Part 45: Turn 288TURN 288
Near the center of the galaxy, our Defiant squadrons attempt to catch the remainder of the Cardassian fleet, which still has a fair amount of firepower at its disposal. In the south, another invasion fleet is spun-off and heads to the Cardassian system of Nahmi.
TURN 289. An unlucky group of Cardassian ships is still "defending" Nahmi.
We only have fast attack ships, but in addition to Scouts we have still more Defiants.
The Cardies actually had a surprisingly large number of Troop Transports in their empire.
We are starting to run low on Scouts for our invasion fleets. Nahmi was likely a core Cardassian system from the beginning, so it has an unusually large number of Orbital Batteries for such a small system.
TURN 290. The Cardies in the center keep going back to Largo, and a Defiant squad manages to find a decent group of them.
Luckily for our Defiants, only 2 of the command ships are Battleships. One of the Cruisers is still damaged from a previous encounter.
The Defiants charge right ahead despite the fact that the Cardie fleet has the numbers.
The Romulans may have underestimated the Defiants, but the Cardassians certainly don't. They're actually retreating from us!
Nahmi is captured. It appears that President Janeway has no intention of putting an end to this unpopular war.
TURN 291. If anything, the invasions are increasing. Largo is now targeted by our other main fleet. As for the prowling Defiants, some will help bombard Largo while one squad will attack ships on Solarion.
TURN 292. The power of the Defiant will certainly be put to the test now.
The Defiant squad may have bitten off more than it can chew: Solarion has received reinforcements. The Cardassian fleet includes 5 Battleships and more than a dozen light ships.
But the Defiants have never been defeated in battle, so they rush forward as always.
Defiants are very quick, but it is impossible to dodge such a number of Cardassian torpedoes.
After the first round of combat, the Cardies still have all their Battleships but have lost their Strike Cruisers to our attacks. The Defiants hope to down the Battleships in the next round.
The poor Defiants are now being attacked from behind as all the Cardassian Destroyers close in.
The Battleships are too tough to be brought down so easily. Switching tactics, the Defiants swing back around to pick off the small ships chasing them. They're beginning to do real damage to the Cardassian fleet, but after taking so many hits, the Defiants are going down, too.
Only 2 Defiants remain, but the amount of kills they've scored against the Destroyers is impressive.
The Cardassian command ships have not been taken out, so the Defiants have no further ability to deal with the incoming fire.
The last Defiant is now the primary target of the remaining Cardassians.
The squadron of Defiants prove they fight just as bravely when they're outnumbered. But the Cardassians have inflicted their first defeat and prove they're still a power to be reckoned with. Losing system after system has done nothing to blunt their tenacity.
The people of the Federation learn that an invasion has been repelled by brave Cardassian soldiers. The Humans are outraged by the toll against civilians and secretly delighted that their own imperialism has been thwarted.
But everyone is furious about the military's loss in the Battle of Solarion.
Military leadership, and that of President Janeway, are treated with scorn. They are mocked when they point out that we lost 5 ships and the Cardies lost 15. Spinning the battle as a victory fails. "The Cardassians were supposed to have been defeated back on Cardassia Prime? What happened to the so-called brilliance of Operation Pale Moonlight?" Scathing editorials are written in every paper.
The Federation has grown tired of President Janeway. Pollsters measure the empire's morale, which is at its lowest state yet. Janeway dismisses the reports. "I am making the best of the military that I inherited from my predecessors, who lost battles of their own. The present criticism of my administration has nothing to do with these temporary setbacks and everything to do with the fact that some people cannot accept the idea of a strong, independent woman in charge. I have no intention of changing course. Rest assured, the invasions will continue."
The invasion of Largo is scrapped due to the lack of Troop Transports. Instead, the warships are ordered to strike the remaining Cardassians on Solarion.
TURN 293. This time, we will have a lot more Defiants and a lot fewer targets.
Perhaps it is by chance, but the Cardassian Battleships are have already gone elsewhere.
With no serious threats, it is just the bloodbath that Janeway called for.
TURN 294. A squadron of 4 Defiants attempts to hunt down the Battleships and runs into a dozen Cardassian command ships.
At first, it appears we will lose another group of Defiants. But only 3 of the command ships are Battleships, and they have no support from light ships.
The captains of the Defiants are astonished when they see the Cardassian force actually retreating in the face of just 4 of them. The Cardies definitely don't like Defiants.
Next door to Cardassia Prime, Marcus is another system that may have been part of their core. To prevent another debacle like the failed attempt against Largo, a huge group of Troop Transports is deployed to invade.
TURN 295. The 4 Defiants feel invincible after chasing away so many Cardassians.
This time they wipe out a Strike Cruiser and yet another Troop Transport.
The Federation press are unable to conceal their glee at the news of our failed invasion of Marcus. During the evening news, a popular anchorman intones, "We were all told that a group of 9 Troop Transports supported by anti-Orbital warships could take on anything our former allies could set against it. But it appears that our leadership has failed to take into account the power of the Cardassian spirit and their desire to remain free men. It seems to this reporter that our so-called enemies are cast in the mold of our Federation's own founders, who valued independence above all else. In attempting to oppress them, we are fighting our own ghosts. As a journalist, I am trained to objectively weigh the facts and nothing more. It is my conclusion that this war is lost. President Janeway must resign, effective immediately."