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Thread: Star Trek RPG - Mission #1: "On the Brink"

  1. #251
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    On the Bridge, Lt. JG Bennett is in the command chair and clearly happy to be there. Ens. Leventhal yields his seat to Pourtash at the Helm with a cool nod. You update yourself from the Helm console readouts and see that the Yorktown is 5000 km off the Venture's starboard beam, matching its course and speed, and is now less than an hour from orbital insertion around Banij Prime. Capt. Singh arrives a few minutes later and Bennett moves back to the Navigation post. Lt. Cmdr. Roble arrives shortly after that and speaks quietly to the Captain.

    In the Transporter Room, Chief Harrison looks curiously from behind his console at Pev. The reptilian says, "Thank you, Ens. Hayes and Dr. Brownlock, for meeting me. It is good to see you again, and to come aboard this magnificent ship. That... beaming, you call it?... is a very [untranslatable] process. I think I would not like to do it again anytime soon." When he begins speaking, you notice, he stops making the chittering noise.

  2. #252
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    Ens. Hayes nods her agreement. "I feel the same way about 'beaming', Pev. Don't worry. We have other options available to get you back home safely."

    Rachel is very interested in the Na-Banij vocalizations and hopes to learn more about their meaning, if any.

  3. #253
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    Something on one of Delaney's screens catches Collins' eye. "That looks irregular - does it mean anything?"

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    Delaney, "Hmmm, what is it? Let's replay that section on an extra screen and zoom and slow on the irregularity."

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    "Would you like a quick tour of the ship before we head to the Bridge?" Brownlock asked. Now there's some irony, he thought. The one person who still has trouble finding his way around the confusing circular corridors of the still unfamiliar ship is offering to be a tour guide.
    Last edited by ds9writer; 30 Sep 2010 at 10:17 AM.

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    "I'd be happy to come along on the tour," Hayes quickly adds. She continues to scan Pev with her tricorder. When the moment is right -- perhaps over a slice of pizza in the mess hall -- she plans to ask Pev a few questions about Banij vocalizations. Understanding alien language can sometimes be the key that opens interesting doors.

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    Delaney, Fujishiro and Collins look more closely at one of the occultations, from about five hours earlier. It appears to have been near the Banij homeworld, over one of the major cities, but lasted only 3.7 seconds.

    Pev says, "Yes, I would like to see more of your ship, especially your command center and engineering compartment. Cmdr. Ren has also asked me to get and bring back the biosamples you agreed to collect. Our researchers are eager to study them."

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    Delaney begins to gather anything related to that area and time from the sensor history and calls out, "Captain, Ens. Collins has found an occultation, from about five hours earlier. It appears to have been near the Banij homeworld, over one of the major cities, but lasted only 3.7 seconds. Based on the distance and object it blocked I will try to ascertain an approximate speed and heading."

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    As noted earlier, you need not repeat information you learn; it's assumed you're keeping the Captain - or BCDO - apprised of your work.

    Singh says, "Thank you, Mr. Delaney. Please continue with your analysis."

    Fujishiro draws upon her astrophysics knowledge and a Library Computer comparison search to determine that the occultation was not a natural phenomenon - at least, not one known to Federation science. It and the other 16 otherwise-unexplained occultations recorded by the Yorktown's sensors all seem to have been very brief (no more than a few seconds), in the vicinity of the Banij homeworld but high over its surface. Delaney realizes that in each case, another planet in the system, or an otherwise-unremarkable stellar neighbor, was blocked.

    Collins does not see any particular significance to the readings from a Security standpoint.

    Pourtash remains at the Helm, keeping the ship nicely aligned with the Venture.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 01 Oct 2010 at 04:38 PM.

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    "I'd be happy to lead the way," Hayes offers. She is aware of Dr. Brownlock's difficulty in navigating the ship's corridors. Rachel hopes she hasn't offended him in any way. "Perhaps we should stop by Engineering first?"

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    "Engineering, of course," Brownlock replies. "After you!" Whew! I've gotta study the ship's schematics, he thought. Won't do to get lost on the way to an emergency.

