The story continues...
"Why are you here?" Commander Sovik asks the Vanir representative. "Your people exist beyond the keen of mortal lives. You can travel when and where you wish, bend space and time, and no one here is a real threat to you. What do you have to benefit from 'Peace Talks'? Why should such a thing even come under your notice?"
The Vanir fixed its faceless gaze upon the Vulcan; the prismatic fire flickering and roiling within the deep, dark hood. A dozen voices old and young, male and female, deep and whispering, said, "Why indeed?"
There was a bunch of investigation at this point by the Science Officer, Ensign Sanchez, and a good deal of role-playing by the captain. This culminated in everyone coming to different realizations and needing to inform Captain Hendrix.
Meanwhile up in space, two Romulan T-10 'Reema' Class Destroyers have existed warp and were bearing down on the Renown.
Several people approached the Captain to get his attention and as he turned to each his communicator chirped. "Hold that thought", he said to the group, holding up a finger on one hand and placing his communicator to his ear with the other. Lt. Tabula and Dr. Kron'kite filed the commanding officer in on the status of things. The Strider situation had been a ruse and now the Renown was under attack. The ship is detecting a powerful build up of Alpha Waves and Psychic Energy surround the ship, especially the bridge, but emanating from the planet.
Lt. Commander Rrr'owfrtt stepped in at that point to note that he detected the Alpha Waves as well and they were coming from both the Vanir and the Vulcan Diplomat Saret. Oddly, Saret was coming up charged with Alpha Waves but not showing the standard biological readings of a Vulcan. He theorized she might not be real or even really there. He also detected a gravimetric disturbance that he could not yet explain. The Captain recommended he focus on that for now.
Commander Sovik said that he was familiar with Saret, at least the real Saret, and would deal with her if need be. The key was clearly the Vanir, a nearly god-like entity that shouldn't really have any stake in the game, as Humans would say.
The Captain took a deep breath and gave the following instructions:
He told the Renown to disengage from standard orbit to have more room to move around. Protect the planet and the Peace Negotiations at all costs. Also try to draw the enemy away from the planet and the ships of the other delegations. Hail the USS Daring and USS Invincible. See if they can come back us up. Do the best you can.
Captain Hendrix then confronted the Vanir asking it was it was doing and why it bothered to show up just to throw a wrench into the works. Pulling back its hood to reveal a handsome, young, blonde Human with a sly grin, the Vanir said, "Oh come now Captain. This is the only reason to be here!"
Miranda Class Deck 1 - Bridge design by Falke
Up in space, the Renown moves to engage its two unseen assailants. As one of the enemy ships decloaks to fire, Tabula angles the ship to put in it a better position to protect the planet. Using his Animal Telepathy, Dr. Kron'kite reaches out to see if there are any creatures aboard either of the opposing vessels. Sensing a bird at the fore of one of the ships, a pet of the vessel's commander, he confers with the bridge to give Tabula a rough idea of the Romulan Destroyer's position. The Renown fires and strikes an excellent shot on the 'Bright One's rear.
The second destroyer swings around and fires but misses. The Alfeans contact the Renown and announce they are coming to their aid. The Hudra ask the Alfeans if they need assistance and the Alfeans give a haughty no, saying they have it under control.
Back on Gamma Dorado III, Captain Hendrix and the Vanir, who identifies himself as Loki, discuss what is really going on.
After centuries, even millennia, of not being particularly invested in the affairs of mortals, the Vanir see this as a major time of change. One of those moments that define the nature of many species and their worlds for a long time to come. To what end though? For better or worse? For five years Hendrix and the Renown have worked to make peace between the powers of the Bluebell Reach. For five years the Romulans have worked to uncover its secrets and conquer it. Who's way is best? What are you really willing to do to bring about your endgame?
In an impassioned though short and direct speech, Hendrix summarizes what has always been his mindset - There is no goal higher than mutual understanding, friendship, and peace. Logan Hendrix will walk over burning coals, climb any mountain, cross any river, to prevent war and support the idea that all of us together create something greater than the sum of our parts.
As the battle rages in space and the Alfeans suffer some minor damage, the Hudra and Froskr ships ask the Renown if they, instead of the Alfeans, would except help. The Deltan equivalent of 'hell yes' is Tabula's reply. With Kron'kite assisting by using Romulan psychology to predict the enemy ships movements, the Renown scores a very lucky shot on one of the destroyers. They take a hit to their shields that causes them to loose communications for time but the engineers get on that immediately.
