Part 48: Turn 324TURN 324
In the west, our invasion fleet conquers the last remaining Cardassian stronghold. Though it is near the former Klingon empire, it is populated by the Cardies themselves. The Cardassian leader, Gul Damar, considered it the best location for a last stand: The other remaining Cardie systems are former Ferengi and Romulan areas. But the system is taken and Damar is imprisoned. "Looks like I picked the wrong day to give up drinking," he remarks.
TURN 328. All of our ships move to the east. In the far northeast, the Starbase at Romulus scans the presence of a refugee Cardassian Troop Transport trying desperately to be relevant. It is constructing an Outpost. Blue Horizon and Hurkos are the Cardassians' poor, isolated systems in the Romulan north.
For morale purposes, the RNS Moth is assigned to go up north alone and destroy the Outpost.
The warships have arrived at Brax, a system of enslaved Ferengi. We'd built a number of Scouts to prepare for all the Orbital Batteries we'll need to go through. 7 Scouts are assigned to a task force with the 2 Dreadnoughts, which will remain at the top of the ship list.
TURN 329. 3 Orbital Batteries were destroyed but only one ship. The Dreadnoughts will always survive, so we'll save 2 Scouts per system.
TURN 330. The Troop Transports still have not arrived, but the bombing continues. President Janeway is compounding atrocity upon atrocity.
TURN 331. The RNS Moth has arrived at Blue Horizon. The Cardassians' structure there is an Outpost in every sense.
The Moth decloaks and unloads every torpedo it can. If the Destroyer is to eliminate this Outpost, it will need to make full use of its free turn.
The Moth performs well, almost bringing down the Outpost's shields. But now it must face incoming fire.
There are a number of tactical possibilities. A Destroyer could circle around the Outpost, hoping to avoid getting hit. Such a ship would hope to slowly wear down the Outpost's remaining defenses.
But the RNS Moth charges straight at the Outpost and shoots it to death instead. The Federation public is thrilled by this tale of bravery. But with no Cardassian ships in sight, it may be the last such tale they hear for awhile.
TURN 332. The bombing of Brax continues. The Troop Transports finally arrive, so we can invade instead of just killing people.
TURN 333. The benighted Brax suffers a rare fate: Our forces are so strong that the collateral damage actually kills everyone in the invasion, leaving the system uninhabited instead of under our control. The Federation has committed its first act of genocide.
TURN 334. The fleet moves next door to Ferenginar itself. President Janeway reveals a heretofore unknown grudge against the Ferengi, claiming she's always hated them. Great.
TURN 335. The warships are ordered to launch an initial salvo to bring down the defenses before we risk using Troop Transports against such a large population.
TURN 336. Afterward, the rule over Ferenginar passes from one species to another.
Janeway orders that none of Ferenginar's resources be put into the farms, leaving the Ferengi to starve. "I understand the Ferengi are very resourceful capitalists. Why should my government feed them? Let the rat vermin find their own food." But all known food sources remain under government control.
TURN 337. The fleet moves one sector over and launches another invasion. There are 3 Cardassian-controlled systems here, the former Romulan system of Moab, and the 2 former Romulan systems in the north. Total Federation control of the galaxy is within sight.
TURN 338. Another Troop Transport is unloaded to take Aucdet without incident.
There have been no spaceship victories in awhile, and the people of the Federation return to their revolutionary roots. The Merak system, which is also near our core, has declared independence. A relatively non-lethal civil war occurs in Ligos, leaving zero dead.
TURN 339. The enslaved Ferengi of Zayra are the next victim on the chopping block.
TURN 340. The people of the galaxy are astonished to learn that the Ferengi army on Zayra, led by General Nog, has actually defeated the Federation invasion force. We have no Troop Transports left.
TURN 341. When the President is told that we no longer have any means of invading the system, she responds, "We still have ships, don't we? The siege will continue." For the first time, the Federation will order the intentional murder of all life on a system.
TURN 342. As the bombing continues, Caldos succumbs to revolution once again. A new name for the President has caught on: They are denouncing Janeway as "The Butcher of Brax".
TURN 345. Eventually, every last Ferengi on Zayra is killed under the weight of the bombardment. Questioned about this new policy in an interview, Janeway answers, "This is the humane way to deal with the remaining alien-controlled systems in our galaxy. They will not suffer starvation or the indignity of a life in bondage. Our bombs will rain day and night, so about half of them will die peacefully in their sleep."
TURN 346. The Cardassians of Bilana are stirred by tales of General Nog's brave resistance on Zayra. Before learning of his death (and that of everyone else on Zayra), they are stirred to rebellion.
