Sector Zeta, Part II (Movie Era)
Written by Dan Carlson, Based on the Series by Mark Nguyen
This scenario continues the twist on the original idea. It takes place in the Original series movie era — specifically, in the year 2295, about two years after The Undiscovered Country. Let’s see how things go in yet another time period!
Welcome, gentlemen, to Part Two of Sector Zeta, the fourth in the “You’re the Admiral!” series at the SCN. 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 two years 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.
In order to familiarize cadets with strategic, tactical, and technical background in Starfleet, this scenario has been designed to involve different time frames from Federation history. In the second part, we will focus on the same region of space, but discuss the changes that swept through the sector after the signing of the Khitomer Accords of 2293.
Some additional rules need to be addressed in order to ensure maximum enjoyability and proper understanding for everyone involved. For any non-canon starship design, you must include a link to a picture of the ship and provide some basic specifications of its type and capability. Doing this will help make sure that everyone is on the same page, and avoid confusion based on the multitude of fandom designs.
For each map, assume that:
- The sector is essentially flat, and is approximately 20 ly on a side. At Warp 10 (on the Cochrane scale), a starship will take approximately seven 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 Zeta:
This sector is located on the “eastern” side of Federation space, several dozen lightyears from the Earth-Vulcan-Andor core regions, along the border with the Klingon Empire and adjacent to the Romulan Neutral Zone.
The Azure Nebula (seen briefly in VGR’s “Flashback”) is essentially harmless, but a really nifty place to hide stuff. There’s a single unremarkable star inside — it has no planets, just a very messy assortment of space debris, of no real value at all.
Deep Space Station K-9 was established shortly after the skirmish at Donatu V approximately 50 years ago, as a location where Starfleet’s defense, patrol, and monitoring missions can be coordinated. A secondary purpose is also as a way station for merchant ships, in the hopes of fostering increased trade with the Federation; however, its success in that role has waned in recent years as the Barolian trade fleet gains prominence.
Japori joined the Federation in 2226, and has played a small but important role in regional affairs since then. Starfleet maintains a small, planet-side administrative base there.
Adelphous is a booming colony based around dilithium mining; after the Four Days’ War of 2267, things settled down enough for plenty of colonists to move in; although the colony doesn’t match the output of worlds like Elas or Coridan, it’s an important source of dilithium for the Federation.
Spacelab Eslat One is a small research laboratory on the edge of the Eslat Expanse, manned exclusively by civilian scientists. (Think Wrath of Khan here.)
Outpost Epsilon X is a border monitoring station intended to spy on activities along the Klingon and Romulan borders. With the new peace treaty in effect, the Klingons aren’t too happy about its continued operation near their territory.
The Barolians are steadfastedly neutral, refusing to side with either the Federation or the Klingons despite frequent offers and proposals from both parties. They have been enormously successful in expanding their trading empire, and have lucrative contracts with all three major powers in the sector (Federation, Klingons, and Romulans). They maintain a fairly large fleet of locally-designed destroyer-type patrol ships for defense of their trading fleet, and the ships can be found pretty much anywhere in the sector.
Following the aborted attempt at contact, the pre-warp nations on Noitami have generally been left alone. Although they’re now aware of life on other worlds, they don’t yet have the capability of leaving their own solar system.
The Klingon colony on H’atoria was established more than a century ago. It’s a medium-sized mining colony that exports nitrium and trillium for military uses; these materials are obtained through the usual Klingon methods of strip-mining and forced labor. After the disaster of the explosion of Praxis, the Klingons have intensified their output to make up for the resource shortage.
In the aftermath of the assassination of Chancellor Gorkon and the attempted attack on the Khitomer peace conference, an enormous scandal has been developing in the Federation. A special investigatory committee has even been organized by the Federation Council to dig deeper into the web of conspiracies uncovered within Starfleet.
One part of the conspiracy appears to have involved several starship commanders in Sector Zeta. Commodore Ekaterina Tsieng, the previous commander of the fleet in Sector Zeta, was also implicated, although her role has not been proven yet. The plot: following the assassination of the Federation President at Khitomer, ships from Commodore Tsieng’s squadron were to launch a cross-border raid in “retribution” against the Klingon colony on H’atoria. Naturally, Starfleet Command is concerned about the possibility of conflict that could jeopardize the fledgling peace treaty. All ships in Sector Zeta assigned to Tsieng’s squadron were recalled to Earth pending a full inquiry into these allegations. You have been assigned to take over management of Starfleet operations in the sector. Because of the attention on the conspiracy involving Commodore Tsieng’s ships, this is considered a high-profile assignment with important political implications.
