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Bringing peace to the stars through strength, diplomacy, and spreadsheets.

"Apparently, there is no such thing as a routine mission in the Explorer Corps. Good to know."
Captain Michel Thuir
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To Boldly Go... A Starfleet Quest is a Star Trek Quest by OneirosTheWriter on Sufficient Velocity in which players take the role of the Admiral in charge of Starfleet, the exploratory and military service of the United Federation of Planets. All kinds of important matters come across your desk: Political wranglings with the Council; signing off on covert operations; setting a long-term shipbuilding agenda; shouldering the burden of an existential crisis to all life in the galaxy... just another day in the office.

While you may have long since left your days of frontier exploration behind, there's a new generation out there just waiting for their shot. The brightest and bravest of Starfleet's captains form the Explorer Corps. Following in the footsteps of Jim Kirk's legendary five year mission, they are sent forth to tame the final frontier, and to be the Federation's heroes in her hours of need. Of course, their reports end up on the desk of the Commander of Starfleet, creating headaches just as often as they save the galaxy. Sometimes at the same time.

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It's not all sunshine and roses out there, however. Starfleet is in perhaps the most desperate state it's even been in, owing to Admiral Cartwright's failed coup attempt a decade prior and the United Federation of Planets' subsequent lack of faith in their ambassadors to the cosmos. Pared down to a mere handful of starships and kept on a tight leash by the Federation Council, the path forward is a murky and treacherous one. Now, more than ever, the citizens of the Federation and the diligent officers of its Starfleet deserve visionary leadership.

The year is 2301. The Council fired your predecessor. Do you have what it takes to lead Starfleet?

The Quest takes place in the form of quarterly turns, interspersed with annual votes and updates on specific topics. You can start reading from the beginning or start participating immediately from the current year (2322 as of 3/6/18); experienced players will be glad to help you get up to speed on the mechanics.

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To Boldly Go... A Starfleet Quest provides examples of:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: When Solomon Rogers got the job as head of Starfleet, several other high-ranking Admirals immediately went on sabbatical. Naturally, this engendered plenty of speculation about what the various motives were. Some, perhaps, wished to register their displeasure or disgust in the strongest possible terms and with an unmistakable gesture. Others may have stepped away out of a healthy sense of self-preservation, realizing — rightly — that Rogers' headstrong brashness would inevitably spark a dispute with the council. We know for sure that at least two, Vitalia Kahurangi and Valentina Sousa, saw the writing on the wall and recognized it as an opportunity to return as a sort of untainted post-Rogers white knight, earning cheap political points by establishing an early and easy contrast with their predecessor. Indeed, they succeeded thoroughly enough to become TBG's first two player characters. Rogers' own remaining loyalists (the "Old Guard") were naturally displeased by this power play, which is the in-story reason for their lack of mechanical benefits.
  • Ace Pilot: Stol, the longtime helmsman of the Enterprise-B.
  • Adaptational Badass: Rachel freaking Garrett. Granted, that's partially because she only had one episode (Yesterday's Enterprise) of TNG to work with — and she was injured! — but TBG leaves little doubt that her eventual command of the Enterprise-C is no fluke.
  • The Alleged Starship: The four Soyuz-class rustbuckets Starfleet started the Quest with.
  • Aerith and Bob: Like no tomorrow.
  • After-Action Report: It's not uncommon for omakes to take this shape. For a more literal example, the combat log itself can be decoded into a fascinating AAR, like this example by SynchronizedWritersBlock detailing the flow of battle in the aftermath of 45 Gabriel.
  • Alliance Meter: Every species/government (usually, but not always, the same) Starfleet encounters has a separate diplomatic score with a starting value between 1-100, depending on how much they like us based on our first impression. Raising that score (either through event response or focused diplomacy) represents deepening their ties with the Federation. Once it breaks 100, they're considered to be in the Federation's sphere of influence. The 300 point threshold represents affiliation, where they operate as true allies and will coordinate their logistics to a much greater extent. At 500 points, they're ready for full membership in the Federation. Tags can complicate this process; they represent issues that hinder integration and must be worked through. They come in three different flavors (100, 300, and 500) and must be filled before you can pass that level on the meter itself.
  • Always Someone Better: This is what makes the Harmony of Horizon so galling to the Federation, and Starfleet in particular, alongside a nagging suspicion that their broad smiles and seemingly-utopian democracy hide something sinister.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Orion Union's Aerocommandos.
  • Anyone Can Die: Plot Armor doesn't exist. One bad enough roll, and even the most beloved character could be atomized.
  • Anything That Moves: Nash ka'Sharren has this reputation in many circles. Regardless of how accurate it may or may not be, she's worked hard to earn it!
  • Agent Provocateur: Cardassian efforts to prop up the Orion Syndicate as a thorn in the side of the Federation and to derail the Orion Union's prospects for membership were almost successful. Starfleet's own campaign to covertly liberalize the Dawiar has some parallels as well.
  • Alien Non-Interference Clause: The Prime Directive is present, though of course in nuanced form-it's expected that a captain will break it in order to do the right thing and having a certain number of such tribunals on one's record is something of a badge of honor in higher-ranked circles. Still, when it's revealed that the Shanpurr people have engaged in an uplift of three pre-warp species, effectively wiping out their original cultures to overwrite them with Shanpurr ones, the Federation reaction is only slightly less horrified than they would have been had the Shanpurr engaged in a bloody campaign of extermination.
