STA – Episode 6 – Big Balls of Borg

Adventure number six in my ongoing Star Trek Adventures campaign was “Great Balls of Borg”, a home brewed adventure that I came up partially because one of my players mentioned early on that he would like to have an adventure with the Borg, and partially because I had two sets of Borg Miniatures that I wanted to make use of.

We played at the “Ogre’s Den Gaming Club” again. I grabbed the table in the corner and it was much quieter this time, but because it was cold outside and we were right by the big windows it was a little chilly. But overall it worked out nicely.

This adventure picked up from the end of “Convoy SE-119“. They safely finished escorting the convoy back to Narendra Station, stopping at Epsilon 19 to collect the Captain and the rest of the crew.

After a short briefing, they were ordered to go investigate the Borg Sphere that they had picked up on sensors on the return trip to the station. The Akira Class ship, U.S.S. Galvarino was a day and a half away, and the Galaxy Class U.S.S. Venture was almost two days away. Both were being recalled but Admiral Hebert didn’t want to wait until they arrived to begin investigating the Sphere.

Set up and ready to begin.

The players decided to drop out of warp and approach the system from quite far out, using the Kimura’s advanced sensors and the characters skills to do a scan of the planet and then the Sphere from the edge of sensor range, hoping that this would prevent the Sphere from detecting them. I think they may even have spent a point of Determination at this point to make sure they were successful. I’ll have to verify with the players, I know one of them did spend one very early into the adventure.

The Kimura cautiously approaching at the top of the photo

The planet was a Class M planet but with no signs of intelligent life or advanced technology, there didn’t seem to be anything about it that would cause the Borg Sphere to hang around in the system.

The Sphere itself seemed to be in some sort of standby mode. It appeared to have a full complement of Borg, but the vast majority were not moving around and seemed to be in their regeneration pods.

After much discussion, it was decided that an Away Team would be sent over to investigate the Sphere. The Away Team consisted of Lt. Cmd. Taemin Rahn, Cmd. Xedrik, Lt. Cmd. Rowan Tonelli, Lt. Oqwadel, Ensign Wolfang Ratxel and Lt. Cmd. Tu’Pari.

The first things they noticed when they beamed over was that the temperature was lower than expected, around 16 degrees Celsius. The air smelled like a strange combination of machine oil and perspiration, and there was an overall feeling of hopelessness and unnaturalness.

They carefully made their way to an unoccupied terminal to try and get some information on what had happened with the Sphere. As a couple of them worked at the terminal (and rolled a Complication), Rowan suddenly felt the cold hand of a Borg on their shoulder. Rowan had a brief moment of panic, but the Borg simply moved them aside, stepped out of it’s pod and wandered down the corridor. In game terms, two Momentum points were quickly spent to buy an Advantage that was immediately used to cancel the Complication. That became a fairly common occurrence while they were exploring the Sphere.

They did manage to find out where there was a hub with a communications node and other nodes. It wasn’t too far from where they were, but they determined that it was in a warmer area with several more active Borg in the vicinity.

Ensign Ratzel and Lt. Oqwadel made their way up one level and Ratzel rigged the sensors above the node to give of a reading of a dangerous gas leak. This was successful in causing the Borg in the node to leave, and gave the Away Team a bit of time to gain as much information as possible before the repair drones were activated and sent into the area. One person operated each of the stations and tried to get as much information as possible. The four stations were Sensors, Communications, Engineering and Navigation.

Making good use of their Momentum, Talents, Focuses and I think an additional Determination spend, they were able to find out a great deal of information.

The Borg Sphere had received a message from it’s home Cube telling the Sphere to cease it’s current mission, and then the message stopped. It was obvious that there was supposed to be more to the message. The players also managed to find the coordinates that the message was sent from. The Sphere had been sitting in this system for slightly over a month waiting for more information from the Cube. It looked like it would automatically return to the Cube’s coordinates in three more days.

They retrieved the recent navigation data as well, confirming that the Sphere was on a scouting mission and had been preparing to move on to a new system when it received the partial message from the Cube.

They also got enough information that they felt they might be able to send a fake message to the Sphere if they could send it from the coordinates that the Cube had sent the message from, although it would be difficult and would have to be a fairly simple message.

