Star Trek: Tirpitz


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.

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Saturday’s Child

We recently received orders from Admiral T’nae to assist with an important diplomatic assignment.  A few days ago a Federation envoy was sent to negotiate with the Aelseans for the rights to mine topaline from their planet.  Topaline is a mineral needed to make life support systems and can be used as a way to block sensors.  It’s incredibly rare and impossible to replicate, so a good source of the mineral would be invaluable to the Federation.  The Tirpitz was being sent to the Aelos system to help guard the negotiations.   

When we entered the system, our preliminary scans detected nothing out of the ordinary.  But I didn’t want to get taken by surprise, so we started a patrol sweep through the system with our sensors at their maximum settings.  We picked up the first group of Romulan ships just seconds before they decloaked and opened fire on us.  We were able to successfully defend ourselves and continue our search, which turned up four more ships.  The last group we found included a warbird, which tried to hold us off while its allies set a course for Aleos IV, where the negotiations were taking place.  Once we disabled the warbird, we set a pursuit course to follow the remaining Romulans.   

Romulans versus Klingons

 

What greeted us when we arrived at Aelos IV surprised me.  The Romulan ships were already engaged in combat, with Klingon ships.  The presence of hostile Romulan forces was worrying enough.  The Klingons forces made things worse.  We needed to ensure the safety of the Federation diplomats on the planet’s surface, so we joined the battle.  The Romulans and Klingons were so busy fighting each other, that we went unnoticed until only one Vor’cha cruiser was left.  Once we disabled the enemy ship, I sent an away team to the surface to make sure the Federation diplomat was alright.   

Defending the princess

 

To try to avoid a diplomatic incident, we beamed the away team down a few kilometers outside of the village where the negotiations were taking place.  A few minutes after they arrived, the away team encountered an Aelsean woman who identified herself as the daughter of the king the Federation was negotiating with.  She informed us that shortly before the Tirpitz would have arrived in the system, a group of Klingons had arrived on the planet to try to acquire the right to mine the topaline for themselves.  The away team notified us on the ship of this development, and I gave orders to escort the princess back to her village.  I know the Klingons highly value honor, but I didn’t want to risk them taking the woman hostage on the off-chance they needed an extra bargaining chip.  As they approached the village, the away team was assaulted by several squads of Klingon troops.  Thankfully they were able to keep the princess safe until they reached the village.   

The negotiations continue

 

When the away team reached the village they were welcomed by the king, as well as the Klingon and Federation negotiators.  The Federation representative, Admiral Akaar, hoped that our assistance of the princess would favorably influence the king’s decision in who would get the rights to mine the planet.  While the king was relieved to have his daughter back, he was more concerned about the safety of his people and the planet.  It seems that the Aelseans were a technologically advanced and war like people a few centuries ago, and had reverted to living in a tribal society when they feared that they would destroy themselves.  They had done away with their ships and their weapons of war, but had left a series of satellites in orbit to allow them to communicate with visitors to their planet.  The satellites were also capable of a basic level stellar study, which is how they had detected a large asteroid, which would soon crash into the planet where the Aelseans hunted for food.  The Aelseans didn’t have a way to destroy the asteroid themselves, so the king decided that Which ever of us was able to destroy the threat to his people would be permitted to mine the planets topaline deposits.   

The away team contacted the ship with this information, and I had Mr. Toran scan for the approaching asteroid.  We quickly found it and set an intercept course to destroy it.  As we got within weapons range, we found ourselves under attack by a small Klingon task force.  Several Birds of Prey were trying to stall us while the IKS Kang, under the command of Captain Ja’rod, tried to stop the eliminate the asteroid.  When it looked like we were about to finish off the last of the ships sent to stop us, the Kang joined the battle.  We took a bit of a pounding  from the Klingon ships, and in the end, the Kang retreated before we could finish them off.  It only took a few quantum torpedoes to destroy the asteroid.   

The atmosphere will do the rest

 

Having completed the challenge, the king decided to allow the Federation to mine their planet.  Admiral Akaar decided to remain on the planet for a few more days to work out all the minor details with the Aelseans.  Once we retrieved our away team, we set a course for Starbase 39-Sierra.   

Out of Character

So to win a mining contract, I had to turn one deadly asteroid into half a dozen still potentially deadly asteroids.  I think I’ve spent a little too much time with my friends over the years talking about how badly the destruction of the second Death Star was going to screw up the Ewok home world.    

I believe I’ve said it before that I grew up watching the Next Generation and later series of Star Trek.  What I’ve seen of the original series is a bit spotty and mostly from the Fan Collective DVD sets.  So I didn’t realize that this mission was a kind of sequel to the original series episode Friday’s Child until Admiral Akaar explained how he acquired his full name.  After reading up on the original episode at Memory Alpha, it seemed that the game mission follows a fairly similar plot.   In both, the crew has to protect a member of a royal family while trying to secure mining rights to the exact same material.  The appearance of the Klingons in Romulan space for the game’s mission was probably done because they were a part of the tv episode as well.  The game is full of references to all things Star Trek, and it’s times like this where I’m wondering how many things I’m missing for every reference I catch.   