  • Artificial Intelligence: Mipek, an alien AI sent from across the galaxy in an ancient space probe, joins the crew of the USS Odyssey and later serves in vital roles in various other Federation projects. Still, not all are benign-the Licori have an ingrained fear of computers that seems to have come from a robot uprising, and the Gaeni have outlawed most AI development entirely after similar incidents.
  • Assassination Attempt: Unnervingly frequent, in the grand scheme of things, especially during ratification ceremonies.
  • Attack Drone: Frigate-sized ones were favored by the Eternal Empire.
  • Badass Crew: When a ship ranks up, part of the stat bonus reflects the crew becoming this.
  • Batman Gambit: Warmaster Halkh's plan for turning around the Battle of Ixaria Approach hinged on taking out the ship with the Federation commander using a specially-modified torpedo. While he successfully narrowed it down to two Excelsior-class ships, he mistakenly assumed that any Admiral worth their rank would be leading from the position of honor in the lead vessel and that the Federation Admiral wasn't worth their rank, resulting in him targeting the wrong vessel.
  • Boarding Party: Uncommon in combat, but not unheard of. The Sydraxian boarding action against the crippled USS Endurance was especially unpleasant.
  • Born Lucky: Nash ka'Sharren, or the luckiest damn Andorian in the universe.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: Well... almost. The Constitution-B "refit" might use some leftover parts from mothballed Constitutions (in fact, only four of them did), but for all intents and purposes it's a completely different ship. The internals have been reworked to increase automation and reduce crew, and the hull is constructed from more modern and less breakdown-prone materials. Given the history of Constitution refits in this regard, it likely looks different in a number of subtle and less-than-subtle ways.
  • The Brigadier: This is YOU.
  • The Captain: Many! Among the most notable:
    • Nash ka'Sharren is very much a latter-day Jim Kirk, and her two eventful 5YMs in command of the Enterprise-B give her more than enough of a legacy to rank among the greats.
    • Michel Thuir, or The Most Sensible Man In Starfleet, is in some ways the Picard to Nash's Kirk. His lofty and genuine set of ideas, deep care for those under his command, and ability to forge through traumatic events with spirit unbroken earned him the attention of Q, which is no small feat.
    • T'Lorel, the dignified Vulcan with the heart of a diplomat who — much to her consternation — earned a reputation for solving tough problems via orbit-to-surface phaser strike.
  • Captain's Log: Like you wouldn't believe!
  • The Cavalry: The Klingon fleet at the Battle of Kadesh
  • The Chains of Commanding: As the Commander of Starfleet, it's your duty to make the final call about sending your men, women, and starships into harm's way. Not all endings are happy ones, and even a victory comes at a cost.
  • Character Level: Ships rank up in this sequence: Green > Blooded > Veteran > Elite. Experience points are gained from event response rolls and, perhaps counter-intuitively, not from combat.
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: Some characters who "die" show up alive. Saavik probably won't.
  • A Commander Is You: Starfleet's Lone Ranger doctrine is Elitist, geared towards the preeminence of their Explorer vessels.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Alexandria Kuznetsova is one of the most brilliant minds in Starfleet, if not the Federation. She also believes that shape-shifters from the Gamma Quadrant exist and are a threat that should be taken seriously.
  • Cool Starship: Starfleet's goal is to make sure that the Explorer Corps is stocked with the coolest damn ships possible, because they'll need every stat point they can get to surmount some of the challenges they'll encounter in the great beyond.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: A dime a dozen on Alukk and other Orion worlds.
  • Court-Martialed: A semi-regular occurrence. Verdicts are typically quite fair.
  • Cultural Posturing: Sure, everyone does it, but the Cardassians are particularly blatant and obnoxious about it
  • Cultured Warrior: Warmaster Halkh, (formerly) of the Arcadian Empire, is a Licori of wit and sophistication.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Starfleet is typically operating from a position of tactical superiority, so these aren't uncommon. Some, however, are very noteworthy.
    • For a traditional example, the Battle of Ixaria Approach is a classic. An Arcadian Empire fleet attempting to relieve the besieged Ixaria system fell into an ambush by a Federation task force under the command of Commodore ka'Sharren. Despite a valiant attempt to turn the tide by Warmaster Halkh, they were swiftly subdued. This proved to be the decisive engagement, as the Licori Emperor himself happened to be on board one of the first vessels to be destroyed.
    • The "battle" of 33 Fujit, which was in fact a Cardassian ambush of the Enterprise-B by the Jaldun-class cruiser CDF Karnack and the heretofore-unknown battlecruiser CDF Lorgot. Together, they had the Enterprise hopelessly outmatched and outgunned. The result? Karnack dead and adrift, Lorgot reduced to her component atoms, and the Enterprise leaving away from the system with shields still holding at 75%. wait I thought you said plot armor wasn't a thing 
  • Cyborg: The Gaeni seem to indulge in this to some degree.
  • The Cynic: Comes out in both Obsidian Order and Tal Shiar reports, with an insistence on viewing the Federation through a purely pragmatic lens.
