Part 84: Turn 369TURN 369
Klingons glory in their total victory of the Ferengi empire. A national holiday is pronounced. Warriors celebrate with bloodwine and song. And no one drinks more bloodwine or sings more songs than Vice Chancellor Martok.
The Ferengi are out of the galactic conquest business. Only the Cardassians, Federation, and Romulans remain. We have triple the systems of the Feds, our nearest competitor.
Even the slaves of the empire can't help but get caught up in the enthusiasm. The Bandi, a Minor Race conquered not long ago, has "pleased" morale.
Several systems in our empire have reached the highest-level morale: "fanatic".
TURN 370. In retaliation for extinguishing an empire, the Federation sends its bravest 3 Destroyers across our southern border.
They'll need to do better than that.
The galaxy is spooked. The Romulans sign an alliance treaty with the Cardassians. Worf attempts to convince Romulan Senator Vreenak that Dukat secretly intends to invade Romulus, but Vreenak is too tired of conspiracy theories to listen anymore.
The situation: Everyone is at peace with each other, except that the warmongering Humans are at war with everyone.
Vice Chancellor Martok secretly orders warships in Ferengi space to meet up on Cardassia Prime. Chancellor Gowron learns of this and is furious. Gowron intends to use our affiliation treaty with the Cardassians to play for time as we attack the Federation. Martok disagrees: "Mintaka can wait no longer to be avenged!" Gowron accuses him of treason; Martok accuses him of not being a true Klingon.
They strike at each other with bat'leths. Gowron rants and raves about his accomplishment in turning a backwater, primitive race into a galactic superpower. Just as Gowron is about to lay the finishing blow against Martok, he is stabbed in the back by Worf, who appears out of nowhere.
Martok is disappointed by Worf's treachery. However, Martok agrees to become Chancellor and appoint Worf Vice Chancellor if it means the Mintakans will be avenged.
TURN 371. The war machine in full swing: Five different ships finish completion in repurposed Ferengi shipyards this turn.
TURN 373. Ships built across the former Ferengi empire head south toward Cardassia. Suspicious, Dukat orders every available warship to head to Cardassia.
TURN 374. At last, we will declare war against the Cardassians. Chancellor Martok pens the declaration in his own blood. The message reads: "I never trusted you, Dukat. You are a fool."
TURN 375. We have 21 Birds of Prey. Apparently 4 of them went missing or were blown up by Orbital Batteries on accident along the way. We have 24 Scouts and 8 Troop Transports. In order to prevent the Cardassians from focusing all their fire on the Transports--which cannot cloak--several of the Scouts go into the battle decloaked.
Our betrayal of the Cardassians does not catch them by surprise. They had 5 Battleship IIs guarding Cardassia, among Strike Cruisers and some light attack ships.
Our Birds of Prey, Scouts, and Troop Transports all open fire. They laugh as they watch the familiar red hell rain upon their opponents.
Then they see an unfamiliar sight: enemy fire. From his base planetside, Gul Dukat has taken command and orders every non-cloaked ship be destroyed. There will be no retreat.
As they launch their torpedoes, Klingon commanders are stunned to see one of their own ships explode.
Dukat has no patience for cowardice. Every ship must stand its ground and do as much damage as possible. More Klingon vessels explode.
We have greatly underestimated how much firepower the Cardies have. Our fleet is rocked by numerous explosions.
After the dust settles, we assess the damage to both sides. The Cardassians are down 2 Battleships and all their Strike Cruisers. We must focus all our attention on the Battleships. For their part, the Cardassians absolutely shredded our Troop Transports and uncloaked Scouts.
But solely in terms of firepower, the losses we inflicted during the opening round were far greater than what we took. Our warships finish off the Cardassian fleet in the second round.
At last, we renew our war with our traditional enemy. Dukat smirks at the war declaration and tosses it in the trash. "I never trusted you either, Martok," he mutters.
Our ships are overhead Cardassia Prime. We inflicted grievous losses against the Cardassian fleet.
But Martok is surprised to read how many Klingon vessels were destroyed. Taking a page from our own playbook, Dukat ordered that all of our Troop Transports be destroyed, no matter what the cost. We cannot order an invasion of Cardassia this round. Martok contemplates an alternative strategy.