Star Trek: Thine Own Self
S2 E03 Three’s A Crowd
Stardate: 57930.2 – Sat Dec 06 2380 10:50:16 UTC
Starfleet Dramatis Personae
- Lt. Cmdr. Kodar Tamat, Cardassian engineering officer and mission commander
- Dr. Thomas Crane, Human medical officer (NPC)
- Lt. Leahman Barclay, Human conn officer (Semi-temporary NPC)
- Ensign Sparik, Vulcan conn officer (NPC).
Into the Mushroom Caves
Kodar Tamat, Leahmann Barclay, Thomas Crane and Sparik rush into the mushroom forest in the enormous, presumably the Kom-Rhanok towards the central stone pillar of the enormous subterranean cavern. Presumably they would be able to contact the USS Sienkiewicz. – which is in orbit – from that stone pillar. Thankfully, their hand phasers still work. However their tricorders are limited to a range of 50 metres and the jamming field is still preventing them from calling their starship.
Light patches from bio-luminescent moss give the space an ethereal blue-green glow. Firefly like insects also fly in random patterns overhead. Now how will they resolve the Dasai & Zrasu conflict on Porticullis III? Especially after the team is now on the run from their former captors, the Dasai.
“Have you ever seen a place like this?” Tamat asks. Sparik answered, “Negative, sir. I’ve seen smaller cluster of underground mycological colonies before but never anything in this large an ecosystem.”
A fast moving river flows across their path. Sparik says, “The water is dark and fast. The width is between 50-60 metres. Do we try to cross it?” Dr. Crane asks, “Lt. Barclay. I think we can determine how deep it goes if you point your tricorder at it.”
Crouching at the riverbank, Lt. Barclay points his tricorder at the black river, chirping steadily as it forms a full terrain underwater map of the river. Barclay reported, “I seem to have discovered a ford in the water we could cross, Commander.”
Tamat says, “I’m taking point. Sparik, you guard our rear.” With a resolute step, the Cardassian officer wades into the drink. The deepest point is only waist deep. He is easily able to reach the far side of the river. “Good job, Barclay.”
Dr. Crane volunteers next. With his arms over his head, he wades across the river, directed by Cmdr Tamat. Soon he reaches the opposite side safely.
Something in the Shadows
Barclay asks Sparik to go first while he covers the rear. The Vulcan calmly asks, “Are you sure, Lt. Barclay? I could cover your journey across the river easily.” Barclay insists, “Thank you, but I’ve got this.” Ensign Sparik then wades across safely. Lt. Cmdr. Tamat says, “Good thing these uniforms dry fast.” (To which I made a non-canonical joke: There is a gust of mechanized wind from inside your uniforms, your hair whips about like crazy. There is a computer voice: “Your uniform is now dry.”)
Scanning with his tricorder, (2d20 insight+security + 1d20 tricorder assist achieves 2 Successes) Barclay detects something. There is an alert beep from the tricorder, an unknown life form is approaching them from the dark shadows of the mushroom forest. It is quadrupedal and seems to be moving in a cat-like manner. Tamat barks, “Everybody: phasers ready but on stun. We don’t know who or what lurks around here.”
Barclay reports, “Quadrupedal life-form approaching, thirty meters away… looks to be feline in nature.” Sparik reaches the other river bank and draws his Type-2 phaser. He points into the darkness, “Where, Lieutenant? I am unable to discern its location.”
Barclay rushes across, splashes through noisily with his phaser and tricorder over his head. There is a high pitched wheeze from the shadows behind him. Definitely, not a feline sound. Sparik is pointing his phaser into the shadows.
(As Tamat was considering using his Suspicious by Nature Talent,) There is a loud screech from across the river. Something burst out of the shadow, it looks like a insectoid panther in shape and size with some kind of dark, glistening carapace and sharp, cutting mandibles. It leaps at Barclay who was halfway across the river. “Well, blast that isn’t feline at all,” Barclay says, raising his phaser, but he has to turn to face his attacker.
Sparik, at the ready, looses a phaser beam, striking the creature as it jumps. A moment later, Tamat’s phaser discharge misses, the bright beam lighting up the shadows on the far side, startling a lots of tiny things flying things. Just before it lands on Barclay, the flight officer fires a stun beam that hits its head. The creature splashes into the river, still twitching but unconscious. The river takes its unconscious form downstream, away from them. Dr. Crane quips, “Splash one.”
