Written by Shik, Based on the Series by Mark Nguyen
Boy howdy, didn’t we have fun the last time with the Prime Directive? I wonder if there’s an overriding element in this one, too? Maybe. Maybe not. I’m not gonna say.
Since Monsieur de Minutiae is otherwise occupied by other elements, I’ve gone ahead with the next episode of YTA!. It’s the Sobchak Sector and it’s a doozy.
The map key, rules, and disclaimer:
- Each sector is approximately 20 cubic ly. At warp nine, a starship will take approximately five days to traverse a side.
- Each unnamed dot/circle represents a main-sequence star with little interesting about it unless noted. Some may be inhabited or habitable but are not one serious note.
- Each planet is in a star system, and except where noted is class-M. Circle sizes are not relevant.
- Blue circles denote major Federation-affiliated systems and installations.
- Red circles denote major Klingon-affiliated systems and installations.
- Yellow circles denote primary systems of interest.
- Purple circles denote home systems of non-aligned governments.
- The space in the adjoining sectors is essentially devoid of anything interesting or valuable. Borders extend in straight lines beyond that which is noted.
- Unless noted, all inhabited planets are occupied by humanoid species with a variety of bumpy heads.
Timeline: 2275. That means that yes, you’re still wearing those silly pajamas from TMP. But no more wrist communicators at least.
As you can see this is a complicated area. it is located somewhat “below” the normal galactic plane; Organia would be a bit above it, but a few sectors away. Federation space is in blue. Klingon space is red. the space of the Penxi Optimus, a non-aligned nation, is in green. Dashed lines indicate the “hidden” borders. Notice how the spaces wrap around each other; there is overlap:
The green/purple area to the right is a border between the Klingons and the Penxi; from the map view angle, the Penxi are “in front.”
The blue/green area to the left center is a border between the Federation and the Penxi; from the map view angle, the Federation is “in front.” Not the element that juts out.
The red/blue area to the top center is a border between the Klingons and the Federation; from the map view angle, the Federation is “in front.”
The orange area in the center is the Ul’Chek nebula, and overlaps some small bit of space of all three territories.
As you can see, this is an area of heavy stellar population. There are three Klingon worlds of note: Rosek II, Voltok III, and Ke’GencH VII. The Oblerk Military Base also sits near your the border and the nebula.
Your office is aboard Deep Space Station K-10, situated near the Klingon border in free space. It serves as an administrative site for Federation policy, a starbase for fleet coordination, and acts as a major trade and transit point in the sector. There are five major Federation worlds in the sector:
- Star type: Binary system, A3V (system primary), K6V
- Number of planets: 6 planets, 30 dwarf planets
- Classes (inner to outer orbits): N, M (3 small moons), L, asteroid belt, D, J, wide asteroid belt, J
- Member world: Repka II
- Population: 1.8 million
- Government: Competency-based anarchy (the more you know and the better you do, the more widely regarded you are held)
- Type: Industrial/agricultural colony
- Notes: Originally an Earth colony founded 2182
- Star type: Binary system, F3V (system primary), white dwarf
- Number of planets: 6 planets, 10 dwarf planets
- Classes (inner to outer orbits): B, D, G, M, asteroid belt, Q, J
- Member world: Yvel IV
- Population: 4.1 billion
- Government: Learned oligarchy (only the learned hold power; the more you know, the more power you have)
- Type: Species homeworld
- Notes: A well-known place of study for scholars of all fields
- Star type: Binary system, O1III, G4V (system primary)
- Number of planets: 7 planets
- Classes (inner to outer orbits): D, D, H, F, G, M, asteroid belt, T (81 moons)
- Member world: Ogul VI
- Population: 11.3 billion
- Government: Participatory republic (the people vote directly—no representatives)
- Type: Species homeworld
- Notes: Ogul VII is a class-T ultragiant that is effectively a failed star. Of its 81 moons, 6 are class-M, 2 are class-L, and 12 are class-K. Most of these have been colonized lightly or greatly in some measure by the Ogul and by other Federation citizens. Many of the rockier class-D moons have been colonized much like Luna as well.
- Star type: Single system, G2V
- Number of planets: 8 planets, 4 dwarf planets
- Classes (inner to outer orbits): Y, E, N, O, M, K, J, J
- Member world: Espejo V
- Population: 5.3 billion
- Government: Benevolent fascism
- Type: Federation colony
- Notes: Founded 2197. Espejo IV is a class-O pelagic world that has several oceanographic research stations in its seas.
