Star Trek Adventures: Shakedown Cruise

These are the voyages of the U.S.S. Adventure. It’s mission: to patrol the Cardassian Neutral Zone and provide support to Outpost 51, a Federation bastion on the fringes of the Alpha Quadrant.

My Star Trek Adventures game kicked off on Sunday with the first session. Sadly, only two of my three regular players were able to attend, but we managed nonetheless.

I decided the first adventure would serve several purposes. First, it would introduce my players to the dramatis personae of my campaign, particularly the personnel of Outpost 51 and the Denali Docking Substation, as well as other captains and vessels using the outpost as a base of operations in the quadrant. Second, it would give the players a familiarity with starship rules, particularly starship combat; which is something we haven’t really done a lot of in previous games.

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With that in mind, I decided to adapt a published adventure from the previous Star Trek game; “Shakedown Cruise”, from the Last Unicorn Games Star Trek TNG RPG. I made some minor changes to make sure it fit snugly into my setting, and so far, so good.

The first thing we needed to do as a group was create a captain for the U.S.S. Adventure. The captain will usually be a NPC, but the role of the captain can be taken by any of the players in any scenes where their primary character is not present. We created Captain Frederick Douglass Boardman, a veteran of Wolf 359 and of the Cardassian Wars of the 2350’s. He’s an experienced military officer with a lot of combat experience, which is why he’s been given command of the new Akira-class vessel, Adventure. We didn’t get too much farther into Captain Boardman’s history and background, other than he was born in the United States of Africa (much like Nyota Uhura and Geordi La Forge) and is a veteran officer (like Picard).

With this detail ironed out, we dove right in to the story.

Outpost 51 is commanded by Captain Tomek, a Vulcan veteran of the Klingon-Federation War of 2256-2257. (Yeah. That was over 100 years ago.) Tomek is a military genius whose treatises on tactics are required study at Starfleet Academy. He’s a Starfleet legend, on par with Zephram Cochrane or James T. Kirk; the difference being he’s still alive in 2369.

The Adventure is one of several vessels that will be using Outpost 51 as a base of operations in the Alpha Quadrant. Starfleet command hosted a reception for the captains of these ships in the main observation lounge of the station, which allowed the captains and crews of the respective ships to meet and exchange information. Also in attendance were the Klingon ambassador, K’Varg, and Captain Brule, the Klingon captain in charge of the small detachment of Klingon troops stationed at Outpost 51.

Captain Tomek didn’t make an appearance until about an hour into the reception, when he quickly took the podium to extend his greetings and welcome to the new arrivals. Then he requested a meeting with the command staff of the vessels, to take place in one hour. So much for the party.

The captains met with Tomek and he briefed them on the situation in the Alpha Quadrant. He explained that a stable wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant had opened in the Bajoran system, and that, in light of this information, the Cardassians were reconsidering their military withdrawal from Bajor. Only the Federation presence in the quadrant seems to be keeping them at bay, so it is imperative that the Federation-Cardassian treaty be enforced. The Cardassians would like nothing more than an excuse to break the treaty and resume their occupation of Bajor, thereby seizing control of the wormhole, the strategic importance of which can not be overstated.

Tomek made clear that he considers the Maquis, a group of former Federation citizens who lived on worlds ceded to the Cardassian Union as a result of the treaty, to be a terrorist organization. The Maquis often attack Cardassian targets in retaliation for aggressions perpetrated by the Cardassian government on those it considers its subjects. Tomek stated flatly that any captain who holds Maquis sympathies should inform him of the fact so that they may be transferred to other assignments, without fear of repercussion or consequence. Likewise, if any captain is aware of such sympathies among their crew, those crew members should likewise be transferred. Maquis sympathies are, quite simply, incompatible with Starfleet’s mission at Outpost 51.

This was chilling to all the captains seated at the table, as Tomek was essentially calling for a purge, albeit one with no negative consequences other than reassignment for those with Maquis sympathies. Tomek ended the meeting by saying he would meet with captains individually to give them their assignments.

The next day, the Adventure got her assignment: a shakedown cruise to test the capabilities of the new ship. It would be a typical run to New Coriolanus to drop off some supplies to a science outpost there. Along the way, they would test out the sensors and weapons systems.

The Adventure detected some drones hiding in an asteroid field and obliterated them with her phaser arrays (phaser arrays are cool). Then, without warning, a Klingon K’Vort class Bird of Prey, the Vorath, decloaked off their port bow. Captain Brule hailed the Adventure. “Today is a good day to die!” yelled Brule, before firing a warning shot that rocked the Adventure from bow to stern. Then, the Klingon ship cloaked again.

Captain Boardman assessed the situation and noted that unfortunately, he was now dead, so command of the Adventure must now pass to Commander Logan, the first officer. (He was sure to whisper “no torpedoes” in his “dying” breath, indicating that this attack was merely an exercise.)

Commander Logan efficiently took command and blasted the Klingon vessel, blowing away the shields in one shot (I told you phaser arrays are cool). The Klingon vessel hailed them again, grudgingly conceding defeat. Nonetheless, Captain Brule warned them that the adversaries the Adventure would face in the Alpha Quadrant, particularly the Cardassians, would not abide by any “silly rules”.

The Adventure continued on towards New Coriolanus, but detected a strange transmission coming from what was supposed to be a barren, lifeless moon. Attempts to decode the transmission proved futile, but the fact remained that nothing should be there at all, so they decided to investigate.

Scanning the moon from orbit revealed a relatively new structure on the surface: a dome, not more than a few years old. There were a few life signs centered about a kilometer below the dome, under the moon’s surface. There was no response to hails.

Strong ionic interference prevented transporter use, so they took a shuttle down. The moon had no atmosphere, so the crew was forced to use EVA suits to get from the shuttlecraft to the airlock of the dome. Once there, they used a comm panel to communicate with the people below the surface. These people let them in to an industrial elevator that pressurized slowly as it descended. By the time it got to the bottom, about a kilometer below the surface, the crew could remove their EVA suits.

They were met at the elevator by a green-skinned Harelian named Hoddek. Hoddek claimed they were a vionium mining operation. He seemed surprised to see Starfleet officers, but not particularly concerned. Several other miners were lounging about. When asked why Starfleet had no record of this operation, Hoddek blamed the Harelian Mining Authority, who “couldn’t find their backside with both hands, never mind file paperwork on time.” He denied any knowledge of a transmission and showed the crew into his office, where he produced a temporary mining license.

Upon closer inspection, the crew determined that not only was this license expired, it was a forgery. Rather than confront Hoddek about his lies, Commander Logan opted to return to the Adventure to plan her strategy from there.

And that’s where we left off….

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