Part 60: Turn 107TURN 107
Our intel chief sends a terse, grammatically-incorrect message about our main power source being destroyed on Yridia.
The event report is not as sober. Pandemonium has ensued in Yridia, where 9 million are killed in the violence. In the wake of the Cardassian attack on Mintaka, rebel Yridians claim the only way for the minor races to save themselves is to break with the empire.
The Cardassian fleet pounded Mintaka without losing ships, but at least a few of their Cruisers have sustained hull damage. Mintakans are ordered to make the Cardassians bleed for every attack.
TURN 108. Gul Dukat's rant is backed up by his actions. President Picard comes under heavy pressure to issue a statement about Dukat's genocidal new policy. Picard points out, "It is not the policy of the Federation to second-guess the actions of our allies. Cardassians have a distinct culture and, in the spirit of embracing diversity, should not be judged according to our own cultural norms. Especially not when they have had to deal with the barbaric, bloodthirsty Klingons."
A new Orbital Battery is purchased each turn on Mintaka. The Cardassian Cruiser Bonecrusher has almost been destroyed.
Mintaka is running out of time. Its population has been whittled down to 45 million and there is no relief in sight.
TURN 109. Half the remaining population of Mintaka is killed in the latest attack. Chancellor Gowron rages about his perfidious Romulan allies who allow Cardassia to attack through Romulan territory. Romulan senator Vreenak finally addresses Dukat's controversial remarks about killing all the Klingons. "Regardless of which side you are on in this conflict," Vreenak remarks, "there is no questioning the passion and sincerity with which Gul Dukat put forward his views. And to many objective observers, he also presented a convincing 'theory of the case' to support his position. As always, Romulus will remain neutral in this conflict and will provide logistical support to either party. Should the Klingons wish to mount an attack on the southwestern quadrant of the galaxy, we would certainly offer them free passage through our territory."
The Cardassians have been rearranging their attack ships so that the damaged ones go to the back of the line, away from the brunt of the Orbital Battery defense. This is how the Cardies manage to chip away at one Battery after the next without losing any ships.
The Mintakans remain fierce in their defiance of the death fleet over their heads. Vice Chancellor Martok meets with the Mintakan general and assures him that he will see him in the afterlife. "Whether you live or die in battle is of no consequence," Martok says, "What matters is that you do your best." But the Cardassians' destruction has now made it impossible to fuel any more Batteries. The Mintakans pray for a miracle.
The people of the empire are awed by the courage and discipline of the Mintakans. But they are deeply disturbed by the powerlessness of the Klingon government.
TURN 110. The news is heartbreaking. All life on Mintaka is destroyed. The Mintakan race is now extinct. The Klingons mourn them as their own.
We no longer have any scan strength on Mintaka. Having lost contact, we cannot see the Cardassian fleet which must still be there. Mintaka has been rendered uninhabited. But to any empire who wishes to re-colonize the system, it is an attractive one. But because it is next door to a Romulan colony, it is now a sector of Romulan territory. We cannot reclaim Mintaka without declaring war against the Romulans. The system was ours, the Cardassians destroyed it, and the diabolical Romulans reaped the benefits.
TURN 111. It seems we are not the only empire to lose a system. The Ferengi no longer have a claim on the Shelia system. Apparently the Sheliak have declared independence. Considering how powerful the Ferengi are, they should have no problem getting the system back.
The Cardassian fleet from Mintaka has ventured onward toward Caldonia and is only now picked up by our scanners. It seems the Dukat's bloodlust has not been satisfied. Even worse, they picked up a Troop Transport along the way. If they successfully capture Caldonia, they will have a springboard from which to launch attacks at the core of our empire.
This time, however, luck is on our side. The Mintakans' stiff resistance has bought us just enough time to complete the Starbase on Caldonia. Our defense fleet consists of a pair of Scouts. They must not allow the Mintakans' sacrifice to have been in vain.
TURN 112. The battle is joined. Because the Cardassians destroyed Mintaka rather than capturing it, they were not able to extend their ship range. Their medium-range ships are in a position to attack Caldonia, but they must leave their Battleships at home. Even so, they have a sizable invasion fleet at their command.
At a great distance from the Starbase, the enemy fleet appears like little specks. Our Scouts and the Starbase are ordered to attack the enemy Troop Transport to prevent invasion should they fail to win the day.
Our weapons find their mark and we succeed in killing the Transport. Now the real battle begins.
Our only hope is to kill the 6 Cruisers before they can get within weapons range of the Starbase. Their shields are at full, but many of the Cruisers' hulls bear the scars of the Mintakans' Orbital Batteries.
Our Scouts assist in attacking the Cruisers. The Cardassian ships shrug off their attacks and press further toward the Starbase.
The Starbase fires its weapons on the Cruisers, but at extreme range, even the Starbase is having trouble getting hits.
We continually renew the attacks. At last, the shields of the Cruisers are wearing down. Thanks in part to our Mintakan brothers, a Cruiser's hull explodes shortly afterward.
We are running out of time. But it is remarkable how many of the Cruisers were damaged by the Batteries. The Starbase and our Scouts focus their attacks to pick off the Cruisers one by one.
The Cardassians are undaunted and follow their orders to the letter. They ignore the Scouts completely, and the Scouts struggle just to keep on their tail.
The remaining Cardassian ships come within firing distance of the Starbase and open up. They have a lot of ships at their disposal, but the loss of nearly all Cruisers takes away most of their firepower. The Starbase's shields are going down, but slowly.
Our Scouts are pleased once the Cardassian force is culled down to its light ships only. They ravage the enemy Destroyers and Scouts. Our Starbase's shields are able to hold up to the enemy's limited damage output. For the first time, an enemy fleet has been destroyed by a victorious Klingon empire.
The sheer extent of the enemy's loss is breathtaking. We suffer no losses of our own.
At last, we have good news to cheer the troops. Vice Chancellor Martok cannot restrain himself from broadcasting an unauthorized message to the Cardassians. "The ghosts of Mintaka have reached beyond the grave to strangle your fleet. As for you, Dukat, I will have your head for an ornament on my desk!"