Star Trek: Tirpitz


Onias Sector Patrol

Springing the trap

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

Ambushed

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

Broxx

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

Varna

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

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

Out of Character

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

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

Ouch

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

Advertisements


Hunting the Hunters
April 30, 2010, 8:45 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

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

Hirogen attack

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

Trapped

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

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

Alone

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

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

Defending the cave

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

Stopping Tanjan

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

Out of Character

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

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

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



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.



Sierra Sector Patrol

As we were returning from our shakedown cruise with the Tirpitz B, we received a new set of orders from Starfleet Command.  Commander Genstra sent word that he needed our assistance in helping with a number of situations that had developed in the Sierra sector of the Alpha Centauri sector block.  He hoped that the presence of a Federation starship would be enough to prevent things from getting out of hand.   

Defending the Romulan colony

The major concern for the Federation in the Sierra sector was a colony in the Rhi system.  After the Hobus supernova destroyed the central planets of the Romulan Empire, several of their border colonies have attempted to go independent.  The Rhi colony has been attempting to establish their own governing body and has expressed an interest in developing a relationship with the Federation.  It’s believed, that once they’ve established a solid government, the Rhi colony may ask for admission into the Federation.  The problem is that the Romulan Empire doesn’t want let them go.  It seems Empress Sela wants to use every current and former Romulan world to return the empire to its days of glory, and she’s not above using force to retake what she considers to be rebelling colonies.  We arrived in the system at about the same time as a Romulan task force intent on setting up a blockade of their former world.  Attempts to convince the commander of the enemy forces to peacefully withdraw were unsuccessful.  We ended up getting a chance to test out our new weapons systems in a real world setting, and I have to admit that they were just as effective as what we’ve been using on the last ship I commanded.  After engaging and destroying the command ship of the Romulan forces, the remaining ships retreated from the system.  With any luck, we managed to buy the colony enough time to decide what they want to do for themselves.    

Evasive maneuvers

We were next sent to respond to reports the Federation has received from independent miners working in the Terrh system.  The Federation had a contract with the miners to acquire their supply of viterium.  Over the past few weeks, Reman miners in search of new sources of materials to replace the mines lost after the Hobus disaster had started to scout the system.  Initial encounters between the miners and the Remans had been peaceful.  But over the last few days, several attacks on the miner’s operation had taken place.  We were being sent to sweep the system and clear it of any Reman presence.  As much as the Starfleet dislikes violent confrontation, it was hoped that engaging the invading ships in combat would send a message to look elsewhere to acquire resources.  After our first few encounters, I got the impression that the Remans we were facing weren’t simple miners.  I doubt your average miners would have access to a warbird.  In any event, we were able to deal with the Reman threat and allow normal production to resume in the system.   

Testing weapons against the Hirogen

Recent reports from civilian craft passing through the Sienae system have mentioned a number of encounters with ships that Starfleet Command was able to identify as belonging to an alien race known as the Hirogen.  From previous encounters, Starfleet has learned that the Hirogen are a race of trophy hunters that are willing to hunt anything and any one.  Given the increase in encounters with them in the system, Stafleet believed they had established a base in the region.  Worried about the safety of several colony worlds, we received orders from Starfleet command to attempt to drive the Hirogen out of the system.  We didn’t have to wait long after arriving in the system for our first encounter with the Hirogen.  It seems they were eager to test their skills against a Starfleet vessel.  Fortunately for us, we had already encountered a few Hirogen ships in battle before.  With our previous experience and newly upgraded systems, we were able to defend ourselves from the attack very well.  We reported our success back to Starfleet when we were convinced that the Hirogen forces had abandoned the system.   

Out of Character

Some how it figures that the first mission I attempt after putting together a ground force doesn’t contain any ground combat at all.  This is the second time in a row where a sector patrol mission only has three stops, but it keeps with the pattern established for the patrols of having one stop for each of the major players in the region (in his case the Romulans, the Remans, and the Hirogen).  And it also gave me a chance to try out some of the new skills I trained my older officers with.    

I’m loving Scramble Sensors.  When I first read the description about what it did, for some reason I thought it only targeted one ship.  I was pleasantly surprised the first time I noticed two enemy ships attacking each other.  My only complaint would be that there’s been a few times when I’ve switched targets after destroying one enemy, and found I was accidentally attacking the enemy ship that was still friendly to me for a few more seconds.   It would be nice if the game identified enemy ships hit with a Scramble as friendly until the ability wore off.  

Attack Pattern Omega has been fairly useful, but I feel like I need to hold it in reserve.  It’s supposed to buff damage and turn rate, but I really only use it when I get caught in a tractor beam.  It’s the same way I used to use several class abilities in WoW.  I didn’t care that they would boost some random stat;  I used them to break fear effects.  I still think it’s been a good investment of officer skill points.  I just need to learn when it’s safe to use it for the buff instead of keeping it on hand for a hold that won’t be coming.   

I think my best investment into new skills was Reverse Shield Polarity.  I don’t know if I’m “using it right”, but it’s working good enough for me.  The way write ups about the ability sound, it seems like I should be using it like a shield recharge.  I should be activating it when a few of my shield facings have dropped a bit and I could use this to get them back in the blue.  But I’ve found myself using it more like the Brace for Impact ability.   When I see a barrage of fire coming my way, I turn RSP on to negate the impact of the attack.  Honestly, I think it would work pretty well either way.  But as an escort player that frequently has to do head on attack runs to get the most out of their weapons, coming out of a run with a little bit of forward shield power still remaining is awesome.   

Wait a second...

And it just hit me as I was going through the screenshots I took during this mission why I decided on this look for the Tirpitz B.  When I looked at the above shot, I suddenly realized I had somehow built an overgrown runabout.  I’m not complaining.  I just didn’t realize it when I did it.