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A Fortunate Trade, an Unexpected Pledge of Support, and a Win for Yin!

What follows is the true and unredacted account of my tour of duty as a command leader for the Yin Brotherhood.

Map: 5p POK Kazadoom’s Notch Map generated on

Factions: Yin, Yssaril, Nekro, Vuil’raith, Hacan.

Round 1 objectives: Engineer a Marvel (R1-1); Push Boundaries (R1-2)

Five experienced leaders gathered this weekend to prove themselves worthy. As the Yin, I found myself wedged between the Hacan (around the corner of a notch in the galaxy) and the Yssaril. Word had come down to the Blessed on Darien through our ambassadors and spies that both nearby factions were set on amassing larger fleets and armies, but to what end we were unsure. The Blessed discussed the matter at great length and decided our best defense was to rebuild our flagship the Van Hauge and to take control of as many planets as we could (more, at least, then our neighbors). That would allow us to stand firm in the face of any aggression.

As a command leader, I had heard the rumors not only of these rising neighbor armies, but also of some truly terrifying events taking place on the other side of the galaxy. The horrific Vuil’raith were actively recruiting with empty promises; telling factions whatever they wanted to hear to forge alliances. Left unchecked, they would surely seize and destroy our entire galaxy planet by planet. The Nekro Virus was also gaining strength on a planet nearby the Vuil’raith and while it was unclear who would come out the victor in the inevitable head-to-head match between them, I shuddered at the idea of either of them heading our way. Because I viewed Nekro and the Vuil’raith both as bigger threats to our Yin than Yssaril or Hacan, I decided to put all my efforts into leading my crew to Mecatol Rex as fast as possible. I knew that if we could successfully land and build up a presence, we could stand as a line in the sand against the wave of Nekro or Vuil’raith forces that would inevitably come crashing down upon us.

As time went on, I congratulated myself on recruiting warfare strategy experts and prioritizing our expansion to Mecatol Rex over building the flagship. It was the right choice. It had allowed me to maneuver our fleet onto the doorstep of Mecatol Rex. I had to explain to my Blessed brothers why we hadn’t built our flagship yet as ordered, but I pointed out that settling the planets along the way between Darien and Mecatol was in line with the orders given to seize control of new planets. Granted, we did not have more planets than our neighbors yet, but we did have more than we started with. I was sternly reminded to prioritize the flagship, especially since our spies had spotted the Hacan flagship (R1-1), but otherwise the matter was dropped.

End of R1 scores: Yin(0), Yssaril(0), Nekro(0), Vuil’raith(0), Hacan(1)

Round 2 objective: Erect a Monument (R2-1)

To provide the assistance I needed, I hired some well respected leadership strategy consultants. Their job was to provide me guidance on getting more out of my command, using the influence I’ve cobbled together. I’d been given a new objective by the Blessed – I was to gather the resources needed to build a monument to the brotherhood on one of our newly settled planets. I thought it absolutely ridiculous at a time like this. Word was that Hacan was also heading to Mecatol with a settlement force and the Blessed wanted me to make time for fundraising? Forget it. In my meetings with my brothers, I nodded and agreed on the importance of the monument, but secretly planned to prioritize what I deemed most urgent instead. Back at command, I forged ahead and reached Mecatol (MR1) before Hacan could do so. Built a space dock on her right away once construction was authorized, and then began amassing troops on the surface. At the same time, I was diligently managing the build of our flagship (R1-1) by our production teams back home on Darien.

Yssaril also finished their flagship (R1-1) and through some swift imperial strategy, settled enough new planets to control more than their neighbors (R1-2). Hacan got word that Vuil’raith had taken over a legendary planet in a distance sector (VS1) and in response intensified their own settlement efforts. In doing so, Hacan also found themselves controlling more planets than their neighbors (R1-2). Our ambassadors’ reports were increasingly worrisome – war was brewing and they were unsure where it would break out. And while the Vuil’raith were clearly planning something, the Nekro had gone completely silent. Our scientists on Darien continued their research, our production teams added more ships to our fleet, and we all waited for whatever was coming next.

