The results are in, the competitions over, the tales come to an end! Or is it, as the Lore Office insists… The End and the Beginning?
With the beacon network of the Vanishing Point restored, the Omega Crisis has been resolved. This Fleet-wide, galaxy-spanning story was told over a staggering at least 480,000 words, which is over 1900 Service Ribbons. In eight weeks. Needless to say, I’m proud of and delighted by everyone’s creativity and dedication. This has been a long, hard road, but Bravo Fleet keeps going from strength to strength as a place for storytelling.
A lot has been learned, and we’ll be incorporating it into future Lore Office Campaigns and Fleet Actions. They’ll be shorter, for one, as everyone demonstrated themselves more than capable of telling a good story over a few committed weeks (which leaves us open to running more campaigns a year). Everyone has earned a good rest for the next while, at least, but then we at the Lore Office look forward to seeing what comes next.
But before we move on entirely, I must, of course, end this not with the fleet, and not with the fate of the galaxy, but with all of you. One final round-up for this week of endings:
Week 8 (and beyond)
The crew tries to fix their sudden power troubles, and discovers some bizarre commands issuing from the ship’s computer as, of its own accord, the system searches its databases for a specific star system. When Commander MacIntyre discovers one of the holodecks has become dedicated to a recreation from scans of the recovered Tkon artifact, they realise the ancient technology has someone begun to seize control of the ship’s systems. Atlantis discovers a Tkon site named Facility Bastion 13, identifies a failing beacon, and sets a course Captain Theodoras is unable to override.
The command staff make contact with the AI that has assumed control, which identifies itself as Architect Seven-Six-Nine and explains its purpose to maintain the Tkon beacon network. With the hijacked Atlantis systems, the Architect begins to alter the ship’s systems further and replicate components, causing increasing damage. Upon reaching the facility, the crew undertakes work to rebuild the beacon.
The completed work is anticlimactic, Atlantis unable to detect any differences, any changes. But the AI falls silent, and thus the ship returns to its duties – with battered systems and a confused crew.
The away team finally locates the beacon, buried in the depths of the dig site. But this discovery triggers the manifestation of the Portal guardian which, enraged by Starfleet’s trespasses, brings an electromagnetic storm upon the area that endangers everyone on the surface and cuts them off from contact. As Commander Valance embarks on a rescue mission of the stranded Romulan investigation team, the Starfleet scientists try to appease the Portal.
In orbit, Commander Lotharn is so enraged by the situation he issues Rourke with an ultimatum: surrender himself to Imperial custody, or Lotharn will bombard the dig site, killing the team and risking the Tkon beacon. Unable to contact his away team, Rourke contemplates surrender. At the last moment, the storm lifts after negotiation with the Portal, and the ships in orbit learn the Romulan away team was rescued by Commander Valance. First Secretary Hale makes further diplomatic entreaties of Lotharn, urging him to abandon his hunt of Rourke in light of the rescue of his crew and with the offer of further diplomatic settlements with the Federation, including reparations and a formal apology for the deaths of the crew of the Erem. Dissatisfied, Lotharn nevertheless accepts and withdraws.
With the Portal appeased, the away team manages to recalibrate the beacon, with the side-effect of increasing its tachyon radiation emissions so much that a return to Ephrath would be highly dangerous. With the Tkon technology shrouded under its own defences and this danger, Endeavour departs the Velorum Nebula, her mission complete and the tensions with the Romulan Star Empire she had incited somewhat soothed.
The Odyssey rescues a small craft at the periphery of the phenomenon. Aboard is the Pendari scholar Shu’varn, likewise trying to reach the Belt of the Tkon Outreach, and they agree to join forces before entering the perilous phenomenon. Despite the journey’s dangers, they soon detect more ships ahead, whom Shu’varn identifies as members of a fanatically religious culture on pilgrimage into the Belt. From Shu’varn, the Odyssey also learns of the Vault of the Eternity Seed, some ancient secret in the heart of the Belt of mysterious nature.
Approaching the nebula, the crew enter statis as planned for the forty-eight hour period of travel, the ship crewed by holograms and the Cetacean Ops officers. Once awakened, the senior staff are informed of the numerous disturbances encountered by the ship during the journey, identified by Cetacean Ops as following a pattern and seeming to force a course change that brought them to their destination quicker than anticipated.
Reaching a planet in the centre of the Belt of the Tkon Outreach, Commander Duncan leads an away team and encounters a Tkon guardian in an underground cavern. The Portal challenges the Starfleet team on their worthiness to utilise Tkon technology, and Duncan realises the guardian was responsible for the course changes that brought the team to the site. But the Portal is dying, and while it grants the team access to repair the beacon, it soon perishes. Realising a new guardian is needed, Professor Shu’varn bonds with the interface before he can be stopped. The ensuing power surge restores the beacon’s functionality – but hits the Starfleet team with a massive shockwave…
Repairs to the beacon continue, but a sudden power surge to both the beacon and the ship diverts the engineers’ attention. The crew realises they can modify the Tkon ship to be powered through Starfleet technology, and thus restore the beacon. Back aboard, Captain Hess speaks with the injured local, Dotan, who explains his investigations of the cave before his accident. After consultation with Doctor Brant, Hess decides to wipe his memory. Disguised, she returns him to the planet and his family herself, and misleads them on the existence of the cave. With the beacon now powered by the modified Tkon ship’s systems and its location shrouded from the locals, the Atlantia departs, her mission complete, this part of the network restored.
