Sector Epsilon

Written by Dan Carlson, Based on the Series by Mark Nguyen


Welcome, gentlemen, to Sector Epsilon, the second 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 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:


Stellar Cartography: Sector Epsilon

Now for some basic information about your new assignment, Sector Epsilon:

Background on the Region

Prior to the Dominion War, Starfleet had conducted general surveys of the sector, but had no permanent presence in the area. The Cardassians maintained their colony on Rudellia, first established in the 2350’s. Occasional minor skirmishes occurred between the Cardassians and the Scytali as they began to explore beyond their traditional borders. Some trade competition developed between the Scytali and the Ferengi, who had begun to move into the area, but there was little actual conflict there. The Bellondans generally kept to themselves, mining rare elements from the outskirts of the black hole gas cloud in the Nepo Cluster.

The Dominion War completely upset the balance of the sector. Bellonda was conquered in the first few weeks of the war as the Jem’Hadar attacked from Cardassian territory in all directions. The Scytali, being more technologically advanced, managed to put up a stiffer fight against the onslaught, but were slowly pushed back during the two-year war. A particularly brutal ground war was fought on Tamalane, in which enormous casualties were inflicted on both sides and incredible damage done to the landscape. The other three planets in the Republic also suffered attacks, but none near as devastating. Today, the Scytali are in the process of rebuilding their defenses infrastructure after the end of hostilities; their space forces used to be twice as numerous.

Starfleet fought practically no actions in this region during the war — the sector was strategically unimportant and difficult to hold given Starfleet’s available resources at the time. Following the withdrawal of the Dominion to the Gamma Quadrant, Starfleet began to take a greater interest in the region. Also, both the Federation and the Klingon Empire have expended huge amounts of resources in the occupation of the former Cardassian Empire, as well as providing aid to Cardassia Prime. Although combat forces have been thinned from the initial months after the end of the war, considerable effort is still put into building a peaceful and democratic Cardassian state. Both Starfleet and the Klingon fleet maintain small forces in the Rudellia System.

During the occupation of Bellonda, the Cardassians began construction of an orbital station, christened Neither Nor. Assembly was only about 75% complete when the Dominion surrendered at Cardassia Prime; the station has been retrofitted with local equipment and is mostly operational, but suffers frequent engineering difficulties (think DS9 during the first season). Starfleet took over administration of the station once Bellonda became a Federation member, and has retained the outpost’s Cardassian name pending a final decision on its status.

Basic Information

Bellonda Prime
Population: 12.4 billion
Alignment: Federation (member)
Government: Democratic
Technology: Current
Defense: 20 Peregrine-class tactical fighters, moderate orbital defenses
Notes: Low natural resources, large industrial base
New Id’aho
Population: 7,500
Alignment: Federation (colony)
Government: Democratic
Technology: Current
Defense: None
Notes: Developing agricultural and industrial base, plentiful raw materials
Population: 1,250,000
Alignment: Cardassian Union (colony)
Government: Colonial governorship
Technology: 24th century equivalent
Defense: 1 Galor-class warship, 3 Hideki-class fighters, no orbital defenses
Notes: Large agricultural base, plentiful raw materials
Scytale Republic
Population: 18 billion (total, 4 planets)
Alignment: Neutral
Government: Republic
Technology: 24th century equivalent
Defense: 2 warships (Nebula-class equivalent), approx. 20 warships (Defiant-class equivalent), light orbital defenses (rebuilding)
Notes: Heavy industrial base, low raw materials, large trading fleet

Question One

  1. As with Sector Redux, define what Starfleet’s priorities in this sector should be. Describe the political position of the Cardassians at this point in time, along with that of the Klingons. Also, note any gaps in the information provided and where you’d want to focus your intelligence-gathering.

  2. Starfleet’s resources are stretched pretty thin, with most materials being channeled towards the more-populated planets in the core regions. The Federation does want a larger presence in the region, and is planning to allocate resources to either upgrade Neither Nor’s systems to full starbase specifications (think DS9’s upgrades), or to build a small outpost-type installation (smaller than SB375 — think Jupiter Station) elsewhere in the sector. Justify your answer.

  3. The ship that brought you from your previous assignment will be part of your sector task force. (If you’re joining us without coming from Sector Redux, you have a generic Excelsior class ship.) In addition, Sector Epsilon currently has three other starships assigned to the area:

    • USS Ramon, Challenger class, NCC-57584
    • USS Nautilus, Miranda class, NCC-31910
    • USS T’Pethan, Miranda class, NCC-31973

    The Nautilus and the T’Pethan are scheduled to be decommissioned soon; they’ll begin their return journey to Utopia Planitia for dissassembly as soon as your new task force arrives. The Ramon, however, will be retained as part of your fleet. At the moment, the three ships are deployed as shown on the map above.