Lay of the Land
“Are you okay, Mr. Barclay?” Tamat asks. Barclay replies, “Couldn’t be better. These new type 2s take some getting used to.” He studied his phaser.
Dr Crane breathes, “That was close.” As Sparik pulls Barclay out of the water, Tamat was studying the ground. (Using Insight + Security to find a path, with help from his Suspicious By Nature Talent,) Tamat’s senses are able to discern a very faint animal path which seem to have faint boot-print patterns as well. But he has no idea how old they are and they’ve been covered by a new patch of lime green moss.
“People came through here at one point,” he says pointing at the floor. “Best lead we got. Keep your eyes open. More of those creatures could be around.” He marches on.
They all travel another about 200 meters and notice a sinkhole in the ground 10 meters across. The pit is dark and seem bottomless. Tamat notices that the trail continues on the far side of the pit and it should not be a bother to walk around it. Another 200 meters, they all feel some sort of vibration through their boots. Tamat growls, “I wonder what’s down there?”
Ten seconds later, the vibration stops.
Tamat muses, “Was that the ancient machinery?” Barclay offers, “Some sort of mining activity?”
Further down they spot more of those black obelisks with strange vertical patterns growling up from the ground. They look very much like the structures in the room that stunned the Dasai, allowing you to escape. (Tamat fails an Insight + Security check despite the Hazard Awareness Focus.)
They step up and study the stones closely, especially the glowing lines which seem to be carved into the rock. Sparik too is unable to decipher it. Crane says, “Should we even touch it? Remember it emitted that sonic blast that stunned those Dasai.”
“Don’t touch it, let’s try our tricorders.” Tamat says, scanning the nearby obelisk. Barclay reports, “There seems to be a low energy pattern running from the base of that tall rock, unknown energy type but the rock is more than 10,000 years old.”
Finally, Other People
“HALT!” yells a loud voice. There is movement behind them and three Zrasu bearing phaser rifles appear out of the brush behind them Their skins are pink and their hairs has a pair of pale streak. He lead Zrasu asks, “Are you the Starfleet personnel taken by the Dasai?”
Barclay said, “That we are.”
“I am Lt. Commander Tamat of the USS Sienkiewicz.”
“I am Sgt. Pora,” the lead Zrasu says. “Come with us for your safety.” He is a male with purple hair and light blue streaks. He has a turtle-neck uniform with straps for his phaser rifle.They wear the uniform of the Zrasu Governmental Guards. Their skins are pink and their hair has a pair of pale streaks.
Tamat whispers to the others “Let’s not mention what we know about the stones.” then walks towards the Zrasu.
“Leahman Barclay, Lieutenant” Barclay identifies himself. Dr. Crane and Sparik nod slightly. The Zrasu lead the team on a perpendicular course, 90 degrees away from the Central Pillar. The other two Zrasu guard the rear of the column.
“What is this place, if I may inquire?l Tamat asks Sgt. Pora. The Zrasu has a look of distaste. “This is the very place where the Dasai hide, plotting to take over the planet, attack our cities and your Kamchatka colony. But you may reserve your questions for the Premiere. He will answer all your questions.”
“EVERYONE STAND STILL WE HAVE SNIPERS ON YOU!”. The yell comes from the darkness. The Dasai show up. There is at least three spotted in the treeline (mushroom line?) bearing either phaser pistols or rifles. Tamat sighs, as he just wants to be an engineer.
Another amplified Dasai voice rings out , “THIS PLANET IS OURS! HAND OVER THE STARFLEET CREW TO US! THEY WILL HELP US RETAKE OUR PLANET!”
The Zrasu yelled back, “DASAI FILTH! YOU DO NOT DESERVE THIS PLANET! YOU SHOULD HAVE STAYED BURIED!” The team sees Weapons pointing every which way. Barclay asserts, “Look, why dont we all put these weapons away and talk about this.”
Sgt Pora yells, “NO! THERE IS NO TALK! ONLY FIGHT! YOU CANNOT BACK DOWN OR THEY WILL KILL YOU!” He nods and his two men pull out grenades from their belts.
Tamat holds up his hands. “We’re not helping anyone take back anything, but we will help you sit down and negotiate. There’s no need for more violence!” (He rolls an Insight + Command check, spending a Determination tagging his Discipline Value. Along with Barclay’s assist, they both get a Success of 4 on a Difficulty of 3.)
