Wednesday, June 5, 2013

USS Carter 2

2: Series Bible

This is a common term from TV series – the Bible is the list of what the key ideas are and what has been established about the characters to date so that later writers won’t run afoul of what has come before. Here is what I produced for the players on this:


Star Fleet Uniform Protocol. . .from the ground up

It's hard to apply military logic to something developed by Hollywood but for our purposes I'm going to try to codify the Star Fleet uniform code. Keep in mind that Star Fleet is less rigid than our current military in sweating the small stuff, so there are several areas of available variation.

Boots are Black and come to the calf. This is true for both regular and formal uniforms.

Pants are black as well, loose fitting for both regular and formal wear. Female crew can replace this with a skirt the same color as her shirt, with the official skirt length from knee to mid-thigh (if a skirt is worn, tights of some sort are required). In the middle of the 22nd century skirts are worn short, but that is not a uniform requirement.

Belts are mandatory, but it is technically a violation of protocol to attach anything to them that might be construed as a weapon (such items are to be held within the jacket). Many officers see this as a Rear Echelon Rule written by people with no conception of field reality and subsequently disregard it.

Shirts are color coded to identify the wearer's Branch at a distance. In the 22nd century the color coding is as follows: Command = Gold, Science = Blue, Operations = Red. Cuffs have gold bands, and a gold Starfleet insignia appears on the uniform breast. Crewmember's choice as to whether the collar is black or matches the color of the shirt. Crewmembers can replace the standard collars with a turtleneck one. A ships commanding officer may replace a Gold shirt with a Green one of similar design sans insignia, but this is Captain's Prerogative.

Jackets come in two distinct styles: field and formal. They serve three functions: they hide the wearer's color coded rank designation for combat situations, they provide additional storage space and concealment for weapons and equipment and they help protect the crewmembers from hostile environments. Field jackets are gray and unadorned, while Formal jackets are scarlet and white, with moderate adornment, including a high rolled collar reminiscent of the one allowed on female crewmember blouses. Jackets, both field and formal, are occasionally eschewed by shoot- from-the-hip ship captains (whose crews often follow suit), and protocol is loose enough that if a Ship's Commanding Officer appears at a formal setting wearing the "Captains Greens" the gaff is let slip.

(Formal Jackets are indeed the ones from Star Trek II-VI, which, if you think about it, all take place in fairly formal settings – Kirk is giving the refitted Enterprise it's formal inspection in II, the crew is going for their court martial in IV, and start on a diplomatic mission with the Klingons in VI. Apparently the rest of Star Fleet was just feeling formal, or maybe all the other ships were cold… OK, so I'm justifying, but I like those jackets and I'd like to see a more, er, uniform standard in Star Fleet during the era we're playing in. This minor retrofit allows for that.)

Technology

The technological feel is knobs, bars and levers on the control panels, with both regular and flex view screens and lots and lots of glowing buttons. The Phasers still look like guns rather than TV remotes. Communicators have the flip tops, tricorders are black boxes (some of them with flip tops) and the medical equipment is cylindrical. By the 23rd century many personal devices could be made as small as desired. However, Starfleet has found that humanoids handle somewhat bulky, highly durable items more easily in a crisis, Most personal equipment either fits comfortably in the palm of your hand or can be slung over your shoulder. Controls use easy-to-read and manipulate dials buttons and readouts. Parts are easy to repair and replace, as ships and crew may be months from outside aid.

Starfleet History (The Relevant Bits)

The following is a brief timeline of Starfleet history from the Terran perspective. This contains some additions to the "Classic" Trek timeline to get the premise of the campaign in place.

