Season 1 Story Notes

A tabletop RPG campaign inspired by the 2009 film, Star Trek. Nero's incursion has devastated the quadrant and it will take a new breed of Starfleet officer to tackle the challenges of a hostile and unpredictable galaxy. Hackbird (One Seven Design Studio).

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Brief

Post by nemarsde » 31 Jul 2011, 14:36

Download the Crisis Point Character Sheet. It comes in an Excel 97 or printable PDF format.

To help you with char gen I've listed a few key points about the Crisis Point campaign.

Setting
  1. It's set in the Star Trek universe in the alternate reality created by Nero's incursion.
  2. The stardate will start at 2262.158 (using the Earth-centric stardate system from the 2009 film), 4 years after Nero's defeat.
  3. It's set largely aboard a "Newton-type" starship and visited planets, with flashbacks and "flash sideways".
  4. Previously a science vessel, the ship has been refitted for an expeditionary role. It has equipment and supplies aboard to respond to large-scale crises in Federation space. This is in response to the multiple crises caused by Nero's incursion.
  5. Starfleet has a massive manpower shortage after half its armada was destroyed in the Battle of Vulcan (2258). Ships, serving personnel, as well as Starfleet Academy instructors and cadets.
  6. The other half of the armada were deployed to the Laurentian System at the time, responding to some kind of major disaster that had occurred in the Klingon Empire.
  7. This disaster was actually the aftermath of the Klingon Empire's attempt to stop Nero above Rura Penthe. Their entire fleet was destroyed. Surviving ships, badly damaged but still warp-capable were able to escape to the nearby Laurentian System, where they took shelter in an asteroid field. With no remaining ships available to rescue so many survivors and recover the ships, the Klingon Empire was forced to ask the Federation for help or risk being left completely unprotected. This later prompts a non-hostility agreement between the Klingon Empire and Federation.
  8. The Romulan Star Empire had been negotiating an alliance with the Klingon Empire. Klingon starships in exchange for Romulan cloaking technology. Not only does the Klingon Empire now have no spare ship-building capacity, with Planet Vulcan destroyed, the Romulans are shocked into reconciling with their cousins who are now an endangered species. This will likely lead to an official alliance between the Romulan Star Empire and Federation.
  9. The USS Enterprise has already left on its first 5-year mission.
  10. It's an alternate reality. It may have already been an alternate reality before Nero's incursion, making it an alternate alternate reality. Knowledge of the wider Star Trek franchise is not required and may be inaccurate.
Player Characters
  • The system is Blackbird Pie by John Harper and Jamie Fristrom, a generic hack of Lady Blackbird by One Seven Design Studio.
  • Characters are Terran human, unless the GM can be convinced otherwise. No Augments either.
  • They are all Starfleet officers, in their early to mid-twenties, serving on the newly formed Hazard Team.
  • They have 30 char gen points, and 3 flags.
  • None are primarily bridge officers, e.g., helmsman, navigator, communications officer, etc., or chief technical officers, such as chief engineer or chief medical officer.
  • (Neither are they captain or first officer.)
  • They were in a gang together as children, aged 13-14, on Inagua in the Bahamas. They do not have to be Bahaman, only have a reason for living on Inagua at that time.
  • Upon graduating from Starfleet Academy they competed in the Antede III Interservice Ocean Race against the Naval Patrol team.

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United Earth: Civilisation

Post by nemarsde » 17 Aug 2011, 18:53

United Earth is often described as Utopian, with poverty, famine, disease and war all eradicated. Money has become defunct.

There are crucial caveats and addenda here.

In the region of 600 million people died in World War 3 (2026-2053). That figure doesn't include deaths resulting from the Post-Atomic Horror, a period of widespread anarchy and barbarism that lasted nearly a century.

By 2155 Mars had been terraformed and colonised, and privateer colony projects were aiming for other star systems.

So by the start of the 23rd Century, the human population of Earth was at its lowest it had been since the 19th Century, around 2 billion. Less mouths to feed.

Although human eugenics is banned on United Earth, genetic engineering isn't per se, and all other organisms are fair game, including crops and microbes. Nanotechnology is in general use. Food stuffs can even be synthesised from raw matter, and even the most invasive cancers can be completely cured.

This solves famine and disease.

Although money is obsolete, United Earth still uses a credit system for financial transactions, but on a local level barter is often used, especially in rural areas. Life on 23rd Century Earth is generally just simpler than it was in the 21st Century. (So if you live in the city, you still have a job, you still get paid direct into your bank account and you still buy things with a card. If you live in the countryside, you more likely have a trade, unless you commute or telework.) Pure gold and flawless diamond can be synthesised perfectly. A gold bracelet or diamond ring will still have value as jewellery, but the material itself is not rare and is used in other applications.

Energy is abundant with matter/antimatter reactors, portable power cells can store millions of megajoules per cubic cm. (A sarium krellide power cell the size of an AA battery could power the average 2011 British household for over 200 years.) However, renewable energy, especially solar energy, is widely used and wasting resources is avoided. Vehicles with microfusion thrusters make air transport cheap and fast. Housing can be provided free. All is eco-friendly.

The criteria for poverty have been eradicated, thus, so has poverty.

As for war, a United Earth government renders that technically impossible. This doesn't exclude the possibility of "conflicts", however, and no-one said anything about crime being eradicated.

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United Earth: Transport

Post by nemarsde » 25 Aug 2011, 19:19

So right now, it's easy to imagine United Earth as having two sides; the far future, super high tech cities, and the rustic, almost pre-Industrial Revolution countryside. There are varying degrees of cleanliness and grime in both, but compared to 21st Century Earth everywhere is eco-friendly. Most products are built to last, be recycled or biodegrade. Any that aren't can be rematerialised into regenerative products or incinerated in orbit.

There's an abundance of energy on Earth and it can be easily transported around the globe. But there are also massively power-hungry applications, and all energy consumption is closely monitored. Illegal energy is highly sought after. Fusion reactors are easy to build and maintain, and can be fuelled by pergium smuggled from off-world.

Transporter technology is not widely used. It uses so much power that only Starfleet makes use of it, and even they will opt for a shuttlecraft if at all possible.

The amount of energy required to get a craft, loaded with people, their baggage and equipment, weighing hundreds of tons, airborne and into orbit is minuscule compared to the energy required to dematerialise down to a quantum level, transmit and rematerialise just one person.

So with this in mind, transportation in the 23rd Century is remarkably similar to 21st Century transportation, and in some areas more akin to pre-Industrial Revolution.

There are cars, bikes, lorries and buses, etc. They're all electric. Electric bicycles are also common, as are normal bicycles and in some places there's a resurgence of horses and oxen. People can generally afford to take their time.

The differences we'd notice on a car or bike are obviously the styling, how eerily quiet the engines are, the nearly unbreakable traction control derived from a smart drivetrain and nano-responsive "gecko" tyres. Some high performance or offroad vehicles might also be equipped with microfusion boosters, to give them a push. Autopilot and image enhancement functions are standard.

Motor vehicles and pedestrians can board various trains that run along the long distance maglev network constantly.

There are skimmers that can levitate above the ground at low altitude using microfusion thrusters. They're restricted to a 5 m ceiling and 370 km/h (230 mph) by law, and are still classed as road vehicles. They can be of a car, bike or van design, and represent the top end of the market. Black market modification to the avionics can derestrict these vehicles, though with the appropriate licences one can acquire a perfectly legitimate fast skimmer. These do not have pressurised cabins and so are still restricted to 3000 m and subsonic speed of mach 0.885.

Traffic congestion in the inner cities is avoided by good urban planning, public transportation, and active onboard countermeasures. Often dedicated routes for certain types of traffic are used along with elevated roadways.

Air traffic is kept to a minimum. Apart from recreational use of hobby light aircraft, most air traffic is made up of trans-atmospheric shuttles, obviously capable of high hypersonic speeds. They're usually routed directly into orbit, since there's a lot more room up there. In the 23rd Century, these vehicles are no more expensive to maintain or run than a 21st Century jet. Air and orbital traffic control is just as strict as it ever was.

Electric motors are used on watercraft too. There are also marine skimmers, capable of alighting on water, some of which have an integrated hydrofoil. Bike designs of this type are commonly known as Mantas.



In the Bahamas there are all kinds of motor vehicle, but outside of the population centres it's mostly bicycles and Mini Moke-style runabouts.

For a gang of kids on Inagua, their primary mode of transport around the island would be BMXs, or cadging a lift with locals or riding the jitney (minibus). Getting off the island (the main aim) would be more difficult.

No respectable parent would let their kids go island-hopping on their own. This is the sea we're talking about, and even though the Bahamas are tranquil the sea's just as treacherous as it is anywhere else... perhaps more so, because it is so beguiling. If the Coastguard found a boatload of kids out at sea, with no adult supervision, what do you think they'd do?

So the kids might have access to sailboats, maybe even speedboats, but they'd be on a tight leash.

Fortunately, public transport extends to ferry services, which are very cheap but slow as hell. The kids would make sure they caught the earliest ferry possible for day-trips to Turks & Caicos. Getting further afield for the day would require an air-taxi, way beyond the income of most 13-14 year-olds, and a hefty sum for most adults if going as far as Nassau. That's a distance of over 320 nautical miles!