    In addition to the Ramon and your own starship, 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 Starfleet will assign no more than ten starships of any type (including the Ramon and your own ship) to the sector. Your new starships will arrive in Sector Epsilon 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.

Question Two

  1. 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.

  2. Starfleet has initiated a project to deploy the improved subspace communications systems that were originally developed as part of Project Pathfinder and Project Voyager. Sector Epsilon has been selected as a prime location for one of the main transmitter nodes that will form the new network, due to the semi-regular fluctuations in subspace emanating from the Nepo Cluster. Choose a final location to deploy the Epsilon Deep-Range Array System (commonly referred to at R&D as the EDRAS Array) — it must be no further than three light-years away from the Nepo Cluster in order to harness the subspace fluctuations, but no closer than 1.5 light-years away from any stellar body to avoid static-creating distortions. (Note: One grid square on the map is two light-years on a side.)

  3. The following are several situations that occur on your watch. For each scenario, describe what the nearest (or most relevant) starship to that event should be, what that ship should do in response, and how your fleet status could or should change as a result. Describe also any diplomatic efforts your staff should be making. Assume that events from one scenario will not directly affect the others. (Remember, your full fleet will not arrive until Question Three.)

    1. A series of food riots have broken out on Rudellia. Cardassian citizens on the sparsely populated southern continent are protesting the high output quotas imposed by the colonial government in order to maintain food shipments to Cardassia Prime. The colonial governor asks for your help in supressing the riots.

    2. A Ferengi Marauder is seen making runs between the Logno outpost and the various Scytali worlds. This is highly unusual, because the Scytali normally handle trade to and from their worlds with their own transports.

    3. The USS Republic (Galaxy class) has passed through the sector to begin a three-year survey of the region beyond Sector Epsilon. Two weeks into the mission, however, you get a distress call, which is quickly cut off, leaving nothing but static. You have the Republic’s planned flight route, but cannot be certain exactly where the distress call emanated from the nearby sector. Starfleet has ordered you to mount a search and rescue effort. Which ship(s) will you send, and how will you alter the deployment of your remaining ships in the mean time?

  4. Create another scenario like the ones presented in part (C). Any reasonable military, political or scientific scenario is acceptable. However, do not answer the scenario yourself. Rather, it will be answered by the others as part of Question Three. Also, assume that the fleet will not have arrived when this scenario is answered.

Question Three

  1. 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. Remember that your fleet has not yet arrived in the sector yet.

  2. Your fleet has finally arrived! And just in time, too — rumors have been flying around of a Dominion ship or three that refused to believe the surrender orders that went out at the end of the war, that are now roaming around the sector somewhere. Or hiding out in the Nepo Cluster. Or taking refuge with the Scytali. One Bellondan freighter shows you sensor footage supposedly revealing a Jem’Hadar cruiser and two accompanying fighters — but the video is staticy and possibly inconclusive. Draw up a response plan to investiage these rumors and search for the renegade ships. (Note: Remember that the Nautilus and the T’Pethan have now headed back towards Federation space for decommissioning. However, any ships you sent looking for the missing USS Republic — including Nautilus and/or T’Pethan if you sent them — in Question Two are still searching.)

  3. A Cardassian scouting expedition has struck gold — or rather, latinum. Star system NK-9717 is wholly unremarkable — a single dim, K6-type star with no habitable planets... but the eighth planet has the potential of becoming the Alpha Quadrant’s biggest source of valuable natural resources since Janus VI a century ago. They’ve sent over two of the Hidekis to patrol the area, but, seeing as Cardassia is seriously short on military resources and restricted by the surrender terms after the war, they request that you assign a starship to patrol the general area and contribute to the outpost’s defense.

  4. Hidnad III
    Distance from Sector Epsilon: 34.2 light-years
    Type: Class L (marginal)
    Diameter: 2,300 kilometers
    Temperature: -85°C to 15°C

    If you sent a ship to search for the USS Republic in the previous question, you’ve found it — what remains of it, that is — near the unexplored planet Hidnad III. Most of the ship’s escape pods are found in a “gaggle” cluster in orbit, but survivors report that they saw some of the pods heading into the atmosphere. You’re picking up distress beacons from the planet — but the planet’s energetic atmosphere is bouncing the radio signals around, and you can’t get a precise fix on any humanoid lifesigns. Based on the planetary topography map (see below) and the resources available on the rescue ship(s) you sent, draw up a plan to search for the landed pods. The boxed area of the map is where you think the pods landed, but you can’t be certain some of them landed elsewhere.