Old Earth History

·         1960's:Original Eugenics experiments produce children of advanced intellect and strength. History does not record where these experiments occurred or where the children lived prior to the 1990's.
·         1986: Development of Transparent Aluminum opens up new realms of science and engineering. While Dr. Nichols original formula is never improved, the concepts behind it are spun off to make many other 'miracle' materials, including those needed for fusion reaction and advanced circuitry.
·         1988: The work of astro-mathematician Tyler Gondorf finds methods for locating planets in other solar systems via the gravetic variances in light caused by orbital perturbation. His refined process quickly locates and sizes hundreds of planets, though their habitability is unknown.
·         1992-'96: Eugenics Wars: A group of genetically modified supermen take over the governments of 40+ countries. These 'Supermen' are stronger & smarter than humans, and they produce several technological advances in their brief period of conquest, specifically compact fusion reactors, ramjets, and cryogenics.
·         1995-'97: [THEORETICAL] Terran Diaspora: During and after the devastation of the Eugenics Wars, several ships using Fusion/Ramjet drives flee the Earth, each carrying people and animals in Cryogenic stasis into the stars. These groups are fringe elements – religious or cultural fanatics looking to escape war and find 'purity'– and most Terrans see this as being an expensive form of suicide.
·         1997: Sean Geoffrey Christopher commands first successful Earth-Saturn space probe mission using Fusion engines. The success and cost-effectiveness of this mission paves the way for human exploration of the solar system and the launching of extra-solar probes such as Voyager 6 and Nomads 1-4.
·         2006: First Human born in space, Callisto Ramerez generates controversy as her parents claim her nationality to be 'Asteroidal'. This begins the "Lost World" movement, seeking political independence for the Asteroid Belt colonies from Earth governments. This movement falters as colonies are dependent on Earth for materials and supplies, but this solution merely postpones the issue.
·         2018: The advances in fusion drive and life support technology make Cryogenic Suspension "Sleeper" systems obsolete. It is now possible to travel from Earth to the farthest outposts on Saturn's moons within weeks. These advances also serve to make the Lost World colonies self-sufficient, re-igniting sovereignty debate.
·         2037: Charybdis, a final attempt at extra-Solar fusion exploration, launched. Declared missing. 
·         2053: World War Three. War ends only after widespread threat of nuclear holocaust makes pressing the war impossible. Initial death toll approximately 300 million.
·         2054: With Terran spaceflight functionally over, Lost World colonies declare sovereignty. Only the combined colonies actually within the asteroid belt have the population and supplies to be considered truly self sustaining: the other system colonies face a slow death.
·         2057: Lost World resident Kenneth Isaacs convinces his countrymen to use their fusion supplies to rescue the other system colonies. Residents of other colonies are ferried at great risk and expense into the belt, saving thousands and giving the Lost Worlders greater diversity, more life support equipment and a common sense of identity. The cost is their long-range fusion drives, which were pushed beyond repair in the rescue. Lost World spaceflight is limited to the belt only.

First Contact

·         2063: Zephram Cochrane develops humanity's first functioning warp drive, and his brief test flight draws the attention of a Vulcan ship. Humanity has contact with the stars, and the reality of this serves as a unifying force for the human race. Even the Lost World colonies buy into the new single human government.  For the record, Cochrane's drives were incredibly innovative, constructed with materials and theories different from those used by other races. Non-Terran drive technology had a theoretical top speed of warp 3 and Cochrane's work – once given the proper equipment – allowed Humanity to quickly surpass that. This, combined with Humanity's renewed sense of drive, quickly makes them a notable race in the quadrant.
·         2067: First contact between Terrans and Alpha Centaurians. The Centaurians are incredibly close to human but have a unique culture and a fiercely independent government. Careful bargaining on all sides (Earth, Centauri, Vulcan) nets Humanity an early ally and Alpha Centauri warp drive technology.
·         2113: United system government established for Sol, finally bringing all Humans under a single government. The holdouts had been some terran states and some Astroidal communities.