  • The Dead Have Names: Those who perished when the USS Sarek suffered a partial infection from the Biophage were listed by name. Casualties from the Caitian Frontier Police deployed to Orion Union space were later given a similar treatment.
  • Death World: Every fourth planet, is sometimes feels like, but these two especially:
    • Vail (inhabited by badasses who are more than a match for the rough wilds)
    • Second Risa (Inhabited by Risans, who are... not.)
  • Designer Babies: Heavily stigmatized among humans (and to a lesser extent, the Federation) thanks to lingering trauma from the Eugenics Wars. One of them — Patricia Chen — also happens to be near pinnacle of Starfleet, although few (if any) are aware of her origin.
  • Desk Jockey: These folks get almost as much love as the Captains themselves; one of them is you.
  • Detonation Moon: Relax! Nash ka'Sharren didn't destroy our moon.
  • Disaster Relief Game: In the early years, the Biophage Crisis led to an Enemy Mine variation of this with the Romulan Empire where both powers collaborated to defend and evacuate vulnerable colonies and, ultimately, to crush the threat altogether.
  • Distress Call: Everyone, all the time.
  • Dump Stat: Ships are measured by Combat, Science, Hull, ShieLd, Presence, and Defense scores. Component space is a limited quantity, so it often pays to emphasize certain values over others.
    • Starfleet vessels tend to have low Hull points compared to other powers.
    • Apiata ships have even less in Hull.
    • Amarki designs have notoriously bad Presence scores, save for their Riala battlecruisers, which are passable.
    • Rigellian ships tend to have anemic Defense.
  • Eldritch Starship: Anything taken over by the Biophage.
  • Emergent Gameplay: Thanks to the increasingly granular process of ship design, the Starship Design Bureau has become a minigame of its own. Without players willing to experiment with the ship designer, the Federation would be without the Kepler- and Comet-classes altogether.
  • Energy Economy: Supposedly the mechanism behind the UFP's post-scarcity, post-capitalism economy.
  • Ensign Newbie: One of the joys of this quest is watching junior officers climb the ranks and eventually gain their own command.
  • Eldritch Starship: The derelicts from other timelines deposited in the Mortuary Expanse all display subtle space-warping effects.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: Starfleet's Explorer Corps fills this role within the service. Interestingly, Starfleet itself holds this role in relation to the fleets of individual member races.
  • Everyone Has Standards: The Gaeni are essentially an entire race of borderline-lunatic researchers who often seem to view catastrophic laboratory accidents as mere inconveniences inherent to the path of scientific progress. However, after encountering what the Licori Mentats called "science," the Gaeni reaction was a grim-faced recommendation that the Arcadian Empire be stopped by any means necessary.
  • Expy: Several races originated as references to other SF works.
    • The Amarki were initially a take on the Abh from Crest of the Stars, but have long since become their own thing.
    • The Biophage and the Kadeshi are immigrants from the Homeworld series with a handful of alterations.
    • The Licori Houses and the Arcadian Empire are very much inspired by Dune.
    • The Tauni take their cues from Stargate SG-1.
    • The Honiani were originally a Warhammer reference, but have mostly moved away from that.
    • The Yan-Ros are a RWBY reference, which a good portion of the playerbase failed to realize.
  • Exotic Extended Marriage: Andorians typically have four-person marriages, though the components don't always correspond to the four Andorian genders. Shey ch'Tharvasse, one of the later protagonists, notably has three husbands, all Andorian chens like him.
  • The Extremist Was Right: Admiral Rogers, for all his faults as a person and as a communicator, understood the value of Starfleet's military role. The galaxy is a scary place. Shortly after he was forced out, we encountered the Biophage for the first time. While Starfleet may have been in a worse place to confront it specifically because of his mismanagement of the Excelsior, Ares, and Centaur projects, that doesn't negate that he was correct in his desire for a more robust and dangerous Starfleet.
  • Failed a Spot Check: A particularly galling type of missed event where a ship responds, but doesn't roll high enough to see what it was there to respond to. This is part of why all Starfleet ships are currently designed to have a respectable Science score, whereas some other powers skimp on it to add more to another value like Combat.
  • False Utopia: The Harmony of Horizon. Probably.
  • Fantastic Caste System: The Bajorans have one in a theocratic flavor.
  • Fantastic Naming Convention: Hoooooboy...
    • Andorian surnames are prefixed with one of ch-, sh-, th-, or zh-, depending on their biological sex (as in, "Nokair ch'Gharist" or "Mica zh'Halron"). There are exceptions who use prefixes like ka-, na-, or ta- that doesn't seem to correspond to sex.
    • Vulcan male names almost always fall within a narrow spectrum; for example, "Revak," "Pavik," "Stesk," "Spren," and "Stol." Female names have a much greater phonetic diversity, but are typically prefixed with T-, like with "T'Faer," "T'Prinit," and "T'Mariss." Some, like "Saavik" and "Hamith," are not.
    • Tellarite names tend towards the rough and alien, often containing distinctive consonant clusters and, miore generally, sounds we don't think of as going well together. Female names are sometimes a little softer, but as a general rule, you're not going to be able to discern the gender of a Tellarite through their name alone. Most — but not all — Tellarites have a cupola between their personal and family names: "Orduk grac Clagunn," "Kach blasch Fapok," "Fraotar glasch Glos." There's quite a variety to them, but some do seem to be more common than others.
