Second Star to the Right...

Incident at Isgard

We played our second Star Trek session in two weeks this past Wednesday, and I’m getting more and more pleased with the whole campaign. I took a more “Narrativist” approach to writing this session – I came up with the basic problems I wanted the characters to face, started them off, planned out a few complications I wanted to throw in, and then basically just stopped, so that it would be up to the players to resolve everything.

The plot of the episode was that the Discovery was sent to investigate a series of attacks made on civilian merchant ships and, if possible, to put a stop to them. The Discovery traced the attackers to the planet Simelius Beta, which they had recently determined was pre-warp in terms of technology (this was the mission they were returning from when they crashed at the beginning of Episode 2). When the ship arrived at the planet, they were immediately attacked by a starship with technology more advanced than that of the Federation. The Discovery’s warp engines were disabled in the conflict, but thanks to poor piloting on the part of their opponents, the Discovery prevailed and destroyed the enemy ship.

The captain ordered Commander McCracken to take an away team down to investigate the planet, but ordered Lt. Commander Koller and Lt. Commander Kirby to remain aboard to investigate the nanotechnology infesting the ship in order to prevent danger to the crew. Koller and Kirby determined that the nanobots appeared to be experimenting on the ship in some way, and that the methods they had used to harness the nanobots at the close of the previous episode were no longer working. Kirby began to set up a separate computer system in which to potentially quarantine the nanobots.

Meanwhile, the away team beamed down into a city which appeared to have been recently devastated by the widespread use of energy weapons. The team quickly came into contact with local law enforcement, which took them for members of something called the “Coalition” and began to open fire. The party was contacted by a young girl who asked them to follow her – once Muriel quickly verified that she bore them no ill will, the party did follow her into an abandoned building, where the girl brought them up to date on the planet’s situation. The girl explained that up until a few months ago, the planet had largely, but not entirely, been ruled by a dictator named Isgar. One day, a group of aliens called the Coalition arrived, revealing to the people of Simelius Beta that they were not alone in the galaxy and providing them with wondrous new technology to cure disease, end famine, and otherwise better their culture. They also provided the planetary government with new weapons in order to protect themselves. However, as soon as Isgar decided that he understood how to use these new weapons, he used them to drive the Coalition away and then take control of the rest of the planet.

As the girl finished explaining the situation, Isgar’s troops used a tricorder-like device to locate the characters, leading to a shootout which went poorly for the locals (though McCracken suffered a pretty serious laser blast during the fight). Once the fight ended, the party attempted to return to the Discovery, only to find that the ship’s transporter systems were inoperative due to the nanobots.

Koller and Kirby were able to make contact with the nanobots, who revealed that they were sentient, that they had been forced into a state like sleep on their homeworld until Lt. Commander Dexter rediscovered them, and that they are much happier within the ship’s systems. Kirby managed to convince them to release their hold over the transporter system, but Vulcan science officer Lt. T’Luminareth became convinced of the danger posed by the intelligent ‘bots.

Back on the ship, the crew discussed what to do about the planet of Simelius Beta. The Coalition clearly violated the Prime Directive by providing the planet with various kinds of technology, and the crew realized that it would be very difficult to unring that bell (also, removing technology designed to eliminate disease and famine would be cruel). Though Kirby expressed reservations at the idea, the crew ultimately decided to remove Isgar’s starships and attempt to stop him from developing warp technology and to monitor the planet in the future.

Lt. Commander Gryffindor and Ensign Anderson went down to Isgar’s palace to create a diversion (in actuality James and Jenni hatched and enacted this plan, which the others decided to use as a distraction). They approached the guards at Isgar’s bedchamber and tried to negotiate, but the guards panicked at seeing them in the middle of the palace. The guards opened fire, but Gryffindor convinced them to cease fire, just in time for Isgar to exit his bedchamber and Gryffindor to suffer an attack of narcolepsy. Chip attempted to knock Isgar back into his bedroom, but Isgar stood like an oak.

