Part 54: Turn 41TURN 41
If the Romulans were attempting to do real damage to the Ferengi's eastern fleet, they failed. Next door to the probable attack site, the Ferengi have another sizable collection of warships.
TURN 42. We've been good at keeping our empire safe thus far, but the Cardassians have finally breached our security. They have targeted our scientific infrastructure to great effect, blowing up nearly all of the laboratories on Volon.
It's time to change priorities. Volon and Qo'nos must both build a bunch of intel centers and staff them. Our colonies can't really do that yet, so our core two systems will have to shoulder the burden.
TURN 43. The Romulans issue another demand which we politely ignore. As a practical matter, we probably won't be able to bribe any of the empires. Since our economy is so small compared to theirs, we'd just go bankrupt.
TURN 44. The Federation continues to pester us with requests to declare war against what they see as the primary threat in the galaxy. Obviously they can't reach the Ferengi empire with their own ships, so they need someone else to do their dirty work.
Our scientist, though covered in soot from the explosions of his labs on Volon, happily reports a breakthrough in weapons technology. He makes some claims about torpedo maneuverability that are hard to believe. But who cares? We can officially build Starbases! We'll begin the upgrade on Volon immediately.
Our main goal is to invent the Bird of Prey. Just prior to that, we'll invent the Attack Cruiser. Only two more tech upgrades are needed.
TURN 45. Why is everyone demanding money all of a sudden? Chancellor Gowron didn't win the lottery. The Ferengi demand about a third of our treasury. Luckily the Ferengi diplomat is neutral toward us, so he doesn't seem likely to break our non-aggression pact.
TURN 46. Our first Random Event occurs, and it's too minor to be noteworthy. Klingons scan the skies for any sign of Borg or other intergalactic travelers, but they see none so far.
Somehow a Cardassian Scout makes his way to Yridia. Technically we're at war with Cardassia, and this is all they can send. It's weird that he appears to have come from our southeast, because we believed Cardassia is to the southwest. In any case, the Cardassians are too distant to be a bother.
Except for their spies, of course. Our intel power jumps from 400 up to nearly 600 since our recent improvements. We catch some Cardies in the act, a sign of robust security.
TURN 47. Before we do anything else, one of our two core systems will need to be designated as the manufacturing powerhouse. Volon is chosen because it has a bigger population than Qo'nos and because it doesn't need energy to power all the special structures on Qo'nos. We're going to upgrade the factories to level 6. This will take 21 turns. Considering we're at turn 47, you can see it's a huge investment of time. We can't buy the upgrade because it would cost much more than our entire treasury.
Our lone Colony Ship has done right by the Caldonians and expanded their potential population. Next it will terraform Mintaka, and finally it will choose a system to colonize.
TURN 49. That lone Cardassian Scout is flying around our southern empire aimlessly. We send some Scouts out to try and catch it. There's also a Romulan Scout over by Qo'nos, so apparently this is scouting season.
We may as well get in on the act, since we have so many Scouts of our own. While a pack of Scouts try to catch that Cardie, another Scout will be sent to the southeast to figure out where the other empires are.
TURN 50. This is a job we're glad we don't have to do under the gun. Our homeworld only started out with 4 Orbital Batteries. We added a bunch to Volon earlier, and now we will set up extras on Qo'nos.
TURN 51. We thought we had been making progress on our internal security, but it seems the Cardassians are going to keep at it no matter what.
The Starbase on Volon is complete. While the mark I version offers less protection than the one you can build starting on Civilization Level 5, it's a helluva lot more than an Outpost. The Outpost on Qo'nos begins its upgrade. If the Ferengi betray us, we'll make them bleed before they conquer us.
In the southeast, our scouting Scout has finally located a Federation sector.
TURN 52. It's always bad news when rival powers make peace with each other, but at least this means Cardassian ships can't cut across Romulan territory to attack (or scout) us.
TURN 53. Our Scout charting Fed territory happens upon a somewhat heavily-guarded system with a funny name.
Before using his cloak turn to retreat, our Scout reports the presence of a Vulcan ship among the Federation fleet.
But somehow he manages to make first contact with the Benzites instead.
In scientific news, we've discovered level 6 energy. The Cardassian saboteur on Volon has not slowed us down one bit.
After lengthy meetings with President Picard, Gul Dukat has formed a diplomatic strategy for dealing with the Ferengi menace. All other empires will make peace with each other to isolate the Ferengi. He has no difficulty persuading the Romulans or the Feds. That leaves us Klingons. Dukat offers to pay us 1,940 credits to make peace with him. Considering the Cardassian intel reports must show we're less advanced than they, it must have been humbling. We will take his money. Dukat is thrilled. "At last, we are all on the same page!"
Our Scout in the southeast is bounced from Quazulu following his retreat. In doing so, he gets a snapshot of the Federation fleet nearby. They have an impressive number of warships. It's a good thing they're so far away from our territory. As we thought, Federation expansion has been blocked by the Romulans.
We have finished terraforming Mintaka, so our Colony Ship will go all the way to the northeastern system of Volchok and colonize it.
TURN 54. Our people are disappointed to hear of the peace treaty we signed with Dukat. But as soon as the check clears, we will renew hostilities. Chancellor Gowron sends a personal message to the Cardassian leader, to be opened the next day. "I never respected you, Dukat," it reads, "You are a fool."
While our short-lived treaty with the Cardassians is still in effect, we get a look at the shape of their empire. It is the purplish mass just to the west of the Romulans and Feds. It does seem like those three empires are kind of in each others' way, though the Cardies have clear access to the southwest. Overall, the Ferengi are plainly in the best position: They have a huge swath of space already and no one to challenge them in the west-northwest.
The terraforming of Mintaka means it will grow even more quickly. We buy the Mintakan farm using Dukat's money.
TURN 55. Dukat pounds his desk when he reads Gowron's declaration of war. Though Gowron expected his people to be happy, they have mixed feelings due to the breach of honor involved. "But an oath to a scoundrel is meaningless!" he attempts to explain.
Though there is no love lost between the two leaders, there's no questioning Dukat's logic. Somehow, someone needs to figure out a way of stopping the Ferengi.