It's not the rock she fears

 

This mission also features what I think of as the bane of all video gamers:  An escort quest.  Almost every time I come across one, there’s something about it that just drives me crazy.  Either the person I’m escorting is slower than molasses, or their dumber than a bag of hammers and will run off to aggro half a dozen extra enemies.  In this case, the main problem I encountered with the princess was a rather large bug.  Along the escort path to the village, there’s a section early on where it looks like there’s a giant boulder in the middle of the road.  The princess is smart enough to path around the obstacle, but the problem is that part of the first Klingon patrol the player encounters spawns inside the boulder.  This made one Klingon impossible to shoot and kill while it was still able to shoot at the princess.  I tried every ability I had access to and I could not stop the Klingon.  The only reason I was able to complete the mission was because of a second bug.  When the princess lost the last of her life, she resumed walking back to her village as if nothing had happened.  I have to wonder if the princess’ zombie routine was a work around that Cryptic had put in place because of the stuck Klingon.



Mempa Sector Patrol

The surveillance array

 

Commander Sulu has ordered the Tirpitz to the Eriksson system.  The system is home to a large, long-range surveillance array that has been critical in getting advance warning of Klingon fleet movements.  Over the past few days, the array has been reporting some rather strange readings.  We were sent to run a series of diagnostics on the array.  When we arrived, our sensors picked up a number of Klingon ships in the system.  They appeared to be on an intercept course for the  array, probably to damage or destroy our listening post.  We engaged the Klingon task force, which was composed mostly of Birds of Prey.  With the threat eliminated for the time being, we were able to run several tests on the array, and determined that it was functioning normally.  

In Naussican controled space

 

Commander Sulu then ordered us to investigate the array’s findings.  It had picked up some anomalous readings from an asteroid field in the Vesper system.  The Federation’s initial scans of the system had found nothing of any importance or value.  Now, however, the array was detecting several asteroids  with an anomalous elemental composition.  The Vulcan Science Academy wanted us to verify the array’s readings.  The difficulty in this survey was that between the time the Federation had first investigated the system and now, a group of Naussicans pirates had decided to use the asteroid field as their base of operations.  We knew that if the Naussicans detected our presence in their base, they would attack us.  Fortunately, we were able minimize our contact with the Naussican forces.  We managed to successfully scan three of the asteroids before they noticed our presence.  We were able to complete our survey after disabling the Naussican ships.  Regrettably, the readings we had been sent to investigate turned out to be false.  

Running the Klingon blockade

 

It was at that point that were ordered to assist a Federation colony in the Ceron System.  Elements of the Klingon Defense Force’s fifth fleet had set up a blockade of the system.  When the blockade was detected by the colonists, they attempted to start an evacuation.  The first civilian ship that attempted to leave the system was destroyed by the Klingons.  This left the remaining colonists stranded on the planet’s surface, fearfully waiting for Klingon ground forces to invade.  Our orders were to engage the Klingon forces.  We needed to open a hole in the blockade to allow the colonists to evacuate the planet.  When we arrived in the system, we were quickly assaulted by the Klingon ships.  We were able to defend ourselves from the assault successfully, buying time to evacuate the planet.   

Scanning ship wreckage

 

Our next stop was the Lilitu system.  Starfleet Command provided us with a list of ships that had gone missing in the sector.  They suspect that an asteroid field in the Lilitu system  was being used by pirates and raiders as a place to dispose of ships they had captured and destroyed.  While the system was usually empty, a patrol by the USS Parsons had recorded an increase in Orion activity, as well as several new “suspicious” pieces of debris.  The Tirpitz was being sent to carry out the investigation, because we would be better equiped to deal with the Orions if they should choose to attack.  It was a good thing we were sent to handle the situation, because the Orions did choose to attack.  We were able to fight off the Orion attackers and scan the wreckage of several ships.  Our scans did identify several of the wrecks as missing freighters.  

Disabling the Klingon base

 

One of the destroyed ships we scanned had not been reported lost.  After establishing a connection with the ship’s computer core, we determined that the ship had been attacked by Klingon forces in the M’rade system.  We also learned that the attack had occurred recently, and that some of the ship’s crew had attempted to escape using  the ship’s runabout.  We set a course for the M’rade system at maximum warp, in the hopes that we could find and rescue the crew before the Klingons had a chance to finish them off.  When we arrived in the system, we picked up a faint emergency transponder signal from the runabout.  But a Klingon base in the system was jamming local frequencies, making it difficult for us to locate the source of the emergency signal.  We attempted to disrupt the Klingon base’s ability to jam communications, which drew several Klingon ships that attempted to stop us.  After defeating the Klingon forces and disabling the base, we attempted to locate the runabout.  After scanning several false signals, and encountering several more Klingon ships that were also searching for the ship, we made contact.  They had been doing their best to remain hidden from the Klingons, only broadcasting their emergency signal briefly.  To help us locate them, they reactivated the emergency beacon at full power.  Of course, this also drew a Negh’var cruiser out of hiding.  We engaged the cruiser, and were able to disable it long enough to beam the crew of the runabout aboard and warp out of the system.  