Not only has Bilana declared independence and driven out the Federation military, they have broken Gul Damar out of prison and returned him to power. Bilana officially rejoins the Cardassian empire.
TURN 351. Janeway is outraged to learn of the news on Bilana. "To think of all the time we've wasted conquering the Cardassian systems instead of wiping them clean. This proves that the only final solution is to exterminate, not subjugate our enemies."
TURN 352. Damar is under no illusions: Bilana must be armed to the teeth if it is to remain free. He springs into action and starts rebuilding Orbital Batteries as quickly as he can.
In the east, a dozen Defiants arrive on Moab ahead of the Dreadnoughts and Scouts. They can begin the assault against Moab immediately, as there are no Batteries. This was the last system the Cardies had taken from the Romulans (actually post-Operation Pale Moonlight). There is still evidence of damage.
TURN 358. Moab has been obliterated and the fleet arrives on Hurkos in the far northeast. The Defiants have waited for the Dreadnoughts and Scouts to deal with the defenses for them.
TURN 359. Relva, another northwestern system that had previously revolted and been reconquered, has gone rogue once more. The Federation is crumbling.
TURN 363. But all President Janeway can think about is making sure the Cardassian empire falls first.
TURN 364. The Cardassians have only 2 systems left: Blue Horizon in the northeast, and Bilana in the southwest. Our fleet has almost run out of Scouts now. We have 2 Dreadnoughts, 7 Scouts, 12 Defiants, and the only 2 Heavy Cruisers to survive everything thus far. And, of course, we have the RNS Moth guarding the Starbase near Ferenginar.
TURN 367. Spica has seceded. Luckily these independent systems do not count as an empire together, otherwise they would be a fast-growing one.
Spica is a system in the far south, one of those we colonized prior to Operation Pale Moonlight. Civil war and neglect have taken their toll on the population, which remains minimal after all this time.
Our total intelligence power has dropped by about 2,500 points from its height, due to low morale, terrorist attacks against intel centers, and systems lost to rebellion.
TURN 370. The rebellions show no sign of slowing down.
TURN 375. The once great Romulan colony of Blue Horizon has been reduced to a smoldering pile of rubble. The free Cardassians hunker down on Bilana and await the inevitable. With no dilithium, they can build no defense fleet. Janeway graciously allows the RNS Moth to fly from its post to join the assault on Bilana.
TURN 376. Damar has managed to build and power 5 Orbital Batteries before our fleet arrives. He trains as many soldiers and civilians as possible to defend themselves, but he knows there will be no ground assault.
TURN 377. For all their efforts, the Cardassians can only knock out 3 Scouts. The rest of the fleet remains intact. Nothing can save them now.
TURN 382. The population of Bilana has been reduced to almost nothing. The Moth arrives and is given the order to bomb the final traces of resistance in the galaxy. When Bilana is gone, the "independent" Human colonies will automatically revert to Janeway's control.
TURN 383. At the last moment, Damar appears onboard the RNS Moth and attempts to commandeer the vessel for Cardassia. However, he is clumsy and is killed by one of the Starfleet officers on board.
President Janeway is master of all that she surveys. She attends a victory celebration on board her old ship, the USS Voyager. The event is only intended to be a three-hour tour, but the Voyager vanishes, never to be seen again.
Vice President Archer is sworn in as the new leader of the Federation. Little is known of the man and noone is certain whether he really supported the policies of the "Butcher of Brax". President Archer announces that he will give a speech that will explain everything about who he is, what he stands for, and where the Federation is going. In preparing his remarks, he knows that it will be the most important speech he will ever give.
The whole galaxy watches with baited breath as President Archer strides to the podium. "People of the galaxy," he begins, "Today I present to you a vision of our future. From this day forward, our galaxy will be ruled according to the following principles." Archer clears his throat, and suddenly hunches over. He looks up and spins to look around the auditorium.
There is a prolonged silence, broken only by Archer saying, "Ummm..."
A murmur goes through the crowd. One of the President's aides rushes up to the podium to see if something is wrong. Archer whispers to him, "Am I supposed to... Heh..."
The aide whispers in his ear, "Sir, the galaxy is waiting for you to explain what's going to happen now that you're the President!"
Archer looks at the audience and gulps nervously. "Oh boy."
The history of the game in a line chart. The effect of Operation Pale Moonlight can be clearly seen on the Cardassian line. I'm not sure what the dramatic "V" shape represents on our own line, except maybe the loss of some power points for having an alliance.
Our total victory gives us fewer points than our alliance victory did.
NEXT TIME: The Klingon Empire.