Air-taxis are fast skimmers, and generally have a cruise speed of around 400 kn and are flown only by licensed operators. From Inagua to Nassau, you wouldn't get much change out of 70 quid. Not that Pound Sterling or change for it exists in the 23rd Century! ;)

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United Earth: Weapons and Armour

Post by nemarsde » 10 Sep 2011, 11:54

I don't expect you'll get through the campaign without a fight or two. Obviously there are many different races in the galaxy with an assortment of weapons, but as a benchmark, what can a Starfleet officer expect from a modern Federation world like Earth?

Hand-to-hand

Knives are common, and knife technology hasn't advanced much. It doesn't need to. Even in the modern world, is a criminal more likely to use a stamped steel kitchen knife, or a 200 quid, Kraton-handled, Teflon-coated VG-10 fully water resistant blade?

Rather than carry survival knives and machetes, Starfleet officers will generally carry switchblades. These are automatic knives, powered by molecular motors with multi-section, variable-length blades, usually made from Parsteel alloy. This allows them to be used for anything from box-cutting to tree-beating. Along with a hand phaser and flip-open communicator, this keeps the Starfleet utility belt lightweight and low profile.

The police often have extending stun batons, usually with a max length of about 1 metre, incapacitating using electroshock.

Due to increased interest in martial arts as a lifestyle choice, traditional martial arts weapons are popular.

There are some lightweight power tools that can make effective hand-to-hand weapons. Chainsaws, circular saws et al, are all now portable enough to make effective weapons, although overkill in most instances. (A kitchen knife is still a far more effective hand-to-hand weapon than a 23rd Century chainsaw.)

There are no lightsabres! What do you think this is!?

Small arms

"Small arms" is a little misleading, considering the firepower contained in a Starfleet hand phaser.

Firearms

Sporting firearms are still common, and shooting is still very popular. These tend to be extremely sophisticated bolt-action rifles or semi-automatic pistols with adjustable grips, rests, stocks and counter-weights sticking out all over the place, along with electronic sights. Alternatively, there are many traditional hunters who opt for 20th Century-style hunting rifles, shotguns and breach-loading pistols.

As you'd expect there are collectors of militaria, ranging from flintlocks to AK-47s.

Generally-speaking, the United Earth government doesn't control what weapons a person can own, but what weapons can be legally manufactured and sold. There is a black market in concealable automatic firearms, like SMGs and machine pistols, but it's a relatively minor problem, largely because of the massive social upheaval that led to United Earth and partly because the authorities treat arms dealing so severely. As far as they and most of the population are concerned, arms dealing = warmongering.

Laser Pistols

These are surprisingly bulky, menacing-looking weapons used by Starfleet until not so long ago. Although commonly called "lasers", they are phase modulated energy weapons that fire along a laser channel. They have multiple settings, allowing them to hit with the explosive force of a modern day RPG without recoil or back blast, or inflict severe pain alone, with barely a pea-sized blister. On lower power settings, they can be used to cut through steel or on wide-beam setting, control crowds. They also have a electroshock stun setting. Laser pistols can also be configured to overload and explode, with a force equivalent to about 25 kilos of TNT.

Laser pistols are still widely used in the Alpha and Beta Quadrant, but on United Earth they're mainly a police sidearm since they can be monitored and deactivated (even destroyed) remotely. Although laser weapons are not manufactured on the black market, there is a persistent, hard to eradicate supply smuggled in from off-world.

Phasers and Disruptors

The pinnacle of 23rd Century weapons technology, these two devices are intrinsically similar, indeed a Starfleet hand phaser does have a disruptor setting.

Phasers use rapid nadions to fine tune their effects, giving them all the versatility (and more) of a laser weapon with vastly improved efficiency. A disruptor has no rapid nadion tuning, allowing all of the weapon's power to be focused into the beam. As a tool of pure destruction, this tends to make the disruptor even more efficient than a phaser.

Only a phaser has a stun setting. Although if a disruptor blows your arm off, you may well be stunned, a phaser can stun by neural shock, inducing acute pain in the sensory receptors. The victim will be stunned and physically drained/weakened. This is dangerous at close range, as it can cause cardiac arrest.

On top end settings, a hand phaser or disruptor can hit with over twice the destructive power of a laser pistol, equivalent to a modern day Hellfire missile, able to demolish buildings. Whereas a disruptor could only destroy a concrete building by explosive force, a phaser could be set to weaken the structural integrity instead, creating a controlled demolition.

Both phasers and disruptors can be fired in a beam or as a bolt. Bolts are bound by gravitons and can create a shockwave even in vacuum. This makes them useful against armour, although the risk of collateral damage is greater. Bolts are also useful in fast-moving close quarter battle, where a target might be incapacitated without a direct hit. Phasers can also fire a bolt set to "proximity blast", to explode at a certain distance. Useful in urban terrain, an enemy taking cover behind an obstacle can still be hit and with far less collateral damage than by destroying the obstacle.

Hand phasers and disruptors usually have muzzle aim assist. As pressure is applied to the analogue trigger, the targeting computer marks the prospective point of impact and can adjust the beam accordingly when the trigger finally reaches the firing position. The Starfleet Type-2 hand phaser has a physical safety for the stun setting, a rotating emitter. The phaser is incapable of firing on kill settings when the emitter is rotated to blue (from red).

Phaser and disruptor rifles generally carry more charge and fire coupled beams, making them more effective against shields and in protracted fights. They will also have more advanced targeting systems and battlefield networking.

Starfleet use hand phasers. The Klingon Empire and the Romulan Star Empire use disruptors. Black market disruptors are rumoured to be manufactured by the Orion Syndicate. They are certainly available, though rarely on Earth.

A Starfleet officer with a mere hand phaser has all the capability of a 20th Century sniper, machine gunner, AT gunner, and air strike combined.

Body armour

Many forms of lightweight, durable body armour are manufactured for sports and leisure activities.

Starfleet uniforms include black compression underwear that is comfortable in all climates, fire-resistant, shock-absorbent, water-repellent, thermally insulating yet breathable. The trousers and jerseys are made from a ripstop material that is proof against low-grade stabbing weapons and shrapnel.

These aren't proof against supersonic projectiles, nor do they offer any protection against disruptors. Imagine a modern day battlefield where the insurgents can shoot you with unerring accuracy with fully automatic RPGs. There just wouldn't be any point in wearing body armour. The same pretty much applies to the 23rd Century.

Starfleet away teams sometimes wear grey excursion jackets and webbing harnesses. These are bullet proof and have load carrying capacity for plenty of equipment, and hide the brightly coloured jersey. Although helmets can be worn; like real world special forces, Starfleet away teams usually prefer not to wear them.

On board, hazmat suits and protective clothing are used when needed, but for away teams the EV suit is the best protection available. These are colour matched to the jersey, act as head to toe body armour and are hermetically sealed with an independent air supply, emergency beacon, retractable parachute, and integrated comms. They hardly impede movement, so an officer won't be disadvantaged in hand-to-hand combat.

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Antede III (Interservice) Ocean Race

Post by nemarsde » 01 Oct 2011, 17:30

The low gravity water world of Antede III is host to the Ocean Race. After discovering an environment capable of sustaining life on the Class O planet in 2237, Starfleet was tasked with transporting Federation Naval Patrol assets to the planet so they could begin surveying the surface.

The popular myth has it that during one such journey, a friendly argument arose between a Starfleet captain and Naval Patrol captain. The Starfleet captain argued that the Naval Patrol needed Starfleet to oversee its operations on the surface, to which the Naval Patrol captain replied that Starfleet needed the Naval Patrol because they were incapable of conducting the operation themselves. A bet was made over who could sail around Antede III the fastest, using an "old-fashioned" monohull yacht, and so the Antede III Ocean Race was born.

Image
Antede III - Memory Alpha


The "round the world" yacht race has been held every four years since then. After graduating from Starfleet Academy, the player characters were chosen to represent Starfleet. We don't currently know who won that year.

Each yacht has a hermetically-sealed, climate controlled dry area, an inner sanctum. They are designed and built using space age technology, whilst still retaining manual operation. The yachts are monohulls with canting keels, and caterpillar drives for emergency self propulsion. (Caterpillar drives are banned on United Earth because they're harmful to marine life.)

To save space, weight and energy, food synthesizers are not used. All rations are stored aboard, with supply drops punctuating each leg. Basic water purifiers are sufficient, as Antede III's oceans are are actually freshwater.

The atmosphere at the surface of Antede III is breathable to humans. However, the planet's low gravity means perpetually high humidity. This is tolerable for the most part because of the mild temperatures. However, at the equator the fast planetary rotation lowers gravity further, creating violent cyclonic forces in the weather system. Here air temperature regularly exceeds 30°C and 65% humidity, which can lead to heat stroke and death. Even with the radical greenhouse effect caused by the moisture in the air, Antede III is darker and cooler than Earth, and towards the poles the rime frost is a constant danger.

Becalment is a common obstacle in the tropics, but the race is timed to coincide with winter in the northern hemisphere and the northern ocean tends to be wracked by Force 12 winds. With the lower gravity, this can lead to storm waves 100 metres high. This is not the limit for Antede III either; rogue waves have been reported taller than the Empire State Building. Fortunately, the yachts' hulls can withstand such immense, crushing pressure (crew caught on deck, however, cannot).

Such weather can carry ice bergs far out into the wide ocean, and whilst the yachts have state of the art sensors, vigilance is essential.

Fortunately there are no large predators in Antede III's oceans, which has confounded scientists since its discovery as there is bountiful marine life, including a biforkated squid-like creature that feeds on micro-organisms in the water and grows to over 90 metres long.