- Star type: Single system, B1Ib
- Number of planets: 4 planets
- Classes (inner to outer orbits): M, D, C, C
- Member world: Safko I
- Population: 985,000
- Government: Theocratic democracy
- Type: Dissident religious colony
- Notes: Originally an Earth colony founded 2093. The outer worlds are a major source of minerals and heavy metals.
There is also a non-aligned state, the Penxi Optimus:
- Penxi Optimus
- Number of inhabited star systems: 10
- Population: 185.3 billion
- Government: Despotic autocracy
- Technology: Equivalent to Federation ca. 2225-2235
- Defense: 4 heavy warships (Siegfried-class equivalent); 9 warships (Lancaster-class equivalent); 350 assorted smaller ships (frigates, destroyers, raider craft)
- Notes: First contact in 2203 by USS Vilnius. Known for raiding parties into both Federation and Klingon space. Known refuge for Orion and other pirates, renegade Klingons, and other assorted galactic scum.
The Ul’Chek Nebula which sits in the center of the sector is kinda biggish and somewhat unknown. It’s a fairly standard nebula causing midlevel sensor interference to ships that pass through it, which is why it’s used as a smokescreen by pirates and raiders; pursuers find their quarry quite difficult to track. it is unknown if there are any stars of planets contained within; at the moment, it is being charted and surveyed by an Oberth-class research vessel, USS Nernst (NCC-893).
There is a small standing patrol force homeported at K-10 that makes its rounds in the sector. It is as follows:
- USS India (NCC-1479), Lancaster-class
- USS Skua (NCC-1396), Kestrel-class
- USS Dazzler (NCC-1567) and USS Reporter (NCC-1787), Avenger-class
- USS Buccaneer (NCC-1686) and USS Spanker (NCC-1842), Predator-class
The yellow circle in the center of the map is Sobchak’s Planet, a newly charted class-M world orbiting as the fourth world out from a relatively boring G1V star. It is unknown if the Organian Peace Treaty extends to this area of space, but to be certain, Sobchak’s Planet has been placed under its auspice. That means both the Federation and the Klingons are going to be placing a colony on its surface. As per the treaty terms, whichever government’s colony sufficiently develops well enough is awarded oversight of the whole system.
As admiral for this sector, it is up to you to recommend the general elements of the Federation colony. What kind will it be: industrial? Agricultural? Mining? Residential? A combination of one or more? Will it be placed near the Klingons’ site? Away from them? Explain the reasons for your choices.
Based on your decision on the type of colony to be founded, outline what you wish to request from Starfleet in terms of support. Will you need freighters for machinery or livestock? Transports for colonists? How many? Will you require escorts? If so, how many and of what type? (Please note that due to their need elsewhere, there are no Constitution-, Pyotr Velikiy-, or the 2 new Belknap-class large cruisers available.)
The survey vessel in the Ul’Chek Nebula has reported unusual sensor oddities as it probes deeper. There is no further explanation as the crew has none to report. It might be Klingons, it might be Penxi, it might be swap gas reflecting off the hull. Ruminate upon possible courses of action, but do not act upon them.
The reports of piracy from commercial craft both large and small are beginning to rise. How will you address it? Does it affect your plans from questions 1A and 1B; if so, how?
A moment to step out of character here. I realize that the TMP era is sketchy on shippy canon, so I’ve allowed for some leeway, even if most of it DOES irk my sense of sequential hull numbers. That being said, I will allow for ships from the following non-canon sources (class inclusions or exceptions as noted):
- FJ Tech Manual: All except Federation
- ASDB: Antares
- TAS: Huron
- Ships Of The Star Fleet: Any vessel commissioned between 2235 and 2275 with the aforementioned exception of Decatur and Belknap (which by my notes should be the only 2 in service at that time)
- FASA: Any vessel commissioned between 2235 and 2275. You will of course need to figure out the conversion dates yourself.
- Starfleet Museum: Lancaster, Kestrel, Valley Forge, Avenger, Predator, Belleau Wood, Siegfried, Ocean, Giant, Constellation (his freighter, not the canon one), Starmaster, “small transport”, Sahara. (I will also accept Pyotr Velikiy if the situation arises where one is needed. That situation is not here at the moment)
If you use any non-canon ship, please include a link to it for those of us who are unaware of it—NO EXCEPTIONS. Also, whether any of these ships are refitted to movie-style standards is entirely up to you. They can be movie, they can be TOS, they can be mix and match. It’s not a problem.