Out of Character

After reaching a climax in the conflict with the Klingons, it feels like I didn’t do this patrol at the right time.  From what I’m looking at with the missions that are coming up for me, it seems like I’m going to soon be sent to another sector of space, far from Klingon space.  So if this is the end of the Federation/Klingon war storyline (excluding PVP missions), then it kind of ended with a whimper instead of a bang for me.  And that’s really my fault I guess.  By now I should know that the patrol missions don’t really advance the story in a sector all that much.  So from here out, I think I’ll probably attempt to do patrol missions before I do episode missions of an equal level.  

I’m also beginning to wonder about how I’m going to continue to level.  So far, I’ve just been playing pretty much the same way I’ve been writing up logs here.  Which means that for things like exploration missions, fleet actions, and sector defense missions, I’ve only done enough to complete them once and then wrote about how it went here.  As a side effect, I’ve been running low on missions that are equal level for my captain to do.  I think I’ve found a couple that should bridge the gap for now (assuming I’m able to complete some of them).  But I’m wondering if the way I’ve been keeping this blog is going to hinder my game play eventually.  To acquire some pieces of equipment for a ship, it’s an easy thing to keep doing exploration missions to farm badges.  And by farming the repeatable missions for badges the player ends up grinding out extra experience.  I’m just worried that two or three entries about doing the same exploration mission over and over is going to be as boring to write as it may be to read.



The Doomsday Device

Starfleet Intelligence has finally decoded all of the information we collected from the two hidden bases the Klingons had set up in Federation territory.  In the information that was uncovered was the location of a third base.  The Klingons had set up a large base on a planet in the Imaga system, near to where we found their hidden facility in the Briar Patch, which is involved in the testing of new weapons.  Admiral Quinn has begun to pull some of our ships from the front lines to assist in an assault on this newly discovered base.  The Tirpitz drew the assignment of being the first ship into the system.   

Clearing the Klingon turrets

When we arrived in the system, Mr. Toran picked up multiple sources of tachyon emissions.  There was probably a sizeable force of cloaked ships in orbit of the planet.  We also detected a series of weapons turrets in place around the planet.  It looked like the Klingons had been expecting the Federation to find out about this facility sooner or later.  We started by trying to block communications, so that the ships in orbit wouldn’t be able to communicate with the each other or their base on the surface.  We then set about to open a hole in the planet’s defenses.  If the base defenses included a series of transport inhibitors, landing parties would need to take shuttles to reach the Klingon facility, which would need some safe space to fly through.  Our jamming of their communications seemed to be working.  Each group of Klingon ships we encountered didn’t receive any reinforcements from the rest of their defense fleet.  Unfortunately, we weren’t also jamming their transporter systems.  Our sensors picked up a transporter signature just before the last ship we engaged exploded.   

Assaulting the Klingon base

I decided to send Mr. Scharf with an away team to the surface.  With communications disrupted, their ships in orbit wouldn’t be able to find the Tirpitz in the planet’s ring.  However, it wouldn’t prevent them from evacuating the base and any experimental weapons systems using any ships they might have on the planet’s surface.  When our away team arrived on the surface, their scans picked up several large metal objects with high concentrations of Klingon life signs around each one.  The away team’s orders were to attempt to secure as many of the weapon prototypes as possible.  It was unlikely that the away team would be able to acquire all of the Klingon weapons, but if we could get our hands on even one, we would have something for the Starfleet Corps of Engineers to study.  Mr. Scharf’s away team slowly worked its way through the facility, encountering heavy resistance.  At one point, when the away team encountered two Klingon patrols, Ensign Grossman got caught out in the open and took a disruptor blast to the chest.  As the away team started to encounter heavier resistance, we sent a few more away teams to reinforce the first.  In the end, Mr Scharf was able to secure prototypes from three different locations on the surface.  

Attacking the retreating Klingons

It was at that point when the Klingons found a way to break through our communications black out.  Several ships in orbit decloaked and started beaming up weapons and troops from the surface.  We took the time to retrieve our away teams before we set a course for the nearest Klingon ship.  Since the fleet was still a few minutes away, I decided to attempt to try to prevent as many Klingon ships from escaping as possible.  But it seemed escape wasn’t their plan.  As we followed one escaping ship, our sensors picked up the rest of the Klingon fleet massing near a destroyed planet near the edge of the system.  Our scans also picked up something which should not have been.  

