Part 58: Turn 92TURN 92
The Cardassian invasion fleet has bypassed Mintaka and is headed directly for Caldonia, just as we feared. It seems that Caldonia is just out of their short-ranged ships' range, but they have more than enough medium-ranged ships to fly against us.
Our 3 Troop Transports were working frantically to upgrade the Outpost into a Starbase. They should be almost done, but the Cardassians are determined to derail the project.
Until recently we assumed Mintaka would be conquered before the Cardassians would make a move on Caldonia. We didn't have time to construct elaborate defenses. We'll buy Orbital Batteries as many times as we can.
TURN 93. A peculiar thing has happened. The Outpost on Caldonia technically doesn't exist during the upgrade process. Since the Cardassian fleet's ships and our Troop Transports are both ordered to Avoid rather than Engage, they somehow coexist in the same sector. The Starbase will be completed next turn, but will it technically exist before or after the space battle phase of the turn takes place?
Scouts were built on Qo'nos and Volon during this turn and can arrive at Caldonia in one turn. If the Starbase is completed, they can both help defend it against the enemy fleet.
Meanwhile, it seems our problems don't end with Caldonia. A powerful Cardassian fleet is detected next to Mintaka, and it has a Troop Transport. The Cardies are attacking us with two invasion fleets at the same time. We barely have resources to try to defend in one place at a time.
TURN 94. The Cardassian fleet on Caldonia orders an invasion. Sadly, we're not given the benefit of the Starbase that should finish its build this turn.
Our Scouts will decloak and attack the enemy's light ships while our Troop Transports fire on the enemy Troop Transport.
The enemy fleet has no trouble eliminating our Troop Transports. Another Starbase has been aborted.
Our strategy of splitting our fire proves to be a major tactical blunder. Our Troop Transports did not quite succeed in killing the Cardassian Transport. Nor can our Scouts finish it off: Ships have the option of retreating during battle, and if their side wins, they are deemed to have stayed in the sector. Thus, if a Troop Transport survives the first round of battle, it can retreat and still launch an invasion if its side wins.
Our Scouts have been robbed of the opportunity to kamikaze the enemy Troop Transport. They are easily wiped out by the enemy. The Caldonians must fend off the Cardassian invaders on the ground.
With the help of the bunker network and superb Klingon training, our armies on Caldonia manage to repel the invasion. It is unexpected and very welcome news.
However, all our recent defeats have severely depleted morale. It has been a long time since we last won something. Even our core system of Volon is "disgruntled", the same morale classification suffered by enslaved peoples.
Nevertheless, the Cardassians no longer have the ability to invade Caldonia. Their only options are to get another Troop Transport or to bomb the system to death.
We are currently fielding no ships of any kind anywhere in the galaxy. The second Cardassian fleet, comprised of 4 Battleships, a Strike Cruiser, a Cruiser and a Troop Transport, arrive at Mintaka unopposed.
Our ground-based defenses on Mintaka are somewhat more robust than on Caldonia. In addition to the bunker network, we have 3 Orbital Batteries active and are buying them as quickly as we can.
TURN 95. Whether the Cardassians ordered an invasion or merely a bombardment is unknown, because apparently our Orbital Batteries destroyed their Troop Transport in orbit. 18 million Mintakans are dead, but they remain as defiant as ever.
Cardassian leader Gul Dukat declined to have his other fleet bombard Caldonia. He claims that he is a liberator, not a murderer. But it's no help to us: Morale on Caldonia has suffered enough to inspire a civil war. Incredibly, the Klingon government has been overthrown by the timid race of researchers. We have lost Caldonia.
Chancellor Gowron loses even more respect among his people and must guard himself against assassination attempts daily. The idea of the great Klingon empire losing territory is a hateful one.
The Romulans demand 2,275 credits as a bribe. Shamefully, we must accept. The empire would certainly fall if the Romulans turned against us, as they appear ready to.
I still can't figure out how the Cardies lost their Troop Transport during a bombardment rather than invasion. In any event, our Batteries also brought one of their Strike Cruisers to half hull strength. Cardassian ships have the strongest hulls and are the most resistant to Batteries. Lucky us.
The independent government of Caldonia hates us. Legally speaking, we are still at war with them from our original declaration of war so long ago.
TURN 96. Despite Dukat's policy of not bombing systems, another 11 million Mintakans are killed by the Battleships he left behind.
None of the Battleships succumb to the Battery. A new Battery is immediately purchased and energized.
Scouts are built on Volon and Qo'nos again, and both are ordered to Caldonia. We must see if it's possible to get that system back.
TURN 97. No bombardments occurred this turn. To make up for this, seismic disturbances killed 5 million on the northeastern colony of Volchok.
We're desperate for any kind of good news. The Klingon empire's scientist has made a breakthrough in propulsion technology.
We are only a single tech discovery away from inventing the Bird of Prey. Our science power has been cut in half due to the morale drops and bombings of laboratories. The loss of Caldonia didn't help either, since the Caldonians had been giving us a 25% bonus to all research. Fortunately, the last tech upgrade we need is in weapons technology, and we get a 100% bonus to that.
Our 2 Scouts arrive on Caldonia. They will move a sector away in case the Cardassians return. Caldonia has one Orbital Battery--the one we built for them. They claim to hate us and all imperialists, but they have no problem taking advantage of the infrastructure and terraforming we gave them.
TURN 98. The Feds and the Romulans sign an affiliation treaty. To sum up the diplomatic situation: The Cardassians and Feds have an alliance with each other and each has an affiliation treaty with the Romulans. Those three powers are all at war with the Ferengi. We have a friendship treaty with the Ferengi and an affiliation treaty with the Romulans.
We had been in a phony war with the Cardies and Feds just to improve our morale, but when the Cardassians got an affiliation treaty with the Romulans, they were actually able to use the Romulans' ship range to attack us. Now that the Feds also have access to Romulan territory and range, we must consider that they could attack us as well.
TURN 100. It appears the medium and short-range Cardassian ships have united next door to Mintaka in a 20-ship fleet. Will the Mintakans' nightmare ever end?