Academy Park, the mad Provost made his desperate last stand at the geological survey post of Korolev Centre, where a company of crack Gaian Eco-Marines assaulted and overran his bodyguards in a pitched battle lasting seventeen hours.

Although the University of Planet’s eventual fall was never in doubt, analysts remain divided over what was the deciding factor in the last battle. Conventional wisdom states that most of Zakharov’s bodyguards deserted him in the face of rock-bottom morale and promises of amnesty by UNDA operatives, leaving only a loyal core to be outnumbered by Gaian forces. A significant group of the more hardware-focused commentators were quick to highlight the wide disparity between the Gaians’ quantum disentanglement rays and the University’s encased neutronium shielding. A much smaller minority continues to claim that the Gaians’ usage of experimental psionic communicators allowed them to maintain key unit cohesion in the University’s electromagnetically-hostile environment.

While Zakharov currently remains in the custody of Gaia’s Stepdaughters, Lady Nevill has promised to expedite his transfer to UN Criminal Tribunal, where he will stand trial for his crimes against humanity, as soon as security conditions in the Monsoon Jungle make it practicable to do so. It will certainly be a trial to remember, surpassing even that of the infamously conniving Timothy Newton and Tammy Weiss!

The winding down of Operation Monsoon Thunder has spurred a significant reshuffling of responsibilities, budgets, and priorities across numerous UN agencies as they prepare to transition into a program of occupation and reconstruction in the liberated Monsoon Jungle. Collectively designated Operation Monsoon Freedom, the program will see the majority of UN bases make preparations to accommodate an influx of refugees from the Monsoon Jungle, where a century of Zakharov’s neglect and cruelty has rendered living conditions unsuitable for human habitation in the medium term. It is expected that each base will accept up to twenty thousand former drones, while a wide-ranging program of counselling and retraining will facilitate these refugees’ orderly integration into United Nations society.

International diplomacy remained the foremost priority of the United Nations in spite of all the military excitement this year, with High Commissioner Tayta personally persuading the Planetary Council to vote unanimously to authorize the recovery and salvage of the remaining UNS Unity wreckage on Planet.

While most of the Earth-era technologies within have since been matched or surpassed by various scientific discoveries made by humanity here on Planet, the hull and fittings designed to survive the stresses of a 40-year deep space voyage remain valuable sources of sturdy construction material, estimated to be worth five hundred million UN dollars.

Furthermore, any shipboard databases that remain intact and salvageable would provide a priceless trove of Earth-era knowledge for the benefit of archivists and anthropologists on Planet today. In particular, UNDA officials are hopeful to uncover any data that may shed light on the origins of the Unity splinter faction leaders on Planet, who are believed to have infiltrated the original Unity mission as agents of their home nations’ respective intelligence agencies on Earth.

Diplomacy did not always prevail this past year, however. The continued refusal of the Spartan Federation to acknowledge the presence of terrorist training camps on its shores has been a persistent point of contention in UN-Spartan relations, even as graduates of those camps such as the notorious Fatman remained free to terrorize the region. Fed up with constant Spartan intransigence, the UN High Commission authorized the UNPF to carry out anti-terrorist operations which led to the recapture of UN Ocean Authority and the effective neutralization of the training camps. This led the Spartan military dictator, Colonel Corazon Santiago, to make a speech declaring the anti-terrorist operations to be “a gross violation of inalienable faction sovereignty” and “an act of war by crooked UN globalists against the free peoples of Planet”.

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With UN-Spartan tensions running high once again, it no doubt came as a relief to many UN citizens when a UNDA engineering team announced that they were on the verge of finalizing a working prototype of its newest tachyon bolt cannon design. Inspired by the recent breakthroughs made in unified field theory, the cannon makes use of a classified mechanism to generate an atom-sized mass of tachyons encased within a quantum field, which is then directed towards the enemy. While the quantum field is unstable and will generally destabilize in under a microsecond, this is still sufficient to give the ‘bolt’ an effective firing range of 300 metres. Aside from the destructive effects of a collection of particles smashing into the enemy at superluminal speeds, the fact that it travels faster than light means that not even the fastest military supercomputer would be able to see it coming, let alone dodge before impact.

While less destructive than the Gaians’ quantum disentanglement ray, the tachyon bolt cannon still represents an order of magnitude improvement over the fusion-pumped X-ray lasers currently in service with the UNPF. A UNDA spokesman expressed optimism that the design would enter mass production next year.

