I started thinking about all the different impossible missions in X2 (see viewtopic.php?f=2&t=421904)
I thought one of the missions I had tagged as impossible might actually be possible, but it has worked out much better than I was expecting.
The impossible mission was "Take over an unknown enemy sector". Although you can't really take it over, because the Khaak re-spawn and won't go away, you don't actually have to fight them. You just need to pacify them a little.
It turns out that the Khaak are actually not quite as agressive as the plot initially leads you to believe. And that's probably in keeping with the story:
That led the Khaak to attack all commonwealth races (not realising that it was only the Paranids that invaded their space)
Plesase bear in mind that this is advanced gameplay and it will take many hours to complete. You'll also need a lot of money, a TL or two, and, a handful
of destroyers (ideally Ks, but fast destroyers, like the Boron Ray, will probably work too).
You'll also have to re-load frequently too, as the losses while you are building the factories can be quite severe. My approach to re-loading is that I do it for practical reasons. If I lose small ships, I don't re-load, but it's too much work to replace bigger ships and stations, so if I lose those, I do. You'll also need to keep an eagle-eye on the event log while you are building your factories and deploying the freighters to service them. It isn't always obvious when the Khaak ships are hostile, and sometimes you'll only find out later that you lost a station, freighter or destroyer.
The goal is to mine all the asteroids and create a weapons production facility in the sector (for much profits later). You can pick which sector you want and build whichever weapons you want. However, I went for the first sector in the list (A5:E2:I9) and I've been building Mass Driver Forges. That sector has a good mix of high quality ore and silicon asteroids. There seems to be enough silicon for maybe 11-12 power plants and perhaps 15-20 mass driver forges. In my game, I've built 8 SPPs and 10 MD forges so far.
Step 1: Collect what you need to get started
Make sure your TL is fully shielded and doesn't own any fighters (you don't want them to launch if the TL is attacked) Load it up with freighters, a couple of starter stations (e.g. ore and silicon mines) and about 2000 E-Cells (the Mammoth has room for a couple of stations and 12 freighters, so it is ideal for the job). For the freighters, Demeters probably work best as they are fast and have 3x25MW shields (if not Demeters, Caimans or Mercurys are ok as well. Dolphins and Vultures are not really suitable, they are too slow). Make sure that you don't buy fight software, and you won't need advanced trade software or CLS either (more about that later). You will need the max shields though. If you have another TL, make sure it is also fully shielded and load it up with more E-cells.
Step 2: Clear the center of the sector
Jump yourself into the Khaak sector (in one of your destroyers) and clear the centre of the map of all Khaak. The khaak ships in the outer
reaches shouldn't bother you, and your destroyer should easily be able to handle the fighters that randomly spawn around you.
Step 3: Start building
Jump your TLs in and put down the two starter stations (on the asteroids closest to the center). Transfer e-cells to the freighters and dock them to one or both of the stations. Send the TLs back to commonwealth space and buy another two stations (either a crystal fab and SPP, or bio and food factories). You'll need more freighters too, so get some more if you haven't already. L class freighters can be quite hard to find, so it will be best if you buy about 50 when they become available.
Step 4: Start making stuff
Transfer some of the e-cells to the stations, so that they start mining. Normally you'd use advanced trade or CLS freighters to supply all of the stations, but the pilots won't fly in Khaak space. As it turns out, it doesn't matter because the regular trade software does the job well enough. Assign one freighter to each station and set it to sell. I recommmend that you set the station prices to minimum to reduce the amount of money transfered. When you do that, it looks like the only stations that won't be profitable will be the power plants. Add some money to each station (enough so that they can buy resources to get started). When you get to building the SPPs, and weapon forges, put a lot more money in those. You may have to keep an eye on the money situation because the regular trade software isn't going to tell you if there isn't enough money. You might be able to adjust the prices later, so that only the trading station and equipment dock will need to be topped up with money (see step 6 below).