  5. The civil disturbances on Rudellia have intensified recently. Not only is the general population blaming the local Cardassian government, but several demonstrations have begun calling for the Federation and the Klingons to provide additional aid. Demonstrations have begun to turn violent, however, after an incident at the Klingon embassy in Ratol, the capital city. In a typical display of Klingon “diplomacy,” the local Klingon commander, Captain Doral, orders one of his Birds-of-Prey in orbit to fire several shots around the edges of a large crowd surrounding the embassy grounds that had refused to disperse, in order to “encourage” them to leave. While the action did achieve the immediate goal, Doral’s handling of the situation has only further enraged the Cardassians against the occupation forces.

Question Four

  1. Rather than withdrawing from Rudellia, the Klingons send reinforcements instead. A Vor’cha attack cruiser and two old K’t’inga battle cruisers arrive in-system with 2,000 fresh troops, which are immediately transported to the surface. Shortly thereafter, Cardassian Governor Relat Dajed informs you that the Klingons are there at the colonial government’s request, to help put down the “dissident movements” which have recently sprung up. But rather than suppressing the rioting populace, the locals only become more enraged. There’s even talk of open revolt in some quarters.

    Describe what you believe Starfleet’s role is in the management of Cardassian affairs, considering the resolution of the Dominion War and the state of the Cardassian Union. How much authority do you have — or how much can you take? Which side would you support? What course of action would be your first choice, and why? (Remember that Starfleet’s resources are stretched thin after the war, so Command is not likely to grant you any additional resources at this time.)

  2. A Ferengi D’kora-class shows up in System NK-9717. The ship’s captain, DaiMon Taro, claims that his ship had surveyed the system a month ago and left a buoy in orbit of the eighth planet, where the newly-established Cardassian mining colony is now located. The Cardassians respond that there was no buoy in the system when they found it. Taro claims that the Cardassians deliberately destroyed the buoy to claim the system for themselves — and threatens to reclaim his “assets” by force if necessary. Though no one’s truly intimidated by a blustering Ferengi, the Cardassians petition you to mediate the dispute.

  3. There’s been a coup on Scytale. A small religious faction, previously in the minority, has sprung up practically overnight and taken over the government — mostly without bloodshed. Called the Nek’sha’va (translation: “heralds”), they’re vowing a restoration of Scytali society following the devastation of the Dominion War. They claim that the Jem’Hadar invasions were a sign from God that the Scytali must change their ways or be damned. (The Scytali religion is fairly widely accepted on their worlds, although not universally, and several differing interpretations of the belief system exist. Not everyone’s exactly happy about this change of leadership.)

    1. The Nek’sha’va start by cutting off trade agreements with all foreign governments. This is of particular concern to the Bellondans, who have had a growing trade relationship with the Scytali, providing them with raw materials in exchange for hi-tech goods which their local industrial base can’t yet produce — things like parts for commercial fusion reactors, long-range subspace transmitter arrays, and the link. The Federation can cover some of these shortfalls due to their new member status in the Federation, but the supply network doesn’t yet exist to replace the lost goods yet.

    2. The Scytali unilaterally annex the DE-7019 system and immediately start building fortifications there, claiming that the system is needed for their security — as a buffer zone against future Cardassian incursions. There’s nothing apparently important about the system aside from its location — no major resources that aren’t found anywhere else, no likely planetary colonies... no major targets.

    3. There are rumors flying around that the Scytali revolution has been supported by the Dominion. It’s the Changelings! It’s the Breen! It’s the Borg! They’re still in our midst, and even Starfleet doesn’t know about it! How do you handle this news, specifically?

  4. Create a scenario of your own, similar to the ones you wrote for Question Two Part (D). You may create a “sequel” to your original question, if you so choose. This time, however, involve the entire task force in the situation. Again, do not answer the scenario yourself.

Question Five

  1. Answer one of the other scenarios created by another participant from Question Four. You can answer the same scenario that someone else has already responded to.

  2. There are more rumors about a Jem’Hadar ship loose in the sector. One of your ships on patrol near the Nepo Cluster comes across a Kretassian freighter that’s being attacked by a lone Jem’Hadar attack fighter. The attacker attempts to flee at the approach of your starship, but it is overtaken and destroyed.

