Part 75: Turn 324TURN 324
The Romulans send us a strange warning. They seem to be complaining about sabotage against them (by the Cardies who framed us). But if it's terrorism against them, how would they be associated with it?
We seized the Ferengi capital. They only have one system left that produces dilithium. If we take Harrakis, they can no longer build more ships. We planned to take Harrakis next, but the Ferengi are sending a lot of ships there. Is Harrakis the new Deinonychus?
This presents a good opportunity to try attacking Deinonychus. If we take that system, we can shuttle new ships from our empire over toward Ferenginar and the rest of the front without as much interference. Our Birds of Prey can hit Deinonychus next turn, but they need to escort our slower (but still quick) Troop Transports.
TURN 325. Vice Chancellor Martok received an e-mail chain letter with racist jokes about the Cardies and unflattering Photoshop images of Gul Damar. Unfortunately, Martok hit the wrong button and forwarded it to everyone on his contacts list, including Gul Damar himself.
There appears to be no Ferengi effort at reinforcing Deinonychus. Instead, they're all still headed toward Harrakis.
TURN 326. Our vast invasion fleet enters the abandoned stronghold of Deinonychus. The only thing left is the Outpost.
Captains of our Birds of Prey and even Scouts are complaining that the Troop Transports are causing lag.
Ferenginar presents an interesting question. They have invented the level 9 intel center, which would be a boon to our intel power. But we'd have to build them. Otherwise, we can build ships at Ferenginar using all of the level 9 factories.
Almost 70 warships gather on Harrakis. They obviously understand the importance of the system. It seems the Ferengi understand their best chance against us is forcing a decisive battle with all of their ships, to overwhelm our first-strike capability.
But if the Ferengi don't go on the offensive, we can take key Ferengi systems. An invasion of Deinonychus is ordered. We will use every Troop Transport we have at our disposal to heighten the chances of our already skilled ground troops.
TURN 327. The de facto Ferengi capital has fallen to brave Klingon warriors.
Klingons love a conquest story with a happy ending. Even Volon, for all its chronic morale problems, is up to "pleased" level.
We have several Scouts sitting on our side of the border who were just waiting for the news that Deinonychus is no longer a roadblock to our progress. They will begin making the journey toward the Korris system, which is the most populous Ferengi system in the northern section of their empire. The Ferengi may be able to guard Harrakis, but doing so leaves them incapable of protecting the north.
TURN 328. The invasion force that took Ferenginar and Deinonychus will launch a lighting strike against nearby El Adrel, before the new Scouts arrive. They wanted to take Korris next, but we're running low on Scouts. We have only 4 left, which is barely enough to deal with the diminutive El Adrel's defenses.
TURN 329. Another Ferengi system falls. This one is a minor victory, but taking El Adrel keeps the troops occupied. And the troops keep El Adrel occupied.
El Adrel can't do much for us, but Deinonychus will. After rebuilding some basic structures, we can take advantage of the system's impressive infrastructure to produce more ships. We're going through Scouts like hotcakes, so that's our top priority.
The Romulans have invented the Warbird II, which is an extraordinary ship. It is the only ship our Birds of Prey truly fear, as its cloak nullifies their own. At this point, our scanners are not strong enough to detect cloaked vessels on Romulus, so we have no idea how many they have. Still, the Romulan empire has only 4 systems so they can't afford a very big fleet.
Our fleet will arrive on Korris in only one more turn. The seizure of Deinonychus has done its job: Klingon reinforcements pour through the northern corridor unimpeded.
TURN 330. The Ferengi have actually managed to get a peace treaty with another empire. It's the end of an era. For as long as we can remember, everyone (except us) was united against the Ferengi. Now that the Ferengi are showing weakness, they do not appear to be so great a threat.
The proof is in the numbers. We hold 16 systems to the Ferengi empire's 15. The Cardassian-Federation alliance is still in the lead with 17, but it's clear where the momentum lies.
Korris has a population of 340 million--even more than Ferenginar itself. A round of bombardment to soften them up might be recommended, but our warriors insist on landing troops immediately. They want to stab live soldiers, not dead ones.
TURN 331. There are plenty of Ferengi to kill. The ground troops kill 77 million people and take control of Korris. No Klingon ground troops are killed in the attack; an impressive kill-to-death ratio by any standard.
We have lost a lot of Scouts lately, and the remaining Ferengi systems tend to be heavily defended with Orbital Batteries. We haven't suffered sabotage by Cardassian spies lately, so Ferenginar will produce Scouts rather than intel centers.
Our occupation force on Korris reports a strange and troubling sight: a dilithium reinfery. Although it gives us the ability to produce an extra ship per turn (important considering how many systems are now building Scouts or Troop Transports), something isn't right. As anyone can see, Korris does not have dilithium. How can this be? The High Council orders that our empire's scientist be located. This strange anomaly demands an explanation. But our scientist is still sulking about his forced retirement and cannot be found.