Part 30: Turn 38TURN 38
The discovery of a potentially vast Romulan empire somewhere to the east has forced us to realize we cannot survive alone in this galaxy. We need friends. The Cardassians have an affiliation treaty with the Klingons, but only a friendship treaty with us. We must attempt to get at least on even terms. Eventually the Cardassians will have to choose between us and the Klingons. Our diplomats are sure to remind the Cardies to consider which side is more likely to leave them in peace when the dust settles.
TURN 39. The Cardassians will ignore our offer of an affiliation treaty because they were sending us an offer the same turn. Our diplomats do simultaneous spit-takes when they hear what the Cardies have in store for us. They've offered an alliance treaty! Everyone is amazed by this development. The only rational explanation is that the Cardassians are just as afraid of the Romulans as we are.
If we weren't already inclined to join with the Cardassians, the presence of a Romulan Colony Ship two sectors from Quazulu adds more incentive.
TURN 40. Our space lawyers go over the fine print of the alliance treaty. Since they've never been involved with one, it's a learning exercise. An alliance treaty contains all of the benefits of an affiliation treaty, but it also allows you to see everything on the map that your ally sees. You can also read your ally's intelligence reports. Federation and Cardassian territories will also be counted together toward the goal of 75% of the galaxy.
The Cardassians have a reputation for genocide and brutality. But our public relations officials play on everyone's desire for peace and security--they want to be convinced this is a good idea. Federation citizens speak warmly of the Cardassian leader as a reformer and a family man who loves his seven children. He is affectionately known as "Uncle Dukat".
With the alliance treaty in place, we can see all of the Cardassian ships. In addition to various scouts and a collection of Troop Transports on Cardassia, they have one very powerful fleet containing 16 ships--with some Battleships among them. This fleet is designed for invasion, as it contains 2 Troop Transports. It's located near their border with the Klingons, but they're affiliates of the Klingons. Could it be that this fleet was intended to invade us if we had turned down their offer?
We cannot allow the Romulans to expand on our doorstep, so we'll send a Heavy Cruiser to chase away their Colony Ship two sectors from Quazulu.
TURN 41. Our scientists have achieved their first major breakthrough. We need two more such breakthroughs to invent the Heavy Cruiser II. If we didn't have to devote so much of our people to internal security, we could make scientific progress much faster.
Speaking of which, enemy saboteurs have stolen 4,600 credits--roughly 10% of our empire's treasury. We have no way to know whether the Romulans were responsible for this, or whether our Cardassian allies are up to their old tricks.
Occasionally we're able to get a brief scan of the Klingon activity near our border. The Klingons have constructed a new Outpost just south of Deneva. It's guarded by a group of 9 ships, including some command ships. It looks like they're getting close to reconstituting their fleet after that setback we gave them on Quazulu.
TURN 43. Cardassian agents have reported that the Klingons have a "great hall" located on the system of Delta Vega. We have no idea what a Great Hall is. But our allies helpfully inform us that they're framing us for their espionage activities.
TURN 45. Earlier, we chased away the Romulan Colony ship from the sector southeast of Quazulu. But the Romulans are insistent, and they quickly ninja an Outpost build on that sector.
TURN 46. We're disappointed by the news that our allies have signed a non-aggression treaty with the Romulans. The Cardassians appear to be charming everyone into peace.
The Romulans issue a demand for payment. They may be powerful in the eastern half of the galaxy, but as of yet there is no proof that they have any real firepower to hit us with. All we've seen from them is a Scout or two flying around our space. We ignore the demand.
We have finished construction of a new Starbase on Styris, our latest colony. Styris has the potential to be big, so we want to protect it against any Klingon attacks. Now it should be impregnable except against the biggest fleets. The extra Troop Transports will be sent eastward to Holberg 917G, as we'd like some protection on our eastern border as well. The Romulans are over there somewhere.
TURN 47. The Cardassians' affiliation with the Klingons is occasionally useful to us, since we can see everything the Cardassian Scouts can. On the system believed to be the Klingon homeworld, the Klingon fleet has expanded to 17 ships.
TURN 48. We've been building a lot of Colony and Troop Transports, but we've also been slowly building a fleet of Heavy Cruisers. One Heavy Cruiser has been escorting Troop Transports around our "soft" northern territory. But we've also got 3 Heavy Cruisers defending the Starbases of our core. Now it's time to take an offensive action against the Romulan Outpost nearby. They're just getting a little too close for comfort.
TURN 49. Our 3 Heavy Cruisers arrive at the Outpost, which is otherwise unoccupied. Our strike force is overkill, but you never know what's going to be there with the Romulan cloaking capability.
The Outpost is easily obliterated.
Since we chased away the Colony Ship earlier, the Romulans had time only to terraform a planet, not colonize it. The loss of their Outpost means they lay no claim to the system. It will also shorten the Romulans' ship range, keeping much of our territory unreachable to them. In the east, a Cardassian Scout charts some Romulan territory, shaded in green. They're closer than we thought. But is that area the Romulan core or merely their outlying colonies?
TURN 50. The Cardassians have a non-agression treaty with the Romulans, but it's clear they have no use for them. The Cardassians pass a secret message indicating their support for our strike against the Outpost.
The Romulans take the loss of their Outpost seriously. But we don't know whether they're acting out of pride or if the Outpost was an important part of their master plan.
The system of Ingraham B is one we have always intended to claim eventually. The priority is high now that the Cardies have charted Romulan space only two sectors away from it. We now have 4 Heavy Cruisers--the bulk of our fleet--assigned to guard the construction of a new Starbase there. When the Starbase is completed, it will add to our scan strength. We'll need it to detect Romulan ships across the border.
We have a Scout sitting northwest of the Klingon system of Deneva. Its assignment is to immediately report any sign of Klingon threats. It has detected the constitution of a new Klingon fleet of 11 ships, including a Troop Transport. This is the new invasion fleet we had been fearing. Every ship in the fleet can travel 2 sectors per turn, so it may be difficult to predict its target before it's too late. There are two real possibilities: Borka, the core system 3 sectors east, and Styris, the new colony 3 sectors north.
We must protect both Borka and Styris as best we can. The Starbase construction planned for Ingraham B is important, so we'll leave a Heavy Cruiser there, but the other 3 will move west to protect Borka. Our only ship available to protect Styris is a Heavy Cruiser sitting on Gemulon where it was guarding colonization efforts. That Heavy Cruiser will move to the ininhabited system of Korris. It will be next door to Styris, but close enough to Borka to defend it if that's the direction the Klingon fleet is headed.
TURN 51. We're increasingly nervous as we see another peace treaty signed between two empires that aren't us. The Klingons are now at peace with everyone except us. So are the Romulans.
The Klingon fleet moved 2 sectors to the north. Obviously it is targeting Styris. We're thankful that we finished building a Starbase on Styris only a few turns ago. But we had hoped Borka would be the target since there are more Heavy Cruisers capable of reaching it in time. The 3 Heavy Cruisers that moved to Sol will not be able to reach Styis in time. Now that the Klingon fleet is next to Styris, we're able to detect 3 cloaked Klingon Scouts, bringing the ship total to 14.
We have just one Heavy Cruiser that will be able to help defend the Styris Starbase. It is ordered to move there immediately.
TURN 52. There are no Orbital Batteries or other ground-based defenses on Styris. Its fate will be decided here.