Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fantasy Trek Mixed Mode: "Sompek: The Heart of Treason" Chapter One

(The following is the first mix of Fantasy Trek Gaming and Storytelling. The first mission of Captain Sompek, son of Kapact and the 'etlh will culminate in combat that I've played out using the Fantasy Trek combat system. The result of that combat will help to determine the course that the next story will take)

Stepping onto the bridge of the 'etlh was a moment that would stay in Sompek's memory for the rest of his life. To be sure, seeing the ship... his ship held within the Kur'ya shipyard was awe-inspiring, and his entry through the dorsal airlock was breathtaking. His first real command. But he had seen the ship in spacedock before. He had even spent time in the engine room and the dorsal torpedo chamber, helping to get systems online. But the bridge module was a different story. For one thing, the original bridge had been destroyed in the battle to take the ship from the Tholians, so this new bridge had not launched into battle. But more importantly, the bridge... this bridge... was his. It belonged to no other. The walls would be painted with the blood of his foes. It's record of battle would be written by him.

Sompek had been on other bridges before, from the utilitarian bridges of the D7 battlecruiser to his father's Ab'Qaff. The 'etlh was closer to the classic look of the D7, except that it seemed larger and darker. The command seat was isolated in the center of the main, lower deck that showed red-tinged light coming up from under a lattice of reinforcing duranium girders. Behind the command deck and slightly elevated, the helm and tactical stations shared a single console, while to the right and left 3-D monitors displayed tactical information. Framing the command deck were four support beams that stretched from floor to ceiling. This was the bridge of a modern fighting ship, and Sompek felt privileged to be in command of it.

He walked around the bridge, examining every station before moving to the command deck. His female executive officer had followed him and stood to his right as he examined the displays built into the command chair. "Commander Kell, report status of ship."

"All systems ready for flight operations. All Section Heads reporting in. All tactical systems battle-ready."

"Good." He moved towards the viewscreen that dominated the forward bulkhead. "Address intercraft."

"Intercraft is open," she answered immediately.

Sompek looked to each officer on the bridge, at each station. Finally his gaze settled on Kell. She looked young and tense. "Crew of the 'etlh," he said. "This ship has already been in battle. It has seen the death of more than a thousand Tholian monsters, and hundreds of our fellow Klingon warriors. Its decks were coated in the blood of enemies and comrades before it was assigned its first mission. Like every sword weilded by our people, it has been forged in elemental fire. And like every Klingon sword, it thirsts for the blood of its enemies."

Then he recalled the words of his ancestor, the Emperor Sompek. "The heart of treason lies safe and secure, within our walls. It has eaten our food, drank our wine and now enjoys the protection of our House. Let it rest, steadily beating in comfort, for with our launch into the night its end draws near." Then he looked straight at Qorek at the helm station. "Set course the N'Qel system. Engage at warp eight." As he narrowed his eyes and turned to face the main viewscreen, he continued speaking to the crew. "Crew, we sail to confront an abomination in the N'Qel system. A mutinous Klingon crew. We sail for blood!"

To Be Continued...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

First "'etlh" Heavy Assault Cruiser Combat Trial

Fantasy Trek Gaming News: The first combat trial of the Post TNG Era Klingon "'etlh" Class Heavy Assault Cruiser is complete. I put it against a Modified  The ship seems balanced, the microtorpedo works fine, though it lost the slugfest.  The trick, as with most Klingon ships, is to stay out of close range until the capacitor is ready  to fire a full volly of microtorps and disruptors. Then close, attack, then pull away. The only problem with that kind of slashing attack is that the opponent rarely cooperates. And Federation Heavy Cruisers with fully armed photons and phasers can do a devastating twenty points damage at point blank range. They are a tough opponent. Next I may put it against a Tholian. In any case, the system seems balanced. It just remains to be seen if the 'etlh can hold its own in combat.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Fantasy Trek Story Mode: "'etlh Komerex" conclusion

Janeway had been concerned about the effect of the alcohol and Theragen derivative cure for interspace on the crew of stressed Klingons. After all, the one thing worse than an angry Klingon was a drunken angry Klingon. And she was now on a ship full of them. What she didn't expect was for them to all turn into emotional ice blocks that would make a Vulcan turn green with envy. But Kapact was worse. He had drained the tankard quickly and angrily and had become something resembling some of the more ancient blocks of ice in Sol's Oort cloud. And the Vulcans wouldn't turn green with envy at his reaction, they'd run screaming from the room. But still, she hadn't worried until he told QasQa to blow up the 'etlh. "What?"

"Those are my orders, Commander," Kapact said calmly into the commlink. "I don't expect to have to repeat myself." Then he cut the channel.

On the 'etlh, QasQa went through the motions while the shock of stunning defeat made her numb. "K'dan, connect the large data storage to the computer access port."

