Threat Assessment: The Missing Colonies Of Man

This series of anonymous reports was intercepted in transit to an unknown force outside the Echo Cluster. After emergency review by the Senate Committee on Military Classification, these redacted versions were approved for immediate publication. They can be used to acquaint the unfamiliar with the Eleven Races of the Echo Cluster, but also they should be read by commanders of each respective race so they can review their own vulnerabilities in the face of this new and unknown external threat. In this dispatch we focus on that faction known as the Missing Colonies of Man: its strengths, its weaknesses, and how best to defeat it in battle.

Overview

Ease Of Command: Novice And Up
Difficulty To Defeat: Moderate to High
Style: Mixed

General: The Missing Colonies of Man have survived alone in space for generations, ingeniously repurposing science vessels and freighters into warships and logistical support. Colonial warriors prize individual valor and self-sacrifice as the highest of military virtues. Fighter pilots are the mainstay of the Colonial combat fleet; their losses are always high, as are their honors.

Identification: The Colonies don’t tend to hide. They have no access to cloaking technology; their fighter-sweeping ability grants them minefield superiority on most battlefields, so in that sense they don’t really need it. They also expand rapidly, without needing to pause for fuel; this tends to drive them in straight lines while traveling in large convoys. Colonial fleets are often inexpensive, even ramshackle in nature, but they do get the job done.

Fleet Composition: The Virgo Class Battlestar is among the mightiest of the heavy carriers, but with a relatively light mass and an extremely low cost. To save on engines, they will often rely on tows from fuel-generating Cobols. The Colonies keep a variety of light ships to fill most secondary roles, including the Tranquility as a minelayer and shield-scratcher, and rely on their carriers to perform most jobs — like minesweeping.

Strengths And Weaknesses:

Economic: Casual fuel generation by Colonial Cobols guarantees they have no real need for a Refinery, which is no small savings. Similarly, that their mainstay carriers require such small quantities of minerals to construct and can build fighters in space from raw materials means that their adversaries are highly likely to face fully armed war fleets in a very short time. All this makes the ability to generate cash with Lady Royales nearly superfluous.

Military: During the early stages of a war, Colonial battlecarriers may well dominate the field. Their fighter-sweeping advantage will remove much of the edge otherwise held by defending civilizations. Enemy cloaking vessels can hit towing Cobols with targeted strikes, often stranding lightly-engined Virgoes in useless or highly vulnerable locations; however, following behind them one is likely to see a large second wave following along without tow ships. Regardless, Colonial fleets are vulnerable to heavily defended starbases; unlike Rebels, Fascists, Lizards, and the Empire, they lack the ability to evade defenses and must engage directly. Given the Colonial fleet’s lack of a low-cost yet effective sacrifice ship, this can be a crippling disadvantage near the end of a long war.

NOTE: Alone among the Eleven Races, the Colonies have failed to advance technologically over the millennia, with only a very few factions in possession of the high-end Iron Lady variant, the Command Ship. On the other hand, they are quite capable of holding their own without access to new developments, and for those tools they lack, they possess secrets for which rival civilizations would pay vast sums.

Key Vulnerabilities:

  • Colonies lack any efficient method of defeating starbases in the end game. A wave of advancing Virgoes can thus be eliminated by placing 200/60 starbases in its path. Counterintuitively, 9-beam bases have a slight advantage in combat if the world has a fairly low population.
  • Priority Intercept Attacks targeting Cobols and other support vessels are highly effective at stranding entire fleets.
  • A weakness in solid secondary vessels make diffuse attacks with waves of medium ships an effective tactic to erode the economic support around the Colonial fleet.

Trade and Alliances:

  • The Cobol Class Cruiser can generate infinite amounts of fuel over time by simply flying, making it an invaluable addition to most fleets. The Aries too is incredibly powerful, being far more efficient than the standard Neutronic Refinery.
  • Fighter factories, in the form of the Saggitarius and Gemini, are capable of churning out 30-40 fighters per turn without paying cash. This service can be provided to allies at little cost and for great benefit.
  • These same two vessels, when filled with fighters, can be hired out to friendly races in order to sweep mines for them, creating a low-cost alternative to countermining.

What the Colonies lack in need, they more than make up for in technological and economic wealth, which may be freely shared with other races. This will be essential to provide for cloaked scouts and any anti-cloaking defense one might require that’s more potent than minefields.

Summary:

The Missing Colonies of Man are valuable friends and deadly enemies. Their many advantages make them more forgiving than most other races, causing mistakes to be less deadly. Moreover, their fighter-sweeping advantage is an economic as well as a strategic weapon, capable of denying equal battlefield maneuverability to the enemy who fails to expend vast sums of matériel. As well, never forget their capacity to generate massive concentrations of overwhelming firepower. Fight them only at need — or to exploit a vulnerability.

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