Flying through the planet core

Orbiting the destroyed planet was a “Planet Killer”.  It was the same shape and configuration as a doomsday machine Captain Kirk’s Enterprise had encountered in 2267.  Kirk had been able to destroy the one he had encountered  by flying the badly damaged USS Constellation into the machine’s primary weapon and then detonating the ship’s engines.  Unfortunately, we were fresh out of expendable starships.  We attempted to contact the fleet to update them on the situation, but they entered the system before we had a chance to warn them.  The Klingon ships engaged our reinforcements as soon as they got within range.  I had the Tirpitz hang back from the battle at first.  We attempted to go through all of the information we had on the Klingon’s research.  If they had built the doomsday machine, we needed to know if they had documented any weaknesses we could exploit.  We didn’t find any info on the doomsday machine, but we did find a way to stop it.  Amy believed that the prototype weapons we had collected from the Klingon base had an explosive yield large enough to damage the machine.  But there were two conditions to getting the weapon to work.  The first was that we needed to collect some materials from the core of the destroyed planet in order to arm the weapons.  The second was that we would need to wait for the moments after the doomsday machine had fired its primary weapon, when its power levels were at their lowest, for the Klingon prototypes to have any effect on the machine.  We communicated our plan to the Federation fleet, and they said they would keep the Klingon forces occupied while we carried out our plan.  

The doomsday machine prepares to fire

Collecting the materials from the planet’s core was the easy part.  Whatever force had destroyed the planet had scattered the material we needed into space.  The difficult part was going to be attacking the doomsday machine.  We had only managed to collect five torpedoes from the Klingon base, so T’Lol was going to need to make every shot count.  When we engaged the doomsday machine, we found it was slow to maneuver.  We were able to stay well out of the path of its main weapon as it fired.  Unfortunately, staying out of the weapon’s firing arc ment our first few attacks impacted on the machine’s hull.  It looked as if machine had been damaged in our attacks, but we couldn’t tell how badly.  By that time the Klingons had retreated, so our reinforcements joined in assaulting the doomsday machine, focusing their attacks on the areas exposed by the prototype weapons.  Even with the hull cracked, the fleet’s weapons didn’t appear to have any effect on the machine.  As risky as it was, we needed to try to get one of the prototypes to hit the machine’s primary weapon.  We began an attack run when we detected the main weapon powering up.  We burned out the Tirpitz’s shields by getting caught in the edge of the blast, but T’Lol was still able to fire off a shot which started a chain reaction to destroy the doomsday machine.  

After the battle, we joined the rest of the fleet.  With some help from the other ships, we were able to restore our shields to some semblance of working order.  Once repairs were completed, we set a course to deliver the remaining prototypes to Starfleet Command.  

Out of Character

Cryptic tried to connect a large number of the previous story missions together with this one.  They mention the hidden bases the player had found previously, the weapons the Klingons had been working on designing, and the mining efforts that were the back drop for the Breaking the Planet fleet action.  But of all the things they tied into this mission, the doomsday machine came out of no where for me.  

Now I know where the doomsday machine is from.  It’s part of a classic episode of Star Trek.  It’s been a while since I’ve seen that episode, so I’m a little fuzzy on the details.  But the one thing I’m fairly certain of is that the one Kirk faced wasn’t a Klingon weapon.  They don’t know if they ever figured out who had built it.  And now there’s one that the Klingons have working for them.  Actually, I can’t really say that the doomsday machine was a Klingon weapon.  The evidence is all circumstantial in that case.  It actually looks more likely that the Klingons were researching ways to destroy the doomsday machine themselves, and the Federation kept showing up and screwing up their plans.  So the addition of the doomsday machine feels a little tacked on.  Like it should have been in the next story mission, where the Klingons tell you that they need the Federation to help destroy the machine before it reaches the Klingon home world, because the Federation stole all of their defensive weapons.  

Not that I’m complaining about fighting the doomsday machine.  That was awesome.  The part about shooting the machine’s weapon to destroy it is false.  All you have to do is shoot it three times with the prototype weapon after it’s fired its primary weapon.  There’s no weak spot you have to target.  It was just my inner Skywalker telling me to “hit the exhaust port”.  

The one problem I had with this mission was a bug on the planet’s surface.  Actually, I don’t know if it was a bug or if it was just really bad lag.  At one point, Ruz just started dancing.  His head and body were bobbing back and forth and he started to sway as I moved him around the map.  And while this was happening, I couldn’t get him to attack or use abilities or anything.  The rest of the away team and the Klingons they were fighting seemed to be acting normally, except that neither side of the conflict seemed to be taking any damage from the fight.  It seemed to go on for a few minutes, and then everything went back to normal.  It’s the first time I’ve seen anything like that happen in the game.



City on the Edge of Never

I had hoped to go my entire career without a visit from the Department of Temporal Investigations.  Unfortunately, after the events of the last few days, Admiral Quinn has advised me to expect a visit from them soon. 

After we turned over Singh and his data to Starfleet Intelligence, we were contacted by Admiral Quinn.  Among the notes on genetic augmentation, Starfleet Intelligence also found several notes regarding historical events.  There was even a recording of an experiment that had been interrupted by Ambassador B’vat, who had dropped by to ask Singh what he knew about temporal anomalies.  Admiral Quinn wanted us to investigate if B’vat was attempting to find a way to manipulate the timeline.  Starfleet Command had been notified by the USS Kirk that they had found some evidence as to what B’vat may be planning.  The Tirpitz was sent to rendezvous with the Kirk to review their findings. 