"Yes, Commander. Ready for data transfer."

"Commence." Through the command channel in her commlink, QasQa could hear the sounds of her warriors dying as they threw themselves at the Tholians, who attacked like thoughtless, mad demons. Once in a while, she could hear a Tholian die. (The sound was picked up by audio pickups in the corridors and sent through the command frequency into the audio system in her helmet.) The sound of breaking glass and alien screaming was always followed by dead silence, as they all stopped. That was always followed by shouts of jubilant warriors as they blasted the immobilized Tholians with their disruptors. But soon the surviving Tholians came back to life, resuming their attacks and being reinforced with renewed numbers. Koral had said that they fight as one, then he'd died. It must have been important. It must mean something.


QasQa turned at K'dan's urgent tone. "Speak!"

"This database has been copied!" As she flew to the small monitor built into the storage device, K'dan highlighted a section of script that was repeated on every piece of code. "The system is set to record any copying activity. This entire database has been copied."

"Why would Tholians--?" She asked. Then something hit the hatch that had sealed them into Engineering Command. There were several hits, and they both heard a combination of Klingon shouts and Tholian screeches. Several explosions impacted with the hatch, and then there was silence.

"We are victorious", K'dan said quietly. Then began a sound like scraping of claws on duranium.

"No, we aren't." She looked at the hatch, that was now showing streaks of various sizes, all of the glowing red. "Our warriors are dead. The beasts will come through."

The data transfer chose that moment to finish with a loud 'ping', and she disconnected the unit. "Shut down both warp cores."

As K'dan's hands flew across the console, he turned to QasQa. "We were ordered to destroy the ship. You could be killed..."

"If I did I would be dead anyway. If the Tholians are going to have a copy of this ship, we'll need the original to fight them with."

"But Tholians have this ship," he said forlornly.

"No," she said. "They had it. It will be ours again." Then she typed a command into the Master Systems Control Panel. "Tholians need heat. There's only one way to rob them of that quickly." And before either one of them could say anything, she executed the command.

"She just blew every bulkhead on the ship," Janeway reported. "It's opening up the entire ship to vacuum."

They watched from the bridge of the Ab'Qaff as sparkling bits of hull flew away from the 'etlh, and the ship shuddered. "Very clever," Kapact remarked. "Klaang, lock tractors on it. Prepare to move out."

As the Ab'Qaff began to pull the 'etlh away from the shimmering cloud of hull and debris, both ships were suddenly plunged into a blackness completely devoid of stars. Then they seemed to materialize in a different region of space. An urgent beep signalled an incoming hail. "It's QasQa," Janeway announced.

"Stand by," Kapact said. "Explain, Professor."

"I am still analyzing," the Hawking hologram answered. "Preliminary readings show that the warp cores on the 'etlh were generating an interspatial field. When the cores were shut down, both ships were thrown clear of Tholian space."

"Continue analysis," Kapact said. "Admiral, put QasQa on screen please."

QasQa appeared on the screen, looking beaten and disheveled. As she saw Kapact, her eyes dropped instinctively. Then she looked him straight in the eye. "My Lord, the Tholians copied the etlh's database. They must be building their own."

"And that is why you disobeyed my orders?"

"Yes, Lord."

"Then you are forgiven. Transport over for a complete debriefing. Order your team to slave the controls to the Ab'Qaff and have your survivors beamed back." Kapact closed the channel and turned to Klaang. "Establish our position and plot a course for Qo'noS. If necessary, we'll wrap our warp bubble around the 'etlh to get it home." Finally he turned to Janeway. "I need to speak with you," he said with a dark tone. "You can contact Voyager from the situation room."

Hours later, after Janeway had returned to Voyager, Kapact sat in the darkness of his quarters. The only illumination was a candle that occasionally lit up his face like something carved into a mountain. "Personal log. Final analysis of the 'etlh and sensor logs at the accident site, as well as the recovery area in Tholian space confirm that the malfunction was no malfunction. The accident was no accident. Sabatuers found their way into one of our most protected shipyards and engineered this incident. Needless to say, it wasn't a Tholian. Either an agent or an ally of the Tholians deliberately dragged our most advanced warship into enemy space and invited us to come get it. Whether they specifically tried to get the Ab'Qaff to attempt the recovery is unclear and unimportant. Someone committed an act of war against the Empire, with the Tholians as their accessories. It will not go unanswered." His eyes narrowed at that thought, and he felt heat on his face that had nothing to do with the candle.

"While neither the Empire nor the Federation is aware of Admiral Janeway's assistance in this matter, it was instrumental to our survival and success. Her actions are an example of why we remain allies with the Federation despite their sometimes inexplicable actions."

