A rescue where it all began.
Personal Log, Stardate 96759.09.
The Hanne has had it. The crew knows it, even though nobody talks about it. Ever since we were forced to go on the run-the frame was masterfully done-we’ve had to avoid Starfleet bases and ports of call. My people are trying to find a way to unravel this web, but the facts are: we are on our own. And because we haven’t been able to clear our names, or repair fully damage taken in battle-including against Starfleet ships, which we continue to avoid firing upon, which means escape is the only option-or even get deserved R&R, the ship has deteriorated swiftly. I imagine that this isn’t much different than the situation that the USS Voyager faced when it was stranded in the Delta Quadrant.
One big difference: I’m no Captain Janeway.
Going to the Klingons is out. The war is still ongoing, although I’ve heard rumors before all of this happened that there is a summit at a Dyson Sphere that was discovered, or something like that. I can’t go to the Romulan Republic, either. They’ve made agreements with the Federation as well as the Klingons, and those agreements would include turning us over.
I can only see one option left-one that might have been unthinkable when I was born, but its an option that could let us continue working as a crew, yet give us some cover.
We can seek refuge in the Cardassian Union. I can bring us to my home.
I’ve made a preliminary gesture towards the Detapa Council, and they seem agreeable. The plan is for our crew to…well, defect isn’t the right word. But we’ll join up with their fleet, and we’ll serve with them in a semi-independent capacity. In return, we get a ship-one of their old Galor-class cruisers-and they agree to return the Hanne to Starfleet, without indicating our whereabouts. This is sort of a win-win situation for them, and it allows us to continue to explore space as best we can-and surreptitiously aid Starfleet without telling them who we really are.
I wish I could take credit for this plan, but it seems that this is the brainchild of Councilor Elim Garak. He…has a reputation, and it’s said he was once Obsidian Order. I don’t know if that’s true, but based on this plan, I’m inclined to believe it.
I hope I’m making the right decision. We have to be free to find a way out of this mess. To the Federation, we’re all traitors. We have to prove otherwise, and we can’t do that in a cell. We’d most likely be murdered before we ever saw trial by the conspirators.
This will be my final log as an official Starfleet Captain. I hope that the log on this ship will convince someone of our innocence, but I suspect that it will never get out; the conspiracy is too deep now. I’ll be taking copies with me to the next ship, but I hope that someone hears my words-and starts to ask the right questions.
Computer, end log.
First, a technical note: I’d failed to mention that the arc I featured in my last post had been written by Rellimtime82; I’ve since updated the post to include that info. I like to make sure credit is always given to the authors of these missions.
All right-let’s get the show on the road. Despite the recent announcement that the Foundry is “dead tool walking”, I’m not about to let it stop my work on Selak. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a race to the finish to get him to a stopping point before it goes away, because without the Foundry missions, I’m extremely uninclined to retread the standard mission arcs to finish him up. I’ll keep putting up posts here, although the summaries/reviews/comments on each mission are going to be a lot shorter since I’m not going to take as detailed notes for myself. I considered not bothering to review the missions either, just mentioning that “these exist”, but the way I see it, if I enjoy an arc enough to comment on it, I should at least remark on it so that others can try to play them before the end-and if they want to tip the authors some Dilithium (I pretty much always tip the max if I make it through their mission) as recognition for their work, all the better.
(And just an FYI: the character chronicles for Jhusui and Jalot’iklar are still considered “open ended”, based on future episodes featuring either the Discovery-related stuff or Dominion-related stuff, respectively. Beyond that, new content that doesn’t fall into those neat buckets will just be fodder for my mains.)
So: on to new business.
As of the last post for my latest Star Trek Online character chronicle, Selak was in a bad, bad place: he was stranded in the middle of a major cliffhanger in a Foundry arc. Fortunately, I was close enough to level 40 to power my way through the remaining levels via patrol missions and duty officer missions to get there. That was a key milestone for the next phase of Selak’s personal arc, because the moment I’d made this Cardassian character, I knew I’d be putting him into a Cardassian ship. This wasn’t exactly how I had planned on it happening, but I kind of liked it the more I thought about it; if nothing else, this put the character in a similar position with Starfleet that my Orion character, Dathiro, had with the Klingon Empire: no longer really a part of the organization involved, but still affiliated with it in a haphazard way.
Accordingly, I did a revamp for Selak and his bridge crew as far as their uniforms went. Fortunately, there’s plenty of options out there to make the characters distinct from the Starfleet standards. While most of the outfit options are all definitively Starfleet, there was enough to work with to make outfits that were anything but Starfleet. Selak and a science officer got to go Full Cardassian; I’d always had a Cardassian-style outfit for Selak for his “off-duty” look (even if it wasn’t actually an off-duty uniform as far as the game is concerned), but now I wanted to have a more “official” one for his new status. I took the liberty of using a T’Pol style outfit for my tactical officer, while using the Mercenary outfit for my medic. The engineer was a rougher one-I didn’t want to go with a Section 31 look (I had honestly considered them when figuring out where Selak goes from here, but it didn’t fit my long term goals; they may yet be involved later), and I’ve gone all-in with the Intel uniforms with other characters. So I decided to grab one of the armored looks for him. Adding to the touches on each character-nobody is using a Starfleet insignia or rank insignia anymore, but I did try to preserve the color coding of departments; red for tactical, blues for sciences, and gold for operations. (Technically, I should have gone red with Selak himself, but I hadn’t done it for his Starfleet outfit, so why do it with this one?) At some point, I’ll probably replace one of these (the engineer looking likely) for a Jem’Hadar crew member who will make use of one of their species-specific looks.