    That’s not the end of it, however, as the Scytali drop a bombshell. A special delegation from Scytale informs you that the Jem’Hadar warships are captured units that the Scytali have operated themselves since the end of the war. The reason that the attack ship in the recent incident was firing upon the frieghter, they say, is because it was a smuggler attempting to flee Republic space with a cargo of restricted goods.

    The Scytali accuse you of interfering with their affairs and threatening their sovereignty, and demand that you immediately hand over the Kretassian captain and his ship to them, and also pay reparations for their destroyed ship. Will you comply with their demands?

  3. Sector Epsilon map: Revised Borders

    Continuing their diplomatic offensive, the Scytali have pressured for recognition of their annexation of system DE-7019. Already the Cardassian government has indicated their willingness to accept the new borders — after all, they’re not in any position to make use of the system. However, the issue of interstellar borders is a political matter, not something you have the authority to set on your own.

    Your regular monthly report is going out to Starfleet Command tomorrow morning. What actions do you recommend that the Federation Council take, and why? Provide a short list of pros and cons. (Remember that most Councilors won’t be interested in an out-of-the-way sector, so you need to give a justification for increased involvement.) Also, what will you do in the mean time?

  4. The chaos on Rudellia is getting even worse. The small riots have exploded into a full-blown revolution agsinst the colonial government. Armed conflict has been reported in all of the major cities, between loyal Cardassian security forces supported by Klingon troops and various militia groups that have sprung up. The fighting isn’t confined to the cities, though — skirmishes have happened in the surrounding farmlands and mountains, too. React to the following developments:

    1. Cardassian Governor Relat Dajed is assassinated in an audacious attack on the government building in the capital. This severely weakens the Cardassians’ control over the colony, as there’s no eligable official to replace him — aside from various minor administrators. Junior Deputy Minister (of Education) Omac Tonar has provisional authority, but he has practically no experience and has only seen more chaos take over the colony.

    2. Map of Kartonnac City, Rudellia

      A group of Federation citizens — mainly social workers and facilitators — have been caught on the surface by the fighting. Approximately 120 people are holed up in the Federation consulate in the outlying city of Kartonnac, and the entire city has been under heavy bombardment from makeshift phaser artillery units set up around the perimeter by one of the militia groups. (Someone — either the government forces or the militias — has also set up a transporter scattering field somewhere in the vicinity, so beaming is not an option.) The civilians are running out of water and fuel, among other things. They may be under direct threat — or be forced to expose themselves to danger — if they’re not pulled out very soon. Based on the map of the region, rough intelligence of the nearby artillery units (red markers, see map) and the available Starfleet assets you already have in the system, develop a rescue plan. Include alternative scenarios for potential situations that may develop during the operation (e.g. militia firing on you, the civilians relocating to another building, etc.).

    3. The food shortage is becoming more acute on Cardassia Prime. As one of the “breadbasket” planets of the Union, the drop in incoming food is causing serious problems on the devastated homeworld. Resources are already seriously stretched in providing relief, and it’s unlikely that all of the shortage from Rudellia will be covered any time soon. The Federation Council is trying to mobilize as much as possible, but they’re pressuring you to restore order ASAP.

    4. The Romulan Warbird Derivan enters the Rudellian system. Its captain, an arrogant young Commander named Korilim, announces that he’s been ordered to bring a regiment of 1,200 crack troops to assist in the situation.

  5. The Federation (civilian) freighter SS Shoalhaven, on a run from Bellonda to New Id’aho, reports seeing a squadron of Scytali warships hanging around the UD-004 system. When the Shoalhaven spotted the Scytali ships, they gave pursuit. However, after ten minutes of chasing them, the Scytali suddenly broke off and headed back the way they came. How do you react to this incident?

Question Six

  1. The situation on Rudellia is resolved when the Cardassian government finally steps in — with a half-dozen Galor-class strike cruisers. Following an orbital bombardment targeting the major centers of resistance, Commander Korilim and Gul Nadek send in more than 5,000 ground troops (supplementing the 1,000+ Klingons already on the ground and the remains of the original Cardassian security force) to wipe out the remnants of the militias.

    The fighting’s over, but the underlying problem of the food quotas, the colonial government, the local militias — it’s quiet because there’s plenty of guns to keep everybody quiet. Already, civilian interest groups in the Federation like Amnesty Interplanetary are getting involved, pressuring the Cardassian government to stop the crackdown or the Federation Council to intervene. But there’s no sign of either happening any time soon.

