STA: Black Hole Sun

That there is the USS Sienkiewicz (NCC-88034)

That there is the USS Sienkiewicz (NCC-88034)

Star Trek: Thine Own Self

S02 E04 “Black Hole Sun”



Stardate: 57995.5.

Starfleet Dramatis Personae

  • Lt. Cmdr. Kodar Tamat, Cardassian engineering officer and mission commander (PC)
  • Dr. Thomas Crane, Human medical officer (PC)
  • Lt. JG Mason Bentley, Human security officer (PC)
  • Lt. Leahman Barclay, Human conn officer (PC)
  • Ensign Sparik, Vulcan conn officer (NPC).

Captain’s Log. Stardate: 57995.5 The USS Sienkiewicz has been assigned to the Federation colony of Khotan 34 light years from Rho Capricorni. Khotan is an M-class planet orbiting a black hole designated XG-7909, also known as Das Schwarze Auge. For some unknown reason the planet’s orbit has begun to greatly decay. It will be enveloped by the accretion disc in seven days. But even before then, there will be a lot of radiation and debris that would wipe life off the planet in a blink of an eye. A rescue fleet led by the USS Ibn al-Nahfis has evacuated the 3,100 colonists there. Our mission is to evacuate the last 70 scientists still manning their posts there, and if possible, discover what caused the sudden orbital shift of Khotan.

Nice LCARS display

Nice LCARS display

In Orbit Around A Planet In Orbit Around a Black Hole

The USS Sienkiewicz is holding position off Khotan. Captain Vosgal Toor looks at the viewscreen and sighs with awe. He says, “It’s a shame we can’t enjoy this view in peace.” Beside him on the bridge is Lt. Cmdr Kodat Tamat, his XO. Behind him at the Tactical Station is Lt. JG Mason Bentley a new transfer. Hovering beside Bentley is a junior Medical Officer Dr. Thomas Crane.

“A true shame, Captain.” The Cardassian XO says, watching in awe. “But I’m sure the scientists would fault us for delaying.”

“Always as efficient, Number One,” says Captain Toor. Tamar can feel him smiling through his breather mask. He replied, “I believe in taking in the sights as we work. sir.”

“Gives me goosebumps”, mutters Crane. “The sooner we complete the mission, the better.”

“Alright,” says Toor. “Number One, head down to the science complex on the colony and see what they need to evacuate. Mr. Bentley, Dr. Crane, you go with him. Take the shuttlecraft Sinclair. Ops, assign Ensign Brunet to pilot the shuttle. Mr. Bentley, good luck on your first mission.”

“Yes sir,” Lt. Bentley smiled.

A Challenging Entry Interface

In the shuttle bay, Ensign Isabel Brunet is already at the pilot station aboard the Type-6 shuttle Sinclair. The trio enter and take their stations. Outside, they could see other runabouts and shuttles preparing to launch to retrieve the final 70 inhabitants of the colony. Brunet is a 23 year old woman in red command division uniform. She has her long black hair up in a bun. She reports, “The radiation from the accretion disk will make it difficult for us to navigate. It’s also scrambling the transporter beams. But so far there has been no reports of casualties at the Science Complex. All ready to go?”

I blame Kip Thorne

I blame Kip Thorne

Dr. Crane answers, “Aye.”

“We’re ready, Ms. Brunet,” the Cardassian XO said. “Launch when you are ready.”

The Sinclair flies out of the forward-starboard shuttle bay. Isabel Brunet makes an arc that takes them towards the planet not far away, silhouetted by the bright accretion disk of XG-7909. Streams of highly ionised particles buffets the Sinclair . She announces, “Rough waters ahead, gentlemen. Mr. Bentley. Your first mission here? What’s your story?”

“Well?” Bentley’s a little taken aback, feeling awkward by the question. “That’s kinda a long story… but, yes.”

