2313 was a long, difficult year for the Federation and Starfleet, one which created a great deal of resentment between the Federation's civilian leadership and the admiralty of Starfleet.
As the year began, a debate was raging about whether and how the Federation should commit resources to defend and aid the neutral colonies in the Bajor sector. On the one hand, the Bajorans had a fanatically religious, caste-based society, and had only low-warp ships - not prime candidates for Federation membership. But they were being probed by small fleets from the larger Cardassian Union - though not officially at war with the UFP, the Cardassian Union was clearly hostile and Starfleet vessels met their ships in limited, but hostile, situations several times in 2311 and 2312. The long term goal of increasing the number of large, capital ships in Starfleet was well under way, with the new Axanar ships nearing completion and the first Apollo class next generation starships, testbed platforms for a whole new generation of technology, under construction.
Add to that the increasing pirate threat - a raid by marauders on Axanar, and another on Arcturus in 2310 - there was increasing discomfort among member worlds with committing to a large scale aid and peacekeeping commmitment. The aid at Arcturus in 2312.06, was quite serious, and actually succeeded at ousting the Federation sector command, led by a fresh young Lieutenant named Picard, for a month.
However, the new Axanar class battle carriers did get a chance to show their flexibility as flagships during this second incident, which emboldened the hawks, particularly the Tellaraite delegation, in the Federation Senate.
After furious debate in the Senate, during which Admiral Sulu spoke out about the folly of moving too many ships away from Starfleet's core exploration and science functions, the Federation ordered Starfleet to fully commit to Bajor. Starfleet had, by 2313.4, two newly constructed Axanar class carriers, and built a fleet around them as the core. After several attempts to discern the Cardassian's fleet strength through long range scans and espionage, Intervention Force One met the Cardassians just before they initiated a ground invasion of Bajor itself. Admiral Revem, the Tellarite in command of the fleet, hoped that the lessons of the brief encounter the Federation had in 2312 in the same Bajor sector would be helpful, and the fleet's strategic and tactical plan was oriented around eliminating the maximum number of enemy scouts and ancillary ships.
The first intervention did not go well. When the Cardassian fleet was engaged, several of their ships, including one Birok-class ship, were still heavily damaged from clearing out the orbital defenses of Bajor, limiting their potential firepower. Hoping this would be a decisive advantage, Admiral Revem engaged...
When the Federation task force retreated after two major encounters roughly a week apart, on the outskirts of the Bajor system, the damage was terrible. Most importantly, the USS Axanar, first of her class, was cut off from the fleet by three Cardassian corvettes, and destroyed by a several squadrons of Macet-class warp capable fighters, taking Admiral Revem with it and focing the whole fleet to retreat.
Without the knowledge of the rest of the Senate, a masterful pair of moves by Section 31 prevented things from going too badly awry: they began supplying Bajoran resistance with advanced weaponry, and bribed Tzenkethi raiders to attack the Cardassian fleet in Bajor in the months after the raid, which prevented the Cardassians from effectively providing assault bombardment to help their ground troops.
Admiral Revem's replacement, under pressure from the Senate, conceded that with better use of the Federation's superior sensor and electronics aboard new Constellation class cruisers, Bajor could still be saved, and so a second intervention fleet departed Deneb in 2313.12, after it was revealed that the Cardassian ground invasion was stalled. Things did not go much better the second time around, as the fleet, led by the ill-fated USS Axanar's sister ship the USS Tokyo, encountered the main force of the Cardassian invasion force in the outlying sector system of Hespereth - with no real chance to disrupt ground force operations in sight.
At the end, the whole force had to retreat to Deneb - and by the end of the month, Starfleet Intelligence (and, more importantly, Section 31) had reported that Bajoran resistance had collapsed.
These conflicts were important. But they were secondary, in a way, to the majority of the Senate and the member worlds. During the whole year, the Federation government was more preoccupied with terraforming land for settlers and expanding the Federation's exploration with several additional Enterprise-class exploratory cruisers - a strategic investment of huge amounts of energy and manpower in game terms, I spent probably 200+ EP on terraforming to achieve the objective I rolled- on turn 1 of 2314 I'll get a beautiful 16VP out of it, though
. The ship design division also diverted substantial resources into developing a new subwarp interceptor capable of countering the Cardassian Macet bombers which did so much damage both to the civilian population of Bajor and to the three Federation task forces that could encounter them - these new Coyote type fighters are ready to enter production next year.
All these civilian and R&D investments meant that when the first intervention went so poorly, the attempt to reinforce the fleet stripped Axanar, Mizar, and other outlying sectors of resources.
However, it meant that the year saw a rapid expansion of colonial ventures and colonies, which helped to take the edge off the difficult battles - and more importantly, continued to keep the Senate and member worlds happy. This booming economy may be the Federation's best hope in 2134 to rebuild Starfleet a bit, and explore in the Setlik and Betazed sectors - something that Starfleet's officers are much more eager to do than engage in any more interventions with the Cardassians.
Here's how our economy looks at the end of the turn:
And here's the broader galactic strategic picture from the viewpoint of the Federation. Note the expansion of nonaligned powers, like Bajor was, throughout the map.
Whew! Updates from the other power's viewpoints incoming soon. Here are a couple of supporting PDFs.