Critique the development plan of another player. Identify problems and strong points, explaining your reasons.
Starfleet has agreed to your colony plans as well as the requested transport needs. However, only half your requested escorts are available. Command has given you the choice to pick, however, as an apology. Choose your fleet and identify how this will affect potential plans. Please not that the transports will be staying within the sector as colony support.
Starfleet has also asked you to fully requisition what you would require to set up a colony of the type you have decided upon. This colony is to sustain 5,000 colonists. Identify what items you feel would be necessary for this effort. Give reasons for your choices.
Starfleet Intelligence reports that the Klingon colony fleet has recently left Rosek II and is comprised of 5 D-18 transports carrying 5,500 Klingons and the associated colony supplies. They are believed headed to the Obrelk Military base whereupon they will be joined by the escort force: 2 refit D-6 cruisers, 3 of the new B’rel-class “birds of prey”, 1 K’teremny-class destroyer, and 1 K’t’inga-class battlecruiser. The entire fleet will then continue on to Sobchak’s Planet. The colony is believed to be a typical Klingon military and mining operation, and Intelligence believe that the choice of escorts indicate a possible continued military presence.
Your opposite number on the Klingon side, General Plis’Qen, relays a message to you about the activities of the Nernst in the Ul’Chek Nebula. He claims that the ship is in fact an intelligence-gathering ship whose true mission is to spy on the Klingon Empire. Also, after the recent destruction of a lone K-23-class vessel in the nebula, he maintains that the Federation is using the Penxi Optimus as agents against the Klingons. he’s pretty ireate about it and although he has not mentioned outright warfare, his tones are fairly well unmistakeable. Solve for x.
Speaking of the Penxi, a small raiding party zooms out and hits Safko I; 228 are dead and many supplies and technology items are taken. The head of the Safko government pleads for better defense but nothing too violent; his people are all religious pacifists. (imagine Quakers in space, if that helps) Discuss how you might better defend that area of space with the restrictions applied...or if you do not even feel that there needs to be a better defense. Explain your reasoning.
Create a scenario to be answered by other players in the next question.
Answer one scenario designed by another player in Q2(G). You may not answer your own. Answers to this segment will have no major bearing on the rest of the scenario.
The Klingon force comes under attack from unknown assailants while transiting the Ul’Chek Nebula. Those players with elements stationed in or near the the nebula, those elements have responded to assist the Klingons. Despite the battle, 2 D-18s have been crippled and are now straggling about 4 days behind the rest of the fleet; a D-6 and 2 B’rels have been detached to continue to escort them. General Plis’Qen is screaming a Federation setup: since the quickest route to Sobchak’s Planet is through the nebula, you and your “Starfleet masters” have conspired to deny the Klingons their rights. Is this a case of post hoc, ergo propter hoc? Address the issue.
The majority of the Klingon colonization force has arrived at Sobchak’s Planet and when they arrive, they take up the same exact spot that you’d planned on establishing the Federation colony. When you inform the Klingons of this, both General Plis’Qen and the colony leader, Governor Valg, say what effectively amounts to “tough shit.” What now?
The Federation colony force arrives at K-10. Along with it comes the leader and provisional colony head, Deputy Sector Undersecretary Qiao Feng. DSU Qiao is an officious nit who speaks only in the placations of bureaucracy and claims a family heritage of service extending back to the Xia Dynasty of China. He demands that you remove the Klingon colony from the spot they’ve occupied and resettle them elsewhere. He doesn’t go as far as to actually say “by any means necessary” but it’s certainly implicit in tone and body language.
A rumor reaches you that the leaders of Espejo V have contacted the governments of Yvel IV, Repka II, and Ogul VI to propose forming an active sector defense union that would operate outside of Starfleet jurisdiction. The rumors imply that the union would be comprised of local forces from the four worlds with a mandate to have ships patrol along the borders--not the system borders, but the UFP borders, stop suspected pirate vessels, actions of that sort. At the moment, you hear only whispers. Describe your thoughts. Sketch out any plans or possibilities that arise from your contemplations.
Your Sector Operations Officer comes to you late one night and reports an odd increase in computer activity. He notes that the items pulled have been things like proposed defenses of Sobchak’s Planet, colony proposals, and archives on the concept of totalitarian agriculture. He also reports that the access codes in effect for these odd pulls are those for Undersecretary Qiao.