The race lasts around 6 months, with teams racing day and night without stop. Each team consists of a 10-man crew selected from either Starfleet or the Naval Patrol. Crew experience the most demanding sailing environment in the galaxy, and can expect hunger, thirst, sleep deprivation and physical exhaustion from the extreme climate. Crew members must rotate through each role, answering to the team captain.

Even with support ships in orbit that can monitor the race and beam up crews if necessary, getting transporter lock isn't assured in the middle of an Antedean cyclone. Crew members have lost their lives in the past. In 2243, all but one of the Naval Patrol team was lost at sea, and two from the Starfleet team. The race is safer now, largely due to better understanding of the Antede III weather, but it isn't without risk.

Unsurprisingly, competition for places on the Starfleet team isn't as fierce as on the Naval Patrol team. It mostly attracts sailing enthusiasts and there are many more pleasant sports activities for a Starfleet officer.

Competing in the Antede III Ocean Race generally doesn't even hold much cache with other officers (whereas it does in the Naval Patrol) and Starfleet hasn't won a race since the first in 2239. Notice is taken at Starfleet Command though. They say to officers who cross the finishing line "Starfleet owes you one".

The Starfleet team training camp is at Marseilles Base on the Mediterranean, preparation is 6 months.

The player characters competed in the first Ocean Race since 2255, and the first since the Battle of Vulcan (2258). The Antedean Trophy was held by the Federation Naval Patrol, and had been for nearly two decades. Team captain was MCPO "Skip" Bernace of the Starfleet Marines and veteran yachtsman.

Lagging behind after early becalment, the team chose to shortcut through a super cyclone fed by three smaller cyclones. Although suffering damage to the ship and life-threatening injuries amongst the crew, the team were able to overhaul the Naval Patrol team and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

2260 Antede III Ocean Race Winners
MCPO "Skip" Bernace
Ens Ning
Cdt Cole
Cdt Crumb
Cdt D'Antonio
Cdt Martinez
Cdt Ordiales
Cdt Paratene
Cdt Quinn
Cdt Wakim

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The Tale of the Razorjaw

Post by nemarsde » 27 Nov 2011, 14:48

In early 2250s, the quixotic ecosystem of the Bracas V water world was over-shadowed in marine science by the discovery of the sentient aquatic species on Pacifica. Bracas V would become famous as one of the most spectacular diving experiences in Federation space... and for one particular alien invader.

Bracas V is a Class O planet, slightly larger and higher gravity than Earth. Although daylight conditions are also quite similar to Earth, the dark side of the planet is lit by the proximity of the Mintaka multiple star system. Bracas V experiences a slow day/night cycle of around 10 months, though night is more akin to twilight.

During these long nights, lasting nearly half a year, the oceans fluoresce in Mintaka's UV light, coral reefs look like nebulas and many species of plankton create undersea auroras with their bioluminescence.

True night only falls on Bracas V in a planetary eclipse.

With the average depth of its oceans being only 1500 metres, Bracas V is a very shallow water world, teaming with marine life, except in the various brine seas that are poisonous and devoid of any life.

The razorjaw family of eels belong to a group of kleptoplastic "gene stealer" fish, allowing them to survive off of sunlight by absorbing the DNA of photosynthetic purple bacteria. Razorjaw eels are named after the incredibly sharp teeth in their inner jaws, each formed from naturally occurring polycarbide.

Razorjaws have a long, serpentine body with two dorsal humps and rudder-like tail. Their heads are torpedo-shaped with a hard, glassy nodule above and below; the sphincter at the tip is the only obvious orifice. The glassy nodules each contain a separately mobile eye. Razorjaws breathe through the gill pouches in their outer jaws and blood sinuses in their skin. Colouration and body length varies, depending on species. The smallest is barely 10 cm, whilst the longest can reach 17 metres. Like many species on Bracas V, they are not thought to be genetically limited in size and are fast growing. The skin is grooved but not scaled and covered in mucus, and will commonly be host to colonies of polyps on larger specimens.

During the day, razorjaws bask at the surface. The foreskin around the head pulls back, revealing the cartilaginous outer jaws. The upper and lower jaws are highly flexible and split in the middle, opening into four brushes at each corner. Each is lined with bristles that filter the purple bacteria out of the water. Once loaded, the mouth closes, the inner jaws are worked against the bristles and the bacteria carried back into the digestive system. They aren't feeding, so much as developing their photosynthesis.

During the night, razorjaws become ambush predators, descending to the reef to hide in crevices. The eels use closely integrated hearing and motion sensing organs to detect their prey, with their eyes acting to guide their strike on target. They are not fussy eaters, showing little intelligence they will take a bite out of any creature of sufficient size within range. Since the outer jaws cannot create negative pressure to suck in smaller prey, razorjaws rely on their inner jaws to attack much larger prey. The teeth in the inner jaws are shaped like steak knives. As the inner jaws spring forwards, they open and slam shut, slicing through the prey. The morsel is cut away cleanly, allowing the razorjaw to avoid being pulled out of hiding by the prey.

Depending on the relative size of the prey, such a bite might be fatal or a mere nick. Either way, razorjaws are not known to pursue prey and whilst they will defend their territory, this only extends to their lair. They aren't aggressive during the day unless attacked.

Razorjaws have many natural predators on Bracas V, being preyed upon while they're at the surface, docile and vulnerable during the day. The mucus coating their skin and polycarbide cemented in their teeth, allow razorjaws to be detected by scent and electroreception. The assassin starfish hunts razorjaws at night, using stealth and a poisonous harpoon-like spine, whilst several species of reef-dwelling panzershark attack razorjaws head on, cornering their prey but protected by hard, abrasive armour.

Female razorjaws lay up to 20 eggs in a clutch and these are fertilised by a male. Little else is known about their reproduction.

The razorjaw sighted in the Caribbean in the 2250s was identified as a McQuhae's razorjaw eel. These are one of the plainer species of razorjaw, with a light brown head, dark brown body, mottled black markings with white speckles, typically a metre in length. They tend to bask amongst forests of deadwood kelp during the day and are otherwise unremarkable.

The bite wound on the dead humpback whale "Booyaka" corresponded with a McQuhae's razorjaw over 35 metres long.

Inspiring headlines of "sea serpent", the alien invader was hunted down and slain by the Coastguard, though Bahaman locals tell a very different story, involving a gang of islander children and a newspaper reporter. If true, the children's parents and guardians were only too happy to let the Coastguard take credit. The razorjaw eel was later traced to off-world smugglers in T&C, who had been using Bracas V as a "drop" for their crates. Experts agreed the razorjaw was probably carried to Earth in one of these crates, an accidental tourist.

The razorjaw's carcass was donated to the American Continent Institute. The polycarbide jaws themselves were finally returned to the people of Inagua two years later.

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Catullan Spy Scandal of 2244

Post by nemarsde » 14 Apr 2012, 17:06

In 2233, the Church-class science vessel, USS Kelvin was destroyed by one massive Romulan ship that emerged from what appeared to be a "lightning storm in space".

Sensor readings taken by the Kelvin strongly indicated that a temporal or transdimensional power was involved. Starfleet concluded that the Romulan Star Empire may have acquired technology massively superior to the Federation.

In the wake of this incident, the Federation Science Bureau invited the independent Catullan Government to join an academic research programme, investigating temporal and transdimensional phenomena. The programme was actually receiving its data from, and being guided by Starfleet.

The Catullans are renowned for their ability to sense subspace, derived from their evolution in a region of space prone to spontaneous micro black holes, thought to be caused by an immense isolytic burst in the distant past. On the planet of Catulla, these generate deadly ball lightning, seemingly at random. Catullans can sense the growing subspace instability that precedes a micro black hole, and this has given them the edge that's made Catulla the pre-eminent experts on subspace in Alpha Quadrant.

Catullans are one of the Preserver races; they appear humanoid and can breed with humans. Their home world is lower gravity and cooler than Earth, with a thinner atmosphere. They're a svelte, fair skinned people with naturally platinum blond hair. However, the prevalence of cobalt in Catulla's ecosystem means blue and purple-tinted hair are common.

Other than Vulcans (and possibly humans), they're the only other race known to have mastered a "nerve pinch" capable of delivering a debilitating neural shock. Without Vulcan grip strength, Catullans focus the neural shock directly into the spine, but without the physical shock as a conduit the Catullan nerve pinch is far harder to master and requires both hands.

Back in the 2230s, the Catullan Government were bidding to gain Federation membership and saw the joint research programme as a trial. There were still some obstacles to Catulla's entry, not least of which was their merit-based euthanasia programme, first implemented to curtail population growth on a planet with poor food resources.

So top Catullan scientists were bundled off to Earth, and their they were given the grand tour and worked closely with Federation scientists, unaware of the truth and under the watchful eye of FedSec.

In the early 2240s, however, these Catullan scientists discovered that their academic research was actually a branch of Starfleet's D-A-C programme, and being used for weapons development. The theory of a quantum torpedo, using micro black holes to enhance the explosive yield of a photon torpedo, was based directly on their work.

The scandal broke. Catullan scientists were accused of spying, arrested by Federation Security and sent back to their homeworld without formal charges. The Catullan Government accused Starfleet of espionage and deceit, though cleverly avoided maligning the wider Federation by positing that all were victims of an agency "out for itself and out of control".

However, with red faces in the upper echelons of Starfleet and several other Federation agencies, not to mention the political fallout amongst the member planets, it would be a long time before anyone could talk about Catullan entry into the Federation without an argument.

Since then Catulla has prospered from bilateral agreements with other regional powers, maintaining independence and cordial relations with the Federation.