Saving the USS Kirk

When we arrived in the Hromi Sector, we picked up a distress call from the USS Kirk.  It was reporting that it had come under attack by a number of Klingon ships.  We set an intercept course at maximum warp to render aid.  As we approached the Kirk, we picked up small task force of  Klingon ships attacking it.  Several of the Klingon ships broke off their attack on the Kirk and came after the Tirpitz as we neared, forcing us to defend ourselves.  After driving off the Klingons, we scanned the Kirk to determine their status.  Our sensor picked up Klingon life sings onboard the Kirk, as well as weapons fire.  We decided to send an away team over to assist the crew of the Kirk with the Klingon boarding parties. 

The Kirk's crew fights back

Our away team’s orders were simple.  They were to locate Captain Thelin, or whoever was now in charge of the Kirk after the attack, and find out what had happened.  When they arrived, they found that the crew of the Kirk were still fighting back against the boarding parties, and they were happy to have our assistance.  The crew made its way through the corridors of the ship, and were able to reach Captain Thelin just in time to see the group of Klingons he and the Kirk’s bridge crew had been fighting beam away.  Captain Thelin filled us in on what happened.  The USS Kirk had been ambushed by the Klingons, and as soon as the Kirk’s shields had failed, ambassador B’vat had led the boarding parties over.  Their target it would seem had been the Kirk’s chief of security, Lieutenant Miral Paris.  According to Captain Thelin, B’vat had revealed that he intended to take Lieutenant Paris to “the right place at the right time to cure a virus”.  Because of the damage the Kirk took in the battle, they were unable to follow the escaping Klingons, so Captain Thelin asked us to follow B’vat and rescue Miral. 

The Guardian of Forever

Using the frequency from Lieutenant Paris’ combadge, we were able to track the ship that was carrying her to the Gateway system.  It quickly became apparent what B’vat’s plan was, if not how he came by it.  One of the planets in the system was the location of the Guardian of Forever, a seemingly sentient device capable of transporting people through time.  The Federation had quarantined the planet for close to one hundred fifty years in an attempt to prevent people from using the Guardian to go back in time and alter history.  Of course, a Federation quarantine didn’t seem to be enough to stop some fairly determined Klingons.  After dealing with a few Klingon ships in the system that tried to prevent us from reaching the Guardian’s planet, I led an away team to try to stop B’vat before he was able to carry out his plan.  Mr. Scharf attempted to protest, but I insisted that if I was going to risk a visit from the Department of Temporal Investigations that I wanted to be able to give a first hand account of what occurred.  Unfortunately, B’vat had planned ahead to prevent interference.  The ground forces he deployed around the Guardian of Forever prevented the away team from reaching him before B’vat escaped into history with Lieutenant Paris.  

After mopping up the rest of the Klingon ground forces, we spoke with the Guardian of Forever.  It revealed that not only had B’vat and Lieutenant Paris been sent back in time, but that the Klingons had sent a ship back in time as well.  We were able to convince the Guardian to allow us to take the Tirpitz back in time to try to stop B’vat from altering history.  The away team soon found itself back onboard the ship and in a different sector of space.  It took Mr. Toran a few minutes to determine our position in space and time.  The Guardian had sent us to 2270.  We soon picked up a distress call.  We set a course to investigate and soon found the USS Enterprise, NCC 1701, under attack by three Klingon ships.  The presence of Lieutenant Paris’ com badge signal aboard one of the ships revealed that it did not belong in this time.  We attacked the Klingon ship from our era in an attempt to even the odds for the Enterprise.  I ordered  T’Lol to attempt to disable the ship’s systems, as we didn’t want to destroy the vessel with Miral still onboard.  Before we could do much damage, B’vat’s ship fled from the battle, leaving us with the Enterprise and the two other Klingon ships.  Once we helped the Enterprise to drive off the remaining Klingons, we were hailed by Commander Spock.  To try to minimize our impact on the timeline,  we sent a text only message to the Enterprise stating that our communications systems were down, before setting a pursuit course for B’vat’s ship. 

Captain B'vat

Catching up with B’vat, we found his ship being protected by a couple of D7 battle cruisers.  At first I was concerned about attacking the D7s, worried that they were from the time period we were in.  The first few shots we took from them changed my mind.  Either they were D7s that B’vat had brought back to this time with him, or they were using weapons systems from our era.  In either case, we couldn’t let them remain in this time period where they could provide a huge advantage to the Klingons.  We engaged the Klingons in battle, and were able to destroy the D7 battle cruisers before we disabled B’vat’s ship.  Leading an away team over B’vat’s vessel, we had to fight out way through a number of Klingon warriors from our time and from the time we were currently in.  We made our way to the bridge, expecting to find B’vat there.  We did, but it was the B’vat from 2270.  He attacked us in a rage, and we had to defend ourselves.  I’ll admit that I was sorely tempted to kill the younger B’vat.  After all the trouble he’d caused over the last few months for the Federation in 2409, this was a chance to stop him before he got started.  But we were back there to prevent changes to the timeline, not make our own.  In the end, we knocked the young B’vat unconscious.  When he woke up, he said he knew who we were.  He called us the protectors of the Kuvah’magh, the religious leader that many Klingons believe Lieutenant Paris to be.  He said he was willing to help us after he saw the dishonor in the man he would become.  He asked us to give the older B’vat a “good death” when we saved the Kuvah’magh.  The young B’vat then told us we could find his older self in the ship’s mess hall, along with Miral, before he beamed off of the ship with some blood samples taken from Lieutenant Paris to cure the augmentation virus that had affected the Klingons of his time period.  When we reached the mess hall, we found ambassador B’vat guarding the force field where Miral was being held prisoner.  He attacked us, and we ended up killing B’vat in the fight. 

