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.



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.



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.



Teneebia Sector Patrol.

We were contacted by Commander Genstra with new orders.  He’s received a number of reports from various systems in the sector that needed Starfleet’s attention.  Our orders were to investigate  the situation in each system, resolve the problem if we were able to do so on our own, and report back our findings to Starfleet Command.  

Battling Reman raiders

Out first destination was also the most important.  Starfleet has received several reports of raids on Federation storage depots in the Eirhess system.  The depots usually contain a variety of objects, mostly items that Federation colonies and outposts might need in an emergency.  Recent evidence suggested that it was a small group of Remans that were staging the raids.  We were being sent to the Eirhess system to patrol for the Reman ships.  Our patrol was also to coincide with the next scheduled supply delivery.  We were hoping to catch them in the act.  Fortunately, the plan worked.  We encountered three Birds of Prey at first.  After we disabled the first few Reman ships, a couple of escorts joined the fight, attempting to assist their allies.  We took a couple of good hits in the battle, but it wasn’t long before the remaining Reman ships appeared to retreat.  After they left, we performed a thorough scan of the system to insure there weren’t any cloaked ships we had missed still in hiding before we continued to our next destination.  

Scanning the Romulan generators

Reports of unusual energy readings from Elvren IV brought us there to investigate.  When we arrived in orbit of the planet, our sensors picked up a cluster of several unidentified devices on the planet that appeared to be the source of the energy readings.  We sent down an away team to further investigate the devices.  The away team was able to determine that the devices were Romulan power generators.  They were also able to determine that the generators had been recently constructed and activated.  This gave us an opportunity to get some detailed scans and increase our understanding of Romulan technology.  When the away team returned to the ship, we forwarded our findings to Starfleet Command.  I would expect Starfleet to increase patrols of the Elvren system to prevent the Romulans from attempting to set up a research base on the planet.  

Scanning the unusual asteroids

As we were returning from out patrol, we were hailed by the ruling council of an Icari settlement.  They requested our assistance in assessing a threat to their planet.  Their sensors had detected several asteroids that had drifted into orbit above their planet.  They were concerned that the orbit of these asteroids may deteriorate, causing them to crash into the planet.  When we arrived in the system, we picked up a very faint Starfleet transponder signal.  The signal eventually led us to one of the recently arrived asteroids.  Our investigation revealed the remains of the USS Fleming.  The Fleming had been missing for over twenty years.  Our records show that it had been part of a medical convoy to assist the Romulan empire in 2387, after the Hobus supernova.  It was lost and believed destroyed after an encounter with the Romulan mining ship the Narada.  How it ended up inside an asteroid is a bit of a mystery.  We completed our assessment, and let the Icari know that the asteroids should not be a threat to their world.  We also contacted Starfleet Command with our findings, and were informed that they would be sending a recovery crew to retrieve the remains of the Flemming.  

We are currently en route back to starbase.  There’s something troubling me about the Flemming.  I haven’t heard of anything yet that was capable of merging a ship into an asteroid before.  If what happened was part of the Flemming’s battle with the Narada, it would mean that the Romulans may have access to a very dangerous weapon.  If, however, the Flemming ended up in that asteroid because of some unknown device it was carrying…  then I have to wonder why a rescue ship would be equiped with experimental technology.  

Out of Character

This patrol only had three systems to investigate, as opposed to most of the previous sector patrols which had four.  Of course, the previous sector patrols had several different alien species or organizations to cover.  There were times during the first sector patrols where it felt like you’d get one mission for the Gorn, one for the Orions, one for the Naussicans, and one for the Klingons.  So far, I’ve only encountered the Romulans in the Alpha Centauri region, so they devs don’t exactly need several missions to highlight all the different organizations yet. 

The Eirhess system mission attempts to introduce Remans to the game.  The Remans were part of the Romulan empire that was introduced in Star Trek: Nemesis.   Their appearance always made me think of them as “space Nosferatu”.  And I say this mission attempts to introduce them to the game, because in my opinion it doesn’t do all that great of a job.  It’s a space based mission, without any face to face contact between the player and the Remans raiding the system.  And since they use Romulan ships the player has already encountered, the player is basically just fighting enemies they’ve already encountered with just a different name.   

The discovery of the USS Fleming is an interesting twist to the Icari system mission.  After spending many a road trip in my youth playing the Next Generation video game for the original Gameboy (geeze I’m old), as soon as I saw the words “asteroids approaching planet”, I jumped to “evacuate the planet” as what I was going to need to do.  But finding the lost ship reminded me of  a couple of episodes of Next Generation that I hadn’t seen in a while.  In The Next Phase, an accident involving a Romulan ship leaves Geordi and Ensign Ro out of phase with the rest of the world, allowing them to pass through objects.  And in The Pegasus, the Enterprise is sent to retrieve a missing prototype ship that appeared to suffer the same fate as the Fleming in-game.  The reason Ruz is uncertain of what may have happened to the Fleming is really because I’m not sure what’s going to happen.  From the two episodes I’ve described above, what happened to the Fleming could point to either the Romulans or the Federation continuing their research into phasing matter.   

I’m just worried that since this is part a sector patrol mission, that it won’t get expanded upon.  All of the other sector patrol missions I’ve done so far haven’t really been connected to the rest of the game’s storyline.  I think they’ve got a good hook here for something they can explore further here, and I’m worried that this is all it’s going to be.