Posted on July 29, 2019
I went over the time between the end of the last Mission and glossed over debriefing and the character’s actual meet up with the Chiron before we actually dug into the next episode. I went over the Milestone system of character development too, which is unusual to me, but makes sense and has a nice cooperative element to it. We also decided how Riker sits on the toilet; and now you know how Riker sits on the toilet.
If you are injured (for reals) or if you challenge/live up to/suppress a Value or Directive (mission specific value, essentially) that’s an important moment in your career and you achieve a Milestone. For special circumstances, I – like a preening emperor tossing a laurel wreath to a gladiator-slaying lion – will throw out a Spotlight Milestone award. This is up for a vote by the players, deciding whose “special episode” this was. Both Milestone and Special Milestones allow you to reassign numbers on your character sheet – you can lower one thing to raise another. It isn’t necessarily a character getting better, they’re already hyper-competent, but they get the opportunity to dial in on what makes their character particularly useful.
Once you’ve received a few Spotlight Milestones (which isn’t going to be that often, even if you play a lot of missions given that we will have 5-8 players sharing the spoils) you get an Arc Milestone, which signifies particular growth as a person and does, finally, unequivocally improve your character’s numbers.
I’m not sure how often this will be important, but I kinda like the system. Especially that a Milestone is tied to a particular experience, which players should make note of at the time. “Whose episode was it?” Is also an interesting question to ask of the players and could lead to a little more player agency, which I’m growing to love now that I’ve taken my Dungeon Master gauntlets off.
To start play off I leaned into the cinematic/televisual nature of the game’s structure and asked everyone for a few montage scenes of their settling in to the Chiron. Show a lot of things happening at once, remind everyone of what’s going on (What’s going on?) And with every shot you show a little improvement, to show it all would take to long, that’s called a montage (Montage).
We saw XO Troka, looking pleased with himself, as he put up a sign-up sheet for a Dom-jot league before he’d even delivered his duffel bag to his quarters; Lt Vrona, eyebrow twitching as she excised the various different unacceptable personality characteristics from the Emergency Hologram Doctor; the Engineering crew nervously lined up to meet their new CO, Commander Soral. We watched Chief Specialist Rolland, grumbling after his meeting with the Science Officer, hauling his Starfleet issue duffle bag with hockey sticks sticking out the top past an open crew quarter door – he double-takes at the doorway as he sees another crew person fixing a Habs jersey to their limited wall space – at some point, one of them probably said “Oh, hey buddy” but this was a silent scene, as the Main Theme played. We never established who the fellow Canadian was… but that seems like its got legs.
We saw Ensign Rands walking confidently down a hallway with his eyes closed, then turn, open his eyes and check that the access panel is where he expected it to be, checking it on his data pad and nodding contentedly to himself. Another crew member almost bumps into them and Rands greets them, shakes their hand and repeats their name when they tell him, committing it to memory as well.
Rolland lies down on his bunk and immediately finds that it is too short. He shifts around a bit, trying to accommodate his frame, but gives up and gets comfortable with his feet dangling over the edge. Soral sits in his office, several active simulations hanging in the air in front of him. His eyes and fingers flicker across them as he tests the theoretical limits of the ship systems with which he has been entrusted.
V’rona shows no sign of anticipation as she meets the very tall, thin woman that will be her Captain for the foreseeable future. The Vulcan asks probing questions to better understand the expectations her predictably unpredictable human commanding officer may have of her, but Vasquez gives little away. Meanwhile Troka pores over handwritten notes, working out duty rosters and matchmaking crew skillsets long into the night. He hands his finished work (on a datapad) to Captain Vasquez and she looks it over, seemingly pleased.
The big day comes quickly – supplies are laden, all the crew are aboard, final orders are received. It’s time for officers to get their dress uniform on for the ceremonial launch of the ship’s maiden voyage. Section heads and a few other lucky sorts, Ensign Rands amongst them gather at the stations on the bridge and their Captain addresses the waiting crew…
“This is Captain Anna-Maria Vasquez speaking. I want to welcome all of you on board the USS Chiron on this, her maiden voyage. I am proud to be among you as the original crew of this new vessel. Several of you will see out the end of illustrious careers with this tour of duty. For some it is your first posting, with all the promise and excitement that brings. For many of you, your time aboard the Chiron will be a stepping stone in a storied and glorious career with Starfleet. In whichever stage of your career you find yourself, at whichever rank and whichever station; know that you are here because I wanted you here: and that you deserve to be here, on the cusp of a new era in Starfleet’s history.
This ship, and our Defiant-class sister ships represent a recommitment by Starfleet to continue to explore, continue to learn and continue to facilitate the peaceful life of our galaxy. This class of ship fulfills a Destroyer role in the Federation’s armada. She was conceived as a warship. But even as the fleet rebuilds from past catastrophe and new conflict threatens – as it has always threatened – the United Federation of Planets refuses to use Starfleet only as the blunt instrument of war, but instead reaffirms the values that have guided us thus far: scientific discovery, diplomacy, cooperation. It is my goal that the USS Chiron play a unique and important part in these efforts as an exemplar to Captains and crews of the future.
The latitude given to me by Starfleet command to select my own crew and assist in the design of this ship speaks to the grave responsibility that has been placed on our shoulders. The five year mission of the USS Chiron will be one of danger and at times, exhausting labour. Our brief entrusts us with emergency response to some of the most daunting situations faced in the galaxy. We will go to the face of danger with our thorough training, the best technology the Federation has to offer, a belief in our mission, a trust in our fellow crew members and a respect for the symbol you wear on your chest.
That symbol, the Starfleet Delta, is a promise to the citizens of the United Federation of Planets and those beyond our borders. When they see that symbol, when they hear the name Chiron, I want them to know what it means: that when they need us most, we will be there. When no-one else would dare, we will be there.
It is this promise that we have the privilege of embodying on behalf of Starfleet and I expect this crew to strive to live up to this high ideal every day of our five year mission, beginning today. All crew to stations! Prepare to get underway.” And with this she nodded to Ensign Rands, who turned and executed the preset coordinates. The Chiron pulled away from Narendra station.
The USS Chiron speeds through warp for several days. V’rona pauses in the process of practicing spinal surgery again, hand rock steady in the air. Commander Soral delivers a daily briefing to his Captain on the performance of the main systems at sustained warp and notices with interest her collection of relics, one of the few decorative aspects of her small Ready Room.
CS Rolland listens to a briefing from the ship’s Science Officer, an affable Betazoid, Lt Commander Lomestra while Ensign Rands stands marveling at the Runabout launch deck and Master Chief ch’Hezney explains how the launch deck differs from the typical hangar deck.
Commander Troka quietly walks the sections of the ship, carefully scrutinizing how the assigned crew work together and committing the dynamics to memory.
Always fade out in a montage. If you fade out, it seem like more time has passed in a montage (Montage).