Part 12 - The War Continues
On the turn immediately after the demise of the Drengin, the Krynn (rather ungratefully) demanded tribute of me.
I went ahead and paid up - it seemed likely that this would make them "Close" again, and I've certainly done worse for alliances. Sure enough, it did, and I was able to reestablish my alliance with the Krynn that same week.
I followed this success up with other moves on the diplomatic front. First, I negotiated a treaty to end the Torian-Krynn war that had been going on for several weeks now.
As had been the case at the start of the war, I wanted to make sure that my allies were focused on our shared enemy and not some side conflict. Plus, while I didn't want to see the Torians get any bigger to begin with, I definitely did not want them to grow from attacking my ally. The Krynn had the upper hand at the moment, but that was unlikely to last.
This did, of course, carry the risk of dragging me in if the Torians tried to resume the war. But I figured the risk was worth it in this case. Plus, while it made the price more hefty, I needed the Ultra Life Support I got as part of the deal.
I also traded with the Korx for another extreme colonization tech, and replaced the research treaty I had lost when the Drengin went down with one from the Scottlingas - it wouldn't help that much, but with few options I had little else to go with. And as minors went, they weren't badly off.
The war proper that turn had seen no action, but it had not been entirely peaceful: two of my new Enterprise-Class ships took on a former Korx fighter in my first pirate skirmish.
The pirates were easily disposed of.
The Iconian Campaign
Despite the surrender of the Drengin, my primary objective remained unchanged: knock out the Iconians. Their new Drengin planets were few in number, and the alien nature of Iconian technology meant that the planets' structures would need to be completely rebuilt. So if I was able to wipe out their original worlds, it was likely the ex-Drengin planets would simply surrender.
As Task Force 42 headed down the main trade route, continuing to obliterate freighters, Task Force 22 headed for the northern colony of Algenib IV. Along the way, they ran into yet another feebly defended transport and destroyed it and its escort.
Meanwhile, the pirates were starting to prove themselves a nuisance. A fighter went after one of my space miners as it headed through the area, forcing me to dispatch ships to intercept.
Two more headed for the Frigg system, in dispute between the Korx and Altarians, resulting in an unusual three-way battle. The fighters first wiped out the decrepit Altarian defender at Frigg III, then turned their attention to the fleets of Korx and Terran ships that had been heading after that same defender - one was destroyed by Task Force 33, while the other was blown away by the Korx, who proceeded to complete the 'three-way' part (hope that didn't come out wrong) by intercepting a fleeing Altarian constructor.
Note that the Korx are still using beams.
As that situation cleared up, Task Force 22 hit Algenib. The defending Iconians once again proved more formidable then I had expected, and the Battle of Algenib IV was a rather Pyrrhic victory.
It was becoming increasingly apparent that the lack of Iconian mobile resistance was because they'd sunk most of their efforts into building defenders. In the long run, this guaranteed their demise, but it was going to make finishing them off a rather bloody affair.
Meanwhile, the Korx obliterated Altarian defenders at Sidal II, another one of my leading targets.
But this victory was followed by alarming news.
I was growing increasingly uneasy with being allied to these guys.
The Drath front was a far more positive affair. Following an exchange of technologies, the Krynn swept into the Satori System, destroying all enemy forces that got in their way.
The losses were negligible for the Altarians, but it was a serious setback for the Drath. So serious, in fact, that it apparently led to the fall of their government:
This was extremely good news. My biggest fear throughout this conflict was that the Torians would join the axis of good, meaning that, if they didn't enter the war then and there, the next one (since I had no expectation of destroying the Altarians and Drath this go-round) could be extremely difficult. And now the new, evil Drath regime had next to no chance of allying with them. Finally, a random event had worked in my favor.
The Siege of DalNalten III
This period concluded with my attack on DalNalten III, the Altarian PQ 23 monster of a planet located just outside my borders. I had been targeting it for a while, and now was ready to begin.
First, the TAS Discovery and Columbia swept away the feeble Altarian orbital defense.
Then came the ground invasion. Unfortunately, it would be a tougher nut to crack then I expected: nearly eleven billion Altarians stood ready to defend the planet, and they were better soldiers then my troops were. This meant that the most logical solution was to bombard the place with mass drivers to soften things up, but with no other transports in immediate range, I would have to keep the planet under siege - and worse, the Korx might sweep in to take it for themselves.
In the end, I decided to go ahead and launch the invasion. The Korx soldiering was so poor they would have struggled to conquer one of those planets of Stone-Age lifeforms that keep popping up, let alone the elite Altarians. And I might get lucky and actually take the place, though that would hurt its PQ.
Check out the Slave Pits all over the place. I always had my doubts about the Altarians' much-touted moral high ground.
As it happened, the invasion was a failure, but over three-quarters of the defenders were wiped out. I now had to get another transport there as soon as possible.
With June 2233 almost over, and the war nearing three months' age, I assessed the situation. On the Iconian front, Task Force 42 was bearing down on New Iconia, with a fleet of transports following at a safe distance. A strike on the Iconians' homeworld could cripple them - but in the way stood not just a fleet, but a big one, complete with the first Iconian capital ships I'd ever seen.
On the Drath front, victory seemed at hand. The feeble Drath fleet was crushed or fleeing, and their new alignment had cut off their best chance for help. But the Torians had still given them one big piece of support - battleships.
Compared to the Drath's own battleship, the Torian design was superior, though not too much so.
As for the Altarians, most powerful member of the axis of good, they were still gearing up. Luckily, whatever their other failings as an ally, the Korx were at least proving helpful in keeping them at bay.
They, too, now had battleships - the best I'd seen, in fact, despite the feeble weaponry. The Korx were now giving mass drivers another shot, apparently.
And as far as the rest of the galaxy went, the Torians themselves were still a menace, and the pirates were still a nuisance.
Still meh, but production was getting up there.
Korx colonists still infested much of my space, but given my enormously superior influence, this was likely to help in the long run.
...and galactic maps.