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Subject: The Invaders Repelled, at Some Cost rss

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David Nichols
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Terre Haute
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This is a session report on the "Quasarship Assault" solitaire scenario described in this game's Intermediate & Advanced rulebook. To enhance the experience for my readers, I have allowed one of the participants in the defense of Earth, Brigadier Hastings Lepley-Ngola, to describe the events of 2083-86 in his own words. Those seeking a bare-bones summary of the game's outcome are directed toward the bottom of this entry.

**

THE INVADERS RETURN
A Memoir by Brig. H.C.D. Lepley-Ngola, OBE (Helix Media, 2091):

..."The internecine conflicts that had preoccupied humanity for the previous half-century were almost completely silenced by the news that, scarcely three generations after their mothership had fled the Solar System, the Invaders were returning - and this time they came prepared for battle. All of us anxiously watched and waited as the two giant enemy ships entered the system at near lightspeed, emitting gravity waves as they braked and shed relativistic mass, just as the alien mothership had done a century earlier.

"As the first of what we would eventually dub 'quasarships' entered Earth orbit in October 2083, the USNA (United States of North America) and the East Asian Co-Prosperity Alliance recalled their corvette space fighters from Mercury and Jupiter, the better to defend Eath and Mars from Alien attack. Perhaps they ought not to have bothered, for the corvette pilots of the revived International Fleet defending Earth soon learned that their lasers and warheads had no effect on the heavily-armored Alien warship! In its first engagement with Earth forces, the quasarship effortlessly destroyed a corvette squadron, then unleashed a torrent of anti-matter bombs on Osaka and the Seoul-Incheon Hyperpolis, killing 120 million people in a few hours. Meanwhile, mere light-minutes away above Mars, the Aliens' other warship destroyed another corvette squadron, and bombed three of the planet's settlements into powder.

"On Earth, virtually every government declared martial law and approved a global Industrial Defense Directive, modeled on a precursor act passed during the 1983-86 invasion, which dedicated their economic resources to repelling the invaders. The yards of SJG Ltd. in Texas and Deutsch-Nakasone GMbH in central Europe turned out four new corvette squadrons in three months, while military researchers dusted off old plans for enhanced warships - subsequently called 'destroyers' - and set to work developing working models.

THE BATTLE FOR THE SOLAR SYSTEM

"During the next few months, the Invaders directed their assault against the lightly-defended Earth colonies scattered throughout the Solar System. One of the enemy Quasarships remained in orbit around Mars for six months, effortlessly destroying another corvette squadron with its particle-beam weapons and forcing the last corvettes defending the planet to flee to Earth. By May 2084 the warship had obliterated the last human settlements on Mars. Its partner in villainy was not idle; it departed for the Asteroid Belt and destroyed Liuchiu Corporation's Second Asteroid Mining Base, then, after a brief pause, attacked Mercury and destroyed both of that world's mining stations.

"Of course, our own defenders were not idle during this time either. Earth's shipyards turned out four squadrons of enhanced warships (destroyers) and second-generation enhanced warships (cruisers), the latter developed with the aid of observational data accumulated by our doomed corvette pilots. Recognizing that the Aliens were targeting industrial bases throughout the Solar System, International Fleet Command dispatched three of our corvette squadrons and two cruiser squadrons to Ceres and the surviving Asteroid Mining Bases, to guard them (however ineffectually) against a seemingly-inevitable attack.

"The summer and fall of 2084 were frustrating seasons for humanity's defenders, as the Quasarship assaulting Mercury effortlessly wiped out the destroyer squadron sent to attack it, completed its annihilation of the mining colonies on that world, and then beat the corvettes to Asteroid Mining Base Number 4 (and obliterated it). Meanwhile, the quasarship which had murdered five million colonists on Mars pulverized Asteroid Mining Base Number 3, then continued outward to Jupiter and wrecked the USNA station on Callisto. With the exception of Luna, the Ceres colony, and the one surviving Asteroid Mining Base, there was scarcely a human being alive off the Earth by the first anniversary of the Second Invasion.