Having established a settlement on Mecatol Rex, I called for an inaugural council meeting with the other leading factions. At this first meeting, we took up a couple of interesting proposals and passed a new law implementing technology that allowed all Alpha and Beta wormholes to connect.

End of R2 scores: Yin(2), Yssaril(2), Nekro(0), Vuil’raith(1), Hacan(2)

R3 objective: Discover Lost Outposts (R3-1)

Pleased with the completion of the Van Hauge, the Blessed advised that our intel had intercepted some encrypted communications about an objective the other factions’ were working on – to conduct in-depth explorations of their new settlements and identify any undocumented resources, pockets of political influence, or technology specialties. Any gains discovered during exploration were to be documented and written up in attachments to the planetary profiles faction leaders kept on hand for reference. I was told to keep on the efforts to settle more planets than our neighbors and to emphasis exploration of any new settlements. I was to report back when I’d successfully identified at least two different planets with enhancements worthy of documentation attachments. There was no more mention of the monument, and I was glad to have that off my to-do list. I decided to hire some tech strategy consultants to help develop new tech that could aid our explorations.

Soon after I’d turned my attention to new settlements and exploration, the Nekro launched a direct attack on my fleet guarding Mecatol. I’m not the best negotiator and had been unable to secure the contractors needed to implement an imperial strategy, but holding onto Mecatol was still imperative for blocking the advancement of Nekro or the Vuil’raith toward Darien. Additionally, we had built a good rapport with everyone on Mecatol and their influence on the council was powerful. So I dug my heels in and fought. A couple of my destroyer pilots kamikazed their ships into the Nekro fleet, but it was not enough to stop them. They held the airspace above Mecatol while at the same time building their flagship in another production facility they controlled elsewhere (R1-1). Luckily for us, they underestimated the fortitude and persuasiveness of our infantry. We were able to turn at least one of their advancing infantry against them and through the strength of our troops, we held the planet. Still, they did not leave the system, so we had to make peace, at least temporarily, with their looming presence above us.

There was a skirmish between the Nekro and the Vuil’raith as well, and there also, the Nekro had come out ahead. After the battle, Vuil’raith regrouped and turned their efforts toward building their flagship (R1-1). Nekro had also been reported to be gathering relic fragments as they conquered and explored, only instead of holding onto them to reassemble a relic, our spies came back with word they were purging them (NS1). While all of this was going on, Yssaril was quietly continuing to settle and explore planets. Our spies kept a close watch on them and every step of progress they made was immediately relayed to the Blessed. Eventually, my superiors sent me a reprimand via encrypted message wanting to know why I still hadn’t made more progress with the attachments when Yssaril had already done so (R3-1). Worse, the Hacan commander had managed to submit 2 attachments for planetary profiles under their control (R3-1) AND build a monument to their leadership (R2-1). Now the Blessed were jealous and angry and every communication from them I received reflected that. I had faith in my strategy, but I was going to have to have something more to show for myself when I spoke with my brethren. When I got word from my construction team that we’d build a third space dock across our systems in record time (YiS1), I forwarded the progress report directly to the Blessed, hoping it would soothe them.

Another council meeting was called, and even though I wielded the most influence of any leader present, none of the proposed legislation before the council interested me much. Certainly nothing to really shake things up in favor of the Yin. I mostly abstained from voting and mentally prepared for my upcoming status report meetings with the Blessed.

End of R3 scores: Yin(3), Yssaril(3), Nekro(2), Vuil’raith(2), Hacan(4)

R4 objective: Raise a Fleet (R4-1)

I really wanted to implement the famous imperial strategy I’d heard so much about, as when a faction holds Mecatol, it’s especially rewarding for them. But you need the right experts who know how to do it and Hacan always managed to grab that team it each time their contract came up for renewal. One time, even after they’d agreed to go work for another faction, Hacan pulled out some fancy datahub tech and persuaded them to come back over to work with them. So I never got my turn with them. After my research consultants rolled off their contracts, I reached back out to our warfare experts who were on the market again. I wanted to bring them back under contract for guidance in troop redeployments. We had a problem with ship crews’ that fulfilled a deployment order and then wanted to rest on location for an extended amount of time before being redeployed. They’d gotten their union involved and it was a mess and I hoped the warfare strategy team could persuade at least one of our most essential crew teams to head back out sooner than they’d planned.

