Part 35: Turn 92TURN 92
The Romulans are now affiliated with the Ferengi in addition to the Klingons, who are allied with the Ferengi. The galaxy is in two camps: the Federation-Cardassian alliance, and everybody else. But the canny Cardassians have managed to avoid war with everyone except the Klingons, against whom they chose to fight.
The Romulan force of 8 Battle Cruisers obliterated the Starbase on Ingraham B, a system that we have terraformed but not yet colonized. The Federation seethes with hatred when it comes to the Romulans. While the Feds have been defending themselves almost since day one, the Romulans have never experienced any fighting on their own turf, which grows unopposed in the east. Peaceful though they may be, the Humans wish they could destroy just one Romulan warship.
On Holberg 917G, our Colony Ship frantically orders colonization. The occupants do not wish to share the fate of the Ingraham Starbase two sectors away.
TURN 93. They were just in time. The Romulan strike force arrives on Holberg to find that it has been re-colonized. The people of Holberg will immediately buy charge collectors and as many Orbital Batteries as they can.
TURN 94. The Cardassians are keeping quiet about it, but they have concentrated their entire fleet of warships at an Outpost just across the Klingon border. It doesn't take a psychic to know something is up.
TURN 95. Our first Orbital Battery is built and powered-up on Holberg. The Romulan strike force has disappeared into their vast, unknown empire, choosing not to bombard the system.
TURN 96. Our Heavy Cruiser IIs are no match for a mark 1 Romulan Battle Cruiser, but we can at least make the most of what we have. The Starfleet Academy has been activated on Sol. We'll keep most of our Heavy Cruisers here for training. In addition, all ships built on Sol from now on will have an experience bonus.
TURN 97. The Federation counter-intel department is getting used to delivering bad news. About 30% of our treasury has been stolen in yet another act of economic sabotage. This is despite the fact that Borka, one of our core systems, has been virtually dedicated as an intel center rather than building ships. The military demands more Heavy Cruisers to replace those lost in the Battle of Qo'nos, but we also need to build more intel centers. We're stretched thin.
TURN 99. Thanks in large part to the Daystrom Institute's 100% bonus to computer research, we have already made a breakthrough in computer technology.
We still have several more level-ups before we can invent the Defiant, but it's full steam ahead.
The entire Cardassian fleet has arrived on the Klingon system of Milika. They have two task forces classified as "ships" rather than "starships". Those task forces contain Troop Transports. It is a massive invasion fleet. The question is whether they will strike at Milika, which is one of the core systems--or will they go for Qo'nos itself?
TURN 100. The Cardassians went for the jugular. They have celebrated Turn 100 by attacking Qo'nos and wiping out every last Klingon ship. Gul Dukat has made good on his promise to hit the Klingons where it hurts most. The Cardies lost 7 of their ships in the battle, including all of their Troop Transports. The Klingons must have taken a cue from us and prioritized strikes against Transports to prevent invasion.
The Cardassians have given us an opening, and we swing into action. Our Heavy Cruiser IIs on Sol will be deployed over to the Klingon front immediately, Romulan threat be damned. In the meantime, the 2 Heavy Cruisers guarding Alpha Cygnus will strike the Klingon Outpost next door to Qo'nos. It's a matter of principle.
The Klingon fleet is wiped out, so all that stands in our way is the array of Orbital Batteries guarding Qo'nos. We'll build up Scout ships as quickly as we can to help us deal with those. Sol will build extra Troop Transports.
TURN 101. The last remaining Klingon Outpost has no chance of rescue. This is a morale-boosting exercise.
TURN 104. We have over 2,100 intel points, but recent events have proven this insufficient. Cardassian spies give us a look at an updated economic evaluation of the Romulans. They are on par with the Cardies but inferior to us. Yet every Federation citizen knows the Romulan military reigns supreme. Our recent colonizing spree has given us a total of 13 systems; the Romulans' colonizing has put them just behind us. Interestingly, the last several colonies the Romulans acquired all have dilithium.
TURN 105. Yet another heist is reported. This time agents have stolen about 20% of our treasury. Our economy is obviously being targeted by either Cardassians or Romulans, since that's the field in which we are superior. But if these thefts continue, we'll be broke. Only the wild treaties with the Ferengi have prevented that from happening already.
TURN 107. We have been keping a standing force of 3 Heavy Cruisers on Qo'nos to prevent the Klingons from gathering any new ships. The Troop Transports and Scouts we've been building are racing to Alpha Cygnus in advance of the invasion. The Klingons' third core system, Delta Vega, appears to be in the sights of a new Cardassian invasion attempt. In the far east, the Moab system has been colonized by the Romulans. It's another dilithium-rich system. We hope they stay busy colonizing, because we really want to defeat the Klingons before their next move against us.
TURN 108. The Klingons are the galaxy's experts at ground combat. They have managed to repel the Cardassian invasion on Delta Vega. However, they did lose 5 Orbital Batteries and over 60 million people.
TURN 109. On the eve of our Qo'nos invasion, the Romulans appear at Holberg 917G again. Their ability to drop gigantic invasion fleets on us with no warning is very disconcerting.
The Romulans doubt our resolve. But once again, a brave Heavy Cruiser will be assigned the mission of preventing the invasion of Holberg. They all know what they have signed up for. President Picard shakes the hand of each crewmember before they are sent off. But even if the suicide mission is successful, it only means the Holberg population will be eradicated by bombs instead of enslaved. Confronted on this policy by his advisors, Picard roars, "The Romulans must not be allowed to advance west any longer. Not a single system. The line must be drawn here! This far, no further!"
TURN 110. The Romulans' invasion force is larger than last time, with additional command and fast attack ships. But the Romulans are a cold, calculating people. They bring exactly one Troop Transport because that is what the math tells them they need. They can never factor in one variable: the desire of Humans to remain free men.
The Heavy Cruiser USS Sendai picks out the Troop Transport ship among the fleet and charges straight for it. The arrogant Romulans decloak and get ready to enjoy their easy kill.
Almost simultaneously, the Heavy Cruiser and the Troop Transport lose all their shields and armor. The captain of the USS Sendai dies in peace: During his last second of life, he sees the Troop Transport burst into flames.
The Romulan fleet has no troops, but the "invasion" automatically goes ahead as planned. The combined firepower of their fleet is sufficient to wipe out all infrastructure and kill every person on Holberg. The system is once again nothing more than a graveyard. The Federation is aghast. Sitting alone in his office, one line in the official report brings President Picard the trace of a smile: The Orbital Battery managed to bring down one Romulan warship. It wasn't in combat, but the invisible ship's crew tastes mortality.
The Romulans cannot distract us. Our attention is brought back to the southwest. The invasion fleet sets course for Qo'nos.
TURN 111. The whole galaxy holds its breath as the Federation launches the first attempted invasion of an empire's capital.
TURN 112. Everyone is shocked to hear the news that the mighty Klingons have been defeated in battle on their homeworld. 7 Scout ships are downed by the Orbital Batteries, but that was always the plan. The Cardassians did their part by destroying the Klingon fleet. Now the heart of the Klingon empire has been ripped out. They can no longer be considered a great power. Cardassian leader Gul Dukat expresses his wish to have a joint victory party on Qo'nos, but officially the Federation is still morally opposed to the invasion and cannot consider it cause for celebration. In his place, Picard sends the leader of the occupation force, a rising star by the name of Sisko. Dukat is delighted to meet him.