Mercenaries are the other computer-controlled group of fighters. Whenever you purchase trade goods from a un-owned port, money is given “to the government” to create a batch of 10 mercenary fighter groups the next day. These mercenaries will fight Xannor and help keep their numbers down, and can be bribed to join you if you run into them. The bribe amount they will accept is a mere 2.5 credits per fighter, significantly cheaper than purchasing fighters from Earth.
Mercenaries are also generated when a group of defensive fighters is 50 or less in a sector, (any group of under 100 fighters is possible to defect) or if a player is killed and all of their defensive fighters become mercenaries.
On the downside, mercenaries will locate planets unguarded by defensive fighters and will bypass defensive ground forces and steal all the fighters from your planets. If you do have defensive fighters in the sector, they will join your defensive forces but will announce to all other players on the current day’s newspaper where your defensive fighters are. If you are the only active player in the game simply place a small (100 or more) number of defensive fighters over every planet you own. These fighters must be replaced as Xannor destory them day after day to avoid mercenary theft.
There is no real relationship between the planet “Mercenary Base” and the mercenaries. The planet only exists for mercenaries to run into and remove fighters from.
To mislead other players and to “absorb” mercenaries for free, place the same number of defensive fighters in every single dead end sector you run across. If you value the secrecy of your planets more than need the fighters, do not place any defensive fighters over your planet and simply chase the mercenaries down later. If you find a planet not covered by defensive fighters and want to cause trouble, leave a small number of fighters in a sector directly adjacent to the planet and the next day they would desert and become mercenaries, possibly stealing fighters from your opponent’s planet and occuping it for a short time.
If you find an absolutely huge group of mercenaries you do not have the credits to bribe, you can surround them with defensive fighters and wait until they’ve moved into one of the groups the following day to make them join you for free. It is best to do this at the end of the day so Xannor missile attacks do not accidentally wipe out one of your fighter groups. To do this, first exclude the sector that the mercenaries are in with your computer and then traveled to every connected sector and drop 100 or more fighters. To use the example sector shown above, if the mercenaries are in sector 2390, first exclude that sector from your navigation (c;7;1;2390) and then travel to each of the three connected sectors (c;3;2394;y;f;100;c;3;2383;y;f;100;c;3;2392;y;f;100)
If the mercenaries remove fighters from a planet, they will typically stay in that sector for a day or more. Mercenaries covering the planet may not be bribed:
If you have previously killed mercenaries in your current game, either by missiles or fighters, you may run into the following situation.
If you plan on bribing a group of mercenaries, simply exit the game and rejoin.