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Operation Barb Wire

Post by nemarsde » 20 May 2012, 13:50

Starfleet intervened in the 2262 Kalar Uprising on Rigel VII, landing ground forces containing elements of Starfleet Security, Corps of Engineers, and Marines. They were tasked with delaying the Kalar attack on the fortress of Zemtar until embassy and trade delegations could be safely evacuated.

The occupants of the slums around the curtain walls were also evacuated, to a sheltered location amongst the kurgans (burial mounds) east of the citadel. Starfleet heavy cruiser, USS Blakeney assumed a blocking position to prevent orbital strikes from ships loyal to the Tsar of Zemtar.

The Kalar assault was blunted by an orbital strike from Blakeney, using stun phasers. Starfleet ground forces were in a stand-off with the remaining Kalar when a distress signal was received from a civilian star cruiser in the Cestus System.

SS Sabrina, registered on Rigel II, operated by Sandapam Esterel Star Cruises, had suffered catastrophic engine failure whilst in orbit of Cestus II and was floundering towards the planet's debris field. Federation citizens were aboard, including the recent winner of the Wrigley's Pleasure Planet talent contest, 18-year-old Suki Suzuki (for the song Summer Festival).

General Order 14 was given and all hands returned to the ship. Operation Barb Wire was hastily formed and a detachment of 80 Starfleet Marines in battle dress "khakis" and armed with phaser rifles were deployed to Zemtar, led by the First Officer. Ostensibly to protect the refugee camp in the eastern kurgans, while Blakeney undertook the rescue mission in the Cestus System.

Starfleet intel identified Prime Minister Etashnan as the mastermind behind the uprising. Etashnan being a conservative, this was a coup d'etat aimed at supplanting the progressive Tsar of Zemtar.

As Tsar Vang-toze had fled on a Rigellian corvette during the Kalar attack, Etashnan declared Vang-toze exile, and himself Grand Duke of Zemtar, de facto supreme ruler.

Promoted to lieutenant junior grade by the First Officer, Lt JG Ordiales was assigned a platoon of Marines and tasked with providing "close protection" to Grand Duke Etashnan. The real aim was to effectively restrain Etashnan, ensuring he couldn't move his Kalar against the refugee camp.

Before being relieved, Lt JG Ordiales platoon were embroiled in a plot by Imperial Guard to establish a military junta in Zemtar. They intended to exploit divided loyalties in the palace, assassinate Etashnan, and fill the power vacuum themselves.

Based on executive decisions made by Lt JG Ordiales, this resulted in one of the following outcomes:

1. Two Starfleet Marines were killed in a deadly shootout against Guardsmen armed with laser and disruptor weapons. Etashnan's aide-de-camp, Talza, was also killed in the crossfire. The Grand Duke was unharmed, the conspirators captured by the Starfleet Marines (phasers set to stun) and order restored. The Kalar remain Etashnan's assets, the Tsardom of Zemtar becomes the Grand Duchy of Zemtar.

2. Starfleet stood aside and let the military junta seize power. Etashnan and his aide-de-camp were vapourised by disruptor. The Imperial Guard are aware that they have no off-world allies and are desperate for Starfleet support. The Kalar become a military asset, the Tsardom of Zemtar becomes the Union of Zemtar.

3. Two Starfleet Marines were killed in a deadly shootout against Guardsmen armed with laser and disruptor weapons. Etashnan's aide-de-camp, Talza, was also killed in the crossfire. The conspirators were killed by the Starfleet Marines (phasers set to disruptor), and Lt JG Ordiales then vapourises Etashnan (either automonously or under express orders of the First Officer), blaming it on the Imperial Guard traitors. An emergency ruling committee is formed out of key ministers, household servants, guild masters, and merchants, and chaired by Starfleet. The ruling committee doesn't rescind Etashnan's decree, exiling Vang-toze, and they're keen to strengthen formal ties with the Federation and United Rigel Colonies. The Kalar become a military asset, the Tsardom of Zemtar becomes the Zemtar Republic.


Either way, the detachment was relieved after three days by USS Carolina (NCC-1000), and later rejoined the Blakeney.

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The Sabrina Conspiracy

Post by nemarsde » 08 Sep 2012, 17:29

The Red Cliff logo of Esterel Corporation is ubiquitous in Federation space, yet rarely noticed. A company incorporated on Terra Nova just prior to the planet losing its status as a protectorate, gaining full membership of the United Federation of Planets in 2178. Esterel's galactic headquarters are still in the scenic environs of Logan City on Terra Nova.

Founded by a European consortium from United Earth, Esterel is a direct-importer, operating between the Federation and trading partners in Beta Quadrant. Over time it has bought many of the companies it sold to, giving the corporation a diverse customer-facing portfolio. Look closely at the small print on that fizzy drink, that packet of pills or mascara, that package holiday or insurance policy... you might see the Red Cliff logo. Tiny, unobtrusive, but there.



In 2262, star cruiser SS Sabrina suffered a catastrophic containment breach in the warp drive whilst in Gorn space, in orbit of Cestus II. A daring rescue by the USS Blakeney saved the lives of the crew and passengers, at the cost of the life of Starfleet Colonel Vasco.

Amongst the rescued were pop star Suzi Suzuki, Alpha Centaurian cattle mogul, Bod Malone, and the ship's captain, Johnse Pratt. Pratt was later arrested by FedSec on charges of criminal negligence.

Analysis revealed the breach had been caused by impure dilithium crystals tainted by a naturally-occuring trilithium compound. Sabrina was operated by an Esterel-owned cruise line based out of Sandapam on Rigel II, and a joint investigation was hastily formed to uncover the source of the impure dilithium and extent of its distribution. The subsidiary's MD (Bonner) fled Sandapam and was found murdered on his yacht.

Starfleet's investigation led them to a silver-skinned Orion slave dancer "Davinka", and Orion black marketeer, Eddie Fas. USS Blakeney used a ruse to track Fas to his hidden base, in ancient ruins dating back to the Empire of Orion. What was once a planet-wide transporter hub, located in the thick, impenetrable jungle of Terango. Starfleet officers were able to decapitate the Rigel II smuggling network and apprehend Fas, finding evidence that he was obtaining impure dilithium from the Orion Syndicate. His side business met with disapproval from queen regnant Duraba, eponymous head of the House of Duraba.

The Klingon Empire was embroiled in the investigation after it discovered impure dilithium in its stocks, and captain of IKS Voh'tahk, Krell, reluctantly co-operated.

According to Duraba's spy, Davinka, Duraba had united many Orion dynasties under her banner, including House Syrenya, the Orion conglomerate attempting to buy Kalar labourers from the exiled Tsar of Zemtar. Duraba also matched the description of the "woman in black", "black queen", encountered by Starfleet officers during the Kalar Uprising. Davinka had been a gift to Fas, sealing the agreement with Duraba, but she was tasked with spying on him and his network.

The head of regional security (Drummond) was killed by conspirators within the company, and Esterel's regional finance director (Hasselbeck) disappeared. It became clear that Hasselbeck had been buying cheap black market dilithium and pocketing the change, dealing in Bonner to get the dilithium into the supply chain. FedSec later cornered Hasselbeck on Rigel IV, at the Comte d'Abidjan's mountain retreat in the Arctic Federation cantonment. FedSec agents and municipal police were killed in a shootout with Hasselbeck's mercenaries, and the fugitive escaped.

FedSec had an outstanding warrant for Fas's arrest, dating back to the 2250s when he was involved in smuggling on United Earth. Fas was held on USS Blakeney until being transferred to the Federation cantonment of Polar City on Rigel IV, by Starfleet Intelligence operatives. Starfleet Intelligence also applied for custody of Davinka, but as she was a civilian/non-combatant, non-Federation citizen with no outstanding warrants, the operatives had to sign off as her guarantors. Fearing for Davinka's safety, and knowing the operatives couldn't supply full credentials, Captain Singh denied the application. Davinka was set free on Rigel IV (non-Federation territory).

Aboard the Blakeney, a possible link between Fas and crew stationed previous on Deep Space K-7 was being investigated by Security Officer Devereux when he mysteriously disappeared without witnesses.

The investigation led to Chief Steward Crumb discovering a secret compartment, built into the ship's radiation shielding during refit. The deflector shields generate delta radiation whilst at warp, and baffle plates in the hull channel this into the ventral line, a wall of cheap ceramic alloy, where it's absorbed. Washed by delta radiation and unmonitored by the ship's computer, the compartment could be used for beaming aboard contraband undetected when the shields were down.

Messrs Crumb and Candy narrowly escaped death, and with the stakes rising, the Captain, First Officer, and Hazard Team were brought into the loop by Security Chief M'ghee. QM Azirah was a Starfleet Intelligence agent, M'ghee supervising. Azirah had infiltrated the Orion Syndicate operation on Deep Space K-7, and transferred with other conspirators to the Blakeney.

Devereux's persistence was making life awkward, so Starfleet Intelligence abducted him and provided him a 3-month placement with the Provost Marshal's Office in Polar City.

Azirah also revealed the Syndicate had full scale dilithium production, source unknown, purpose unknown. Fas was siphoning off unrefined, impure dilithium and selling it on the black market. This was how Hasselbeck got involved, and what ultimately led to the destruction of the Sabrina.

But it was clear that fouler and far greater deeds were afoot.

