Star Trek: Tirpitz


Shore Leave
May 8, 2010, 10:09 am
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Relaxing on Risa

Out of Character

Real life interrupts.



By Any Means
May 7, 2010, 9:08 am
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As the last of the repairs was being made to the Tirpitz, Admiral T’nae called me into a meeting to discuss our next assignment.  During long-range scans of Romulan space, Starfleet had detected the presence of a Borg sphere.  They dispatched the USS Nobel to claim the sphere and remove the ship’s offensive and defensive systems before the Romulans had the chance to do so themselves.  Unfortunately, the Romulans captured both the Nobel and the sphere.  Because we had been successful in our rescue of the Nobel and her crew, Starfleet now wanted us to complete the Nobel’s previous mission.   

Battling the Romulan patrols

Starfleet Intelligence believed that they had located the sphere in the Pilatus system, far from any loyal Romulan planets in case something went wrong with their studies.  When we arrived in the system, it didn’t take us long to find what we were looking for.  We also found Romulan Birds of Prey guarding the sphere.  They engaged us as we closed to within scanning distance of the sphere.  We were able to successfully defend ourselves from the attack without suffering major damage.  We performed a detailed scan of the Borg ship, and Amy was able to help us with the analysis.  She informed us that the ship had already been stripped of its weapon systems.  We contacted Starfleet Command with our findings, and they gave orders to destroy the sphere.  They believed the Romulans had kept it after taking the weapons incase they had left something important behind needed to get the stolen systems working.  Destroying the sphere would make sure the Romulans wouldn’t get any more information from it.  With the Sphere’s shields offline, it only took a few torpedoes to destroy the derelict.  

Eliminating the Romulan defenses

With no Romulan ships in the system, we had no way of finding out where the Romulans had taken their stolen technology.  The only thing remaining in the system beside us was a Romulan communications satellite.  Mr. Scharf suggested that by reprogramming the satellite, we may be able to send a Romulan distress call.  Because of the value of the now destroyed Borg sphere, the Romulans would have to send a ship to investigate.  When that ship arrived, we could tag it with a modified probe that would allow us to track the ship back to where it had been sent from, and hopefully to where the Romulans were performing their weapons research.  I approved the plan and it worked like a charm.  We were soon led to the Hadrian system.  When we arrived, we found a pair of very elaborate bases constructed into a series of asteroids.  Both bases were well defended.  A small task force of Romulan ships were patrolling around the stations, and our sensors picked up a number of weapon satellites in strategic positions.  We had to clear the area of their defenses before it was safe enough to beam an away team down to the facility.  

Sneaking up on some guards

The away team’s orders were to access the Romulan computers and download as much of their research on Borg technology as possible.  Since T’Lol had proven to be so useful in cracking Klingon computer security, I assigned her to lead the away team to the station.  They moved carefully through the station, and took down several sets of guards before they could warn the rest of the station.  They reached the research station’s computer core without causing a major alert, which gave them plenty of time to hack into the system and recover the information we were looking for.  The data sent back to the Tirpitz showed just how far along the research projects had progressed.  Several weapons systems had been approved for experimental field testing.  The Romulans were modifying a number of warships to take advantage of the Borg technology.  We gathered all of the information we could access, but the location where the Romulan ships were being refitted was not in the notes.  The commander of research facility was probably the only person that knew that location.  T’Lol was able to use the computer to determine that the commander was stationed on the other base in the system.   

Heavy resistance

The other base was expecting us.  Maybe one of the defense ships we destroyed missed a scheduled check in.  Maybe they noticed the amount of information the away team had downloaded.  Whatever the reason, the away team met with heavy resistance.  We had to send a second away team to act as reinforcements.  Eventually, the away teams managed to make their way to the control center for the station, and found the Romulan commander.  The away team questioned him about what he knew, and he filled us in on the missing information.  He claimed that the ships were being modified at S’harien station.  He had such confidence in the weapons his people had worked on that he believed any force the Federation could send to stop construction would be destroyed.  Before we could ask him any more questions, he was beamed off the station.  