A little more digging unearthed some visual information that had been sent as part of a standard backup procedure from the Cube which showed what had happened in the time shortly before and up to the time the message had been sent. The first segment showed an external view of the Cube pursuing a Romulan Warbird. The Warbird moves through a star system, passing by a planet that has four similar looking moons orbiting it. As the Warbird passing between one of the moons and the planet, a beam from the moon hits the Warbird. It starts to tumble and drift away from the system.

The Borg Cube stops pursuing the Warbird and moves towards the planet and the moons. It starts to send the message to the Sphere as it passes inside the orbits of the moons and it is hit with beams from the other three moons.

Additionally, the Away team recovers a portion of a video feed from the interior of the Cube at the moment that the beams hit. They see the organic portions of the Borg suddenly vaporize as the beams pass through the Cube, leaving a pile of parts behind.

At this point the repair drones are getting close, the Away Team decides they have the information they need and they beam back to the Kimura and set course for the coordinates they retrieved from the Cube.

They again take a cautious approach to the system, scanning from the edge of their sensor range, and it turns out to be a good thing that they did as they not only detect the Cube, but three Romulan Warbirds and a heavy duty Romulan Tug. All of the Romulan ships are being careful to stay outside of the orbit of the moons.

After some careful scanning of the moons furthest away from the Romulans and the Cube they determine that the moons are all artificial and the technology for the beam weapons seems to match the technology that was found on Orgun III. This was from the first adventure in the Shackleton Expanse Living Campaign, “Decision Point” which I just realized I didn’t create a blog entry for. An entry for it can be found on Meetup.

The also detect the debris of another Warbird, completely destroyed. They determined that it was destroyed because it was heading directly towards the planet and if all the lifeforms on board were killed, the ship would then have hit the planet.

The planet itself was a Class M planet, with signs of intelligent life at a medieval level of technology, but with indications that they once had a much higher level of technology, probably including space flight.

They also determined, primarily through passive observation, that the Romulan Tug was being stripped of weapons and of crew, and was set to be flown remotely. It appeared as though the Romulans were going to attempt to tractor the Cube out past the orbit of the moons.

After much discussion, they decided to send a fake message to the Borg Sphere, recalling it to the Cube. It would take about six hours for it to arrive. They also rigged a couple of their probes to emit signals that could be mistaken for additional Spheres.

At around the two hour mark, the Romulans finished their work on the Tug and carefully sent it towards the Cube, being careful to come in at an angle away from the planet. The PC’s did some quick calculations and determined that the Tug wouldn’t have pulled the Cube past the orbit of the moons before the Sphere arrived. They decided to take the chance that if the Sphere managed to redock with the Cube that they would return to Borg space rather than going towards a populated system to assimilate a replacement crew. The number of Borg on the Sphere would not be enough to effectively run the Cube, but could likely get it moving towards home.

The Romulans did engage the Sphere when it showed up, but when the Kimura launched it’s bogus Sphere probes, the Romulans retreated, leaving their tug behind. A later review of the sensor data would reveal that one of the Warbirds was the IRW T’Varen , Commander Mheven’s D’Deridex Class Warbird last encountered in the “Border Dispute” adventure where she retrieved an undercover agent from the Kimira’s sister ship, the Nightingale.

The Sphere then locked it’s tractor beam onto the Cube and started pulling it the rest of the way out from the planet. It’s much stronger beam meant it could do so from a safe distance.

Sphere and Cube not to scale, the Cube is actually much larger, Sphere should be about half the size of the small moon counter.

The crew of the Kimura was able to take remote control of the Romulan Tug before it got crushed to the side of the Cube. They monitored from a safe distance, watching as the Cube got tractored to safety, the Sphere docked with it, then a short time later the Cube went to warp, heading towards Borg space. A large sign of relief was let out by the whole crew.

This was the first completely home brewed adventure that I’ve done up for this group, and for Star Trek Adventures. I was really happy with how it turned out and everyone seemed to have a good time. There were a couple players that didn’t get as much action as others, particularly our Security Chief, but I think she was okay with that, judging from how quickly she agreed to any Momentum spends that would prevent them from having to fight Borg drones.

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