    • Amarki names, such as "Larai Leaniss," "Aolina Nassae III," and "Aleshe Aelin," largely follow the long-established elven 'lots of vowels and soft, swooshy sounds' ethos.
    • Gaeni names include a paired element like "Maladd-Toir" or "Abat-Narkoa," much like the various Gaeni Institutes. Where this becomes tricky is that they can variously be the first element ("Dara-Gael Akatan"), last element ("Gan Attas-Vanad"), or only element ("Beradd-Kellar"). The internal logic behind this choice — like many Gaeni choices — is opaque.
    • Orions are Generic Alien central. The race is ancient and fractured, so it's easy to write off as being similar to humans where a vast array of traditions blend into an indecipherable slurry when viewed from the outside. "Quenita Borcadda," "Ero Ye Wencanna," "Toliz Gavadez," and "Navva Javnaave" are just a few examples.
    • Sydraxian names tend to feature a certain rhythmic cadence to them to reflect the culture's fascination with music. (Alongside an excess of the letter 'X' to reflect that there's an 'X' in 'Sydraxian.') Female names, like "Naxalie" and "Xelodie," almost always end in -ie, while male names ("Calonix," "Heliox," "Thaah,") often end in -x. All names have a single element, unless you're named "Nakra Klikuchki," in which case all bets are off.
    • Apiata names are reliably composed of a single element that can range anywhere from two syllables ("Hizzar") to more than two syllables ("Porriziintinsiminzzinamaina"), though most fall much closer to the former. The lion's share have double Z's as a clear nod to the Apiata's signature buzzing noise ("Holdizzi," "Yzzirdina," Izzidiera"), but exceptions to this aren't uncommon ("Ulrriata," "Hallizit"). The handful of male Apiata have names that are indistinguishable from female Apiata.
    • Cardassian names follow very closely from canon and consist mostly of two-syllable personal and family names with relatively few diphthongs and consonant blends. Ideally, they should feel natural when spoken with a haughty snarl in a jeremiad denouncing the seditious allure of foreign cultures while extolling the high ideals of self-sacrifice and service to the state. For instance: "Samar Kanel," "Alkor Evek," "Corat Remir." Lots of fun at parties.
    • Rigellian names, with rare exceptions ("Torrt Kineak," among others), consist of a single element. The weirder it is, the more Rigellian you are! Examples: "Khiwuolo," "Rangyad," "Xuggaed," and "Ciibeiza."
    • Caitian names are recognizable by their over abundance of 'rr' sounds and other cues that resemble purring and hissing and, every now and again, coughing up a hairball. Apostrophes are sprinkled in haphazardly, though never more than once to an element. Some Caitians might have only a single name; it could just be that we don't know their full names yet. If you come across "Yrrhaya Shrr'far," "Arsharra N'Gir," "Samhaya Mrr'shan," or (god forbid) "Barrhar Vrr'far," they're probably Caitians.
    • This is just the tip of the iceberg, my friend.
  • Fantastic Ship Prefix: Exceptions are rarer than straight examples.
    • UES for the United Earth Space Probe Agency (UESPA)
    • CDF for Cardassian warships
    • TSS for Tellarite vessels
    • VCS for Vulcans
    • BCS for Betazoid patrollers
    • SFS (Seyek) and QSS (Qloathi) registered warships are jointly under the STO
    • RDS for the Rigellians
    • OUS ships represent the Orion Union — and often a commercial sponsor
    • CSS for the Caitians
    • CAS for the Amarki
    • IGS signifies a Gaeni tech-ship
    • SKS ships belong to the Honiani
    • KPS, likewise, to the Ked Paddah
    • AIS represents ships in direct service to the Arcadian Emperor, with AHS indicating a vessel loyal to a specific House
    • SEV is the prefix for Felis ships
    • HIMS for the (briefly revived) Eternal Empire
    • HPDV. HSDV, and HSPDV are all prefixes borne by vessels from the Harmony of Horizon
    • CFS indicates a ship from the Padani, or more generally the Interstellar Confederacy
    • IKS and IRW are the classic Klingon and Romulan prefixes, respectively
    • This isn't even exhaustive...
  • Fantasy Axis of Evil: Oddly, the Cardassians' Ashalla Pact client races seem to fit this pattern.
    • Savage: the Goshwanar
    • Eldritch: the Imelak
    • Humanoid: the Bajorans (or, alternatively, the Cardassians themselves)
    • Fallen: the Konnen
    • Crafty: the Dylaarians and Lecarre
  • A Father to His Men: Vol Chad's secret weapon as Captain: sincere empathy and earnest goodwill.
  • First Contact: Too many to count.
  • Flawed Prototype: Nobody can prove anything, but bad things happen to the first ship in each class...
  • Foe Yay: Nash ka'Sharren and Gul Penelya Miran, who are the captains on the scene for the First Contact between the Cardassians and the Federation, develop this after crossing swords on several occasions. Gul Miran says she wasn't Defecting for Love when she stole a prototype combat cloak along with its ship, but rather acting to prevent the devastating war that would ensue from a Cardassian first strike, but certainly it was a component of her thinking.
