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Star Trek - Victory: An Ongoing Campaign

posted Oct 06, 2017 20:52:53 by JoeCohen
I'm four sessions into my STA campaign, and my players are loving it. I thought I'd keep a log here of what happens so you all can mine it for ideas.

It is 2379. The Romulan government is in shambles following the coup of Shinzon, with dozens of groups trying to fill the void left by the assassination of the Senate. The Klingons have been probing Romulan borders, and factions chafe under the rule of a commoner like Martok and the “humanizing” influence of Worf and his Federation allies. The Federation, once the dominant power in the quadrant, has been reprioritizing in favor of its original mission of scientific research and exploration, but this perceived weakness has drawn raids from a number of powers who escaped the Dominion War largely unscathed: the Tholians, the Gorn, the Naussicaans.

As the Federation transitions from a war footing, and the construction of new starships has moved back towards these scientific and exploratory roots, previously useful vessels are being decommissioned; even if the economics of replicators allow for a fleet of essentially unlimited size, the crew available to operate these vessels is limited by birth rates and Starfleet enlistment. Many ships once vital to the war effort were decommissioned, scrapped or relegated to training purposes.

One of these vessels was the USS Victory, a New Orleans-class frigate assigned to the Third Fleet. Despite three decades of use, it served well in a number of battles, including the defense of Betazed, and was undergoing refit and repair when the war ended. It sat at the Antares Ship Yards for two years as it fell rapidly in priority. As newer frigates entered service, including the El Dorado-class and additional Defiant-class vessels, Victory remained in drydock.

At this time, a new mission was approved by the admiralty as a show of strength and solidarity. A single Starfleet vessel would be tasked to patrol the Klingon-Romulan Contested Zone (the equivalent of the Neutral Zone), colloquially known as “The Seam.” This would be ostensibly for scientific and research purposes, but equally important, this vessel would act as a show of force to allied factions that might be considering taking advantage of a weakened Federation. The Treaty of Khitomer allows Federation vessels to move through Klingon space, and as the ownership of the Seam is disputed, scholars believe a mobile Federation presence would be legally defensible.

The ship selected for this operation was the USS Victory. As a frigate, its scientific capabilities were outside of the desired parameters for most active Starfleet vessels, and it was heavily armed to defend itself. Its modular mission pods would allow for flexibility over a trip through the Seam that wasn’t available to any other starship class of its relative size or offensive capability.

As part of the refit, the arboretum was replaced by a cetacean ops department. Usually only found on Starfleet’s largest ships, the navigational concerns of the Seam necessitate a higher level of elite researchers. The cetacean mind is highly adapted to three-dimensional navigation, and cetacean specialists are often able to discern information from the ship’s sensors that are unnoticed by humanoid crew. In this case, six tucuxi dolphins (Sotalia fluviatilis) were selected to reduce the reliance on a salinization system.

In addition, Victory had another piece of legal trickery working in its favor. Because of its refit, its improved EPC relays made it a candidate for a piece of experimental equipment: a plasma stealth system. While the Treaty of Algernon forbids cloaking devices, the plasma cloak was designed to circumvent the treaty’s particular definition of a cloaking device. While traditional cloaking devices use the deflector grid to generate a field that refracts light and sensors, the plasma stealth device uses a layer of metamaterial in the hull to scatter sensor readings. While not as robust as a cloaking device (the vessel is still visible to the naked eye, and must reduce its energy output to less than 1% of standard use to avoid tripping passive sensors), it can keep a vessel hidden from passive and generalized sensor scans with roughly the same rate of success.

Victory’s mission is open-ended: to patrol the Klingon-Romulan Contested Zone, maintain diplomatic relations with existing civilizations, and explore the far side of the Klingon and Romulan empires.
[Last edited Oct 07, 2017 03:45:03]
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JoeCohen said Oct 06, 2017 21:18:41
Bridge Crew

Captain Asharn Shern - Bolian male - Originally a scientist, Shern transferred into command prior to the Dominion War. During the war, he served with distinction, and took a leave of absence after the war to focus on his first love, geology. He returned to Starfleet at the request of the Admiralty to captain Victory.

Commander Jae-Han Pak (NPC) - Human male - The first officer of the Victory, Pak is a career second officer. He's been offered command several times, and turned it down, preferring to help guide inexperienced captains through their first command. Respected beyond his rank, as three former captains he was XO for are now Admirals.

Lt. Commander Harlan Dulas - Betazoid male - Security chief and second officer, Dulas joined Starfleet when the Dominion War threatened. Much of his record is classified, as during the war he was tasked to Starfleet Intelligence as a special operations officer. Despite his ability in combat, he maintains a deep love for plant life and nature, spending equal amounts of time tending to the veritable jungle in his quarters as he does practicing his phaser skills.

