Dr Zahn studied the strange alien machinery beneath the ancient tower rebuilt by the Zenithians, his brilliant mind running through calculations of obscure mathematics faster than any computer less than 9 stories tall. He had to work quickly, the parylyso-gas would only last for a short while and Imperial reinforcements were sure to arrive soon. While the energy flow indicators meant this must be but one of numerous such devices with some distant control centre this one had been focussed on by the Saucermen for a reason. There it was! His keen eyes spotted where the careful application of an interference substance had been applied to some of the stone in order to deactivate part of the originally intended circuitry within the lattice matrix of the stone. The Zenithians had in effect reprogrammed the device. Probably it was a device intended to create some special form of stable wormhole, possibly in order to increase the effective lifespan of the ancient star. The Zenithians had changed it to turn it into something altogether more dangerous, at best a Weapon of Cosmic Destruction and at worst something altogether less imaginable. Just switching the device off would be no good if the singularity was already forming, it might slow the growth of the black hole but it wouldn’t stop it. Instead he calculated the best option would be to allow the ancient devices self-regulating stone circuitry programming into effect. He carefully mixed the chemical ingredients to dissolve the interference and set the chemical grenade on a medium fuse, just long enough to drag the paralysed guards to safety….
Mere minutes after the grenade had gone off spraying the chemical that dissolved the Zenithian sabotage away a great massive structure emerged from underneath a gigantic sand filled crater on the neighbouring sunward planet Parva Draco, a huge stone structure that defied all the known laws of physics as it swiftly flew into space leaving a trail of falling sand in an arc that fell all the way back to the planet. The machinery of the Ancients was now activated!
On Monday Brylan, one of Taphyl’s brothers, was back in town after spending some time overseas so I joined the guys to hang out for the afternoon. There had been talk of playing some Warhammer 40,000 but Brylan asked if we could play War Rocket instead. Luckily Taphyl had asked me to bring my stuff in case of such a possibility. Brylan had played the Space Pirates before but this time decided to try the Galacteers. Taphyl decided to again play the Zenithians and of course I played the Empire. I’d not brought my camera though so one of theirs was used.
We set the battlefield up together. The ice rings of Dormientes Draco have grown thicker, and Taphyl provided the strange ancient artefact. The perfect objective for the game. The goal: The Imperial patrol, having just finished guarding the ship collecting the survivors of the last battle before intending to head to investigate the damage done to the Watch Station by the Space Pirates (see last battle report) have been alerted to the massive strange stone structure now in a stable orbit near the planet Parva Draco and have delayed the mission to the watch-station to give the stone construct a quick flyby when astro-radar detects two incoming fleets both of whom need to be kicked out of Imperial-claimed territory! Meanwhile alerted to the Zenithian cause of the looming galactic disaster the Galacteers are trying to stop a Zenithian task force intent on boarding and destroying the giant artefact!
The Imperial fleet moves slowly and cautiously ahead, not wanting to get too close to the ice-rings of Dormientes where the saucers would have the advantage, and the saucers race in… straight away the class 2 saucer enters the dangerous but shielding ice rings of the planet. and what’s this that now enters on the flank near the Imperial Patrol?
The Comets near the saucers maintain their position to try and finish off the stranded saucer before it can be repaired. The Class 2 saucer continues it’s traverse of the ice rings of Dormientes. Responding to the intrusion in space claimed by the empire my Scorpions dive in to attack the Supernova and the Comet responds to that threat… but the whole while the other two class 1 Saucers remain inactive…
My attack and the attacks on the saucer fail, but
3 rockets get a delayed action from the last turn. An Imperial Scorpion uses it to manoeuvre into a better future position.
The Saucers use theirs to deal with the swift Comets.
On one side of the board my Scorpion goes round the asteroids and heads for a Saucer with a Comet right behind both the Scorpion and the Saucer. Meanwhile the Supernova races for the strange artefact and the Beta-Z class 2 saucer reaches the other edge of the ice-ring.
Brylan hoping for a dramatic and cinematic clash of the four rockets in the middle of their path elects not to shoot either the Alpha-z Saucer or Scorpion. But then Taphyl (who consistently won the initiative roll-off with my Scorpions almost the entire game I should point out) spoilt this by sending his saucer off out of the way after my Raptor. The Beta-z Saucer makes it most of the way to the mysterious artefact, but the Galacteer Supernova has got their first!
