Part 52: Turn 28TURN 28
Cardassian leader Gul Dukat wastes no time in making demands. The Cardies want to show who's boss.
But we know who our real boss is: the Ferengi. Their diplomat's hostility indicates they are close to launching war against us. The Ferengi propose a war pact: They'll declare war against Cardassia if we do. It is an offer we cannot refuse. We hate the Cardassians and we need to curry favor with the Ferengi. Besides, we haven't seen so much as a square of Cardie territory, so there's no risk here.
To underscore the point, we detect a Ferengi War Cruiser within one turn of Volon.
TURN 29. We hear warning bells on Volon, but it's just another Ferengi Scout come to give us an easy victory.
The Ferengi declare war against Cardassia, as agreed.
This is our first war against another empire. We know the Cardassians are planning to sabotage us anyway, so we might as well give them a reason. Chancellor Gowron demands the Klingon ambassador to Cardassia describe the look on Dukat's face when told two empires have declared war against him.
The people of the empire are thrilled to learn of our new war, even as the war against Yridia is just getting underway.
Morale shoots up in every system. Even the wet blankets on Volon are content.
The Yridian diplomat begs for mercy. Don't they understand? Opportunities for glorious battles abound. That is Klingon mercy.
TURN 30. Our two Troop Transports arrive on Yridia to learn of a cloaked ship there. I had completely forgotten about Yridians' cloaking Scouts, and failed to bring a Scout of our own to escort the Transports.
The Klingon Troop Transports carry weapons, however, so there is no rerun of the fiasco that occurred with the Yridian Scout during the Romulan playthrough. The Yridian retreats.
Gul Dukat sends an urgent communication to President Picard. "I received not one but two unprovoked war declarations from my enemies," says Dukat. "What more proof do you need that it is the Cardassians who value peace?" Picard is convinced, and an affiliation treaty is signed between the two empires.
Meanwhile, Dukat shows his true colors in his message to the Klingons.
Our non-aggression treaty with the Romulans will run out after its 25 turns are up. That's more than enough reason to accept their offer of an indefinite affiliation treaty. We don't trust the Romulans, and we know of their Machiavellian ways, but this looks like our best chance of keeping Mintaka safe. The affiliation treaties going around all have the effect of isolating the Ferengi, who have the largest empire. Obviously the Ferengi are seen as the biggest threat.
The Yridians do not yet have the technology to build Orbital Batteries, and their population is small. Our 2 Troop Transports should be enough to conquer the system.
TURN 31. Another Ferengi Scout is sacrificed to our ever-growing Scout fleet on Volon.
Our warriors prove themselves more than capable in ground combat. It is our first invasion, and it is a glorious victory, as per Klingon custom.
We have signed our first high-level treaty with an empire. We can now move freely among the Romulan empire, use their extended ship range, and cannot be attacked by their ships.
The people are disappointed to hear of our diplomatic coup with the Romulans, but the news of Yridia's conquest is more than enough to drown out their concerns.
Using Romulan infrastructure, we can send medium-range ships all the way to the southern edge of the galaxy. Not that we'd particularly want to.
Our southern border is absolutely secure, but our western border remains incredibly vulnerable. 2 sectors from Volon, we spot a Ferengi Marauder and 2 Troop Transports. If we can't handle a War Cruiser, you can imagine the havoc they could cause by sending a Marauder at us.
The Ferengi are about as close to war with us as you can get, judging by their diplomat's demeanor. In a stunning break with Klingon tradition, we will send them an offer of a non-aggression treaty for 25 turns. It's a desperate move. We can offer them no credits, as their economy is so rich that we would have to give them practically everything we have to alter their calculus. We will offer them the disputed territories. However, there are no disputed territories. Hopefully they won't notice.
Volon now hosts 12 orbital batteries that can be powered at a moment's notice. It begins building more Scouts. Our only hope of defense against the Ferengi would be to use the Scouts' cloak turn to kill Troop Transports, then raise the Batteries and hope they destroy the invasion fleet.
TURN 32. Another Ferengi Scout goes missing while trying to explore our territory.
The empire's leadership breathes a collective sigh of relief upon seeing the Ferengi's new Outpost. That's what they needed the Troop Transports for. But it will also extend their range further into our empire. Amusingly, their new Outpost also extends their territorial claim slightly, so that 2 new disputed sectors appear. One of them contains Sigma Iotia, a small, uninhabited system. Because the Ferengi will receive and review our peace offer this turn, we are unintentionally offering them full rights to Sigma Iotia!
The Yridian diplomat requests an end to the war. Because he's on board the Yridian Scout ship, he doesn't know that we already ended that war. His side lost.
As we believed, the Federation consider the Ferengi to be the primary threat in this galaxy. Their diplomat hypocritically and self-righteously encourages us to continue blowing up the Ferengi Scouts.
In addition, the war-mongering Humans want us to sign a war pact against the Romulans. No dice. We send a diplomat to Romulus and promptly inform Senator Vreenak of the Federation's true intentions.
TURN 33. Apparently at Dukat's request, the Federation has declared war against the Ferengi. Perhaps Picard is part Klingon?
In a bizarre stroke of luck, our accidental offering of the Sigma Iotia system has sweetened the peace offer significantly. The Ferengi cannot resist free stuff. We are completely safe on our western border. For now.