Trying to capture the commander

We had just enough time to beam the away team back from the station before we were confronted by the Romulan ship that had rescued the station commander.  They hailed us as a formality to inform us that we had crossed into Romulan space and would be destroyed for our trespassing.  We were forced to defend ourselves.  We attempted to disable the ship instead of destroy it.  I wanted to try to recover the commander so Starfleet Intelligence could question him better.  The Romulans had other plans however.  The ship exploded and our scans of the wreckage picked up no escape pods.  We contacted Starfleet Command to appraise them of the situation and to send them the information we had gathered before setting a course back to Federation space.  

Out of Character

Egad!  A Plotline!   

Up until this point, the Romulan story missions have been a little lacking in focus.  The impression I got was that the Federation believes the Romulans are researching weapons of some sort.  And there’s also been evidence to suggest that the Romulans are willing to exploit any advanced alien technology they’ve come across.  But I think this is the first mission where you get a real sense of just what the Romulans are planning to do.  I know there have been hints before that they have wanted to stage a major offensive into Federation space.  But at the time, I assumed it was in retaliation for what the player had been tricked into doing.  I guess what I’m really getting at is that this is the first time that the Romulan empire has actually felt like a threat to the Federation, and not just some former enemy that Starfleet has been bullying.



Onias Sector Patrol

Springing the trap

We’ve received new orders from Commander Genstra.  Starfleet has noticed an increase in attacks by Hirogen forces on ships passing near Romulan space.  Most ships have been lucky enough to get away with only moderate damage, but there have been reports of a few transports being lost to hunting parties.  We were being sent to the Aido system in an attempt to encourage the Hirogen to leave the sector.  Starfleet intelligence believed that the Hirogen used a planet in the system as a supply base.  Our orders were to set a trap for the hunters.  We were to patrol the system and engage any Hirogen ships that arrived to resupply.  It wasn’t long after we arrived before we spotted our first target.  Our engagements in the system were fairly quick.  Most of the enemy ships we caught were escorts.  There were no signs of any Hirogen command ships.   

Ambushed

Shortly after we destroyed our fifth enemy ship, we received new orders from Commander Genstra.  While repairs were being made to the USS Nobel, Starfleet engineering teams had made a discovery.  Even with all of the damage the ship had sustained when it was attacked by the Romulans, the emergency transponder system was still in perfect working order.  This ment that it should have been a simple matter of following the transponder signal to find the Nobel while it was missing for three weeks.  This raised concerns at Starfleet Command about the state of the signal relay satellites.  If part of the network was taken offline for whatever reason, any number of Federation vessels could be lost because no one received their requests for assistance.  We were being sent to check out the status of the satellites in the network, repair any that we found to be malfunctioning or damaged, and investigate why they had gone offline in the first place.  Our survey of the network eventually brought us to Khellian system, where we discovered the problem.  We picked up a small task force of Reman ships attempting to sabotage the satellites in the system.  We set an intercept course for the nearest set of Reman ships we detected.  A broadside of disruptor fire alerted us to the decloaking warbird our initial scans had missed.  We took several major hits before we destroyed the Reman vessel.  We suffered a hull breach on deck four, and experienced an energy grid blow out in sick bay.  We knew we would have to put into spacedock for repairs, but we were still in good enough shape to finish the mission first.  After an intense scan of the system to locate any other Remans we missed, we cleared the system of enemy ships and performed repairs on the damaged satellites.  

Broxx

Commander Genstra asked us to complete one more mission before we returned for repairs.  Starfleet had received reports of a plague on Merak II.  In order to combat the outbreak, the Federation had attempted to negotiate with a Ferengi named Broxx for his supply of zenite ore.  However, after being paid the amount agreed upon, Broxx never produced the ore.  We were being sent to locate Broxx and collect the zenite before the situation on Merak II worsened.  During the Federation’s negotiations, Broxx seemed very eager to deal with us.  Starfleet believed that there shouldn’t be any threat to the Tirpitz while we attempted to pick up the Federation’s purchase.  We were able to track the Broxx’s ship to Muso Prime.  When we hailed Ferengi vessel, the ship’s second in command informed us that Broxx had beamed down to a trade outpost on the planet’s surface.  Mr. Scharf accompanied me on an away team to speak with Broxx.  I half expected him to be upset by our arrival, but the Ferengi asked us to help him with a negotiation.  We didn’t have time for this, and I told Broxx as much.  He explained that he had made the deal to sell the ore to the Federation to get enough funds to attempt to complete his current negotiations, but the person he was dealing with didn’t want funds.  Broxx said he would return the Federation’s payments and keep the zenite unless we helped him.  When I finally agreed to assist in his negotiations, he explained the situation.  

