IntroductionFederation Intelligence are aware that a flotilla of Orion pirates are operating out of an old battlestation near the Tholian border. This starbase is heavily fortified and so the pirates have been immune to attack by local forces. The recent arrival of capital units from Starfleet has changed the picture though: Admiral Mottram has decided to use his squadron to capture or destroy the Orion base and thusprevent the pirates from raiding this sector!
- USS Intrepid (Battleship)
- USS Invincible (Battlecruiser)
- USS Gemini (Carrier)
- USS Danube (Heavy Cruiser)
- USS Callisto and USS Phoebe (Light cruisers, adapted for minesweeping)
- Starbase 13 (Battlestation, built of 4 quadrants. Each quadrant is approximately battleship strength. 2 segments can fire in any one direction. The station automatically rotates 90 degrees clockwise each turn)
- Minefield (a thick minefield, about 24" from the starbase)
- Terror (Heavy Cruiser, intially docked at the battlestation)
|Federation fighters (white, front and right) overwhelm 2 Orion squadrons (silver crescents)
Closing the Range
The Orion heavy cruiser Terror had undocked from the starbase and was slowly building up to battle speed. She was now in range (just) and chose to fire both of her missile salvos at once, figuring that she probably wouldn't get another chance. One salvo locked on to Callisto and the other on to Gemini. In both cases, an unusually large number of missiles were on target and the ships messed up their defensive fire badly. 4 warheads hit each target, causing severe damage and turning Callisto and Gemini into barely controllable hulks. Callisto suffered the further indignity of a non-critical hit: she lost the gravity control in the canteen and the cooks were left floating in a mist of hot soup and meatballs!
At the same time, the battlestation fired on the approaching capital ships. Beam fire was intense, but only had limited effect on the Federation force. Then the station fired 4 torpedoes at Invincible. 3 of them hit and a '6', '6' and '5' were rolled for damage. Truly the dice gods were on the side of the Orion pirates during this game! The Invincible staggered out of formation with her weapons destroyed, engines off line, bridge wrecked, life support failing and warp core going critical.
By now, there were dark mutterings against Admiral Mottram from all the other Federation players. At this point the Intrepid chose to play her trump card. The admiral held the Federation's stock of event cards (see here for a brief mention of how these events work) and announced that Intrepid would "Match their shield harmonics!" It was not to be, though: the Orion commander responded with an "That's not fair!" card of his own and cancelled the Federation event. Intrepid's fire then did only minor damage to the battlestation.
AftermathAmazingly, the only ship destroyed was the Intrepid, which wasn't a surprise considering she rammed a battlestation of 4 or 5 times her own mass. All the other Federation ships were crippled and out of control, apart from Danube, which had somehow come through everything pretty much unscathed. Even the Orion cruiser Terror had been able to creep away after her one-and-only devastating salvo, aided somewhat by the playing of a "Legendary Engineer" event card to assist with damage repair.
The captain of the cruiser Danube reported that Admiral Mottram managed to make it to an escape pod after locking the battleship's controls on a collision course with the starbase. However, the Orions have denied holding him as a captive, so he is officially listed as "missing in action". But who knows whether the Orions are telling the truth?
The Federation plan could have worked, but 2 things went wrong:
- The minesweepers were too close to the other units when they entered the minefield. If they had been even a few inches further ahead then any mines they detonated accidentally would only have hit the (expendable) sweepers. Instead, 3 ships were damaged during the forcing of a passage through the field.
- The Orion player had the most outrageous luck I can remember seeing for a long while. 3 of the 6 Federation ships (Callisto, Gemini and Invincible) were gutted by missile or torpedo salvos that performed well above average. This left the Federation player insufficient firepower to hurt the battlestation. Even the event cards that had been dealt to each side worked in the Orion's favour, allowing him to cancel the Intrepid's last, desperate attempt to regain parity. And finally, the sacrifice of the Intrepid had a real chance of maiming or destroying the battlestation, but the dice went heavily in the Orion's favour - again. Truly, I should have asked the player to pick some lottery ticket numbers for me!