- Population: 2.3 billion
Alignment: Federation (member)
Defense: Moderate orbital defenses (aging)
Notes: Medium-sized commercial fleet, moderate natural resources
- Population: 2,200
Alignment: Federation (colony)
Notes: Low-tech agricultural colony
- Population: 6,100
Alignment: Federation (colony)
Defense: Moderate orbital defenses
Notes: Expanding dilithium mining facilities
- Population: 3.9 billion
Alignment: Federation (prospective member)
Technology: Mid-23rd century equivalent
Defense: 1 Lancaster-class cruiser, 3 Paris-class destroyers, moderate orbital defenses
Notes: Heavy industrial base, low raw materials
- Population: 7.1 billion
Technology: Mid-23rd century equivalent
Defense: 8 destroyers, light orbital defenses
Notes: Medium agricultural base, plentiful raw materials, large commercial fleet
- Population: 5.8 billion
Alignment: N/A (pre-warp)
Government: Various; several dozen nation-states
Technology: Early 21st century equivalent
Defense: Minimal orbital defenses
Notes: Protected by the Prime Directive
- Population: 47,000
Alignment: Klingon (colony)
Defense: 3 B’rel-class destroyers, moderate orbital defenses (aging)
As with part one, take into account the different time period of this scenario. Analyze changes that you will need to account for throughout the simulation, focusing on the following areas:
Technological differences, including warp travel times, relative combat capabilities, and sensor capacities;
Political differences, including Federation foreign policy, diplomatic relations, and internal affairs; and
Cultural and psychological differences, especially the command styles of contemporary Starfleet officers.
As with previous sectors, define what Starfleet’s priorities in this sector should be. Describe the nature of current relations between the Federation, the Klingon Empire, and the Romulan Empire, and the political alignments of the other planets in the sector. Also, note any deficiencies in the information provided.
You’ve arrived at your new command post travelling on a nondescript Sydney-class transport, and you’re ready to take authority over the sector fleet. Sector Zeta currently has two starships assigned to the area:
- USS Repulse, Excelsior class, NCC-2544
- USS Bunker Hill, Miranda class, NCC-1855
The Repulse and the Bunker Hill were temporarily reassigned to Sector Zeta after the recall of Commodore Tsieng’s squadron, and will be reassigned elsewhere soon as your new task force arrives. To replace these ships (the previous task force numbered nine starships), request from Starfleet a reasonable number and breakdown of starships to be deployed in this sector to accomplish your goals, and what their primary and secondary duties will be. Assume that, for political reasons, Starfleet will assign no more than six starships to the sector. (Due to the extremely high demand for the new top-of-the-line Excelsior-class heavy cruisers, Starfleet Command informs you that none are available for border patrol duties for the next twelve to eighteen months.) Your new starships will arrive in Sector Zeta AFTER the events of Question Two. In addition to your regular fleet, a number of transports, both Federation and civilian, will be making regular runs into and out of the sector.
There are also two other starships in the sector:
- USS Rigel, Antares class, NCC-1502
- USS Lovell, Oberth class, NCC-647
These ships are not under your direct command, and do not count towards the six starships allowed as described above. The Lovell is an aging surveyor, attached to the recently-established research station in the Eslat Expanse. The Rigel is currently in the process of outfitting a long-term, semipermanent cultural observation outpost hidden on one of the moons of a gas giant in the outer reaches of the Noitami System, and will be departing when its task is completed.
Starfleet Command is planning to decommission and dismantle the obsolete Deep Space Station K-9 within the next five years. To replace it, Command has authorized construction of a new outpost, Starbase 157, somewhere in Sector Zeta. Construction of this station will take approximately three years, during which time DSS K-9 will remain as your operational headquarters. Choose a location to build the new starbase, and justify your choice.
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.
In addition to the six ships assigned to your sector, Startfleet offers to deploy two Furious-class medium cruisers to Sector Zeta. These ships are highly controversial “deep reaction penetrators” that are not optimized for peacetime patrols, and are considered highly provocative by the Klingons—but would be invaluable if combat occurs in the sector. Will you accept these two new ships?
- USS Majestic (NCC-2380)
- USS Indomitable (NCC-2394)
Respond to the following developments in the sector. Remember that your main fleet has not yet arrived.
There’s a comet on a near-collision course with Terouj! Because they don’t use technology all that much, they almost didn’t spot it in time. It’s a pretty big one — about five kilometers across. Computer projections say there’s a 50/50 chance that the comet will strike the planet. The colony leaders beg for Starfleet to send help.