    With a whole flotilla of starships hanging around Rudellia (the Klingons have one Vor’cha, two K’t’ingas, and two Birds-of-Prey, the Romulans one Warbird, and the Cardassians six Galors — not to mention any Starfleet ships you have deployed in the area) there’s a lot of confusion. What’s your course of action?

  2. Out in the Nepo Cluster, there’s an extraordinary astronomical event about to take place. Caught in the gravitational clutches of the black hole, an ancient white dwarf star has been caught in an elliptical orbit for millions of years. But its orbit has gradually degenerated, to the point where it has been losing matter to the insatiable, infinite maw of the black hole. The scientists down in Stellar Cartography predict that the dwarf will finally be torn apart within the next couple of weeks, unleashing an immense amount of energy. This type of event has never been seen in the galactic neighborhood in recent memory, and it’s a great chance for scientific research.

    The Ramon has been slated to perform a three-month research mission to observe the upcoming cataclysm. Unfortunately, any starship sent into the Nepo Cluster will be completely cut off from subspace communications for the duration of the mission, due to the various electromagnetic garbage floating around in the region. Does the Ramon’s mission stay on, will you assign another ship for the job, or just scratch the mission altogether? Justify your answer.

  3. One of your starships on patrol in the general vicinity of New Id’aho receives a planetary distress call from the Murbella System, a relatively low-tech, out-of-the-way planet about 4 light-years across the border from Sector Epsilon, and not too far from Scytali space. Although the transmission is very staticy (apparently due to jamming), you can deduce that the Scytali have launched a major invasion of Murbella. Long-range scans detect at least a dozen ships in the Murbella System — ten destroyers, the Jem’Hadar heavy cruiser, and one large, unknown silhouette. The Murbellans have had only occasional contact with the Federation, but the voice on subspace — apparently some University student working a futuristic-equivalent HAM radio — pleads for someone — anyone — to send help.

  4. In the UD-004 System, any ship(s) you sent to investigate the Scytali presence find a partially-assembled battle station tended by various construction ships, six destroyers, and another unknown heavy cruiser, similar to the silhouette detected over Murbella. As your starship(s) approach the outskirts of the system, two destroyers vector in at high speed, weapons hot, targeting scanners activated, and...

Question Seven

  1. ...The Scytali destroyers at UD-004 open fire on your starship, and give chase if it tries to flee the system. The unknown heavy cruiser gives pursuit as well, quickly catching up and joining the attack, and the combined fire brings your ship out of warp and destroys it. (If you sent more than one ship, the smaller ship manages to escape while the larger ship engages the Scytali and gives them a chance to get away.)

    The Scytali broadcast a message, proclaiming their resistance to Federation encroachment in the sector, vowing to ensure the eternal safety of the Republic from all outside influences, and promising divine vengeance upon all who support the alien infidels.

    Scytali Type-1 Heavy Cruiser
    Length: 720 meters
    Armament: 22+ disruptor ports and 8 torpedo launchers
    Speed: Warp 9.85 (observed)

    One bit of good news: before it was destroyed, your ship managed to send you basic readouts on the Scytali heavy cruiser, giving you a rough idea of its size and capabilities. The stats are listed to the right.

  2. In response to your repeated requests, Starfleet sends you reinforcements: two ships. The USS Leviathan (Ambassador class, NCC-26985) and the USS Honolulu (Steamrunner class, NCC-52174) were on a patrol in Cardassian territory and could be quickly diverted to Sector Epsilon. Starfleet promises that further reinforcements will be provided soon, but they don’t say exactly when they’ll arrive, or how many they’ll send.

    How will you deploy your newly-arrived assets?

  3. A pair of Scytali destroyers raid the EDRAS Array. If you left the (automated) station unguarded, they destroy it outright and get away scot-free. If you had a vessel on patrol in the immediate vicinity, they manage to destroy one attacker and drive the other off, but not before they cause major damage and knock the array completely off-line. Repair time estimates (barring further combat nearby) are four to five weeks.

    Either way, the result is the same — subspace comms throughout the entire sector have been disrupted. Your far-flung units have to rely on more time-consuming relays from starship to starship and through Bellonda and Rudellia to communicate with each other, and these secondary systems don’t have the bandwidth to handle all of the usual comm traffic, causing intermittent outages. Contact with New Id’aho is cut off completely (except for ship-to-shore transmissions between any starships in the system and Bellonda, routed through other ships in between). How will you organize damage control? Will you change your fleet deployment because of the outage?

