STA: Gravity of the Situation

Star Trek: Thine Own Self

S02 E05 “Gravity of the Situation”


The Saber-class USS Sienkiewicz NCC-88034

Thine Own Self S02E05 Gravity of the Situation title card


With the flotilla led by the USS Ibn al-Nahfis headed towards the nearest Starbase, the USS Sienkiewicz is left to deal with the last 70 scientists, engineers and admin personnel. A huge asteroid, part of the extreme outer edge of the black hole’s accretion disc slammed onto the planet’s surface over the horizon. The shockwave devastated the planet surface, but the Away Team managed to activate the colony’s shields. Now a shield dome is protecting the city from an extreme atmospheric disruption – dangerous storm with ionized particles in the dust whipping at 200 kph around the city. Communications and transporters are useless outside the city.

Stardate: 57995.9. 30th December, 2380.

Starfleet Dramatis Personae

  • Capt. Vosgal Toor, Zaranite commanding officer of the Sienkiewicz (NPC)
  • 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 (temporary NPC)
  • Lt. Leahman Barclay, Human conn officer (PC)
  • Cmdr Targishrak Laghen, Edosian science officer (PC)
  • Ensign Sparik, Vulcan conn officer – shuttle pilot (NPC)
  • Ensign Isabel Brunet, Human conn officer – shuttle pilot (NPC)
  • Ensign Shathir Yunus, Andorian conn officer – shuttle pilot (NPC)
  • Corporal Jackson Okwaho, Human city security officer (NPC)
  • Dr. Vivian Oyunchimeg, Human city administrator (NPC)
  • Dr. Albert Vivaldi, Human city chief gravitronium scientist (NPC)
  • Dr. Christopher Lee, Human, city scientist (NPC)

A Meeting While The World Burns

Khotan city administrator, Dr. Vivian Oyunchimeg tells the Away Team, “We want to try to use a new technology they have been developing to stabilize 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.”

See the little Sienkiewicz

The planet Khotan orbiting the Das Swarz Auge.

Dr. Thomas Crane asks incredulously, “Has everyone here volunteered to stay?”

“I am not convinced that this is the time to test out new technologies.” the Away Team leader, Commander Kodar Tamat says to the scientists. “We have to evacuate.”

“The properties of gravitronium are unique,” implores Dr. Oyunchimeg. “If we can study it further, we can synthesize more gravitronium and this would potentially allow us to move planets under certain conditions,” says Dr. Oyunchimeg. “If the planet is destroyed, we lose everything.”

“I’m more worried about saving the lives in front of me,” the Cardassian first officer says.

Lt. Leahmann Barclay asks, “Can’t you take a sample of gravitronium with you? Your research data files must be backed up at the Daystrom Institute’s servers on Luna.”

Lt. JG Mason Bentley whispers to Cmdr Tamat, “Sir, if you don’t mind, I’m going to help out with security of the evacuees. Do you need me to call in the Science Officer aboard the da Costa?”

“Yes, proceed.” he says to Bentley, who then runs to the turbolift with their escort, Corporal Jackson Okwaho. Tamat turns to Oyunchimeg: “We will take a sample if I’m convinced it’s safe, but you can’t stay here.”

Let’s Science This Problem

Suddenly, another person steps up, “I am Dr. Albert Vivaldi, geosciences. We are unable to get to the gravitronium. The nearest vein is 80 kilometers deep in the planet’s crust. They are unstable. If we were to move them, there is a 90% chance they would explode, however, we have discovered a way to use probes to emit gamma radiation in a manner that would help us.”

Dr. Oyuchimeg continues, “If we send pulses of radiation at a certain frequency to the gravitronium vein, a resonance effect will affect all of the gravitronium in the planet’s crust. This will create a warp field that will envelop the entire planet. If we manipulate this warp field in a manner that we have discovered using experiments, we could move the planet back out into safe orbit around Das Schwarze Auge.”

“This is all theoretical,” Tamat barks. “You need to come with us, or you won’t survive.”

