Part 16: Turn 145TURN 145
Our newest voluntary members, the Zakdorn, are now host to a shipyard that builds a Colony Ship for us. The completionists will be happy to learn that with the shipyard's added range, we can finally see what was in that southeastern corner of the galaxy. Whether it's a good system or, as we suspect, a middling one, we can colonize it at last.
The Zakdorn and the Vulcans now have sufficient industrial capacity to produce ships for the fleet. They will be constructing Destroyers at a rate of one per three turns. The Destroyers will be used to kamikaze into all of the Orbital Batteries in our future invasions. We could build Scouts, but the Destroyers can travel 3 sectors per turn. Even Zakdorn in the far east will be able to send them to the front quickly.
TURN 146. After our eastern fleet of 5 Battle Cruiser IIs fly through Klingon space and head home, they finally run into a real Klingon ship.
The ship is an Attack Cruiser. It is powerful, but unescorted it will be mere target practice for us when we decloak. The captains are pleased to destroy it: It's believed to be the same Attack Cruiser that killed one of our Battle Cruisers during the Klingons' aborted invasion of Holberg 917G.
Our invasion of Benzar is a complete success. Everything worked like clockwork, and exactly 2 of our small kamikaze ships were destroyed. We're getting into a rhythm now.
Our spies manage to destroy a Cardassian transport ship. The location, sector j2, is at the northern edge of the middle of the galaxy. This could be the site of Cardassian space, but the Transport could also just be heading toward Klingon space.
Romulan intelligence power has grown considerably thanks to all of the new phoenix facilities, not to mention the added 50% bonuses to internal security and sabotage. The Romulan empire has grown to 39 total systems--more than our enemies combined.
Benzar is our new border with the Ferengi, and as such will become the location for yet another Starbase. The Colony Ship that had been improving our other recent conquests in the area--Ktaria and Betazed--will have several new planets to terraform here.
TURN 147. Our intelligence experts suspect the Cardassians have framed the Ferengi for another act of sabotage against us. Thankfully the Cardies are still focusing on attacks against our scientific infrastructure, which we are not even using.
Our own spies strike back, destroying a fair bit of a Cardassian system's construction capacity.
Another colony round-up. Most of our systems are now at work upgrading their construction capacity so they can either build ships in the future or build intel centers. Rhymus Major is mass-producing Destroyers, while Romulus will remain the system responsible for creating our Battle Cruiser fleet.
TURN 148. Destroyers are all the rage throughout the industrial centers of our empire. In addition to traveling the most sectors per turn, they can be built in only 3 or 4 turns by many systems and can contribute attack power when they fly in swarms.
With Benzar, Betazed and Ktaria under heel, all eyes are on the isolated Bolarus. A single Ferengi Marauder stands guard. This confirms that the Ferengi have produced more than the 2 Marauders we had already been aware of. Our Benzar invasion fleet will be sent to Betazed to gather for our next attack. The 2 Warbirds will remain at Benzar to guard the Starbase. It is on the border, after all.
TURN 149. It has been a long time since we discovered a new Minor Race. Nobody is interested in learning the history of the Ullians, but we're happy to see them. We have lots of extra cash for bribes.
It seems the Ullians were hiding out in the southeast all along. They have fully developed their system, which as 9(!) Orbital Batteries and a source of dilithium. We wish that we had bothered to check this out before. Bribing commences.
TURN 150. Our Starbase on Thalos is completed, shoring up our new gains within striking distance of Sol. The Carassians have built an Outpost on the conquered Federation system of Umoth, and the Ferengi have some Troop Transports hanging out at a nearby system. Feeling a little bold, we order our warships to strike out in two separate groups for a hit-and-run attack at both locations.
The Cardassians' real attack power lies elsewhere, near our border with the Ferengi to the east. A Cardassian fleet of 6 Battleships is spotted two sectors from Benzar. Our Warbirds stand at the ready. Our Bolarus invasion fleet is gathered at Betazed.
TURN 151. In the southwest, our Battle Cruisers make short work of the Cardassian Outpost at Umoth and the Troop Transport docked there.
Our 2 Destroyers have 5 Ferengi Troop Transports and a Colony Ship to kill. They decloak and try to do as much damage as they can.
In the initial assault, they manage to kill 2 Transports and weaken two others.
