Game Recap: Star Trek – Episode 3

Starfleet logoThis is the third episode of Mark’s PDQ#-based Star Trek game, run on the Monday night Skype open games. The premise: the crew of the USS Resolute is the second-wave team, charged with establishing diplomatic relations and trade with suitable worlds that were recently visited by the Constitution-class ships like the USS Enterprise and the USS Hood.

For background, see the characters descriptions, the summary of Episode 1, and the summary of Episode 2. Episode 3 closes this particular adventure.

Edit: Character creation rules are here.

Episode 3

Shuttle ibn Shukir* successfully docks with the Resolute. The captain goes to get some rest. Lt. Curry gets an advanced scan of the target area, locates a set of (unexpected) human life signs on the planet near Tarkan Laziene’s residence. Dr. Warden examines the Grays they brought back, finds signs of malnutrition and minor illnesses which she takes care of.

Adriana Katsopoulos instructs her team to scan the residence, especially for bunkers and underground facilities, and to check previous scans of the planet to see if the sensor hole was already there (no, it’s new). After a nap, she comes back to take a look at progress, and work on a deep scan of the shielded area. She identifies an experimental type of generator which Vortex Technologies even looked into at one point, a kind of shield technology that requires a huge input of energy and attracts too much attention to be effective. They could punch through by increasing scanning intensity, but it could be hazardous to equipment and personnel.

When the captain wakes up and gets everyone together for a briefing a couple of hours before it’s time to meet with Tarkan Laziene. The captain asks the Vortex Technologies team to take a closer look at the human readings, but they can’t tell much more than that it’s a human male. The captain tells Dr. Warden he is going to offer her services to conduct health consultations, and use this to place her near one of the areas of Grey concentrations they located earlier.

As time approaches, the mission personnel and Lt. Curry’s team assemble to take a shuttle down to the surface. They make their way down, lands in a large public square, and the security team deploys in proper fashion as a band starts playing. Lt. Curry, Dr. Katsopoulos, Dr. Warden, and Captain Stone file out. A group of soldiers in dress uniforms forms an honour guard; their officer escorts the guests to Tarkan Laziene and other officials. Laziene greets the captain and his crew, makes a little speech for the many cameras and recording devices.

Next, the team and the officials are taken away on an official bus, whisked off to a dizzying series of official functions (the food is awful). After this pageantry, they are left with Tarkan Laziene and his wife. Laziene makes pleasant talk about joining the Federation and getting an agreement that benefits all parties; Adriana responds in kind. Laziene’s wife is very young and near unreadable. Katsopoulos asks Laziene about the loss of warp technology. When she congratulates Talithans for “pulling themselves by their own bootstraps”, Laziene flinches a little.

Soon after, Laziene excuses himself for urgent business and has his steward escort them to their rooms. Once alone, they scan the rooms to identify the bugs, and find several. Lt. Curry’s security team, with the help of Dr. Katsopoulos and the Captain, neutralize the bugs by feeding them false readings. The mission team has a little huddle in low tones (Adriana speculates that the Talithans may have salvaged a crashed Klingon ship but not negotiated with the Empire), then establish watches and gets a bit of rest.

In the morning, they are treated to a pleasant breakfast (with awful food), then are taken to a big meeting to open negotiations. Before it begins, Captain Stone tries to convince Laziene to let Dr. Warden go investigate one of the irradiated zones, but in vain. Adriana Katsopoulos manages to get small concessions to access some medical data and let Dr. Warden speak to Talithan medical personnel.

Katsopoulos’ and Captain Stone’s goals during the negotiations are to obtain as much information as possible on Talitha’s previous era of warp technology and the resulting war, to bargain for the best possible deal for the babylonium resources, and to delay an agreement until the team has obtained all the information necessary. Laziene and the Talithans, in contrast, intend to stonewall on any and all information about the planet’s past, and to give as little babylonium possible to get as few constraints and conditions on their entry in the Federation.