  4. Respond to the following developments in the conflict:

    1. The Scytali are about to raid New Id’aho! Colony sensors indicate a typical squadron of four destroyers approaching at high warp.

    2. You receive a distress call from a Ferengi D’kora-class Marauder, approximately 3 light years “south” of the Logno outpost. They report being attacked by a pair of Scytali destroyers without provocation.

    3. The Klingons and the Romulans both refuse to get involved in the conflict, calling it a Federation affair. They don’t send any of their ships beyond the Cardassian borders in Sector Epsilon. The Cardassians are unable to commit any ships anyway, since they are prohibited from deploying military units beyond their borders except in transit between Cardassian worlds anyway.

    4. The Cardassians send word of an unidentified, stealthed ship snooping around their mining colony in the NK-9717 System.

  5. You detect a large Scytali force departing Scytali space (projected origin point is Scytale itself) on a course for Bellonda. Long-range sensors indicate one heavy cruiser, one medium cruiser, and 8 destroyers, traveling in formation at Warp 9. ETA, 48 hours. Design and implement a defense plan in response.

Question Eight

Since the last question, the following things have happened:

  1. As expected at the end of the last question, the Scytali attack New Id’aho. Depending on your reaction, one of the following scenarios occurs:

    1. If you decided to hold your ground in the last question, the Scytali destroyers launch a full-out assault on your defenses. One ship manages to get past your lines (including any orbital defenses you may have set up) and briefly strafe the colony. Many of the structures in the central district are destroyed, but fortunately casualties are minimal, as the colonists were in disaster shelters on the outskirts of the settlement at the time. The Scytali then disengage and begin to retreat.

    2. If you decided to evacuate the colony instead, you don’t have time to get everyone out before the Scytali arrive. (It turns out that the colony population was vastly underestimated by the previous census; there are actually about 11,000 people living down there.) As a result, at least 1,500 colonists are left on the surface when your starships are forced to raise their shields and defend themselves — or more, if your starships don’t have enough room for them all.** The Scytali destroyers attack, the same as in the other scenario above. However, they quickly realize that they caught you in the middle of an evacuation, and they beam a contingent of soldiers down to the surface, somewhere west of the colony. You can’t be certain just how many were beamed down, but your people’s best guess is at least 300 of them. Then, one of two things happens:

      1. If you have three or more ships in the system, the (remaining) Scytali destroyers retreat out of the system. You receive a few scattered reports that the landed soldiers may be setting up for a guerrilla surface war.

      2. If you have only one or two ships in the system, the Scytali destroyers disengage and withdraw a few AU’s, but then stop. You receive a curt transmission from the Scytali offering a temporary cease-fire to allow you to complete your evacuation of the colony peacefully, after which they will take posession of the planet.

    For all participants: Based on the assets you currently have in the New Id’aho System and the official count of four attacking destroyers, make a reasonable projection of both Starfleet and Scytali losses in the battle. Indicate also if you choose to consolidate your position at New Id’aho or chase down the Scytali.

    Note: According to the TNG Tech Manual, a Galaxy-class starship can evacuate a maximum of 1,250 people onto the starship in an hour using all transporters and shuttlecraft. That rate would obviously be much lower with smaller ships that have fewer transporter rooms and shuttlecraft available. Although I generally dislike the inaccurate specifications in its Appendix, I would suggest referring to the DS9 Tech Manual for the evacuation capacities of various Starfleet vessels.

  2. You manage to drive off the attack on Bellonda — moderate damage to your largest in-system ship, and light damage to any other ships. Unfortunately, Neither Nor sustained major damage to several outer sections, especially those that were under construction at the time and left exposed to attack. Although you didn’t lose anything irreplaceable, your engineers estimate that the completion of Neither Nor’s upgrades will be delayed by at least six months. As a result, the station’s combat capability has been reduced to approximately 40% of optimum (assuming operational, upgraded systems like on DS9).

    Assess the outcome of the assault. Decide whether your response and the engagement was a success or a failure, and how you might have been able to react better had you had more time to react.

  3. In light of the current crisis, the Federation Council has agreed to a temporary suspension of the clause in the Treaty of Bajor restricting deployment of Cardassian warships outside their borders. The Cardassians, eager to earn the goodwill of the Federation, inform you that they are sending a wing of four Galor-class strike cruisers and ten escorting Hideki-class patrol ships to assist in the “common defense” of Federation and Cardassian interests. This fleet is commanded by Gul Daned, an experienced veteran, but for all practical purposes, he is under your nominal command for the duration of their deployment — and he has personally expressed his interest in full cooperation.

