Star Trek: Tirpitz


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.



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.



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 Big Dig

While we were continuing our patrol along the neutral zone, we picked up a priority one distress call from the USS Phlox.  The Federation along with the Vulcan Science Academy had sent a joint team of archeologists to study a temple from an unknown civilization that had been discovered on a planetoid near the Romulan border.  There were obvious risks in setting up a dig in the neutral zone; risks that had increased as tensions with the Romulan empire grew.  Even so, if the Federation had expected the kind of response the Phlox was reporting, I doubt they would have approved the mission.  

Their distress call had reported several Romulan ships decloaking in orbit of the planetoid.  By the time we arrived in the system, we weren’t detecting any enemy ships on sensors, and the Phlox was still in fairly good shape.  We were able to establish communications with the science ship and were updated on the situation.  Only a hand full of the Romulan ships had attacked the Phlox, keeping the science ship busy.  The rest of the enemy task force had deployed ground forces to the planetoid, who took over the dig site and captured the science teams.  Any rescue effort was going to take several away teams.  Even with the MACOs deployed, we were going to need every combat trained officer we had to pull off a rescue mission.  

Rescuing the hostages

 

We beamed down to the science team’s camp, which had been reclaimed by the Phlox’s security forces.  From there, our rescue teams fanned out to search for the missing archeologists.  It wasn’t Romulan ground forces that we encountered, but Reman.  And instead of rounding up their captives into one location, they had used a number of portable force field generators to imprison the scientists where they had been captured.  The force fields were strong enough to prevent us from just beaming the captives back aboard our ships.  So our away teams had to fight through several squads of Reman troops to rescue each of the hostages.  

Engaging the Romulan reinforcements

 

Just as we managed to evacuate the last of the hostages, Amy contacted us from the Tirpitz.  They had come under attack by Romulan ships that seemed to be using the same battle strategy as the ones the Phlox had reported.  Several birds of prey were harassing the Federation ships, while a warbird entered into orbit of the planet.  It wasn’t long before our tricorders picked up the reinforcements being beamed down to the surface.  With our ships engaged in battle, we couldn’t beam off the planet.  So we were forced to defend ourselves from the Romulan reinforcements.   

One artifact protected

 

It soon became apparent that we weren’t the primary targets of the continued assault.  T’Lol contacted me shortly after the Romulans arrived.  Her squad had encountered a deployment of enemy soldiers with a Romulan commander barking out orders to “destroy the artifacts”.  Scattered around the dig site we had noticed several unusual objects that appeared to float under their own power.  These seemed to be the targets the Romulan forces were concerned about.  Because of the battle going on in space, we couldn’t just beam up the artifacts or beam down shield generators to protect the artifacts.  So we had to improvise.  It was Mr. Scharf that suggested we use the force fields the Remans had used to keep the science team captive to protect the artifacts for the time being.  We used the maps created by the archeologists to deploy our forces and prevent the artifacts from being damaged.   

Holding the line

 

But that still left us with the problem of being trapped on the planet’s surface with several squads of enemy soldiers.  We tried to use the pyramid as a defensive position, but the Romulans just continued to beam in reinforcements behind the lines we tried to establish.  We lost a lot of good people on that rock.   Major Iseli suggested we attempt to take out the Romulan and Reman commanders, saying that without a command structure, the rank and file troops would be disorganized and may retreat.  At the very least, it gave us something to work towards instead of just sitting around and waiting to be picked off by enemy fire.  According to the after battle reports, I believe we eliminated the commanding officers of twenty squads before the Federation reinforcements arrived in orbit.  With the Romulan task force in retreat, our away teams were able to safely return to the Tirptiz.  

Out of Character

Overlooking the dig site

 

So I accidentally joined this fleet action.  Back when I was working on the Preemptive Strike mission, I had noticed the USS Phlox near the Rator system but I didn’t realize what it was for.  I just noticed I had the option to communicate with it.  So I went back today, thinking that it had a mission I could pick up, not realizing that it was part of the fleet action I already had in my mission logs.  It took one of my fleet mates noticing where I was and commenting on it for me to realize my mistake.  