Commander Daarggal’s runabout team reaches the Amik system to immediately hit a debris field, which they identify as the remains of the satellite Starfleet lost contact with. Investigations show it was destroyed by phaser fire, and soon after a nearby ship is detected, a freighter upgraded with weapons. The freighter ignores hails and tries to run, and Commander Daarggal gives the order to pursue.
Meanwhile, the task group in the Azure Nebula detects Omega, overseen by Captain Mek from Starbase 86. But the detected molecules transpire to have been swallowed by a gormangander, leaving Captain Shilo with a challenge – and Captain Mek with an angry Klingon general who suggests the simplest, violent solution. Only by Commodore Tharc’s intervention does the row not escalate, but Mek soon anticipates the KDF will send cloaked ships after the whale regardless. Captain Shilo sets out her gambit, with the Starfleet ships corralling the gormangander in place so the particles can be beamed out. The operation is successful, with no sign of KDF interference, leaving the staff of Task Force 86 successful in their efforts against Omega – and, in Mek’s case, frustrated in his efforts against Klingon tempers.
The away team continues its work to repair the beacon, setting up camp in the vicinity to dedicate all hours to the project. They soon identify the systems that need understanding to reactivate it, and to test their theories attempt a simulation on the holodeck. Developing the solution from there, the team activates the Tkon systems in the correct order to reactivate the beacon, a task for which the Portal thanks them. At last the Vesta leaves the system, their mission complete and their crew closer than ever after these challenges.
The Heracles tries to bypass the defences of the Tkon outpost unsuccessfully, but their efforts are supported by the arrival of their ally Thý’ella, who provides them with the technology to bypass the security measures. With only one person able to use this device, Captain Vax undertakes the mission into the Tkon outpost by herself. The reactivation of the beacon takes support from the Heracles in orbit, a process which damages the ship’s systems and leaves several crewmembers injured. Parting ways with their allies, the Heracles leaves the system, battered and damaged, but her mission complete.
The away team successfully joins the expedition of Professor Styles, who brings them not only into the pyramid, but eventually the heart of the ancient Tkon chambers itself. There they find a malfunctioning beacon, no guardian, and a local, dangerous life form that threatens to overwhelm the team. Realising Styles has grasped from Tkon records the secrets of warp travel, they confide the truth in him, and Styles realises the Tkon left signs and messages to guide his civilisation’s development over centuries. But ultimately, the beacon needs a new guardian and the deep-dwelling aliens need stopping, and Styles melds with the technology to become the new Portal. There he is able to protect the team and the beacon, and thanks his newfound friends for their assistance. The crew of the Centaur are able to return to their ship with the Prime Directive intact, and their beacon reconnected to the Vanishing Point network.
Commander Porter conducts a daring rescue of his crewmember from the brig of the USS Hullman. Here he confronts his opponent, former mentor Admiral Vargas, before he gets away with Ensign Harrison back to the Solstice. All seems lost when Vargas seizes the Solstice, until the sudden intervention by a mysterious intelligence team that kills Vargas and returns control of the ship to Porter. Porter is baffled by this encounter – until it dissolves around him, revealing the whole series of tense events was a command test conducted by Harrison, in truth a Starfleet captain.
Captain Forrester and his team make it through the temple’s defences to the Tkon beacon, where they assess the nature of its malfunction. With temple guards rushing to find them, they manage to quickly reset the beacon’s systems, which restores its connection to the Vanishing Point network. But before the team can escape, they are confronted by a priest, whom Forrester challenges for his church’s greed, then stuns with a phaser. The way out clear, the team flees the temple and returns to their runabout, their mission completed.
As the Ahwahnee’s crew tries to find their missing captain, Vordenna awakens to find himself a guest of the reptilian aliens of the settlement of Sandastrom. He manages to convince them he is nothing but a peculiar traveller from far away, but despite his host Salatryx’s kind care he is determined to bring Vordenna to the local magistrate. The magistrate is more suspicious of Vordenna’s tale, but further interrogation is interrupted by word of an approaching hostile force.
The Arcturus’s efforts to excavate the suspected location of Tkon technology hits a setback when Captain Lancaster and Commander Galbraith clash over orders to use the ship’s phaser array, which risks devastating the site and destroying further archaeological evidence. With Lancaster forced to confine the scientist to the brig, he draws on more junior officers for his away expedition, where the team tries to gain access to deeper levels of the facility. Struggling to bypass the locking mechanisms, Lancaster chooses access by brute force – and phaser fire.