Varna

Broxx, it seems, is a collector of rare holo programs.  He needed one final program to complete his collection, and had located a copy of the program in the possession of a man named of Rivv Enda.  Enda had been unwilling to sell to the Ferengi, so Broxx hoped that we would be able to convince Enda to give us a copy of the program.  We arranged to speak with Enda, and it quickly became apparent why he didn’t want to part with the program.  Broxx hadn’t informed us that Enda was a sentient holo program, and his objection to giving the Ferengi what he wanted was because Enda thought of the program as family.  We explained the importance of the situation to him and asked him to reconsider.  Enda decided that he would be willing to part with the program, if we could convince the program to go with us.  He allowed us to access one of his computers to speak with the program.  It was at this point that we discovered that the program Broxx and Enda were fighting over was a Vulcan love slave program named Varna.  We spoke with Varna, attempting to explain our situation and asking for her help.  It soon became apparent that Varna was a very basic program.  Whenever we attempted to explain our problem to her, she simply told us that our questions were beyond the scope of her programming.  In frustration, we returned to Enda.  He apologized to us and explained that it had been a test.  Most people still look at photonic lifeforms as simple computer programs.  Even though Varna was unable to effectively respond to our requests, we had still made an attempt to ask for her help.    Because of that, Enda was willing to give us a copy of Varna’s program.  When we gave him the program, Broxx had his crew deliver the zenite to the Tirpitz.  We are currently en route to Merak II to distribute the cure.  

I want to go on record and state that I’m not comfortable with the deal I had to make to get the zenite supply.  I can’t help but feel like I just took part in a photonic slave auction.  The only thing that makes me feel any better about it is the well-known Vulcan phrase:  “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.”  

Out of Character

So the fate of a planet rests on my captain’s ability to secure Vulcan porn.  Now there’s a phrase I never thought I’d ever say.  

It’s kind of hard to judge what they were trying to go for with the Muso system mission.  It tries to set up the question of if holo programs should be considered a life form or not.  Enda is written to see all holo programs as equal, even those without the programming to understand that the nature of what they are.  Yet after going through his test, Enda is completely willing to give my captain a copy of Varna’s program, knowing full well that she’s going to end up in the hands of a Ferengi that’s going to treat her like a piece of property.  This is the kind of story an episode of Star Trek could explore in great detail.  Unfortunately, the writers for the game have to take the cop-out here because of the nature of some elements of the game.  As players, we purchase officers from a store, are rewarded them for advancing to a higher level of the game, can easily rewrite what they know, and can sell officers we don’t need or want in the game’s auction system.  But in the context of the game’s story, the officers that we treat as objects are supposed to represent living breathing life forms.  So how different are the players from Broxx in searching for those rare programs that will fill a gap in our collection?  

Ouch

Anyway, I decided to give the new difficulty system a try with this patrol.  The damage the Tirpitz took in battle with the Remans was the damage the ship took after being blown up twice.  I only jumped to the advanced level.  I can’t imagine how hard it would be to defeat a mission on elite.  At advanced, I barely scratched the warbird I encountered before I was wreckage.  The one tutorial I needed after giving the higher difficulties a try was one on how to reset the missions back to normal.  I’m not a hardcore gamer.  I’m one of those players that game companies hate.  For any game I get, I play through once to get through the story, and then I rarely go back and play it again.  So to experience the story of Star Trek: Online, I’m fine with playing on easy mode.