Commander Tam Fahr - Trill (joined) male - As a cadet during his training cruise, Tam's vessel responded to a distress call from the USS El Dorado, where a senior Trill officer had been injured. Tam volunteered to host the Fahr symbiote, and served as a corpsman and counselor, taking advantage of the knowledge of a previous war veteran host. His primary position is now counselor, where he has the knowledge of six lifetimes of advice to lean on.

Lt. Commander Thon sh'Voth - Andorian male - Raised on Denobula, Thon doesn't have a deep connection to his people's culture. He is gregarious and cheerful, more like the Denobulans he was raised with than his fellow Andorians. His bedside manner surprises many, but his skill in surgery surprises no one even passingly familiar with him.

Lt. Sidra Marin - Human female - Sidra was a fighter pilot during the war, where her skill earned her accolades, and her daring earned her six months in Starfleet Medical and an artificial heart. Now adapting to life after the war, she's one of many former fighter pilots behind the conn of a large vessel for the first time.

Lt. zh'Wyl Axi - Bajoran female - The Wyl family escaped the Cardassian occupation, settling on Andor before the birth of their daughter Axi. They retained the custom of Bajoran family name first, but added 'zh' as a concession to Andorian culture. zh'Wyl has a sharp tongue, a disdain for Cardassians, and a iron fist in command of the engineering department.

Lt. (jg) Marek - Cardassian female - When Marek's father was forcibly conscripted by the Obsidian Order to serve as a weapons expert, Marek escaped, wandering the galaxy looking for a place to explore the universe without being bothered by hierarchy, rank, politics, or war. Many of the people she came across heard her desire for exploration-for-exploration's sake and they all had the same recommendation: Starfleet. Her disdain for hierarchy and discipline was balanced by her voracious desire for learning, and she received a posting as science officer on the USS Victory, where she could hopefully study quantum physics, warp theory, and astrophysics without too much interruption.
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JoeCohen said Oct 06, 2017 21:19:33
1.01
"Depend Not on Fortune"

We begin with a short rundown of the status quo in the Alpha Quadrant. The Romulan Empire is in flux following the events of Nemesis, with practically the entire government made up of brand-new Senators, emergency appointees, and jumped-up minor functionaries. The Klingons are factionalizing, with many hawkish factions seeing Martok as a Federation puppet (which, seeing as he was installed by a Federation officer after what many cultures would call an assassination, isn’t entirely without merit). The Federation is trying to keep the peace, as well as project its own appearance of strength.
Aboard Starbase 234, the crew of the Victory has begun to arrive. Lt. Commander Dulas is the second officer, so is in command at the moment. After some discussion of the ship’s capabilities, several officers ended up in Cetacean Ops, where they meet Lt. Levi (pronounced with a short e, like the Jewish last name, rather than the brand of jeans), a freshwater dolphin in charge of the navigational research team. It is, of course, not his real name, which is unpronounceable by humans. It turns out, dolphins have a terrible sense of humor, loving puns and dad jokes. Ensign Liara (who, it has been noted, is outranked by the dolphin) made a slight faux pas, resulting in blackmail in the form of bad joke delivery, lest she be reported to the HR officer.

Commander Pak arrived on board and called everyone to a quick meeting in the holodeck (while also making sure Dulas’ most-used and strangely-named holodeck program isn’t a weird sex thing) where he introduced himself, and gave a much more Starfleet version of Michael Ironsides’ “I expect the best, and I give the best” speech from Starship Troopers. Before much more introduction could be done, the starbase received a communique from the Romulan government. A farming colony inside Romulan space was under attack, and the Victory was the closest ship. After receiving permission to cross into Romulan space, Victory, under Commander Pak’s command, warped to the rescue.

Upon arrival in the Niromo system, Victory detected a ship just leaving. Unfortunately, due to unfamiliarity with the ship’s systems (as well as an ill-timed complication on a roll), Victory was detected, meaning the attacking ship was aware of their pursuit. When they beamed down to the planet, Commander Fahr and Lt. Marek set up a field hospital, where they attended to the injured. Commander Dulas and Ensign Liara explore the damage, and find a building set up to house Reman “servants.” When they confront the Romulan mayor, she says that it was Remans who attacked them and took all their servants, who were there of their own free will, and after a five year stretch, would have been granted land of their own on the colony.

