The Spark and the Powderkeg (Ronin)


Opening


Commander Karrod Niac is assigned as commanding officer of the USS Ronin, with the objective of reinforcing Starfleet's presence in the Alpha Isles given the growing instability in the region. The Trill is tasked with this position due to the detection of Sencha Radiation in the sector, a dangerous form of radiation that was discovered by one of his former hosts. Their shakedown cruise, however, won't proceed as expected and will lead them to discover that the threat to the region is far more dangerous than anticipated. With a half-refit ship and a crew that has never worked together before, the imminent risk is greater and more acute than any of them expected.

Locations


Deep Space 33

Deep Space 33 is a Sigma Class Federation space station[1] located just within the Alpha Isles region of space. It was the refit yard of the USS Ronin, and constitutes its main port. One of its dry docks was damaged during the Ronin's maiden voyage.

Olidra System

An Alpha Isles system. Starfleet intelligence noticed unusual Sheliak traffic within it, prompting the USS Ronin to investigate.

It's a binary star system, with two rocky inner planets (B or H type planets), three gas giants and two ice planets in the outskirts of the system. In the outer edges there are pockets of space debris, consisting of space rock and starship debris. Around the gas giants loomed a myriad of undefined artificial structures, one of them a massive structure the size of a small moon, revolving around Olintra 4. Upon investigation, this super structure turned out to be a Sheliak/Tholian weapon that emitted Sencha Radiation Waves as a weapon, as well as a screen around the system that disrupted communications and blocked long range scanning. It was eventually disabled by the Rhine team thanks to Ian O'Connor. However, whether such a solution would last in the long term couldn't be anticipated.

Sunjat System

The Kushino lurched ahead and soon began to tremble as it entered the atmosphere and made its way deeper into the clouds. V'Len was watching his sensors when he noticed the sound of a gentle tapping. It was calming and seemed to be coming from all around them but was loudest toward the front of the Kushiro. Looking up, V'Len noted tiny droplets on the viewport. Yellow-Orange in color they streaked across the window.
Kel:  ::in wonder:: It's rain.  ::looking down at his console and then back up:: Helium-neon rain.

The Sunjat system is an uninhabited system in the Alpha Isles, which contained several gas giants with pockets of radiation around them. The S.S. Sabrina's Delight took refuge there after being attacked by a Sheliak/Tholian patrol.


Notable Characters


Senior officers taking part in the mission
Name Position Notes
Karrod Niac Commanding Officer
Toryn Raga First Officer
Ian O'Connor HCO Officer
Kirsty Lee Carpenter Chief of Security & Tactical
C'iri Mingan Hopkins Security Officer LOA starting 240011.10
Maverick Kenmore Tactical Officer LOA starting 240011.16
Will Rueka Security Officer
Kammus Corelli Chief Engineer LOA started 240011.29
Marty Tucker Engineering Officer
Alieth Chief Science officer & 2O
Luxa Lorana Science officer
V'Len Kel Chief Medical Officer
Quentin Beck Medical Officer
Dekas Counselor LOA 240010.22-240012.09
PNPCs
Name Position Notes
Ico Ena Ops Officer Act 3
Vailani Zoyara Ops Officer
Lana Morgenstern General Practitioner Act 2
Rox Nurse Act 2 & 3
Wyla Avae Chief Nurse Act 2
Cheesecake Watanabe Very Good Girl Act 2
Gra'vel Fighter Pilot Act 2 & 3
Major Ishani Singh SARs Commander Act 2 & 3
Kiran Rork Engineer Act 3
Andy Dahl Engineer Act 3
Pérez Engineer Act 3
René Nicolau HCO
Silur Chanht Cree Scientist Act2
Clara Quinn Engineer Act2
MSNPCs
Name Position Notes
Gaudemus Bail Captain of the S.S. Sabrina's Delight A human freighter captain with a slightly skewed view of the Federation, an insatiable appetite for profit, a unique love for the flask he carries and a rather lacklustre luck.
Sm'uf First Mate of the S.S. Sabrina's Delight Bail's Andorian first officer, sarcastic and annoyed but doomed to serve with his frenemy.
The temporal shipwrecked Unknown but belonging to USS Timothy NCC-78640 A Vulcan male lieutenant, a young female human in civilian clothes, a wounded Betazoid officer of undetermined rank. They wore clothes and uniforms dating from the beginning of the 24th century.

