Star Trek: Tirpitz

Hunting the Hunters
April 30, 2010, 8:45 am
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As we were returning to Starbase 39 Sierra from out latest assignment, I received an unexpected communication from my father.  As much as it would have been nice to chat, he wasn’t making a personal call.  Starfleet had lost contact with a runabout carrying a Federation diplomatic team.  The team had been comprised of several civilians, which unfortunately meant that they hadn’t been through even the basic course in emergency survival that the academy requires of Starfleet personnel.  The Starfleet Diplomatic Corps wanted us to conduct the search for the missing runabout.  Once we were provided details on the missing team’s assignment and travel route, we set a course for their last known location in the Mylasa system. 

Hirogen attack

When we arrived at the coordinates provided in their runabout’s last transmission, we conducted an intense sensor scan of the system.  We didn’t detect any debris that suggested the shuttle had been destroyed.  What we did pick up was a single Hirogen ship and a faint distress call.  While we were attempting to track the distress call to its source, we were attacked by the Hirogen ship.  After we disabled the ship, we were able to locate the distress beacon in orbit of a class M planet.  As we approached the beacon, the signal it was broadcasting changed.  The Hirogen had altered the beacon to act as bait for a trap and as a signal to spring the trap.  As soon as we realized what had happened, we were taking fire from a second Hirogen attack ship.  We made quick work of the second ship and then scanned the planet’s surface.  Even though the distress beacon had been tampered with by the Hirogen, there was still a chance that this planet was where the runabout had attempted to land. 


Our scans of the surface located the remains of the runabout and several life signs that matched those of the missing diplomatic team.  For some reason we were unable to beam the survivors aboard, so I decided to lead an away team to attempt to rescue the diplomats.  Surprisingly, Mr. Scharf didn’t attempt to stop me from leading the away team, but he did insist I take Major Iseli and some of her MACO troops to escort me on the rescue.  We located a clearing near the diplomats where we beamed down to the planet.  Within seconds of the transport completing, we found ourselves trapped in a force field.  We were soon contacted by a Hirogen alpha by the name of Tanjan.  He explained that he had set up a series of challenges to determine if the away team was worthy of becoming his prey.  If we didn’t attempt to complete the test he had set up for us, he would kill the diplomats he was holding hostage.  We were instructed that once we were ready to begin, to activate the large device located in the force field with us. 

Doing so initiated a site to site transport, which beamed the away team into another force field enclosed area.  This time, we weren’t alone.  A small squad of Hirogen were guarding another device which I’m sure would transport us to the next step of the challenge when we activated it.  We attacked the guards in an attempt to draw them their attention away long enough for the MACO’s engineering expert, Lieutenant Barrineau, to have a chance to get close to the device and examine it.  By the time we had defeated the guards, Barrineau had been able to determine that the devices weren’t just tied into a transporter system, but to the force fields as well.  Unfortunately, to get a better idea of how the system worked, we needed to continue on to the next stage of the test.  We repeated this process until Barrineau almost had enough information to hack into the system.  We just needed to complete one more transport.  


When we activated the last of the devices, I discovered that I was the only member of the away team that had been transported.  I tried to contact Major Iseli to find out what had happened, but ended up needing to take cover when the Hirogen guards locked in with me attacked.  Looking back, the only explanation I can come up with for how I survived was because I was well equiped.  I used several personal shield batteries and a couple of hyposprays to keep myself awake and alive long enough to knock out the last of the Hirogen guards.  I examined the Hirogen device in the enclosure with me, hoping that the scans I took with my tricorder were being transmitted back to Lieutenant Barrineau and the rest of the away team.  They must have gotten through, because a few minutes after completing my scans, the force fields deactivated.  We were soon able to regroup and begin our search for the hostages. 