Lt. Commander Rrr'owfrtt uses some clever science techniques to investigate the odd gravimetric disturbance mentioned earlier. It turns out a cloaked Romulan ship has been sitting above the Diplomatic Outpost this whole time! Flashes of light from within the cloak of the Vanir spark Ensign Sanchez to tackle the immortal! She misses, falling on her face but impressing the entity to returns to his 'Loki' image. The Vanir makes it clear he didn't bring the Romulan ship here but he did allow it.
Using the communications array of the Outpost, Rrr'owfrtt and Sanchez are able to jam the comm system of the mystery Romulan craft, forcing its crew to take action. The vessel decloaks revealing a Romulan V-10 'Nighthawk' which proceeds to beam a large squad of Romulan officers onto the planet, lead by the Renown campaign's long standing arch-nemesis, Romulan Commander Herucless (pronounced HEHRU-cless). The Romulans proceed to move forward toward the Outpost firing their Disruptors.
Hendrix orders the delegates inside and all follow his commands except Loki the Vanir, who insists he is in no danger. The Renown officers return fire, including the NPC Security Officer brought in early to protect the Negotiations. Rrr'owfrtt meanwhile, still having access to the Outpost's sensor and communications systems, attempts to hack the Romulan ship's computer. He is successful and initiates all the vessel's ventral thrusters to fire at max, sending the craft straight up into the higher atmosphere.
Romulan V-10 Nighthawk Cruiser.
Design by FASA.
Redesign and Illustration By Chris 'Atolm' Reyes
The Renown detects the rapidly rising Nighthawk Cruiser and asks the Hudra and Froskr to focus their efforts on that ship. They do, with the Hudra dropping mining charges down into the planet's gravity as the Nighthawk soars upward towards the explosives. KA-THOOM! A thunderous collision that causes the Romulan ship massive damage! The Froskr ships, Scout sized spacecraft they refer to as 'cruisers', use tractor beams to catch the ship and pull it out of the atmosphere of Gamma Dorado III.
The Destroyers come in for another pass as the Renown detects two new Warp signatures entering the region. The Daring and the Invincible, under the commands of Captain McAllister and Capt. Stovol respectively! A barrage of phaser fire from the two Miranda Class ships cause the Destroyers to immediately go on the defensive and take evasive maneuvers.
Meanwhile the battle on the ground is fast and intense. Hendrix and Sovik are able to stun Herucless as Hendrix shouts at the Romulans that they are wasting their time. It doesn't matter what their plan is, it doesn't matter what tricks they have up their sleeves, or even whether or not the Vanir are interfering. Hendrix and his people have spent too much in blood, sweat, and tears to give up. Peace will be achieved, the species of the Bluebell Reach will be allied, and the Federation will be waiting to shake everyone's hand, pat them on the back, and congratulate the Azure Nebula on finding common ground. It is a destiny achieved through hard work and determination.
Smiling, the Vanir nods and says, "I agree Captain. I am convinced. You truly believe in this effort. You are willing to lay down your life so that future generations won't have to sacrifice theirs. The test is at an end and the Vanir will support your efforts."
"Is that it? Is it over?" asks Sovik.
"I suppose it is", says the Vanir. "Shall I dispense with the Romulans Captain? Their way is clearly not the future."
The Captain says, "Dispense? As in eliminate? No. Let them go. Let them take the same message you just learned back to their empire."
"So be it", says the Vanir and he puts his hood back up over his head. His face disappears, replaced by a blazing ball of multi-colored fire. The scattered and stunned Romulans disappear, placed back on their ship with their communications returned. They coordinate with the two Destroyers and all depart the system as quickly as they can, with a dazed Herucless vowing that Hendrix and company had not seen the last of him.
Scene cut to sometime latter, with the delegates and Starfleet officers in a room inside the Outpost. Hendrix officially opens the proceedings and the Alfeans, Hudra, Froskr, Vanir, and a half dozen lesser powers all eager to hammer out a lasting accord of peace and mutual prosperity.
In the final scenes, some indeterminate number of hours later, Hendrix meets with Captain McCallister and Captain Stovol on the grounds outside of the Diplomatic Outpost. McCallister hands Hendrix a plastic 'folder' with official Starfleet emblems and such on it. He opens to find documents congratulating him and his crew on a job well done. In addition, there are new orders, return to Starbase 35 for the completion of the Renown's Five Year Mission, its Repair and Refit, and the reassignment of its crew. As for the Captain himself, Starfleet is offering him the enticing though bittersweet position of Admiral.
Logan Hendrix doesn't immediately respond to this, instead taking a moment to suggest there is no rush to engage in such weighty affairs. Better to take a deep breath, bask in the sun, and enjoy this moment right here, right now.
That was the end of the session.
Stay tuned for one final discussion of the game and some interesting (hopefully) insights into playing Star Trek and playing with this group specifically.
Peace and Long Life,