  • Four-Star Badass: Nash ka'Sharren has a real knack for finding herself on the front lines (and on board an Enterprise) despite having succumbed to flag officer status.
  • Friendly Rivalry: Vitalia Kahurangi and Valentina Sousa both tried to pull off the same ploy at the same time, but Kahurangi pulled one over Sousa and took the beat the canny political maven at her own game. As a show of good faith, Kahurangi made sure to give Sousa a career-boosting assignment as one of her earliest bureaucratic moves; Valentina would even springboard off of this to become Kahurangi's successor.
  • Friendly War: Bota Ball tournaments are a big deal among the Outer Space Alliance races.
  • Galactic Superpower: Two governments can lay claim to that status as of 2322: The United Federation of Planets and the Harmony of Horizon.
  • General Failure: Solomon Rogers, your predecessor. He meant well, but his pushed too hard and too fast against a Federation Council with the Cartwright Conspiracy still fresh in their minds. The Ares boondoggle and the botched roll-out of the first two Centaur-class starships were enough to rupture what trust the Council had placed in him. Ironically, if he had merely taken things steady, focused on the proven Excelsior design, and played nice with the Council, the emergence of the Biophage would vindicated his long-term agenda and given him the legitimacy and leverage to leave the legacy he lusted for.
  • Ghost Ship: A few. Of special mention: The USS Excalibur, the second Excelsior-class commissioned, disappeared without a trace in 2296. It was eventually discovered adrift, more than 20 years later. Captain Ka'Athnon is hopeful that the surviving crew will one day be able to rejoin society.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Anything related to the Biophage.
  • Good Is Not Soft: For some reason, the problem children of the Alpha Quadrant insist on treating the Federation like it's all bark and no bite. Invariably, they get bit.
  • Grand Theft Prototype: How the CDF Kadak-Tor found its way into the hands of Starfleet Intelligence (more-or-less)
  • Gray Goo: The pre-warp Yizgisi suffered an outbreak of malfunctioning nanomachines that consumed an entire continent and was moving on the rest before Captain Xuggaed and the USS Hood arrived, summoned by a prototype subspace distress call from desperate scientists hoping that there were spacefaring species able and willing to help. The Hood contained the outbreak, but the Yizgisi were horribly traumatized by the near-apocalypse and sudden introduction to interstellar society.
  • Guilt-Free Extermination War: The Biophage conflict
  • Gunboat Diplomacy: Starfleet isn't innocent of this, but the guns are generally pointed at other great powers rather that the little guys caught in between. The Cardassians, on the other hand, take it in a more classic direction.
  • Had To Be Sharp: Two related facts: 1) The Yan-Ros come from a Death World. 2) The Yan-Ros are the most dangerous personal combatants in the known galaxy. Yes, counting the Gorn.
  • Hive Caste System: The Apiata have Queens, Drones, and Workers.
  • Home Guard: While Starfleet is the Federal armed force of the UFP, individual member races are free (and encouraged) to maintain their own fleets for local duty. Unlike many cases, these can generally be counted on to perform at close to the same level as Starfleet itself. (Baring certain obvious exceptions, that is; the Amarki or Apiata are far more capable of proper fleet service than, say, the Risan Warp Lifesaving Club, for instance.)
  • Homeworld Evacuation: Poor Kadesh.
  • Human Hard Drive: Licori Mentats are specifically created to fill this role while also being honest-to-god mad scientists, both stemming from and enabling their race's fear and distrust of mechanical computers.
  • Humanoid Aliens: Per Star Trek tradition, quite commonplace.
  • Humans Are Diplomats: Part of how they ended up at the heart of the Federation.
  • Honor Before Reason: Captain Michael "Mack" O'Hara of the USS Excelsior refused to fire on the SS Skegal (a transport carrying refugees that had just been infected by the Biophage) as long as there were still people on board he was capable of rescuing. The Skegal escaped to warp under the Biophage's control, but 300 lives were saved in exchange. Captain O'Hara was relieved of command immediately and put to a court martial, but in the end he was given only a slap-on-the-wrist punishment. While he may not have done the correct thing, he did the right thing.
  • The Horde: The Hishmeri people are a massive nomadic fleet, migrating from the galactic rim to the galactic core. They even "herd" nonsentient self-replicating probes which they harvest regularly.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: In many ways, the Konnen are scarier than their Cardassian overlords. Perhaps also the Goshwanar by the same measure, but especially if you're in the skirmish phase of a fleet battle.
  • Improbably Female Cast: The first playable head of Starfleet and the first three Explorer Corps Captains chosen in-game were all female. While plenty of male characters have become Explorer Corps Captains since then, the playerbase seems to have a preference for female characters.
  • Inappropriately Close Comrades: Defied by Starfleet, which doesn't seem to have any official fraternization regulations beyond whatever a Captain might unofficially impose upon their command. It doesn't stop Nash from invoking them in order to wiggle free from an accidental marriage, though!
  • Innocent Aliens: The Gretarians had no concept of organized violence on any scale.
