Part 29: Turn 28TURN 28
As the Klingon invasion fleet looms overhead, the population of Quazulu heroically springs into action. Everyone who does not wish to become a slave of the Klingons is directed to work at all of the idle power plants. Every last ounce of energy will be needed to power-up all 8 Orbital Batteries.
The Starbases on Sol and Borka each have a Heavy Cruiser, and both are ordered to move to Quazulu to attack the invasion fleet. Their orders are to destroy the Klingons' Troop Transports at all costs. All non-combatant ships are ordered north toward the Kaelon system, which we intend to colonize.
TURN 29. Both Heavy Cruisers arrive at Quazulu. The Klingons have 2 command ships of their own, plus half a dozen light ships and 2 Troop Transports just itching to unload their cargo of barbarians.
If we intended to win this battle outright, our only chance would be to knock out the Klingon command ships and try to mop-up the light ships before our own command ships went down. But our captains have their orders. The primary target will be the essentially unarmed Troop Transports. They pose no threat to our ships, but if we lose the battle...
Each Heavy Cruiser targets a Troop Transport and unloads its weapons. The Federation does not believe in suicide tactics, but everyone involved knows that they have little chance of returning from this mission alive.
As our ships' photon torpedoes sail toward the Troop Transports, the USS Emerald starts receiving heavy fire. The Klingons' 2 Battle Cruisers, 4 Destroyers and 2 Scouts concentrate all of their weapons against one ship, increasing the chances that they'll get at least one kill today.
The other Heavy Cruiser can do nothing but watch as the USS Emerald buckles under the weight of all the enemy fire.
It is too much--the USS Emerald goes up in a magnificent explosion. The death of its crew was not in vain: Both Klingon Transports are clearly destroyed.
The Klingon strategy of focused fire pays off. The remaining Heavy Cruiser is undamaged, but the Klingon fleet only has to deal with one enemy. The Emerald will get no last-second shots out. The USS Berwick targets the Klingon Battle Cruisers. It's a long-shot to be sure, but it's the only chance of victory.
The Berwick can barely scratch a Klingon ship before everything goes to hell.
The Klingon warships take no losses. But without any Troop Transports, their plan is foiled. They have orders to invade, but all they can do is bombard the system.
The citizens of Quazulu are saved. It is a miracle: The 8 Orbital Batteries evaporate the entire Klingon warship group, and Quazulu itself takes no damage.
Noone can be pleased to learn of the fate of our Heavy Cruisers, but in a way the battle of Quazulu is a huge victory. The Klingons still have some powerful ships, including an Attack Cruiser and Strike Cruiser at Deneva. But the immediate threat is gone.
TURN 30. The Klingons have been chastened. The Federation is not as easy a target as they thought. If they wish to enslave us, they will have to devote their entire empire to the task. This means the Klingons must deal with the Cardassian threat in a manner they despise: Peace. Unfortunately the Cardies go along with it. We're on our own.
Our counter-intelligence group reports that the Cardassians are suspected of sabotaging relations between us and the Klingons. A pointless action, but it proves our internal security is not as airtight as we supposed.
TURN 31. The Klingons are no doubt busy rebuilding a new fleet. In the meantime, we'll put all our Troop Transports to work building a Starbase on Quazulu.
We have 4 Colony Ships now, all assigned to the task of finding suitable systems for colonization. Big systems like Kaelon are the first priority. This is our window of opportunity to put down roots and Starbases before the Klingons return.
We've pretty much maxed-out all available intel resources, so we'll need to build more. We cannot build phoenix facilities like the Romulans or Cardassians, so our core systems must handle the burden with intel centers (databanks). This is a nuisance because it diverts resources from research as well as the task of building a new fleet of our own.
TURN 32. A Heavy Cruiser is completed on Sol. As our empire's only defense ship, it will have the job of guarding the Starbase construction on Quazulu.
TURN 33. Kaelon has been colonized. We'll buy as many structures as we can that don't require population units. One of these, the aquaculture center, does not even require energy. Systems with class "O" oceanic planets get free food this way.
Kenda, the dilithium-producing colony in the northwest, struggles to grow. For now, we'll cheaply buy it some infrastructure, which is much faster than having it built natively.
TURN 34. The Klingons send 2 Destroyers near our core systems. But they won't find any easy targets there.
The Starbase on Quazulu is complete. A new Heavy Cruiser is also built there, so we're up to two now.
With leftover energy from the wind turbines on Kenda, we'll also power a trade center, which gives us 50% more money from that colony. Every system with free energy should have one of these structures. We need money to pay for the maintenance of all the Starbases and ships.
TURN 35. Speaking of money, the Klingons use their Destroyers to steal some from Borka. Ships can raid adjacent systems without directly striking them.
With a new pair of Heavy Cruisers, though, we have no intention of being bullied. We'll send them to Gideon and see if those Klingon Destroyers want to fight. We also notice Deneva has a Klingon Colony Ship doing some terraforming. We'd like to disturb that activity too, if we can.
TURN 36. Everyone in the Federation is making the best of this period of calm. Troop Transports have been sent north to Kaelon to build an Outpost, which will become a Starbase. The Colony Ships are eager to settle the Styris system to the west, because it's large and could help close off the rest of the north to Klingon expansion.
TURN 37. The Klingon Destroyers go back home rather than fight us, and the Klingon Colony ship decides to follow them. This show of Federation might on the outskirts of Klingon territory is encouraging.
TURN 38. Our diplomats are stunned to hear the latest news. The Cardassians and Klingons have skipped the friendship treaty stage and gone straight to an affiliation treaty. This means their ships will not attack each other and they can enter each others' space. It also means that anywhere Klingons have the range to travel, the Cardassians can, too--and vice-versa. We have a friendship treaty with the Cardassians, and we'd hoped that they would stay closer to us than to the Klingons. So much for that. If the Klingons are willing to make such a commitment, they obviously mean business.
It's a black day for diplomatic news, as the Romulans discover us and make first contact. Now our counter-intel will have to fend off two different sabotage experts. The Romulan ambassador is as smug as he looks. No wonder we have such a reputation for diplomacy--look at our competition.
One of our Heavy Cruisers is assigned to protect the Starbase construction on Kaelon, as a Klingon Scout is spotted just south of it. A Scout is generally harmless, but could theoretically blow up the undefended Troop Transports.
The two big Klingon warships are again spotted on Deneva, reminding us that they're waiting for an opportunity to strike. To the north, our Colony Ships have almost reached Styris. If the Klingons try to make a move toward Styris, there could be trouble.
The Romulans who made first contact with us are in a Scout ship just southeast of Quazulu. We can detect the cloaked ship because we have a scan strength of above 30 in that sector. This is part of the reason why we wanted to build Starbases on our core systems--they add scan strength. We'd like to know about cloaked Romulan ships before they show up. Judging from the Romulan Scout's position, the Romulan empire is somewhere to the east of us. But that covers a lot of space.
Our free intel report on the Romulans shows an empire with a clearly inferior economy, but superior military strength. Most interestingly, they have more systems than any other empire--almost twice the Klingons, in fact.
Since the Ferengi are only at tech level 1, the only enemies the Romulans would need to deal with in the east are the Cardassians. We're too busy dealing with the Klingons--and we're peaceful anyway--and the Klingons are boxed in by us and the Cardies. Thus, the Romulans have great potential for peaceful expansion. For now, we envy them. In time, we may learn to fear them.