“I am Dr. Christoper Lee,” says a third person. “Don’t you see? With this tech, we could save even more planets!” But Tamat was resolute in his decision, saying, “I understand, Doctor. And I empathise, my parents are scientists, and I am a Starfleet officer. But I don’t want you to sacrifice your lives.”


An Edosian

Three-armed, three-legged alien species

A Starfleet officer steps out of the turbolift in Science Division blues. The Edosian possesses three arms and three legs, one hand had a tricorder ready and a phaser rifle over his shoulder.  He addressed Cmdr. Tamat, “Commander Targishrak Laghen, reporting in, sir.”

“Cmdr. Tamat,” interjects Dr. Crane discreetly. “We may not have to manpower to force an evacuation of seventy people who are unwilling to leave.”

Tamat faces Crane, saying, “I know, which is why I’m trying to persuade them.” Then he turns to Laghen: “Commander, can you review their data on the gravitronium? We specifically need to know how much time we have.”

With Vivaldi’s help, Laghen successfully sufficiently parses the gravitronium data in 10 minutes as the others are still discussing. (Laghen’s Reason + Science got 1 Success, and Vivaldi’s Critical Success got 2 Successes.)

“Mr. Laghen,” says Vivaldi, “For a short comms burst we don’t need a stable warp field. Just enough so that the bubble forms above the storm and transmits to your ship.”

Meanwhile, Commander Tamat is unable to persuade the city administrators to leave (with a failure in Presence + Command). Dr. Oyunchimeg says, “This research will save billions more people. What are our lives compared to such potential for good?”

Acceptable Evacuation Plans

Suddenly Barclay asks, “is there any way we could boost coms to contact the Sienkiewicz?”

See the little Sienkiewicz

The planet Khotan orbiting the Das Swarz Auge.

The Cardassian considers his options: They have one Type 6 shuttle, the Sinclair, and two other Runabouts,  the Moonstar and the rebuilt da Costa. They can evacuate everyone from Khotan. He says, “We don’t need the Sienkiewicz, we have enough room in the runabouts. Let’s round up everybody up.”

Dr. Vivaldi tells Barclay, “We could activate some of the gravitronium to act as a subspace radio, which can overcome the ionizing storm.”

Laghen studies the holographic modelling of the planet as it rotates in front of them, massaging his chin with one hand, while comparing data from the workstations displays with that on his ever present PADD. “For this experiment, how would the colony generate enough power to create the subspace field large enough, let alone create a stable subspace field?”

“Mr. Laghen,” says Vivaldi, “For a short comms burst we don’t need a stable warp field. Just enough so that the bubble forms above the storm and transmits to your ship.”

Barclay muses, “But sir, would the runabouts shields be able to stand the storms?”

Tamat says, “Good question. Let’s review the data.” After studying the data, Tamat and Barclay realise that the runabouts and shuttle will be tossed around violently by the storm. The XO announces, “It’s useless. The storm will destroy the ships. Dr. Oyunchimeg, can we use your research to boost our shields?”

Dr. Oyunchmeg says, “I do not know. It is possible, but I can’t be sure how.”

“I’m specialised in power systems, among other things,” Tamat told her. “Let me look at the data and see what we can do.”

Desperate Measures

Bentley’s report piped in via the commbadge, “Sir, we have everyone in the runabouts.” A second later, Then, Ensign Brunet chips in, “This is Ensign Brunet in the Sinclair. That sky is getting pretty unpleasant, sir. What are your orders?

Tamat taps his badge and says, “Brunet, stand by. We’re working on a way out.” (He rolls his Insight + Science with a Focus in Power Systems, and gets a 1 & 2. Both are Critical Successes.) Reviews the new data, they discover that using 0.2 mg of gravitronium might be able to generate a combined hybrid warp bubble with the runabouts and shuttlecraft’s shields. The effect of the warp bubble would allow them to tunnel their way out of the storm into the upper atmosphere.

Tamat tries to figure out if gravitronium can be used to modify shields

Tamat tries to figure out if gravitronium can be used to modify shields

Vivaldi says, “We still need to get the material to the ships. They are highly unstable and our only samples are in a forcefield container in the gravitronium lab.”

