Part 14: Turn 123TURN 123
The 4 Battle Cruisers at the Draylon Starbase will go on a quick hunting expedition to see if they can intercept some of the hostile Ferengi and Cardassian ships that have been floating around the southwest. A suitable defense force will be left behind.
In Rubicun, home of the Edo, a Colony Ship will be purchased so I can terraform those two extra planets. I want to start getting the most of all my systems.
Time for a micromanagement run of the empire. In 4X terminology, we've gone from eXplore to eXpand, and now it's time to eXploit. The best indicator of a system's development is the "industry" number. From A-M, only El Adrel is a suitable producer thus far.
Rhymus Major and Romulus are powerhouses, and Tama and Takara aren't bad either. One thing the colonies can starting do well now is producing intelligence with phoenix facilities, which are unmanned and produce +100 intelligence. But they need energy. Many of my colonies are building wind turbines or charge collectors, which are special unmanned structures that produce a set amount of energy. Wind turbines are available on "J" class barren planets, and charge collectors on "P" class polar planets.
Pretty much any colony with a barren or polar planet can thus produce unmanned energy and unmanned intelligence from the phoenix facility. Near the bottom of the list, Vulcan looks like it could become the next ship-producing powerhouse, but it has more potential so I'll upgrade it further.
TURN 124. The Klingons didn't like losing Ktaria very much. We reject their peace treaty, because we have more fun in store for them.
2 Marauders are spotted up at Turkana. We can't be sure, but those may be the same Marauders that aborted our Starbase construction on Draylon awhile ago. I'd love to be able to catch them unescorted with my southwest fleet of 4 Battle Cruiser IIs.
TURN 125. Our conquest of Ktaria spooked the Klingons. They and the Cardassians have taken their treaty status up to the next level. If they sign an affiliation treaty with each other, Cardies could start showing up in the northeast.
We've been robbed again. It's not as bad as the last big heist, but it proves our security is still insufficient. Though "Ferengi wuz here" is spraypainted at the scene, we believe Cardassians from the Obsidian Order were responsible.
We already allocated 100% of our intel power to internal security, so it's time to change things up. We plan to defend ourselves by stripping half of our internal security power and devoting it to military sabotage of the Cardassians. If the Cardassians realize they're on the receiving end, they may reallocate their spies toward internal security. If you have enough of both, offense can be the best defense. We get a 25% bonus to all three types of spying because of our Tal'Shiar headquarters on Romulus. But our raw intel strength is only 1,172 points. You can imagine how helpful all of those phoenix facilities with +100 each will be.
TURN 126. We finished building a Starbase on Ktaria. Now Betazed, the only other Klingon stronghold next to Romulus, is just two sectors away. Betazed may have as many as 7 Orbital Batteries, but it has a much smaller population than Acamar. We're going to put our Strike Cruisers to the test.
TURN 127. Those Sheliak never quit. Hopefully the tribunal will improve their mood, but there's not much else we can do besides get victories for our empire.
We've kept a bunch of Troop Transports near Shelia in case they revolt again. In the meantime, we can use them to fortify Takara. Our Battle Cruisers were unable to catch the Marauders, so they're on guard duty for the moment.
Ktaria has a decent amount of industrial power already, and we notice the Klingons never got the chance to terraform all the planets. We'll send a Colony Ship there as soon as we can. The Ktarians' special structure is a "Game Studio" that offers a whopping 50% bonus to sabotage power empire-wide. That will definitely come in handy.
TURN 128. Battle Cruiser IIs take longer to build than their Mark I version. We'll build a Warbird for fun. Romulan scientists are curious how well they would fare against Orbital Batteries. We've decided to forget about research entirely, since the Warbird II will take too long to discover.
Our invasion force arrives at Betazed with 3 Battle Cruisers, 6 Strike Cruisers, and 12 Troop Transports. We don't order the Battle Cruisers to attack because the last time they bore the brunt of the Orbital Batteries. Since they're not attacking, they can actually remain cloaked during this. The system has 7 Orbital Batteries total, but we doubt the Klingons are powering all of them since that takes a lot of energy. If they're only powering 3-4 Batteries, the Strike Cruisers could overwhelm them.