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Sybok

Post by nemarsde » 22 Sep 2012, 09:27

Vulcans were already spacefaring in the 4th Century, a time when the homeworld was wracked by wars. As emotional as any human, the Vulcan race had opened Pandora's box in their pursuit of psionic powers. The ability to sense the emotions and read the thoughts of others fuelled the violence. It's said that the Masters of Gol at this time were powerful enough to boil a man's blood in his veins by psychokinesis and were greatly feared. Wars were brutal and all-out. Nuclear bombardment was the best weapon against Vulcan's largely subterranean cities.

During this time came Surak, the Time of Awakening, when Vulcans adopted the way of inner peace through logic. After the Awakening came the Sundering, when those Vulcans who rejected the Teachings of Surak abandoned the homeworld and left for the stars. Nearly two thousand years ago.



Sybok is the son of Ambassador Sarek and the late Princess T'Rae, born on Vulcan in 2224.

T'Rae was the most powerful telepath of her day, and was proclaimed High Master of the Kolinahru before Sybok was 3 years old.

Since a Kolinahr High Master could not be devoted to family, marriages from former life were typically annulled. So it was. Ambassador Sarek later remarried a human and started another family, and Sybok stayed on at the monastery in the Mountains of Gol as a novice.

About a decade later, his mother was divested of her position and died soon after, the reasons and circumstances a mystery only guessed at. Sybok chose to leave the Kolinahru and stay with his father's family, becoming an outstanding student, considered by his tutors to be a child prodigy.

During this time Sybok gained a following of other students, which was encouraged at first. However, upon graduating it became clear that Sybok had learnt forbidden telepathic techniques, possibly from his mother, allowing more than communication of thoughts, but manipulation of them. He had rejected the Teachings of Surak, and believed that logic should be a conduit for emotional understanding.

According to Sybok, through Surak, the Vulcan race had gained inner peace at the expense of happiness, and so lost the true meaning of life.

His young followers called him the Shiav, "saviour", and believed he would lead the Vulcan race to Sha Ka Ree, a paradise where all Vulcanoids were unified as one.

After an attack against the Kolinahru, Sybok was declared ktorr skann, a dangerous renegade, banished from Vulcan and erased from the records of its people.

Sybok travelled throughout the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, searching for Vulcanoid races, learning their cultures and beliefs.

In 2258, most of the Kolinahru died in the destruction of the homeworld, and for many of the survivors, the Teachings of Surak alone could not save the Vulcan race from extinction. It was not lost on anyone that the planet had been destroyed by a Vulcanoid, a Romulan, driven by hate and rage.

The beliefs of Vulcanoids everywhere were shaken, even in the Romulan Star Empire, and people started to talk about the ancient myths, about Sha Ka Ree, and suddenly Sybok looked very much like the saviour his followers claimed he was.

Sybok was invited to speak to the remnants of the Vulcan High Council. There was a reconciliation, Sybok was made an ambassador of peace, whose aim would be to unite the whole Vulcan race. In 2263 he met with Legate Ejiel of the Romulan Star Empire on Nimbus III, and agreed to return with the Legate to Romulus to convince the Senate that a Federation-Romulan Alliance was the best hope for the future of both powers, and Vulcankind.

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Article 14, Section 31

Post by nemarsde » 30 Sep 2012, 17:47

From the Starfleet Charter, this article allows extraordinary measures to be taken in times of extreme threat. A get-out clause, and a veiled admission that the galaxy was full of scary, awesome powers and phenomena that could annihilate the Federation, intentionally or not.

This could have led to the creation of a clandestine movement within Starfleet Intelligence, using a cell-like organisational structure, to head off perceived threats to United Earth and ipso facto Starfleet Command. The creedo of this movement might be that the end always justifies the means. This movement might recruit from Starfleet personnel, carefully selecting their candidates and inducting them in a manner befitting a secret society.

For modern day analogies, Starfleet Intelligence is most akin to the United States Office of Naval Intelligence, whereas Federation Security is like a hybrid of the FBI and NSA. The CIA has no direct analogy, since most Federation agencies have "fact-finding" departments, including the Diplomatic Corps, Merchant Marine, and Federation News Service.

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Low Power Weapons

Post by nemarsde » 07 Oct 2012, 10:11

Set a Starfleet hand phaser to disruptor setting and it can obliterate a modern day battle tank, leaving behind a burnt out wreck of bubbling, molten slag. So it's no surprise that these weapons are carefully controlled. Even the renowned arms dealers of the Klingon Empire severely throttle the supply of personal/man-portable disruptor weapons.

For worlds that don't have extensive, pan-galactic mining operations, the materials required to power disruptor-type small arms are exorbitantly expensive, and could be put to far better use than killing.

So what do these worlds use instead?

EM Weapons

Starfleet first developed phase modulated weapons, then phase modulated laser channelled weapons (aka "lasers"), then phased energy rectification weapons, or phasers. But before that, the United Earth Space Probe Agency were using EM weapons, weapons that fired electromagnetically-propelled projectiles, similar in principle to modern day railguns and coilguns. These obviously work in the vacuum of space.

Eskan Plasma Weapons

Eskans love guns, and most of their weapons fire EM-propelled dolamide plasma bullets. Muzzle velocity is usually limited to 150 m/s, so firing the most common 2.5 gram plasma bullet generates hardly any felt recoil or sound, but does create a glowing hot toroid. When the bullet hits, it explodes with stopping power comparable to a modern day sniper rifle, yet rarely over-penetrating. Plasma bullet accuracy is largely unaffected by wind, they have a flat trajectory and most Eskan weapons have sophisticated computerised sights too. This makes them perfect for all-terrain hunting at ranges up to 100 metres, after which the bullet's speed makes it easy to dodge, assuming the prey sees it coming. Available as rifles or pistols, often with rapid fire capability, Eskan plasma weapons are sold throughout Federation space for hunting and defence.

Spear and Dartguns

The rubber-band powered spearguns are still commonly used on Earth for spearfishing, but a more adaptable EM-propelled speargun was developed on Risa in the Epsilon Ceti system. This allows for humane killing of even the largest fish, since the spear can be preset to fire at supercavitating speeds of over 250 m/s, or as low as 30 m/s.

On Archer IV in 61 Ursae Majoris, nocturnal hunting led to the development of a EM-propelled dartgun. These are typically auto-loaders, firing a 120 mm long, folding broadhead dart, weighing over 50 grams at low subsonic speed, similar to a crossbow. With no gunshot or crack of a bowstring, with no whoosh of rockets or any other sound, these dartguns are practically silent and accurate out to 70 metres.

Firearms

Propellant, projectile. Chamber, barrel. Descendants and distant relatives of the old arquebus are still found throughout the Alpha and Beta Quadrant. Toddtracium (aka TT) and derived propellants tend to be stable, shock, fire and water resistant, and fire in the vacuum of space. They're ignited by electric charge, either from a primer or generated by the weapon itself.

Folland All Sports Rifle

Firearms manufacturing in Alpha Centauri is restricted to the sports and hunting market, but the Folland All Sports Rifle may just be the ultimate in precision firearms design.

It fires a caseless 9 mm tritanium core bullet weighing nearly 20 grams, at over 1400 m/s. Reputedly powerful enough to hunt any live game in Federation space, it has a hydraulic mechanism, low barrel and adjustable counterweights to absorb recoil, and an old school telescopic sight, allowing for pinpoint accuracy. It's self-loading from a 10-round cassette, and the TT-based propellant and recoil-operated loading mechanism even work in the vacuum of space. Having no computer systems or high energy converters, it also works where phasers can't (such as radiogenic environments), and is proven to kill a wild targ in one shot at over 2000 metres.

Popenker 235

A short hop away, on Terra Nova you have the many Popenker 235 clones. These tend to be pistols/machine pistols, a design so basic it actually uses hand-made materials. They fire a 7.65 mm bullet from a box mag, loaded through the grip, in a weapon that can slip into a coat pocket. The low velocity of 280 m/s generates little recoil and is subsonic, making sound suppression effective. Even with a 4 gram jacketed hollow point bullet, instant kills are unlikely unless you're at point blank and hit the vitals. The design is actually spreading, some consider it a plague. Imagine the bastard child of an Uzi and a Skorpion SMG, and then imagine what it's used for.

Rigellian Slug Throwers

Firearms are commonplace in the urban sprawls of Rigel IV (Zamiar). With a population of over 10 billion, crime is rife in the megacities, and the local arms industry churns out street fighting weapons that are popular across the Borderland region of space.

These firearms are distinct "slug throwers", in that they use semi-caseless ammo; elongated bullets with hollow rear ends. The TT propellant is sealed in the hollow rear and ignited by voltaic arc from the trigger mechanism. The whole thing then fires down the barrel, and there's no case to eject.

Rigellian cartridges are characterised by being large calibre, with a slow, heavy grain, soft point bullet. "Jackhammers" are short-barrelled assault rifles with a 20-round mag, firing an 11 mm, 30 gram bullet at around 400 m/s. "Buzzsaws" are submachine guns, often with 50-round drum mags, firing an 11 mm, 15 gram bullet at around 210 m/s, and 1500 rounds/min.

These weapons are concealable under a raincoat, and have fashionable digital readouts and micro switch triggers. They have no self-targeting systems, but flashy close combat sights are popular. All these things tend to be illuminated.

Although design and materials are sophisticated by modern day Earth standards, the weapons have terrible ballistics*, being more akin to Zulu War-era firearms, but are intended for murderous "white of the eyes" shoot-outs.

With poor penetration, and excellent stopping power against unarmoured targets, the lead slugs are little threat to the insides of a starship, and this makes Rigellian firearms the favoured boarding gun of many space pirates, where the rate of fire, noise and ricochet are all of benefit.

