Attended: Alex, Gail, James, Jay, Owen & Shaun
Venue: Owen & Sue’s place
Covers events on Stardate 51114.
insert player log here
The Agora is tasked with finding a way to keep stray Dominion vessels from using the neutral Klaestron system as a safe haven, as diplomatic efforts between Federation negotiators and the Klaestron government have not yielded much success. The crew spend ages discussing possible solutions, before ultimately settle on using Ensign Four, disguised as a rescued Cardassian, as a Trojan horse to get a sample of the Psi 2000 polywater infection aboard the currently-orbitting CDS Dabray. This works well enoughto give Four brief access to the ship’s computer systems, which he uses to spread minor chaos on the ship and drop the shields long enough for the Agora to beam him back.
The effect of this is to spread the infection to all of the Cardassian crew, and the ship’s orbit is rapidly degraded. However, it seems the Jem’Hadar had some immunity, and they quickly took control of the ship. Through strong hinting, the Agora’s crew were able to convince Minister Werr of the Klaestrons that the Dominion ship was a health hazard, which should be required to leave the system on medical grounds. As soon as it did so, the Agora pounced on it, and while the remaining Jem’Hadar crew tried hard to resist aggressively, the former Maquis simply knew the Galor’s weaknesses too well, and easily damaged it badly. Then they let the Dominion ship escape, hoping to spread the infection.
I asked the players to vote amongst themselves at the start of the session for the player character they wanted as captain, between West and Ruork. I believe it was unanimously in favour of West, with even absent David voting by proxy for his character to be XO, and only Sue’s vote not counted. James was his usual modest self about it, but stepped into the role with vigour after the decision was final.
“Here is a single, big problem: Solve it.” I loved this kind of scenario back in the days when I was a PC on the Saracen, and it turns out I love GMing them too. Very open-ended, very conducive to creative thought. It’s quite a pity that both Sue (work) and David (health) were unable to join this one, as I think they’d both have contributed wonderfully to it.
As it was, the others all put a hell of a lot of thought and discussion into solving my challenge, and came up with some great ideas (Polywater!? Brilliant!), but they were also their own worst enemies, prematurely shooting down potential good plans over relatively small, solvable flaws. And their absolute best opportunity – having Four control the Dabray’s weapons to open fire on Klaestron directly, thus blatantly framing the Dominion for direct aggression – only barely seemed to crest anywhere near what they were discussing. By that I mean, the possibility of him controlling the weapons was mentioned, and I confirmed it was an option, but for some reason nobody made that last little leap to thinking about what they could be used on.
I’m not quite sure how it came to be that Four got the job of Trojan Android, but it was definitely excellent experience for Jay, forcing him out of the shadows and into decision-making mode. And he handled it well, taking opinions from the more experienced players, but not letting them control him.
It only occured to me after I got home that the Federation probably frowns on germ warfare. But since Lt Smith gave it the green light, we’ll rationalise it by saying that it was only meant to disable, not kill, and an easy antidote was on hand to reverse it. But it probably shouldn’t be allowed under most future circumstances.
Apart from Klaestron, all the names of ships and people in this episode were made up on the spot. And mostly that went ok, but I think it showed a little when I needed a name for the Klaestron minister, and all I could see was some comic art on the wall, with “Whoooosh!” or something written on it. From that, the first sound my brain was able to push out my mouth was Minister Whoa, which was obviously silly. I’ve made him Minister Werr here on OP, because that makes it seem at least a little more respectable. Dabray came from the name Debra, with its vowel sounds reversed, but I can’t remember now where I saw the name Debra. Possibly a book on a shelf in front of me? I suspect those book spines will definitely be plundered for more improvised names in future.
Interestingly, Klaestron IV becomes a Federation member in one of the post-war novels.