Part 40: Turn 208TURN 208
Before our Outpost can be upgraded to a Starbase, a Romulan Battle Cruiser counter-attacks the "token" defense force left on our newly-acquired Zytchin system.
Using his free turn, the Romulan strikes hard against one of our 3 Heavy Cruisers. They're the only ships we left to defend; the Defiants were sent elsewhere last turn.
The Romulans come within a hair's breadth of killing the targeted Heavy Cruiser, leaving an unsightly scar. Once we have a chance to strike, the Romulan panics and tries to retreat--but he is killed. Our Heavy Cruiser crews are all survivors of previous battles and are very well-trained.
TURN 209. A detachment of Troop Transports from our previous invasions moved south and have met up with Cardassian light ships on Exo. Exo was likely the last colony the Romulans set up. It's essentially undefended. Apparently the Cardassians have terminated their non-aggression treaty with the Romulans.
TURN 210. The Romulans lose another small colony to us. But President Kirk's strategy of grinding down the weak areas of the Romulan empire is infuriating our people.
TURN 212. The Cardassians have seen the helplessness of the Romulans' southern colonies, and now they want in.
TURN 214. We achieved tech level 10 for construction. This is the final tech breakthrough we'll ever need for anything. We have invented the Dreadnought II.
Dreadnought IIs are even more expensive than Defiants. On paper at least, they're sturdier than Starbases and can move two sectors per turn. One weakness is that they're short-range ships. Since the Romulans are so distant, most of our actions against them are taking place in medium-range areas.
TURN 215. The Romulans have set us up for an assassination attempt against the Cardassian leader, Gul Dukat. Either that or rogue anti-Human Cardassian agents were responsible. The leader of the Qo'nos occupation, Admiral Sisko, is sent as an emissary to smooth things over. Based on the personal friendship between the two men, Dukat's worries are put to rest: We were not involved in this attack.
TURN 216. Our scan strength has improved considerably, and we detect cloaked Romulan vessels in various sectors. Our goal is to try and pick them off one-by-one so they can't mass attack during their cloak turn. One such opportunity presents itself on Beth Delta, where we have spotted a cloaked Warbird escorting some Troop Transports. We will attack with 6 Heavy Cruisers and 9 Defiants.
TURN 217. Our commanders are stunned to learn that the Romulans added 3 Battle Cruisers to the escort at the last second. Our Defiants are categorized as "fast attack" ships, which tends to understate our power here. They're a lot more formidable than Destroyers, etc. which are the typical "fast attack" ship.
We at least have the opportunity to attack the Troop Transports, which cannot cloak. But we cannot target the Romulan warships during the first turn. Note that their icons indicate they have no shields. Actually they do have full shields, but it's an indicator of the fact that they are starting off cloaked.
As the Romulan warships decloak and prepare to fire, we get to open fire against the Troop Transports, which are easily destroyed.
But the Romulan torpedoes find their mark as well. They've never seen the Defiants before, so they have no idea what a prize they are. The Romulans are targeting the Heavy Cruisers because of their classification as "command" ships.
Romulan fire is intense, and 2 Heavy Cruisers are destroyed outright.
It's time for the Defiants to show what they're made of. They open fire against the Romulan command ships, with the Warbird as the primary target. It goes down almost instantly under a hail of torpedoes.
The Battle Cruisers attempt to escape, but only one manages to get away. The other two are killed before they can go to warp.
The Federation's citizens were upset by all of the invasions of late, but they're thrilled to hear of another combat victory. Even so, our commanders are not unmindful of our losses: We went in with overwhelming numbers but still lost two good ships.
The Cardassians are eager to add more territories to their empire. Their war has barely begun and they've already got 3 slow-moving Battleships halfway to Romulus. The Cardies are relying on the logistical support of our Starbases to improve their own range.
TURN 218. The commanders in our fleet are eager to avenge the loss of the 2 Heavy Cruisers, and they quickly hunt down the Battle Cruiser who escaped.
The Romulan is cloaked, so he uses his free turn to almost destroy two more Heavy Cruisers. He scars them, but he cannot kill them.
The Federation ships fire one volley and take down the Battle Cruiser before it can escape. Upon inspection of the ship's wreckage, it appears that this was yet another Battle Cruiser, not the one who escaped from the previous day's battle.
TURN 220. A new Defiant reaches construction on Qo'nos. Though it is far from the front lines, it will reach them very soon. Being able to move 4 sectors a turn is a logistical blessing.
Of the four systems two sectors away from our main base at Dulisian, we've conquered two. Now we will strike at another: Praxis. It is just two sectors away from Romulus itself. It's a small, relatively poorly-defended system.
TURN 221. Praxis is conquered in the usual manner.
Our first and only Dreadnought II has been built on Sol. It is named the USS Ark Royal. By this point, nearly the entire galaxy is within the short-range area (outlined in green). Sadly Romulus is just barely out of range.
We're pleased to see that the Romulans now have to deal with heavy forces coming out of Cardassian space. Thus the Romulans are splitting their forces. A group of 4 Battle Cruisers stares down several Battleships across the border.
All across the border, the Cardies have massed fleets. They're coming out of the woodwork. It doesn't look like the Romulans will be able to buy peace this time.
An intrepid group of 3 cloaked Romulan Destroyers has made its way to the former Ferengi capital, deep within Cardassian territory. They're surrounded by Cardassian task forces and an absurd number of Cardie Outposts. We'd love to hear their story someday, but they'll probably all die by next turn.
TURN 222. The Cardies have been unable to steal money for a long time, so they demand some funds. But President Kirk does not respond to the demand, assuming it is a friendly prank. "That Dukat," he smiles, "What a card."
TURN 224. Rather than building a Starbase on Praxis, we are going to try an unorthodox strategy: Bait the Romulans into counter-invading. If the Romulans attempt to liberate Praxis, they'll have to decloak their warships, at which point we can attack them.
Unusually large concentrations of cloaked warships swirl around Praxis. Will they take the bait? Our forces must on Dulisian.
TURN 226. Our scan strength is now allowing us to periodically look in at the cloaked Romulan ships defending Romulus. At the moment, their defenses are invincible.
TURN 227. Eerily, saboteurs are reported to have bombed a scanner on Quazulu. Perhaps the Romulans are shy?