Project Nightingale

We were diverted to Cirini Prime on urgent orders from Starfleet Command.  After three weeks ago and a lengthy search, the USS Nobel had been declared lost with all hands while on a mission in Romulan space.  A few hours ago, listening posts along the Romulan boarder picked up a faint emergency signal on the frequency assigned to the Nobel.  We’re being sent to investigate, and if possible, render assistance to the long overdue ship.  

Rescuing the USS Nobel

When we reached the system, we found the Nobel under attack by a Romulan ship.  We were told to expect trouble when we were given our orders.  Cirini Prime is located near several worlds with colonies that have declared their allegiance to Empress Sela.  Any Federation ship passing through the region should have expected some trouble with Romulan forces assigned to protect loyal members of the Empire.  We made quick work of the attacking ship, and then hailed the Nobel.  Lieutenant Riley filled us in on what happened.  The Nobel had been sent to rescue a Federation science team that was being held by Romulan forces.  When they arrived, they found themselves overwhelmed by the enemy forces.  Romulans forces disabled and then boarded the ship.  The commanding staff were rounded up and beamed down to Cirini Prime, while the remaining crew were imprisoned onboard the their own ship.  Less than twenty-four hours ago, some of the Nobel’s security forces were able to break free and managed to retake the ship from their Romulan captors.  Since then, the crew had been working to restore damaged systems.  The Nobel and her crew were in no condition to try to rescue their senior officers.  That just left us to do the job.  We encountered light resistance as we closed to within transporter range of the surface.  While this region is heavily defended, Cirini Prime’s defenses appeared to be based around a series of planetary shields.   

Spotting the science team

Our scans of the planet surface detected a sprawling complex where we also picked up several life signs that matched the science team the Noble had been sent to rescue.  We beamed Major Iseli and her team down just outside of the complex with orders to rescue any and all Starfleet personnel they came across.  The away team had to fight through a number of Romulan patrols before they had visual contact with the missing scientists.  After dealing with the guards, the away team was able to question the scientists briefly.  The science team had been on a mission for Starfleet Intelligence when they had been captured.  Since then, they had been forced to work on several unknown projects for the Romulans.  A few of them had seen the Nobel crew when the Romulans brought them down.  The Nobel officers weren’t held in the same facility as the science team.  The science team believed they were being held in a nearby fort, where the science team had been kept prisoner when they were first captured.  We beamed the scientists onboard while the away team continued on to the fort.  

Finding the captured crewmen

As the away team made its way into the fort, we were contacted by the Nobel.  While most of their repair teams had been working on repairing systems essential to allowing them to escape the system, they had managed to get one transporter working.  Lieutenant Riley was intent on rescuing her captain, but they were having trouble locking on through the fort’s shields.  We contacted the away team to have them tag the Nobel officers with signal enhancers so they could be beamed up immediately once they were found.  It didn’t take long for the away team to find the hostages.  The Romulan captors were taken completely by surprise.  They were in the middle of torturing some of the Nobel officers for Federation secrets.  Those officers that weren’t being tortured were quickly found in a pair metal cages which Iseli believed looked to be about as old as the fort itself. 

Making our escape

As the Nobel beamed the last of their officers onboard, we beamed up the away team.  With all of the Federation hostages rescued, we set a course to leave the system.  We didn’t make it very far before we were attacked by a small task force of Romulan ships.  They had most likely been alerted to our rescue by some of the ships we engaged when we first arrived in the system.  The Nobel had managed to restore propulsion and get their shields back up and running, but they had not had the time to restore their ship’s weapons.  We engaged the enemy ships in an attempt to draw their fire away from the damaged ship.  We bought the Nobel enough time for them to warp the nearest Federation starbase.  After we dealt with the last Romulan ship attacking us, we also set a course back to Federation space.  

Out of Character

I have to say that I was really impressed with some of the visuals on this mission.  While a majority of the space missions the player goes through have very artistic nebula effects, this is one of the few times I remember where the ground portion also had some very unique elements.  It took me a minute to realize that some of the floating mushrooms were actually moving.  And I really thought it was a nice touch that the planetary shielding could be seen in space from the ground.  Somehow I doubt I’m getting the full effect of how things look because of what my computer can handle graphics wise.  But what I’m seeing is still really detailed.  