Mission Summary


Click sub-headings below to expand or collapse.

Act One: Once, there was a little ship


Mission Briefing


Niac: People, welcome to the Alpha Isles. I know that very few of you are familiar with this region so I'll give you a brief overview before we get down to the details of what Starfleet has handed us.  ::He tapped a few commands and zoomed in on their present location.:: This is Deep Space Thirty Three, Starfleet's newest frontier outpost. It was established less than a year ago in response to a rapid deterioration in the stability of the region.  ::The map began to morph, colored blobs representing power blocs expanding and contracting to represent Starfleet's understanding of the political realities in the region.:: Several major powers, most notably the Sheliak Corporate and the Breen Confederacy, claim areas within this volume, while other large areas are either unaligned, unexplored or generally too dangerous to establish a long term presence in. After this meeting you'll all be receiving detailed reports on the particulars of the region, the various power players, and some of the more recent alarming indicators that Starfleet Intelligence is keeping under close observation. In short...it's a simmering cauldron of trouble. Anything to add XO?

Raga:  ::He nodded and looked around the table:: Absolutely. Given the short notice given in pulling the Ronin from refitted mothballs that we’re going to have to give her a proper shakedown in the thick of things.

Niac: Thanks for bringing that up. Over the last eighteen months we've been observing a radical change to the way the Sheliak operate in this region that suggests their central Corporate body has fractured badly. It can no longer exert control over some of its fringe operations and as such they've become substantially more independent...and dangerous. Which leads us to why the Ronin is here and, by association, our mission.

Raga: She may be older, but this sort of thing is what the Akira class was built for.

Karrod chuckled entirely without mirth and gestured towards the hologram.

Niac: Starfleet is...'concerned'...with the situation here. So much so they feel that one starship, the Arrow, is no longer adequate to effectively patrol and secure Federation interests in this region. As such, they've rushed this ship out of spacedock before its current refit was complete and assembled this crew from across the fleet to counter what they perceive as an intolerable threat to Federation security. What that means for us is this; in three days we will clear our moorings from DS33 and conduct our shakedown trials in the Isles themselves, dealing with any issues as they arise while performing a reconnaissance in force of the Olidra system. It is believed the Sheliak are massing resources there for purposes unknown. Our mission is to get in, find out everything we can and get back out to report what we've found.


On the Ronin


After some issues with leaving drydock on DS33, the USS Ronin is underway, heading into the Alpha Isles on its shakedown cruise. The Ship is barely holding together in places, but in true Starfleet fashion, the newly assembled crew is expected to perform miracles with blunt instruments. Upon arriving in the Sunjat system, Lt.Cdrs. Alieth and Carpenter locate debris from an older vessel, a trail leading to a nearby gas giant and evidence of an attack. Erring on the side of proactive caution, Cdr. Niac gives orders to approach the gas giant and engage in a search for the origin of the debris. Meanwhile, the debris is transported onboard for closer examination, and Lt. Kel and his staff in Sickbay is ordered to prepare for possible casualties.

The search for the freighter commences in earnest with Lt.Cdr. Alieth, LT Corelli and Ensigns Lorana and Tucker setting to work on improving sensor efficiency, as well as making a workable grid for probe deployment. Numerous runabouts are also dispatched along the probes to improve the Ronin's chances at locating any freighters in need. While reading the data being collected by the probes, the science team locate a pair of warp signatures, with one likely originating from the damaged freighter, as well as a garbled, but strangely anomalous, distress signal that Ensign Lorana suggests patching through to the Bridge.

Now I ain't just worried about what did this. I'm worried about just what in damnation it might do to a living being. Not to mention shields...


