Part 44: Turn 279TURN 279
The people of the Federation is horrified to learn that the capital of our former ally (some would say savior) has been expertly decapitated from its empire by the Federation invasion fleet. But everyone is kept on lockdown. President Sisko instituted martial law in every system for good reason.
For the longest time, the Cardassian empire was only a few systems smaller than ours. The conquest of Cardassia Prime, along with the simultaneous colonizations in the disputed zone, have swelled our empire to 44 systems--more than double Cardassia's.
Cardassia itself is an industrial powerhouse unlike any we've seen. They have 28 level 9 factories. Once the shipyard is powered, our ship range will extend and the Federation fleet will no longer be stranded on Cardassia.
TURN 280. The Cardassian capital may have been taken in Pearl Harboresque fashion, but the Cardassian fleet was never destroyed. 2 Battleship IIs attack one of our undefended Starbases in former Romulan territory.
A pair of the most powerful ships Cardassia can invent still look small compared to a Starbase. But the real question is whether they can survive long enough to get within weapons range and attack the Starbase.
Our Starbase singles out one of the Battleship and finds its mark, tearing down the ship's shields.
The Battleships do some test-fire as they charge toward the Starbase.
One of the Battleships is completely destroyed. But the other gets within firing range and opens up. The Starbase begins to buckle under the unexpected power of the Battleship.
Incredibly, the Starbase is vaporized. It is the first time non-cloaked ships have ever killed off a Starbase. Sisko is displeased.
There are a cluster of systems around Cardassia Prime. Scouts will be produced there to deal with all of their Orbital Batteries.
TURN 281. President Sisko has no intention of ending the war until the Federation achieves galactic dominance over the Cardassians. To do this, we will pick off their systems one by one. Our giant invasion fleet on Cardassia had plenty of ships left over for additional conquests.
At the same time, we will send squads of Defiants out to eliminate any targets of opportunity.
TURN 282. In this colorful battle, a pair of Defiants knock out a Cardassian Outpost.
The "Alpha" has a poor name and even worse defenses. It is easily captured.
We have penetrated the Cardassian intelligence defense, but they still have plenty of offense, and steal some credits.
TURN 283. A squad of 5 Defiants attacks the Largo Outpost, where the Cardassians were storing most of their Troop Transports.
The outcome of this battle is not much in doubt.
They may have all of their warships left, but they won't have the ability to launch invasions without their Transports.
Martial law has expired throughout the Federation. Citizens Google like crazy trying to figure out what President Sisko has been up to in the meantime. He gives a press conference explaining that he was chosen by the Prophets to destroy Cardassia. The freedom of religion is strictly observed by the Federation, but polite society is appalled to hear of Sisko's religious motivation. The vice president and all cabinet members resign.
TURN 284. The Cardassian fleet struggles to form a strategy now that its leadership is dead or imprisoned. They settle on one promising target: It is the Starbase on Dulisian that we had used as a base of operations against the Romulans. But the Federation anticipates this attack and speedily sends 9 Defiants to defend it. Being able to deploy Defiants nearly anywhere at a moment's notice is very handy for defense.
The Cardassians are stunned by the Defiants. They had hoped to repeat their successful kill of the earlier Starbase.
Our two remaining Heavy Cruisers in the area had been assigned to defend the Starbase, but their ability to do so successfully is questionable.
The Battleships are shredded by the power of the Defiants.
Narenda was likely one of the earliest colonies settled by the Cardassians. Now it faces our invasion fleet, with no hope of rescue. All of the Cardassian warships had been fighting the Romulans in the northeast when Operation Pale Moonlight went active.
TURN 285. Ingraham B, the site of the Starbase killed by Romulan Battle Cruisers, comes under attack from yet another formation of 2 Battleships.
The Cardassian Battleships seem well suited to working in pairs. Only one of them survives the Starbase's barrage...
...But that is enough to kill the Starbase. Federation space has been breached.
Narenda marks a third Cardassian system captured in only a few turns.
After being humiliated by the loss of another Starbase, the Defiants are called into action and sent to defend the Federation core.
TURN 286. Apparently the Cardassians did have at least one more Troop Transport around, in the far east where we have no scan strength. They invade and capture the final Romulan system. The destruction of the Romulan empire was, after all, Gul Dukat's last order before his death.
TURN 287. The core of our invasion fleet has been moving northward and orders an assault on yet another Cardassian system. Meanwhile, it appears the bulk of the Cardassian fleet has been bottled up in the center of the galaxy, primarily on the Largo system. The 9 available Defiants are ordered to attack.
TURN 288. The squad fears they've gotten more than they bargained for when initial scans indicate 4 command ships, among others.
Luckily only one of them is a dreaded Battleship. The others are mere Cruisers.
The Cardies know they're outmatched when the torpedoes go flying in their direction.
Another Cardassian system bites the dust. Each one we take swings the galactic dominance scale in our direction by two.
TURN 289. Within barely more than 10 turns, President Sisko has betrayed the Cardassian empire and cut it down to size. The Federation is now big enough to claim galactic dominance on its own. Sisko receives a draft treaty of surrender from Dukat's hastily-appointed successor, Gul Damar, who governs from a Battleship somewhere in the galaxy. Before signing, Sisko retires to his office to review the text of the treaty.
During the Federation's long friendship with Cardassia, the two powers often sent each other workers in a variety of fields as part of a cultural exchange program. For Dukat, it was a chance to pawn off a bunch of misfits and malcontents. President Sisko expelled most of them, but he enjoyed keeping the Cardassian janitors around. Upon entering his office, he saw one such janitor hard at work scrubbing the floor.
"All my life I have wanted to do something noble for Cardassia," the janitor said. "I suppose I thought I could achieve some kind of redemption."
"Mmm-hmmm." Sisko was too preoccupied with the treaty to listen.
The janitor continued. "Before I go, I want to apologize for the mess. I never was very good at this job."
Sisko glanced at him. "What are you talking about, janitor?"
He stood up. "My name is Garak." With the press of a button, the suicide bombs he was wearing leveled half the floor of the building, killing everyone in the vicinity. Up until the moment of the detonation, the suicide vest was exquisitely tailored.
A special election for the presidency is held. Admiral Janeway is narrowly elected, but she is a divisive figure.