What a view

I’m starting to wonder where they’re going to go with the Romulan storyline.  I’m not feeling like there’s much of a connection between the major missions this time like there were with the Klingon story.  I’m not complaining about the missions themselves.  I’m still having fun playing the game.  It’s just that at this point in the Klingon story, there were more call backs.  Your captain is being sent to system X to follow-up on information your captain found while completing mission Y.  Maybe I’m missing them, but I’m not seeing the connections here.  I know the Romulans may be experimenting with weapons, and it may have something to do with technology they discovered from a lost civilization.  It just feels like the majority of the missions in Romulan space are about their reaction to things the Federation is doing instead of the other way around.



Exploring the Afehirr Nebula

We were recently contacted by Lieutenant Anek with a potentially dangerous assignment.  The Afehirr Nebula is a sector of space with natural properties that prevent us from performing long-range scans of the space it occupies.  It is also deep within Romulan territory.  In the past, its location prevented us from sending ships to explore and document the region.  In light of recent events, Starfleet Command believes that sending a few vessels to explore the region would be in the Federation’s best interest.  I believe our orders came from equal parts of a desire to expand our scientific knowledge of the nebula and wanting to make sure the Romulans weren’t massing a fleet for another assault into Federation space.   

Searching for Tkon artifacts

  

We managed to avoid any run ins with the Romulan Empire or its allies on our way to the nebula.  Once we reached the nebula, our first destination was system Delta 542-J.  Scientists working on the Tkon artifacts we discovered in the Tepheri system had found a partial map of the ancient empire.  They believe that Delta 542-J was once home to a Tkon outpost.  We performed an extensive scan of the system, and detected several unusual energy sources, but we didn’t find any identifiable pieces of Tkon technology.  We compiled our findings to send to Starfleet at the next opportunity.  Hopefully our information will point Federation Scientists in the right direction to find the missing outpost.   

A non-corporal life form

  

As we were traveling to the next system we had been assigned to explore, we picked up a distress call from a nearby planet.  Knowing full well that it could be a trap, I gave orders to set a course for the planet.  Once we established orbit over the planet, we were able to contact a colony on the surface that belonged to a people known as the Mokia.  They had settled on the planet not more than two months prior to our arrival, and during that time there had been a series of murders.  Among those killed was the colony’s chief of security, so they had found themselves without anyone capable of carrying out an investigation into the deaths.  I had Mr. Scharf lead an away team to the surface to see if we could help solve the murders.  He soon reported that the investigation may be more difficult than we had originally expected.  There was very little in the way of physical evidence and no real witnesses.  The only thing the victims seemed to have in common was the fact that they had all had children, who had somehow survived the murders that killed the rest of their families.  T’Lol tried her best to interview the children, but none of them had actually been witnesses to their parent’s deaths.  As much as I was glad to hear that, it left our investigation at square one.  T’Lol did note that the children all mentioned encounters with some sort of ghost.  The colonists had originally written off the ghost stories as part of a the stress of losing their families.  Playing a hunch, I had Dr. Franklin and Mr. Toran join the away team, with orders to perform a highly detailed scan of the colony.  It wasn’t long before they were able to identify the children’s ghosts as a non-corporal life form.  Upon further investigation, they were able to identify the life forms as Gorgans.  Starfleet records showed only one previous encounter with the Gorgan life form.  A Gorgan had been responsible for the deaths of all adult personnel of the Federation outpost on Triacus in 2268.  It had only been the actions of Captain Kirk and his crew that prevented the Gorgan from escaping the planet.  We delivered our findings to the colony’s leaders along with information on how to combat the children’s ghost.  The away team remained on the surface until scans determined that the Gorgan threat had been dealt with.   