Some of the Ferengi ships are able to escape, but our Destroyers are proud of themselves for making an attack on their own. Judging by the number of Destroyers we're producing now, it won't be long before the Destroyer fleet grows, even on the southwestern front.
Our Destroyers' attack uncovers yet another Minor Race, the Mintakans. This race spawned next to the Federation homeworld, so it's likely they were enslaved by the Ferengi during their war against the Federation.
Our spies destroy the phoenix facility on Cardassia's homeworld. Scratch another +100 intel power that the Cardassians can't use to defend themselves against us. Well, until they rebuild the structure that is.
In addition to the Cardassian Battleships, a fleet of 23 Ferengi warships are spotted near Benzar. They're mostly lighter ships, but could very well be the bulk of the Ferengi fleet now. Our Battle Cruisers failed to catch the Ferengi Marauder that had been at Bolarus, so they're sent to join the Warbirds to defend the Benzar Starbase in case of a massed attack.
Our Scout in the northeast dutifully keeps watch on Acamar. The Klingons have not rebuilt their Outpost yet, but the defenses grow to 7 Orbital Batteries and a squadron of Cardassian Destroyers stands guard. The Klingons seem more defensive now that we've conquered two of their systems.
TURN 153. We may not have the resources to attack the northeast right now, but our saboteurs manage to destroy one of the aforementioned Cardassian Destroyers at Acamar.
Since the Ullians were discovered in the southeast, the Colony Ship had no need to colonize there. The ship was sent to finally colonize the small, neglected system of Catullan, but it was intercepted by a new intergalactic traveler: the Husnock vessel. It's a powerful ship, but nowhere near as menacing as the Chodak Juggernaut was. We ignore it.
The Ferengi fleet of 23 ships has apparently gone back into Ferengi space. Our most powerful ships continue to guard Benzar, but the invasion of Bolarus is a go. Bolarus has several Orbial Batteries, but a small population. We should be able to take the system with only Scouts and a few Destroyers, along with the Transports. They're leaving Betazed now.
TURN 155. The Husnock Raider wanders into one of our many Starbases in the east. The Starbase has no defending ships. It's time to see what the Husnock are made of.
Not much, apparently. As the Husnock attempts to get into firing range, the Starbase bombards it with torpedoes and destroys it.
Our spies proudly report the dismantling of two more powerful Cardassian intel centers. They're fast losing their ability to protect themselves, and we haven't been attacked by their spies much lately.
The Malcorians are finally bribed into joining our empire, filling in the southwest with another Romulan system.
Malcor is not that impressive compared to some other Minor Races' systems of late, but it will do. Since we can handle Orbital Batteries with Scouts and Destroyers, many more systems can become of use.
The invasion fleet arrives on Bolarus. As many as 5 Batteries are active there, but we've massed Scouts and Destroyers.
TURN 156. At least 3 Batteries were active, but they were simply overwhelmed by numbers. Bolarus is taken.
Since Bolarus was sort of isolated within our general territory, it will not have the honor of a Starbase. Instead, we will increase our range by building a shipyard. If Bolarus' morale improves, it too can produce helpful ships.
Our empire has begun to take shape in the center of the galaxy. In the east, many ship-producing systems are at work and sending their invasion hardware to meet at Betazed. Our command ships stand guard at the border on Benzar. The Ferengi space is a shrinking blob. It's bordered to the south by Turkana, but so many enemy ships pass that way that we've been unwilling to build there.
The southwestern portion of our empire looks less isolated now. A few ship-producing systems there continue to move invasion hardware to the front at Thalos rather than Draylon. Nevertheless, the fleet will need to expand greatly if it is to make an attempt against Sol.
Acamar continues to be a dagger into the heart of our northeastern territory. Once that salient is crushed, our empire will look more like one cohesive unit. The Klingons are on the defensive, and they know it. Even the Ferengi are becoming timid. The Cardassians, meanwhile, are almost entirely unknown in the dark northwestern quadrant of the galaxy.
Our empire's huge size is finally paying off. So many Starbases supported by credits, so many ships being fielded, yet we're still taking in thousands of credits per turn. Our enemies' empires are shrinking. Helpfully, we've no one single competitor: They've carved up the remaining space almost equally among themselves. As time goes on, they must be losing hope of fielding enough ships to fend us off.