  • Insane Admiral: Generally averted — which is good, because you are largely responsible for promoting them in the first place — but the Cartwright Conspiracy is still basically the Watergate of the future and fresh in people's minds. The fear is real enough that your immediate predecessor, the (now retired) Admiral Solomon Rogers, was forced out over it.
    • Notable are the actions of Rear Admiral Akintola, who attempted to sabotage the creation of the Sarquel Treaty Organization between the Seyek, Firaal, and Qloathi, believing that the formation of such a militarily potent bloc of member states would weaken Starfleet's own position. She was brought down and arrested by Captain Ahurani of the USS Atuin before causing major casualties.
  • Invincible Classic Starship: The USS Cheron, last operational Constitution-A in Starfleet. With good base stats and a ridiculously high crew rating, it might very well serve into the 40s (or beyond) before being retired.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: The idea behind a generalist design.
  • Last of His Kind: The planet Iaradun was home to a group of sapient ecosystems wiped out in a stellar catastrophe fifteen million years ago, the last of them surviving due to hiding most of its mass beneath the planet's crust. The Last Iaradunian is genial towards Starfleet after some initial unpleasantness once reassured that the event which wiped out the rest of its kind will not reoccur.
  • Legacy Vessel Naming: Frequent.
    • Both the USS Enterprise-B and USS Enterprise-C carry quite a famous legacy.
    • The Excelsior-class USS Miracht (NCC-2006) was named in honor of the Miranda-class USS Miracht (NCC 1629), taken by the Biophage. The Tellarites would later name the TSS Miracht Agrad (NCC-2018) after both of them.
    • Starfleet-built Constitution-B/Lexington-subclass ships are named in honor of past Constitution-class ships. (Lexington, Hood, Republic, Korolev, Saratoga, Defiant, Valiant, Exeter, and Huáscar)
    • The new Comfort-class hospital ships — and by extention the lead ship — are named after the destroyed USS Comfort, one of the older ships based on the antiquated Ranger-class hull.
    • The Contellation-class vessels USS Triada and USS Gerzzi are named after a pair of Apiata stingers lost to mines in the opening stage of the Battle of 45 Gabriel.
  • Lensman Arms Race: After discovering how good the Cardassian Jaldun destroyers were, Starfleet urgently sought to develop and deploy cruisers capable of beating it.
  • Loads and Loads of Races: Ohboy.
  • Ludicrous Speed: The USS Stargazer was last seen hurtling at an impossible speed towards Andromeda.
  • Mad Scientist: Every damn Mentat.
  • Master of All: An Explorer can't afford any weaknesses; EC missions roll from a different and more dangerous event table.
  • Master of Disguise: Lecarre agents are notoriously hard to identify.
  • Mega-Corp: These form the cornerstone of Orion Union society.
  • Mid-Orbit Collision: The unlucky UES Shanghai was obliterated in one due to a century-old software bug.
  • Military Coup: The Reign of Terror of Tal'Shiar Director ch'Ren in the chaos of the Klingon-Romulan war comes to an abrupt end when Admiral Velim returns from the front lines and beheads the director on the floor of the Senate before declaring herself Empress.
  • Military Maverick: Nash ka'Sharren costs Political Will every year just to have out in the field. This is a sort of down payment that lets her play by different rules and more-or-less get away with it.
  • Mirror Universe: As part of the quest trying to focus a little less on humanity and more on other Federation members, the main one of these that appears is a world where the totalitarian logic-cult known as the Vulcan Technocracy and their conquered vassal species fights a neverending war against the heroic Romulan Republic.
  • Monument of Humiliation and Defeat: After capturing a Cardassian Jaldun-class cruiser largely intact at the decisive Battle of 45 Gabriel, Starfleet decided to put in on display as a museum piece called... the USS 45 Gabriel.
  • The Mothership: The Harmony of Horizon's huge (~5000 mt) fleet tenders are mobile bases for flotillas of powerful frigate-sized ships, while being powerful combatants in their own right.
  • Multiethnic Name: Neither uncommon nor unexpected in the distant future, but Vitalia Yukiko Kahurangi (Ukrainian/Japanese/Maori) is truly a standout example.
  • Named by Democracy: Capital ships (that is to say, Starfleet's explorers) have their names voted on. Perhaps surprisingly, the players have been exceedingly well-behaved with this responsibility; the results typically reflect the Federation's diversity far better than canon ever has.
  • Naval Blockade: Of the Neutral Zone during the Biophage Crisis.
  • Never Live It Down: In-Universe. Poor T'Lorel is rather distraught at how closely associated she's become with orbit-to-surface phaser use.
  • Not Quite Human: The Padani are freakishly close to humanity even by Star Trek standards.
  • Off the Rails: The Quest started with a series of future pre-statted canon starship designs for the players to work towards, but thanks to the impeccable work from the folks over in the Starship Design Bureau, Starfleet has leapt well ahead of its intended trajectory. For instance, the circa-2332 New Orleans would be a step backwards from the Comet, a design dating back to 2321; further out on the horizon, the SDB has plans for a heavy cruiser design capable of matching the 2350 Galaxy-class on most stats (save Hull) two decades early and at less than half the Galaxy's gargantuan 5mt displacement.