Suddenly, the proximity alarm goes off. “DEBRIS! Low albedo asteroids!” She tries to avoid the asteroid cluster, no doubt an extremely far off part of the accretion disk. (Brett rolls for Brunet with Bentley assisting. With the shuttle’s roll, there were 4 Successes for a Difficulty of 3. So we have one Momentum in the Momentum Pool.) The shuttle deftly evades the dark asteroids, the sensors briefly picks them up clearly as they pass through the line of sight of the bright accretion disc of the black hole.

“That was close,” Brunet says. “Thanks for the help, Mr. Bentley.”

Bentley let out a sigh of relief, “Glad to help.”

The Rahne Sinclair, as it were

The Rahne Sinclair, as it were

Though a rough ride, Brunet manages to reach Khotan’s atmosphere easily enough. Before them, they see the colony city on a plateau beneath them. Above, a meteor shower is raining heavily into the atmosphere from one side of the horizon to the other Beyond the plateau is a hellish landscape of jagged rocks. Roads extend outwards to the edge of the city like spokes, from a command centre consisting of the administration offices and the tall science complex. As they land, they see twenty colonists lining up to get aboard the runabout da Costa, which landed not long ago from the Sienkiewicz.

Lt. Leahmann Barclay is helping to organise the evacuees of botanists and engineers as marked on their jumpsuits. He barks at them, “Alright, people. Line up, line up. No need to get jumpy!”

The Plight of the Evacuees

Tamat approaches him. “Barclay, what’s the status?”

“We’re doing fairly well, sir. 30,000 people evacuated.It’s amazing. You know, back in my day, Starfleet wouldn’t have been able to move that many people. But now you’re here I’m to bring you to the administration building.”

Bentley is having a bad feeling when a loud bang echoes across the yellow sky. Everyone feels the thump in their ribs. Some of the evacuees even fall over. There is a bright flash in the sky and a huge fireball streaks across the cloudy sky. Tamat exclaims, “What in the Fire Caves?!”

The crowd starts to panic. A Tellarite pushes a Ktarian botanist who falls over with a yelp. Order begins to turn into chaos among the refugees. “Meteorite?” exclaims Crane as he tries to visually track its trajectory, then takes off at a light jog toward the fallen Ktarian.

There's Rho Capricorni right there

There’s Rho Capricorni right there

(When Barclay tried to pacify the evacuees Presence + Command, he rolled two Complications.) Everyone in entire landing zone panics! It starts when Dr. Crane accidentally jostles the Ktarian’s fractured tibia causing him to yell loudly in agony. Panic rode the crowd as if on a wave. Then trying to allay fears, (because of the Complication) Barclay chooses his words badly. He yells, “Keep calm motherfuckers!”

Everyone bolts. At this point there is a bright flash on the horizon.

“No, no! Please remain calm, we must evacuate!” Tamat is desperate. Powerful winds begin to blow. The UFP flag whips about wildly at the edge of the landing field. He says, “I’m going to see if we have some sort of megaphone in the ship.”

A Impactful Horizon

Then a Vulcan scientist, one of the evacuees, appears. Above his left pocket is a name tag: SIRAB, CITY ENGINEER. Although shaken, he tells Tamat, “You need to activate the city shields, Commander. There’s no one at the station right now. You have to do it. Basement. Third office on the left.”

“Thank you, Mr. Sirab,” Kodar says. He turns to his team.”We’re going to have to get to the basement to activate the shields.”

“Got it! Basement!” Bentley yells over the crowd. “What’s the plan?”

“COMMANDER!” comes a loud yell over the busy crowd. It is Ensign Sparik at the door on the runabout da Costa. The Vulcan pilot reports “Sensors indicate that the impact’s shockwave will hit us in just over 5 minutes.”

“Then we better hurry,” exclaims Tamat. “Run!”

Although no ionising radiation, shields are still required to be raised

Although no ionising radiation, shields are still required to be raised

T’chon, Ramirez.” Barclay asks his fellow crewmates to take over from Dr. Crane. “Take the botanist to the shuttlecraft. Be gentle.” Ensign Shubert Ramirez, another Vulcan, acknowledges and tends to the Ktarian. Then, Barclay, Dr. Crane, Bentley, led by Cmdr Tamat, head for the admin building.