Scanning the system

  

After we retrieved our away team, we continued on to our next assigned system.  Our initial scans of system Arae HC only detected a vast asteroid field.  Further scans of the system revealed a number of spatial anomalies.  We needed to carefully maneuver through the asteroid field to reach the anomalies for our highest intensity scans.  Our investigation didn’t turn up any apparent cause for the anomalies.  While near one of the anomalies, we picked detected an unexpected object with turned out to be a genetic sequencer.  I had the nagging suspicion that we had arrived too late to find out who or what had caused the phenomena we were studying.    

With our assignment completed, we exited the nebula and sent our findings back to Starfleet Command.   

Out of Character

In my vain attempts to complete a planetary aid mission over this past weekend, a random through had crossed my mind.  Maybe I was having so much trouble finding an aid mission in the Delta Volanis Cluster because my captain was a much higher rank than the exploration system needed.  Maybe I’d have better luck in a commander level exploration zone.  Unfortunately for me, that hasn’t been the case yet.  The Gorgan mission got my hopes up.  It starts off as a planet requesting general assistance.  They don’t tell you that they don’t need any supplies and just want you to investigate some dead people until you reach orbit.   

The mission to explore the Afehirr Nebula is a little weird to me.  Basically the player is told that because the Romulan Empire is falling apart at the seams, the Federation can get away crossing into enemy space for a scientific mission.  It didn’t feel like something the Federation would approve.  I know at this point the only reason the Federation and the Romulans aren’t at war is because neither side has actually declared war yet.  In my opinion, sending any number of ships across the border is just begging for trouble.   

While I enjoyed the planet visit, I was a little disappointed by it.  It started with a nice story element, and it tied itself in with an episode of the original series.  And it gave me an opprotunity to write an away mission for my non-ground combat bridge officers.  A small part of me wonders how well T’Lol would manage to deal with situation of interviewing emotionally scarred children.  But in the end it fell flat.  The episode it’s based on established that the Gorgan drew energy from children in order to survive.  Deny a Gorgan that energy and they dissolve into nothing.  However in the 140 plus years since their one and only encounter with the Gorgan, Starfleet seems to have found a simple and easy way to kill them just by waving a tricorder at them.  It also didn’t help that the Gorgan appeared as giant glowing walls of light.  Since they’re called ghosts by the children, I was expecting something at least vaguely humanoid.



Hyralan Sector Patrol

We’ve received orders from Commander Genstra to investigate an emergency in the Hyralan sector.  A Federation outpost near Romulan space had requested assistance with a possible ecological disaster.  I was curious why we were being assigned to this mission.  While the Tirpitz has taken part in relief efforts before, she’s designed to be more of a battle ship than science vessel.  Genstra explained that while he believed the outpost’s report of the situation, he wasn’t sure that this was a completely natural event.  We were being sent in first to provide a better appraisal of what was going on in the system, including if we detected the presence of any hostile forces.  

Searching for the radiation source

 

When we arrived in the Chulan system we contacted the outpost.  We spoke with Kenneth Hughes, the outpost’s science officer, who provided us with more detailed information on problem.  Over the past few days, the outpost’s sensors detected slowly increasing amounts of Eichner radiation in the system.  If the rate of increase continued as projected, it wouldn’t be long before they would need to evacuate personnel from the outpost.  We needed to find the source of the radiation to determine if it would be possible to solve the problem.  Mr. Toran was able to fill us in on what the Federation knew about Eichner radiation and was confident that our ship’s shields would be sufficient to protect us from its effects.  He was also certain that the radiation would not interfere with our ability to detect cloaked ships in the system.  We conducted an extensive survey of the system, and found several asteroids composed of a material that emits Eicher radiation.  Our findings suggested that they had been passing through the system naturally, when the gravity of the planet the outpost was constructed on had pulled the asteroids into orbit.  Our scans also found no enemy presence in the system at the time we were present.  We contacted Starfleet command with our findings to let them know it should be safe to send a science vessel to assist.   

Klingons in Romulan space?

