I, Starship

 

USS Kaga was officially listed as missing 2/1709. The PC’s ship while on patrol picks up a ship moving on impulse power with the warp signature emitting unusual readings. Moving to investigate, the ship is revealing to be the derelict Kaga and many parsecs from it’s last known location.

A Federation Culture/History or a Computer Operations roll will find the log of the last reports on the Kaga. The ship departed Starbase 19 to conduct a follow up survey on the planet and Preserver inhabitants of Amerind, but never reported her arrival. An extensive search failed to find any trace of the ship and the Kaga was listed missing.

A quick sensor scan reveals, that despite the many years the ship has been missing, it is excellent condition. However, sensors the entire crew is be missing. Sensors also show that the life support of the Kaga has failed and the boarding party will require environmental suits.

Regardless of the passage of time, the crew’s remains should still be aboard. The only way to resolve this discontinuity is to send over a boarding party.

Once aboard, the boarding party can access the Kaga’s controls from the bridge and engineering. As soon as they attempt to control the ship, all computer access suddenly locks out and the Kaga’s shields raise and trap the boarding party on board. The ship begins to maneuver on it’s own, moving away from the PC’s ship and going to warp.

What the boarding party doesn’t know is in 2/1708 the Amerind defense beam detected the approaching ship and due to the helmsman’s flamboyant high-speed approach, the defense beam misinterpreted the ship as a threat. The defense beam threw the Kaga five hundred parsecs and the unshielded crew was killed instantly. Time and the effects of exposure to the energies of the Amerind defense beam have made the ship's computer self-aware.

The Kaga was curious to encounter the first being like itself (the PC’s ship) it had ever seen since becoming aware. So, it allowed the PC’s ship to approach. Even the invasion by carbon-based entities wasn’t a problem until the computer was frightened by being directed what to do by the boarding party accessing the ship’s controls. If fired on, the computer returns fire while continuing to flee for the place of its birth: Amerind.

The distance to the planet exceeds the endurance of the boarding party’s environmental suits. The PC’s have five hours of endurance left when they are trapped. The Kaga has additional, much older style, space suits aboard and the ability to recharge them, plus the ship's own life support, which can be restored. The computer never bothered to reactivate the life support as it had no need for it and could use the power for other purposes.

It will be a series of resisted skill rolls between the computer and the boarding party to regain control of critical functions as the ship runs. Because the computer is actively resisting any attempts to shut it down, Computer Operations rolls start at a –40% penalty. Each system requires three successes to gain control of that system. Each roll by the PC results in an additional –10% penalty as the computer learns to adapt to the attempts by the crew to take control. Once there have been three failures on a given system, the computer has successfully managed to lock that system from any further attempts at manual control. Once locked out of a system, the boarding party is left with physically destroying components to shut them down.

In addition to resistance by the computer, the crew faces two dozen remote controlled repair bots, normally used by the engineering crew to repair hazardous areas, modified by the computer using the industrial fabricators over time to conduct repairs requiring a mobile platform. The heavily radiation shielded repair bots have 500 points of armor to resist damage. The bots have the following stats: STR 120, END 200, DEX 50, INT 40. Each is armed with two grippers (HTH 40% 4D10 damage) and a fusion cutter (To hit: 40% damage 50 points, 20 points graze) The Kaga can create one replacement bot every twenty minutes for a total of ten additional bots before expending the current store of materiel.

The computer will seal all security bulkheads to assist in defending itself. The bulkheads will require two hours to cut through with a phaser set of heat and have a resistance of 2000 points to higher settings.

If the PCs begin wantonly damaging the Kaga, the computer will fight back by shifting the gravity plating. A section in freefall requires Environmental Suit Operations roll to traverse that area. The maximum gravity an area can be turned up to is 1.5G. This will require DEX rolls to do any task, plus the specific skill will be at a –10% penalty.

The last resort the computer has is to reroute power discharges through the plasma conduits. The main computer, Jefferies tubes, saucer separation controls, and any other critical area will have a powerful overload of power hidden inside the access panel. It will take an INT roll to notice the warning signs (ozone smell, discolored paint, etc) before touching the panel. If this roll fails, the current will do 10D10 damage. A LUC roll will cut this damage in half. The PC will have to succeed in a resisted roll versus the computer to shut off the overload. 

As the Kaga races for it’s perceived safety, the Amerind defense beam has detected the approaching ships and has more than enough power to be able to overwhelm the PC's ship. As soon as they enter the system, the defense beam begins firing. If the boarding party can overcome enough of the Kaga's systems, OR, for an interesting roleplaying situation, CONVINCE the computer to help, the two ships can defeat the defense beam. However, the Kaga has the priority of reaching Amerind, whereas the PCs have the priority of escaping the defense beam. It will take monumental effort to get the Kaga's computer to trust the carbon based units enough to accomplish both of these conflicting priorities, as no matter how convincing the PCs prove, the Kaga will not gloriously sacrifice herself to save the carbon based units, continued existence is also the computer’s primary goal. Convincing the computer is best handled by roleplaying out the interaction, if the PC’s convince the GM, then they have convinced the computer. Alternately, one, and one PC only, must successfully roll the average of Computer Operations, INT and LUC three times to make a successful argument to gain the computer’s help.

Any Sensor roll that succeeds by half, will notice an ionic disturbance between the planet and the ships. An Astrophysics roll will discover that a combined proximity photon barrage will create a localized ripple in space that will cause a disruption in targeting sensors. A Starship Weapons Repair roll will set the photons to burst with the proper harmonics to cause the cascade ripple effect. Both the ships will have to succeed in the Starship Weapons Operations in the same phase to make the photons have the maximum effect. If both ships succeed, sensors have a –3 to obtain target lock, just as if the sensors were damaged. Even if the ship obtains a target lock; To Hit rolls are at –6. If only one ship succeeds sensors are –1 to gain a target lock and To Hit rolls are at –2.

With it’s targeting crippled the defense beam will be unable to stop the PC’s ship from fleeing the system. The last the PC’s will see of the Kaga will be the new life form entering warp on a course heading that will take it out of known space.  

 

GM’s Note:

Failing to get the Kaga’s help will allow the defense beam to concentrate their fire and unless the computer can beat the defense beam’s Starship Strategy and Tactics roll (computer skill is 35), neither Federation ship will be unable to break through the defense beam’s screen.  The GM can either fight out the battle normally, or if things are going really bad, the computer will decide it is in it’s own best interest to assist the carbon based units after all.