  • One Riot, One Ranger: Starfleet knows that they'll never have enough ships to have an ideal level of coverage, so it employs a doctrine that helps to ensure that the "only ship in the sector" equipped to deal with whatever it finds without needing backup — and maybe, just maybe, doing so quickly enough to put out another brushfire somewhere else. This is especially relevant for the Explorer Corps vessels, often operating on the fringes of known space.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Defense is extremely important, especially on smaller ships. Not only does it decide whether or not they respond to an event, it also plays a pivotal role in the Skirmish phase of a fleet battle. If you win the Skirmish, you have a positive multiplier for the following Vanguard and Heavy Metal phases.
  • Overranked Soldier: Nash ka'Sharren took command of the Enterprise-B at the ripe old age of 32. This wasn't her first command, either; prior to the game, she was the Captain of the Miranda-class USS Lion. It's entirely possible she made Captain in her late 20s.
  • Overt Rendezvous: Not uncommon in Paris or on Second Risa.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Mentats, to the point that the procedure for creating a full Mentat was banned.
  • Planet Looters: Seems to be a Hishmeri hat
  • Planet of Spies: Second Risa, though most of them are ostensibly retired.
    • Kar Akar, during the collapse of the Sydraxian government
    • Gervanis, the Lecarre homeworld, likely qualifies; espionage is pretty much their entire shtick.
  • Plant Aliens: The Obar
  • Pleasure Planet: Risa, Risa, Risa.
  • The Pollyanna: Zara Ka'athnon, captain of the USS Pathfinder and later the USS Courageous, maintains a determinedly optimistic and enthusiastic view of the world no matter the circumstances-her logs during the recovery of the USS Excalibur, when her ship and crew were trapped in an alien universe of horror for months on end, suggest that this is a deliberate affectation on her part as she believes it aids in crew morale.
  • Portal Network: At least one seems to exist, and both the Tauni and the Ashidi have done monumentally stupid things with them.
  • Privately Owned Society: Yrillian worlds seem to be like this.
  • Proud Merchant Race: The Ferengi, as per tradition, but also the Orions and Dylaarians.
  • Proud Scholar Race: The Vulcans and Caldonians fill this niche in the Federation.
  • Proud Warrior Race: Many seem to fancy themselves as such, or at least have the trappings of it, but the Klingons and Amarki are the two that most consistently view their surroundings through the lens of a warrior-centric honor code.
  • Proxy War: While more of an outright landgrab than a traditional conflict, the Gabriel Border Zone served this purpose between the UFP and the Cardassian Union. While the Sydraxians were initially the primary Ashalla Pact antagonists, the GBZ eventually spiraled into full-on Starfleet vs Cardassian + AP fleet actions.
  • Punny Name: Starfleet's chosen name for the new shipyard at Ferasa? Modern Engineering Orbiral Works.
  • The Remnant: The Eternal Empire is an Orion Empire stay-behind force composed of six dreadnaughts with technology fifty years ahead of anyone else in the quadrant and thousands of fanatical cyborg shocktroopers, dedicated to the restoration of an empire that fell to the Hur'q over a thousand years ago.
  • Rising Empire: The Ittick-Ka see themselves as this.
  • Risking the King: Performed in the typical Star Trek fashion, though more subdued. Still, it almost always works out for the best. The Arcadian Empire did this in a more literal way during the Battle of Ixaria Approach, which did not work out so well.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The Cardassian Union are fascist xenophobes who believe that the value of an individual is reflected entirely by their service of and loyalty to the state.
  • Self-Disposing Villain: The Licori Emperor helps to make a long war much shorter by leaving the safety of his capital to personally oversee a relief fleet, only to be killed in an ambush.
  • Sheep in Sheep's Clothing: When the Federation admitted the Amarki as full members, offering them the same deal as the original four despite having little to gain from this generosity in a pragmatic sense, the Tal Shiar finally came to this realization about the Federation's nature.
  • The Short War: The Licori Conflict.
  • Sleazy Politician: Rare. The Federation Council specifically tends to be downright upstanding.
    • The Orion Union, however, has a major problem with corruption that isn't helped in the slightest by Syndicate influence.
    • Caitian politics, on the other hand, are just... catty. Future Federation President Arsharra N'Gir cut her teeth in this kind of environment, but rather than dirtying her hands, she instead built her career through sheer tenacity.
  • Snake People: The Seyek.
  • Space Battle: Not often, and never ideal, but those that happen tend to have mighty repercussions.
  • Space Cold War: Between the United Federation of Planets and the Cardassian-helmed Ashalla Pact, complete with proxy conflict. A similar cold war between the Klingon and Romulan Empires has only recently left a hot phase.
  • Space Mines: Why do you bring a science ship to a battle? These are why you bring a science ship to a battle.
  • Space People: The Hishmeri, Imelak, and Unbound Gaeni.
  • Space Nomads: The Hishmeri and the Imelak.
  • Space Pirates: Often affiliated with the Orion Syndicate and/or flying Yrillian Carryalls.
  • Spaceship Girl: Possibly, depending on how you feel about the canon status of certain secondary stories.
  • Space Whale: Cosmozoa are surprisingly common. The Dreamers are an entire interstellar civilization of starship-sized ones, capable of communicating with dreaming humanoids using powerful telepathy.
  • The Spook: Just who was "Ambassador Lux?" We don't have a damn clue.