*In comparison, the 5.56 mm NATO cartridge weighs about 4 grams, with a velocity of around 940 m/s.

Shotguns

Still made on Earth, still useful, the materials may have changed but the basic design has stayed the same. Shotguns are found throughout Federation space and are legal for the most part, even if hunting is controlled. Double barrel and pump-action models are popular, the venerable 12 gauge cartridge is still predominant.

Gyrojet Weapons

The heavier and faster a bullet, the more recoil it produces when fired. This basic fact is overcome by the gyrojet munition. United Earth first gained an appreciation for gyrojet weapons when they went to war with the Kzinti in 2066. Propelled by moyerite gel, gyrojet munitions are effective in almost any environment, even underwater.

Elasian Hush

Early Starfleet explorers named this gyrojet weapon the "Hush". Hailing from Elas in the Tellun System, it's a distinct looking pocket pistol with a "hooded cobra" suppressor. It fires a small, unremarkable 6 mm munition that is usually hardwired to accelerates to just under the speed of sound. They have no precision guiding mechanism like Kzinti weapons, and at around 3 grams in weight have poor stopping power. However, when fired all that's audible is a hiss. The Tellun System is located in disputed space between the Federation and Klingon Empire, a smugglers paradise. Enterprising arms dealers in the Borderland region of space even sell Hush ammo tipped with Dimorus rat poison. Silent but deadly.

Ussak

Andorian gyrojet weapons are considered amongst the best, though they're derived from original Kzinti designs. Andorian versions of the infamous Kzinti assault gun or ussak, are still highly sought after. It's a short, fully automatic, motor driven multi-role weapon that fires a sausage-like 20 mm gyrojet munition. These are actually 100 gram self-guided missiles, with a muzzle velocity of a mere 30 m/s, accelerating to around 700 m/s at 10 metres. A wide variety of warheads are available, high explosive, incendiary, flechette, and chemical.

Although the ammo is heavy, the weapons themselves are extremely light and reliable, almost feeling flimsy. Man-portable versions usually have a 10-round box mag and fire semi-auto, but with an ammo pack and revolving feeder, they can churn out 2000 rounds/min.

An ussak will chew through a building or car, and will also work in the vacuum of space. The concept of "weapon system" translates to "death machine" in Andorian, and death machines are akin to architecture in their culture, a culmination of art and design.

Phase Weapons

Phase modulated weapon plateaued until the early 23rd Century, when laser channelled versions (commonly called "lasers") allowed for immense power and efficiency gains.

Coridan flooded the market with phase pistols and rifles during the civil war that devastated their planet in 2155 and led to their retreat from galactic affairs. So now phase weapons are widespread, and the weapon most commonly encountered by Starfleet.

Although they can be modified to fire a single shot as powerful as a laser pistol (comparable to a modern day RPG), this would completely drain their cell and risk burnt-out if not complete meltdown of the weapon. Like lasers they have an electroshock stun setting, and can fire as a beam or bolt. The power output is hard set, and isn't easily adjustable. Most Coridanite phase weapons are set to maim or kill, comparable to a modern day assault rifle in power.

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2262 Mount Draylan Supereruption

Post by nemarsde » 03 Nov 2012, 14:41

Akaali, the sole inhabited planet in the Akaali System is a special case in the Federation. Although the Akaali race are humanoid, a distinct pocket of the Akaali population show atavistic Klingonoid traits, such as slight cranial ridges, vestigal, redundant organs, etc. There are also hints of Klingon influence in the culture, and the Akaali understand cosmology and space travel.

Yet they're pre-industrial and have no idea of the existence of alien races beyond folklore and "scientifiction".

It's believed that a Klingon ship may have crash-landed on the planet around 300 years ago, and the few survivors interbred with the humanoid natives.

The planet itself is M-class with Earth-like gravity, and continents riddled with inland seas and mountain ranges, created by a so-called "concertina crust". Large deposits of viridium have also been detected on the planet, and are probably what attracted the Klingon ship (being so easily detectable).

It became evident that the planet's viridium was being exploited by Coridanites and Malurians in the 22nd Century, and it was protected by a covenant between the United Earth and Vulcan in 2151. The Prime Directive now applies to Akaali, and the planet is monitored by Starfleet.

The Akaali are originally descended from a Coridanite prison colony, dating back nearly 1000 years to when the Coridanites were making their first forays into space. The colony lost funding and was abandoned, along with the colonists. However, the Coridanites have since used this to claim "ancestral right" to the planet's viridium resources. This would be a concern as they sold out their own planet's resources to Tellarite and Orion interests, but the outbreak of devastating civil war on Coridan has caused them to withdraw from galactic affairs.

In 2262, Starfleet noted that Akaali meridian civilisation was comparable to Earth circa-1860. That same year, Mount Draylan supervolcano erupted, threatening to fire around 3000 cubic kilometres of rock, ash and debris into the atmosphere, and cause a megatsunami that would destroy Akaali civilisation.

USS Blakeney was diverted to help with evacuating the town of Port Jaine's 20,000 inhabitants, located on the slopes of Mount Draylan, some 150 km from the summit. The supervolcano comprised the bulk of the 70,000 square kilometre island of Draylan. Although having a reputation as a bawdy, carousing pit for sailors, longshoremen and foreign merchants, Port Jaine was also the epicentre of the unique, Klingonoid influence. It's believed the survivors of the crashed starship washed ashore on the island.

Leading the rescue effort was Starfleet scientist, Lieutenant Greene, who had been embedded in Port Jaine for 5 years. Knowing that the Coridanites and Malurians had infiltrated Akaali society in the past, attempting clandestine mining, Starfleet's counter-espionage operation was elaborate.

Scans showed that the eruption had been caused by deep sea mining, some 1000 km of the coast of Draylan. The mining had damaged the crust, allowing gas to escape into the magma chamber under Mount Draylan. A purpose-built Malurian mining ship was discovered on the sea floor, and it was boarded and commandeered by Starfleet. With the climactic eruption only hours away, Starfleet and the Malurians devised a plan to cut a vent into the magma chamber, whilst the Blakeney and a nearby Coridanite ship attempted to disrupt the gas feed with carefully targeted photon torpedoes.

Thousands of Port Jaine's inhabitants were evacuated by sailing ship to Dawsyn, 2000 km away, whilst the remainder were taken aboard the Malurian ship (having dumped its cargo) and taken to the city of Akaali, over 800 km from the nearest coast and 500 metres above sea level. Around 7000 km from the volcano. According to Akaali legend, the city is where the ancestors first made planetfall, and it's traditional for Akaali people to make a once in a life-time pilgrimage to the city.

The city is the capital of the Four Presidencies, with the Court of Directors based in Akaali being the ruling body, and each presidency run by a Governor-General. This system of government has developed over 200 years or so, and isn't widely contested.

When the climactic eruption occurred, it was halved in volume by Starfleet's intervention. The resulting megatsunami threatened Dawsyn's 300,000 inhabitants, not to mention the Port Jaine evacuees that had swelled the seaport and spread panic in the city. The Governor-General had imposed martial law, the civil guard were blockading streets and controlling movement across the city. Starfleet officers convinced the civil guard to open one bridgehead, gained the confidence of the Governor-General and devised a plan to demolish the northern seawall and merchant district, disrupting the wave front by directing it into the 60 metre wide Skylar Canal. The Blakeney was forced to descend into the atmosphere, through the volcanic ash cloud to carry out controlled demolition with its phasers.

The megatsunami topped 50 metres and pulverised most of the city, but the death toll was relatively slight, since the population had been given time to evacuate to the hills around the bay. Federation and Coridanite aid ships soon arrived, and the situation was left in the hands of Diplomatic Corps.

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Gentlemen, we can rebuild him

Post by nemarsde » 08 Dec 2012, 14:27

Being bathed to delta radiation is much like being bathed in acid. Healing isn't possible until the acid is neutralised, otherwise it continues to burn, deeper and deeper. Unfortunately, delta radiation isn't an acid and can't be neutralised or simply washed off.

When Mr Crumb was caught exposed to delta radiation whilst inspecting a Jefferies tube, it should have been curtains. The best he could hope for would be spending the rest of his life in a support chair, his mind trapped in ruined, barely functioning body, and communicating by neural implants.

Fortunately, Iggy's legs and abdomen shielded his upper body, and Medbay had some time to consider their options. Iggy was connected to a surgical support frame, hastily modified by B't'kr to work with the Science Division's experimental thalaron radiation emitter. Thalaron radiation instantly necrotises most organic matter, and weapons based on it are banned by the Biogenic Weapons Convention. Channelling the thalaron through a surgical tri-laser, Dr Yu was able to eradicate the cells in Iggy's body affected by delta radiation, halting the spread of the destruction without causing further harm.

But Iggy's body below the chest was gone, and it had to be rebuilt with bio-synthentic limbs and organs. The lower half of Iggy's body is almost completely artificial, hidden under a layer of cloned skin, seamlessly woven together with the dermal regenerator.

What does this mean for Mr Ignatius Crumb?

His legs feel unnaturally stiff, and he has to relearn how to walk. They don't just dangle like natural legs, they're always tense even if they don't look it. The bones, all the way up his legs and lower spine, can be fractured but shouldn't break, since they have flexing beryllium-titanium guide rods.

His artificial digestive system is a ring valve "shark" type, remarkably compact and efficient, and allowing Iggy to go 3 days without a dump, even on a full stomach. However, his stool is always liquid and he has to avoid roughage or suffer constipation. Iggy's artificial liver won't develop tolerances, so a hard-drinking, hard-smoking lifestyle are a no-no.