Espejo V, Repka II, and Ogul VI have agreed to form what they call the Sector Guard; Yvel IV has opted out of the pact. The leaders inform you that they will immediately begin patrolling the borders by the Penxi and the nebula with local cutters and “heavy” local ships (equivalent to escorts or destroyers). How does this affect your plans for exploration and defense (if any)? Do you sanction them and their actions? Justify your reasons and account for this new paramilitary element.
The colony force is about to depart K-10 and the final meetings are being held. One of the remaining tasks is to plan the route that the convoy will take. DSU Qiao wants to get to Sobchak’s Planet as quickly as possible to catch up on any gains the Klingons might have gotten already; his direct route would take the convoy straight through the Ul’Chek Nebula. The captains of the escorts and transports would prefer to avoid the nebula, citing the astrogational hazards it poses; they wish to plot a route that avoids the nebula entirely but will add 3 days to the journey and will skirt the parts of Federation space that border the Penxi Optimus. It’s up to you to break the deadlock. Make your decision on the route, explaining your choice. Weigh your options and plan for contingencies.
It has been 1 week since Nernst has checked in with K-10. No word has been received, but no wreckage has been found either. Their last update reported nothing that implied a hazardous situation. Address.
The colony convoy is attacked by raiders out of nowhere. Two transports are quickly destroyed before the escorts can engage the enemy; did they carry food, equipment, or personnel? The battle is lengthy and running, and any local ships you have nearby respond. In the aftermath, you have taken heavy losses. If you have a small escort force, 3 or 4 ships have been lost (tiny loses 3, small/medium loses 4, but leave at LEAST one vessel to survive); if you have a large force, you lose 1 or 2 ships (large/medium loses 2, large loses 1). If any local ships respond, you lose 1 of those.
The Gor-Bahtki are a lesser race whose planet is in one of the lesser unnamed star systems on the map; they are not a Federation member but they have enjoyed normal relations with the UFP in the past. An update from Starfleet notes that they have contacted the Penxi about trade ties. React accordingly, taking into account current and existing sector issues as well as future plans.
The convoy makes finally starfall at Sobchak’s Planet. The unloading of the transports proceed apace and the convoy commander makes a report to you about the events. He notes that Qiao is convinced the Klingons are behind the attack because the pirate ships were cloaked and sensors recorded a neutron surge when they decloaked indicative of Klingon cloaking technology. Qiao infers from this that the Klingons contracted with a third party to ambush the convoy and thus have the planet forfeited to them. He also demands that you—as sector commander—“personally take steps” to avenge the attack and help the Federation (and him) save face.
USS Neulovimy, a Chandley-class ship has arrived at K-10 for repairs to damage sustained while fighting raiders near Simik [the star just to the lower-left of K-10]. Neulovimy’s captain reports to you that the force numbered 12 ships comprised of a kludge of designs and technologies; the major recognizable elements were Federation, Klingon, Romulan, and Orion. In his after-action report, he also notes that while the active long-range array was damaged, passive LR sensors were able to track the force to a point approximately 1.6 ly within Penxi space. Analyze and/or utilize this information.
A Sector Guard vessel finds debris floating 0.7 ly outside the Ul’Chek Nebula near the Klingon border. The largest pieces have been salvaged and brought to K-10. The analysis yields the following information: the pieces do have markings and composition consistent with that of the severely-overdue Nernst, that they have been explosively detached and released from the main body, and that residual particle decay indicates that it was done so by ship-mounted weaponry of Klingon design.
Starfleet Command has heard your pleas for more forces. Fleet Admiral Prrenth tells you, “We’re doing our best to try and gather a detachment to send your way, but it’s difficult to pull so many ships off station and not have gaps in our patrols and defenses.” The Quadrant Commander also offers this piece of advice: “Just hold the line the best you can however you can and we’ll get something to you as soon as we possibly can without compromising the border defense plan.”
A Zibalian merchant coming across the border from Voltok III makes mention in casual conversation of sighting a major Klingon force. When interrogated by your security and intel staff, she says that she didn’t get a good read on them because of the poor standards of her sensors. However, what she did note was that before they cloaked, the force was on a general heading toward the Ul’Chek Nebula. She offers her sensor logs to the intel staff and analysis yields no concrete information; the force appeared to be comprised of K’tingas, Klolodes, B’rels, K’teremnys, D-10s, and L-9s.
