Disclaimer This work is fiction and should be treated as such. The author of this story does not own the rights to either Star Trek or Babylon 5, nor to any other motion picture, television show, video game or novel ideas, source materials or entire universes may have been borrowed from. No profit is made from the writing or publishing of this work of fan fiction. This work of fiction is the property of its author, Samuel T. Westman aka Zcenicx, and may not be reproduced or distributed without the author’s express permission. It may not under any circumstances be sold as this would be a copyright infringement toward the author and a trademark and licensing infringement against among others Paramount and Warner Brothers. The story, storyline, most characters and all modified ship designs are the intellectual property of the author. Please don't try to pawn the story off as your own, that's just plain rude to me and it’s far too well known by now. Background An introduction to the Romulan-Federation conflict of 2380 by Admiral William Ross Throughout the Dominion War, a conflict which began in the year 2372 and lasted for four long and bloody years, Starfleet had continually suffered massive losses in ships and personnel both at the hands of the Dominion's Jem Hadar fleets and their Alpha Quadrant allies, the Cardassians and Breen. Due to the development of new and dedicated military vessels that had started shortly before the war erupted, in preparation for a large Borg incursion or even invasion, the effective military force of Starfleet started to increase dramatically even though the actual number of starships even decreased as the war continued to drag on. Damaged ships were refit to a more combat-oriented design and destroyed ships were replaced by a newer generation of designated warships. One such example can be made in the development of the new Archangel-class strike carriers, a single one of these ships being more than twice the mass of even the massive but aging Excelsior class and carrying a military force equal to a small previous-generation battle group in indirect weaponry as well as fighters, interceptors and bombers. Another can be made as the war saw massive casualties among the older general-purpose ship classes that were still being kept in service, through numerous programs of refits and upgrades held in commission far beyond their initial service lives, such as the Excelsior, Miranda and even the odd Constitution just to name the oldest. With the fact that these lost Excelsior class heavy explorers were replaced with the new and far more advanced Sovereign and Galaxy class battlecruisers, or that any of the just as old Constitution, Miranda or Ambassador class explorers were replaced with the newer and far more potent Akira, Luna, Intrepid and Prometheus cruiser classes, the average ship age got lower and lower while the already significant technological advantage of the Starfleet ships increased even further. The war also saw the development of an entirely new class of starships, short-range destroyer and gunboat classes such as the Norway, Steamrunner and Defiant classes, directly designed for short-ranged defensive warfare with a uniquely high amount of firepower for their size but with limited range. They were mainly meant to free up the long-ranged heavy Explorer ships for front line service where they'd do the most good instead of locking them down in planetary defense, and as such Starfleet’s ability to project force also increased dramatically. At the end of the Dominion War in late 2375 the higher echelons of Starfleet had still not fully realized to what extent these, while individually small together quite significant, factors had affected the overall balance of power that had long governed the Alpha Quadrant. The people in charge were still too focused on replacing a number of ships than they were replacing a specific amount of torpedo launchers or phasers, and even less so with only replacing an in their eyes mostly theoretical deployable force ratio. This in effect constituted what was seen by many of the other interstellar nations as a major build-up of military force, especially as much of the Starfleet personnel who had survived the war had also gained a lot of invaluable combat experience from real battles and interstellar warfare on a scale which had up until then been seen as so unlikely it hadn't even been seriously discussed, much less prepared for in training. In early 2376 Bajor finally joined the Federation as their main reason for postponing this action had been to protect themselves from getting involved in the ongoing war. With the peace treaty between the Federation and the Dominion the road was also opened for extensive trade agreements being signed between many Federation members and a number of Gamma Quadrant worlds belonging to the Dominion. With the wormhole now formally in Federation space and the prospective massive economic gains as a result the Federation’s relations with the only other remaining great power of the sector, the Romulan Empire, worsened quickly. 2379 saw the return of the USS Voyager from the Delta Quadrant, an event which sparked yet another more or less extensive refit for just about every single Starfleet vessel in active service. The reconnaissance and intelligence gathered by Captain Janeway and her crew about the Borg and other potential threats in that region of space scared the Admiralty to the point where the ships not capable to be refitted were simply decommissioned and new ships quickly ordered from the shipyards to replace them. For the first time since the dark years of the Dominion War, the massive shipyards at Utopia Planitia, Beta Antares and San Francisco station were filled to capacity with many of the others not far from. This was compounded after the Reman incident where the Sovereign-class starship USS Enterprise, flagship of and one of the most advanced vessels in all of Starfleet, was severely damaged by Romulan forces and the subsequent collapse of the Romulan government, as the Federation Admiralty once again ordered more ships be laid up for construction. In less than a decade the Starfleet increased by more than a quarter in numbers, but more than doubled its tonnage. By now all active ships of the line had been refitted to carry the cutting edge technology transphasic torpedoes along their now standard load of zero-point warhead quantum ones, effectively rendering the older antimatter based photon torpedoes mostly obsolete for starship use. Most