Meanwhile, McCracken, Kirby, and a few ensigns beamed down to Isgar’s spaceship-construction facility. Working with military precision, they broke into the facility’s computer system, identified a potential flaw in Isgar’s ships (a shield frequency modulation that the inexperienced crew would probably not know how to change), and deleted as much knowledge from the systems as possible to prevent construction of warp engines. They then beamed back to the Discovery and rescued Gryffindor and Anderson from further harm.

The Discovery waited for Isgar’s remaining two ships to return to Simelius Beta, engaging them both in combat when they arrived. The Discovery’s phasers went right through the enemy ships’ shields, and Commander McCracken expertly targeted their weapons systems, crippling both quickly. The Discovery made short work of the enemy engines and shields, then beamed their crews down to the planet’s surface and contacted the Federation about confiscating the ships.

Afterward, the captain approached Lt. Commander Koller and ordered him to purge or quarantine the nanobot infestation following the transporter incident. Kirby and Koller both resolved to disobey this order – Kirby out of sympathy for the nanobots, and Koller out of his friendship for Kirby. Kirby continued to work on his separate computer system to house the nanobots, but T’Luminareth confronted them and told them that she suspected them of disobedience and that she had developed a procedure which would destroy the nanobots (which she had already tested to good results). Reluctantly, Kirby agreed to purge the system of nanobots, though he was able to contact the ‘bots and allow them to take refuge in his robotic arm before he triggered the purge.

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The Eye

Following the Andorian attack on the Gorn using the Discovery, the Gorn Hegemony declared war on the Federation, moving into Federation space and destroying a Federation outpost. The Discovery was sent to the planet of Echo III, a system near Gorn space which had previously refused entry into the Federation, in order to secure the border with the Gorn. As the ship entered the system, the crew noted that the engines were acting strangely as a result of the nanorobots that Lt. Commander Dexter injected into the system during the Andorian attack on the Discovery.

After rejecting Chip’s plan to frame the Gorn for an attack on the native Cinnabar, Captain Taggert beamed down to the planet with an away team of the characters and some redshirts. The party was greeted by a diplomat named Melzara in the beautiful city of Last Peace, where they began to make the case that the Gorn threat could soon affect the Cinnabar directly. However, before negotiations could move very far, a group of men dressed in black entered the room and placed Captain Taggert under arrest…for thoughtcrime.

Back on the ship, the characters learned that Captain Taggert was accused of illegal thoughts involving the overthrow of the entire planetary government, a potentially capital crime. Commander McCracken protested that the captain was a foreign diplomat ignorant of the planet’s legal system, but Melzara refused to release him. As the two science officers began working on a device that could potentially block psychic abilities, Chip commandeered the transporter room and beamed himself down to the planet in an attempt to rescue the captain. Unfortunately, he was quickly located and arrested by the planet’s psychic police, the Eye. Chip was processed by the police and saw the captain in custody – held in a coma-like state with a device penetrating his skull.

The command crew debated how to proceed, understanding that securing an alliance with the Cinnabar was crucial given the Gorn situation. Lt. Hawthorne argued that Captain Taggert should stand trial for the crime, because Federation officers are typically held to local laws while traveling through the cosmos and because to do otherwise would jeopardize the mission. Lt. Commander Grant, the Chief of Security, argued that the Federation should not be bound by absurd laws and counseled in favor of military action. Commander McCracken agreed that thoughtcrime laws were unjust and arbitrary, but hesitated in ordering an attack due to the diplomatic nature of the mission.

McCracken beamed down to the planet’s surface in an attempt to appeal to Melzara, noting that the Cinnabar refusal to release the captain could threaten the Federation alliance with the planet and put its security at risk. During the meeting, Dr. Muriel noticed that one of the members of the Eye had some form of psychic shielding that appeared to be originating from some external source. McCracken was extremely convincing in talking with Melzara, questioning the morality of laws which did not prosecute actions, but before he could complete his argument, Chip burst into the room and assaulted the Cinnabar police officers. McCracken was able to convince the Cinnabar to release Chip, but lost his capital in attempting to negotiate for the captain’s release.

Back on the Discovery, the science team completed a prototype which appeared partially effective but which Dr. Muriel was still able to penetrate with her telepathy. The science officers wanted to attempt to create a device which could project violent thoughts into the citizens’ minds in order to show the government that their laws were flawed, but there was no time (!) as the captain’s trial was fast approaching. The crew was able to locate the external source of the psychic shielding that Muriel had detected and figured out how to block that shielding, but they realized that they would have to do so from the source.

