Attended: Alex, Gail, James, Jay, Owen & Shaun
Venue: Owen & Sue’s place
Covers events on Stardate 51834 to 51999.
Personal log. Stephan Carthright. Stardate 51962.1
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In retrospect, I suspect that was a suicide mission. Well, not exactly, that’s not Starfleet style. More like a mission where the expected probability of success is expressed in single digits. Small ones.
It’s understandable, they’re not going to send their best ships or best crews on such a mission, but did they really have to give us a bunch of kids just out of the Academy? This was Ensign Kulia’s first combat mission. He’s still having nightmares.
To be honest, he’s not the only one.
I keep thinking back over that battle, if battle is the right word for it, was there anything we could have done differently. It all went down so incredibly fast, one moment everything was fine the next every alarm on the ship was blaring. I’m sure I saw stars for a second just as the transporter activated, literally, where the port bulkhead should have been.
That Vorta had better be worth all of this. Otherwise I’m throwing him out of an airlock myself.
So far it’s been a month since we left Doza. The less said about the trip, the better. Whose idea was it to dig up an old 20th Century saga called “Lost in Space” anyway?
Current estimates are another two weeks back to the wormhole, and that’s assuming we don’t have any technical problems. I’m going to strangle Hagen well before that.
With the Agora being scrapped and the crew’s new Intrepid-class starship not yet complete, Starfleet arranges a temporary assignment for them, a covert operation in support of a planned invasion of Cardassian space, aboard the restored USS Rutan. The crew, minus Commander Ruork but with Number Four returned to duty, are to take the Rutan through the wormhole, to the planet of Dosa II, to follow up a lead on a senior Vorta strategic planner named Tannon. After interrogating a well-connected Dosi merchant, they learn the location of a remote Dominion command center on a jungle island, and set about staging a raid on it. Lieutenant Hagen stays aboard the Rutan, keeping it cloaked and hidden behind a moon, while Carthwright flies his cloaked Cardassian shuttlecraft down to disrupt the compound’s shields enough to allow Captain West, K’voDleH, Damaar and Number Four to beam through and start shooting the place up. The away team are all heavily injured, with Four completely disabled, but they ultimately succeed in capturing Tannon and 2 junior Vorta.
However, the brazen attack draws every Jem’Hadar vessel in the system to Dosa, and Hagen decides to bring the Rutan back into orbit over the island for a quick escape. Unfortunately, the Jem’Hadar, actively seeking a hidden target, quickly close in on the Rutan. Carthright barely has time to perform a cloaked shuttle docking before the Rutan comes under heavy fire, and with its cloak on, its shields are down. In seconds, the Rutan is blasted apart by the Jem’Hadar, and Hagen barely has time to use her old emergency tramsporter routines, set up back in the Maquis days, to beam herself and two Starfleet bridge crew aboard Carthright’s shuttle for a cloaked escape. Perhaps half of the remaining Starfleet crew made it to the escape pods, but their fate is unknown.
The cloaked shuttle lands on the planet to pick up the away team and their prisoners, and then slinks out of the system for a slow, cramped voyage back to the wormhole. When they arrive, they find a massive invasion fleet preparing to enter the wormhole, but the wormhole unexpectedly flashes and vanishes, apparently destroyed.
This scenario was originally going to be much simpler, and I’m so glad I complicated it.
Sadly, it’s been 3 months since I wrote that line, without bothering to finish this commentary due to life getting in the way, and so I can’t quite recall how it was originally simpler or how I complicated it.
I believe the original version, also borrowed from Spycraft: Battlegrounds, was a simple snatch & grab job, abducting the Vorta planner for Starfleet Intel. So I suppose everything other than that was added complication. All of it played out very nicely and we all had a good time; I think it was partly a decent plot we collectively pulled together, partly the out-of-character knowledge that it was the end of the season and possibly the last time I’d be available for a while due to starting a new job a week later, and partly a few nice perspectives by Hitchcock on story-telling that I found fascinating.
Killing the Rutan was odd for me. I sort of intended it to happen in this session, but it meant a lot to me. It connected me back to the first successful long-term roleplaying campaign I ever ran, the first time I’d solicited new players instead of borrowing friends from an established group. And it was central to my first big contribution to the USS Dauntless, this roleplaying group. I was never very satisfied with how I’d replaced it in the original group with the USS Singularity; the bigger Nebula class never had half as much personality. Similarly, I was a little disappointed when the current players opted not to keep it in the transition from the Maquis campaign to the Dominion War campaign (and I suspect we were almost all confused by the choice of a Constellation class instead).
I think I would have just kept bringing the Rutan back, one way or another, well into the 25th century, if I hadn’t killed it. And perhaps it’s better to make room for new ships tell good stories on. (Besides, there are always flashbacks, prequels, parallel universes, namesakes, etc.)