Iggy has working genitals, but no testes (prosthetics in place), so testosterone's produced elsewhere by the so-called renaissance gland.

To conclude, his lower half is likely to confuse the hell out of any medical expert that examines him. But he's alive.

The multiple procedures took 144 hours of surgery in total. It will take around 3 years to fully grow and restore Iggy with cloned parts, but Starfleet Medical have already been advised by Dr Yu.

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Arise the Fourth Empire Part 1

Post by nemarsde » 03 May 2013, 18:35

Having commandeered the Romulan Bird-of-Prey, IRW D'Amarok from the Orion dilithium mine, the Hazard Team and the Debrune adventurer, Seledon, destroyed the dampening field emitter and sped off for orbit around the Planet Koltaari.

Image
Romulan Bird-of-Prey at CardassiaPrimera


The Bird-of-Prey is largely based on stolen plans of the old Burke-class cruiser, dating back to the 2230s. The Romulans have adapted the design over the years, mounting disruptors, plasma torpedos, and a cloaking device. Like many of Starfleet's designs, the Bird-of-Prey doesn't have separate deflector and tactical shields, only the one set of advanced shields for both purposes. This improves fuel efficiency and saves weight, but the increased waste heat limits the warp range.

Seledon understands the Romulan language, and the ship's systems aren't completely alien to the Hazard Team either. (Though Iggy isn't sure what that blinking light on the engine room panel meant, but it's gone now anyway. Out of sight, out of mind.)

Ty's interogation of the ship's computer reveals the Romulan captain they've captured is Cdr Havraha. The lack of other Romulan ships in the area suggests Havraha may be a renegade allied with Orion, possibly the same faction that tried to sabotage the talks between Ambassador Sybok and the Star Empire. Havraha was called in by the Orion merchant prince, Lifaq, to help find the Sunfire, a weapon legendary amongst the Koltaari, capable of destroying starships. Lifaq was running the dilithium mining operation on Koltaari and was killed by Princess Sunfire.

Lieutenant Everett Ford of the Starfleet Science Division, the so-called "White Wizard", takes the Hazard Team's shuttle to extract the Princess and allies before they're overrun.

The Hazard Team's mission is a startling success...

But as they reach orbit, they're narrowly missed by USS Carolina crashing into the atmosphere, it's hull breaking up, one warp nacelle destroyed and trailing debris and hot plasma.

The Blakeney is under fire from two alien battle cruisers, each the size of the Blakeney, Starfleet's largest class of ship.

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Son'a battle cruisers - Memory Alpha


May 1998 finalized design concepts for the Son'a battle cruiser at Memory Alpha

These ships look almost proto-Orion, with sickle-shaped, integrated hulls and warp nacelles similar to modern Orion ships. Almost certainly originating from the ancient Empire of Orion then, and clearly a match for Starfleet heavy cruisers. It's said there were three distinct periods of empire during the reign of Orion, and it looks like they're planning a fourth.

"Acting Captain" Imai has command of the Blakeney, and sends a desparate warning to the Hazard Team. Clear orbit and stay out of the fight.

The Blakeney's shields hold as its struck by a salvo of photon torpedos. The hull is buckled and burnt, it impulse engines smoking as it accelerates away from the planet, no doubt looking to escape the nebula so it can engage warp drive.

Can it make it that far with the Orion ships in pursuit? Where are the more senior bridge commanders?

What will the Hazard Team do next?

Will they try to save the Blakeney? How can they? What can the newly christened Flamenco de la Guerra do against such massive firepower?

What of the Koltaari and Debrune armies, marching on the Orion base on the planet's surface? Will the Sunfire and a few captured disruptors be enough against an armed force of Orions, Romulans, Nausicaans equipped with skimmers?

And will the Carolina crash land on the planet's surface? What about survivors? Unless it crashes in the inhabitable zone, any survivors will be exposed to the frozen wastes and temperatures plunging to -60 °C.

Find out in the next exciting episode of Crisis Point!

nemarsde
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Arise the Fourth Empire Part 2

Post by nemarsde » 03 Nov 2013, 15:27

Cloaked and invisible to the Orion ships, the Hazard Team debated their next move.

All plans to return to the planet surface were scuppered when they realised someone had left the fusion thrusters on after take-off and burnt out the couplings [Iggy's blinking light in engineering]. They could land, but they couldn't take-off again without using full impulse and creating a spectacle visible from orbit.

The Hazard Team received another signal from the Blakeney. Imai was bouncing a coded signal from bridge of the Blakeney, off of the White Wizard's obs post and direct to their communicators. She explained the situation:

The Starfleet ships had received a Code 1 Alert message from the Starfleet Commander, Admiral Marcus, to lend all possible assistance to the Empress of Orion's subjects in securing the Koltaari operation. General Order 7 still in effect. Orion battlecruisers had then appeared on the horizon from the other side of the planet.

Acting Captain Hayden opened channels with the Orions, intending to stonewall them until the Hazard Team were back aboard the Blakeney. The Code 1 Alert is the highest security alert in Starfleet, only used in the event of interstellar emergency. A Code 1 Alert is authenticated by the Starfleet Commander himself and trasmitted on Red Priority encoded subspace transmission.

Captain Nakamura of USS Carolina was incredulous and turned the ship about, intending to leave the nebula to seek independent verification of the Code 1 Alert (strictly against regulations). The Orion ships launched photon torpedos at the turning Carolina, Hayden manoeuvred the Blakeney into the line of fire to protect the Carolina. The Blakeney's artificial gravity system was damaged by feedback from the warp core, but the despite the pounding, they were unable to save the Carolina.

The Orion ships ceased fire. Hayden ordered the Blakeney to stand down. Imai argued that the Orions were hostile, that the alert must be disregarded, but Hayden believed that they did not/could not know the full implications of the alert, and a Code 1 Alert, by its very definition, could not be disregarded. Even if the Federation had surrendered sovereignty to the Empire of Orion, it was not a starship captain's job to argue. Billions of lives could be at stake.

The Orions requested assistance in quelling unrest on the planet surface. But there was unrest amongst the crew and marines too, so Hayden went to meet with Colonel-of-Marines Guillory, leaving Imai with the bridge. Fearing the worst, Imai assumed command of the ship, activated the lockdown drill devised by the Hazard Team, aware that she was mutinying. She contacted Second Officer Rasmussen and convinced him to help her, he and B't'kr connected her to the White Wizard's obs post.

Imai told the Hazard Team about Transporter Chief Hall's plan to beam them back to the Blakeney without decloaking the Bird-of-Prey. They simply had to intercept a transporter beam at precise time and co-ordinates. The Hazard Team set the Bird-of-Prey to self-destruct and flew it through the transporter beam on a collision course with one of the Orion battlecruisers. They beamed aboard the Blakeney, the Bird-of-Prey jumped to warp, hitting the Orion ship and detonating simultenously, destroying both in a huge explosion. Seledon had recorded a "kamikaze" Debrune message, later transmitted on open channels from the White Wizard's observation post.



Hall debriefed the Hazard Team as best he could. Hayden had charged Commander Kastal's marines with retaking the bridge, and they were making rapid progress. The Hazard Team wanted to put Captain Singh back in the command chair, to reassure the crew, re-establish order ship-wide and provide unequivocal leadership in a time of crisis. They sought Dr Yu in Sickbay, to ask about Captain Singh's state of mind and find out his location. The route via Jefferies tubes was dangerous, as the AG went haywire around them. Dr Yu gave advice and told them Singh was up in the science labs, stubbornly ignoring the events around him.

The team headed to engineering, were updated by Rasmussen, and then took a service lift to the science labs. Outside the Bio Lab, security guards opened fire on sight, but were quickly overcome, and Captain Singh was inside. He took some persuading, but finally agreed, but only because of the respect the team had earned. The Hazard Team escorted him to the marines barracks, where they convinced Guillory to join them. With a detachment of marines in tow, they marched up to the bridge.

Arriving on the retaken bridge, they found that Kastal had bashed Imai's face in, and she needed urgent medical attention. Acting Captain Hayden was there, trying to summon a substitute bridge crew and medical team. He and Singh argued, but faced with a shoot-out between the crew or surrendering the bridge, Hayden couldn't countenance armed conflict amongst the crew. The Hazard Team were convinced the alert was bogus, he trusted their opinion. But the traitor, Kastal had his own ideas.

Unbeknowest to anyone, Iggy had contacted his stewards and implemented "Ignatius Crumb Protocol 14" (not to be confused with 40). Via an innocent lamb jalfrezi cartridge, slotted into a food synthesizer, the ship's complement of personal phasers was disarmed.

The ensuing fight involved marines and crew, like a vicious street brawl, fists, teeth, knives, and old fashioned shooters. Ty blew Kastal's head off with her Romulan disruptor. Guillory was shot three times by SMG. Diego was shot in the face at point blank range by a shotgun, his helmet barely saving him. Chief Stevedore Illich arrived with his thugs, attacking the Hazard Team's faction. Gromek arrived with the stewards and they attacked Illich's faction.

With Ray rampaging through the traitor marines, the Hazard Team got the upperhand, and the bridge was finally won.



Diego awoke in Sickbay, where he and the Hazard Team were getting patched up. Jules had been hit by a disruptor when they hijacked the Bird-of-Prey. Iggy was in a neck brace. Babs was also awake, confined to an advanced life support wheelchair since her bed was needed. It was Personnel Officer Khalid that gave her the candy, requesting it from QM Azirah. Azirah was detained.

