Gameplay[ edit ] Though it uses the same engine as its predecessor, several changes were made such as: the ability to toggle time compression between normal speed and eight times faster; ship upgrades improving armor and adding new abilities , Command Ships and Carriers are given the ability to add external modules for ship research and fleet support; fuel was completely eliminated from the game and finally the sensor display could be used to issue attack orders to units. The game also introduced new 3D features such as moving parts and transforming ships. In general, the main difference is the scale of fleets. After destroying the Taiidan Emperor and reclaiming their ancient homeworld of Hiigara, the Kushan re-establish their clans, or "kiith", in a great council, though some clans have precedence over others.
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Hearing the radio call, the Kuun-Lan returns to Hiigara to assist in the defence of their homeworld. It helps the Nabaal by destroying some enemy fighters attacking the friendly Ion Cannon Frigates , before dealing with enemy Resource Collectors.
After destroying the resourcing operation, the Proximity Sensor grid comes under attack from some Interceptors and Multi-Gun Corvettes. Instead of any thanks from Kiithid, the Somtaaw receive orders to return to the job of helping retrieve wrecks and collect the dead from the battlefield. The task leads the Kuun-Lan to its next assignment at the edges of Hiigaran space to rescue the stranded Bushan-Re , a Destroyer in the service of Kiith Manaan and whose hyperdrive is off-line.
Even after the Turanic Raiders are initially defeated, they reveal a new and rumored "mimicking" technology, which is shortly thereafter copied by the Somtaaw. The Kuun-Lan bravely continues to defend the Bushan-Re and finally finish the repairs to the hyperdrive. Unable to assist in the battle, the vulnerable destroyer then departs, wishing luck to the Somtaaw. An Ancient Artifact Edit Continuing to defend against the attacking forces, the Kuun-Lan prepares to leave when Fleet Intelligence detects a strange artifact emitting a weak beacon.
Fleet Intelligence orders the recovery of the artifact before the Turanic Raiders find it. The Somtaaw send a single escorted worker to recover the derelict while fending off Turanic Raider attempt to do the same. The derelict is retrieved and brought back to the Kuun-Lan, which then makes the jump to hyperspace. The Kuun-Lan arrive at a designated rendezvous point to meet with the Clee-San but discover that it has been captured by Turanic Raiders who are intent on stealing valuable Somtaaw technology such as the Acolyte Drive.
Using the captured mimicking technology, the Kuun Lan is able to make it past a large field of mines surrounding the Clee-San and communicate with it. They discover that a Turanic carrier fleet will be arriving soon to take possession the science vessel and its technology. If the Somtaaw are going to rescue the Clee-San they must do so soon. An all out assault by a Somtaaw fleet manages to break the defenses around the Clee-San, allowing the Somtaaw a chance to escort the ship to the Kuun-Lan.
They barely escape in time to avoid a heavily armed Turanic carrier fleet. Jumping out of range of the Turanic fleet the Somtaaw begin to examine the mysterious derelict in earnest which they discover to be encoded in some strange, alien language and that it is covered in some sort of organic matter. Research continues as the Kuun-Lan moves out of range. The hanger and science modules are quickly succumbing to some kind of disease and the scientists struggle to keep it under control.
When they are unable to do so any longer they sacrifice themselves by demanding Fleet Command to cut them from the main hull. Separated from the main vessel, they drift off into space, their inhuman screams haunting the imagination. Shortly after the Kuun-Lan begins to rebuild its lost modules and sends the Clee-San and an escort of ten acolytes to examine the situation.
They are met by the ejected modules who are now covered in the same organic matter that once covered the derelict. Soon afterwards, the module broadcasts a chilling greeting: "We live Then the impossible happens: the acolytes fly against the Kuun-Lan. Panicking, the Somtaaw attempt to hold off the attackers while scrambling for whatever little information they have on the derelict they took aboard.
Though Fleet Command tries to warn them off the Turanics believe it a ploy to frighten them away and head for the succumbed ships anyway. The Somtaaw continue to fight off the infected attackers, each vessel more and more powerful as their enemy absorbs more and more technology. Meanwhile, the Turanic fleet arrives at the Clee-San and is delighted to find it and the Kuun-Lan research module, without giving a thought to why it is separated from the Somtaaw command vessel.
In seconds they themselves are infected by the strange disease and too turn towards the Kuun-Lan. Within minutes they are upon the Somtaaw who realized they have no more time to spare.