TURN 129. Before our invasion force can begin the assault, they come under attack by Ferengi, hoping to ride to the Klingons' rescue. Our Strike Cruisers were decloaked for the invasion. But the Ferengi would not have been able to detect our 3 Battle Cruiser IIs.
It looks like the Ferengi came to play. They brought in their 2 Marauders, devastatingly powerful ships. You cannot abort an invasion once it's ordered, so we must hope the Marauders cannot destroy enough of our attack ships to prevent its success.
The Marauders begin firing on the Strike Cruisers, but are completely surprised by the torrent of photon torpedoes coming out of the decloaking Battle Cruisers.
The combined force or our warships is enough to destroy both of the Marauders. But the Marauders are tough ships, and they manage to bring down 3 of our Strike Cruisers--half the attack power of our invasion fleet.
Everyone is relieved to hear the invasion was a success anyway. It was a close run thing: All 3 Strike Cruisers were destroyed by Orbital Batteries. We were correct in believing that probably only 3 Batteries were powered. If a Strike Cruiser can be destroyed for each Orbital Battery, they're not the grand solution we had hoped for. Nevertheless, we destroyed 2 Marauders and were not prevented from conquering Betazed. The battle was a decisive one.
The Betazeds will be a useful addition to our empire. Their special structure grants a 50% bonus to internal security. That should be useful too.
The good thing about bringing lots of extra Troop Transports to an invasion is that you can quickly make an Outpost upgraded to a Starbase on the site of your conquest. Once we're done here, we will be within two sectors of Benzar, the system of the Minor Race that the Ferengi bribed into joining their empire. What was formerly no-man's land is becoming Romulan land.
TURN 130. When your intel strength is strong enough, your saboteurs can leave incriminating evidence of another empire's involvement. We'll attempt to sew some discord between the Cardassians and the Klingons. They've been far too chummy of late.
TURN 131. Our saboteurs have managed to destroy some Cardassian research. It's a very minor attack, and we'll have to remind our spies what "military sabotage" means, but it's an indication that the Cardassians are vulnerable. As expected, they had put all of their intel power toward sabotaging us instead of protecting themselves.
We spy a group of 3 Cardassian Battleships stirring near Draylon, along with a squadron of 8 lesser ships. Our group of 4 Battle Cruisers that had been guarding the Starbases of Tama and Takara is ordered back to Draylon immediately.
The completion of our Starbase at Betazed increases our scan strength, so we can monitor Ferengi activity on Benzar. They have a Strike Cruiser and a bunch of Troop Transports sitting at an Outpost there. Since our Battle Cruisers can travel two sectors per turn, this looks like a good opportunity for a little hit-and-run operation. If we're at war with the Ferengi, the loss of their Troop Transports will prevent them from launching any invasions.
We check in with our intel department. Thanks to phoenix facilities coming online at various colonies, our intel strength has risen by 600 points. Once the Ktarian and Betazed special structures are built, we will have impressive 75% bonuses to both internal security and sabotage. Our empire has grown to 35 systems. The Cardassian-Ferengi alliance has 29, and the Klingons are now down to 10.
TURN 132. Our Battle Cruisers catch the Ferengi by surprise, still sitting at the Benzar Outpost.
Our ships are ordered to decloak and target the Troop Transports first.
The Battle Cruisers follow their orders, but their captains are experienced enough to know when to take initiative. In the same free decloak turn, they also destroy the Strike Cruiser and the Outpost. These Mark II Battle Cruisers are worthy of their reputation.
The Zakdorn, a Minor Race that had sat largely ignored to the east of Romulus, has been bribed enough to join our empire.
The Zakdorn system is well-developed and already has enough industry to begin producing ships at a good rate. But it can be developed even further before we begin that.
TURN 133. The Ferengi seek to retaliate by sending a small raiding party into our space, but they run into our Starbase at Volon.
Before the Ferengi raiders can retreat, they're fried like bugs that flew too close to a bug zapper. Building Starbases along the border has been very fruitful. They seem stupid to run into them, but if they lack scan strength, our enemies don't know a system is guarded until they arrive.
The Ferengi have finally been pushed over the edge by our latest actions, and they declare war against us. We welcome it. Benzar was already in our sights anyway. All the Cold Wars are over. We are officially at war with all three of the other empires.