At my next status meeting, my brothers were frank with me. They were encouraged by my construction feat, but I was not back in their good graces yet. They told me I was to build my fleet up to 5 in at least one system (R4-1), but preferably in as many systems as possible. They were also interested in the spoils from the cultural planets my crews had been settling and asked me to have at least 4 under my control (YiS-2). I was easily able to do both of these things, and so our working relationship was going very well. With the Blessed giving me some breathing room, I took time for planning my own goals and priorities.

Hacan had been making a lot of noise about taking over Mecatol and the Vuil’raith leveraged the general atmosphere of distrust and anxiety to approach me directly about a potential alliance. It might be just what I reported before – that the faction knows how to say whatever you want to hear to get you on their side. But it also might be that the rumors of their all consuming evil were vastly overdramatized. All I know is they gave me some useful tech that allowed my production teams to go above and beyond their production limits. And I agreed to look the other way should they decide they wanted to stomp out Hacan or Nekro. And why shouldn’t I make such a deal? They never did anything to me or our people whereas Nekro had attacked us. There were also confirmed reports that the Nekro had built an impressive monument to themselves on one of the planets they had recently assimilated (R2-1). And Hacan needed to be stopped before they got any more powerful. Recently they had amassed 5 ships in one system (R4-1), won a battle with their flagship (HS1), and come to control enough planets to give them 12 influence votes on the council (HS2). No doubt the Blessed would have been thrilled with the Hacan commander, were he set up to answer to them.

At our third council meeting, Yssaril, Nekro, and Vuil’raith reported they now each had at least one 5 fleet system to serve as deterrents (R4-1) for aggression. Thank God I’d prioritized that myself or the Blessed would have really been up my ass. Nekro passed around pictures of the monument they recently built. It was absolutely hideous. I made no bones about saying so and they deflected with slander that I was just salty about their blockade of Mecatol. As we brought each agenda item up for consideration, Nekro pushed hard to get a seemingly dull law passed. I should have figured out their angle sooner, but I was distracted by the Vuil’raith who were on me to pay back that tech share by voting for them on an upcoming agenda item. At the end of things, the law Nekro was pushing was passed (NS2) and with my influence, the Vuil’raith was selected by the council as the elected beneficiary of a boost to their military operations (VS2).

End of R4 scores: Yin(5), Yssaril(4), Nekro(5), Vuil’raith(4), Hacan(7)

R5 objective: Command an Armada (R5-1)

In my next debrief with the Blessed, I told them all that had happened at the council meeting. I warned them especially of Hacan’s growing power, but they didn’t take me as seriously as I’d hoped. The Hacan had not attacked us in any memorable fashion (perhaps an accidental ship collision here or there) and wouldn’t it be better for them to come out on top versus Nekro or Vuil’raith, the destroyer of worlds? I didn’t have the heart to tell them I’d already made some preliminary deals with the the Vuil’raith. Their minds were made up on the more pressing threat. The Blessed presented me with my latest assignment – build up my fleet to 8 ships in a single system. A show of force to deter Vuil’raith and Nekro. I tried to remind them our great strength was in our infantry and holding the ground (especially with our Yin Spinner tech), not our pilots, but they didn’t care to listen. They sensed my reluctance and offered up double the cash incentive if I could get it done before the next council meeting. I told them I’d work on it, but as usual, I had other plans.

