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Stormfront - Part 2

Alex Anderson
December 18th, 2020 · 7 min read

This post is the second in a series that describes a complete 5 hour mission that I wrote when I worked at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center. You can read the mission briefing here and part 1 here.

In the last installment, Lecia was under siege by the seditious Captain General Lucius. If he manages to take control of the government and complete his coup, he’s vowed to reintegrate Lecia with the Romulan Union. The crew’s ship was attacked by both Lecian ships and the USS Lexington, which was taken over by intruders. The crew fled to the nearby asteroid field, where they are biding their time, trying to figure out what to do next.

One thing to remember: The crew should still have the EMP device that Lucius planted on their ship. It is still emitting a weak signal, which is enough to disrupt their cloaking device and make it difficult to sneak around. If the crew realizes this, they can deactivate the device completely to restore their cloaking abilities.

Any attempts to send messages to the Federation, or anywhere else, fail. The Lecians have taken control of the communication relay satellites.

The crew has a couple of options.

A) If they try and head back to Federation space, they’ll be met by a Lecian fleet at the border - the Lecians anticipated the crew would try to return to the Federation and preemptively blocked the crew’s escape. If the crew’s cloaking device is still malfunctioning, their ship is destroyed after a short battle. If not, they make it back to Starbase 74. The Federation tells them that their mission is a failure, that Lecia and the USS Lexington are all but lost. The crew is forbidden to return to Lecia to try to stop the coup, and the mission ends here.

B) If the crew tries to return to Lecia with their cloaking device malfunctioning, they will be detected and destroyed. With their cloaking device active, they still don’t have the firepower or the manpower to rescue the USS Lexington or the diplomats on the planet’s surface. They need to find another solution.

C) During the mission, they should be getting hints through long range messages or encoded printed papers indicating that there is a spy from Barbatus residing in Lecian space. They can try to track down this spy on one of the remote moons in the Lecian system. There, he will tell them that his government wishes to assist with repelling the Romulans from Lecia. The spy tells them that a strong force of ships should send a message to the Romulans not to mess with these smaller countries. When the Romulan Empire fell, Barbatus took control of the large Romulan fleet that guarded their border with the Federation. However, that fleet isn’t big enough to defeat the Lecian fleet on its own.

The spy tells them that they can convince his government to intervene if the crew can collect irrefutable proof that the Romulans are behind the coup. If that’s the case, then to the Barbatans, it is nothing more than a hostile takeover. But they refuse to intervene if this is truly an internal Lecian political affair, regardless of what Lucius does once he takes power. Once they find that proof, they should bring it to the capitol on Barbatus II. The spy can even vouch that the Barbatans will allow the crew to use their comm relays to message the Federation to get reinforcements, so long as the crew brings proof.

D) The crew could also try to travel to Barbatus on a whim. If they do, they are stopped at the border, and the same conversation with Barbatus’ spy plays out.

In any case, the crew should eventually find their way to the Romulan border. There, they discover a very large fleet of Romulan ships, ready to enter Lecia. If the crew arrives without their cloak on, the Romulans immediately fire on the crew, destroying their ship. If they arrive, and their cloak is still malfunctioning, the Romulans only cloak their fleet, becoming invisible. If the cloaking device is not malfunctioning, the Romulans do nothing.

If the Romulans cloak, the crew needs to figure out how to get one of them to decloak long enough to get the information off of it. By now, they should have figured out that the EMP Lucius left on their ship is still functional. The Flight Director’s Computer Specialist character should suggest that they recharge and re-arm it. Then they can fire it at where the Romulan ships were, which should get one of them to decloak. The device is small enough that it shouldn’t give away the crew’s position. (Any other plausible solutions could work here, at the Flight Director’s discretion.)

At this point, the crew needs to be creative to figure out how to get information out of the Romulans. They could try hailing them and bluff their way through a conversation. They could use hacking controls to access the internal files and message history of one of the Romulan ships. If possible, this would be an excellent time for an away mission, where the crew has to transport aboard one of the Romulan ships and dodge guard patrols as they make their way to a Romulan computer terminal or carefully planted data disk.

