Part 66: Turn 173TURN 173
We're the proud owners of the Sheliak's system, which has a big enough population to add a new trade route to the empire. We're building up a decent-sized treasury.
The Ferengi system of Deinonychus has become our new neighbor, and it's hopping with Ferengi activity. If the Ferengi want to attack us, they'll first be required to wait one turn to terminate the peace treaty. But they'll prepare themselves for war before that happens. We will watch Deinonychus carefully every turn from now on to look for clues that the Ferengi are planning to hit us.
We have nearly our whole navy guarding the construction of our planned Starbase on Shelia. The Ferengi buildup next door isn't necessarily a sign that an attack is imminent; they could be defending themselves on the border as normal, or our own buildup could be making them paranoid. It's (un)officially a cold war.
We have mixed feelings looking at the Sheliak's infrastructure. The Ferengi updated them to level 8 tech. There are tons of farms, power plants, and laboratories. We knew that few intel buildings would likely survive, but we weren't counting on every factory being blown up in our bombardment. If those factories had survived, we would have an industrial powerhouse on our hands. Instead, we'll need to buy any new structures.
On our homeworld, production ceases. Our empire's needs for intel power are overwhelming. We no longer have the population to both build ships and staff the intel centers. Only Volon remains as a ship-building system.
Our intel strength is considerable, however. In that respect we should be keeping up with our more advanced enemies, otherwise Cardassian sabotage would be even more common. We have 10 systems, the Federation-Cardassian alliance has 14, the Ferengi also have 14, and the Romulans are getting left in the dust. Interestingly, the Ferengi's vast empire only has 2 systems with dilithium--despite owning 3 Minor Races.
TURN 174. If the Sheliak have no factories, they will at least provide us with some good research power from all those level 8 laboratories. In addition, their special structure, when built, will grant a 100% bonus to biotech research. We rarely have to research that field, and will save building the structure for later.
TURN 175. We have a Scout a few sectors southwest of Caldonia to give us early warning of attacks. An intergalactic traveler named Gomtuu has been spotted. If we weren't busy on Shelia, we'd send some ships down there to pop him for morale.
Not surprisingly, the Ferengi are enraged at our conquest of Shelia. They won't be happy about the Starbase we're building there, either. But the fact remains, if we don't take risks, we'll keep falling behind.
It seems as though the Romulans are finally viewing us as real allies. Though we have had our affiliation treaty almost since the beginning, they are only now sending some of their noncombatant Troop Transport and Colony Ships up to our Starbases for safekeeping. There's nothing diabolical behind this; our scan strength is sufficient to detect cloaked warships in our territory and the Romulans aren't sending any of those.
TURN 176. Every turn that passes without the Ferengi terminating the peace treaty is a relief. Our only two Transport ships work night and day on the Starbase.
The Ferengi have been acting strangely, grouping and then spreading out their vast fleet around the border. It's like a military parade meant to intimidate us.
TURN 177. A rare positive Random Event occurs. The giant desert planet on Volon has become a jungle planet somehow.
TURN 178. Volon will have a maximum population of 440 million. And we'll need all of them, since this is now our only system for building lots of ships. We will build Birds of Prey continuously.
TURN 179. The Starbase is completed. Three empty sectors around the Deinonychus-Shelia border have become disputed territories. Eventually the Ferengi will demand these, and we'll hand them over to avoid war. The Ferengi buildup proceeds.
We haven't forgotten the fact that we got the Shelia system because the Sheliak rebelled against the Ferengi. A dose of police state should calm them down before we reveal our true intentions for this system.
For some time we have been planning to add more systems to our empire. Orellius would be decent-sized once terraformed (one planet already was and the Romulans left it apparently), and at least it's not as tempting a Federation target as New Halana is. Sadly it's on the wrong side of the Yridia Starbase, and Starbases can't be moved.
It's still worth taking. Qo'nos will buy a Colony Ship since it can't build one with all its population dedicated to labs and intel centers.
TURN 180. We'll also buy a Troop Transport or two to build a new Starbase on Orellius. Actually we could have bought these ships on Yridia's shipyard to save travel time, but whatever.
TURN 181. It's especially provocative when an enemy groups their warships into a large task force, but as long as they're not grouping Troop Transports in with them, you can't be certain of their intentions. In this task force, the Ferengi have 4 Marauders. Those are the most dangerous ships. A pair of Marauders is capable of taking down a Starbase on its own.
TURN 182. Our southwestern Scout reports Gomtuu has been sitting around peacefully. But the feds have sent a group of 3 Heavy Cruiser IIs our way. Are they going to murder Gomtuu or head for Caldonia?
TURN 183. Caldonia it is. A pair of our Birds will make it to Caldonia and arrive next turn, when the Feds do. That's what I like about having systems 2 sectors apart.
TURN 184. The Federation thinks it can menace us with 3 of its powerful medium-ranged command ships. The Birds of Prey arrive as expected. The Strike Cruiser who has been sitting here most of the time (except for participating in the Sheliak bombardment) will finally see some action.
Heavy Cruiser IIs have over 600 shield hitpoints. But they weren't expecting our Birds of Prey to be here. We will one of them before they area able to retreat.
Worf, a rising star in the Klingon command apparatus, is in charge of the Sheliak occupation. Shelia has no factories, but it has an obscene number of level 8 power plants. It's also on the border with our most powerful enemy/friend. This makes Shelia perfect for Orbital Batteries, which consume lots of energy. Worf unveils his plan to make Shelia a nightmare, an Orbital Battery platform the likes of which the galaxy has never seen.