Part 6: Turn 42TURN 42
Our small invasion force of 3 Troop Transports has arrived on Yridia to discover an unexpected complication: a Yridian Scout ship. The Scout has virtually no weapons, but our Troop Transports have literally no weapons, so we can't drive it away. We open hailing frequencies, and the Yridians, oblivious to our intentions, accept. This prevents combat, so our ships will remain in their system.
...and then the Yridians receive our declaration of war.
As do the Sheliak. It's a red-letter day for Romulan diplomacy.
Since our invasion fleet is still in the Yridian system, we can give invasion orders. Unfortunately, if the Yridian Scout remains in system next turn, we'll have to avoid combat again somehow. They're unlikely to fall for the same trick twice.
We deploy our original Destroyer to head up to Yridia for the purpose of clearing out their Scout. However, it will take three turns to arrive.
On the opposite end of our empire, we have a fleet of 2 Troop Transports a Destroyer to launch the invasion against the Sheliak. The southwestern fleet seems to be better organized, as they used the Destroyer to eliminate the Sheliak ship in a previous turn. There should be no resistance.
TURN 43. The Yridian Scout wisely stayed put. We try our luck with the hailing frequencies again, but it does not work. The Troop Transports are forced to retreat. Now we realize just how thinly we are spread: Our war is being held up by a simple Minor Race Scout ship.
In another display of logistical disorganization, one of our Colony Ships was ordered to fly through the Acamarian system, near the Bandi and Andorians. The simple Acamarian Raider forces the Colony Ship to retreat.
We make first contact with the Malcorians, who are your prototypical "forehead" alien. Entirely forgettable.
Our invasion of the Shelia system is entirely successful, and takes place with a bare minimum of collateral damage.
The Event Report indicates that the Sheliak are starving. Time for their new Romulan overlords to come to the rescue.
Well, there's your problem. The Shelia have all of their people working in power plants and nobody working the farms. We'll redistribute the workload to avoid starvation. Otherwise, their system has a lot of potential, especially after we've terraformed it. But can we make the Sheliak work? Their morale is "defiant", which is one level away from "rebellious"--at which point revolution can take place. We'll use the tribunal procedure to smooth things over.
Having aborted our invasion and learned of our plans, the Yridian diplomat is heartbroken. He remains realistic. But we have no intention of destroying their world, only putting it to better use.
TURN 44. A Klingon Scout annoyingly flies near our Deneb Outpost, which is hosting a few of our non-combatant ships. It buzzes off.
Incredibly, the Romulan Imperial Senate has been destroyed by terrorists! It was un-powered at the time, but it highlights our continued need for better internal security. The saboteurs could have been Ferengi, but were probably Klingons.
We distribute even more resources to intelligence, and build some new Phoenix Facilities. Given 30 energy, these will provide an extra intelligence boost without diverting our population from industry.
We receive a diplomatic message from the Sheliak, which arrives after the war is over. It's true that they have not yet begun to fight, but that will remain the case. Forever.
The Sheliak system is at our southwestern border, so we'll definitely want to build more defenses. A Colony Ship has already arrived to improve the system, and a victory Outpost will be built on site. Our southwestern fleet is on standby, including two Destroyers and a Battle Cruiser.
TURN 45. At the southwestern edge of explored space, our Scout discovers a charming, unclaimed system called Draylon. It already has a capacity of 160 without having been terraformed, thanks to two "M" class planets. Once the new Outpost on Shelia is built, our range will extend and allow us to continue creeping west to claim such systems. Where IS everybody?
Our Destroyer finally arrives on Yridia; the Yridian Scout apparently slipped away before it arrived. Orders are given once again to launch the invasion.
We still have only around 10,000 credits in the empire, but we're ready to begin bribing another race. We choose the Takarans. Their system is too well-defended for an invasion at this time, and they're located in the southwest, near the Shelia. We could use some more resources in that area.
TURN 46. With the invasion about to begin, the Yridian Scout returns for one last-ditch effort to preserve its race's freedom. The Yridian Scout is a rare example of a Minor Race ship that can cloak, so it gets a free turn. It decloaks and fires past our Destroyer, right at our Troop Transport ships. The Scout hopes against hope that it can kill the Romulan invaders before they touch ground.
Despite its best efforts, the Yridian Scout is unable to kill any of our Troop Transports. Our Destroyer decloaks and vaporizes the Yridian Scout.
With nothing in orbit to stop us, we send our Troops down to Yridia and swiftly conquer it, with minimal collateral damage. By imperial order, the brave gesture of the Yridian Scout will not be included in any history books. Future generations will know only Romulan rule.
The Yridian system is similar to the others we've conquered recently.
As with our other conquests, Yridia will be the site of a Romulan Outpost to further extend our reach and strengthen the front against any would-be liberators.
TURN 47. The last message written by a free Yridian, moments before Romulan marines bust into his office, has arrived. The Yridian's wish will be granted, as there will be peace--under different terms than he had hoped.
The Edo are very grateful for all of the gifts we have been sending them. They worship us, and agree to "join" us... If you know what I mean... And I think that you do.
The dream has at last been realized. With the incorporation of the Yridians and the Edo, the Romulan empire now extends all the way from the northern border of the galaxy to the southern border, where it has spread west through astonishingly empty space. Considering the vastness of our space, and how little combat has been needed to acquire it, it is a remarkable achievement.
But now the question must be asked: How much further can we go? Our Scout has located the first evidence of the Ferengi empire (in yellow shaded squares). And across the long border with the Klingons, there are multiple sightings of Klingon vessels. Perhaps they have finally realized what would happen if our expansion continued.
There is little room left for peaceful expansion. Everyone in the empire is talking about war.