Dr. Oyunchimeg gasps with awe, “That is amazing, how you came to that solution!”

“Thank you. Your research made it possible,” Tamat tells her. “Let’s work on the containment. I think I can rig a portable power source for the forcefield, using part of the city’s generators.”

In the meantime, Laghen failed in his attempting to harness the black hole’s gamma ray bursts to augment their shields. So Tamat decides to engineer a gravitronium  contaniment field  for the gravitronium to be transported to the shuttles. from their laboratory. He asks Dr. Vivaldi, “Can you help me? Wait until I tell my father about this, he’s an astrophysicist.”

A Hint of Terrorism

Dr. Crane suddenly asks Dr. Oyunchimeg, “Doctor, do you know if everyone is accounted for? One of your men was attacked… and we don’t yet know who did it.”

There is a deathly silence. She says, “What?” Dr. Crane continued, “We found him in the shield control room. Unconscious, from a phaser stun.”

“You mean, Corporal Okwaho? Our security man who’s with your Mr. Bentley right now? That is… that is unsettling. Someone wanted the city destroyed by the asteroid impact?”

“I had completely forgotten about Mr. Okwaho’s attacker!” Tamat exclaimed. “But we’ll worry about that later, we need to get out of here.”

“We have been getting these messages for the past 2 weeks.” Dr. Oyunchimeg walks to her desk and pulls up some text messages:


Another Strike in the Backyard

Crane’s eyes widen. “Environmental terrorism?” Barclay comments, “That’s grim.”

“Yes, Mr Barclay,” says Dr. Christopher Lee. “We should have taken these messages seriously.”

Tamat’s commbadge chirps again. “This is Sparik aboard the da Costa. We have another asteroid impact. We did not see it coming because of the storm. Shockwave in five seconds. Brace yourselves.”

Five seconds later, the entire Khotan administration tower rocks violently despite the city shields, but there is no visible damage. “We’re working on it, Sparik,” Tamat said, “Hold steady. Let’s go to the lab.”  And so Vivaldi leads Tamat, Barclay and Dr. Crane down the tower and they head for the science building.

Engineering Exotic Tech Containers

Laghen and Dr. Oyunchimeg fail to figure out how to stabilise the planet’s orbit using the gravitronium, so they pack up and get to the turbolift.

Meanwhile, with everyone working together, it only takes Tamat three minutes to scrounge up material and create three containment pods to store the gravitronium samples. Each is a vertical cylinder suspended on antigrav 50 centimetres in height and 4 in diameter, with a magnetic hatch on top.

While celebrating their success, Tamat, Barclay and Dr. Crane (especially with Tamat’s Suspicious by Nature Talent) spot Dr. Vivaldi working alone at a wall console. The console LCARS display shows:


“Doctor, no!” Tamat rushes to stop Vivaldi. At this point the door opens and Laghen rushes in between the Away Team and Dr. Vivaldi. The doctor screams, “The Federation, Klingon or Romulans CANNOT have this planet and the gravitronium! Not with what it can do!”

29… 28…

“Sweet flaming platypus!” exclaimed Laghen, turning to Vivaldi.  “What have you done?”

Struggle at the Science Building

“You’re gonna kill us all!” Tamat pushes Vivaldi, and works to try and find a way to stop the countdown. He tries to interrupt the power to the autodestruct.

As Laghen joins Tamat, Vivaldi removes a phaser from his jacket and brings it up to Tamat.  Tamat, his hands on the console, is unable to do anything, but Barclay swiftly and carefully aims his phaser rifle at Vivaldi and shoots. Struck on the right shoulder, the doctor is winded, but is not knocked out. He continues his attempt to shoot Tamat (who is still trying to roll Daring + Engineering, Difficulty of 3.)

19… 18…

Dr. Crane steps in and grapples with Vivaldi (with Daring + Security plus a Hand-to-Hand Focus) and succeeds in pinning him down. Crane kicks Vivaldi’s phaser away and secures the man’s hands behind his back. Dazed by the stun beam, he finds it hard to resist.

