Part 76: Turn 331TURN 331
Korris has a mysterious dilithium refinery, but it also has a lot of high-tech infrastructure. After the addition of a few basic structures, we can use this system to make even more Scouts or Troop Transports.
Harrakis, the Ferengi empire's sole remaining dilithium system, is guarded by 63 warships and a Colony Ship. If they're going to defend there, we can continue stripping away resources from the Ferengi north.
Another powerful fleet seems to have broken off from the main body, including 3 of their Marauders.
Our next target is the Antica system. This system is known to be a Minor Race's homeworld. But they're a pretty low-key race, so we have no idea what special structure they'll give us when we conquer them.
TURN 332. We receive news of a change in Federation command. Captain Kirk has reappeared after being missing for a century. Nostalgia has driven votes away from President Picard, and Kirk is promptly sworn in as new president. As his first act, he does the unthinkable: He breaks an alliance treaty and declares war against the Cardassians. All for no apparent reason. It's reported that after he became president, Kirk asked an aide with disbelief, "We're in an alliance with who?" After breaking the treaty, he is said to have remarked, while smirking off into space, "I leave you people for a hundred years and the next thing you know...we're aligned with a madman!" He adds, "I'm reminded of the famous maxim, 'Never trust a Cardassian.'"
The relationship matrix. Everyone is at war with the Ferengi and at peace with everyone else, except that the Federation is at peace with the Ferengi, at war with the Cardassians, and neutral with us.
The Ferengi defense force on Harrakis swells to 81 ships, so they may be bringing in reinforcements from further south, where we have no scanners.
In addition, a powerful force of 3 Marauder IIs have been sent northwest. This group could destroy our Starbases.
The word is given: Invade Antica. We are given the option of liberating the Anticans. However, Klingons believe that if a race is worthy of freedom, they will take it for themselves.
Some of our Birds of Prey will actually split off from the main group and defend the Starbase on Ferenginar, just in case the Marauders attack.
TURN 333. Klingon warriors take Antica with no trouble. There are fewer casualties, probably because of the group of Birds who did not participate in the bombing.
We get a rare peek at the Romulan fleet, as they move just within our scan range. The Romulan empire is only 4 systems, so it's impressive how many ships they are able to field. (Most likely AI cheating.) It includes 4 Warbird IIs and several Battle Cruisers and Strike Cruisers, along with a few lighter ships. We have 25 warships of our own, but our Birds of Prey are obviously superior to any Scouts or Destroyers. However, their Battle Cruisers would be equivalent to our Birds, and their Warbird IIs would be greatly superior. It's unclear how their Strike Cruisers would factor in. Our fleet would perhaps be the favorite to win a head-on clash, but few ships would survive.
Our fleet will move on from Antica and take Tohvun as soon as possible. We want to keep up this momentum, and we've got the Scouts and Transports to do it.
TURN 334. We finally get around to taking a closer look at the Anticans. Their special structure grants them a 50% bonus to ground defense just on Antica. This is underwhelming, to say the least. It's like a bunker network, but takes 4 times as much energy to power. Supposedly this means the Anticans are great warriors, but they were no match for the Klingon invasion force.
The Ferengi's trio of Marauders have moved to our core, chasing away the Romulan non-combatant ships parked there. The Ferengi are doing reconnaissance-in-force, in style.
Tohvun is another well-populated Ferengi system with 5 Orbital Batteries, but we have Scouts and Transports to spare. Our Birds of Prey are spending so much time bombing that they rarely enable their cloaks anymore.
TURN 335. Ferengi systems are falling like dominoes, with no resistance to speak of.
Enemy spies actually manage to pierce our security and steal some credits. We'll have to redistribute some people on Qo'nos from the Scout factories.
We are the undisputed dominant force in the galaxy now. We have 19 systems, compared to 12 for the Ferengi. The Federation-Cardassian alliance was broken by the capricious President Kirk, so the Federation comes in at third with 10 systems.
The intergalactic traveler known as Gomtuu has been chillin' like a villain southwest of Ferenginar for too long. Our warriors want to hunt it, even if it's only 2 sectors from the Harrakis fleet.
TURN 336. The Birds of Prey speedily overtake the strange, supposedly sentient creature.
Gomtuu looks kind of like an egg. For those who have played Eve Online, he bears a striking resemblance to a pod.
Gomtuu gets popped. I believe intergalactic travelers are capable of leaving the galaxy by crossing a border, and if so, he made a mistake by not exercising that right.
Klingons are stunned to hear the news that the Anticans have rebelled and seized control of their system. Perhaps we underestimated their military prowess after all. Antica is free at last.
TURN 337. We quickly prepare an invasion, but our empire's lawyer tells us this is impossible without a declaration of war. But we cannot make first contact with the Anticans. Nor can we hope they will "upgrade" themselves and build ships, as Anticans are incapable of such a thing. The Anticans have learned well from the Sheliak. They are immune!