Part 13: Twilight of the Iconians
The Battle of New Iconia
I wasted no time in ordering Task Force 42 to engage the heavy fleet of Iconians that was lying in wait. My transports were at a safe distance, and I was fully prepared for disaster - the Iconians had proven tougher then expected on numerous occasions - but what did happen was something I hadn't seen coming at all.
The Iconians were slaughtered.
Some more detailed shots of the battle:
The fleets make their opening pass, costing the Iconians one fighter in the very first round of fire.
The TAS Invincible lives up to her name, taking multiple Iconian shots with little damage.
Exchanges of fire.
An Iconian frigate in action...
...and its destruction (in the center).
Despite its overwhelming nature, though, the victory didn't matter as much in the grand scheme of things as it might have. The Iconians' fleet-in-being had ceased to exist, but a heavy orbital force still defended their homeworld. And that turn had brought some other setbacks as well.
The moment I had anticipated for several years had finally arrived - the Torians had declared war on the Korx. And frankly, given all that the Korx had pulled recently, I wasn't feeling inclined to support them.
So I didn't.
But this came with problems of its own. Now that the Korx were no longer my ally, they wouldn't just ignore the massive influence I held over their colonies by Earth, or the fact that I was good and they were evil. Immediately, relations began to drop.
Also this week, I received my quarterly report...
The Altarian military can be seen on the rise, while the Iconians have vanished from the list.
...and the reign of the xenophiles (perhaps understandably, given the galactic situation) came to its end.
As July began, a few minor skirmishes took place. Task Force 42 destroyed a few more Iconian merchant ships, while Task Force 33 leveled the Altarian mines at Sobek-Re.
Then came the main event. Despite the ease with which I had crushed their mobile fleet, I still wasn't overconfident about taking on the Iconian defenders - if there was one thing they had proven themselves skilled at, it was orbital defense.
But once again, Task Force 42 proved up to the job.
With the last line of space defense eliminated, it was the turn of the Terran Army. My assault force was outnumbered ten to one, but I had an ace up my sleeve: Information Warfare. The crumbling Iconian empire had resorted to increasingly heavy taxes to sustain itself, and as a result their homeworld's approval had collapsed like a house of cards. More then three billion disgruntled Iconians joined my side in the ensuing invasion.
The result? Victory.
Casualties were high among the Iconian defectors, but the planet was now mine, and with it came influence over virtually all of Iconian space. Their last hope was now the ex-Drengin worlds, but with those planets devastated by the war and change in government, it was my hope that the Iconians had just been finished off.
The War Rages On
Despite victory at New Iconia, the war was far from over. Conflict on the Altarian front remained heavy, and was growing heavier with each week as the Altarians shifted to a war economy. And the Drath weren't quite out of it yet, thanks to Torian support.
A duel between the frigate Endeavor and an ex-Torian ship showed just what I would have to expect in a war with the amphibians, and it wasn't a pleasant sight.
Back in Krynn space, an unexpected First Contact occurred. The Enterprise, diverted to scouting while it repaired from the Battle of Satori, encountered the Jessuins homeworld. Apparently, they'd been under siege by the Krynn for years.
There was no time for extensive talks right now, though (plus, they had nothing to offer). Of more interest that turn was Task Force 42's destruction of the Iconians' last known mobile asset, a well-armed but ineffectual frigate.
On the Altarian front, the constant small-scale fighting continued, and was generally going my side's way. The Korx crushed another defender at Frigg III, and repulsed an assault on one of their mining starbases.
Meanwhile, Task Force 33 engaged a heavily-armed fighter at Jotunheim and emerged victorious at the cost of one ship heavily damaged.
Transports were still en route to DalNalten III, but so far at least, the Korx had not made a play for it.
And then came the moment I had been waiting for. The Iconians surrendered - but to the worst possible power:
For some reason I don't have a screenshot of the actual surrender here, so this was the best alternative.
The remaining Iconian military ships - virtually all defenders - defected to various other races, including the hitherto unknown Paulos.
Most were not a concern, but several joined the Drath and Altarians, forcing me to divert ships to eliminate them.
As July 2233 closed out, the Iconian Refuge, my oldest enemies, had finally been eliminated - but at the cost of furthering the power of the Torians, who were now just two years away from an ascension victory. It was now imperative that the war be ended as quickly as possible so that I could focus on this greater threat.