TRAGEDY AND A BREAKTHROUGH

"Unable to make progress with a third-generation warship design, the International Fleet commissioned four more squadrons of cruisers, dispatching them to hunt for survivors on Mars and assist in the defense of Ceres and AMB 1. One cruiser squadron remained to defend Earth, whose inhabitants were beginning to think the Invaders had decided to leave them alone. They were rudely disabused of this notion, however, when in late February 2085 both Quasarships boosted into Earth orbit, destroyed the Lagrange colony and the only warships capable of injuring them (the cruisers), and launched a bombardment three times heavier than that with which they had opened the war. Antimatter bombs destroyed Tokyo and converted large swathes of Germany and the Mississippi Valley to sterile, vitrified deserts. Over 250 million people died in these assaults, despite careful civil-defense planning.

"As so commonly happens in warfare, however, the darkest moment for humanity came just before the dawn. While one of the enemy's quasarships remained in Earth's orbit, destroying another cruiser squadron and pulverizing another human metropolis (Mexico City and environs, at a cost of 75 million lives), the other departed for Mars, for reasons unknown. Perhaps the alien crew wished to gloat over their earlier annihilation of all human settlements on that world. While in Martian orbit, the Quasarship engaged two cruiser squadrons (14-15 May 2085), and while one squadron was destroyed in battle the other managed to engage the enemy warship at close range, gathering telemetric data that would prove invaluable to the boffins of International Fleet Research Agency. Thanks to information gathered by the IFS Adel Verpflichtet, Hansa Teutonica, and Puerto Rico, the IFRA completed work on a breakthrough, third-generation enhanced warship (or battleship), with engines nearly equal to the Invaders' and particle-beam weapons capable of penetrating the enemy's armor. (The brave cruisers aforementioned were subsequently destroyed, alas, in the Second Battle of Deimos, 23 July 2085.)

THE ALIENS DEFEATED

"During the remaining months of 2085, the Quasarship assaulting Earth remained on station, destroying another cruiser squadron and incinerating most of the cities in Britain and the Low Countries. Despite population-dispersion measures, fatalities from these attacks were high - on the order of 120 million. Mercifully, another wave of bombardments in late 2085 failed to hit a single target. Meanwhile, the second quasarship wiped out the remaining cruisers at Mars, then departed for Ceres, destroying another cruiser squadron and that asteroid's mining colony. The battered and exhausted people of Earth placed their shoulders to the wheel and built two massive third-generation enhanced warships (battleships), placing a third on the ways at Woht'see Shipyard in the Pacific Northwest by early 2086.

"The newly launched battleships headed for Mars, as - for reasons only known to its alien crew - did the Quasarship that had previously besieged Earth. There, in December 2085, the warship Ponts de Shangri-La succeeded in destroying one of the Invaders' vessels, in a brief battle that also resulted in the destruction of the Ponts' sister ship Socer Tacitae. Concurrently, the remaining Quasarship flew from Ceres to the last Asteroid Mining Colony and destroyed it - which was a tactical success for the aliens but a strategic mistake, as it terminated the last human colony outside of the Earth-Moon system and therefore the International Fleet to recall all remaining warships to Earth orbit.

"Finally, in April 2086 the last Quasarship returned to Earth, where it destroyed the recalled battleship Ponts de Shangri-La and was in turn obliterated by the particle-beam guns of IFS Pandemic. The people of Earth celebrated their deliverance - and then added up the butcher's bill: over 570 million dead; two battleships and twelve squadrons of lesser warships, collectively representing nearly a year's economic output of the whole human race, destroyed; and every human offworld colony apart from Luna obliterated. If the Invaders could inflict such grave damage with only two warships, what could they do in a more concerted attack? Perhaps the time had come to take the battle to them..."

**

Summary of Scenario:

Total Terran casualties: 3 corvettes, 2 destroyer, 7 cruisers, 2 battleships, and 28 Industrial Units - including all on Mercury, Mars, Callisto, Ceres; all 4 Asteroid Mining Bases, Space Colony, and 13 on Earth.

Result: Terran Marginal Victory (barely)
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eric hill
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Adam
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AaAaAaAaAaAaA! Oh no! You shanked my Jenga ship!
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"We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them!"
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It's great to see a session report for this game! I loved 'Invasion of the Air Eaters' as a kid, and always regretted that I never got the chance to play this sequal.
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David Nichols
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Thank you for your comments, Mssrs. Hill and Spirit. I enjoyed Invasion of the Air-Eaters (which one can apparently now play via VASSAL) myself, but must attest that, even though I've rarely had a chance to play it, Air-Eaters Strike Back is a superior game.
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