Part 49: An Uneasy RecoveryMOAR explosions then!
An Uneasy Recovery
Kahless paced irritatedly in the Imperial Throne Room, which is more control than his War Council had showed. They wanted to strike at the Trilarians immediately, an understandable impulse - nothing grates a proud Klingon warrior like a period of extended peace. After a stern lecture on the failures that had led to the losses of the Alkari conflict and the need for better preparation and training, Kahless informed them that the next conflict needed a new approach. The Empire required Battleship-class ships that could go toe-to-toe with their enemies. He would be reviewing the results of simulations personally on a weekly basis while the new designs were perfected and built, and then the training reports afterwards. Anyone who did not meet their new duties with surpassing excellence should consider themselves fortunate to be manning a cargo freighter shuttling dilithium back and forth from the mines.
It was a well-considered challenge; the mind of his commanders needed something to be occupied with and the need for larger combat ships was very real. At the same time, it was also a naked diversion. They were in no position to fight anyone anytime soon. The outlook in terms of improving system defenses was bleak; nothing the researchers came up with seemed sufficient. The Imperial Fleet would need to handle both attack and defense.
A change of approach was decided upon in the direction of research. The population had been seriously reduced, and investment in Microbiotics to boost growth more quickly was deemed a worthwhile investment. The next task was resuming blockade activities. Two of the other races didn't even have the basic sense to aggressively combat such efforts. The fleet still retained five frigates, and only eight total were needed for this duty, so not much was required.
45M citizens. It had been well into the 70s - about 40% had been lost. The conquered homeworlds were the only systems close to productivity. Cryslon I was the center of industry and would take over colonizing duties - unfortunately, no other planet was suitable for industrial work right now but Scaliger II would have to do in getting the blockade ships going. Sol I ensured there was enough food for everyone. Several Alkari and Silicoids still needed to be assimilated. Incubator worlds in Scaliger and Sol weren't yet ready for that duty, many more researchers were needed, Weg I needed citizens to get built up ... there was so much to be done.
Establishing a presence on as many planets as possible was vital though. If we didn't do it, others would eventually. Whatever territory could be acquired without war must be.
Amusingly the fleet was still nearly competitive. Overall though the situation was not so kind. In terms of combat abilities we still weren't impressed when diving into the details - everybody now had Class III Shields and capacitors, some neutron blasters were making an appearance and even the odd ion pulse cannon ... but overall if we could get some larger ships out there, the natural advantage that Klingon warriors enjoy by virtue of superior genetics and will should prove more than equal to any of their designs. Whether that's still true by the time we get to that point ... that's much less certain. And the latest estimate on microbiotics was 27 turns. This was clearly unacceptable.
SD 3508.4 - In the long-term this was the linchpin, along with simply raw aggregate effort from multiple other worlds, for keeping pace in the tech race. What other races did through increased efficiency, the Klingons would attempt to match through sheer numbers and through the many discoveries to be had here on Altair. It was a clear choice for the first new colony ship.
SD 3508.6 - The Sakkra and Darloks have made peace; for now there is no war in the galaxy. The Antaran attack appeared to take out a few citizens and presumably some buildings on the Sakkra homeworld, but with a maximum of 26M they had plenty of buffer to absorb a couple of destroyers. Rebuilding commences slowly, and all the blockades save one - we were kicked out of Firma temporarily - are in place. So the first phase is complete.
The Trilarians have declared war on the Sakkra. This is probably good news for us, as their trio of Battleships moved from Bier to Sakkra. So long as nobody decisively wins, then it could be trouble.
Rebuilding the last planet destroyed during the Alkari War. And just like that, peace reigns again a single cycle after war broke out. Meanwhile Sol II reports it is ready for breeding at 184k Silicoids per turn, and a Cloning Center comes online in Scaliger. Bits of vital progress in the growth effort.
More troubling, a Trilarian cruiser is en route to Sol ... if this is an end to the peace, it is very troubling.
I didn't want to start building these yet, but it seems we have little choice. The Cho'nek deploys the capacitors for the first time and brings plenty of fusion firepower to bear. It'll take a while before we can finish any though ... longer than we are likely to have.
I can only hope this lasts no longer than the Sakkra conflict did.
Battle of Sol Prime (0:39)
That ... did not go well.
Two more Trilarian battleships are en route. We have no chance of defending Sol as things are. As terrible a thing as it is to say, we may need to depend on ... the diplomats.
The planet was destroyed the next time around, and with it all vestiges of humanity. Sol II was next, and then Scaliger. We simply didn't have enough firepower to stand against three battleships and a cruiser. I tried to intercept with what ships we had, but they slipped past us and unlike the other races can move as fast as we can. And smashed Cryslon III.
Our one remaining industrial center eliminated, it was now hopeless. Kahless knew he had acted too late. If the fleet had been upgraded to battleships prior to attacking the Alkari, the galaxy likely would have been his as was the intended destiny of the Klingon people. Instead, he could only watch hopelessly as the Trilarian ships obliterated what was left of his people.
By the time Aqualius was willing to negotiate peace, there was almost nothing left of the once-glorious Klingon empire. Stripped to three relatively undeveloped systems, the 'treaty' agreed to effectively made our proud warrior race a client state of the vile fish-folk. And worst of all was the knowledge that it could all have been avoided. It would have helped if I'd inherited the AI's magic 'sue immediately for peace' skill ... instead of 'no diplomatic negotiations while we are at war' or 'unless you're here to surrender, go away' or similar messages. But more importantly, I needed to make sure I could match their fleets so that I could at least smash their planets as quickly as they smashed mine. By the time I realized that danger fully, it was too late. This was a completely winnable game I think.
Ahh well. Consider it one to learn from I guess. Biggest major mulfunction in my brain was probably getting confused on the requirements to build Battleships - just need to have a starbase up but I was thinking for a while that I needed a battlestation for some reason even though that's not a requirement.