As always, Hacan lured away the Imperial strategy experts when they came off their contracts so I reached out to our on again off again leadership consultants. I also focused on settling more planets, including a few intrusions into Yssaril territory. They were in the midst of a monument building project (R2-1) and completely distracted so there was no retaliation even though I’d braced for it. The Nekro and Vuil’raith faced off against each other aggressively again. The tension between all of the factions was growing but despite our petty grievances with each other, all of us kept our eyes fixed on Hacan.

Just before the council met again, word came in that Hacan, Yssaril, and Nekro had each managed to build up a fleet of 8 powerful ships (R5-1) within a system they controlled. Dammit! The Blessed were going to be upset with me again. At least I’d settled enough additional planets to outnumber my neighbors as they’d asked me to do eons ago (R1-2). The Vuil’raith had done this also (R1-2), facing the increasing threat of the Nekro at every turn. While I didn’t have the fleet count the Blessed had asked of me, all my planet settling and incursions into Yssaril territory had given me control of planets in the same system as other factions (YiS3), which provided great accessibility for continuing covert operations. The Vuil’raith commander reported to me through back channels that Yssaril was creeping into systems neighboring their home planet in our galaxy (YsS-1). Yssaril had also formed a loose, informal alliance with the Nekro. Under friend of my enemy logic, that made the Yssaril a new enemy of the Yin.

The fourth council meeting was extremely stressful. Hacan was confronted regarding their massive fleet build up and asked of their plans. Instead of answering the question, they reminded us how they’ve always been generous in trading with us all, and how they had rarely shown any aggression. But we weren’t buying it. The continual build up of their fleet and infantry had to point to something big they were planning. Hacan was given a mandatory military reduction directive from the council. They would be sent back out from the council meeting with a limit of 3 command actions, 3 ships max in any fleet, and only permitted to conduct two strategic actions until we met again, unless they could gain more influence through better leadership. It passed by a wide margin, and I have to say Nekro looked especially pleased. As much as I fear and hate Nekro, I do not trust Hacan and the Vuil’raith commander had said that was wise on my part.

End of R5 scores: Yin(7), Yssaril(8), Nekro(7), Vuil’raith(5), Hacan(9)

R6 objective: Manipulate Galactic Law (R6-1)

Nekro announced a bold move – they had instigated a scheme their lawyers had crafted to force their consultants into an automatic follow-on contract. Each other faction was now doing the same, utilizing a fine print clause to make it so. I knew the Blessed would be disappointed if I released our teams, so I let our contractors know I was exercising the fine print as well and they belonged to us for a little while longer, whether they liked it or not. I needed to keep the Blessed content. My ears still stung from the berating comments my brothers had laid into me during our last status meeting following the fourth council. How had I let so many other factions get ahead of us on fleet size? Didn’t I see the danger? Did they need to replace me or could I get my head on straight and get us into a position of power? If Hacan or another faction were to take control of everything, there was a good chance they’d shut down our genetic cloning operations. They were prejudiced against our ways. They didn’t understand the threat of Greyfire.

It was true that Hacan was exceedingly close to seizing control of everything, but I couldn’t see an easy path for me or my fleet to stop them. Perhaps if I had built up the fleet as the brothers had ordered, but it was probably too late for that to make a difference now. What I did do, was send a message out across all channels – even to the Nekro – that I pledged my support in temporary alliance to all who would seek to destabilize Hacan.

Nekro moved first, easily taking control of multiple Hacan systems (although Hacan managed to hold the planets). Vuil’raith charged in next, infiltrating the Hacan home system and taking an entire planet hostage until Vuil'raith agreed to stand down.

Meanwhile, I’d gotten an urgent dispatch from the Blessed. If I couldn’t take Hacan out militarily, the Blessed counseled that I needed to gain enough influence to impose even greater consequences on them during the next council meeting. To do this, according to their calculations, I needed to amass at least 16 votes of influence. So while all of the military operations against Hacan were going on, I moved into more of Yssaril territory to capture more planets so that we’d have a greater voice on the council. I also made a far reaching jaunt into Nekro systems thanks to one of our command heroes. I was bound and determined to collect enough planets under Yin control so that I would have the strength to stop Hacan. I also prioritized building out our fleet to 8 ships (R5-1). Better late than never.

