So in my March monthly report, I mentioned that I would be starting the process of figuring out the direction of our Task Force Story Arc. I know that a few of you have been interested to know where we'll be going with this, but sadly I didn't get a chance to put anything up last week.
In coming up with concepts for a story arc, I took a look at the area around where we're based at the three major powers; the Tholians, the Klingons and the Gorn. I figured it would be best basing our joint story arc on a canon and well-known race rather than one of our own creation, since that would help new players come onboard and join in more easily since they won't need to look up the history of a new race before diving in. So I came up with a few options for each race and have tried to whittle them down to a few options that would work well for us.
One of the concepts I came up with for the Tholians was to do with them rapidly and aggressively starting to expand out of their own area into Federation space, spurned on by their fear of the return of the Shedai, the race that according to the novels turned the Tholians into what they are now and used them as a slave race. However since it involved a non-canon race and would probably need a bit more of a backstory developing for it, I figured that idea might be best kept for a later story arc, once we've managed to figure out and nail down how we're going to run these a bit better. If anyone would rather hear more about this idea though, let me know and I can share the rest of my thoughts.
So then I moved onto the Gorn and the Klingons, and ideas for both pretty much circled around the concept of this cold war that our current canon on the wiki has established is going on between them (essentially whilst the Klingons were recovering from the Dominion War, the Gorn started building up a military presence along their closest border with them, which antagonised the Klingons who started focussing their own resupply there - they're also both tussling over the stretch of space between them both, which has been making the Federation nervous because of those worlds caught in the cross-fire. On top of that, the Federation holding the Klingons back politically from going all-out against the Gorn, and the lack of any other conflict to focus their energy on has been straining relations between us and the Klingons to the point where they're quite low - around the level they were just before the Federation-Klingon war just before the Dominion War. So with that joint concept in mind, the ideas I've narrowed it down to below are what I think are the best of the ideas I've come up with for these two.
Concept #2In the stale-mate of the Gorn-Klingon Cold War, the Gorn know that they would never be able to match the Klingons in a straight fight; in addition, they know that with the massive extent of the Empire, the klingons would be capable of eventually massing their forces so much so that they outmatch the Gorn; in addition to that, the Khitomer Accords would have a mutual defence pact written into it, adding Starfleet ships to any kind of defence of the Klingon Empire. In order to vercome this limitation, the Gorn seek to form an alliance with another major power. This alliance would tip the strength equation in the favour of the Gorn. This would then either lead to active conflict with the KLingons, or forces the Klingons to reinforce their ties with the Federation to equal the balance and prolong the stalemate - potentially leading to more active interaction between Federation and Klingon vessels and an active defence of the Klingon border. Either way, the aim of the Federation would be to find some way to disrupt any supply of ships and materiel from the Gorn's new allies in order to negate the threat of war.
There have been a few names tossed around for the Gorn's ally in this scenario; and I'm open to suggestions if this is the one we go with. There was the idea of using the Ritorians from SB332's story arc, since they're fairly close, antagonistic with the Federation, and they would need to either sneak through our space or go the long way around to be able to supply the Gorn, creating a wider area for us to interact with them in. Other ideas were the Tholians (though not sure what their motives would be), the Breen, or the Tzenkethi (both of which are further away and would likely have no other choice but to sneak through Federation space).
Concept #3Fed up of the stalemate with the Gorn, the Klingon Empire withdraws from the Khitomer Accords and the restrictions on its actions that Federation diplomacy places upon them, and launches an offensive against the Gorn, willing to blow through any Starfleet ship that gets in the way. This means a heightened Starfleet presence in the border regions, answering distress calls of non-aligned worlds in the cross-fire, and potential requests from assistance from the Gorn. It could also see more Klingon captains straying into Federation space on plundering runs, since their government would not do anything to stop them. This whole situation, if it went the Klingon's way, could end up with the Gorn being eveloped into the Klingon Empire as a subject species.
If the Gorn asked the Federation for assistance, the President would have a very hard choice to make. It would be against the Federation's principles to just let the Klingons roll all over the Gorn, but by helping the Gorn we would be alienating and actively working against our strongest ally of the last 100 years. The Khitomer Accords would be trashed, and even if the situation were later resolved, the Klingons would not be likely to enter another agreement with us unless they had no other choice.
The Romulans have long had a history of scheming their way into acquiring more Klingon territory, and of disrupting the alliance between the Federation and the Klingons, and whilst many of their schemes get cancelled each time a new Praetor comes to power, some persist through regimes. A decade ago, the Tal Shiar began using both foreign captives as well as Romulan conscripts for an experimental project. The individuals were "moulded" by the Tal Shiar in order to take on a new identity to replace their own, and surgically altered to fit their new identity. They were subsequently inserted into enemy territory at various levels of importance, with the aim of gaining additional influence and power. Most have stopped reporting back, and are assumed either dead or captured. One of these agents was very successful in their mission, and replaced a key player in Klingon politics; K'Tan, son of Togan. Togan led the House of Togan and sat on the High Council until he "mysteriously" died in his sleep. "K'tan" as the heir to Togan took up the reigns of the house, and a seat on the High Council, and has over the years slowly built the Empire's trust in him, and built the military forces at the House's disposal. K'Tan has recently begun his own unilateral campaign against the Gorn, without the order of the High Council (but on the orders of the Tal Shiar).
The intention of the plan was for the Klingons to join K'Tan in his campaign (or at least support it), distancing the Klingons from their Federation allies and adjusting the balance of power in the sector. However the Federation has yet to intervene outside of political lobbying of Chancellor Martok to get House Togan in line, and Martok doesn't seem willing to either help or hinder House Togan. In addition the Gorn are attempting to establish alliances with others in the region to help fend off K'Tan's forces (potential allies could be the Ritorians, the Orions or the Ritorians, or someone else entirely). K'Tan's forces are one of the largest in the Empire, but cannot succeed against a Gorn alliance without further aid from the rest of the Empire; especially if the Federation decides to intervene. So the Romulans decide to send Admiral Ch'Vran with a small fleet of Romulan vessels to covertly assist K'Tan's campaign against the Gorn, with his ships to remain cloaked at all times unless engaging in an attack; and none who see the ships must be allowed to survive. The aim now is to subjugate the forces of the Gorn into House Togan, and use the combined strength to fuel a power play against the High Council. The Romulans would have "no choice" but to involve itself in ensuring a "peaceful and stable transition of power for the good of the region", giving them a Klingon Empire on their side rather than the Federation's.
The story arc from the Federation perspective would follow a similar strain as the other two concepts in terms of watching out for the inhabitants of the region between the two powers, and K'Tan's forces perhaps straying into Federation space, but the main focus would come when we realise that the Gorn are being defeated a bit too easily for the size of K'Tan's forces, and need to start sending ships in to try and find out why. We would also need to decide how much the Federation will intervene to prevent the Gorn from being absorbed by the House of Togan, and what the Empire's reaction to that would be.
So, those are my three concepts. Since this would be a story arc that I hope all of you would be involved in, I wanted to open it up to discussion amongst everybody for us to decide which one we go with.
I know I've said it before, but I want to reiterate that the story arc would be optional for sims to follow, and would not be run via joint missions, but rather individual sim missions that would each contribute towards the overall story.
So please, go ahead and discuss, ask any questions, and hopefully we can all come to a decision on where we want to go with this.