Whatever the method the crew decides to use, it should yield a communications record between the Romulan government and Captain General Lucius. It outlines the weapons that are being brought from the Romulans, when the coup will take place, and clearly implicates the Romulans. The Romulans also have plans of an attack on Barbatus.

If it isn’t clear that the crew should make their way to Barbatus, the Flight Director should strongly hint in that direction. The Federation is too far away; they’ll only be able to stand a chance with the combined strength of Barbatus and the Federation. The crew sets course and heads to Barbatus.

Upon arriving at the Barbatus border, they are interrogated and allowed to enter the system once they reveal that they have proof that the Romulans instigated this coup. They travel to Barbatus II and have to convince the Barbatan president to assist. Barbatus’ president warns the crew that the Barbatans are isolationists, honor driven and very loyal to those who win their trust. They don’t want Romulan power to spread, but they also don’t want to become beholden to the Federation. With enough convincing, the President will relent and pledge his battlegroup to the mission. The crew should also send a message to Starbase 74, who responds by telling them 5 ships will come to their aid. Between them, their fleet matches that of the Lecians; it will be a tough battle.

The crew and Barbatus’ fleet heads to Lecia; on the way, the Federation fleet joins them. When they arrive at Lecia Prime, they find the entire Lecian fleet waiting for them. Using whatever means possible, the Flight Director should put the crew’s Captain in charge of leading the entire battle. The Captain should have some means of seeing the location of all of the battlegroup’s ships and give verbal orders to them, which the Flight Director then responds to.

Before the battle begins, it should be made clear that their goal is to clear the way for Barbatus ships to land on the planet and launch a ground assault of the Lecian palace, to rescue the Lecian leadership and the Federation diplomats.

Naturally, the battle should be dramatic and difficult, with the crew’s ship eventually facing off against Captain General Lucius’ ship directly. After a prolonged battle, they triumph, and Lucius is destroyed. Ground troops have landed on the planet, all hostile ships have either stood down or are destroyed. The crew breathes a sigh of relief.

Eventually, they pick up a faint signal coming from some of the wreckage. It is a Federation records probe, from the USS Lexington. Bringing it aboard their ship allows the crew to read it. They discover that the Lexington was brought to a Romulan outpost in the nearby Fiano system. The crew was still on the ship, and are likely still alive. Also, being a diplomatic vessel, the USS Lexington is loaded with Federation secrets that the Romulans will try very hard to discover. The best course of action is for the crew to mount a rescue mission and destroy the USS Lexington.

They fly as fast as possible to catch up to the Lexington, which is now in Romulan space and guarded by several Romulan ships. The crew should have cloaked by now; otherwise, the Romulans spot them and destroy them. The crew flies alongside the Lexington, trying to figure out how to bring the crew aboard while destroying the Lexington.

They have several options. If they do anything to destroy the Lexington without first evacuating it, it’s mission failure for the crew. Also, if they use their weapons, the Romulans will see that and destroy the crew’s ship. They have to be a little bit more clever than that.

First, to limit suspicion, they should transport as many people as possible at once. This requires putting more power into the transporter systems. If they don’t increase power, after a few transports the Romulans will become suspicious and attempt to find the crew. The Flight Director can choose whether to allow that. If the Romulans do detect the crew, they are destroyed.

To destroy the Lexington, they can transport explosives aboard. Alternatively, they can use remote access or hacking to activate the self-destruct system on the Lexington. In either case, the ship’s explosion will cause a massive shockwave, so the crew needs to move away as quickly as possible. Once the ship explodes, the Romulan ships escorting it are destroyed by the explosion, and the crew barely manages to escape in time!

At this point, the Flight Director can choose to end the mission on a climactic high note; alternatively, they can have the crew return to Starbase 74, marking the end of their mission. As an epilogue, the Flight Director can tell the crew that Lecia did end up joining the Federation, Barbatus became quite friendly with the Federation (but decided to keep their independence), and the Romulans never regained enough power to once again harass the Federation or any of their former vassal states.

Congratulations, Captain and Crew! You have successfully completed your mission!

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