And the reason my fleet mate commented on me doing the fleet action was because of a possible bug.  It seems the last time he had tried to complete it, the mission had bugged out when the players were given the instructions to protect the artifacts.  They had managed to set up force fields on all twenty objects, but the game had stopped counting at seventeen.  From my experience, I’ll say that all parts of the mission worked out successfully for me.  So the bug has either been fixed, or I just got lucky with my group not triggering it.  The only rough spot I encountered was a lag spike between the last two parts of the mission, just as a group was trying to invite me to join them.  

If my instance for this mission wasn’t full, it was very close.  The final score listed nineteen players, and I did well enough to pick up a weapon.  It looked like the majority of the players in there were tactical captains.  I think I saw a few science and engineer captains as well, but only a couple.  And they weren’t making themselves easy to spot.  It’s not like any of the engineers were repeatedly dropping shield generators.  I’m sure they were using every skill they had, because it was really easy-going.  I don’t want to say that it was easy.  If you weren’t careful, and strayed a little to far from the other players, you could find yourself in a lot of trouble.  But it didn’t force the players to be constantly on the move.  I felt like there was a bit more breathing room than there was when I did the Breaking the Planet fleet action.   

All in all, I would have to say that I enjoyed the mission.  I’m curious to see how they tie this in to the Romulan storyline.  It’s mentioned that the artifacts on the surface give off an energy reading that’s similar to those seen during the Hobus supernova.  I just wondering how they’re going explain it.  Either the Federation just stumbled across the location where the Romulans had already found some sort of advanced technology, or the Romulans discovered a similar set of ruins on another planet and they just wanted to keep the Federation from finding any info from the same civilization.



Vendor Sector Patrol

In the wake of the battles near Rator prime, Starfleet Command decided to increase patrols of Federation space near the Romulan neutral zone.  Our listening posts along the border have detected small forces of cloaked ships moving through the neutral zone, but so far there haven’t been any incidents.  The Tirpitz has been assigned to patrol a number of systems along the border.  

Trading fire with the Hirogen

Our first stop on the patrol route we were assigned was to a starbase in the Ra’kholh system.  The outpost was a key location in the Federation’s efforts to develop moblie holo emitter technology.  The idea is to try to find a way to remove the limitations that current holographic systems force on a sentient hologram’s freedom.  When we entered the system, we picked up a distress call from the starbase.  Their sensors had picked up a number of Hirogen ships approaching the starbase.  We set a course to intercept the enemy task force before they could mount an attack on the lightly defended outpost.  As expected, our arrival presented the Hirogen with a much more attractive target than the station offered.  Several of their ships altered course to intercept us.  We were able to successfully defend ourselves from the initial assault, and continued on to engage the remaining ships.  Once we had cleared the system of the Hirogen, we contacted Starfleet Command and appraised them of the situation. 

Studying the Tkon relic

As we continued our patrol, Mr. Toran picked up some unusual energy readings as we were passing through the Tepheri system.  We altered course to investigate the readings, and came across a series of artifacts that had been scattered into space.  After performing several scans of the objects, we were able to determine that they were relics from the Tkon Empire.  The Tkon were a highly advanced civilization that had collapsed after their home world had been destroyed by a supernova.  We documented our findings and the location of the artifacts and forwarded our information to Starfleet Command.  While the Tirpitz is equiped to perform a basic analysis of the find, a well equiped science vessel would have a better chance of possibly unlocking some piece of forgotten technology.  

Turning back the Romulans

As we returned to our patrol route, we were contacted by Commander Genstra.  A small task force of Romulan ships had been detected by our listening posts as it crossed into Federation space.  Their course and speed put them on a route to enter the T’Liss system.  We were ordered to head to T’Liss and ensure that the Romulans didn’t attack any of our holdings in the system.  The Romulans arrived in the system before we did, but it didn’t appear as if they were there to attack.  In fact, the only ships we ended up fighting were the ships that we both managed to detect through their cloaking systems and that we attempted to communicate with.  Perhaps they were sent to test our ability to detect and track cloaked ships.  In any event, after destroying several ships that attacked us, the remaining cloaked ships we detected retreated back into Romulan space.  

