Wednesday, June 26, 2013

USS Carter 11

11: Passion

Synopsis: While mapping the Burning Nebula the Carter rescues an Andorian merchant and his passengers - Deltans, whose pheromones, empathy & open sexual mores play hob on the bridge crew's interpersonal relationships. In the midst of this The Deltans racial aptitude with navigation helps the Carter locate the hidden Klingon base in the nebula.


The Hook is nicely straightforward - after a captain's log that mentions the existence of Keltonite miners in the nebula (Keltonite is what impedes sensor functions in the cloud) the Carter picks up a fuzzy distress signal from an Orion pleasure cruiser that hit a gravetic mine. The combination of an Orion ship and Orion gravetic mines should foster preconceptions as they mount a cautious rescue through the mine field.

Plot Turn 1 comes when the pleasure cruiser doesn't hold Orions but instead a gregarious if obfuscating Andorian merchant and his passengers, a sextet of Deltans on a pilgrimage. The Deltans are beautiful, scantily clad & friendly, and their presence has an immediately noticeable effect on the crew. I'm sure research and/or conversation will follow that explains some aspects of the Deltan race - their three mooned world filled with island societies having led to both a skill with navigation and a highly exogamous culture that relies on extensive interbreeding to survive.

Dr. Knox will likely also have suspicions that the Deltans, like the Betazed, are a time-lost human colony, and this will likely lead her and other members of the science departments to spend a lot of time with the Deltans in close quarters. This leads to Pinch 1, where the crew starts feeling the effect of the Deltan's pheromones. For those without a love interest the Deltans are impossibly attractive; for those in love, their minds will be consumed with their existing infatuation.

It's impossible for me to guess what the Midpoint and Pinch 2 will be because I don’t know how the Captain and Ambassador Rossad (the ones most capable of resisting the pheromones) will react to these events (or the rest of the crew for that matter). I am focusing on the sciences for the senior staff because of Dr. Mark's & Ensign Leifson's long standing dance (he's infatuated with her, she admits he's cute and is showing interest, so she could well give him the night of his dreams) and the burgeoning relationship between Lt. Cmdr Pelski and Lt. Raven (she's interested in him but thinks he doesn't know; he's interested in her but has been hiding that from himself because it would be a break of Star Fleet protocol for him to start dating his direct subordinate, and hasn't noticed that she's interested in him - got that?). I don't know what else might happen - will Funk make an embarrassing play for the Captain? Will Funk and Coy Mahn have a brutally aggressive tryst in the training room?

I'm comfortable with this because after 14 sessions everyone is very comfortable with their PC's psyches. There's one longer term potential problem: the Deltans have not yet adopted the Code of Celibacy, and if any of them score an Extraordinary success on a Seduction roll their partner will become addicted to them. If this happens, that Deltan will be the one picked to stay on board at the endgame (see below) to give the plot a chance to play out. 

Plot Turn 2 throws all this on it's head - no matter where they are in the resolving the Deltan situation the Carter will stumble through a cloud with a higher than normal Keltonite level and find beyond it a quartet of Klingon space stations and a small armada of ships. The episode shifts from 45 minutes of farce to 15 minutes of terror as the Carter has to evade pursuit

The Resolution calls an end to the sweetness and light of the last couple episodes: the Carter is named flagship of the armada being sent in to clear out the Klingons. Orders are rattled off, starting with convincing the peaceful Deltans to get assigned to ships as navigational aides, with the carrot being the Deltan entry into the Federation. After that (next session) the Carter will bring Ambassador Rossad to a Betazed base so he can carry the Federation's request that the Betazed join in the assault.  Everyone knows that this will be complicated by the Fleet Commodore of the Betazed being Jemma Stadi, Rossad's ex-wife. Finally, Vulcan intelligence officer Sulan is assigned to the Carter to provide the Flagship with tactical assistance. Sulan was last seen in Messages from Earth, were he had been willing to hang T'Prin out to dry just to add some verisimilitude to a cover story.


In other words, this is what we've been building up to for some time. This sort of longer term plotting just didn't occur in the Original Show, which means I'm violating my own rules