Star Trek Online: S02E07 “Spin the Wheel” (spoilers)

Last week, we discovered that the out-of-phase life-sucking Devidians — the “blue ghosts” — had followed a comet into the Klingon-Federation neutral zone and were using the humanoids of the Alpha Quadrant as a tasty buffet.

This week, Section 31 operative Franklin Drake ordered the Federation News Service to investigate the Ferengi-run Drozana station. One of Drake’s undercover operatives, posing as a Dabo girl, had triggered an emergency beacon and requested immediate withdrawal. Though dubious about anything to do with Section 31, we are, after all, Starfleet officers first and correspondents second, and must do our duty when called.

The Ferengi who runs the station wasn’t immediately helpful, being somewhat fixated on getting his replicators working. They’d been developing intermittent glitches at about the same time the station lighting started flickering blue. If we could … well, of course we could. We went to the cargo bay to find the problem.

What a tangled mess of fused circuits and melted conduits! Working on non-Federation technology gives you a real appreciation of the virtues of regular maintenance. Once I had the replicators in a reasonable state, I had to reroute some circuits HERE, and connect THIS console to THAT one, but only after I’d switched THIS one on and … back to the replicator system, and it was all somehow working once more.

The Ferengi tried to weasel out of the deal (typical), but eventually showed us to Ze’mara, the undercover operative.

Ze’mara can, apparently, see the Devidians even when they are out of phase. A bit of political intrigue among the Klingon high houses was her news, and the blue ghosts were watching everything, occasionally surrounding a drunk Klingon or other reveler and making them… disappear. She just needed a moment to prepare to leave… in the meantime, we could play some Dabo, perhaps, and wait for her signal.

So we went and played some Dabo. Why not? Running the table was our old friend Leeta, late of Deep Space 9. I guess her husband, Rom, must have gotten a job on Drozana. We spun the Dabo wheel and — nothing. But Leeta screamed Dabo! anyway.

She said that if she’d waited for us to win legit, we’d be there all night. Leeta told us that if we really wanted to get to the bottom of the problems at Drozana station, we’d head to the lower levels; she had an access code for us. But if we wanted to catch Ze’mara, we’d better hurry, because she was about to take off.

We caught up to Ze’mara as she booked passage on a ship off-station. We didn’t need to know the details, but we should tell Franklin Drake that he would continue to get his intel, one way or the other.

Back at the ship, my first officer was full of concern about how we could possibly stop the Devidians whose entry into our phase must be eased by the passage of that “comet”. Perhaps we could stop by the Federation laboratories on Deep Space K-7; there were rumors of a new weapon.

At K-7, a Lieutenant Kalapo confirmed that there was a prototype weapon that proved useless against its intended use against a certain kind of cloaking, but might possibly be modified to prove useful against phase shifted Devidians. He would make those modifications and send the plans to Franklin Drake.

No sooner had we reported back to Drake than he sent us a crate of the new guns, already designed and tested. That was quick! He had some more groundwork to lay, but he told us to stay ready and alert — we had not yet seen the last of the Devidians.

Another fairly short mission. This one was entirely solo, which meant we hadn’t needed to make groups and become ready for battle. Even though the description of the mission made it seem like there would be no need for force, you can’t really be sure.

Next week’s episode brings us back to the lower levels of Drozana station, and promises to be a heck of a ground battle. The new gun will come in handy.

Star Trek Online: Skirmish (spoilers)

skirmish: a minor or preliminary conflict or dispute.

It is said that four thousand throats may be cut in one night by a running man. The same can be said of a Bird of Prey under warp when the disruptor beams run hot. Hot as the blood of a warrior; hot of the blood of your enemies filling your cupped hands. Hot enough to tear a rip through the fabric of space itself and show what peers from it the heart of a true warrior.
Continue reading Star Trek Online: Skirmish (spoilers)

Star Trek Online: Out in the Cold (spoilers)

In last week’s episode, “Cold Call“, we were introduced to the Deferans, a race that believes in balance in all things. They, for instance, see no reason to side with either the Klingon Empire or the Federation, and consider both allies against the Breen.

