Written by Dan Carlson, Based on the Series by Mark Nguyen
Welcome, gentlemen, to Sector Redux. In case you’re not familiar with the concept, the “You’re the Admiral!” series is a series of semi-guided, hypothetical exercises in starship management, fleet strategy, and diplomacy. They are similar to role-playing games in that you will assume the role of a Rear Admiral in the Federation Starfleet, given authority over a sector of space with orders to demonstrate and enforce Federation policy as best you can. To do this, you’ll be asked to first assemble, and then utilize, a fleet according to the circumstances. However, unlike an RPG, there is no interaction between the different players; this is simply an individual reaction to circumstances. The idea is to come up with different perspectives, goals, and methods to solve similar problems.
These scenarios were started on the Flare Sci-Fi Forums about a year and a half ago, and are archived in a separate section of my site. (“You’re the Admiral!” was in turn inspired by the old “What Starship Would You Send?” threads on the r.a.s.t. newsgroup.) With Mark’s permission, I’ve started a spin-off series to conduct here on the SCN.
For each map, assume that:
- The sector is essentially flat, and is approximately 20 ly on a side. At Warp 9, a starship will take approximately five days to traverse a side.
- Each planet is in a star system, and except where noted is Class-M.
- The space in the adjoining sectors is essentially devoid of anything interesting or valuable. Borders extend in staight lines beyond that which is noted.
- Unless noted, all inhabited planets are occupied by humanoid species with a variety of bumpy heads.
Now for some basic information about your new assignment, Sector Redux:
Sector Redux is far from the Federation core, approximately four weeks’ travel from Earth and Vulcan. The nearest major Starfleet bases are about two to three weeks away at maximum warp.
The Takani Expanse is really big, relatively harmless, but so far almost completely unexplored.
Polven IV is a brand-new Federation member. They have been a spacefaring race for approximately 50 years, but were only recently contacted by the Federation due to their distance. So far, only small volumes of trade have passed between the core worlds and Polven, but that amount is slowly increasing.
The Tholians maintain a mining colony in this sector on S’Torien, but generally keep to themselves. A major Tholian population center is about a week away at maximum warp. Little is known about Tholian internal affairs.
Stacomeg II is a civilization that roughly parallels Earth in the late 20th century. A basic cultural survey was conducted about 15 years ago, but no in-depth study has yet been conducted.
Starfleet is interested in resuming some of its previous exploration and colonization programs that were suspended during the Dominion War. There are several missions under consideration to nearby sectors that could be operated out of Sector Redux, and are considered prime candidates for expansion.
- Polven IV
- Population: 2.7 billion
Alignment: Federation (member)
Defense: Approximately 20 sublight fighters (runabout equivalent); No orbital defenses or shields
Notes: Plentiful raw materials, large industrial base
- S’Torien (Class-N)
- Population: 180,000 (estimate)
Alignment: Tholian Assembly (colony)
Government: Colonial governorship
Technology: 24th century equivalent
Defense: 6 warships (Defiant-class equivalent); small commercial fleet; moderate orbital defenses
Notes: High natural resources
- Stacomeg II
- Population: 7.5 billion
Alignment: N/A (pre-warp)
Government: Numerous local nation-states
Technology: 20th century equivalent
Notes: Several nation-states engaged in early space exploration efforts
- Retarna System
- Population: Uninhabited
Notes: 1 Class-I supergiant and 5 terrestrial planets; some raw materials, but generally unremarkable
Given the information above, define what the priorities of a Starfleet presence should be. Keep in mind the unknown military capabilities of the aliens beyond the border, and the political nature of the three planets involved. Also, note any deficiencies in the information provided and what should be done to fill in the gaps.
Based on your answer to part (A), choose a location to place a space-based Starbase to operate from. Assume that the Starbase will be able to defend itself from most threats, and will carry with it a very visible Federation presence regardless of where it is placed. It can be placed in orbit of a planet, in orbit of a star, or in the middle of space. Think Starbase 375.
Assume Starfleet will allocate you no more than EIGHT Federation starships to accomplish their goals given the priorities you’ve outlined. Define what classes, or types, of ships should be assigned to your fleet. Assume that:
There can be no more than ONE Galaxy/Sovereign/Ambassador class ship in your fleet. If you include one, justify its presence.
Your fleet will include at least TWO non-combat type ships (science, transport, etc.). Justify their presence and/or use.
Of the remainder, explain their primary and secondary missions.
OBJECTIVELY CRITIQUE one of the other answers to question one. Point out what you believe are the strengths and/or weaknesses in how the answer differs from yours. You may critique another answer which has already been critiqued.
Starfleet has approved your requested starships to be deployed to Sector Redux as a permanent task force under your command. Unfortunately, at the last minute, the one LARGEST or BEST EQUIPPED ship is abruptly reassigned elsewhere due to resource shortages. All other ships have arrived as requested, but Starfleet will not be able to send you another starship for the forseeable future. Also, a Type-2 Starbase (identical to Starbase 375 in DS9) has been towed into the position that you requested, and is fully operational. Requests for any further assets have been denied. Describe which ship was not sent, and how you will deploy your remaining assets to accomplish your goals, as described in part (A) of question one. Note possible deviations from your original plans. Your fleet will remain unchanged from this point forward.
React to the following situations that develop in Sector Redux. In each case, indicate which starship is closest (or most relevant) to respond, and how your fleet’s status could or should change as a result. Describe also any diplomatic efforts your staff should be making. (Assume that these situations happen consecutively; a ship you move in response to the first situation will still be there when the second situation begins, etc.)
