Once discovered, Alien Artifacts have one movement point and behave as non-combatant units. If they are used to explore a unity pod they have a 50% chance of vanishing. They can be captured by other factions without diplomatic penalty if they are not in a stack with other non-alien artifact units. They are attacked and destroyed by wild native lifeforms, needlejets, and copters.
Artifacts can be moved to bases that have a network node facility or The Universal Translator secret project and linked to it to provide a random technological breakthrough. Each network node can only link to one alien artifact. They can also be use it to speed the production of a Secret Project or unit prototype by 50 minerals. On rare occasions, linking an Alien Artefact to a Network Node results in an overload destroying both unit and facility. Linked Network Nodes cannot be scrapped for money, only destroyed.
Using the goto (‘G’) command on an Alien Artifact will indicate which bases (including those of pact partners) have Network Nodes and whether they are already linked to an artifact.
If an Alien Artifact is in a base, holding or on sentry mode, it will activate if a secret project or prototype is commenced or if a network node or The Universal Translator is completed prompting a player that they can use the artifact.
Note: when playing the game at 800 × 600 screen resolution, Network Nodes that are linked to Alien Artifacts will have “(Linked)” displayed after them on the base control screen. At higher resolutions this text is not visible due to the font size.