McCracken and Will Nye beamed down to have another conversation with Melzara, ostensibly to protest the captain’s unethical treatment in custody, but in actuality to attempt to provoke the suspicious member of the Eye into thoughtcrime. Meanwhile, Kirby, Koller, and Chip beamed to the source of the psychic shielding only to discover a machine being administered by a group of Romulans! Kirby and company were able to block the shield’s emanations just as McCracken did in fact provoke the suspicious Eye member to violence against him, after which Kirby notified McCracken that Romulans were present in the system. The Romulans retreated, but not before killing a redshirt and badly wounding Koller. Melzara ordered that everyone in her location be arrested, so the other team beamed back to the ship to help sort things out.
The Cinnabar informed Lt. Commander Kirby that they were placing the entire ship under arrest – when Kirby refused to submit, they broke contact and used command codes stolen from the captain’s mind to lock down the ship’s systems. Koller realized that it would be possible to use the nanorobots within the ship to break the Cinnabar control, but as soon as he did so the Cinnabar orbital battle station opened fire on the Discovery! The Discovery began evasive maneuvers as Koller desperately attempted to use the nanobots to force the Romulan ship that they knew was present into view. He did so, the Romulans made their escape, and peace was restored. The Cinnabar immediately released the captain, and McCracken asked that they reconsider their thoughtcrime laws based on the incident.

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Urgan the Invincible

Urgan the Invincible – Session One

Captain’s log, Stardate 4857.5. The Discovery has been assigned to monitor trade routes nearest to Gorn space to guard against potential retaliation by the Gorn following the Andorian separatists’ deeds. Thus far, there has been no sign of hostile activity. As part of a secondary mission, Commander McCracken is leading a small team to observe the inhabitants of Simelius Beta, who had been close to developing warp technology as of the last Starfleet report on the system. Following their mission, we will rendezvous with their shuttlecraft at Starbase 86.

A shuttlecraft containing Cmdr. McCracken, Lt. Cmdr. Murphy, Dr. Muriel, Lt. Cmdr. Atherton, Lt. Abigail Hawthorne, a sociology expert, and Ensigns Anderson, Adams, and Blount was dispatched to survey Simelius Beta. After a successful mission, during which Lt. Hawthorne reported that the system was probably a century away from warp travel due to a recent nuclear war, the shuttle prepared to return to Starbase 86. En route, Lt. Cmdr. Atherton reported energy readings consistent with a damaged warp core in the nearby Antaurus system. McCracken informed the Starbase of the readings, then ordered a detour to the system to investigate.

Once in the Antaurus system, the shuttle no longer found readings showing a warp core signature, but did register a strange type of energy not previously catalogued coming from a nearby Class M planet. Before the party could decide what to do about the energy source, the readings spiked and a beam of yellowish energy reached up from the planet’s surface, doing catastrophic damage to the shuttlecraft’s systems. Kirby and Atherton, working together, restored some of he power to the shuttle, enabling Commander McCracken to pilot the vessel into the planet’s atmosphere without disintegrating. Atherton located a relatively safe spot for an emergency landing and Kirby frantically rerouted power to the engines, and McCracken was able to keep the shuttle together through the crash. Unfortunately, Ensign Adams lost his life in the crash, and the other crew members suffered various injuries.

Taking stock of the situation, Kirby determined that the shuttle’s power cells had been completely depleted, and the shuttle would be unable to fly unless they were replaced or recharged. The party determined that the source of the strange energy readings might provide some form of power, though Lt. Hawthorne cautioned against undue interference with the planet’s native inhabitants. Before the team could make any moves, however, they detected life signs moving toward the shuttle.