The Enterprise to the rescue

After we freed Lieutenant Paris from the force field, we decided to destroy B’vat’s ship to make sure the Klingons of 2270 couldn’t salvage any technology from it.  We then set a course for the Guardian’s planet, hoping to return to our own time.  When we arrived, Mr. Toran picked up a temporal anomaly on sensors.  We also picked up several Klingon ships on an intercept course.  With the destruction of all of the technology B’vat had brought back with him, they saw the Tirpitz as the last source of future technology they’d have a chance of getting their hands on.  We tried to clear a path to the anomaly, but our hands were tied by trying not to cause any unnecessary deaths in the past.  That’s when the Enterprise came in firing.  We were again hailed by Commander Spock telling us that he knew where, or rather when, we had come from.  The Enterprise engaged the Klingon ships, providing cover while we made a beeline for the anomaly.  We soon found ourselves back in 2409 above the Guardian’s planet. 

I’m confident that my crew and myself took every precaution to prevent polluting the time stream.  As far as we can tell, no changes seem to have been made to the timeline.  Of course, from what I’ve been told, most people who have ended up traveling through time have said that. 

 Out of Character

This story mission is a follow-up on the original series episode The City on the Edge of Forever.  City is one of the original Trek’s best episodes, even winning a Hugo award in 1968.  I’m not a huge fan of the original series, having been introduced to Star Trek with the Next Generation when I was growing up.  But City is one of the few original series episodes I really enjoy. 

Both the episode and the story mission both feature one of the classic time traveler’s paradoxes.  If you could go back in time to try stop some terrible event, would you?  In the episode, the twist is that to stop the changes to time, Kirk has to let a woman he cares for die.  In the game, the player is sent to prevent someone else from changing history, only to see that they have a chance to change history to eliminate one of the Federation’s enemies.  I know it’s not realistic for the developers to have included some way to actually let the player actually make that choice.  But I still like that Cryptic kept the idea of the choice to change the future in mission. 

I really liked this mission.  The level of detail Cryptic went into on this mission was great.  I have to admit that I spent a few minutes standing in front of the Guardian of Forever just watching the slide show of history.  The one nitpick I have is in being contacted by Spock when the player goes back in time.  It’s no secret that Cryptic managed to get Leonard Nimoy to provide some voice over for the game.  Usually he’s used to provide a voice over about a space sector the first time a player enters the area, as well as to congratulate the player when they level up.  Here, Mr. Nimoy reprises his role as Spock, providing a voice over for when the player is contacted by the Enterprise.  However, because the player is contacted after they’ve rescued the Enterprise from a beating by the Klingons, being contacted by Spock instead of Kirk may make the player wonder just how badly the timeline has been altered already.  Did the player arrive to late to prevent Captain Kirk from being killed in the attack?



The Ultimate Klingon

With repairs completed to the Tirpitz, we received new orders from Admiral Quinn.  During our time in spacedock, reports have come in of increased attacks on civilian craft by the Klingons and their allies.  From the reports Starfleet received on the attacks, the Klingons stole all the medical supplies they could manage from the ships they boarded.  The Tirpitz was ordered to the Korvat system to contact an Andorian doctor named P’Trell, one of the Federation’s top medical researchers, who may be able to determine what the Klingons have in mind for their plunder. 

Attacked by the Gorn

When we entered orbit of the planet, we were unable to hail the medical facility.  We soon discovered why when a couple of  Gorn ships appeared on our sensors approaching from the planet’s polar area.  It was a small force.  One battle cruiser and three light attack craft.  They probably didn’t want to draw attention to their presence by sending a larger force.  We were able to successfully defend ourselves from the Gorn ships, and with them destroyed, we attempted to contact the medical facility a second time.  We still received no response, even without the Gorn jamming our transmissions.  I decided to send Mr. Scharf with an away team to find out what was happening on the planet’s surface. 

Fighting Klingon ground forces

When the away team arrived, their tricorders detected Klingon and Gorn life signs as well as disruptor fire.  Mr. Scharf led his away team through the facility, engaging several groups of both Klingons and Gorn, as they attempted to locate the station’s personnel.  The away team was successful in preventing the Klingon forces from abducting P’Trell.  The away team questioned P’Trell to see if he could shed any light on what Klingons were after.  He informed us that the Klingons had wanted to know everything he knew about genetic modification.  P’Trell’s specialty is gerontology, the study of aging.  His research has been into trying to find ways to treat degenerative diseases through genetic modification.  The Klingons, however, were more concerned with using genetic modification for augmentation, a field of research that’s been outlawed since the end of the Eugenics Wars.  It seems the Klingons want to build better soldiers. 