The crew, joined by the Captain and doctor by now, returned to Victory, where the ramifications of the Prime Directive were discussed before giving chase. In a final scene, Lt. Marek returned to Cetacean Ops, to tell Lt. Levi a truly terrible joke, which I may have partially forgotten as a defense mechanism: “What do you call a Cardassian captain on an old Earth sailing ship? A sea gul!” Unfortunately, we don’t have a Riker or a Worf to make squinty or googly eyes into the camera, so the episode ends with Levi glaring at Marek…
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JoeCohen said Oct 06, 2017 21:20:19
1.02
"The Commission of Many"

Following the return to the ship, Commander Pak spoke with the Captain and recommended Lt. Marin for head of flight control. The previous officer, Lt(jg) Onu Raika, was the one who allowed the Reman vessel to discover the Victory was in pursuit. So with Lt. Marin at the helm, a course was plotted to allow Victory to reach the next target ahead of the Remans.

The next planet was more heavily populated, with several industrial centers as well as a space station. Subcommander Telot, the commander of the station, was aware of the Victory’s arrival, and reminded them that they were there to further the alliance between the Federation and Romulan Empire.

The Victory tried out the plasma sheath, hiding in preparation for the Reman’s arrival. When the ship arrived, however, it broadcast a signal: “To the Starfleet vessel in the area, please respond. We have no intention of causing you harm.” The Reman captain, Rilka, explained that she had no desire for conflict, and that her people were in need of medical attention. After some tense negotiations, an away team beamed over to the Reman ship.

Aboard, they found the Remans true to their word. A makeshift sickbay held dozens of Remans, being treated for old work injuries, easily cured illnesses and the occasional battle wound. Rilka explained that their goal was the liberation of as many Remans as possible from outlying colonies before finding a planet that could sustain them, preferably far away from the Romulan Empire. There was a long discussion about the feasibility of those goals, and that the Remans may be harming their cause in the long run. Eventually, Captain Shern was able to broker a truce between Rilka’s rebels and Subcommander Telot, allowing any injured Remans to be treated on the Victory, and any Remans who wished to leave passage aboard the Reman vessel.

This did not solve the larger problem, of how to stop the Remans from further attacking Romulan planets, and how to not punish them for fighting against their enslavement without going against the Prime Directive. Eventually, Rilka requested asylum from the Klingon Empire, which gave the Victory an out for the current crisis, but kicked the can down the road.
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JoeCohen said Oct 06, 2017 21:21:17
Episode 1.03
"Gorgon"

The Victory begins in the Alidor system, a gigantic asteroid field made of the remains of several planets destroyed by a long-forgotten weapon. The Klingons use it as a training ground to train new officers in ambush and cloaking tactics. The Victory is to participate in these wargames with the Var’Nok, a bird-of-prey commanded by Klaran, one of Captain Shern’s old friends/rivals. Commander Pak, Lieutenant zh’Wyl and Commander Dulas beam over onto the Var’Nok, while First Officer Jesna beams over to the Victory with a song in her heart and a bottle of bloodwine in her hand. She’s Klaran’s mate as well as first officer, and she tests Shern’s nerve by claiming that in days of old, by having bested Klaran in combat, she’d have been his for the taking. Shern proved unflappable, and Jesna made it clear that those times were past. She snapped to her standard professional demeanor to begin the hunt.

The Var’Nok and Victory began their cloaked game of cat & mouse, proceeding until the Var’Nok collided with a cloaked vessel. It was a ghost ship, not totally uncommon in Alidor, a ship where something had gone wrong, and it couldn’t be found. Dulas and zh’Wyl led an away team of Klingons to the ship to recover it, while the Var’Nok proceeded to hunt the Victory. They couldn’t detect where the cloaked ship was, so there was a bit of… trial and error, let’s say… with the transporter. To be fair, any mission that ends with only two Klingons dead is a successful one. The away team discovered the IKS Gorgon, a K’Tinga-class battle cruiser, still cloaked. Dulas and zh’Wyl split, with Dulas heading to the bridge, and zh’Wyl remaining in the engine room, each with three Klingons. On the bridge, Dulas sensed a sudden desire to kill him coming from the Klingons, and strikes first. Not well, but first. After defeating two of the Klingons, Dulas escaped.

In the engine room, the Klingons advanced on the engineer, who wheels on them and orders them in no uncertain terms to get back to work. It was as if zh’Wyl herself was a Klingon commander (it was an incredible die roll!), and they backed down. The remaining Klingon called the Var’Nok, warning them of Federation betrayal. Aboard the Victory, Shern was able to convince Jesna that there was no ill intent. Counselor Fahr instituted quarantine procedures, and Dr. sh’Voth was able to discover what was going on: an airborne virus targeting Klingons, causing them to become paranoid, first against outsiders, then each other. The combination of defeating the Klingons on the Gorgon and reassuring the crew of the Var’Nok prevented Captain Klaran from retrieving his away team and infecting the rest of his crew. An antidote was synthesized, but the crew of the Victory was left to wonder who created the virus… and why?
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