Exiting the craft, the team made contact with a group of Antaurans wielding weapons of bone, led by a priest wearing a harness and carrying a black totem in the shape of a goblinoid head. The priest accused the Starfleet team of being sent by “the Dark One,” and commanded the other Antaurans to kill them in the name of “Urgan.” The priest then fired a beam of energy from its totem directly into Atherton’s eyes, temporarily blinding him. The team was forced to engage the Antaurans in combat, and though Commander McCracken suffered a stomach injury, the crew was able to defeat the Antaurans when Kirby routed his phaser through his robotic arm and used a laser to melt the sand at the Antauran priest’s feet, allowing Ensign Anderson to blast him backward into the molten sand to perish. One of the Antaurans, Durn, surrendered to the party as the rest escaped into the desert. Kirby analyzed the priest’s totem and determined that it contained technology beyond the capabilities of even the Federation.

The party decided that it would be unsafe to leave any crew members with the shuttle, given the attack on its position. Since Durn was unable to understand the concept of mutual coexistence, the party allowed him to believe that they had made him a slave following his defeat. Durn and an Antauran that had been stunned in the battle carried the wounded, and the group made for the energy source.

On the way, the party came across another tribe of Antaurans, calling themselves the Bannu. Discussions with Durn and the Bannu revealed that the Antaurans worshipped a god called Urgan, and that several decades ago this god came down from the stars and showed his favor to his chosen people, the Urgan. The Urgan founded the first city on Antaurus, the great metropolis of Urgan, and began to lead raids on the other tribes. The Bannu believed that the party had come from the stars to burn Urgan and to cast him off from the planet. After Dr. Muriel treated some of the Bannu that had been injured in the last raid, and after Lt. Hawthorne persuaded Lt. Cmdr. Atherton that Federation interference with the Antaurans could only lead to disaster, the party moved on until they reached the city of Urgan. The “city” was actually more of a small town, a collection of clay buildings atop a hill, surrounding a massive clay structure carved with goblinoid faces and murals depicting planets being destroyed by asteroids.

In order to enter the city peacefully, the team “surrendered” to Durn and allowed him to take them to the temple of Urgan as his slaves. The crew was escorted into the temple, which quickly changed from clay walls to metal corridors. The party reached a central chamber, where they found a crude hybrid of machine and living organism; a corpse covered in riveted sheet metal. The creature addressed the party, confusing them for members of something called the Coalition and telling them that Antaurus had been claimed by the Nurr Kath, who would be arriving in response to a beacon in order to claim a resource called corthite. The team identified themselves as representatives of the Federation, but “Urgan” did not understand, and continued to accuse them of being members of the Coalition. At Cmdr. McCracken’s signal, Ensign Anderson fired upon Urgan as Kirby raced to a control panel and managed to lock the priests out of the room. The party’s phasers had difficulty penetrating Urgan’s energy shielding, and so Lt. Cmdr. Kirby created a feedback loop within the temple, which quickly grew powerful enough to destroy the entire city. Urgan began to batter the crew, nearly killing Ensign Blount with a powerful blow to the sternum.

Thinking quickly, Dr. Muriel reached out with her telepathic senses to see whether Urgan was alive. She found some long dormant organic material within him, and managed to prod it into flooding the cyborg with emotion. This caused the creature to hesitate, which gave Lt. Hawthorne the opportunity to jam live wires into its back, essentially killing it. Lt. Cmdr. Kirby refocused the power building within the temple so that it would be directed upward instead of outward, and Ensign Anderson stole Urgan’s independent power source, a dull gold rock suspended within Urgan’s chest cavity in an antigravity field.

The characters destroyed the door to Urgan’s chamber and found themselves confronted with eight priests of Urgan. Cmdr. McCracken, disregarding the Prime Directive, gestured to the fallen creature and told the priests that their god was slain. Only one priest retained the will to fight, and the characters were able to overcome him and flee from the building just before it was consumed in a pillar of light.

The crew returned to the shuttlecraft, where Lt. Cmdr. Kirby was able to use the material recovered from Urgan’s chest to recharge the shuttle’s power cells. The shuttle lifted off from the planet’s surface and returned to the Discovery.

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The Praxan Summit - Session Two

The Praxan Summit – Session Two

As Lt. Cmdr. Kirby entered the Jeffries tubes on his way toward environmental control, the other crew members split up to enact a multi-pronged plan. Ensign Anderson also left through the Jeffries tubes in an attempt to steal some additional weapons, while Commander McCracken took several more crew members through the turbolifts toward the photon torpedo bays.