Suddenly, everyone stops yelling. Phasers are still raised but they are now held in a defensive stance. No one is threatening anyone else actively. Sparik looks around at Tamat’s effect and says, “Intriguing.”
Tamat implored, “Please, let us sit down and talk.”
Dialogue At Arms
A Dasai voice chimed from the shadows. “How can you help us, Starfleet? We have been fighting for over 200 years.” You hear a murmur of assent from that general direction.
“If we sit to talk, they will shoot to kill. We will all die,” says a Zrasu soldier behind Sgt. Pora.
Tamat continues, “We might be able to bring a new perspective from outside the planet. There has been wars in our own histories, and we can help you see how we got beyond them.”
“Very well,” Sgt Pora says with a sneer. “All Dasai filth will reveal themselves. Into the open ground before us, where we can all see you, as you see us.” There is an absurdly long pause. No movement ensues.
“Everybody, weapons down.” Tamat holsters his own phaser. Barclay too, a heartbeat later.
A Dasai voice cries, “Are you a fool? We come into the light, and the good Sergeant will kill us, Starfleet.”
Tamat says, clearly and firmly, “Not if everybody puts their weapons away. Please, we have to try and find common ground.”
Sgt. Pora sneers even more, but then he signals to his men and they lower their phasers. Tamat mutters, “Good. We have a start.”
The lead Dasai steps into the open ground, his phaser still pointed at the Zrasu. Tamat tells him, “Put your weapon down, friend. Please, choose peace.”
“Let me confess something,” the lead Dasai says. “Do you know what species I am, where my people are from? These Zrasu stole our planet over a hundred years ago. Drove us underground with violence. Why would they want peace?”
A second Dasai appears, “Where are you from, Starfleet?”
Barclay says, “Me? I’m from Detroit” (He fails an Insight + Security check to determine if they were being flanked.)
“My parents are from a planet called Cardassia Prime. They had to flee because of political conflicts. I was born on Earth, the Federation took them in. You know why? Because they learned to work together, even former mortal enemies, like Vulcans and Andorians. I am grateful to the Federation for teaching me peace and understanding. This planet can be like that, too.”
“You ARE a dreamer Starfleet, if you think a sit down in an evening will cause a ceasefire. We sit down, they will kill us. And vise versa.”
And That’s When Everything Went To Hell
“OH NO! NOT ME AGAIN!” exclaimed Sparik in a very un-Vulcan way. He accidentally discharges his phaser at some vegetation which showers down sparks over Sgt. Pora from the mushroom above him.
Tamat is shocked, seeing a huge beetle-like insect attached to his back, or his spine. Sparik seems to be in pain. Chaos of weapons fire begins. Flames and sparks flash wherever a phaser beam strikes. (I roll a d6 for each PC. No “1” turns up thankfully, which meant a random phaser beam would clip them.)
Barclay will walk between the two parties with his hands stretched out before him. “Stop this madness! Please my friends choose to live!” (For Barclay, the hit would be on a 1 or 2, but he is not shot.)
Suddenly Sparik ceases being in agony. He looks at Tamat calmly and says, “You must allow the weapon to explode.” He points at Pora’s trooper who is about to throw a grenade. When thrown, Barclay is in its blast radius. He leaps for cover (Daring + Combat check, a Success!) as it explodes. A tall mushroom falls, burning and shredded to pieces.
Sparik, smiling at Tamat and Dr. Crane says, “You will see.” There is a loud rumble. Everyone sees the ground collapsing into a huge sinkhole. A pit is forming beneath them all. All tries to vault to safety, but the sinkhole opens up faster than anyone can run. Starfleet, Zrasu and Dasai tumbles into the ground.
The Third of Three
(All player characters Roll Daring+ Security, Difficulty 1 to avoid a 3d6 damage. No one is hurt.) Everyone scatters and rolls into another cavern beneath, one without any flora at all. Everything is black obsidian rock, forming steps and landings with some rising vertically five to thirty metres in height.
The Dasai leader however falls with a crunch. A boulder rolls over him. He yells in pain and is silent. His men scramble to tend to him. Tamat orders, “Doctor, please assist them.”
“We are Starfleet,” says Crane and rushes to him.