It takes a minute to rush towards the building’s wide-open marble stoop. The transparent aluminum doors are stuck open, vibrating because the ground is vibrating. The sky grows darker, redder. (Tamat rolls a Insight+Command check to find the way to the basement and gets two Successes, including one Momentum.)

Indoor Activities

Indoors, they find a white marble stairway that leads down to the basement. They pass the science records room, the maintenance records room and finally the third door is marked: “City Defense”. The four of them enter but there is no one inside, as Sirab said. Tamat’s commbadge chirped. “This is Ensign Sparik. Shockwave is four minutes away and counting.”

“We’ve reached the City Defense office.” Tamat reported, as he heads for the shield controls. However, the shield controls are locked. Tamat touches the LCARS interface and it beeps an error message. “SHIELD OPS CONSOLE LOCKED.” As Tamat attempts to crack the controls, Bentley and Dr. Crane sweep the back of the office and find an unconscious, grey-haired, city security officer. Dr. Crane immediately flips open his tricorder to scan him. “Wasn’t there supposed to be no-one here?”

Tamat is unable to unlock the shield console (a failed Insight + Security roll even with an extra 1d20 Momentum spend). Crane says, “This man was shot on a stun setting. Keep an eye out, Bentley.” Crane folds his medical tricorder shut and joins Tamat at the console. Sparik’s voice from the commbadge said, “Three minutes, gentlemen.”

“See if he has a keycard or something,” Tamat says. “Or maybe biometrics can unlock the console.” Crane spots a biometric palm scanner on the console. Meanwhile Bentley peers out the corridor. It is empty. Scary empty.  Barclay muses, “Who would try to sabotage the city’s security?”

Tamat signals them, “There’s a palm scanner. Help me bring him over.” As Crane and Tamat lift the fallen man to the console, Sparik announces, “Two minutes, thirty seconds.”

The Cardassian place the man’s hand on the palm scanner, unlocking the console. There is a simple LCARS alert text which reads, “CATASTROPHIC ATMOSPHERIC DISTURBANCE DETECTED. ACTIVATE SHIELDS?” The First Officer hits the pulsating red button. They all hear and feel a slight vibration running through the basement as the shields activate. After ten seconds, the vibration ceases presumably the energy shielding becoming stable.

The Shockwave Hits

“Shields online, Sparik.” Tamat reports, breathing a sigh of relief. “But we have a stunned security officer here. I’m afraid there’s intruders.”

“We need to get the internal sensors online if they already aren’t,” suggests Barclay. “Good idea.” Tamat finds the internal security sensor console and activates it.

Barclay’s commbadge chirps, “Mr. Barclay. Are we to thank you for the activation of the shields?” It is from the city administration. As Dr. Crane uses a hypospray to revive the fallen security officer, Barclay replies, “No, city control. That was the XO.”

Sparik: “Thirty seconds.”

Please escort them to see Dr. Oyunchimeg here please, so she can thank them in person.

Ezxcept the sky is red-orange, not green...

Ezxcept the sky is red-orange, not green…

“Oh, my head.” The security officer rubs his temple as he pushes on the floor with the other hand to sit up beside Dr. Crane. Barclay stands over them both and suggests, “You might want to treat him for first and second degree burns…phasers set on stun can do that.”

Sparik: “Ten seconds.

Dr. Crane closes his tricorder after confirming no burns and asked, “Should we brace for impact?”

The world rocks violently. Everyone gets thrown off their feet. The quake lasts for twenty second. Then everything was still. Sparik’s voice said, “The shields held, Commander.

“Thanks for the report, Sparik. Glad we’re all alive. Proceed with the evacuation.”

Who Shot Jackson Okwaho?

Dr. Crane addresses the newly-revived officer. “Who are you? What happened?”