Assistant Commissioner Peterson was the first of the hostages we were able to rescue.  We were lucky we found him first, as he alerted us to another trap the Hirogen had set up for us.  It seems that they have a better grasp of holo technology than we believed.  The hostages we had seen scattered around the challenge force fields were actually holograms of diplomats.  If we attempted to rescue any of holograms, they would trigger an alert that would most likely get the real diplomats killed.  Barrineau suggested that if he could access the holograms, he would be able to alter their programing, so instead of an alert signal they would jam the Hirogen’s communication system.  It was risky, but I authorized it.  The Hirogen had held several advantages over us since we arrived on the planet.  We needed to start leveling the playing field.  We engaged several Hirogen patrols as we made our way from holo hostage to holo hostage.  

Defending the cave

With the adjustments made, we set out for the runabout crash site.  Assistant Commissioner Peterson informed us that the crash survivors had taken refuge in a cave not far from where they crashed.  When the Hirogen had beamed down to the surface, all they had needed to do to take the diplomats hostage was to generate a force field around the entrance to the cave to prevent their escape.  After we deactivated the force field, we still had to tag the diplomats for transport up to the Tirpitz.  Just as we got the last of the hostages out, we were attacked by Alpha Tanjan and a few of his hunters.  The cave provided us with cover from the initial assault.  We only needed to worry about dealing with the few Hirogen that tried to enter the cave to attack us.  When Tanjan realized he was fighting a losing battle, he beamed back to his ship in orbit. 

Stopping Tanjan

When we returned to the Tirpitz, I gave orders to follow Tanjan’s ship.  He was willing to take innocent civilians hostage just so he could set up his hunt.  We either needed to take him into custody or make sure he wasn’t able to threaten Federation citizens again.  But he wasn’t going to make it easy for us to do that.  It seemed he was prepared for everything, including having set up a few minefields near the planet that he could hide his ship in when he needed time for his shields to regenerate.  It wasn’t a very effective defense against the Tirpitz.  We could keep Tanjan’s ship in range of our weapons while keeping ourselves outside of the trigger range for the mines.  In the end, we managed to destroy Tanjan’s ship.  With the threat in the system ended, we set a course to return the diplomats to Federation space. 

Out of Character

Cryptic recently released the “Season One, Update One” patch for the game.  Included in the patch is a new difficulty adjustment option for the game.  Players now have the option of continuing to play at the “normal” setting, or increasing the difficulty of much of the game’s content.  For this mission, I was very glad that I decided not to try out a harder setting. 

For a brief section of this mission, it ends up being just the player’s captain versus all the enemy soldiers you encounter.  This event was brought up in a comment left on a previous post.  From the way it was described in the comments, specifically the fact that the player can beam out and then resume the mission with their full away team, this is most likely another game bug.  Still, I liked it as a twist in the story.  The Hirogen Alpha has seen what away team can do as a group together, so he separates them out to see what they’re capable of doing on their own.  I didn’t find it that difficult as a tactical captain.  Maybe because Ruz was carrying a phaser weapon with a cone attack in his expose slot.  If I was lucky, one shot would catch two or three Hirogen at a time and give them either knock back or holds.  It was still enough of a challenge that I needed to use several consumable items to keep my character’s health up.  There were a few close calls, so I’m not sure if I would have made it through on a higher difficulty. 

Another part of the “Season One, Update One” patch that I was looking forward to is the ability to set all of your starship’s weapons to autofire.  Until this point, the player’s been limited to just two autofiring weapons in space.  So today, I tried turning all my weapons on.  I haven’t noticed any problems yet.  I like the change so far.  It makes it easier to activate officer abilities and steer the ship when you’re not hammering away on keys to activate weapons systems as soon as they come off cooldown.  My main concern is weapons power.  I haven’t really paid much attention to how much power I’m using with my shots and abilities in the past.  As long as the guns can shoot, I’ve been happy.  Using a balanced power setting, my weapon power seemed to drop from somewhere in the sixties to around thirty-six at the low point.  I know their’s some math out there that could tell me just how much of a trade-off there is between the amount of weapons fired, and how much damage they do because of the power drain.  But right now, I’m happy.  Maybe when I rank up to my next ship, and I get some extra weapon slots to fill, I’ll see a problem with continuously firing all weapons.