Just before the fifth council meeting, both Vuil’raith and Nekro publicly announced they’d raised enough influence among their settlements to be in a position to heavily influence the next wave of galactic laws (R6-1). Nekro had also beaten up Vuil’raith badly in an anomaly (NS3) equidistant between their areas of control. And Yssaril had brought in a report of some new strategic tech they’d adapted (YsS2). As for Hacan, they came into the council meeting with their head down and shoulders slumped. They hadn’t been able to accomplish much of anything lately with the constant onslaught of attacks from all sides and the Vuil’raith hovering over their home planets. Did I feel sorry for them though? While I considered it, the Vuil’raith commander gave me a wink across the table. No, I did not feel bad for them at all. Yssaril proposed we give an official support of power vote to the faction that most aided the Hacan disruption. We were all in favor of that and passed the measure, but when it came time to decide who should receive the award, there was contention. Nekro made a good case for themselves, but we felt the honor belonged to the Vuil’raith and gave it to them instead (A1).

End of R6 scores: Yin(9), Yssaril(9), Nekro(10), Vuil’raith(7), Hacan(9)

R7: Subdue the Galaxy (R7-1)

I took news of all these developments (leaving out the wink from the Vuil’raith commander) back to the Blessed. They were extremely happy to hear the Hacan had stalled, even if it was temporary. We discussed the new problem – Nekro was gaining power and now they were on the verge of becoming unstoppable. In fact, they had assimilated not only our faction tech but Hacan’s! They were now able to seize control of any strategic contract team when needed during strategy contract negotiation windows. We could be faced with Hacan peeling away imperial strategy experts away from us and then Nekro peeling them away from Hacan. I told the Blessed that we had one last hope. The latest round of contract negotiations was approaching, and I was slotted last to recruit. My plan was to grab some strategic contractors who weren’t of any value to Hacan, but whose priority rank meant that I’d be given audience in my bid for total control before the other council members. If we could prove ourselves worthy, we could take control of the new empire before any of the other factions even got up to speak. I explained this would be possible because Yssaril always preferred to hire research contractors, Nekro would hire imperial strategy experts as it was the only way for him to win ultimate control, Vuil’raith would hire whomever they chose (they weren’t a threat to us), and then Hacan would take something they didn’t care too much about that was a higher number and then force Nekro to switch. The Blessed approved of my plan and suggested I continue to settle new planets – at least 11 outside of Darien – to give me firm footing on seizing total control. They didn’t have any new secret objectives to hand down to increase my power, but they said intel reports advised some of the relics could increase my power if I happened upon the best ones.

When strategy consultant negotiations began, I found I was wrong about Yssaril – their commander hired warfare experts instead of tech. But I was right about Nekro. And Hacan chose to hire tech experts instead of stealing away the imperial experts from Nekro. This was probably because they realized Nekro would just lure them back. So I hired some trade experts, knowing Hacan would not want to steal them from me. It was hard to leave the leadership consultants on the table, but I couldn’t risk losing them to Hacan if I hired them.

Based on my hiring choices, I held a better initiative than anyone else in the council except Vuil’raith. If everyone could just keep Nekro held back until the council was ready to meet again, and if I managed to find a powerful relic, I could seize control for the Yin.

With limited command actions due to a lack of leadership strategy consultants, everyone was careful with their actions. Except for the Yssaril of course, who kept stalling, as is their way. The faction commanders plotted in the open how to stop Nekro. It wasn’t going to be that hard. They didn’t have a massive fleet yet (they had the capacity but not the build out), nor did they have 11 planets outside their home system. They’d have to work for either. And work for them they did, but they were stymied at every turn by the Vuil’raith and perhaps once even by myself. The Nekro commander boasted about finally having more planets than their neighbors (R1-2), but that was truly too little, too late. Having neutralized the Nekro, and seeing the Hacan was still too weak to assume power, everyone’s attention turned toward Yssaril and our people, the Yin. It looked hopeless for me, so the focus remained on Yssaril who still held secret objectives that could bring them a measure of power.