    The question, though, is whether you want to have Cardassian assistance. In the aftermath of the Dominion War, the Cardassians are hardly the most popular people in the sector — remember, they occupied Bellonda and attacked Tamalane. Accepting the assistance of their forces may make a peaceful resolution to the conflict much less likely, and encourage more widespread resentment from the Scytali towards the Federation. Accepting Cardassian assistance is not likely to make you too popular with the Bellondans, either.

  4. Back on Neither Nor, you are quietly approached by a small delegation of Scytali who claim to represent a group called the Del’en-i’av (translation: “Brotherhood for Freedom”), a counterrevolutionary movement fighting to overthrow the Nek’sha’va movement currently in power. They ask for support from Starfleet — food, raw materials, medical supplies, fuel, small ships, and weapons... and hopefully, Starfleet forces to assist in overseeing the peace once peace is established. Will you provide the Del’eni’av with assistance? How far will you go to help them?

  5. Starfleet Intelligence has finally provided you with some intelligence on the four planets of the Scytali Republic. Discuss and react to the information provided in the four documents linked below. Also point out further gaps in available data you believe you need.

Question Nine

Your daily briefing this morning brings you up to speed on the following developments. Comment as necessary.

Task Force 332
Rear Admiral Mercer Benz, Commander

There are a couple of addenda to the intelligence above:

And now, let the wild rumpus begin!

  1. Task Force 332 arrives, and Admiral Benz tells you that everything’s ready to go. One minor problem: in their communiqué, Starfleet did not specify who should be in charge. How will you solve this command dilemma? You are in command of the sector, but Admiral Benz has greater combat experience. You both technically have the same rank, as well. (Admirals who participated in the Sector Beta scenario may simply repeat their answer from there if they wish. Also, everyone may choose to ignore the “Janeway Rule” concerning the tactically superior ship.)

  2. The Del’en-i’av representative tells you that they wish to support the upcoming offensive. They offer to commit all of their forces (listed above) to join the battle. However, they wish to strike a direct and immediate blow on Scytale itself, arguing that the Nek’sha’va will collapse if their primary seat of power is attacked. The representative also assures you that a popular uprising is almost guaranteed to develop once your forces show up. Your intelligence advisors, however, aren’t so sure — there aren’t many indicators of widespread discontent with the new militant government right now.

  3. Plan your assault on the Scytali Republic. Your available forces include all Starfleet ships, 11 Klingon ships, and 14 Cardassian ships. (Omitting, of course, any ships you’re leaving to defend your rear at Bellonda and other locations.)

    1. Define your overall political and strategic goals for this offensive.
    2. Plan the actual offensive. Do you have both primary and secondary targets? Will you divide your forces to strike multiple locations at once, or strike a single target at once?
    3. Remember the multiplanetary nature of your assault fleet. Starfleet and Klingon forces have worked together many times before, but the Cardassians have never participated in joint operations with either Federation or Klingon forces on a fleet scale before. Will you make any adjustments or concessions in your plan, to avoid any inter-service conflict?
    4. Just as important as getting in, is your plan for getting out. If you should fail to achieve your primary objective(s), what is your fallback plan? What do you consider the minimum acceptable success?
  4. Okay, everything’s ready. Your forces are about to drop out of warp at their first target(s). Weapons are hot, and there are red lights flashing everywhere. All the fleet needs are motivational words from their Admiral before they go into battle. A short speech, evocative of the finest commanders in Starfleet, must be uttered to ensure victory. The bosun’s whistle sounds, and you confidently say to all hands...

Question Ten

  1. Objectively critique one of the other attack plans from Question Nine. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the plan? What suggestions for improvement would you recommend?

  2. Assume that your offensive into the Scytali Republic succeeds, with a loss of no more than 30% of the forces you committed to the assault. (Actual numbers aren’t too important at this juncture.) The Nek’sha’va government has collapsed, its leaders have fled the capital or gone into hiding. The Federation is sending in a peacekeeping force, siphoned from the occupation units in Cardassian territory, to supplement the Del’en-i’av troops that have already established themselves on Scytale... but the Del’en-i’av hardly have the manpower to occupy all four planets. Therefore, there’s still lots of leftover resistance in the outskirts — any systems where you didn’t strike (and commit ground forces to) still have leftover Nek’sha’va forces running around and causing anarchy. (Think of it as similar to the US/UN occupation of Afghanistan immediately following the fall of the Taliban.)