While Mr. Scharf was interviewing P’Trell, a Klingon ship decloaked and attacked the Tirpitz.  We defended ourselves from the first assault.  As it was just one ship, it was possible that the Klingons were still attempting to keep this operation a secret.  T’Lol suggested that if we were able to disable the ship instead of destroy it, that she might be able to download portions of the Klingon computer core.  I told her to do it, and it wasn’t long before the enemy ship was operating without weapons or shields.  Once disabled, T’Lol attempted her download.  It was at that point that we were hailed by Captain K’mtak of the IKS Dugh.  He didn’t actually want to talk.  The only thing he said was that today was a good day to die and to order his ship to increase to ramming speed.  We ordered evasive maneuvers, and we managed to avoid collison with the Klingon ship.  Soon after, the Klingon ship exploded.  With the threat ended for the time being, we beamed the away team back to the ship. 

A stealthy approach

From the information T’Lol managed to download from the Dugh, we were able to determine the ship’s orders.  They had been sent to take bio-mimetic gel from the Korvat medical facility and to transport it to a Klingon outpost on H’atoria.  With what we learned from P’Trell, we suspected that the Klingons had set up an augmentation facility on H’atoria.  We notified Starfleet Command of our findings, and received orders to cross the border into Klingon space and find out what was happening on H’atoria.  When we arrived in the H’atoria system, we detected multiple Klingon ships in orbit of the planet.  If any of them had picked us up on sensors, I don’t think we would have been able to escape the system in one piece.  Fortunately, we were able to use a debris field to mask our arrival and to approach close enough to the planet to send an away team down. 

Poor visibility

The away team arrived in the middle of a snow storm, reducing visibility.  While it helped to hide their movements towards the facility we had detected on the planet’s surface, it also ment that they didn’t notice several patrols until they had almost walked right into them.  The amount of ships in orbit should have given us an idea of just how heavily guarded the facility would be on the ground.  Given Starfleet’s record of interfering in the Klingon’s plans of late, they probably beefed up security at the facility.  The away team moved slowly, trying to reduce the odds of being spotted, and only engaging the patrols that they couldn’t find a path around. 

Amar Singh

When they finally entered the facility, Dr. Franklin detected several unusual life signs in the lab.  It soon became apparent that the lab had been alerted to the away team’s arrival by one of the patrols, and as a response, several of the lab’s experiments had been released to deal with the intruders.  The away team had to defend itself from several augmented Gorn soldiers.  As the away team progressed through the lab, they encountered several other Gorn that had died before the away team got there.  Looking over the experiment’s logs, most of them had been killed by the attempt to augment them, but several had been killed by the lab’s personnel when the genetic manipulation had driven the Gorn insane.  When the away team entered the main lab, they were surprised to discover what appeared to be a human scientist.  He shouted something about the away team not stopping him from creating his perfect race before he beamed behind a force field and released two final Gorn augments.  Mr. Scharf received some cracked ribs and T’Lol a few nasty cuts, but the away team was eventually able to defeat the augments and take the human into custody. 

We set a course to deliver our prisoner to Federation authorities.   During the trip, we had time to interview the man to find out what he knew.  The prisoner seemed a little excentric.  After I first introduced myself to him in the brig, he stood there looking at me for a minute before he spoke, at which point he identified me as a Trill, and noted out loud both my species’ ability to join with a symbiotic life form, as well our allergy to insect bites.  He then smiled and offered that he would be willing to help the Trill’s allergy if I would allow him access to our medical facilities.  Through the rest of our conversation, he seemed rather polite, and we were able to gain quite a bit of information from him.  He identified himself as Amar Singh, a follower of “the great” Khan Noonien Singh.  Because his augmentation research was illegal in most of known space, Amar had been looking for some where to continue his research.  He had found Ambassador B’vat, who provided Amar with the resources to complete his research into creating the perfect race, in exchange for augmented Gorn Soldiers.  B’vat had also asked Amar to examine a sample of three-quarter human, one quarter Klingon blood.  Hopefully our questioning of Amar will give Starfleet Intelligence a head start in finding out all that he knows about what the Klingons have planned. 

Out of Character

This mission should have probably been named “The Ultimate Gorn” instead of “The Ultimate Klingon”.  In speaking with Amar Singh at the end of the mission, the player finds out that B’vat insisted on all the augmentation experiments being carried out on Gorn.  This is because when the Klingons previously attempted to experiment with augmentation on themselves,  they ended up with the flattened foreheads they had during the original series.  Apparently this was explained during an episode or two of Enterprise.  Unfortunately, because of my schedule at the time, I never had a chance to really watch any that series while it was on the air.  So I never knew they had found a way to explain the cosmetic difference between old school Klingons and the ones that started showing up in the films until doing this mission.  At any rate, because of their previous bad luck, the Klingons decided to use the Gorn as guinea pigs. 