With just enough information based on the behavior of the infected ships to make a basic plan of action they make an emergency jump and escape from the battlefield. A Search for Help Edit In hyperspace the Somtaaw dubb the infection The Beast and determine that it is some kind of biomechanical being that binds to vessels and turns organic matter into living circuitry. Unable to discern more the Somtaaw head towards an area where a Bentusi Exchange was recently spotted, hoping to find more information from the ancient race.
To their dismay they find the Bentusi instead under attack by the very enemy they were hoping to seek help against and watch as Beast ships surround the tradeship, damaging it greatly. The Kuun-Lan acts to defend the Bentusi and shortly after another fleet arrives, hearing a Bentusi distress call. This time it is a Manaani fleet, led by the Caal-Shto.
The Somtaaw, realizing the Manaani know nothing of this Beast seek now to protect the Manaani from themselves and watch as the Bentusi tradeship succumbs to attack and destroys itself rather than be infected. Destroying the remaining Beast fleet the Somtaaw partially repair the Caal-Shto, the only remaining ship in the Manaani fleet and begin to voyage on standard drives. Hoping to escape to through the Kadiir Nebula they come upon a secret Imperialist station guarded by a large task force.
Attempting to sneak by the station the Somtaaw use recons to navigate a safe path but are eventually discovered by the Imperialists who attempt to stop the Somtaaw and Caal-Shto from escaping into a small wormhole or slipgate. Evacuating the Caal-Shto, whose crew vows to notify the Daiamid of the Beast, the Kuun-Lan holds off the Imperialists long enough to escape.
It is then that they come across a convoy of Republican refugees fleeing from a supernova who are under attack by a cruise missile equipped with a bioweapon that is immediately recognized by the Somtaaw as the Beast. After shielding the refugees from the attack the Somtaaw learn that the Republicans believe the cruise missiles to be an Imperialist weapon. With this information the Kuun-Lan sets out to investigate these claims by meeting with a Republican spy deep within Imperialist territory.
An Imperialist Weapon Edit When they come to meet the spy however they find him pursued by Imperialists who have discovered his identity. After rescuing him the spy reveals to them that the weapons are believed to have been developed at Gozan IV and that to get there they must recover some Imperialist vessels that will have the required codes to get past the planetary defenses and that two resourcers in the area should do the job.
The spy gives the Somtaaw the coordinates of the Imperialists and the Kuun-Lan begins its pursuit. As soon as the Taiidan spot the Somtaaw however they began to charge their hyperdrive, outnumbered and outgunned by the surprise attack. They are unable to escape however and the Somtaaw capture a vast number of Imperialist ships, jumping away to Gozan IV. Carefully infiltrating the area near Gozan IV the Somtaaw lay outside the range of Taiidan proximity sensors in the area and use the captured resourcers to sneak past the sensors, which recognize the ships as Imperialist vessels.
Heading for the surface the resourcers carry an assault team, which upon landfall storms the Taiidan research facilities. There the Somtaaw manage to recover vital information before they are discovered and attacked by the planetary defenses. This information reveals the Taiidan indeed did attempt to use the Beast as a bioweapon but failed miserably at their attempt though they did come up with a way to contain infections. They send out a worker team to salvage the cannon but find that there is an Imperialist-Turanic force in the region intent on destroying or capturing the Kuun-Lan.
As they race to install the cannon the Somtaaw are aided by the quick arrival of the Caal-Shto who promise aid. But when Turanic and Imperialist vessels attack the Caal-Shto they meet instead an infected vessel who is quickly assisted by a mysterious mothership-class vessel.
In horror the Somtaaw recognize the mothership as their missing modules but with a new hull built around them. Fleet command is put into a state of disbelief when the Beast begins to speak directly to the Kuun-Lan. Realizing their chance as the Imperialist and Turanic forces are decimated the Somtaaw fire their siege cannon, hoping to destroy the Beast. Remarkably the Beast survive the blast without injury and proceed to attack the Kuun-Lan. Realizing they are cornered and outnumbered the Somtaaw escape into hyperspace.
Hoping to notify the Faal-Corum, another of the Somtaaw command ships , about the Beast as the Caal-Shto failed to reach Hiigara the Kuun-Lan heads to a known mining site but find the Faal-Corum under attack.
