I’ve talked a great deal about the Deadlands mini-campaign I’ve been running, but I’ve also participated in a Star Trek mini-campaign set in the TNG era. The latter has been interesting because we’ve been running it with different people GMing each session, almost like having different writers for a series. Last week we all were cadets who saved Starbase 470 from a rogue group of Klingons.
Today it was my turn to GM and I wanted a fairly epic story. After all, one of the great things about role-playing games is that your imagination can create an episode with an unlimited budget. The cadets from last session were now officers aboard the USS Avalon. They were heading towards Outpost Base 70 for a resupply when they started going through some ionic interference, but were able to pass through it. When they arrived in the system they discovered…the outpost had been destroyed! There were a few life signs in a section of the outpost that remained largely intact and so an away team was arranged.
While they were there rescuing some of the survivors, they found a lot of strange things. The sensor logs reported that the Avalon had arrived at the base the day before. One of the rescued crew members had a lot of fear in his eyes when he saw the Betazoid counsellor. Using her telepathic powers to get a cursory view of his thoughts, she saw that he had seen her before…on a viewscreen? And when they pulled up the security logs, they saw that the Avalon had opened fire on the outpost (with more firepower than a scientific vessel is supposed to have).
Then the Avalon called in to say they were under attack and wouldn’t be able to beam back up the away team. A few of the crew members did a sensor sweep to discover the USS Avalon in combat with… the ISS Avalon! The crew on the station were able to launch some debris to disrupt the battle which gave enough time for one of the Avalons to warp away. A few minutes later the crew on the station was beamed up with the transporter and the shuttle crew was brought in with a tractor beam. But they discovered strange changes.
No, Spock with a goatee wasn’t actually there, but the crew on board were wearing strange uniforms and a few had goatees or grotesque scars. And everyone just seemed more violent and warlike, as indicated by one of the holodecks being labeled “Agony Chamber.”
Perhaps the strangest thing was when they asked the computer (now with a grating male voice) what their location was on the ship. The computer listed two different locations aboard the Avalon, indicating that they had counterparts aboard. Perhaps the strangest thing was the personnel changes. Hera the Betazoid counsellor was now captain of the Avalon! And Ensign Steve, the incompetent crew member who was the butt of a number of jokes was, to everyone’s surprise, now First Officer! When Steve asked the computer about his personal history, the computer described how he destroyed Starbase 470, assassinated his way to his current position on the Avalon, and was currently tactical warlord of the remnants of the Terran Empire.
The players were really racking their brains trying to find solutions. After all, what do you do if you have a potentially warlike counterpart on the ship who looks just like you? There was a great deal of paranoia as they were trying to keep tabs on their counterparts and try to remain undetected. I think part of this was because in the mirror universe, the lowly crew members were unscrupulous and using their power to get what they want. I’m sure they were wondering what a psionic counselor was capable of if she had no qualms about abusing her power to get what she wanted?
Unfortunately we had to call the session before we were finished, but that means there will be a second part next week. And it also means that Captain Hera will be able to plan a more elaborate counter now that she’s realized intruders are on board and even suspects that someone remarkably like herself is on board as well!