The Zakdorn Stratagem (Vigilant)

VMB Zakdorn Stratagem.png
"Heart is what drives us and determines our fate."

The planet of Zakdorn IV
For the Zakdorn people, these were dangerous times. Even as construction of the newly-commissioned USS Vigilant neared completion in the Grelesev shipyards, discontent bubbled beneath the surface of Zakdorn society. Following in the aftermath of the Klingon invasions into Romulan space, a dissident political movement had been gathering momentum, threatening to sway public opinion into backing Zakdorn IV's secession from the United Federation of Planets in favour of an alliance with the Klingon Empire.

Interfering in the sovereign affairs of its member worlds has never been Starfleet policy; however on this occasion, the Zakdorn Stratigo himself saw the need to involve the crew of the Vigilant in the tactical game of cat and mouse that was unfolding on his planet's political stage. Players were deployed by both sides. Plans were drawn up and spurred into motion in secret meetings. While Captain Diego Herrera led a diplomatic party to the Zakdorn Assembly building in the capital of Prak Zel, his first officer, Lieutenant Commander Leo Handley-Page was ordered to investigate suspicions that Klingon operatives were influencing the Zakdorn dissident movement from afar. In order to safeguard the Vigilant's completion, Lieutenant Commander Eerie, Chief of Tactical and Security, led a team to escort a shipment of deuterium that was due to be loaded aboard the Intrepid-class vessel to power its engines.

Suliban cultural center as mapped by Dueld taJoot
Playing games of strategy with the Zakdorn proved to be far more difficult than first anticipated. Disaster struck when, after repelling a Klingon ambush, the Vigilant's security and marine detachment was held hostage by the very technicians they had been ordered to protect. In the capital, two of Commander Handley-Page's officers, Lieutenants Harold Foster and Kaedyn Zehn were captured by Suliban who were operating under Klingon orders. The efforts at the Zakdorn Assembly went largely unrewarded. With little headway being made on the political front and now faced with a hostage situation, Captain Herrera was forced to withdraw all members of his crew to the Vigilant and reassess his options.

Following a fortuitous and well-timed intervention from a Federation sympathizer among the Zakdorn engineers, the hostage situation was resolved without any members of the Starfleet crew coming to harm. Attempting to think more like his strategic adversaries, Captain Herrera ordered that all Zakdorn personnel in the shipyard be restricted from accessing the Vigilant, passing responsibility for her completion to Chief Engineer, Lieutenant (j.g.) Kael Thomas. Following exhaustive planning, the captain and Chief Counsellor, Lieutenant Commander Greir Reinard left for the capital to make presentations to the Zakdorn Assembly and general public respectively. Acting on suspicions that a cloaked Bird-of-Prey might be located in a warehouse building in Prak Zel, and tracing a communiqué that seemed to have originated from the StratEcon building on the Assembly grounds, Commander Leo Handley-Page once again led a team to expose Klingon subterfuge.

Strategema Table
Events came to a head following Commander Reinard's public address and the Starfleet team's secret ace in the hole, a game of Strategema between Ensign James Fox, the Vigilant's helmsman and Vahini Dalal, the aide to the leader of the dissident movement, Dakshi Wadke. With telepathic assistance from Dr. Ilyazi Malon, Fox was victorious and, in the aftermath of the game, Counsellor Reinard was able to detect a small device on Dalal's person using his fielding ability. As she was relieved of it, it became apparent that it had been masking Klingon lifesigns. Meanwhile, Engineering Officer Ensign Dueld taJoot was able to use a device that had been planted on the warehouse-bound Bird-of-Prey to forcibly decloak it, monitored on a viewscreen by the audience of the public address and millions more who had tuned in to the broadcast from their homes. As Dalal beamed away, she initiated an escape attempt that led to the Vigilant's launch.

Vor'Cha Class Klingon Vessel
Finding themselves staring down a Vor'Cha class attack cruiser with the Bird-of-Prey on the surface ready to launch at any time, the Vigilant co-ordinated its defense of Zakdorn IV with the planet's six orbital defense satellites. While the Bird-of-Prey was able to escape, the attack cruiser was disabled and the Zakdorn were left with more than enough evidence to discredit the dissidents. Their defection to the Klingon Empire had been averted.