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    Pev welcomes the chance to visit Engineering first. He goes there with Hayes and Brownlock, looking around him with great interest at everything he sees in the turbolift and the corridors along the way. Passing crewmembers do some double-takes when they see him with you, but all keep their cool and move on. The Chief Engineer, Lt. Edgardo Cheverez, is surprised to see you walk in with one of the aliens, but after being introduced, he welcomes Pev with aplomb and answers his many questions (the warp and impulse drives being an area of expertise for neither of you, after all). With Cheverez's permission, Pev takes many readings with a small, silvery handheld scanner. The Banij seems very impressed by what he sees. "May I visit your command center now?" he asks after about half an hour.

    Meanwhile, on the Bridge, after intensive and somewhat tedious study of the sensor logs, Fujishiro and Delaney notice a slightly elevated level of Zheng rays in the vicinity of most of the occultations. Zheng rays - named after the Chinese astrophysicist who discovered them 20 years ago - are rare enough that Starfleet sensors are not typically calibrated to detect them. Collins vaguely remembers reading sometime ago that Zheng rays rarely occur naturally, and are usually a byproduct of particular alien technologies. She moves to the Sciences II station and begins a further inquiry on the Library Computer.

    While the Captain is talking to Thalen at Communications, Bennett leans over a little from Navigation and quietly asks Pourtash, "Do you think you'll be part of the landing party beaming down to Banij Prime?"
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 04 Oct 2010 at 01:05 AM.

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    Pourtash glances up and to Bennett with a slight frown. "Odds are low," he admits quietly. "I'm really itching to know more about them and their world, though."

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    "Ensign Hayes, would you mind leading the way to the Bridge?" Brownlock asks with a twinkle in his eye. She knows of my directional deficiencies, he realizes, so why try to hide it?

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    Hayes addresses the Chief Engineer before leaving. "Thank you for your time, sir."
    She gestures for Dr. Brownlock and Pev to follow her. "Next stop, the Bridge."

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    Collins reports to the captain "We may have company, sir."

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    "What do you mean, Mr. Collins?" Singh asks the Security officer.

    Still keeping her voice low, Bennett says to Pourtash, "Don't be so sure that you'll be stuck on the Bridge when we get there, Faraz - may I call you Faraz? Remember what the Captain said about you and your friends being the nucleus of our landing parties. I heard her say just a few days ago that she likes the mix of skills you have." Sitting so close to her, Pourtash again notices what a beauty the navigator is. He's coming to think that having her nearby just might be his favorite part of Bridge duty.

  18. #268
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    "the Zheng rays, sir" Collins said and tells the captain what she has read on the monitor. "Although there is a very slight chance they may be occurring naturally, it's more likely they're the product of an artificial energy source - a ship, a probe, possibly even a weapon."

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    "Uh, yes, you can call me Faraz." Pourtash smiles, mildly flustered, as he considers what Bennett has told him. "What about you?" he asks quietly, before his attention is caught by Collins' announcement to the captain. Hopefully it's nothing, but it would fit with his paranoid thoughts before.
    So now they are just dirt-covered English people in fur pelts with credit cards.

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    Singh looks over Collins's shoulder and reads more with her about Zheng rays. They are usually associated with Tiburon, Yottar and Cotopaxi shielding technology, but are rare even among those three races. There is no known connection between them and any cloaking or concealment devices indicated by Starfleet records; they have no known military or defensive applications. The few times that they have been noted as occurring naturally have been in the ionosphere of certain Class R worlds, of which there are none in the Banij system. The rays are not dangerous to humanoid lifeforms in typical dosages, and those recorded since the Yorktown arrived in this system are so weak that they could not even penetrate the outer hull.

    Bennett says to Pourtash, "No, I'm not usually one for landing or boarding parties. I'm not terribly brave or eager for danger, and frankly I find that I can do more here on the Bridge than off-ship. I like shore leave as well as the next girl, but being the first to set foot on an alien world doesn't hold any particular attraction for me."

    The turbolift doors whoosh open, and Hayes and Brownlock step out with Pev, who looks all around in apparent wonderment.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 05 Oct 2010 at 10:45 PM.