Sparik turns to Tamat. In Sparik’s voice, something else says, “Ek’roi has been asleep for far too long. Ek’roi will awake to fix this conflict on Ek’roi’s planet.” He smiles. Then the markings on the stones begin to glow purple just like the ones in the room that stunned the Dasai hours earlier. A loud bass hum grows. A vibration grows. Tamat notices the beetle at the back of Sparik’s neck shifts. Sparik mutters, “Ek’roi will stop this conflict.”
Tamat finally understands. “You are the Ek’roi, we are from the Federation. Please help us stop this conflict peacefully.”
“Stopping conflict is stopping conflict. What else is there but to achieve peace in Ekroi’s world?” Violent winds begin to lash out in the cavern above the sinkhole. They see huge mushroom trees being ripped out of their soil by the hurricane created by the Ek’roi. Dirt and stone are whirling about at great speed in a storm.
Barclay also understands and says to the Ek’roi, “We’d rather not anyone die to stop this conflict. We can talk about this.”
Suddenly a commbadge chirped. “– Away Team come in. This is the Sienkiewicz. The jamming field is down. Please advise. A planetary storm is destroying the surface of the planet. What is your status? Captain Toor to Commander Tamat, come in please. We have a lock on your signals. Stand by for beam up.”
“Captain, this is Tamat. We’re unharmed, for the moment. Don’t beam us up, we are trying to mediate in a conflict.”
“Acknowledged, Commander,” the Zaranite Captain said. “Chief, don’t lose their signal.”
The End of the Conflict
Tamat turns to the Ek’roi. “We are willing to risk our lives to work for peace in this planet. All species can coexist if you try.”
“Ek’roi wait, Dasai come, push Ek’roi to the ground, then Zrasu come, fight with Dasai push Dasai to the ground. Maybe Cardassian will come push all to the ground, then Human, then Vulcan, then Andorian, then… Enough conflict. Ek’roi will wake up, stop conflict, and learn more. BUT NOW, IT IS TIME TO CLEAN EK’ROI’S WORLD OF CONFLICT!”
“Don’t! There must be a way to help you all see eye to eye. Talk to us…”
A tornado funnel touched down into the pit from above. The prone Dasai captain and one trooper are sucked up and disappear into the debris storm in the cavern above. Thankfully (with a successful Daring+Security check) Dr. Crane manages to leap clear safely.
Tamat yells above the wind: “If there’s no one left, who will tell the rest of the universe about the Ek’roi?” Sparik asks, “What does Cardassian mean?”
“Surely, the Ek’roi deserve to be known in the entire universe. You are powerful,” Tamat says. Crane staggered towards Sparik, uniform streaked with dirt. “I just risked my life to save a life of someone who had threatened me. We are not these people. The rest of us value life, ideas, learning and we share. We are Starfleet.”
“I will look within.” And the Ek’roi looks into Sparik: His life on Vulcan, as a Starfleet cadet, his friends, his present crew-mates, the adventures they had, the time his crew-mates saved him by building him a ridiculous looking anti-telepath helmet. His views, loves, wants and needs. The he says, “Ek’roi understands: You are Starfleet.”
The winds cease. No longer in danger, the surviving Dasai and Zrasu weakly climb out of the sinkhole, followed by the Starfleet officers. Tamat called, “Can we sit down and negotiate?”
“Yes,” said the Sergeant. “Yes we will. Thank you, Starfleet.”
Captain Loor’s voice sounds small but soothing to them: “Commander. The storms have dissipated. Status please.” Tamat tapped his commbadge and reported, “Captain, II’m pleased to say we’ve managed to get our new friends to talk to each other. Please ask Starfleet to send professional negotiators ASAP.”
The Ek’roi beetle leaves Sparik. With permission it uses a Zrasu as a medium. Sparik now without a bug controlling him, says, “Glad to be of service.”
Tamat smiles at the Vulcan, “Please, we would do it again in heartbeat. Discovering new life and helping reach peace? That’s its own reward.” More of the beetles were appearing from the ground, but they did not attack – only waited for the talks to begin. Everyone beams over to New Kamchatka. Mr Lionel Morikawa, the diplomat is released from Dasai captivity, and moderates the negotiation between the Zrasu, Dasai and Ek’roi in the Federation colony.
Soon, the Away Team beams back aboard Saber-class USS Sienkiewicz for a debriefing. A day later the California-class USS Bakersfield arrives to help with Second Contact with the Ek’roi, and the Sienkiewicz warps away into the void to carry out further missions.
TO BE CONTINUED
- Lots of text are lifted from the Discord text chat we used to play.
- They are Starfleet indeed.