Out of Character

I would like to apologize for the delay in getting today’s post up.  Several unexpected visitors and events over the past couple of days led me to burn off the buffer I had been attempting to create.  With any luck, I’ll have something ready to go at my normal time tomorrow. 

So it looks like we were a little a head of schedule in discussing the Hirogen’s connection with holodeck technology yesterday.  Part of today’s mission had them attacking a holo technology research station.  In the game’s storyline (as presented on both the Path to 2409 and the novel tie in), the Federation is trying to replicate the mobile emitter technology introduced in the later half of Voyager’s run to allow the Doctor to leave sickbay.  It seems they want to give all sentient holographic programs the chance to live full and complete lives like any other members of the Federation.  The game makes it clear that the Hirogen want to get their hands on the research, but it doesn’t really explain why they want it.  Given how often the Holodeck seems to break down and endanger the users, one would think that the Hirogen would rather keep hunting holograms in the giant video game deathtrap.  Releasing the holograms out into the real world might actually make the hunts safer. 

The Tkon Empire is a throw back to an episode in the first season of the Next Generation.  It was in the same episode that introduced the Ferengi in all their… glory?  The Tkon were given a background as a highly advanced culture.  It tells about how they had the technology to move star systems if they needed to.  And yet somehow, they were wiped out by a supernova that destroyed the empire’s core worlds.  Much in the same way that the Romulans have been impacted by the Hobus supernova.  To me, that would have been a very interesting connection to make in the game.  Have it set up so that the Romulans had also found a source of Tkon technology, and had blown themselves up in the same way that the ancient empire had.  Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s going to be the case.  Besides the fact that this mission is part of a sector patrol set (which sadly never seem to be expanded upon by the game’s writers), the Memory Alpha entry for the Tkon already mentions what had caused their destruction.



Defending the Psi Velorum Sector

The Tirpitz was en route back to Federation space when we were suddenly attacked.  It took us a minute to identify what hit us.  Somehow, a small group of Hirogen ships had managed to get within weapons range without us detecting them.  Starfleet had received reports of Hirogen vessels being spotted in this region of space.  And from the looks of things, we had accidentally wandered into one of their hunting grounds. 

Rescued by the Einstein

We went to red alert, and I started giving orders to my crew.  Things weren’t looking good for us.  As soon as we managed to break free from the tractor beam one of the enemy ships was using, a different ship would catch us in a new one.  The Hirogen were doing their best to deny us our ability to maneuver.  We were fortunate that the USS Einstein and the USS Falcon both picked up our distress call and were able to assist us.  They bought us the time we needed to go on the offensive. 

Coordinating with the Falcon

We knew it wasn’t going to be a quick fight.  The Einstein was using every trick in the book that their crew new to try to even the odds, while we joined the Falcon in keeping the Hirogen from attacking the science ship.  It was very slow going, but we did start to pick off the attacking ships one at a time.  When it appeared that we had gained an advantage over the remaining Hirogen vessels, they started to retreat from the battle.  We attempted to contact Starfleet command to appraise them of our situation, when the Hirogen received some unexpected reinforcements. 

Romulan reinforcements

We had been so preoccupied with dealing with the Hirogen that we didn’t detect the Romulan task force until they opened fire on us.  They moved into a defensive position, keeping themselves between us and the retreating Hirogen ships.  We’ve faced off against both species before in combat.  But this was the first time we saw them working together like this.  Honestly, I’m not one hundred percent certain that they were working together.  For all we knew, these Romulans had taken part in the battle over Rator prime, followed us once we had left the system, and only attacked once the Hirogen started to retreat.  I was more concerned with keeping my crew alive than I was with finding out why the Romulans were attacking us. 