ships were also refitted with the Voyager’s deployable armor in addition to their ablative hull armor, as well as a reverse-engineered version of the Borg's adaptive regenerative shielding and the more powerful Type XV Phaser emitters. The fact that this constituted a severe breach of the temporal prime directive didn't seem to bother the Admiralty too much, as they saw themselves being faced with the distinct possibility of a war on two fronts against enemies just as strong as, or in the case of the Borg even stronger than, they were. Another new addition was that the heavy explorer class ships regained the flank pulse cannon banks that had been dropped from Starfleet starship designs more than a hundred years earlier with the last ships of the dedicated battleship classes being scrapped, though this time they were installed with the Type XV particle emitters as a base. It was a subject of long and heated debate in the Federation council, but as these ships were the very backbone of the Federation's defensive forces it was agreed to be a prudent decision and a necessary step in order to safeguard the widespread and hard to defend nation. The difference in effect against civilizations with better shielding technology was impressive as where the phaser beams were effectively surgical instruments which tried to drill through the shield in one localized spot the phaser pulse cannons were easier compared to hitting them with a sledgehammer and grinding them down through sheer overwhelming brute force. At the time as the Federation was reconsidering its relationship with the then shattered and unstable Romulan Empire the restrictions of the Treaty of Algeron were becoming a strategic problem. With the Reman incident in recent history and a number of other conflicts both before and since, the treaty was officially broken in early 2380 as some of the most modern ships were equipped with the Federation's own cloaking technology, phasing devices, as they were refitted. This alternative cloaking technology wasn't just a more reliable cloaking device than the Romulan version but also made the ship using the device effectively impervious to enemy fire while they were out of phase, something the Romulans had never been able to achieve with their own cloaks. The only real drawback was that while this technology could effectively hide them, it didn't make finding their opposition any easier as the phase difference actually made it harder to sense the minute energy a Romulan or Klingon cloaking device would emit. It can and has been argued that the members of the Admiralty were quite ignorant to miss the fact that their rapid refitting program and subsequent expansion of the Starfleet greatly disturbed the military balance and force ratio of the entire quadrant, that they didn't recognize the increased number of modern Explorer ships and heavier and better armed cruisers as a direct increase in military force. The Akira alone, which had been mass produced during and after the war, had by now almost entirely replaced the Ambassador and Challenger classes and had more military force in a single starship than both of its predecessors combined. The Sovereign also by far outmatched any of the Excelsior- or even the much newer Galaxy-class ships it replaced, and even the quite small Defiant class could easily outgun a previous era line cruiser such as the Miranda or Constellation classes. That the Admiralty weren’t aware of this fact is simply not true. The Admiralty saw what they perceived to be a real and imminent danger of being dragged into an armed conflict with either the Borg or the Romulan Empire, and in a worst case scenario having to counter a Borg invasion while already engaged in a war with the Romulans. Both the Admiralty and the Federation assembly still had the Dominion War in fresh memory and neither wanted to face the same situation where the very survival of the nation was hanging on the thinnest of threads until the very end. While the Klingon High Council didn't necessarily disapprove of their blood allies becoming more powerful, at least not publically, and the Cardassians and the Breen being too weak to be able to do more than launch a formal protest, the Romulans did. In May of 2380, with the assassination of Commander Dodondra and the subsequent failure of the USS Titan's mission to stabilize the region, the Romulan Star Empire rapidly launched a series of synchronized attacks against several of the Federation outposts along the Neutral Zone. A formal declaration of war was not sent until several weeks later, citing the Federation's disregard for the Algernon treaty and their massive military buildup as their main cause for war. Perhaps a more realistic and critical examination of the reasons for the Romulan War would show that the Empire had been shattered and in great turmoil ever since the Reman Incident. As in so many of our own comparable historical cases a war against an external and historical foe may very well have been the only way to once again unite the disputing factions and restore order to the ever increasing chaos enveloping most of the Empire. This view is compounded by the Romulan battle groups seemingly avoiding all direct contact with larger Federation forces, or for that matter any larger battle fleet action, while instead focusing on less defended targets such as stations near the Neutral Zone and sending raiding parties into Federation space to destroy valuable but less strategically important resources. Another reason which this author holds in higher regard is that the Romulans are very well aware that the current force which is actually available to Starfleet is far higher than the Star Empire can handle. Much of this force is however stationed in other parts of Federation space, weeks or even months away from the Romulan front, and the threat has not yet been seen as dire enough to warrant moving them. If the Romulans were to move sizeable fleet assets into Federation space the Admiralty would very likely respond by moving said fleets into action. I pray they do, as it stands right now we’re fighting a low-intensity battle of attrition Starfleet can ill afford. Without more resources we are unable to push back and the Romulans are continually taking down valuable assets which cannot readily be replaced such as forward starbases, listening posts and communications relays, destroying infrastructure without which we will be ill pressed to mount a successful counter if, when, they actually do make their push into the Federation.