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    Delaney continues his checking and cross-checking. He requests additional scanning in a range to make detecting weak Zheng rays more likely. Still hoping to get direction and speed. "Captain, I would like to prepare some sensor probes to increase our ability to determine speed and direction of the occulations. Giving us a wider spread of sensor will allow for a better picture."

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    Pourtash spares a look for Hayes, Brownlock and Pev, then flashes Bennett a smile before turning his eyes forward again dutifully. "I can see the sense in not wanting to be the first. Probably more sense than most people in Starfleet have," he jokes quietly.

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    Brownlock leans over to Pev. "The Captain looks busy at the moment. We'll wait right here by the turbolift until she is free."

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    Fujishiro runs some orbit-fitting routines to see if the occultations are consistent with something orbitting the planet or co-orbitting the star near the planet.

    She also checks to see if the sensor she deployed observed any occultations. Since it is in an orthogonal orbit to the ship, its detections should help localize the potential source.

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    Ens. Hayes looks about the Bridge. Definitely something going on. Rachel doesn't mind waiting a bit. She can observe Pev's reaction to this new environment.

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    When the Turbo lift opens, Collins turns, sees Hayes, Pev, and Dr Brownlock, nods her head in greeting, then turns back to the task at hand, keeping one ear focused on the new arrivals.

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    Fujishiro's projections indicate that whatever caused the occultations could well have been orbiting Banij Prime; the likelihood is 72.3%. The Captain again denies permission for the deployment of probes, under the circumstances, and of course Fujishiro would not have have deployed any so far, given her earlier orders. See the last paragraph of post 238. Delaney, Collins and Fujishiro will have to make do with the ship's sensors - which are excellent - for now. "But remind me of it after I've spoken to the Na-Banij government," Singh says. "If they permit it, or have no objections, we'll go ahead and deploy any probes we need to."

    Bennett grins at Pourtash and murmurs, "I may be many things, but I've never wanted to be a redshirt." She notices Pev then, and tries not to stare.

    Singh notices the new arrivals at almost the same time. She steps toward them and says, "Welcome to the Bridge, Pev. I hope you've enjoyed your tour so far? You couldn't have asked for better guides than Dr. Brownlock and Ens. Hayes."

    "Yes, thank you," the alien says. "Your ship is magnificent; ours is like a [untranslatable] next to your great [untranslatable]. Very impressive indeed." He holds up his small scanner. "May I scan while I'm here on the Bridge, Captain? The Chief Engineer permitted me to do so while we were in his [untranslatable] belowdecks."

    Singh pauses for a moment, but then says, "All right, Pev, if you wish. Incidentally, we should be taking up orbit in the next few minutes around Banij Prime." She turns to Bennett and Pourtash. "In two minutes, bring us to within 500 km of the Venture, if you please, and plot a standard orbit. Mr. Thalen, signal our course change to Cmdr. Ren."

    "Aye, Captain," says the Communications Officer.

    "Doctor, Mr. Hayes, if I might have a word...?" says Cmdr. Vargas as the Captain continues to talk in a friendly way with the alien visitor next to her command chair. The First Officer also waves over Fujishiro, Delaney and Collins, and you gather near the Sciences II duty station, out of Pev's earshot. Vargas looks around the group and says quietly, "I'm not crazy about the idea of permitting our visitor to scan anything while he's on the Bridge, but it's the Captain's prerogative. Opinions and observations so far, gentlemen? Anything else we need to know or ought to be doing before establishing orbit?"
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 07 Oct 2010 at 12:51 AM.

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    Delaney, "I am worried about the probable unknown ship out there much more than Pev. I would hope contact is made with the Na-Banij government before we send down away teams into potential danger that we might be distracted from supporting. I know what the Captain said but that was before we found out about a Cloaked Object, I think that puts the ship in a much higher alert status."

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    Pourtash prepares for the orbit, waiting for the allotted time to pass. He's straining his ears to try to follow everything Pev and the captain are saying, but trying not to show it. Gawking at the newly met species would hardly be professional.