Kirby reached Environmental Control, where he was able to raise the ship’s temperature to well above Andorian norms in an attempt to render the Andorians more sluggish and slow to react. Kirby then damaged the servos controlling the doors to the room and escaped back into the ship’s ducts, heading for Main Engineering.

Ensign Anderson reached the ship’s primary armory, which he found guarded by two Andorians. He simply kicked the grate from the tunnel, firing wildly into the room and killing an Andorian before the aliens had the chance to react. Anderson quickly pinned the other Andorian down behind a control panel, but he was able to notify the other Andorians on the ship before he too was killed. Anderson grabbed as many phasers and grenades as he could carry and rushed back into the Jeffries tubes, but was shot in the back during his escape attempt, knocking him down to the next deck. He was able to escape with eight phasers and three grenades for the rest of the crew.

McCracken and his men were able to reach the photon torpedo bay without detection, where they located a repulsorlift dolly and stole a torpedo. They returned to the turbolift, but were detected as they attempted to return to the recreation room which held their comrades. The Andorians cut power to the turbolift, but Lt. Cmdr. Dexter was able to coax the system to life long enough for the men to reach the next deck. From there, Dexter was able to remove the explosives from the torpedo for use in a desperate bluff…

Meanwhile, Kirby reached Main Engineering, which he found swarming with Andorian troops. He carefully climbed from the tubes, but made a slight noise, alerting an Andorian to his presence. As the Andorian came to check on the noise, Kirby grabbed the Jeffries tube grating and smashed it down on his head, instantly breaking his neck thanks to the strength of his robotic arm. Standing over the fallen Andorian’s corpse, Kirby accessed the ship’s engines through a terminal and managed to bring the ship to a stop. Working quickly, he then locked the ship’s computer entirely, placing a password over the use of any and all systems. Afraid for his life, he dove back into the tunnels, forgetting to take the fallen Andorian’s weapon…

At this point, the Andorians spoke out over the ship’s communication systems, telling the crew that if the escaped crewmen failed to turn themselves in within thirty minutes, the Andorians would blow the airlocks in the ship’s cargo bay, ejecting hundreds of crewmen into space. Kirby immediately headed toward the cargo bay in an attempt to assist, while Anderson and McCracken headed toward the bridge along with part of a photon torpedo. Thinking quickly, Dr. Muriel turned herself in to the Andorians. Muriel found Captain Taggert being held captive on the bridge and began to use her telepathy to subtly flood the Andorians’ minds with reminders of the oppressive heat, forcing one of them into heatstroke.

Kirby reached the cargo bay deck but found the Jeffries tubes into the bays fused shut and impassable. Searching the deck, he came to the cargo transporter…

McCracken’s men were able to bring their photon torpedo to a point several decks below the bridge, so that its detonation would likely result in the deaths of everyone on the bridge. McCracken commandeered the ship’s comm system, telling the Andorians about the bomb and demanding that they leave the ship immediately. Before the Andorians could react, Kirby beamed the Andorians’ leader, Kai’Chul to the cargo transporter bay. As Kirby bravely took a hellacious beating from Kai’Chul, the Andorian crewmen began the process of opening the airlocks to kill the Discovery’s crew. Just then, Ensign Anderson forced the doorway to the bridge open and tossed a grenade in, killing many of the Andorians and nearly killing Captain Taggert and Dr. Muriel. Anderson and his men were able to take the bridge from the remaining Andorians easily.

Commander McCracken and his men reached the bridge, where McCracken began desperately attempting to guess Kirby’s password in order to re-access the ship’s systems and stop the airlocks from opening. After several unsuccessful attempts, Dr. Muriel was able to determine Kirby’s location on the ship, allowing the crew to beam him directly to the bridge. With seconds remaining, Kirby gave the crew the password, granting them access to the system. As the airlocks began to open, Lt. Cmdr. Dexter frantically attempted to reverse the process. Realizing that he would not be able to save the crew without assistance, he released some of the alien nanotechnology contained within himself into the Discovery’s main computer, hastening the process and closing the airlocks. The consequences of Dexter’s decision remain uncertain.