 

Starfleet Command informed us that the Tirpitz was not going to remain in the system to assist with relief efforts.  While we were carrying out our survey of the Chulan system, three listening stations along the Romulan boarder had gone silent in the Daise system.  As the closest ship, we were being sent to investigate what had happened.  Given the importance of the  listening stations, I was expecting some sort of fight.  When we arrived in the system, I gave orders to start scanning for Romulan ships.  I was quite surprised when our scans picked up several Klingon ships instead.  The Klingons have been long time enemies of the Romulans.  Finding a small task force of Klingon ships attacking a location that provided us a tactical advantage over our mutual adversary was quite troubling.  We ended up needing to engage several of the Klingon ships to drive them off so we could repair the damaged listening posts.  

Attacking the Romulan flagship

 

With the listening posts restored to working order, we received a priority one distress call from a Federation science team in the Hfihar system.  They had been sent to the system to study the unusual gravitational readings that region of space is known for.  But now they were reporting a series of attacks by Romulan ships.  It would seem they had used the breach in our monitoring efforts caused by the Klingons to sneak a task force past Starfleet patrols.  When we arrived in the system, we hailed the Romulans.  They told us that they were in the system searching several of the planetoids for artifacts from the time period when the Romulans had formed their own society and traveled to this region of space from Vulcan.  And that would have been fine if that was what they were doing.  Their archeological surveys of the planets should have had no contact with or impact on our study of stellar phenomena, and vice versa.  When I pointed this fact out to the Romulan commander, they cut communications and opened fire on us.  We defended ourselves from the initial assault before continuing on to clear the system of enemy ships.  When we disabled the Romulan flagship, the remaining enemy vessels retreated back to the safety of their territory.  We contacted Starfleet Command to report what had happened, and received orders to remain in system to guard the survey mission for the time being.  

Out of Character

So it’s definitely looking like three is going to be the new number of missions the player is going to be asked to do as part of a Sector patrol.  I’m a little conflicted on this.  I’ve always enjoyed the Sector patrol missions because they are more likely to tie in elements from the rest of the Star Trek universe.  The downside is that those stories never seem to pan out beyond the one shot they’re given.  I would like to see more nods to what came before, but maybe by cutting down on it in patrols, we’ll see more of it in the story line missions.  

I was genuinely surprised by the Klingons showing up.  Although in retrospect, it does make a little bit of sense.  There have been a few references in the past to one of the current leaders in Klingon society belonging to the House of Duras.  If I remember correctly, the Duras family has had ties with the Romulans as far back as the Next Generation, when Empress Sela was just a commander and was funneling weapons to the Duras side of the Klingon civil war.  So I could see where the Duras family would be willing to help return all the favors they’ve gotten over the years.  And an alliance of some sort between the Klingons and the Romulans would create a war on two fronts for the Federation.  But the problem is that this is a patrol mission.  As I’ve already said, it’s likely to have been a one time only event, and will never be mentioned again.



The Needs of the Many

Having returned the Federation diplomats to Earth’s spacedock, we were given a few days to take shore leave.  I extended leave to all members of the crew that wanted to take some.  After some of the recent events we’ve been through, I can’t fault anyone for wanting some time off.  Dr. Franklin and Amy both took me up on the offer in order to attend some seminars on new findings by Federation scientists.  Dr. Franklin was interested in some new developments in emergency tissue regeneration.  Amy was more interested in attending a demonstration on the potential uses of nanites to perform routine maintenance on ship systems.  I felt obliged to remind them to take some actual time off while they could, since I wasn’t sure when the next time we’d have a chance to relax would come up.  I was planning to take the opportunity to see if I could beat my best time on the holodeck’s Chicago marathon program.  

Unfortunately, our shore leave had to be cut short due to an emergency.  Reports from Starfleet vessels continuing our exploration of the Delta Volanis Cluster indicated a major outbreak of a resilient strain of Ankaran flu had occurred in the sector.  With the proper treatment and the right medical supplies, Ankaran flu isn’t life threatening.  But the size of the outbreak had depleted supplies in the region.  The Tirpitz was being sent as part of a relief convoy to resupply several systems with the needed medicine.  Among the systems we visited was one we had helped in the past.  The trade outpost on Theta Columbae Xi 524-V made it a target for piracy, but as a stop on many of the region’s trade routes it was a great distribution point.  I can only hope that those crew members that had their hearts set on a little vacation can take some comfort in the number of lives our delivery would save. 