Write a question that deals with a situation on Sobchak’s Planet. It must deal only with an event on the planet and have no ship-based elements at all.
OK, gents, as I said, this is going to make up for lost time here. Please take notice of the time compression notations in bold contained within, yeh? Cheers.
Respond to TWO (2) of the player-written scenarios posted in Q5(E). Your answers will have minimal bearing on the long-term nature of the rest of this course.
Two weeks after Part (A), raiders attack a Klingon outpost world and escape through the Ul’Chek Nebula. In his usual after-action bluster, General Plis’Qen again accuses the Federation of using the raiders to circumvent the Organian sanction on direct hostilities. This time, however, he has what he declares is incontrovertible proof: an image of USS Nernst firing upon and destroying a B’rel.
Four days after Plis’qen’s angry communique, the Klingon force at Sobchak’s Planet as detailed in Q2 initiates a blockade of the planet. Planetary operations are unaffected (that is to say, the UFP colony is left alone), but no Federation vessel will be allowed to leave or enter the local space.
Starfleet Command has finally listened to your constant gripes and prompted by the blockade (which has not been challenged yet), a fleet of 25 starships makes starfall at K-10 five days after the blockade begins. Task Force 614 is made up of the following vessels:
TF 614 is commanded by Commodore Ayla Hage, commanding Essex. She reports to your office on K-10 and the two of you confer along with your respective staffs as to the current state of affairs. The general assessment is that the combined forces could go after the raider base noted in Q5(A) and the Klingon blockade simultaneously but that a consecutive full-fleet approach would be better for victory than a concurrent partial-fleet action. So what’s first: the raider base or the blockade? Explain your reasons and any possible complications that may arise from a plan you might put together. Assume that all vessels have been refitted to TMP-era cosmetics and standards. Also, USS Neulovimy (NCC-1945) from Q5(A) has completed repairs and may be drafted into your local fleet temporarily.
Two days after TF 614’s arrival, a small Klingon force comprised of 3 B’rel-class birds-of-prey and a single D-10 cruiser attack a small trade fleet retuning from Penxi space. The small convoy belongs to the lesser race that opened ties with the Penxi Optimus in Q4(D). The Klingons disable the vessels, board them, and seize the cargos along with any information on the Penxi contained within the computers. While the race involved is not a Federation member, the raid was conducted in what generally amounts to Federation space.
Two hours after the raid, Sector Guard vessels responding to the distress call sent by the aliens encounter and engage the Klingon party. They incur substantial losses, enough where approximately 55% of the Guard’s entire force is now decimated.
Three days after the attack, the Penxi Optimus launches an all-out attack against Sobchak’s Planet. Three of their Lancaster-equivalent vessels, one of the Siegfried-equivalents, and 75 of the smaller ships conduct the attack. The Klingon blockade force in orbit takes up the defense of the entire planet (if you have any vessels in orbit, assume that they, too, joined in) but is quickly overwhelmed by the fierceness of the Penxi strike. Several ships are destroyed, most are crippled, and Penxi troops begin landing in both Klingon and Federation settlements.
Communications with Sobchak’s Planet go dark a few hours after the attack. One week after the strike and occupation, no word has been received from either Governors Qiao or Valg.
About the same time (that 1-week span), the large Klingon force spotted in Q5(D) decloaks around the Penxi Optimus homeworld (I’ll leave the potential jokes open here) and begins orbitally bombarding it. Small raider-types effect a vigorous defense of the planet and bloody the Klingons’ nose; 3 vessels are destroyed, 5 are crippled.
Two days after the Klingon retaliation, a smuggled report from the Federation colony on Sobchak’s Planet reaches you. Short and urgent, the sender states that the Penxi are stripping the colony and planet of all natural resources. The populace is being utilized as slave labor regardless of age, gender, or infirmity, and there have been several deaths from overwork or punishment already. Among the first deaths was DSU Qiao, who was shot in the head point blank by a blaster-wielding trooper after an indignant and blustery protest of treatment. There is no word as to how the Klingon settlement is faring.
One day after the report is received, the large Klingon force decloaks off K-10 and hails the station. General Plis’Qen is embarked aboard one of the K’t’ingas and he formally requests repair, resupply, and rest at the station as per his rights under the Organian Peace Treaty. He also asks for a moment of your time, alone.
Told you it was going to be big.
Archivist’s Note: Sobchak Sector was put on indefinite hold and eventually abandoned.