The man explained in a daze, “My- my name is Corporal Jackson Okwaho. What just happened? What was that tremor? I knew there was no one left to man the defence station, so I came here. When I entered, someone came in behind me… did he stun me? That’s the last thing I remember.”

“Evidently so. You were out when we arrived,” Dr. Crane told him. Tamat said, “The tremor is a meteor strike, but we got the shields up. I’m Commander Tamat, from the USS Sienkiewicz.”

Corporal Okwaho mutters, “Thanks. It has been that kind of a day.” He weakly smiles. Sparik cuts in from the commbadge, “The crowd is under control now they’ve seen the shield work. We’re getting the last of them in. But we can’t leave yet until the atmospheric disturbance lessens.”

Mr. Barclay,” Barclay’s commbadge buzzed. “We still await your company to arrive at the administration office.”

Annoyed, Barclay replied, “Admin, we have a security situation here. One of your officers a Mr Okwaho was found stunned in the shield control room.”

“Think you can walk?” Dr. Crane stands and offers Okwaho a hand. Tamat tells them, “Let’s go to the admin office, but keep alert. Someone attacked Mr. Okwaho. Is there a weapons locker nearby? We are unarmed.” Okwaho brings them out of the basement to a security station on a wall. He unlocks it and passes each person a Type-2 phaser.

At The Top of the Tower

Corporal Okwaho leads them all back to the lobby. Outside, through the huge windows, they see and hear the tumultuous skies outside. The shield bubble has surrounded the city and is reacting to the violent atmosphere and debris. A turbolift brings them all to another lobby at the top of the tower, where four individuals are waiting. Their leader is an Asian woman in her 40s, some greying hair in her long locks, wearing an ornate shirt inside a dark green jacket that reaches the floor. She says, “I am Dr. Oyunchimeg. Thank you for saving us. We owe you a great debt.” She reaches out with her hand to Tamat.

Tamat shakes her hand. “Commander Tamat, USS Sienkiewicz. We’re glad to be of assistance, Doctor. ”

“Now here’s the deal, Commander. Although we have less than a week, we are not leaving Khotan.”

Barclay began, “Not leaving the planet? Now listen here mother-”

“Mr. Barclay!” Tamat snaps sternly, but turns back to the Doctor. “What do you mean?”

To be continued in S02 E05

To be continued in S02 E05

“We want to try to use a new technology they have been developing to stabilise the planet’s orbit. The technology involves using a 5-dimensional exotic matter known as gravitronium. Gravitronium appears to only exist naturally on this planet. We can NOT let this planet die. We have to save it. You must help us save it.” Another jolt rocks the building but it subsides quickly. Through the window, they see a wall of dust and debris slam into the shields. More meteors were falling across the red-orange sky.

“This wasnt any report that we had,” Barclay looks at Tamat. The Cardassian XO sighed and said, “That’s correct, we were not informed of any of this, and we have orders to evacuate everybody. Not only that, but someone attacked Mr. Okwaha, it is not safe.”

“No matter,” snapped Oyunchimeg. “As scientists, we will strive to save this new discovery and learn from it. If we let it be taken by Das Schwarze Auge, then we would be doing all the peoples of the Federation a great disservice.”

“My parents are scientists, and I am a Starfleet officer,” Tamat says with a finality. “I understand where you’re coming from. But if you fail and die, anything you could contribute in the future would be lost.”

Meanwhile, outside, the pummeling continued, and the black hole awaited them with open arms…



  • Text mostly lifted from live text chat as a game, edited for clarity.
  • Khotan is named after a kingdom in ancient times that was on the Silk Road at the edge of the Taklamakan Desert.
  • Das Schwarze Auge is named after the RPG.




Posted in Misc Sci-Fi, Role Playing Games, RPG Actual Play, RPG Campaigns, STA: Thine Own Self and tagged , , , , , .

Khairul Hisham J. is a tabletop RPG artist, writer, proofreader, translator, teacher, grad student and learner-in-general.

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