These remain interesting times for Planet, but citizens of the UN can take pride knowing that their collective efforts are building a better Planet for all of humanity.

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Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #57 on: September 20, 2020, 02:18:42 PM »

A freak tropical storm has wreaked havoc at UN Headquarters, bringing home the threat of climate change to a complacent bureaucracy at horrific cost.

Despite valiant attempts by engineers on the scene to erect last-minute defenses, winds exceeding 300 km/h swiftly overwhelmed the base’s structural integrity, allowing heavy rains to flood over half of UNHQ before all of the internal bulkheads could be sealed. A preliminary assessment made by first responders arriving from UN Disaster Relief and UN Aid Station estimated that fifty thousand citizens were unable to escape in time and drowned at the scene, marking the worst humanitarian disaster experienced by humanity so far on Planet.

Other agencies were quicker to respond to the threat, with UN Social Council and UN Planetary Trust both reporting that engineers were able to complete their base’s pressure domes in time and thus suffered no significant casualties from the storm.

The unprecedented scale of this disaster, dwarfing even the loss of UN Court of Justice to mind worms in 2157, has raised serious doubts among the public regarding the ability of the UN Planetary Trust to address the growing climate threat looming over Planet. A formal UNDA inquiry is already underway into the accuracy of the climate simulation models currently being run at UNHQ, the supercomputing infrastructure for which was completed at great expense in 2208, which UN officials are now criticizing for failing to provide adequate warning of the disaster.

The UN Planetary Trust denied that increased sightings of mind worms were occurring as a result of climate change, although it recommended that the UN as a whole adopt a more rigorous program of environmental protections as a part of its ongoing partnership with Gaia’s Stepdaughters.

High Commissioner Tayta announced that due to its facilities being rendered unusable by flooding and the likelihood of future climate-related disasters affecting the area, the UN High Commission would be relocating itself to an undisclosed secure location until further notice. He stressed that this would not affect the quality of its decision making, nor its commitment to overseeing current UN operations and advancing UN values.



A mobile task force of the United Nations Mission in the Spartan Federation (UNMISF) was met with a hostile reception as it moved in to provide relief to the war-stricken base of Blast Rifle Crag, sources within the UNPF reported.

While the citizens of Blast Rifle Crag greeted the task force as liberators, local warlords nominally claiming allegiance to the Spartan Federation violently resisted in an attempt to retain power over their captive population, forcing the mobile task force to return fire.

Although these “citizens’ militias” were unusually well-equipped, adding fuel to UNDA suspicions that many of them were actually members of Colonel Santiago’s elite “Three Hundred” shock trooper force, the UNMISF task force nonetheless retained the mobility advantage in the open fields surrounding Blast Rifle Crag and eventually prevailed over the Spartan infantry.

The lack of rovers among the Spartan forces suggests that the former Spartan Federation is encountering logistical difficulties as a result of the recent climate-induced flooding at Sparta Command, which forced Colonel Santiago and her loyalists to relocate command inland to Fort Liberty. This appears to have been interpreted as evidence of weakness by victims of the mad Colonel’s Social Darwinist regime, sparking revolts in Survival Base and Assassin’s Redoubt, further eroding her once rock-solid powerbase.

In a sign that even former Spartan military higher-ups are becoming disillusioned with Santiago’s reign, the entire Spartan Admiralty reportedly offered to defect to the United Nations in exchange for amnesty and a 1 billion UN dollar payout. Hommel’s Citadel is also believed to have defected to Gaia’s Stepdaughters, claiming an increased ecological sympathy in light of recent extreme weather events.

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The Spartan Civil War has its roots in the aftermath of the Second Spartan-Morgan War in MY 2251-53, in which Colonel Santiago ordered the annexation of the remaining two “free contract” Morganic bases in an attempt to shore up her failing poll ratings, as well as plunder Morgan Industries’ corporate bank accounts so as to plug gaping holes in the Spartan Federation’s infrastructure budget. UNDA analysts remain uncertain as to what happened next, but it is believed that the military higher-ups fell out over how to divide up the loot, soon escalating to violence as they sought to “reappropriate” the others’ loot for themselves.

Whatever the cause, with Spartan troops suffering defeats in the field and defecting left and right, it is all but certain that the Spartan Civil War will end sooner rather than later.

(click to show/hide)
« Last Edit: September 20, 2020, 02:54:39 PM by Tayta Malikai »


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