Searching for ancient Preserver technology, the Breen found evidence on the Deferan homeworld; and found as well, a non-violent, pliable civilization that they could exploit for their own, cold-hearted purposes.

While the Federation News Service (our STO fleet/guild) was setting up a foreign desk in the recently-liberated Deferan capital, beat reporters sent word that the Breen were in hot pursuit of some Deferan ships that had taken refuge in the tail of a comet.

We were first on the scene with the story. Ambassador Longasc’s flagship Amgarrak headed the fleet response; Bryn and I followed in our Intrepid-class science ships, the USS Monterey and the USS Auryn. Captain Xerxes warped in with her escort, the USS Redoubtable, and Lieutenant Thomas with his first command, the Miranda-class Scorpius, followed closely behind.

We dropped out of warp at the last known source of the distress call.

To all ships in range, this is the Deferi freighter Sabok! We are under attack and require immediate assistance! We have no weaponry aboard and our shields are failing! Anyone who can hear this, please help!

It’s said in space, nobody can hear you scream. But everyone can hear a distress call. Two Deferi freighters were pinned down by the Breen, only the comet’s tail protecting them from utter destruction. We headed in to save our newest allies.

It was a glorious fight, and the Breen seemed to have an endless supply of ships, each seeming larger than the other. The Amgarrak kept the attention of the capital ships as the Scorpius and the Redoubtable picked off the support craft. The Auryn and the Monterey were kept busy keeping the Amgarrak’s shields up and the Breen weakened.

The skies were finally clear of Breen, if not of huge, speeding comet.

A second Deferi ship needed our aid.

The is the Deferi ship Paktau!

We escaped from a Breen slaver attack and our antimatter containment unit and warp coils are non-functional. We need some replacement parts immediately! We are on the verge of a warp core breach! Is there any ship within range? Please help!

They need Warp Coils? How about some Seismic Stabilizers? Provisions? Entertainment Units? The industrial “Aid the Planet”-strength replicators that now are standard equipment on all Federation ships could make whatever was needed. We were in the area, and not even a handful of Breen capital ships could stop the FNS. If we could not defeat the Breen, perhaps we could at least tie up their industrial capacity for ship replacement.

One last ship, the Sobok, fled at the first sign of the Breen, and had perhaps taken refuge in the neighboring Zaria system. If we defeated the Breen there, we might well stop their slave trade forever. It was a chance we could not lose.

Turns out the Breen love their slave trade as much as they love their children — perhaps more. The fights we saw dwarfed the other ones; a dozen capital ships all protected by frigates and fighter swarms attacked from all sides. I’d like to think my Photonic Fleet made the difference, but it was a team effort all the way.

Was it all for nothing? When the Breen were destroyed, we found the Sobok empty — the crew taken to the Breen slave pens on the planet below. A transporter interdiction field prevented us from beaming the Deferans to safety but not, oddly, from beaming down ourselves.

The five captains, after a quick trip to the weapons lockers, met at the underground coordinates closest to the Deferi life signs.

The Deferi were imprisoned in force fields, packaged for easy sale and transport. We could not get near them, but tricorder readings suggested three control points deeper in the cave system.

We resignedly charged our weapons and went a’hunting, Breen-style.

The Breen cannot survive hot plasma. When we returned to the main cavern, though, the Deferi prisoners were gone — the skeleton crew on the Sobok had beamed them up as soon as we’d dropped the shields.

The Breen, however, were still in the area; after a mocking call from a Breen commander in orbit, the now-disgraced Breen slaver and a squad of his best ice warriors came after us. If he killed us, his reputation could perhaps be restored. If he fell, as he did, well, his reputation would suddenly become somewhat less important.

Cryptic is doing an amazing job on these weekly missions. It is shocking how well they are received; there is simply nobody with any real complaints.

As one of the only MMOs that allow full level adjustment so that any group of players can match levels and do missions, STO is doing a stellar (heh) job of getting people logging in and into the latest content, no matter what their level. Naturally, being higher rank gives you more options, but we had fleetmates in everything from the basic starter ship to the most advanced ship in the game working together on the same mission, same task, and everyone could contribute.

That’s the way it should be done, that it needs to be done. STO is finally reaching its potential.