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]