Meanwhile, Lt.Cdrs. Raga and Carpenter, Lt. Kel and Ensigns Kenmore and Hopkins congregate in Cargo Bay 5 to examine the debris that had been brought on board. Upon closer examination, however, they realize that the located debris does not originate from just one type of vessel, but multiple different kinds. More notably, however, is the fact that the damage to the debris does not correlate to conventional weaponry, and all the debris is not hull debris, indicating internal damage to the vessel(s) the debris originated from. Upon closer examination by Lt.Cdr. Carpenter, a piece of the debris crumbles into dust in her hands when she applies pressure, and this brings forth a troubling question:

Then, the teams are interrupted by Cdr. Niac's voice on the intercom, calling all Senior Staff to the Bridge. The Ronin has encountered a peculiar vessel, a Tholian one, and this one is definitely not in distress. It starts approaching them as the Ronin staff discusses how to approach this development, when all crewmembers start to feel an odd and uncomfortable sensation building up. Just as the Commanding Officer recalls his former host's discovery of Sencha Radiation, and how it felt in her final moments as it killed her, the Ronin is violently rocked by a weaponized pulse from the Tholian vessel. Cdr. Niac is wounded in the attack as he calls for Red Alert, and the Tholian vessel breaks contact and departs the system.Several of the officers on the bridge are injured and require medical assistance.

XO...since I suspect the Doctor is about to order me to sickbay you have the conn. Keep us at red alert until we're certain that was the only enemy vessel in the system.  ::Karrod winced as he stood and threw an arm around the Doctor's shoulders for support.::
Find that freighter and keep us in a defensive posture until we figure out our next move. They sucker-punched us in the first round. I don't intend to let them do it again. Check in with your people and make damage reports to the XO. It'll take more than a shove to take the Ronin out of this fight. Starfleet wanted us to find out what's going on out here...looks like we'll have a lot to tell them.


Act Two: Then, there were away teams


On the Rhine


According to Starfleet Intel, there are indications that the Sheliak have unusual traffic in the system, so we are heading there to determine what they are up to and if the presence of the Tholians in such close proximity has anything to do with it. Our mission is to see and analyse whatever is there, ::turning to Luxa:: from a scientific :: turning to Hopkins:: and tactical point of view.


Despite being wounded during the Tholian vessel's attack while manning her station, Lt.Cdr. Alieth stubbornly refused any attempts on part of her crew at administering medical aid to her, and instead directed her attention at the next leg of the mission. While ensuring that Ensigns O'Connor and Hopkins report to the Shuttlebay, the Lt.Cdr. goes to personally fetch Ensign Lorana from Stellar Cartography. While there, she's briefed by Ensign Tucker on the strange impulse-driven asteroid, and makes sure to send him in the direction of his own away mission aboard the Kushiro.

As the Rhine set off for its mission, Ensigns Lorana and O'Connor considered how to remodulate the runabout's sensors to possibly pick up on the advance warning - the "buzz" - that the Sencha Wave weapon released before impact, just as Ens O'Connor noticed a small meteor swarm apparently orbiting something. Lt.Cdr. Alieth ordered the runabout close in on the meteor swarm, as they could use it as cover for conducting more detailed scans on the Olidra system, when they realized that it was orbiting another piece of debris. An intact escape pod of Starfleet make. Approaching the escape pod, the Rhine transports three still-living escapees on board - one Vulcan Lieutenant, though wearing an old Uniform, a civilian female and a wounded Betazoid male, whose capsule had cracked, depositing a piece of glass in his torso. Lt.Cdr. Alieth - a trained physician - and her volunteer nurse, Ensign Hopkins, set to aid the Betazoid. Ensign Lorana comments on the old uniform, believing it to be from the early 24th century.

With the escape capsules transported onto the Rhine, however, the focus for the meteor cluster had disappeared, and the now free-rolling meteors start to pelt the runabout. Ensign O'Connor attempts to maneuver the Rhine back out of the meteor swarm, but is unable to do so completely unscathed as he has to use the runabout to punch a route out of the busy swarm.