  • Spy Ship: Starfleet Intelligence operates four civilian ships in this role — the SS Appleseed, SS Slipper, SS Hummingbird, and one other — with a fifth under construction.
  • Standard Sci-Fi Fleet: As can be expected! Starfleet's lineup looks like this, with italics representing classes in service already at game start.
    • Escorts/Frigates
      • Soyuz-classnote  escort
      • Miranda-class combat frigatenote 
      • Centaur-class generalist frigate
      • Oberth-classnote  "long-range explorer"
      • Kepler-class science frigate
      • (Comet-class frigate prototype under construction)
    • Cruisers
      • Constellation-class light cruiser
      • Constitution-class explorer note 
      • Constitution-B/Lexington-subclass light cruiser
      • Renaissance-class light cruiser
      • (Unnamed future heavy cruiser project)
    • Explorers/Battlecruisers
      • Excelsior-class explorer
      • Ambassador-class explorer
  • Starfish Aliens: The Fiiral are quite nonhumanoid.
  • Starship Luxurious: Excelsiors have this reputation with many races. This is deliberate; Starfleet isn't going to authorize a Five-Year Mission for any ship that doesn't have top-notch creature comforts.
  • Stealth in Space: Cloaking devices are one way, but almost any ship is capable of stealth operations if they try hard enough (and have a high enough Science score to pass the necessary checks.)
  • Straw Civilian: Averted by the Federation Council. Even Stesk, the face of the Pacifist party, is willing to sanction a military response when one is unquestionably required.
  • Straw Vulcan: Occasionally seen, but never presented as a legitimate face of the Vulcan species as a whole. At least, in this universe.
  • Superweapon Surprise: The Licori present a distinctly negative version of this. So negative, in fact, that it got them invaded by a bunch of peaceniks.
  • Supporting Leader: The players, along with just about anyone with a flag rank.
  • Suspiciously Small Army: It's hard to describe the sorry state of Starfleet at the beginning of the game in any other way. It's since been explained through the evolving backstory, but the real reason is that Oneiros wanted the game to take place on a manageable scale.
  • Taking You with Me: The unfortunate fate of the USS Kumari — with Saavik and Rebecca St. James on board — in the final battle against the Eternal Empire.
  • Technically a Transport: Yrillian Carryalls mostly seem to be carrying pirates — and weapons.
  • Telepathic Space Men: Vulcans, Betazoids, and Konnen all qualify.
  • Time Travel: On numerous occasions. Nash ka'Sharron alone has done it at least three times.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: Queen Izzidiera spent several months on board the Enterprise-B trying to flirt with a supremely uninterested Nash ka'Sharren. Eventually even her subjects got sick of it and demanded her return.
  • Token Nonhumanoid: Among the Federation, the Seyek and (especially) Fiiral.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Tauni moon investigation team.
  • Twin Switch: Performed excellently by Demora Sulu and Huth fop Makpol.
  • Utility Party Member: The Contellation-class cruiser is matched or outclassed in a fight by most modern escorts, but it still puts in good work as a garrison ship.
  • Vestigial Empire: The Gorn have seen better days. One might also consider the Orion Union to be an extreme form of this.
  • Vulnerable Convoy: Cargo vessels inviting targets, even when not technically at war; the Cardassians established this quite well with their opportunistic harassment of Apiata Foragers. Escorts are helpful, but the Apiata themselves took the opportunity to remind the Cardassians that they aren't necessarily enough.
  • War Hawk: They have their own party in the Federation Council. Traditionally one of the weakest, a succession of recent conflicts (and new, less traditionally pacifist members) have seen it gain increasing relevance. The players' immediate predecessor, ret. Admiral Solomon Rogers, recently shocked the Federation by shrugging off his disgrace and winning the Mars council seat on the Hawk ticket.
  • The Workhorse: Poor unloved Mirandas handle a great deal of Starfleet's less glamorous duties, and they generally do well in that regard. For true crises, however, they're rather... lacking. Constellations fill a similar role, often anchoring a sector garrison. Every single Constie apart from the two latecomers (USS Triada and USS Gerzzi) ranked up to Blooded from this regimen.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: Ships require BR (Bulk Resources), SR (Strategic Resources), and Crew (in three basic flavors: Officer, Enlisted, and Tech. The Explorer Corps has its own separate pool.) to be built and commissioned. Research, on the other hand, works by assigning research teams to a tech through the use of RP (Research Points). All of these are granted in some amount by allied and member governments. BR, SR, and RP can all be generated via event rewards or through the construction of a resource colony (of which the sites themselves are event rewards), but Crew is constrained by Academy throughput. PP (Political Points or Will), which represents your influence with the Federation Council, is generated both passively and as an event reward, and is most often spent to improve infrastructure. This would include Academy expansions and colony creation. Any one of these can be a bottleneck.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: the Orion Syndicate attempts to invoke this, being a movement with significant cultural strength in Orion society far predating the current Orion government, but they are ultimately denied any semblance of a moral point by the Federation's insistence on strict rules of engagement in the grueling counter-Syndicate campaign, even after they detonate a proton torpedo in the Amarki capital killing thousands, and Starfleet is ultimately able to destroy the Syndicate's legitimacy in the eyes of the Orion people.

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