The Hazard Team, Singh, Rasmussen, B't'Kr and Security Chief Ten Pas discussed their next move in the ops centre. Empress Duraba's voice was suddenly heard on ship-wide coms. She emplored the crew to obey their orders, join the Empire of Orion in partnership, so they might stand against a far greater threat that loomed over the galaxy. The Blakeney cut her off.

It was decided to attempt rescue of the Carolina's survivors on the planet surface, by launching a flotilla of shuttles. They'd inform the Orion battlecruiser that they would only lend assistance after ensuring the safety of the survivors. During the flight to the planet's surface, one of the shuttles, loaded with a squad of Kastal's traitor marines, hogtied, would be pre-programmed to break off and flee across the horizon. While the Orion ship was distracted by the shuttle, the Blakeney would turn and fire a full barrage of photon torpedos and phasers.

Assuming the Orion's shields buckled, the Hazard Team would then be beamed onto the outer hull of the Orion ship before the shields could re-energise. Specialist Candy was seconded to the Hazard Team, and they would plant plasma charges to knock out the ship's shield generators. Jules, Carlos, Diego, Iggy, Ray, and Candy would beam across. Ty and Seledon would stay and interrogate Azirah.

This all went down, pretty much as planned. Seledon used a violent mind meld to find out the truth from Azirah, and afterwards she swore revenge, moments before the Blakeney's hull was breached and she was sucked out into space. The two ships pummelled each other. Even blindsided, the Orion battlecruiser turned the tables and was devastating the Bastion-class. An Orion security team arrived on the outer hull to fend off the Hazard Team.

Chaos. Raging fires, power cuts and alarms on the Blakeney, decks being sealed off. On the enemy ship, the Hazard Team ambushed the Orions, planted the charges and blasted off on a rocket-powered space flight through the damaged superstructure. Singh ordered the Blakeney to "rush" the enemy, narrowing the angle of attack and allowing them to focus shield strength. The charges detonated, the Orion's shields folded, the Hazard Team were beamed aboard moments before the enemy ship was blown to smithereens.



2 days later, the Blakeney's critical systems had been stabilised, repairs underway. The crew had suffered major casualities, mostly amongst the marines, with the loss of 460 lives. The 100 surviving crew of the Carolina were all aboard. On the planet surface, the White Wizard was replaced by Head of Xenology Rodgers. Goodbyes were said, the White Wizard and Seledon would be travelling with the Blakeney. The Princess Sunfire's burns were treated, she would live and lead the people of Koltaari into a new era of hope and illumination.

2 weeks later, the Blakeney limped from the Paulson Nebula and rendezvoused with USS Kongo (NC-1710), Constitution-class, its escort on the voyage home. Seledon saw stars for the first time. On Koltaari, the night sky is a swirl of coloured, nebulous clouds, pierced by dazzling lights. Starfleet had granted him a false identity, Federation citizenship, one of the V'tosh Ka'tur, small, disparate groups of Vulcan space nomads, noted for their eccentric beliefs and customs, lone survivor of a "shipwreck".

Over 2 months later, the Hazard Team are gathered together at Erba's famous marina on Argelius II to take part in the Tamarin Frost Drag Boat Racing Championship. Bikinis and bermuda shorts all around (budgie smugglers for Ray). Jules is climbing into a boat, arranged by her dad. Ty's dad arrives with the icecream, they have some things to talk about. Diego and Babs are enjoying being young, alive, good looking and fashionable. Iggy and Gromek have set up loungers on the roof, with chilled beverages close at hand. Ray is chatting up exotic, offworld promo girls, who are also being examined by Seledon. Carlos is engaging in vigorous diplomacy with their local Argelian guide behind the paddock.

Jules throttles out to the line, the race start lights switch from amber, to green to red. Got to stay fly!

Crisis Point Soundtrack now available!

nemarsde
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Beyond Darkness

Post by nemarsde » 03 Nov 2013, 20:45

It was soon obvious to the Hazard Team that the events around Koltaari were not an isolated incident, and they'd been caught up in a full scale coup d'etat by Admiral Marcus, Starfleet Commander. His aims were to install a military dictatorship, based on what he perceived as a threat to the future of civilisation.

This was corroborated by Seledon's reading of Azirah's mind.

Admiral Marcus was a member of Section 31, a movement within Starfleet Intelligence that used "extraordinary measures" in defending Starfleet Command. Section 31 carried out the dirty work that Starfleet and Federation couldn't even admit needed doing. Marcus's climb to the top rung, and double term as Starfleet's commander-in-chief also placed him at the head of Section 31.

Following Nero's incursion, Marcus became ever more paranoid. Although the D-A-C programme was officially cancelled, Section 31 continued to develop prototypes in secret, using private military companies as proxies.

Meanwhile, from the Briar Patch, an impenetrable nebula in the galactic south, a mysterious green-skinned Orion woman emerged. She brought with her invincible battlecruisers of Ancient Orion make, crewed by a remnant of that past civilisation, the humanoid Son'a and superior to even the Federation's flagship, NCC-1701 USS Enterprise.

She would become the eponymous head of the House of Duraba, and start to unite the houses under her banner. She led the Orions to Koltaari in the Paulson Nebula, so they could mine dilithium for an armada of ships. How she knew of Koltaari's existence is anyone's guess.

Before long Duraba had caught the attention of Starfleet Intelligence, and thus Section 31.

Duraba believed that the Third Empire of Orion had been destroyed by "robotic planet-killers", and that they would soon return— their only purpose; to destroy advanced civilisation in the galaxy, plunge it back into the dark ages. A Mediaeval chevauchée played out on a galactic scale. Marcus believed that the Federation faced imminent destruction, from any number of aggressors, and was too weak to defend itself.

An alliance between a Fourth Empire of Orion and a Terran Empire, however? Focused on security and defence, this power bloc might have a future.

After the Battle of Vulcan, both factions accelerated their plans. Marcus sought the last of the Augments, using their brutal intellect to revitalise his stalled war machine, whilst Duraba stepped up dilithium mining on Koltaari and sought to obtain an army of Kalar. Neither faction trusted each other.

"Davinka" was Duraba's master spy in the Borderland region. Eddie Fas was typical of the crime lords that made up the Orion Syndicate, but necessary for smuggling dilithium ore back to Orion for refinement. Azirah was effectively a triple agent, serving Starfleet Intelligence, the Orion Syndicate, but ultimately Section 31.

But Nero's incursion had other knock-on effects. There was hope of a concord between the Federation, the Klingon Empire and the Romulan Star Empire. This wasn't in the interests of Section 31 or Duraba, whose plans were both very simple: divide and conquer.

With the Klingon Empire on its knees, Section 31 conspired to bring them to war, creating the perfect environment for a coup d'etat.

Duraba conspired with Romulan renegades to sabotage burgeoning relations with the Federation, and manipulated the Gorn into taking a more belligerent stance against New Vulcan neighbouring their territory.

Both Section 31 and the Orion Syndicate had agents on the crews of starships across the galactic south.

Then Section 31 agent, John Harrison, went rogue and declared war on Starfleet, intending to thwart Section 31's plans. Admiral Marcus's hand was forced. So intertwined had Section 31 become with the Orion Syndicate, that Duraba's hand was also forced. She declared herself the Empress of the Fourth Orion Empire.



But Admiral Marcus was killed during the coup, his unregistered Dreadnought-class ship defeated by the Enterprise. Elsewhere, two of Duraba's formidable battlecruisers were defeated above Koltaari by Starfleet cruisers, with NCC-1735 USS Blakeney limping away victorious. Ambassador Sybok had arrived on Romulus to outcries of grief and reconciliation from the Romulan people. The Klingon's IKS Voh'tahk sided with NCC-1522 USS Moreno in a stand-off with the Gorn. Captain Kang cited his recent meeting with the Hazard Team of the renowned Blakeney, and the Klingon's honorable debt to that ship as reason for his decision.

Back in the Federation, the truth was too huge to conceal. There was immediate action, arrrests were made, but care was taken to identify John Harrison as the perpetrator of the attempted coup, having compromised Starfleet's highest security systems, whilst being in league with criminal organisations. Admiral Marcus was responsible for malfeasance in allowing Starfleet's black ops to run amok, lacking sufficient oversight, but he wasn't painted as a tyrant.

Meanwhile, the Starfleet Inspector General's Office was tasked with investigating the whole affair, which would take years.

To protect Koltaari, the planet remained under the purview of General Order 7. Thus, NCC-1000 USS Carolina was destroyed in the Battle of Sentinel Minor IV, where it and the Blakeney destroyed a fleet of pirate ships. The Romulan Bird-of-Prey, IRW D'Amarok was also destroyed by the pirates in the battle, though which side it was on couldn't be ascertained.

The details surrounding the Battle of Sentinel Minor IV remained highly classified pending full investigation, but the findings of the initial enquiry were perfunctory. The medals awarded to the Blakeney's Hazard Team for the 2-year mission were awarded "redacted". They had to be returned for safe-keeping after a private ceremony, since most of the actions for which they were awarded were classified.

The crew of the Blakeney was reassigned. After inspection at San Francisco Fleet Yards, the old ship was deemed unserviceable and decommissioned.

Tensions are now high in the Federation. Starfleet's black ops activities have setback relations with the Klingon High Command. The uncommunicative Gorn Hegemony appears to be antagonised by the new Federation colony on their doorstep (New Vulcan). Somewhere out there, the Empress of Orion is waiting to make her next move. And for those who know the whole truth, at the backs of their minds they might fear, "What if she's right?"

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