Star Trek: Peaceful Occupations

S3E07: Sheer Zone, part 2

Sudden shifts cause heavy damage

Session 8
Attended: David, Gail, James, Jay, Owen & Shaun
Venue: Owen & Sue’s place

Covers events on Stardate 51690.




- – - – - – - – - – - – - –     Subspace message Stardate 51690.8     – - – - – - – - – - – - – -
- – - – - – - – - – - – - –            Origin: USS Agora NCC-5099          - – - – - – - – - – - – - -
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – Sender: Lieutenant j.g. Stephan Carthright – - – - – - – - – - – - – -
- – - – - – - – - – - – - -    Destination: Ivor Prime Colony     – - – - – - – - – - – - – -
- – - – - – - – - – - – - –       Recipient: Sarah Rotheford      – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

Hi Sis.

I know you’re following the news on the war, so I thought I’d send you a message before you start worrying.

Yes, there was an attack on Betazed, the entire system is under Dominion control. Two fleets were sent in to reclaim the system, including the one we’re part of. I think someone under-estimated the Dominion’s resolve, thought they’d pull back if hit hard enough. Didn’t quite turn out that way, the Dominion reinforcements were far faster and stronger than anticipated. The battle to reclaim the system turned into an attempt to evacuate as many as possible.

We were quite some distance away when the invasion started, so we weren’t part of the initial battle, we were tasked with evacuating some people from one of the outer planets. I won’t bore you with the details, it was similar enough to the Salva II evacuation, just more people, more ships and more enemy resistance. We did have one encounter with a couple of Jem Hadar ships on the way in, took a bit of damage, nothing too serious.

It does mean that we’ll be spending a few days at a starbase again. I might be able to call on Danny’s birthday, but I can’t make any promises.

To answer the question you so carefully danced around, yes I did speak with Father while he was on the ship. Eventually. We’re never going to get along well, it’s too late for that, too much water under that bridge. We didn’t end up having a shouting match in the middle of sick bay, so I guess that’s something.

I didn’t tell him about what happened to the rest of the Marquis or about the prison time. I didn’t tell him about being in Starfleet either. I don’t know if he guessed or not, I mean there’s not that many other reasons why I’d be on the ship, but he didn’t say anything.

He insisted on going back to Salva II, nothing I could say would dissuade him. Old fool.

Sarah, promise me one thing. Don’t come back. Not now, not until this is over, it’s not safe in this area. With Betazed under their control, the Dominion can strike at half a dozen core worlds, not just the border.

Take care of yourself. I’ll call when I can.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - –       Recording terminated        – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

GM’s Summary:
The USS Agora has suffered heavy damage, but is asked to send a fast away mission down to the surface of Darona, to try to retrieve the dangerous inmates of a Betazoid psychiatric facility, abandoned during the invasion. When the away team arrives on the surface, they find Jem’Hadar roaming around inside of its heated dome, and there appears to be a strong jamming signal preventing them from contacting the Agora. A few inmates give some away team members trouble by feeding them delusions. Commander Ruork and Damaar, with their Vulcan training, were able to resist this, and the doctor had thought to bring along a drug to further help the others with their mental resistance.

Underground, they find more Jem’Hadar in conflict with more Betazoid inmates, and eventually kill or capture all of them, allowing them to cut off the interference source. In all the fighting, most of the away team are injured, and Seltan Jasad barely survives at all, with an evacuation to the Agora’s sick bay as soon as transporters become available again. The Jem’Hadar turned out to be guarding Yelgrun, who was working in some sort of ketracel white lab in an evicted inmates’ quarters. Yelgrun escaped at the last minute, and another battle cruiser arrived in orbit to blast the remains of the psychiatric facility and chase off the already-fleeing Agora and Ka’thela.

Regrouping at Starbase 47, the Agora is declared too damaged and too outdated to be worth repairing, and so is decommissioned and scrapped for spare parts.

GM’s Commentary:
My original hook for this episode had been Lieutenant Hagen’s telepathy, something Alex has been fussing about for months, and which deserved a proper storyline of its own sometime. I knew I wanted to bring in the invasion of Betazed, and to that I added an idea I’d had for a crazy-dangerous relative of his. It only occured to me much later that this was similar to the excellent Lon Suder character. But with the previous session’s starship combat stretching out much longer than planned, that all got shifted into an unscheduled part 2. Then Alex was sadly unable to join us for this session, and so I had to rehook the plot onto the other non-Betazoid characters, while Kestra stayed behind to fix the (conveniently) very badly damaged Agora.

As a quick solution, I decided to grab Ordeal on Gamma Elster IV, the original quick-start adventure written to introduce new players to the CODA rules, written by Doug Sun, and then mashed in a Planescape-ish array of Betazoid psychiatric patients, beyond just Kithian Hagen, all transposed onto Darona, which I decided should be a snowy, Hoth-like planet, since it’s only official description is “Has a high security prison for the criminally insane, and is further out from its star than Betazed.” The only missing component left after all those neat convergences of plot points was the map that’s supposed to come with Ordeal on Gamma Elster IV, which I can’t find anywhere. So I borrowed the map of Signal Tower 2 from my Warhammer campaign, and that worked well enough.

The only other complication was that the players cut off the Dominion signal jammer before they’d encountered many Betazoid patients, and the most serious loss was when only K’voDleH went in to confront Kithian Hagen, and it turned out that the Klingon’s unusual science background made him more immune to telepaths than any other character. So Kithian was shut down without any chance to scare the crap out of anyone.

One thing I intentionally glossed over at the time was the question, why did they bring the Cardassian lawyer-monk on the away mission?

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