Founding of the UFP

·         2130: First contact between Andorians and Vulcans leads to several skirmishes. The Andorians developed warp travel in 2118, but had already re-assimilated their fusion-drive colonies by their First Contact and exploded onto the scene as a power on par with the Vulcans and the Human/ Centaurian alliance. Continued sporadic aggression between Andorans and Vulcans continues for some time, with Humans acting as a buffer race.
·         2149: Human scientists invent the first practical Transporter device. While the original designs only work on the molecular levels, by 2151 Quantum level transporters are developed, allowing the transport of living beings.
·         2156-60: Romulan-Earth Wars: War between Romulan STL Fusion/Ramjets and Earth warp ships. Earth has Centauri support but Vulcans, citing threats from Andorians and Orion Pirates, stay out of the conflict. Initial Romulan victories are due to careful planning, brilliant STL tactics and powerful weapons systems, but their inability to rapidly reinforce costs them the war. The Cheron treaty – conducted entirely via radio – defines a neutral zone between the Star Empire and Earth space. No Human has ever seen a Romulan.
·         2161: Founding of the UFP: Immediately after the Earth-Romulan wars, delegates from Andoria, Vulcan, Tellar, Earth and Alpha Centauri draft the Articles of Federation at Epsilon Erendi. Talks break down once, but come to a successful conclusion. Suvok of Vulcan suggests that Earth assume role as capitol of UFP. A representative government is formed, the federation credit is established and Starfleet receives its mandate as a multi-species defense force.  Sovereignties are secured by allowing each race its own space fleet.  The one breakdown in the talks was over the concept of Colonial Influence: five races were joining the UFP, and each obviously deserved a vote, but should the Centauri with their one world have as much say as the Andorians and Vulcans, who had colonized several and had hundreds of times the Centauri population? In the end it was Tellurian delegate Tarnoc who developed a solution: an intricate structure of Influence, or racial weighting by population on committees that discussed issues before they came to council. This solution satisfied all of the delegates, but led to the constant political dance underneath the One Race-One Vote structure understood by the average UFP citizen.

Our Century

·         2218: First Federation/Klingon contact. This occurs when Federation Explorers come into contact with a world conquered by the Empire and enter open communications under the assumption that the world is an independent government. The Klingons responded violently at this obvious attempt to subvert or conquer their holding. The situation is eventually resolved, but not before the loss of ships and sowing of confusion on both sides. (Klingons can pass for human with slight cosmetic modification. Why? Because we're in the TOS era and I blew all the money on green paint for the Orion slave girls, OK?) 
·         2223: Relations with Klingon Empire degenerate, starting an apparently endless cycle of hostility. Points of contention include the Klingon totalitarian conquest of their neighbors and the Federation spying into Klingon space and meddling in their empire's affairs. While not as Xenophobially paranoid as Romulans, the Klingons routinely blow up probes sent near their space and attack scientific installations with the potential to monitor phenomenon inside empire.
·         2242: Launch of the Champollion class USS Carter. Battle of Donatu V is fought near Sherman's Planet, in a region disputed by the Klingon Empure and the UFP.
·         2243: Richard Daystrom invents Duotronic computer technology, revolutionizing starship computers. This allows for faster and more effective phased energy manipulation, and within 2 years there are significant improvements in both beam weapon and shield construction.
·         2246: Kodos the Executioner seizes power on Tarsus IV, declares martial law and orders 4000 killed as a radical solution to a colony-threatening food shortage. Emergency supplies arrive shortly thereafter, making the massacre unnecessary and causing Kodos to kill himself with a Level 5 phaser blast (leaving a burned corpse). The incident shifts the Starfleet mandate to respond more rapidly to potential humanitarian issues, which stretches it thin in the face of the Klingon threat.
·         2248: The Centauri UFP delegation makes a profound announcement that the Klingons continue belligerence against the Federation as an excuse for continuing their totalitarian state, and the best long term strategy is a purely defensive policy that would hasten their internal collapse. This is not adopted by the council, partially because Starfleet is engaged in defense of several locations at that time. Regardless, this "Centauri Policy" is seen as the opposition to the Federation's current strategy of Klingon engagement.
·         2252: Destruction of USS Carnarvon exploring the ruins on Osirus 4. This prompts refitting of the USS Carter.
·         2253: Human political elements begin calls to force a greater share of UFP defense to fall to racial defense fleets to alleviate the burden currently on Starfleet. The issue dies in committee.

·         2254: USS Carter finishes its refit, begins third Five-year mission under command of Captain Saket with a mandate of exploring ruins in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, locating lost colonies and making first contact with new species in an effort to protect them from Klingon aggression.