The Polveni have just finished constructing their first home-grown starship using Federation-provided technology, the E’Timesoy. Capable of Warp 6, it’s being sent out to explore some of the local stellar phenonema before heading out on a longer-distance mission towards territory uncharted by the Federation. The ship is being operated under Polveni local authority, not that of Starfleet. What recommendations, if any, will you make to the Polveni? You can assume that they will fully share any scientific data they obtain during their journey.
Two Polveni civilan freighters on the route from Polven back to the Federation have been attacked by an unknown vessel in two separate incidents. Both ships reported the same thing: a sudden explosion close to their hull, followed by a total power loss. Their entire cargo was taken by transporter. By the time the freighters managed to get their power back online, there was no trace of the attackers. The Polveni are demanding that something be done before more valuable cargo was lost.
Long-range sensors detect an unidentified warp signature entering the Takani Expanse on the far side from Polven. When it enters the expanse, it disappears from your readings.
You detect a lone Tholian starship in the Retarna System. It is not exhibiting any hostile intentions, and appears to be simply surveying the area.
Create a scenario of your own, similar to the ones posed in Part (C). Any reasonable scientific, diplomatic, or military scenario is acceptable. However, DO NOT ANSWER the scenario. It will be answered by other participants as part of Question Three.
Answer one of the other scenarios created by another participant from Question Two. You can answer the same scenario that someone else has already responded to.
The pirates that have been preying on Federation shipping recently strike again. Assuming you’ve been patrolling the area, you finally get a bead on them... and you get a surprise, too. The pirates have been using a stolen Breen warship of the type seen during the last days of the Dominion War, complete with energy dissipator weapon and cloaking device. If you sent a combat-capable starship for patrol and escort duty in the last question (Part C-2), that ship intercepts and destroys the rogue cruiser. If you only chose to beef up the transports’ defenses, those defenses hold, but the pirate escapes unscathed. In either event, a few days later another freighter is attacked using the same method, in the same general area. Based on this new information, how will you adjust your strategy?
A group of about 500 colonists from the Federation have very recently settled on Retarna III, a Class-L planet. It’s not the most comfortable world, but has great promise once minor terraforming is done. A second load of colonists is already on the way, based on preliminary reports. As the colony transport arrives in orbit, they observe a Tholian transport entering the system, which proceeds to build a mining colony on Retarna IV, an inhospitable Class-Q world, but possibly quite comfortable for the Tholians. Within days, three Tholian warships, part of the squadron deployed near S’Torien, appear in the area. The Tholians transmit a terse message to the Federation colony leader, claiming that the entire Retarna System is a territorial annex of the Tholian Assembly. They demand that the colony be removed within seven days.
Based on recent developments, most notably piracy and new Tholian colonies, the Polveni are getting nervous. Although no one is openly questioning the wisdom of Federation membership, they are requesting that Starfleet provide assistance for improving their planetary defenses. They have a medium-sized industrial base capable of the basic construction needed, but lack the technical skill for advanced equipment. In the mean time, they request that you temporarily reassign one starship in your fleet to remain close to Polven, just in case. (If you already have a starship deployed near Polven, they ask for an additional ship to be sent.) How will you respond to this request? Can you offer any alternatives to them?
Things hit the fan at Retarna! The Tholians reinforce their colony with three more warships — presumably new reinforcements from out of the sector, since your intelligence assets tell you that the three ships near S’Torien haven’t budged. They’re also setting up an strong orbital defense system around Retarna IV, and shipping in more colonists and equipment in a series of transports. Describe your response to the following encounters — in each case, indicate any change in the positions of your ships (in-system or sector-wide).
At random intervals, the Tholians have started buzzing your starships (assuming you have any) in orbit of Retarna III. They seem to be running detailed sensor sweeps of the area.
About in orbit of the gas giant Retarna V, a Tholian transport sends a distress call. It reports that it’s losing altitude and will fall into the atmosphere within a couple of hours. Strangely, none of the Tholian ships respond to the call.
The Tholians begin erecting one of their infamous “webs” around the smaller moon of Retarna III. (The moon orbits pretty far out — about 750,000 kilometers high.) They give no notice or explanation.
While buzzing your largest starship in-system starship, a Tholian warship briefly loses attitude control and collides with it. Depending on the size of your ship, up to a third of the saucer (an Intrepid or larger) or half of the ship (anything smaller) is destroyed.
The local Tholian commander contacts you on subspace, and indicates that he (?) is finally ready to talk. He wants to claim posession of all planetary bodies aside from Retarna III itself. Alternatively, he’ll accept joint jurisdiction of Retarna in exchange for full Tholian control of systems CL-04 and CD-48 (the supernova remnant). Will you accept one of the Tholian proposals, make a counterproposal, or take other action?
In the northern part of the sector, things have quieted down remarkably. No new attacks have been reported, no sightings of any other Breen cruiser. As the weeks drag on and nothing new happens, how will you alter your deployments, if at all?
It’s time to move on. Starfleet has decided to send you on to Sector Epsilon, and to replace you with a fresh Admiral to continue your work.
As your last duty in this sector, you are to brief the new guy about what you’ve done. Read over your responses to all the previous questions. Define what Starfleet’s priorities should be in this sector, and your recommendations to your replacement as to what he should concentrate on. Also recommend a reasonable set of additional ships to complement your remaining fleet to that end.
Choose one of the starships in your fleet. It will be used to take you to Sector Epsilon, and will be incorporated into your fleet there.
And so ends Sector Redux. Next up is Sector Epsilon!