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    Brownlock puts his two cents in, "I'm no tactician or engineer, but if I understand their level of technology correctly, I don't think he can glean any sensitive data from his scans. But as you said - we're not in charge."

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    Fujishiro advises, "Commander, to be prudent, I suggest that we choose an orbit that avoids the probable orbits of the unknown source of Zheng rays until we know more about it. I am ready to deploy the probe we discussed earlier at your command."

    "Although it is outside my expertise, I recommend we establish contact with all major Banij factions as soon as possible, to make clear our exploratory and diplomatic intentions."

    "Since we were forward in scanning their vessel, both from without and within, it is courteous to allow our guest to do so as well."

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    Ens. Hayes listens intently to everyone's opinions and suggestions. Rachel is not an engineer. She knows even less about security matters. And she feels secure in Singh's command of the situation. Rachel Hayes is a diplomat more than anything else. She's interested in Banij culture.

    "Sir, I agree with what my fellow officers have advised. I don't believe Pev is any kind of threat. I'd like to know more about the other two Banij cultures. We need to understand the broader scope of things." She paused a moment. "I'd like to have some time alone with Pev. Perhaps Dr. Brownlock could accompany us? Pev seems comfortable with us and we've gained a certain amount of trust. He could tell us things a probe or scan could not."

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    Collins nods in agreement to her crewmates. "I recommend examining Pev's scanner to see what it is capable of"

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    Vargas says, "Thank you, everyone. Mr. Collins, ask to have a look at Pev's scanner, and take your own scan of it with a tricorder. Mr. Fujishiro, Mr. Delaney, provide a plot of possible orbits to Mr. Bennett that wouldn't carry us through any of the Zheng ray concentrations, if possible. A standard orbit would be synchronous anyway, of course." You all know from your basic Academy coursework that a synchronous orbit keeps a starship over one spot on a planetary surface (such as the capital city, a landing party's beamdown site or other point of interest), as opposed to a polar orbit, in which the ship goes from pole to pole repeatedly, not lingering over any particular point and eventually covering the entire surface of the planet. "Mr. Hayes, why don't you and Dr. Brownlock take Pev on the rest of his tour in the next few minutes, and speak with him further? If, as you say, you've established a rapport with him, I'd rather you be too assertive than not forceful enough in your conversation - within reason, of course."

    Pourtash and Bennett change the ship's course as earlier ordered by Singh. The helmsman can't help but overhear the Captain and Pev talking about the layout of the Bridge, how it is typically manned, the general capabilities of the Yorktown, how many other such ships there are in Starfleet, and so on. Pev seems naturally curious, and fascinated by everything.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 08 Oct 2010 at 01:12 AM.

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    Collins approaches Pev. "Before you begin your scans, may I examine your scanner? I'd like to see how it compares to and differs from ours"

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    "I have already been scanning, with the Captain's permission," Pev says, "but you are welcome to see my device." Collins's tricorder readings indicate that it is an unremarkable multiband hand scanner, roughly comparable to those used by other newly-warp-capable civilizations in Starfleet records. Delaney sees that it has some design similarities to Saurian devices of that era.

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    After Collins finishes checking Pev's tricorder, Brownlock inquires, "Pev, would you like to see the rest of the ship now?"

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    Delaney takes a few seconds to plot the most useful orbits and sends the data to Mr Bennett. He had anticipated the order earlier and already had the computer plotting such actions for the probes he wanted to launch.

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    Ens. Hayes listens intently to what Cmdr. Vargas has to say. "With all due respect, sir, I'm not sure an assertive stance would work well with Pev. What would you suggest as a priority in our line of questioning?"

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    Vargas frowns. "I thought you said you had a rapport with the alien, Ensign. I don't want to later regret any unasked questions that might have saved us some trouble - or worse, casualties - once we reach Banij Prime and beam down. So I'll turn your question around on you. You're our xenosociologist; what key unanswered questions do you still have about the Banij? Then ask those, and see where they lead." Hayes remembers Bennett's warning about Vargas's temper and his high expectations of subordinates.

    Pev says to Dr. Brownlock, "Yes, I would like to see more of the ship now, thank you. And thank you, Captain, for your [untranslatable] here on the Bridge."