I spent my time shoring up troops and ships on Mecatol and Primor, and as I turned in a handful of relic fragments, I prayed for a power granting relic. Nope. I pulled a relic that allowed me to destroy a planet. I would have to eventually face my Blessed brothers and explain to them why I had failed. My hopes dashed, I sent out my trade consultants. At least I could gather some trade goods to bring back to Darien. To my surprise, Hacan offered to give me 6 commodities in exchange for 2 trade goods and 2 commodities. It seemed to be for no particular good reason, but I suppose they needed the trade goods to continue rebuilding their fleet. They were not giving up yet on themselves. I accepted the trade as they truly seemed repentant and in no position to harm me.

To finish things up what I assumed would be my last tour of duty, I looked for a high value target to destroy. Something with a lot of infantry or some structures. Then, at least I could tell the Blessed I went out with a bang and the event would be listed in my biography. I found it in a Vuil’raith system adjacent to their home. I called a 1:1 meeting with the Vuil’raith commander. While he watched, I unrolled a map of our galaxy and pointed to one of the planets bordering his home system. “I choose this planet”, I announced, as I showed him mercy with an advanced warning to evacuate. With a horrified look in his eyes, the Vuil’raith commander said, “Please don’t”, and pledged the support of the Vuil’raith for a Yin Brotherhood throne (SFTT1). Adrenaline surging, I agreed in earnest. I had not seen this coming and it was going to make all the difference.

Suddenly the factions were buzzing again. We picked up the chatter on every channel we interception. Now *I* would have the first audience in a bid for the thorne. I had 12 planets outside my home system, proving the Yin brotherhood worthy of ruling. Could they stop me? Only Nekro and Yssaril were still under normal operations at the time; the Vuil’raith and Hacan leaders had gone on holiday until our next council meeting. Vacation or not, they were still in communication with Nekro and Yssaril. Scheming together, the entire council plotted against me. They tried to work out the easiest planets to take from our people to bring our planet count below 11. Nekro made an incursion into one my systems and took a planet. Then came wave after wave of Yssaril attacks. After reducing our territory to just 9 planets outside our home system, there was a pause. The pause and the realization I had been calmly waiting for. The Yssaril commander called for a 1:1 with me, and when I arrived she wanted me to answer a burning question. Had I already submitted proof to the Blessed that I had completed the objective I’d been given to produce 16 votes of influence? “I have not”, I replied with a smile. “And how much influence does the Yin hold at this moment?” “TWENTY-SIX votes of influence”, I replied, with an even bigger smile. There wasn’t enough attacking and stalling in the world for Yssaril to knock us down below 16. I could buy 9 votes in trade goods alone, 4 from my heavily guarded home system patrolled by our suicide leaning flagship, and much more spread across the 6 or seven systems I controlled.

The Yssaril commander studied the situation from every angle. It was impossible. She had overlooked the key information – that I had finished my last tour of duty meeting both public objectives and she’d only stripped one of them from me. There was nothing she could do. She ended her tour of duty, dejected. Just before our next scheduled council meeting, Vuil’raith called a press conference on the steps of the council building to announce that they had won a measure of power by completing a secret objective they’d been given. (VS3). He also announced he had two planets with attachments under his control (R3-1). The crowd cheered for him. Everyone was really warming to these alleged monsters of the galaxy. And then I took to the steps and announced that our faction - the Yin brotherhood - who had peacefully resettled Mecatol and reinitiated the galactic council, were leaning on our 16 votes of influence to seize complete and total control of the galaxy. A gasp was heard from the crowd. And then cheering. Immense cheering from all sections of the crowd.

And that is how Yin took the unexpected Win.

End of R7 scores: Yin(12), Yssaril(9), Nekro(11), Vuil’raith(10), Hacan(9)


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