As the Rhine notices a firework display in the far distance to starboard, they realize that the distraction is initiated, and set a course further into the Olidra system. With the impromptu operation concluded, the team turns their attention towards their actual mission, as Ensign Lorana realizes that the system is surrounded by a chroniton field, which is likely what's masking the system against scans. Within the system, they locate multiple temporal fissures and eddies suffused with Sencha Wave Radiation. What's more notable is that clearing the chroniton field allows them to see not only planets, but also the veritable army amassed in the system, along with a peculiar-looking superstructure orbiting Olidra IV, which is apparently the source of the Sencha Wave Radiation.

Before the Rhines crew has much of a chance at laying a plan, they're blindsided by a Sheliak fighter appearing behind some debris, and Ensign O'Connor demonstrates his piloting skills once more as he weaves between debris, time fissures and eddies while avoiding fire from the fighter. As phaser hits from the Rhine disable the fighter and Lt.Cdr. Alieth sees the Ronin still performing its distracting duties in the distance while the superstructure starts charging another wave, she realizes with some uncomfortability what must be done. The crew of the Rhine must destroy the superstructure if the Ronins crew is to stand any chance at escaping the system alive.

On the Kushiro



After assembling the data logs about point of interest in the system - such as the odd impulse-driven asteroid - Ensign Tucker reports to the runabout Kushiro for a rescue and recovery mission. With an assembled team, the Kushiro departs the Ronin shuttlebay from the wrong side, earning the overeager Ensign the ire of Major Singh, the resident CAG, and inspiring the amusement of his senior officers. Approaching the gas giant where they presume the freighter to be hiding, LT. Kel programs the runabout to broadcast a signal to assure any still-living crewmembers that the approaching vessel is friendly to avoid armed conflict from their would-be rescuees, before inoculating the team in preparation for the rescue mission.

The team manages to locate life signs inside the atmosphere of the gas giant, but due to the native interference, they aren't capable of ascertaining how many. Moreover, the freighter's in a decaying orbit, and will likely fall further into the gas giant in short order. Strategically maneuvering the Kushiro above the freighter, Ensign Tucker extends the runabout's shields to encompass the freighter as well - in order to protect both vessels in case enemies come about while the rescue operation is ongoing - and locks the freighter in place with the tractor beam. Then, the operation is ready to begin.

The group suits up in EV equipment before transporting aboard the S.S. Sabrina's Delight. Ensign Tucker comments on the poor state of the freighter, but the party is soon intercepted by the Andorian First Mate, Sm'uf. Sm'uf guides the group to meet the Captain of the freighter, whose way of showing appreciation for the rescue leaves something to be desired. As Ensign Tucker and Lt. Kel set to performing their respective tasks - doing their best to mend both the freighter and the two crewmembers - the Trilldorian Lt. notes that the atmosphere outside is starting to become ionized, with vibrations and impacts thudding into the hull.

I'll raise a drink to each of your memories! Thanks and tough luck you know...but no sense in all of us dying here...


Gaudemus Bail, the Captain of the S.S. Sabrina's Delight, realizes that his poorly-maintained freighter is about to give it's final sigh, and backs away from the group at large, just as a large piece of the ship rips apart from the bulkhead and separates him from the rest of the group, trapping them inside the Bridge. Opting for a swift retreat, he bids them farewell and charges away from the trapped group in order to board the Kushiro and escape to safety. Only, the Kushiro obviously hadn't docked with the freighter, and with no small amount of satisfaction, Lt.Cdr. Raga simply transports the trapped bridge group out of the freighter. Unfortunately, he also transports the Captain out, even if directly to some restraints in a biobed, where the Al-Leyan XO starts to interrogate him.

While Lt.Cdr. Raga and LT Kel do the good cop-bad cop routine in the Kushiros sickbay, Ensign Tucker attempt to guide the two vessels safely out of the gas giant's atmospheric storm, but manually flying essentially two vessels through a helium-neon rainstorm with one of them barely holding integrity has the Ensign doing the flight manually.