Step 5: Make the trading work
Buy and build the rest of the starter stations (you'll need bio x2, food x2, crystal, SPP, and your first weapon forge). Remember to set the prices to minumum, and assign one freighter to each station and tell it to sell. This should get the trading working. Later, you can add additional freighters to the SPPs. If the SPP seems to be keeping a high stock of E-cells, add another freighter. I've found that 3 freighters each is working well for most of the SPPs I've built so far.
Step 6: Collect the weapons and excess ore.
Normally, you'd get a freighter pilot (the max level CLS pilot) to transfer the weapons from the forges to a TL, but that won't work here. It is not the end of the world, but you'll have to transfer the goods manually. It's a bit of micro-management but there's no way around it. Get your TL to buy and build an equipment dock and a trading station. Load them up with lots of money. Once you've made one weapon, and have got some ore, you can manually tranfer the weapon to the equipment dock and the ore to the trading station. This will make the trading station and equipment dock stock them, thereby allowing the freighers to automatically sell to them. Dock a few freighters to these stations too ; from time to time, you'll have to transfer the weapons and ore to the freighters. Once a freighter is full, you can then have it dock to a TL. Then jump the TL back to commonwealth space, so that you can sell the weapons and ore.
Step 7: Expanding the factory network
This is the last step, and the most tricky part. Build one more mine at a time. In each case, watch carefully what the Khaak ships do. Not all the "enemy ships" are hostile. Not all "enemy ships" that re-spawn are hostile either. For the carriers and destroyers, if they move to attack your new station, destroy them (you can either do this OOS, or you can do it yourself). If any of the enemy fighter ships (M3, M4 or M5) attack your new station, you can just ignore them (or destroy them if you want). If any of the enemy ships go after one of your freighters, you have three choices:
1. Destroy them.
2. If you can act fast enough, order the freighter to dock at a nearby station. Once it docks, rename it to something like "Khaak bait" and leave it there. Then assign another freighter to replace it. You can then forget about the enemy ship as it won't choose another target. If you are not quick enough (you see the ship destroyed message in the event log), reload to an earlier save and try again, or accept the loss of the ship if you prefer.
3. For scouts and interceptors, you can just ignore their attacks. It's probably best to destroy the ones that are attacking stations though.
Eventually, you'll have 5 "enemy capital ships" that won't attack OOS and no attacking M3 fighters either.
Once you've added all the mines, you can start adding more stations to make use of all the minerals you are now collectiong. You'll need another bio, food and crystal fab for each SPP that you add, and another bio and food factory for each new weapons forge.
Unfortunately, in X2 in order to build new stations, you must be in the sector. This is problematic because as soon as you jump in, the turrets on all enemy ships will attack (whether the ship itself is hostile or not). Further, the enemy capital ships will move about (which will be a problem if they get too close to anything). The solution is to add the new stations as fast as you can. Load up a TL with a couple of stations, jump it in, and move it to where you want the stations to go.
When everything is ready, jump yourself in and out as fast as you can. As soon as you arrive in the sector, hit Shift+J and quickly scroll down to the second enemy sector and hit enter. Then get the TL to drop the two stations as quick as you can. There's no time to worry about setting the exact position of the stations, so make sure you've put the TL roughly where you want the new stations to go. As soon as your ship jumps out, check your log. If you lose a ship or two, or even lose a station, you can reload (or accept the loss). Bear in mind that if you lose one of the mines, the asteroid does not re-spawn. Consequently, that resource will be lost forever.
Below are two screen shots of how far I've got in my game. You can see that I've got quite a few stations now, but I think it will still take another few hours of building until all the resources are fully utilised. Do you see the Khaak destroyer in the far south-west of the sector? That guy was amazing. Like all the other Khaak ships, it spawned in the north-east. I had one of my destroyers follow it (which is a good idea when the Khaak ships spawn, because then you can kill them fast if they turn out to be hostile) and I kept thinking "he's going to attack that station, no wait, that freighter. Oh, hang on, no, he's going for that other station" but in the end he flew all the way through my network of stations. Then, he just stopped, when he got to the south-west corner. He's been happily sitting there doing absolutely nothing ever since!
(Oversize images replaced by links. See forum rule #8. - Nanook)