“Sergeant, what’s inside there?”
“No sign of life Commander, though everythings open as if expecting people. Light is low but tolerable, the air is steamy and humid, like a hot jungle. And everythings made of stone or crystal.”
“Find yourselves a good defensive position, we have Saucers and Imperials incoming so you might have to fight-off boarders to claim this for the Free Galaxy. Good luck Sergeant!”
As last game I’d improvised some rules for leaving troops behind after boarding we decided that in this case the hatches weren’t sealed so only docking would be needed and Brylan wisely elected to have some Galacteer soldiers guard the artefact from the inside forcing anyone else to have to board and overpower the guards to achieve their ends!
The forces all start rushing towards the artefact
But the attacks are all ineffective!
But the Imperial commander swiftly regrets his act of sparing the Comet as the Galacteers show themselves to be warriors without honour as they turn on the Imperial Rockets!
While an Alpha-z saucer tries to board the Artefact. We are using the boarding rules now instead of docking because with Galacteers on board there’s opposition and locked hatches to get through.
Down to just two Scorpions! The aim of driving these interlopers out of space declared part of the Empire is going to be difficult!
Round and round the artefact the rockets whirl, as the saucers move from hatch to hatch launching attempts to board while the Galacteers for now seem more intent on the Empire than the Zenithians!
Then one of the few turns I get initiative over the Zenithians they of course run away. Though the Comets take a try on them.
The Alphas go after my Scorpions
Surrounded by faster more agile enemies at nearly point-blank range I opt to hold position in order to get a delayed action token for next turn. Surprisingly the Zenithians do likewise leaving the Galacteers to blast away..
Down to one last rocket! The single lone pilot is left in sole command of himself for the first time since birth. He could just aim for the nearest border to the Empire and flee… but while his family mourned him as if he were already dead the day he became a Scorpion pilot the Empire had given him monthly reports and photos of how his family were doing. Keeping his attachment to them strong even as they went on with life without him. If he fled and it was found out he knew his whole family would suffer, but if he stayed loyal and died a hero they would prosper and be happy. And if by some miracle he lived then one day he could return to them, the rebirth as if from the dead, that which few Scorpion pilots achieved but all strove for. Thus the Empire guarantees the loyalties of those left in charge of such a valuable and powerful asset. The pilot readied a turn around the Artefact to get those Galacteers.. but before he had time to start his manoeuvre the Zenithian Alpha-Z saucers blurred into motion!
The Alpha-z’s hit the Galacteer Comet from behind in their sudden swift attack! Pouring distinctive green rays into the small rocket! (we had a discussion about how cool it would be to have blast counters colour-coded for fleets and green seemed the most appropriate for the saucers, so perhaps one day…)
Side by side the bitter rivals fly to defeat the inter-dimensional invaders! A brief salute from enemy to enemy through rocket windows as they acknowledge each other is at least more similar to themselves than the clones they go to kill. They fire their rays at the nearest Alpha-Z…
We try to finish the vile invader off
The saucer flies to the nearest hatch and both saucers keep trying to get a successful boarding action underway and for two more turns the combined attacks of Galacteers and the Empire are unsuccessful (and the pics are blurry)
One of each faction left now! The last Aplpha-Z, bent on cold rational vengeance, uses a delayed action to swing right around the artefact and attack the comet!
But this means that the Scorpion still gets to move. And it strikes at the Alpha-z!
But… my luck wasn’t up to the task and it survived. Again the Saucer makes an attempt to board the Artefact. My Scorpion lines up a direct attack with the Comet falling in right behind..
It’s now between the Galacteers and Zenithians now, as Taphyl again is thwarted by the difficulty of using such a small rocket in a boarding action while Brylan’s Galacteer strikes again.
The Imperial craft dealt with and the Zenithian attack prevented the Galacteers are in control of the artefact. Back on Dormientes Dr Zahn covers up any evidence of what he has done to change the function of the device back to it’s original settings to hinder the chances any but the most brilliant Imperial Scientists will figure out how to use it as a weapon and makes ready to try and make his escape.
On the Artifact the Squad take the brief respite from fear of boarding to gather as much intelligence as they can to bring back to Dr Zahn and Ace. But the Comet pilot when he boards starts going about a secret mission of his own, given to him and a few select Galacteers without the knowledge of Dr Zahn and Ace McGuire.. a mission to take this territory from the Empire at any cost….