"Seven hundred and forty-five warriors beamed over to the 'etlh. Seventy returned. We identified the remains of another three hundred. That means that three hundred and seventy-five of our warriors have been taken from us to fill Tholian prisons. Three hundred and seventy-five open wounds. Three hundred and seventy-five calls for war."

Monday, July 2, 2012

Fantasy Trek Story Mode: "'etlh Komerex" Chapter 15

Koral smelled the strange addition to the oxygen supply in his suit. Theragen... mixed with blood wine. They were either being killed in a creative manner, or it was a weapon of some kind. That wouldn't affect his mission, though. He glanced back at his squad, and saw that they seemed to be reacting in a similar fashion. "Continue ahead."

As they began to walk up the narrow gantry into the dorsal torpedo chamber, Koral felt his combat tricorder heat up, and he dropped it. Then he felt a wave of heat pass through him again. He started to brace himself and turn to his squad when he felt a thousand knife cuts of flame burn into his skin... through his environmental suit. Then he was on his back, and he heard the shouts of his warriors over comm channel. He couldn't be sure exactly what they were saying, but there were dozens of voices shouting at once. He quickly recognized, to his dismay, that they were in trouble. "Klingons!" He shouted, hoping to refocus their attention, but suddenly all he could hear was the shouting of his squad. Desperate. Frightened. Panicking.. He pushed himself up and tried to stand, even as his boots slipped on the steel grating. As he turned, he saw a horrific sight. The Tholians had materialized out of nowhere, outside of their silk and foil environmental suits. And they were using their crystalline limbs to burn holes through the Klingon suits and arms and legs. Disruptors were scattered on the deck, and bat'leths had been dropped, unused. As he began to count the numbers of warriors dying of burns before they could fight back, he realized that the comm channel had gone dead. The Tholians themselves were jumping and flashing between the warriors, not staying with a single warrior long enough to inflict fatal wounds. They were frenzied, slaughtering and savaging his warriors like animals.
Without thinking, Koral pulled a bat'leth from the deck and screamed. Then he threw himself at the nearest Tholian and swung the batleth as hard as he could. It was hard, like rock... and the bat'leth stopped cold. Koral felt something like a vice grip the bat'leth and tear it from his grasp. Then he felt the burning crystal tear the remnants of his environmental suit. He was suddenly assaulted by heat that blinded him. He felt the crystalline pincers, like obsidian daggers melt through his faceplate, and he knew he was dead. So he gripped his disruptor and pushed it into the mass of fighting burning crystals. Then he squeezed the trigger. There was an explosion of light and heat, and the Tholian made a noise that had to be a scream. It was a combination of clicks and screeches, along with the sound of glass breaking. He could feel the creature burning into his chest, and he shoved the barrel further up into whst he assumed was its chest. Then he squeezed the trigger again and again, and he felt the creature jump in his arms as the explosive energy impacted against its crystalline body. Finally it exploded like a thousand burning hot shards that burned through the remnants of his uniform and into his skin.

As the Tholian disintegrated, the others stopped attacking as one. They were still for a moment, as if they had all felt the death of one and been paralyzed. Koral knew that it was an important discovery, and had to be communicated. He tapped his own commlink, only to discover it was dead. Guessing that the extreme heat had fried the circuitry, he found a warrior whose faceplate was intact. As the Tholians began to move again, he pulled the helmet off of the dead warrior's head. For an instant, he was dumbstruck. She was young. Younger than his daughter. And her eyes were closed. He forced them open. "Face death with your eyes open, young warrior." Then he put the helmet on and keyed the comm switch and spoke so that any survivors on the ship would hear. "They fight as one-". Then all of the Tholians fell upon him with renewed savagery.

"Koral!" QasQa shouted into the pickup. "Koral!" The channel was dead. She cursed. "My commlink is functioning, but the receiver is dead." She was in main engineering, where the last of the preparations would take place to release the 'etlh from Tholian space. "I want reports from all squads," she ordered K'dan. "We need answers!" Then she willed herself to calm down, and contacted the Ab'Qaff. "General-"

"Report." Kapact's voice was like five thousand year-old ice.

"My lord-" she forced herself to not falter or hesitate. "We are almost ready to power down the warp drive and switch to batteries. But-". And there she stopped. The news was not good, and however much she respected Kapact, she had never had to report such a disaster. She searched for the words, and waited for his angry reply. But there was just cold silence. "But, Lord, Tholians are swarming the ship. Our warriors fight to the death, and we hold all command and control functions. But we are running out-"

"What?" Kapact asked quietly.

"Last reports say that there are only two hundred left."

"Very well," he answered simply. There was something terribly wrong, QasQa thought. I've failed him, and I'll die in disgrace. "Download the databank and destroy the ship, Commander. Now."

to be continued...