So I was all set to have the characters engage in the game without Starfleet. I could start rolling with Foundry missions. And to my great surprise and pleasure, Purity VI has been republished-so Selak’s exile was destined to be a short one! (And after I went through all the uniform changes, too-well, at least it’ll be easy to get them back into Starfleet gear….) So, let’s hit the conclusion!
Ah, the odd juxtaposition between episode title and activity.
The grand finale of the arc is “Purity VI: Of Sacrifice”, and is authored by drogyn1701. The source of all the troubles that have been heaped upon your captain is an enemy that everyone thought was long gone (as in, “Enterprise-Era”): the anti-alien Paxtonites. (Man, they must’ve REALLY hated my Cardassian captain.) Your captain is at a temporary loss to do after the climactic events of the previous mission; fortunately, a pair of prisoners in the brig offer the possibility of learning more, especially about the one reference found in previous episodes that hasn’t been encountered yet. That reference leads to a search for answers, and eventually back to where it all began. With the proof of your innocence at hand, it’s then time to return to Earth and stop a battle between Starfleet ships by apprehending the prime mover of the plot.
Was that vague enough? I try to tiptoe my way through this sort of thing, especially when I haven’t put up spoiler tags. I hope it comes through, though, that this is the Big Finish of the Purity arc and it doesn’t pull out stops-taking you into deep space, back to Megara, a battle above Earth and a chase on the planet culminating in the potential destruction of a VERY recognizable landmark. The story manages to start tidying up the conspiracy, but at the expense of leaving the situation at Megara mostly unsettled. There’s a reference to a follow up mission being prepped, but that’s another story for another time. “Of Sacrifice” does a good job on wrapping up the conspiracy plot that was set in motion by-ah, almost spilled those beans. I felt that it was a satisfying conclusion, although somewhat incomplete.
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who felt that way: because there’s a less publicized mission that stands as an epilogue to the full arc! “Purity Revisited: Of Peace” is the full wrap-up, by Capt.PFDennis, and it begins with an inquiry with your captain and a heap of Federation ambassadors who want to know just what the heck happened. It fills in some of the blanks that was left over (such as the reason why the Chameleon Stratagem worked so well, despite the technology to detect such things), and indicating that the Megara situation was more or less independent of the conspiracy-it just got co-opted as a convenient thing by the Paxtonites. The ambassadors don’t show too much happiness at the whole thing, since this was a “humanity-for-humanity” thing, but there it is.
Because of the captain’s experience with Megara, you’re sent back in charge of a task force to relieve the Obani of the Starfleet weaponry that Admiral Fautor had dumped off. (There are a few hints as to her true fate; nobody found the body….) You’re accompanied by an ambassador from the Romulan Republic, who has an interesting viewpoint on the affair; his backstory sheds some light on that. Unfortunately, the Sajan on Megara have taken matters into their own hands since you’ve been gone, and have called for help from the worst possible place; and the help has come in the form of *#shock* advanced weaponry. Suddenly, you have to deal with the shoe being on the other foot, and only fast talking, careful diplomacy, and an ability to deal with an enemy who is just as happy to see the Federation’s status in the galaxy take a beating can prevent all-out disaster.
“Of Peace” does more-or-less resolve the situation on Megara, or at least puts it in a place where it may be moving in a positive direction. There is a feeling of deus ex machina here, but it feels somewhat justified given the source of that and the fact that Megara has been gaining attention due to its resources. The Federation doesn’t come out of this looking very good, but at least the mess made by the Admiral is at least as cleaned up as it can be. There is a LOT of story here, a lot of dialogue, and while that’s usually something I consider a strength, there’s a couple places where it isn’t-mainly because things start shooting at you before you’ve completed reading the dialogue boxes. I enjoyed the debrief at the beginning of the mission as it filled in some blanks, and enjoyed the presence of the new characters who had importance here; the Romulan ambassador with the interesting backstory who believes your captain may well be the only honest one in the Fleet, and another Starfleet captain who has a grudge against you for certain actions taken earlier in the arc and is…let’s just say, not really well suited for life after wartime? The theme of Starfleet more and more preferring military action to diplomatic action definitely is highlighted here.
As far as Selak’s future goes: well, like I’d said, I had planned on putting him in Cardassian ships, and there should likely be at least some fallout here. I’m sure his log entry in the next post of this chronicle will go into the new status quo. (An amusing aside: I’d forgotten that, as a purchase made of a Tier-5 ship, it also included an automatic free upgrade to T-5U, which adds console slots and Starship Mastery attributes. I’d been poking on the STOWiki site, and almost missed the note about it. D’oh!) I’m glad I got to run the Purity arc again in full, including a chapter I didn’t know existed until recently. While the arc has its technical flaws, I feel they’re probably limitations of the Foundry; as a story, it holds up to any arc in the game proper. And given how many cooks were involved in cooking this up, the missions were impressively consistent with each other. Every author of these missions has good reason to be proud of this arc; there are professional writers who should do as well.