Targeting their engines

This wasn’t a fight we were going to be able to win.  We had all sustained a moderate amount of damage in battle with the Hirogen.  A prolonged fight with the Romulans was just going to get us destroyed.  We needed to change our tactics.  Instead of trying to destroy the enemy ships, I gave orders to target the Romulan’s propulsion systems.  If we could leave them dead in the water, we had a chance of getting back to Federation space.  It took concentrated fire from all three of us to break through the shields of each of the enemy vessels.  Once we were certain that we wouldn’t be followed, we set a course for Starbase 39 Sierra at our best possible speed. 

Out of Character

So I’ve been dancing around the Hirogen for a while without actually talking about them.  Introduced on Voyager, they are a space going hunter society.  They’re more or less a knock off of the Predator from the films of the same name.  They even going so far as both having a breathing mask they can choose to use.  They weren’t too bad of an addition to the Trek universe in my opinion.  I wasn’t a fan of the way the writers tried to end the threat of the Hirogen.  They had established the race in the series as having a society based on trophy hunting.  Their collections of unusual body parts from prey species showed a male’s social status, and influenced a female’s choice in taking a mate.  So it wasn’t the act of the hunt that was important, but the trophy collected from the hunt that had value.  And Voyager’s crew thought giving them holodeck technology would solve the problem of the Hirogen hunting intelligent species.  A Holodeck.  One of those grid lined rooms on the ship where if you try to take an item out of the room, it disappears.  Am I the only one seeing the problem here?  Did Janeway really think turning the Hirogen into a bunch of achievement point rabid gamers was going to fill the same societal role as hunting?  I’ve got over seven thousand achievement points on my main in WoW, and it has neither improved my social standing nor made me more attractive to the ladies. 

So I guess it’s no wonder they’re back to being bad guys for Star Trek Online.  There’s been a lot of set up in the game to make them allies of the Romulans.  I have to admit that there’s a small part of me that thinks they’d make a fairly decent guard force if you could negotiate the right deal.  “Any non-Romulan ships that come into our space are fair game guys.  Knock yourselves out.”  So far, I’ve only encountered them in space battles.  I’m curious to see what they’re going to be like in a ground fight.  These are guys that sent two hunters to track down one Undine.  I need a few minutes with a five man away team to get one scared enough to retreat.  So a ground fight with the Hirogen may be interesting to try.



Preemptive Strike
April 26, 2010, 9:02 am
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We recently received a priority one message from Starfleet Command with new orders.  Starfleet Intelligence had gathered information from several sources that pointed to a possible Romulan attack in Federation space.  Starfleet had dispatched a small scout ship to Rator prime, a planet near the Romulan border that the intelligence reports suggested was the staging ground for the impending invasion.  The scout ship had been given orders to report back with their findings every hour on the hour, but they had never made a transmission.  Because of this, Starfleet Command decided to send a fleet to Rator prime.  The Tirpitz had been assigned to join the fleet, with orders to rescue any potential survivors from the scout ship and to prevent the Romulan fleet from crossing into Federation space.  

Romulan versus Romulan

Because of how close we were Rator Prime, we were the first ship of the Federation fleet to arrive in the system.  A scan of the system when we arrived picked up a large number of Romulan ships in the system.  More Romulans than we had faced before without back up.  Mr. Toran had an idea to try to even the odds.  By launching a modified sensor probe at one of the Romulan ships he was able to confuse their ship identification system, making their sensor believe they were surrounded by Federation ships.  It didn’t last long, but bought us enough time to get in some hits to critical system and level the playing field a bit.  

Punching a hole in the defenses

Unfortunately for us, one of the enemy ships activated the planet’s orbital defense system before we could stop them.  We came under fire from several orbital weapons platforms.  We were forced to fall back because of the concentrated fire.  It took T’Lol a few minutes to identify a week point in their defense grid.  There was a small section where the weapons platforms were spaced far enough apart that we would only need to engage one at a time.  We punched our way through the satellites and entered orbit over the planet.  

