My good friend and frequent gaming companion Marco Rafalá wrote a mission for the These are the Voyages: Volume 1 supplement for Modiphius' new Star Trek Adventures Roleplaying Game. So, when he asked if I'd like to start a Star Trek Adventures campaign, I enthusiatcially said, "Yes!"
On one hand, I'm by no means a Trekkie. On the other, I have much more than a passing knowledge of the television episodes and films, and the idea of exploring the setting more using Modiphius' outstanding 2d20 house system is very appealing to me, having recently ran a couple games of Conan which uses a version of the same system.
So, I created a character - Captain Cristobal Maurice Hensley - whose backstory follows. I won’t go into great detail here, but the character creation process is lots of fun - kind of like a Traveler light. It’s an interactive process that encourages you to flesh out your character’s backstory as you proceed through the various phases of his or her life - childhood, the academy, and beyond.
But, I digress. Without further ado, I present you with Captain Hensley...
Cristobal Maurice Hensley was born on Earth in the Earth year 2336. Both his father, Lenard, and mother, Kalyn, held administrative posts in Starfleet Command. As such, Cris’ early years were spent as what many would characterize as a “Starfleet brat” — living in one starbase after another as his parents steadily climbed their respective career ladders. When Cris was 15, his father was awarded a coveted position at Starfleet Command in San Francisco as Vice Chief of Starfleet Operations. His mother took a position at Starfleet Academy teaching Warp Field Dynamics. It was expected that Cris would follow in his parents’ footsteps and share in their success by attending Starfleet Academy then pursuing an administrative or teaching position with Starfleet in San Francisco.
However, things did not turn out as his parents expected. Shortly after settling in San Francisco, Cris began to get into the kind of trouble that would normally keep a candidate out of the academy — bad grades, brawling, drinking, and other forms of general juvenile delinquency. This culminated in the theft of the Chief of Starfleet Operations Vice Admiral Cole Steiger’s vintage Tesla Roadster for a joyride in the Marin Headlands — a stunt that ended in a car chase, incarceration, and a charge of Grand Theft Auto among others. This should have surely kept Cris out of the academy had Vice Admiral Steiger not been astounded that Cris was able to commandeer the vehicle and exit Starfleet Command without alerting anyone or setting off a single alarm. Steiger was further astounded upon examining the Tesla’s log. The speeds sustained during the joyride were extremely impressive — and equally reckless — even more so considering that Cris had supposedly never driven a car before.
Charges were dropped and Cris entered the academy the following year. While there, he was drawn toward the Command track despite his mother's insistence that he focus on Operations and, more specifically, engineering. Kalyn wanted him to follow in her footsteps as an academic and take advantage of her success to remain on Earth in San Francisco. But, Cris wanted to explore the galaxy and saw no better way to achieve this goal than excelling in Command, which he did.
Cris was not solely interested in commanding starships. He was just as interested in piloting them (as much as one can pilot a starship on one's own) as well as building and maintaining them. These interests extended to auxiliary vessels and\ kept Cris exceptionally busy during his time at the academy taking whatever Operations classes he could officially fit in alongside his main studies and auditing several that he could not.
Family and friends scratched their heads as they watched the angst-ridden, juvenile delinquent rise through the ranks of the academy. But, for Cris, it was just two sides of the same coin. The same impetus fueled his teenage rebellion and his voracious appetite for learning - the stars. He wanted to get off of the earth and into the galaxy. And he did...
Assignment to the USS Gallant
After spending eight years at Starfleet Academy earning multiple advanced degrees, Cris was assigned to the USS Gallant as a commissioned Lieutenant Junior Grade. He somehow convinced Captain John Costanza to allow him to serve as an Ensign until he rotated through all the major stations of the Gallant. Cris served in this capacity for over two years before finally being stationed on the bridge as a Lieutenant. From there, it wasn't long before he was rose up through the ranks to that of Commander, serving beneath Costanza as first officer of the Gallant.
Cris and Costanza shared a mutual love of the history of human exploration and both were especially fond of what Earth historians dubbed the Age of Exploration. They often discussed how Earth's history may have changed for the better had those early explorers set out with some sort of terrestrial Prime Directive. Cris' belief that Starfleet should focus on exploration and the general betterment of all matured into a deep-seated conviction under the command of Captain Costanza. As the two continued to serve together aboard the Gallant, they developed a mutual respect and fondness for one another - some likened this to the relationship of an older and younger brother.
The Destruction of the USS Gallant
In 2370, while on a peace keeping mission on the border of the Cardassian Demilitarized Zone, a Maquis terror cell detonated a plasma bomb on the engineering deck of the Gallant resulting in full loss of power and a breach of the warp core. Dozens of crew members, including Captain Costanza, who was coincidentally conducting a routine inspection of the engineering deck, were killed instantly with many more dying in the minutes that followed as the ship came rapidly apart.
Cris gathered nearly forty crew members into the cargo hold of the Gallant's Danube class runabout. The vessel had to be manually released and launched from free fall. As Cris went to start the engines, the chain reaction set off by the initial explosion caused the Gallant's warp core to detonate. The runabout was sent spinning. Cris was able to regain control by working the landing thrusters to pull the vessel out of a dead spin. Then, with less than two hours before the life support systems became overloaded from the excess personnel, he warped into the Argolis Cluster and made an emergency landing on an unnamed, uninhabited planetoid. The surviving crew of the Gallant was rescued several days later by the USS Phoenix.
Cris and the surviving crew of the Gallant were transported to Starbase 211. After extensive debriefing and analysis of the logs of the Gallant and the runabout used in the evacuation, Cris was promoted to Captain. Starfleet command proposed that he take command of the USS Sentinel, a heavily armed Akira-class patrol ship, and return to the patrolling the border of the DMZ.
Cris, however, argued that the recent loss of his Captain and ship posed a conflict of interest and that he wanted to ensure that he could execute his first command free of the influence of recent history. He adamantly requested, with help from his father who was now just happy that Cris was alive, for a deep-space assignment instead. His request was granted.
Shortly thereafter, he was piloting a runabout to Narendra Station to take command of the USS Faleiro which was there in refit.
Well, there you have it. We’ll have to wait to see if Cris fares better as Captain of the Faleiro than he did as first officer of the Gallant.
You can find out more about Star Trek Adventures here. If you haven’t played it yet, I highly recommend that you do. Now that I’m back to writing for Little Wars again, maybe I’ll write a post about actual gamneplay soon.Tags: Backstory, Roleplaying, Science Fiction, Star Trek Adventures