On the Ronin

  • Attract the attention of the Sheliak and/or Tholian present in the Olidra system, distract them long enough so that the team Rhine can gather intel data.


As you may have heard by now we have a plan for tackling our original mission, which was to perform reconnaissance of the Olidra system and see exactly what the Sheliak were up to. The discovery of Tholian involvement makes that mission even more urgent and necessary as far as I'm concerned. So, we're going to complete our mission...just not quite the way Starfleet would've intended.

As soon as Commander Raga's rescue team departs for the freighter, we will take the Ronin to this point in space and drop of Commander Alieth's team aboard a runabout. From that point we'll backtrack and then approach the system from a completely different vector, at which point we'll...well, I don't suppose anyone knows any really good insults about Tholians or the Sheliak?

We'll approach the system from this point ::He gestured towards the holodisplay:: and challenge whatever perimeter security we find there as loudly as possible. Our goal is to create a big enough distraction to allow our team on the runabout to slip in, take detailed sensor readings and slip out before anyone realizes they were there. Everything goes well the Ronin will rendezvous with them at this point before picking up Commander Raga's team and getting the hell out of this area.

To be clear, our intention is not to get into a full-scale firefight. Chief Corelli has made it abundantly clear that we're pushing the ship dangerously hard, so my intent is a series of harassing engagements. Once we've made contact and draw the attention of the defenders, we lead them on a chase around the perimeter of the system, never stopping in one place long enough to get pinned down.


Having had time to consider his crew's probable course of action while getting multiple ribs reknitted in Sickbay, Cdr. Niac summons the members of his senior staff not slated for other away mission to his Ready Room. Their task - the significantly louder task among the three - is to distract the enemy forces present in the Olidra system, so that the Rhine can sneak in close and get workable intel. LT. Corelli provides the plan of using 'fireworks' - empty containers filled with mexcellon gas - that the Ronin could shoot with micro-torpedoes. The resulting explosion was loud and very visible - in the form of a big red cloud - but ultimately harmless and cheap to make in terms of necessary materials.

Lt.Cdr. Carpenter and LT. Corelli agrees to use spare footlockers from Security, as well as some leftover cargo containers left behind after the refit, to contain the pressurized gas and spend the following three hours while the Ronin heads to the Olidra system, and drops off the two away teams, getting their firework boxes set up. As the Ronin moves into the Olidra System proper, they happen upon a proper fleet of both Tholian, Sheliak and numerous other unidentified vessels. Dedicating themselves to their task of playing decoy, LT. Corelli transports three containers filled with mexcellon gas into space and prepares for the spectacular show about to begin, as the hostile fleet approaches the lone Akira-class Starship.

I want the ship lit up brighter than Freecloud during happy hour.


Lt.Cdr. Carpenter starts the party with a load of microtorpedoes, and the ensuing spectacle not only takes out three orbital platforms, but also breaks up the fighter wing that had been steadily approaching. Dedicating themselves to their charge of 'causing a distraction', Cdr. Niac commands the Ronin to keep up the pressure, using quick warp jumps as a means to stay ahead of the substantial enemy force they've interrupted in the Olidra-system, to the chagrin of his Chief Engineer. After being warned that breaking the warp threshold might mean pushing the old ship too far, the bridge crew see something massive appear on the viewscreen.

A leviathan of a construct, an ungodly mesh of Sheliak and Tholian technology, appears seemingly from nowehere and the crystalline formations at its stop start glowing as it releases a charge of Sencha radiation against the approaching Ronin, which the ship is barely able to evade.


Act Three: Finally, there was a retreat


On the Rhine

Knowing that only they were in a position to stop the superstructure, Lorana was determined to sacrifice herself to give the Rhine (and the Ronin) a chance to escape. Alieth, however, refused, insisting on accompanying her and getting them both out of there.


