Part 38: Turn 159TURN 159
The Romulans succeed in hunting down our Scout in their territory and force battle.
Unlike Romulan Scouts, which can simply retreat during their cloak turn if caught, our Scout is defenseless. He is blown up during the Romulan Battle Cruiser's cloak turn.
Even now, the mercurial Ferengi hand us gobs of money under the table.
The Cardassians' latest invasion attempt against Ferenginar has caused quite a bit of damage, but did not end in success.
TURN 160. Fortunately, the Cardies have a massive fleet built up just on the outskirts of Ferengi space.
TURN 161. Yuuuuuuup.
The Cardassians want access to all of the systems contained in our disputed border territories, but we'll ignore the demand. It's the one thing we cannot give them.
TURN 162. It's been awhile since we were the victims of sabotage, but we lose a bit of research.
TURN 168. The Ferengi have recovered admirably from the last attack but Ferenginar is once again under threat.
TURN 169. The Ferengi sure are persistent considering their early starting tech. But they are no match for the Cardassian fleet. Their homeworld has been enslaved, and they have almost nothing left.
TURN 171. At long last, we have reached our goal. We have invented the Defiant class warship.
There's actually another warship that requires even higher tech levels than the Defiant. The Dreadnought II mandates two more breakthroughs. Since we have little need to deactivate all our research structures, we'll assign research for those.
Sol will produce our very first Defiant. Though technically a "fast attack" ship like Scouts and Destroyers are, the Defiant is a heavy-hitter. It also requires even more time to build than the Heavy Cruiser II.
We have enough intel strength to try harassing the Ferengi a little. But if we reassign too many of our counter-intel people, we'll be sabotaged by the Cardassians.
TURN 173. Now that we're building Defiants for President Kirk's planned invasion of Romulan space, we must actually map it out to get an idea of what we're dealing with. The outer colonies on the western border of Romulan space are small and lightly-defended. This was probably why the Romulans didn't show as much gusto as they might have in dealing with us. If they had an important system here, there may have been more of an effort to strike out.
TURN 176. It appears the Ferengi still have a fairly robust refugee fleet hiding out in Romulan space. It's unclear whether the Romulans were ever a help to the Ferengi during the Ferengi-Cardassian war (unlikely). But being military affiliates would have allowed the Ferengi to stash some ships in safe harbors.
Our Scout continues charting the outer body of Romulan space. Nothing remarkable is discovered, though each Romulan system has at least a couple Orbital Batteries. No signs of any Romulan fleets, though they're obviously difficult to detect.
TURN 177. We've finished building our very first Defiant. Its name is the USS Leningrad, which is kind of an odd choice.
We're going to build or buy subspace scanners on many of our systems now in the hopes of boosting our overall scan strength enough to detect the Romulan ships.
TURN 179. Our Scout draws near to the Romulan core. As we believed, it is in the far northeastern corner of the galaxy. This kept the Romulans from even the slightest danger this entire game. The Romulan capital has an Outpost and 11 Troop Transport ships. Of course, those are the non-cloakable ships. They could have a huge death fleet hiding there, or nothing at all. When offered this inconclusive report, President Kirk mutters, "Damned enigmatic Romulans."
TURN 180. The Cardassians again request access to the neutral zone, but they get no love from us.
TURN 182. We have a healthy supply of Troop Transports, suitable for building Starbases or invading the Romulan colonies. They make their first steps eastward. Science Vessels will join them. Thus far, no signs of the Romulan fleet.
TURN 183. Qo'nos has poor morale, but enough industry to be assigned the task of producing Defiants. Their first one has been built and it will be sent to Sol. It can travel between these systems in just one turn!
TURN 184. A biotech advance leaves just one more tech level until we've invented everything.
TURN 185. The Cardassians have conquered the last remaining Ferengi system. Considering their low starting level, they lasted a lot longer than I would have thought. The Romulans are all alone, as they should be.
Subspace scanners can actually be upgraded twice to improve their power. But each new version of the scanners requires an additional +50 energy.
Our invasion force sets out for the first Romulan colony in our way. We're wary of sending out a lot of warships into the unknown, so we'll send the minimum we need. The invasion force will basically consist of the Troop Transports and Science Vessels required for conquering a small system. In other words, we'll try to ninja an invasion and ninja up a Starbase to defend. That Starbase will extend our scan range and help us deal with the problem of how to make a strategy against an enemy you can't see.
TURN 186. We had one Scout go ahead one turn early to make sure nothing is guarding Dulisian. There's nothing there, so we're good to go. Next door is a Romulan Outpost we hadn't noticed before. We'll send one of our Heavy Cruisers to kill it while the other one escorts the invasion force to Dulisian.
TURN 187. The Romulans anticipated our attack and sent a command ship against us. We'd be better off if both Heavy Cruisers had escorted them instead of one going off to attack the Outpost, but this came out of nowhere.
The enemy is a single Romulan Battle Cruiser, the same one who killed our Scout earlier. He seems to be the Romulan empire's lone watchdog. He fires right past the Scouts, targeting his primary threat: our Heavy Cruiser.
Whichever Federation fleet expert claimed our Heavy Cruiser is the equivalent of a Romulan Battle Cruiser is a moron. The Battle Cruiser completely destroys our ship during his free turn.
With our only warship dead, the Scouts and Troop Transports are sitting ducks. They are ordered to retreat at once. So much for that invasion.
The Romulan Battle Cruiser does as much damage as he can before his prey can warp out. Several explosions light up--he's targeting the Troop Transports.
The only good news is that the Romulan Outpost was undefended when our Heavy Cruiser arrived.
It is easily destroyed, of course. Perhaps the Battle Cruiser had been stationed here?
Four of our Troop Transports were killed, along with the Heavy Cruiser. The attempted ninja invasion was a debacle.
The Romulan Battle Cruiser is so proud of himself, defending that system all on his own. We note that it is a Battle Cruiser II. Obviously it was only a matter of time before the Romulans invented them.
President Kirk is unmoved by our recent loss. Meeting with the military advisors who had recommended minimizing risk by doing the ninja invasion, he quips, "That's what you get for trying to fight with both hands tied behind your back." The Federation's honor must be restored. 9 Heavy Cruiser IIs and all 5 Defiants are ordered to move against Dulisian with the remaining Troop Transports and Scouts. A military advisor cautions that if the Romulans have reinforcements lurking nearby, our whole fleet could be wiped out in one shot. Kirk reassures him. "You're worried about bad luck? Fortune favors the bold, my friends. You'll do fine." Kirk pats him on the shoulder and exits the room.