The presence of Amar Singh is a little unusual.  If I understand correctly, genetic augmentation still occurred, rarely and illegally, during the Next Generation era.  So the game developers could have created any random scientist to fill the role of Amar Singh.  Obviously, they wanted to draw a connection to Khan, one of the greatest villains in Star Trek history.  But he somehow seems out-of-place.  The conversations with Amar make it sound like he was one of Khan’s followers.  Which to me makes it sound like he had been onboard the Botany Bay when Kirk’s crew found Khan, and he somehow managed to avoid being killed with the rest of Khan’s group at the end of the second movie.  It doesn’t bother me all that much.  I just wish we were provided with a little more info on his background to fill in the massive jumps forward in time he’s taken. 

Perhaps that’s why there’s a throw away question you can ask which mentions B’vat asking if Amar knew anything about time travel.  Of course that may just be really poorly written foreshadowing.  How much would a geneticist know about temporal mechanics?



Defending the Pi Canis Sector

Ambushed

 

As we were leaving orbit and setting a course to leave the site of the Klingon mining efforts, our sensors picked up several Klingon ships decloaking all around the Tirpitz.  We barely had enough time to raise shields before the first barrage of enemy fire hit.  I ordered evasive maneuvers, trying to buy ourselves some time until we could determine the exact nature of the situation we found ourselves in.  

Returning fire

 

We established contact with several of the other ships that had taken part in the planetary blockade.  They had all come under attack by Klingon ships of various classes.  The USS Madrid had been in the process of beaming away teams back from the surface, and was destroyed in the initial assault.  Our shields were dropping fast, even with Amy routing extra power to our defenses.  A volley of torpedoes rocked the ship, and a discharge from the helm killed Ensign Vance.  Mr. Scharf took the helm and executed attack pattern alpha II on my orders.  I also ordered T’Lol to open fire on a target of her discretion.  

Assisting the Dathon

 

Slowly our forces started to regroup from the surprise attack.  The USS Dathon was able to assist us in destroying the Klingons that had been assaulting the Tirpitz.  After some of the hits we took, we weren’t moving as fast as we normally could.  We tried to make some quick repairs as we headed to assist the next ship.  Every hand that wasn’t wounded or tending to the wounded was trying to find a way to restore failed systems.   

Repelling the Assault

 

Because of the damage we had sustained early in the attack, we needed to hang back from the front line of the battle.  But we were not out of the fight yet.  T’Lol used every still functional weapon aboard the Tirpitz to engage the enemy forces from long distance, which gave Mr. Scharf plenty of time to perform evasive maneuvers whenever a stray shot was leveled at us.  And we weren’t the only ones.  Several of the more heavily damaged ships tried to keep their distance while trading weapons fire with the Klingons.   

A second surprise attack

 

We were surprised when we were hit by a heavy disruptor blast to our starboard warp nacelle.  A lone Negh’var cruiser had seen how the fleet had divided up and had snuck up on the disabled ships, intent on finishing us off.  We were fortunate.  The hit to our nacelle opened a couple of sections of the ship to vacuum and knocked out our warp drive, but thanks to the efforts of chief engineer Amy, it didn’t cause a feed back loop that would start a warp core breach.  We changed our target to the new attacker, and alerted the other ships to our situation.  We were able to hold our own long enough for the Dathon to fall back to our position and assist us.  

Eventually, thankfully, our ships were able to force the Klingons into a retreat long enough for us to regroup and fall back to one of our staging areas.  The Tirpitz had to be towed back to starbase for repairs.  And that’s given me plenty of time to think.  We didn’t detect the Klingon ships in orbit of the planet while the ground battle was taking place.  So it’s possible that the ships that attacked us were reinforcements sent to try to stop our operation against their mining efforts.  Of course, the other option, is that they were waiting for us.  That they knew we would have to lower our shields to transport our surface troops.  That this whole thing was another trap set by the Klingons.  But if I keep thinking like that, I’ll end up driving myself crazy.  

Out of Character

I really wish the developers would set up some kind of a safe zone around the entry point to deep space combat zones.  Normally, the player only ends up having to face a couple of low-level ships flying around the spawn point.  But on occasion,  a group of three or four heavy cruisers fly by on a patrol, and you’ll be half way to dead by the time the warp in animation stops playing.  I know from past experience how frustrating it can be to be ganked by other players.  Depending on where and what you play, it’s something you should expect to happen every now and then as a MMO player.  But it’s never something you enjoy if you’re in the middle of trying to complete some task.  Star Trek: Online is the first game that I can remember playing where you can be randomly ganked not by another player, but by the game itself. 

I found out after completing the three battles needed to finish the mission that the player has the option of fighting a Gorn fleet instead of a Klingon fleet by entering a different type of deep space encounter.  It would have been a nice change from fighting nothing but Klingons for every sector defense mission, but I think this way works out better for the story.  What really doesn’t help with finding the variety is that the player isn’t forced out of a deep space encounter at the end of a battle.  If the player had to find a new force to engage after every completed battle, it might be easier for them to discover that they don’t have to keep fighting the same enemy.