Setting up a cunning plan, Ian O'Connor navigated hidden among the asteroids and moons near the superstructure, so that he could slip inside without being seen. By sneaking inside the facility, he led the two scientists to the very heart of the structure, where they transported themselves over its inner surface, using magnetic boots and EVA suits to place explosive charges at strategic points that would allow the destruction of the whole device.


However, before they could detonate the charges, the security system detected them, releasing a number of drones and ripping out Sencha Radiation's weapon with them inside. The radiation from the crystals hit them full force, as did the explosion, although Ian O'Connor was able to save them with last-minute transport before they made it out of the area.


The escape, escorted by part of the Ronin's fighter wing ended with a daring Barn Swallow manoeuvre and the Rhine on fire in the shuttlebay, just before the Akira class jumped to WARP to a safe location.


Lorana and Alieth, becoming liquefied at the molecular level, were rushed to the sickbay, and only the good work of V'Len Kel and the Rox could save them from turning into atom soup.

On the Kushiro

With the Kushiro unable to hold the old ship any longer, they dropped it into the gas giant's lower atmosphere, but not before retrieving the computer core in order to retrieve the data from the attack. The risky manoeuvre almost destroyed the Kushiro, but with the data safe they were able to get off the planet and return to the Ronin. In the process, Gaudeamus Bail had to be strapped to the stretcher, his actions endangering the crew.

As they exited the atmosphere, they had a close encounter with several Sheliak-designed fighters, but luckily the intervention of the Ronin fighters allowed them to get out of there and return safely to the ship.

On the Ronin

Making short jumps to WARP to avoid the salvos of the Behemoth they were facing, the Ronin bought as much time as possible to allow their away team to return to the mothership. Taking damage that would have destroyed a less sturdy ship, the team did not idle in battle either, but instead was deciphering the communications they had been intercepting from those unknown enemies who seemed to have stolen one of the best kept secrets from the Federation's scientists. When they picked up the teams and were about to leave, they received a package of information: a map and a declaration of war from the new growing faction in the Alpha Isles: The Lattice Alliance, an ill-fated association of Tholian and Sheliak with the aim of conquering the whole area.

The computer blatted an angry tone and Ensign Nicholau drew in a breath to speak. Karrod could hear a haunted note in the young woman's voice, the first time he'd heard real fear from her all day.

Nicholau: Sir, it's a short message, just ten words...'The Lattice Alliance claims this space. Opposition will burn away.' There's a data file attached. It appears to be a starchart.

Niac: Put it up, Ensign.

Karrod watched as file unpacked on the viewscreen. It took the computer a few minutes to align it against their starcharts but when it did he sucked in a breath.

Niac: They just laid claim to ninety percent of the Alpha Isles...and more.  ::He tapped a control in the armrest.:: Those are Federation systems. And that's where DS33 is.


Notable SIMs



Mission Reports


*  Stardate 240011.14: USS Ronin relaunched following swift transfers across the Fleet
*  Stardate 240011.30: USS Ronin attacked by an unknown vessel during its shakedown cruise
*  Stardate 240012.22: Shakedown cruise ends with informal declaration of war on the Alpha Isles
*  Stardate 240101.25: Crew of the USS Ronin enjoys their first shore leave together



REV SD 240104.20
Ronin Mission Archive
2400-: Under New Management The Spark and the Powderkeg · Ashes to Ashes · Nightmares Never Fade! ·
2388 - The Lost Year Where the Eagles Dare · Suns of Anarchy
2385 - 2387: Walking in Pastures New Too Little, Too Layte · O What a Tangled Web... · Seen or Unseen
2384 - 2385: In the Year of Our Mar Bounty Hunter · Point of Divergence · Wedded Bliss · Test Run · The Sya-Negan · The Sya-Negan, part II · Cardassians in Wait · The Origins of War · True Intentions · Stranded · Desert Dangers · Destination: Mars · The Case of the Missing Bride
2379 - 2383: The Years of the Unknown The Phoenix Doesn't Rise · Black Gate · Eye of the Sun
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  1. "Starbase 375", Memory Beta