Iseli's MACO soldiers

Once in orbit, a scan of the planet picked up  two facilities on the surface.  Both were highly populated with Romulans, but one also revealed several Federation life signs.  The one with the Federation life signs also appeared to have a functional transport inhibitor, so we couldn’t just beam them up.  We beamed Major Iseli and a squad of her MACO troops down to the surface a few kilometers away from the believed prison facility.  Their orders were to rescue the Federation personnel and to deactivate the transport inhibitor so we could beam them back to the ship.  The away team got the drop on several guard patrols that they were able to take down before reaching the facility itself.  Once they assaulted the prison, they had to work fast to prevent the Romulans from executing their captives.  Among those they rescued another MACO trooper named Tess who was able to fill in details on what had happened.  The scout ship had deployed her squad to the planet when they had detected a number of subspace weapons on the planet’s surface.  Tess estimated that her team had managed to destroy half of the stockpile before they had been captured.  When Iseli reported this information back to the Tirpitz, I gave the order for her away team to finish the destruction of any remaining subspace weapons on the planet’s surface.  Tess requested permission to join the away, but she wasn’t in any shape to assist, and we beamed her back to the Tirpitz.  

Surprise attack

The MACOs encountered heavier resistance as they made their way to the second facility on the planet.  It’s possible that the second facility had been warned of an impending attack by the guards from the prison.  The Romulan guards had enough time to set up a number of phaser turrets and portable shield generators before the away team reached them.  A few guards even managed to get the drop on Iseli and her troops.  If it wasn’t for their personal shield generators, they would have been in bad shape.  It took the away team much longer than we expected to clear the area of guards and set charges to destroy the remaining weapons.  We beamed the away team back onboard the Tirpitz just barely before the Romulan fleet entered the system.  

Battling the Romulan fleet

It didn’t look good for us for a few minutes there.  We were outnumbered and outgunned.  Our sensors picked up dozens of Romulan ships, including one Scimitar class warship.  The very well-timed arrival of the rest of the Federation fleet is what saved us.  We fell into formation with the rest of the Federation forces and engaged the Romulan fleet.  We weren’t the focus of very many attacks by the enemy ships.  The Romulans were attempting to concentrate their fire to take down the larger threats in our fleet.  This gave us several openings to perform attack runs on enemy ships without taking much damage to our shields.  We managed to destroy a majority of the enemy fleet before the remaining ships retreated back into Romulan space.   

Hopefully, with the loss of their forces and weapons, we’ve managed to delay the Romulan’s attack plans.  But somehow, I don’t think this is the end of what they’re got in store for us.  

Out of Character

I am really starting to hate the Romulan ground forces.  It’s not that they’re dangerous.  I can’t recall the last time that my captain or any of my crew got close to being knocked out.  It’s that they have nine lives.  Between shield regeneration, portable shield units, and being able to revive fallen allies, it’s like you have to kill each Romulan soldier twice.  There’s nothing more frustrating than having one down to no shields and a fraction of their health, only to see their shield bar completely refill.  The rewards from this mission included a choice between a plasma rifle and a personal shield.  I’m hoping the rifle will make dropping Romulans a little bit easier in future missions. 

Now while I wasn’t fond of the ground combat, the final space battle was brilliant.  I wish there were more big space battles like this one in the game.  I may be a little biased, as the space battles from DS9 were some of my favorite moments from the series (skip ahead to about 6 minutes in to get to the actual battle, but the whole things good in my opinion).  Most of the time in-game, the player is on their own.  Currently, it looks like a player formed group of ships caps out at five players.  The number of ships that can join the same instance of a deep space encounter also seems to be limited somewhat.  Granted, you can get a fairly large number of players into a fleet action.  But even then it feels like something is missing.  I don’t know how to explain it.  It’s not a factor of how many players are in the fight.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m looking forward to trying some of the group missions later in the game when I get to a high enough level to have access to them.  But what would really awesome in my book is if there was a big set piece battle going on that my group was a part of, and then half way through we would receive orders to break off from the main fleet to complete some objective before returning to help finish the fight.