9… 8…

Then, Tamat and Laghen cheer in victory when they turn off the self-destruct mechanism.  “Yes!” Tamat cries out, pumping his fist in the air. His carefully swept back dark hair is in disarray. He says, “Good job, everybody. Let’s get these containers to the ships. as well as our ersatz prisoner.

“No,” Vivaldi sobs, “The secrets of Khotan will fall into the wrong hands. We will all of us be destroyed.”

Laghen walks beside Crane and the prisoner, “Vivaldi, I would be very interested in hearing about your concerns about this world and its uniqueness.”

With the three containers, they all head back out to the landing field.

The Flight Into Inferno

With help from others, Tamat is able to interface the gravitronium with the ship’s shields system. The augmented shields can now create a warp bubble strong enough to push through the tumultuous & fiery atmosphere above them. Meanwhile, more asteroids were striking ground, shaking the city.

Ensign Brunet aboard the Sinclair announced, “We’re good to go, Commander!” Tamat smiles his Cardassian smile, “Excellent job, crew. Let’s evacuate to the Sienkiewicz.”

From the Moonstar, Ensign Shathir Yunus reported, “Standing by for your orders, Commander.”

Tamat said, “Mr. Barclay, please lead.” The Away Team boards the Sinclair and Barclay takes the Conn from Ens. Brunet. The Sinclair takes off, followed by the Moonstar and da Costa. Just before reaching the shield canopy overhead, Dr. Oyunchimeg remotely sends the shut down signal. The shield disappears and the hellish sky envelop the three small crafts. The augmented shields push away the chaotic forces as much as it could, straining the shield generators. (Barclay’s Daring + Conn check, aided by Brunet, gets  him 5 Successes!)

The flight to freedom

The Daring + Conn roll

Even though it was a challenging flight, Barclay is able to lead the squadron of ship up and away from the infernal hurricane winds of Khotan. They see more meteor strikes at various points of the planet’s surface as they headed up to low orbit. Behind them, Khotan city is pulverised into ashes.

Barclay mutters, “That’ll wake you up in the morning.”

Out Of Time

….wicz. We have you on screen. What is your status, Commander Tamat!Captain Vosgal Toor‘s  voice crackles over the shuttlecraft’s speakers.  Tamat sighs with relief and reports, “Captain, we’ve successfully evacuated the scientists and rescued their invaluable research. We’re en route to the Sienkiewicz now.” Before them, the sensors register a Saber-class starship waiting for them in low orbit.

Tamat says, “A sight for sore eyes. Canar is on me.”

The Sienkiewicz's squadron of small shuttlecraft soars

The Sinclair, the da Costa and the Moonstar

Upon docking, a Security team takes Vivaldi into custody as the Sienkiewicz hastily retreats from Khotan’s vicinity.

The Captain invites the administrative leaders of Khotan, the Away Team and the shuttle pilots to the bridge. From millions of kilometres away, they watch as Khotan gets struck again and again by asteroids, larger and more frequently. Soon Das Schwarz Auge’s accretion disc engulfs it. It is forever gone. Dr. Oyunchimeg has a tear in her eye.

Laghen suddenly says, “I will have the samples moved to a lab and secured.”

“Listen,” Captain Toor says, “It was Dec 31st on Earth and I know a lot of you wanted to celebrate your New Year’s Day… well…”

Barclay grins, “So that means you’ll break out the real stuff and not synthehol?”

“We spent a slightly longer time down the gravity well, near a black hole. According to Starfleet time, it’s now March 5. The stardate is 58173.5. You missed your New Year’s Day.”

Tamat arches his brow, “Well, that’s something that’ll take some time to get used to.”

THE END for now…

Stardate: 58173.5. 5th March, 2381.


  • This time I really dug into the chat logs for actual speech text. I had to edit the times of who said what to make things clearer because of chaotic chat posts.
  • Dr. Christoper Lee, you ask? No relation.
  • What will happen to the gravitronium in the container hooked up to the shuttles’ shield generators?


End of another adventure

The players and GM sans Laghen’s players

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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