It is at this time that the scientists aboard the Kuun-Lan finally make a breakthrough in the derelict and discover it was originally part of an ancient million-year old alien vessel known as the Naggarok that was infected during the test of a powerful hyperdrive. The crew who realized they could not stop the Beast instead disabled their vessel to the point of being defenseless and immobilized. Now, Fleet Command hopes to locate the Naggarok to learn more about the Beast and how to defeat it.
When the Kuun-Lan arrives at a Turanic outpost however they are greeted by first silence and then fire. Realizing they have no choice but to fight the Kuun-Lan forces the Turanics to negotiate and strike a deal that allows them the necessary information. Heading off for the believed location of the Naggarok the Kuun-Lan takes the remaining Turanics on board as prisoners and heads off.
As the Somtaaw travel through hyperspace, some of the Turanic prisoners escape and set a bomb off within the Kuun-Lan, heavily damaging it and forcing it out of hyperspace into an ambush. There the Kuun-Lan is met by an Imperialist fleet and is barely able to defend itself, its fighters damaged while in dock and the Kuun-Lan burning across several decks.
Now with enough firepower to turn the tide the Kuun-Lan continues its journey, heading for the estimated location of the Naggarok. A Dark Alliance Edit When they arrive they are surprised to learn the Imperialists have already arrived and are repairing the Naggarok. The Kuun-Lan professes this is mad but are met by scorn and violence. Knowing they still need information on the Beast the Somtaaw send a Mimic into the Naggarok to recover needed information.
Then, when the Naggarok is repaired they manage to escape before the allied fleet of the Beast and Imperialists descends upon them. Knowing they need help they again try to find the Bentusi and enlist their aid. Upon meeting with the Bentusi they discover that their old allies will not answer them. Following the Bentusi they discover an enormous slipgate through which the Bentusi are fleeing to another galaxy.
Immediately the Kuun-Lan attempts to stop them, and begin destroying the nodes circling the slipgate. Realizing they cannot hope to triumph over Bentusi firepower Fleet Command tries to guilt them into helping them. As hundreds die the Bentusi begin to see that they have let their fear drive them and stand down, after a long battle and the destruction of the gate. The Bentusi provide the Somtaaw with necessary upgrades to the ancient siege cannon, allowing it to damage Beast vessels, despite their ability to rapidly "grow" replacement parts.
There they find it and are able to obliterate its escort fleet and pacify it, using a single siege cannon blast at half power. When the Mothership arrives the Somtaaw obliterate it with a crushing blow of the siege cannon and jump to hyperspace, ready to meet up with the allied fleet positioned at the Nomad Moon , where an experimental weapon is being tested by the Taiidan Republic to destroy the Beast and their Imperialist allies.
The Nomad Moon Edit There they find the Taiidan Republican fleet nearly destroyed though it is possible to save the last Republican carrier from destruction , the Beast near victorious, and the weapon station known as the Nomad Moon succumbed to the Beast.
Realizing it will be up to them alone to defeat the Beast the Kuun-Lan and its escorts fight a desperate battle to destroy the Moon but are surprised to learn the mysterious weapon used is a repulsor field which repels all attacks. Only through the use of Leeches do the Somtaaw manage to disable Nomad Moon.
Yet just as victory seems possible an Imperialist fleet arrives, along with a Beast fleet from the other side, a deadly pincer movement that could obliterate the Kuun-Lan. To make matters worse, the Naggarok proves to be a weapon in its own right, despite being what is essentially a research vessel for a long gone race. Armed with an incredibely powerful version of the resourcing tool known as the Phased Disassembler Array the Naggarok is able to disintegrate any vessel it finds.
Now fighting on three fronts and watching as the Naggarok tears through the allied fleet at amazing speeds the battle seems hopeless.
The Somtaaw are able to heroically hold off the Beast assault however, successfully repelling the Beast reinforcements approaching from one side of their fleet and managing to stand their ground as the Imperialists draw closer. Even more importantly, the timely arrival of a Bentusi tradeship brings certain victory when they grant the Kuun-Lan the ability to construct super acolytes. Then, impossibly, the Imperialists turn on their allies after realizing the word of the Beast amounts to nothing as they discover the arrival of the Bentusi, who the Beast claimed were no longer a threat.
Abandoned the Beast fight desperately on, only to be obliterated by the Somtaaw forces at last. Now, with the Naggarok destroyed, the end of the war with the Beast seems near.
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