    The Federation is also sending a special ambassador to the sector, who asks you to offer your comments on the plan. The Federation does not want to commit too many resources here after the assault — Starfleet’s resources are already stretched thin by the occupation of the Cardassian Union, not to mention the resources spent cleaning up the damage done to member worlds in the Dominion War. Therefore, Admiral Benz’s task force will be returning to its previous patrol circuit as soon as possible. The current plan calls for the Del’en-i’av to establish a provisional ruling council until free elections can be held, to establish a new government.

    1. Would you consider this a reasonable plan? What minimum Starfleet presence would you recommend for the occupation, based on what forces the Nek’sha’va probably have left following your assault, the available Del’en-i’av forces, and the fact that the Federation does not want to commit too much here? What other points should the Federation consider in the occupation and monitoring?

    2. The Nek’sha’va may be down, but they’re not out. Their remaining forces seem to be attempting to regroup in any system that you passed over or did not attack during your offensive. There are also a large number of ground forces left in the Murbella System — effectively stranded without spacegoing escorts for their bulky transports, but not impotent where they are. Although the senior leadership is gone, they are still capable of causing trouble. Again taking into account your remaining forces, how would you recommend mopping up the remnants?

    3. The Del’en-i’av want to establish a war crimes tribunal to prosecute those members of the Nek’sha’va that orchestrated the coup that started the war.

    4. The Klingons offer ground support for rooting out the remaining Scytali resistance — at least 10,000 troops are available for immediate deployment, the High Command tells you.

    5. Completely without warning, five Scytali destroyers blast out of the Nepo Cluster, using the subspace distortions as cover, and attack Bellonda. Evading your point-defense assets and shrugging off any damage received, they manage to launch a barrage of disruptor blasts, aimed directly at the planet’s most populated city. Casualties are in the thousands. Though all five Scytali destroyers are destroyed afterward as they try to escape the system, it’s clear that the damage has already been done. How will you handle this final blow?

  3. Now, it’s time to pick up the pieces that were dropped earlier...

    1. Remember the uprising on Rudellia? The Cardassians have managed to reinstate their colonial government, and order has been restored. The agricultural relief shipments to Cardassia are flying again, albeit not anywhere near previous levels. Peace has returned... for the most part. It seems that there are a few pockets of rebels remaining, and they’re intent on causing as much damage as possible. A Cardassian transport carrying a shipment of quadrotriticale to Cardassia Prime inexplicably explodes barely a light-year away from Rudellia; all indications point to sabotage — a bomb was planted on board.

    2. Remember that sensor ghost near the Cardassian mining colony back in Question Seven? It turns out that, when their ownership dispute got tabled because of the little problem of an interstellar war, the Ferengi decided to take the initiative. DaiMon Taro purchased a contraband cloaking device and secretly established the mining colony on the surface of NK-9717 IV, on the opposite side of the planet from the Cardassian colony. He’s revealed the base now that it’s fully manned and operational. Naturally incensed, the Cardassians demand the immediate removal of the outpost, but have no military forces available to enforce that demand. (Remember that the Cardassians were allowed to field their military abroad exclusively for the Scytali conflict.) Taro insists that he’s not going anywhere, doesn’t want the whole planet, and is only claiming his rightful assets.

    3. Remember that spectacular astronomical event in the Nepo Cluster? If you sent a ship to observe the destruction of the white dwarf star by the black hole in the Nepo Cluster, it’s overdue for its return to Bellonda. Based on the average sensor range of only 1,000 AU inside the electromagnetic soup of the Cluster, what kind of search mission (if any) will you mount? Considering the possibility of Scytali foul play, what kind of security precautions (if any) will you take?

  4. It’s time to move on. Once again, Starfleet commends your job here, and promptly orders you to pack up your office and take off. The incoming Admiral will need a briefing, however, before he continues your work, and that is your final official duty. As with Sector Redux, 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.

  5. Choose one of the remaining ships in your fleet — as long as it’s not the largest ship. It will take you to Sector Zeta, and at your discretion will (eventually) join your new fleet there. Alternatively, a Yeager-class starship will ferry you there.

Whew! This went on for a while, didn’t it? I’d originally planned to write six — maybe seven — parts to this scenario. But it just turned out to be too much fun! Stay tuned for Sector Zeta (with a possibly-surprising twist for those of you who haven’t been paying attention), coming to a SCN Forum near you!

Dan (9/23/2003)