Out of Character

A very brief post today to cover some of the new training missions. 

First, I feel I should apologize to those that have visited this blog recently looking for information to make the game easier.  When I gave one of my bridge officers the title of Chief Medical Officer for the story of my ship, I had no clue how important that title would become in the game.  As such, I’ve recently gotten a spike in visits from people trying to find a mission objective and not necessarily interested in reading about my experience in the game.  So for them, I provide this info, along with my regrets for teasing them for the past few days with a useless hit on the blog search: 

Chief Medical Officer

 

For the “A Difficulty Decision” mission, the player is first asked to find the Chief Medical Officer on Earth spacedock.  He is located in the personnel section of the base, where players can purchase bridge officers and train them with skills.  If you’re standing in front of the bridge officer vendor, turn left and you should see him in a little alcove by himself.  

Chief Engineering Officer

 

After speaking with him, the player is then sent to find the Chief Engineering Officer.  He tells the player how they will be able to repair damage to their ships and is appropriately located in the shipyard section of Earth spacedock.  I think he’s right next to the person that gives out the “Search for the Azura” mission.  

Assignment officer

 

The final person the player needs to visit for the mission is the Assignment Officer.  This was the one I had the most trouble finding.  She’s actually located in the center of the starbase, near where the player picks up the mission to visit Memory Alpha.  Unlike with the other two npcs you need to locate, the placement of this one can’t be determined by logic.  You need the chief medical officer to fix your personnel.  You need the chief  engineering officer to fix your ship.  Along those lines of thinking, I was expecting to find the assignment officer in the same room with the two people on Earth spacedock that gave me so many missions in the past.  Why she’s in the scientific research area makes no sense to me. 

But that’s a problem I have with a lot of the training missions in Star Trek Online.  They make very little sense.  A lot of my problem with it is the writing for the missions.  I’m sure many a player is familiar with the “Where’s Sulu?” situation.  The player is sent by Admiral Quinn to talk to Commander Sulu very early on, and the write-up doesn’t include the Quinn being polite enough to say “He’s just standing over there on the opposite side of the room”.  It’s the same problem with the “A Difficulty Decision” mission, but three times as bad.  There’s no clue in the mission briefing about where you need to go to find what you’re looking for.  The writing for the training missions is the same as it is for all of the missions in the game, but it works better in the other missions because of what you’re being asked to do.  If you need to blow up enemy ships in space, they’re usually the only other ships you’ll see.  If you need to speak with a diplomat or a negotiator on a ground mission, they are usually one of the very few people around you can talk to.  Being told to find one very specific person on Earth spacedock without instructions on where to look, is like being told to find one individual person in a shopping mall on the day after Christmas.  It’s possible, but it would be a lot easier if you told me they were returning something at a specific store. 

But “A Difficulty Decision” is not the new training mission that bothered me the most.  The one that did won the right to be the title of this post.  I should have known there would be something not right with a mission named after the let down tie in book.  This mission is designed to show the players how much easier it is to complete planetary aid missions when they come across one.  The problem is coming across one.  Since the patch on Thursday, I’ve spent the vast majority of my time trying to find a planetary aid mission to complete the training, but have had no luck.  Planetary aid missions are part of the exploration sectors of the game.  Because they’re in exploration sectors, you don’t get a known mission.  You get a randomly selected mission.  It’s like someone teaching you how to play poker by randomly dealing you cards until you get a royal flush.  If you want to teach someone something, you eliminate as many random events as possible.  This should be a short mission with a set location.  The broker they introduced that gives the players ten shield generators for free should have a follow-up mission that tells the players to deliver those shields to planet X.  I’m sorry if I’m ranting a bit, but spending over three hours trying to get a random event is ridiculous.  I would love to see someone do the math to figure out what the chances are of getting a planetary aid mission.  If you look at the patch notes for the update that dropped on Saturday, they mention that they’ve tried to increase the chances of the aid missions spawning.  I hope it helps, because the last time I tried to do it I felt like the chances of finding an aid mission were around one percent.