While the negotiations proceed, Lt. Curry’s security team discreetly takes some tricorder readings around, fail to locate the human but do identify life signs for several Grays and some targs. Equally discreetly, Dr. Warden wants to examine some local wildlife. Lt. Curry and Dr. Warden go exploring the facilities without permission. They slip past the security cameras and climb through the window down to the next level.

They encounter targs and shoot them! They are confronted by a Gray, shoot him too (phasers set on stun). They find a frighten Gray woman, talk with her a bit but she’s scared and doesn’t want to talk to them. She asks whether they can break her out of there. Lt. Curry sends a quick update to Captain Stone. The captain has the Resolute conduct a massive scan (and warns the Blues in advance that they will be conducting a systems calibration) to put out a large amount of background energy and mask the transporter beam as they beam the Grays up.

The doctor examines the targs and establishes that they are about six years old, and from their teeth’s condition, have not had their proper food for the last two to two and half years. Then she and Lt. Curry get back out the way they came.

As soon as there is a pause in negotiations, Captain Stone (and Dr. Warden and Dr. Katsopoulos) return to the Resolute to talk to the two new Grays in sickbay. Captain Stone questions them. The woman, Basmenta, is about 50; she says her people did something terrible, tried to kill all the Blues and the Blues retaliated. All the remaining Grays were put in camps. She says she was just a child, but that her parents’ generation had enslaved the Blues; after several uprisings, it was decided that the Blues were too dangerous to be allowed to live. They made contact with another interstellar civilization that gave the Grays the technology to create the virus; but then the outsiders also gave technology to the Blues to fight back. They played both sides, then lost interest except for minor trade with the Blues. All the Gray cities were destroyed one by one. Basmenta insists that the Blues are a lesser race, savage, untrustworthy and less intelligent.

Captain Stone then introduces Basmenta to Leena, and the result is rather strange. Leena is ashamed of the Grays’ past, and somewhat contemptuous of Basmenta. Captain Stone has a little tactical discussion with Adriana, then sends her back to the negotiation table. He asks Dr. Warden to examine the Blues and Grays for significant differences. A scan for the one human life signs reveals the man to be at a restaurant 2 km from Laziene’s residence. Captain Stone transports there and has Lt. Curry meet him there. They immediately get star treatment from the locals, who just saw them on the media; they use their tricorders to spot the disguised human running out the back. Lt. Curry intercepts him, the captain comes running, and they beam out again.

Captain Stone questions the captive, Gavin McCloud, clearly a thief and entrepreneur who says he’s there to make money. He’s been trading with the locals on behalf of other parties. After some tight questioning, he admits that he’s been trading babylonium with the Klingons, keeping from them the location of the planet. Lt. Curry looks up McCloud’s record, finds out that his father was also a confidence man who served ten years.

Captain Stone directs Dr. Katsopoulos to lay cards on the table with Laziene — let him know that they were aware of the Grays’ existence, of McCloud, and of the Klingon interests. Follows a confrontation where Laziene is forced to admit all these things (he’s actually trying to negotiate with the Romulans as well, also through McCloud) but stubbornly resists the idea of reconciliation with the Grays. The Federation team gangs up to convince him that he will have a much better deal with the Federation than either the Klingons or Romulans. He demands that they first provide relief for the areas still suffering from radiation sickness, as well as food.

They manage to get to an agreement, with Dr. Warden synthesizing a cure and Adriana devising a means to decontaminate large areas. The Federation appoints diplomatic envoys. Adriana strikes a separate commercial deal with the Grays from Talitha VI for their warp technology innovations. Yay! We win!

* The other named shuttles are the Hypatia (named by Sophie), and Percival Lowell (John R.) Laura has yet to name the fourth shuttle.

2 Responses

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  2. […] 2: 3: spiffy!Tags: asmp, evilhat, game design, gaming, mad rpg theory, pdq, […]

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