    Bennett acknowledges Delaney's data transfer, and begins looking over the orbital plots. Pourtash does the same, and at her suggestion also begins a cartographic scan of the Banij homeworld to determine surface points of interest - cities, government and military installations, transportation nodes, industrial centers, spaceports, and so forth.

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    Hayes leads Pev and Dr. Brownlock to the Arboretum on Deck 22 -- her favorite place on the ship. She hopes the relaxed and quiet area will be a positive influence on PeV. She doesn't like the idea of questining him as if he's a criminal, as if he's done something wrong. Still, Cmdr. Vargas had a good point.

    "Pev, this is the ship's Arboretum. We study various types of plant life here. It's also a place to enjoy your free time. Do you have anything like this on your home world?"

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    Pev looks around and says, "We have many nature preserves and parks, although cities and agricultural areas have taken up much of our [untranslatable] arable land. None of our spacecraft have anything like this, however, as they are too small. I can see why you like it, though. May I see your Sickbay next?" He continues scanning, and looks very closely at some of the flowers and plants.

    On the Bridge, Cmdr. Vargas asks Collins if she would now like to join Brownlock and Hayes in escorting Pev around the ship.

    The Yorktown is five minutes away from orbital insertion around the Banij homeworld.

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    Collins thanks Cmdr Vargas and checks the computer to see where Pev and his escorts are, then heads to the turbolift.

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    Once Delaney has transferred the orbit calculations to the helmsman, Fujishiro approaches him with some ideas for improving the ship's sensor's sensitivity to Zheng rays. Hopefully, something can be rigged up quickly.

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    Delaney will see about implementing any improvements in order of what could be done fastest.

    Do the suggestions look good to me?

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    As Hayes escorts Pev and Dr. Brownlock to Sickbay, she continues to ask their Banij guest more questions. She hopes Dr. Brownlock will jump in with a few of his own.

    "Pev, we've done some scanning and found two Banij cultures other than your own -- the Soj and the Deq. Could you tell us more about them and how your three cultures interact?"

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    Collins steps off the turbolift at Deck 7 in time to see Hayes, Brownlock, and Pev enter Sickbay. She heads there herself.

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    Delaney is impressed by Fujishiro's proposed sensor recalibrations and thinks they are probably feasible, but will need to study them in more detail before recommending them to the Chief Engineer and the Science Officer, both of whose approval would be necessary before implementation. Delaney will need about a quarter-hour to look over them carefully, as they are quite complex, and if implemented will mean that there will be some things that the sensors can't detect. The ship's sensors are very good, but they do not have unlimited capabilities. There are always practical tradeoffs as to cost, size, power usage, range, sensitivity, accuracy, maintenance, etc.

    As they enter Sickbay, Pev greets Collins and then replies to Hayes, "We are all Banij, but we are different. We of the Na-Banij govern ourselves differently, worship different gods, and live our lives differently than the others. We think ours is the better way. The Soj-Banij hate us and would conquer us, if they could, as they have tried [untranslatable] in the past. They reject our scientific method of choosing our leaders and insist on letting even the ignorant among them help choose who will lead them. They resent and are envious of our innovations in spaceflight, and instead put their energies primarily into their military. The Deq-Banij are more like us, all in all, but have been [untranslatable] unwilling to commit themselves to support us in our controversies and disputes with the Soj, preferring to remain neutral on the major issues confronting our world. They applaud our starflight research but care more for the oceans. The other nations need not concern you, as they do not concern us, by and large."

    On the Bridge, the sensor light mounted atop the Helm and Navigation console begins to flash. "Sensors detect three small craft just leaving Banij Prime's atmosphere, Captain," Roble says from the Sciences post, where he just sat down. "They were apparently launched from the surface. Scanning now."

    Last edited by What Exit?; 11 Oct 2010 at 11:29 PM. Reason: Fixed Tag

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    Fujishiro watches the sensor scans of the small vessels as they come in.

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    Pourtash stays alert, awaiting the results of the scans should he need to make any changes to their orbit or shields if the ships are from an antagonist culture on the planet.

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