Part 20: Turn 182TURN 182
Our spies destroy another Cardassian ship, this time a Destroyer. It's another instance of a ship destroyed in sector c1. We're now quite confident that this is the location of the Cardassian homeworld. Our spies have been getting fewer kills these days--the Cardies have probably redistributed more of their intel toward internal security to stop the bleeding.
Our southwestern fleet has been salivating at the prospect of conquering Sol for a long time. Now it appears that they may capture it before the northeastern fleet takes Qo'nos. A swarm of 12 Destroyers will take care of the Batteries, 9 Transports will take care of the population, and the Battle Cruisers will add some heft to the invasion attack power.
TURN 183. A single Ferengi War Cruiser arrives as a token force to pretend that they can do something about the Sol invasion.
If you can't keep enemy ships out, it ain't your space anymore. (Except when it's Romulans in which case we're just biding our time.)
The Qo'nos fleet destroys all but one Battery. The Klingons' fierce warrior culture gives them an edge during any land assault. Nuking them from orbit is the only way to be sure their numbers are small enough for our Troop Transports to prevail.
The underdogs of the southwest fleet score a win, conquering the very first capital system for the Romulans. Granted we're getting the Ferengi's sloppy seconds, but it's still Earth.
Even disgruntled, the Humans have an impressive array of level 9 factories. They'll be building new Troop Transports at a good rate...
...and you can't beat the location. Sol is conveniently in a cluster of systems we'll want to take. Remember, each empire gets three starting systems. We'll want to grab the Fed's other two as soon as we have the firepower. First, we'll build a victory Starbase here.
TURN 184. Our Qo'nos fleet does one more round of bombardment before the Transports arrive. The Klingon population on their homeworld has been chopped way down, so the invasion itself should be a breeze.
Our extra Transports are still a turn away, but the 6 we have here will be enough now that there are fewer prisoners to take.
TURN 185. The Qo'nos fleet brags that they are the first to take the capital system of an empire that's actually still in existence. With Qo'nos conquered, the Klingons are officially crippled. Their allies did not lift a finger (or claw) to save them.
Qo'nos would have an even greater industrial output if we hadn't killed so many of them before taking the system. Their population will regrow and we'll assign them to the factories to produce Troop Transports.
We now have 50% more systems than the rest of the empires combined. Incredibly, we've bribed or conquered 17 different Minor Races!
TURN 186. The Ferengi fail.
The Umoth system obviously was not one of the Fed's starting systems, as it's small and ill-equipped. We can take it with a small force. We'll dispatch our Battle Cruisers to knock out some nearby Outposts.
TURN 187. We're basically farming these Outposts for the morale now, as the Ferengi have evacuated everything from their outlying systems.
The Romulan empire as a whole is now a more coherent, unified blob. We're lucky that we spread so much along the galaxy's borders on the south, east and west, as we don't have to defend them. Here is the picture before movements are ordered. There are ship icons scattered all across the empire because many systems have just produced another ship this turn.
Umoth's population is quite limited compared to the maximum population. Perhaps they are starving under Cardassian rule?
TURN 188. Our Battle Cruisers near Sol have finished blowing up another Outpost, this time a Cardassian one. The general population receives this news and pretends to care.
Our troops have no problem at all taking Umoth. This marks the first system we've taken from Cardassian hands. Will the Cardies wake up now?
The eyes of our war planners momentarily light up when they read this message. But after consulting the map, they realize that Ledonia, not Lamenda, is the name of the other Cardassian system near Sol. If our spies had blown up the Batteries on Ledonia, we could have ninja'd an invasion.
8 Troop Transports have collected at the Arvada Starbase, after being directed there from the south or being built at Acamar. Now they'll be deployed to Klingon space, hopefully in time for the next invasion.
TURN 189. Our Qo'nos fleet destroys a Klingon Battle Cruiser. The Klingons are still producing a ship every now and again, but they have nowhere safe to muster into a proper fleet. Another example of enemies being harvested for morale.
Taking a Cardassian system has indeed wounded Cardassian pride. Our Scout in the northwest detects a lot more Cardassian activity nearby. Ferengi ships are with them, but their intentions are unclear. Based on the lack of Ferengi activity on their eastern border (near our Starbase at Benzar), we believe the Ferengi have adopted a purely defensive posture.
Doraf is our next Klingon target. It's the largest of their systems--even bigger than Qo'nos was. Based on its size, we'll soften up the target before risking our dwindling supply of Troop Transports.
TURN 190. It won't be long before we seriously consider invading the main body of Ferengi space. We assign a Scout to poke around their core systems, and we happen upon this. Those large gray ships are Cardassian Troop Transports. Our Scout is cloaked, so he just flies away after counting the ships.
We continue to throw away Destroyers against Orbital Batteries, but it's worth it. Replacements are already underway.
Thanks to our Scout, we get our first look at the capital of the Ferengi empire. It appears they've devoted all of their resources to defending the capital, but we've got more space to chart.
TURN 191. The bombing of Doraf continues uninterrupted. Now all of its Orbital Batteries are destroyed, paving the way for its conquest.
Our spies haven't been scoring as much of late, so now we're devoting 90% of our intel resources to military sabotage. If the Cardies are all on internal security, that's fewer spies for them to send against us. Perhaps we'll eventually get to 99% sabotage? Our intel strength has grown from all of the new intel centers we've built around the empire.
TURN 192. The Acamarians' morale is "pleased"--not bad for our formerly mortal enemies. Their production capability rivals that of Romulus itself. Before, only Romulus was producing Battle Cruisers, but we're expanding production of these powerful warships to more systems. It's mostly a hedge against the Borg showing up.
Some extra Troop Transports from Pentarus show up, and the invasion gets the go-ahead. All of the Destroyers being blown up by Batteries isn't all bad--it lowers our overall ship maintenance cost so we can stay in the black. Note that our credits per turn have gone down in spite of this due to the growing fleet. But our total credits near 100,000.
In the west, we plan to hit Ledonia next because it will lessen the Cardassians' range (especially since we've also been blowing up their Outposts). Before we can even think about invasion, we must clear out the space. A Battleship is spotted on Ledonia, and this can't be allowed.
As is our custom, we destroy the Battleship with a massed attack of cloaking Battle Cruisers. All of the Battleship's power means nothing if they don't get a chance to fire their weapons. This has been critical in keeping up our power in the west. We're using the same 5 Battle Cruisers over and over, since none of them are ever getting killed. Meanwhile, we whittle down our enemies.
TURN 193. It was a big meal, but the colossal Doraf system has been absorbed into our empire. As an imperial power, the Klingons are no more. They can build a ship here or there, but they can't build a fleet. The Klingons are defenseless, but among the Romulan leaders there is a greater call to destroy the Ferengi and Cardassians before they can build up ever-greater defense fleets.