Part 4: Turn 25TURN 25
This is our first look at the Vulcan system, which is now ours. As with the Nausicaans, the Vulcans were lax about terraforming their planets, so there is plenty of room for improvement. The Vulcans have turned over the keys to their Vulcan ship, but it's basically just a souvenir. They can no longer build those.
Even so, the Vulcan infrastructure is much more developed. They already have three level 5 assembly yards and seven level 6 farms. Vulcan is much more advanced than our other colonies, and will probably be the first to join Romulus, El Adrel, and Rhymus Major in producing ships. But that is still in the future.
TURN 26. We make first contact with the Bandi. Bunch of hippies. Inconveniently, their system is named "Deneb" rather than "Bandi." So we have to remember something.
After discovering the Bandi, our Scout in the far north has also detected an unknown ship, which our glitch determines to belong to the Yridians. That Yridian system is on the northern border of the galaxy. Once we've bribed or conquered them, we will have achieved our manifest destiny of an empire that stretches all the way from north to south. However, it is currently out of range even for our Scout.
The Starbase on Volon (near the Klingon border) is nearing completion, so one of the Troop Transports is reassigned to move to Torman. Torman is right at the edge of our medium-range ships' range, so an Outpost must be built there to bring the Andorians, Bandi, and Yridians within our grasp.
TURN 27. We have finally achieved a breakthrough in energy technology. Romulan scientists are relieved that they will never have to study energy again. The academy with a special bonus for energy research on Romulus will have its plug pulled.
To invent the Battle Cruiser II, we need only advance in computers and weapons now. When that is done, the Battle Cruiser II will be the mainstay of our combat fleet forever. (Once we build a combat fleet, that is.) It is an extremely useful ship and can move two squares in one turn.
It turns out one of the Minor Races we've met actually likes us! Without much prompting, the Andorians have offered us a friendship treaty. We're now inclined to bribe the Andorians rather than conquer them.
Our Scout detects a strange alien entity hovering over an unscouted system in the far north. It is called the Edo Guardian. Though it cannot move, it is unfathomably powerful. It has over 6,000 shield hit points. By comparison, the Battle Cruiser IIs I was just bragging about have less than 500 shields.
Upon giving orders to colonize the Forlat system, we notice that there is an unscouted system to the southeast that is just out of medium ship range. To colonize it, we would need to drag a Troop Transport all the way down there and build an Outpost just for that purpose. We're occupied elsewhere at the moment, and it's probably just another middling system with a capacity of 150. No other empire will be able to reach it, so there's no point in bothering to even check it out.
TURN 28. Our intrepid Scout in the north has detected a an Armed Colony Ship operating in Klingon space. Even the Klingon non-combatant ships have weapons, but they are essentially useless. Are the Klingons terraforming one of their own planets, or do they have their eyes on unclaimed systems like Sigma Iotia and Arvada?
TURN 30. Volon, our first colony, now has the capacity to support a dilithium refinery, which we will buy rather than build. This, along with the dilithium refineries on Vulcan and Romulus, will bring us to three. One for each of our three ship-producing systems. Thus...
TURN 31. ...We can finally de-power that energy-hogging singularity plant on Romulus. More Romulans can now work on more useful tasks. An end of an era of sorts, as we're starting to rely a little on colonies rather than entirely on Romulus-El Adrel-Rhymus Major.
TURN 32. The Romulan security service is shocked to learn that unknown foreign saboteurs have struck the heart of our empire, in Romulus itself. It was only a worthless bunker system that got destroyed, but this is certainly an eye-opener. Since we've only made first contact with the Klingon empire, it was their agents who did this.
To deal with the previously unknown threat of foreign agents, we activate the Tal'Shiar headquarters on Romulus. This structure will give us a 25% boost to intelligence, including internal security. We will also reassign some of the population from working in laboratories to working in security centers.
We now have an intel strength of 505, not including the Tal'Shiar bonus. The orange estimates of Klingon strength are out-of-date, but the reports show that the Klingons still have no Minor Races and still have only six systems, one of which produces dilithium. We have grown to thirteen systems, five of which are at least theoretically capable of producing dilithium. The Klingons are falling behind.
Multiple Colony Ships are at work in the southwest, where there are still no signs of enemy empires. We're now working on two clearly-defined fronts: the southwest, and the northeast.
The southwestern front needs some love. Our only Scout ship is operating in the northeast, so we'll build another one in Romulus and send it to the southwest.
This is the "redeploy ships" screen, which simply allows you to group ships together and move them as a unit. Here, we are creating an invasion fleet of three Troop Transports. We've built so many Troop Transports that they're being named after letters of the alphabet.
Our small invasion fleet has been given its destination: Deneb, the home system of the Bandi. Thanks to the Outpost on Torman, it is within range. Once we've conquered the Bandi, we'll build another stepping-stone Outpost to continue moving to the north.
TURN 33. Our portion of the galaxy is swimming in Colony Ships and Troop Transports. It is time to begin creating a real fleet. Rhymus Major will create some Destroyer IIs, a fairly weak ship but useful in large numbers.
TURN 34. Romulus, with its unmatched production capacity, will build Battle Cruisers. These will create the core of the fleet and the striking power of the Romulan empire.
Torman, which has already been serving as the location for a crucial Outpost, will now be colonized. It is one of three different systems being colonized this turn! When the Klingons learn of the size of our empire, it will undoubtedly provoke them. Peace will be impossible.
TURN 35. Our invasion force on Deneb is ready to attack. Unfortunately my space lawyers tell me we must follow intergalactic law, which states that you can do whatever you want, but you must declare war first.
You should have been more cooperative. Then you would have gotten money like the Andorians, rather than Romulan boots on your planet.
TURN 36. Is there any doubt that we have the best icon?
We make first contact with the Yridians, who live on the northeastern border of the galaxy. There's no question we will have their system. But their actions in the coming days will determine whether they're slated for free money or invasion.
News of all our new colonies has reached the Klingons, who are not pleased. They make a thinly-veiled threat.
Intelligence reports show the Klingon spies are still being a nuisance, so we increase our intel strength further. Also, we've reallocated some of our intelligence work from internal security over to military sabotage of the Klingons. If they realize we're sending spies to sabotage them, maybe they will reallocate some of their saboteurs to internal security to protect themselves. It's kind of a weird push-and-pull.
Since war has been declared against the Bandi, our Troop Transports are ordered to attack the system. With no orbital batteries, all of the action will take place on the ground so it's possible to take the system with only the Transports. The Bandi only have a population of 32 units. The Romulan army is confident it will take the system with little difficulty. If they are correct, this will be the first time a system has joined our empire by force.
After an extraordinary period of peaceful expansion, the empire begins to move over to a war footing. The Klingons likely realize they must stop us somehow or we will grow too powerful. Until we build up our fleet, we will be very vulnerable in the systems that lack Starbases.
There is still no sign whatsoever of the Federation, Ferengi or Cardassians. Hopefully they are attacking each other rather than peacefully building huge empires of their own...