Realizing that the Discovery was still flanked by two Andorian ships, McCracken quickly raised the ship’s shields as Kirby attempted to engage the warp drives in order to effect escape. The Andorian ships realized that something had gone wrong with their plan and opened fire, bringing down the Discovery’s shields and causing serious harm to the ship before the ship was able to escape.

Several days later, with Captain Taggert sufficiently recovered from Ensign Anderson’s grenade, the Discovery confronted the Andorian Prime Minister regarding the incident. The Andorian government denied any involvement, claiming that Ambassador Praxan was a secret member of a sect of radical isolationists. The Prime Minister claimed protection under the Federation Constitution in the event of an attack by the Gorn. Enraged, Captain Taggert terminated the communication. Roll credits.

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"The Praxan Summit" - Session 1

The Praxan Summit – Session 1

Stardate 5174.0

Captain’s log, Stardate 5174.0. The Discovery has recently picked up the Andorian delegation to the Andorian/Vulcan peace talks, led by Ambassador Praxan. We are currently entering the Vulcan system to pick up the Vulcan delegation and the distinguished Ambassador Sanek. Though Vulcan is further from our destination than is Andoria, the Andorian ambassador insisted that his delegation board the ship first.

Session One Notes

The Discovery received Vulcan Ambassador Sanek to begin negotiations with the Andorians regarding the planet Weytahn. As the parties began their preliminary introductions, the ship received a distress signal from the Vulcan mining colony of Sark. Determining that the Discovery was the closest available ship, the crew resolved to take a detour from the negotiations in order to assist.

Arriving at the mining colony, the Discovery determined that there had been a battle within the system due to the presence of debris from several Vulcan security ships. Commander McCracken took an away team to the surface of the colony to search for survivors. The away team discovered that the mining base had been bombarded from orbit, followed by a vicious ground attack that left dozens of Vulcans dead. The team found seven living Vulcans huddled at the bottom of a mineshaft. As Dr. Muriel administered first aid to one of the survivors, she received a mental impression that the attack had been carried out by an aggressive species known as the Gorn. Just then, the team received a message from the Discovery that an unidentified vessel had appeared and opened fire on the Discovery. Nearly simultaneously, poor Ensign Carter was vaporized by a Gorn disruptor.

The away team traded fire with a group of Gorn, with Ensign Anderson acquitting himself particularly well. As more Gorn poured down the mineshaft, leaving the team with nowhere to go, Ensign Anderson fired at the roof, bringing a cave-in down onto the lizardlike aliens. With the Discovery still under attack and oxygen supplies running low, Lt. Commander Kirby used his phaser to power a mining laser enough to drill through the rockslide and enable the party’s escape.

Back onboard the ship, the crew determined that the Gorn ship had been heavily damaged and determined to pursue it. The Gorn ship’s engines failed, enabling the Discovery to catch and completely disable it. The Gorn told the Federation that their attack was revenge for an attack on a Gorn security outpost made by the Vulcans. Captain Taggert called a meeting with Vulcan Ambassador Sanek to discuss the allegations. Sanek denied the charges, at which point Kirby noted that the Vulcan ships accused of perpetrating the attack could not actually have reached Gorn space within two centuries.

At this point, the Andorians revealed their plan. They took control of the conference room, shooting Ensign Anderson when he attempted to resist, and executed Ambassador Sanek. Two Kumari class Andorian ships intercepted the Discovery and beamed additional Andorians aboard. The Andorians put the crew into the ship’s recreation room with several other crewmen, though they took the captain away with them.

The crew formed a desperate plan, deciding to attempt manipulation of the atmosphere on the ship to make it too hot for the Andorians and then to retake control of the ship. Lt. Commander Kirby entered the Jefferies tubes to find his way toward Environmental Control, while the rest of the group began to plan a diversion.

As they puzzled over the proper diversion, Ensign Anderson lit the recreation room’s couch on fire, drawing the Andorians in to respond to the alarm. Anderson attacked the Andorians upon their entrance, and though Commander McCracken was seriously injured when an Andorian shot him in the leg, Anderson was able to kill the two Andorian guards.

Will the crew manage to seize control of their ship from the sinister Andorians? Tune in next time…

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