An unknown group — believed to be the Acamarian Gatherers — raids Spacelab Eslat One. They make off with an unknown quantity of the station’s equipment. The scientists working there are oddly reticent about revealing what was taken, though. The Lovell took major damage in the attack.
Outpost Epsilon X spots a Klingon Bird-of-Prey that’s suspiciously loitering near the border at the point closest to the station. It hasn’t made any aggressive moves, though.
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.
Guest Lecture by Michael Warren (aka DarkHorizon)
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.
Your sector fleet has arrived. As a result, the Repulse and the Bunker Hill are now departing for their next patrol stations. However, there is a minor problem. Two of the six ships you requested have been delayed en route (one a medium cruiser or higher, the other of your own choosing) following an environmental disaster in a nearby sector. Starfleet Command assures you that the remaining ships will be freed up to arrive shortly, but gives no estimate as to when. (If you elected to accept the Furious-class ships in Question Two, only one has arrived. The second will arrive with your other ships.) Describe how your deployment and patrol patterns will be affected by this development.
With the investigation into the raid on Station Eslat One continuing, the head of the Federation delegation onboard, a Harl Gennai, meets with you and reveals the exact nature of the experiments taking place. A joint Federation-Klingon scientific team was experimenting with zero-point energy production, as a way of easing the current energy crisis in the Klingon sectors, as well as providing an insight into future starship capabilities. The project was being kept secret due to the volatile nature of ZPE research, and the high probability of espionage. However, during the raid, one of the prototype generators was stolen. How does this affect your deployment in regard to finding and dealing with the raiders?
Respond to the following developments in the sector:
A massive burst of energy is recorded on the surface of H’atoria. Frantic distress calls and information leaking out from nearby sources suggest an explosion in one of the trillium mines. Casualties are moderate, but the planet’s other two mines have been affected as a result.
Whilst running a shakedown cruise at the outer edge of their home system, an Acamarian cruiser reports an intermittent contact, fading in and out of sensors.
The Rigel reports that peace negotiations between two of the largest nations on Noitami have broken down, and both sides are preparing orbital nuclear satellites for deployment.
Following the theft of the generator, subspace communication throughout the sector has decreased substantially. However, according to one of your border monitors, encrypted messages passing through the Romulan base at Unroth have tripled in volume in the last few hours. There are also unconfirmed reports of a tachyon anomaly near system AX-5238, but probes sent into the system reveal nothing.
A subspace transmission is received by Epsilon X — heavily encrypted, unknown origin. The Gatherers claim responsibility for the raid on Eslat One. They have seized the prototype generator, are fully aware of its capabilities, and have modified it to act as an explosive device.
They demand the immediate end to all Federation aid to Acamar, the withdrawal of Acamarian vessels from assaults on their bases, and the commencement of restoration of their rights as Acamarian citizens. If their demands are not met, the generator will be used against an unspecified target.
Your superior officer, Admiral Kacem Frynor, responds to your complaints concerning being left unaware of the secret project at Spacelab Eslat One. He tells you that the information was classified “need-to-know” only, and that you didn’t need to know. He further states that if you had provided greater security for the project than was already available, it would only have made the station a bigger target. Compose a response to the Admiral’s arguments.
Discuss the problem with the stolen ZPE generator.
Assume that it’s been about five days since the prototype generator was stolen from Eslat One. Outline a search pattern for your fleet to follow with the goal of tracking down the Gatherers and recovering the stolen property.
Outline the most probable primary and secondary targets where the Gatherers may attempt to strike with their jury-rigged bomb. Factor in these potential targets when deploying your ships —after all, you’ll need to have a starship nearby in order to prevent any attack.
The Acamarian situation resolves itself when the Gatherers attempt to attack a military station on Adybos, a moon in the outer Acamarian system. Unfortunately for the Gatherers, their makeshift bomb fails to detonate —the ZPE subspace manifold failed to form, meaning the technology doesn’t work. Their plan foiled, the Gatherers scatter. Aside from the Acamarian ships in the vicinity, describe what assets you have nearby and what your response is —do you chase down the Gatherers, focus on cleaning up in the Acamarian system?
Meanwhile, there’s a flurry of activity along the edge of the Neutral Zone. It seems that there were several Romulan cruisers hanging around a point just on their side of the border, waiting for something. Given that there’s no evidence of any Romulan connection, how do you respond —if at all?
In light of recent events, the Acamarian parliament votes to postpone their application for Federation membership. How do you react to this development?
Once again, it’s time to move on — Starfleet commends your job here, and promptly orders you to pack up your office and take off. The incoming Rear Admiral will need a briefing, however, before he continues your work, and that is your final official duty. As with other sectors, 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.