Part 46: Turn 295TURN 295
Our intelligence officers report that we have successfully breached Cardassian security to the point where we are capable of stealing ships. The officer in charge of the report does not even notice the ship's designation has "RNS" instead of the Cardassian "CDS". The stolen ship is the RNS Moth, a Romulan Destroyer. It is the only Romulan ship still in existence.
During the Romulan-Cardassian war, the Moth spearheaded a daring raid against Ferenginar and was later stolen by Cardassian agents. That's the official story. In reality, it was carrying a member of the Romulan senate named Vreenak on a secret diplomatic mission. A triple-agent, Vreenak tried to convince the Cardassians to switch sides, offering proof of a Federation plan to invade Cardassia Prime. Dukat dismissed the rumor and imprisoned Vreenak. Unware of Vreenak's duplicity, agents of the Federation's Section 13 helped the Romulan crew regain control and rescued Vreenak. Hence the experience points.
A group of 3 Battleships is within range to strike the Federation's core next turn. A Dreadnought will be built on both Sol and Quazulu to defend the Starbases.
Meanwhile, in the south, we still have enough leftover Troop Transports to make a second attempt against Marcus, the Cardassian core system that repelled our previous invasion.
TURN 296. Though a Dreadnought was purchased on Sol, it technically does not appear until after the combat rounds are done. Rats.
3 Battleships charge toward the Starbase, with nothing standing in their way but a pair of Scouts.
As the Battleships near the Starbase, one of them is destroyed and another seriously damaged.
Finally, the Starbase succumbs to the enemy fire. The 2 Battleships then kill the Scouts. President Janeway is subjected to renewed criticism. It is the first time a core system has been successfully attacked in any way since the Klingon war. Janeway vows to hunt down and kill the remaining pair of Battleships.
Our Defiants and one of two remaining Heavy Cruisers in northern space have ambushed another pair of Battleships.
Scratch two more of those deadly ships.
This time, our invasion of Marcus is a success. We have captured the entirety of the Cardassian core. But this only infuriates the public even more.
Janeway is eager to make an advance on the former Ferengi empire. A group of 3 Defiants will check out the area first, followed by our remaining assets in southern Cardassian space.
TURN 297. Cardassian intelligence must still be allocating most resources to sabotage, because their internal security is very weak. Our agents report the destruction of a Battleship. It was one of the 2 Battleships that killed the Starbase on Sol.
TURN 298. Sol is avenged quickly, as a squad of Defiants has already intercepted the remaining Battleship.
The Defiants strike with a vengeance. Many of their crews trained on Sol.
TURN 300. In the southeast near Ferenginar, our remaining assets have moved to try an invasion of Ligobis. But because our scan strength is weak over there, we did not anticipate the stiff resistance awaiting us.
Luckily, only 2 of the command ships are Battleships. Our own fleet is a motley crew. It includes the other remaining Heavy Cruiser in our fleet--the one that spent nearly all of its life defending the Starbase on Qo'nos. Our 7 fast attack ships consist of 3 Defiants, 3 Scouts (for dealing with Orbital Batteries), and the storied RNS Moth.
Our ships strike hard against the command ships arrayed against them.
Cardassian fire goes everywhere (except against the Moth, which was cloaked during the initial round). But as is so often the case, most enemy weapons are trained on the single Heavy Cruiser.
We've scored several kills. Surprisingly, the Cardassian fleet manages to eliminate one of our Defiants.
The Heavy Cruiser is down, but not yet out. The same is true of one of the Battleships.
Both are destroyed early the next round, along with one of our Scouts. The Moth is no longer cloaked, and it is nearly destroyed.
The Moth's shields are down and its hull is down to less than 50% strength. But it is a survivor, and the fast attack ships manage to kill off the rest of the Cardassian fleet.
It is another huge Federation victory.
We're now free to invade Ligobis. Unfortunately we don't have enough Scouts to deal with all of the Orbital Batteries now, so our Defiants will be at risk. The captain of the Moth convinces the fleet leader not to have the ship take part in the bombardment, citing hull damage from the battle.
TURN 301. Ligobis is now under Federation control. The Orbital Batteries proved fierce: Both Scouts and a Defiant were destroyed.
Enough resources have gathered on Largo for us to make a second invasion attempt of the stubborn Cardassian system. But President Janeway will take no chances here. Before invading, the warships will bomb the system and destroy all defenses.
TURN 302. The Federation is even more disturbed by the act of bombing a system. The only goal is death and destruction.
Intelligence officers turn pale when they're forced to inform Janeway of the biggest heist in galactic history: Cardassian spies have stolen over 80,000 credits.
Our intel strength was almost 10,000 at one point, but it has lowered due to poor morale. To avoid another ruinous theft, we'll concentrate entirely on internal security from now on.
TURN 303. Largo is finally taken, though the death toll is high on the Cardassian side.
We now control 51 systems, and the Cardies have only 14 left. Empire-wide morale has dropped to its lowest point thus far, averaging "defiant".
TURN 304. Next door to Ferenginar, there is another system weak enough to be assaulted with the remains of the Cardassia invasion fleet. We have one Scout to deal with the Orbital Battery and one Defiant for bombardment purposes. The captain of the Scout wants to know why the RNS Moth will avoid participating again. The answer is that it cannot because it was cloaked during the previous round, and only decloaked ships can attack a system. This is only half true--cloaked ships can be assigned to non-cloaked task forces and bomb due to a glitch.
At the same time, an invasion will be launched against Solarion. This was the site of a military defeat, and Janeway is eager to avenge the loss.
TURN 305. The Scout ship on Ariannus is not as lucky as the Moth; it is killed by the Orbital Battery. But the system is taken.
Solarion will trouble the Federation no more.
The Federation has long since lost its patience with President Janeway. Even systems populated by Humans have now reached the lowest level of morale: rebellious. The latest round of invasions have made it perfectly clear that she will not listen to what the people want. The Federation no longer holds onto even a shred of the values that once meant everything.
All throughout the empire, protests have turned to terrorism, riots, and even civil war. Vital structures are destroyed and millions are killed. One system--Ingraham B, the system with the dubious distinction of losing two Starbases--has actually seceded from the Federation. Other Federation systems are sympathizers.
Ingraham B is a tough loss to take, as it is one of the larger income-producers and is close to the core: one sector from Quazulu and two from Sol. President Janeway is forced to give a speech on the matter. "As you all know, I was once the captain of the USS Voyager. We were more than a crew. We were a family. And as Captain I was the head of the Voyager family. As President, I have a new family: the galaxy. The people of Ingraham B are behaving like spoiled children. And I will do to them what I would do to any rebellious child in my family. They will be punished."
President Janeway orders all available warships to set course for Ingraham B and crush the rebellion before it catches fire elsewhere.
TURN 306. But by the time they get there, they learn that the revolution has already spread.