Star Fleet Universe

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Star Fleet Universe
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Star Fleet Battles
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Captain's Log

The Star Fleet Universe (SFU) is the variant of the Star Trek fictional universe detailed in the series of Star Fleet Battles games (board-, card-, and role-playing) from Amarillo Design Bureau Inc. and used as reference for the Starfleet Command series of computer games. Its source material stems from the original and animated series of Star Trek as well as from other "fan" sources, such as The Star Trek Star Fleet Technical Manual. In addition, it also includes a substantial number of new races and technologies, such as the Hydran Kingdom, the Inter-Stellar Concordium and the Andromedans.

Star Fleet Battles was based on the Star Trek universe as of 1979[1] and includes elements of Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Animated Series. Federation elements were heavily based on concepts from The Star Trek Star Fleet Technical Manual. Unlike the mainstream Star Trek universe, Star Fleet Battles seems to consider some, but not all of The Animated Series, as being a canon material source, thus leading to the inclusion of aliens such as the Kzinti, which had originally been created for a non-Trek story series.

Since the first publication of the game, Star Fleet Battles and the Star Trek universe have diverged considerably as the authors of the game and those of the films and television series have basically ignored each other. The resulting divergent world of Star Fleet Battles is known as the "Star Fleet Universe".

Games set in this universe include the tactical board wargames Star Fleet Battles, Federation Commander, Star Fleet Marines, Star Fleet Armada (a Star Fleet Universe adaptation of Majestic 12 Games' Starmada engine), and A Call to Arms: Star Fleet (a version of Mongoose Publishing's A Call to Arms game engine adapted to the SFU); the strategic wargame Federation and Empire; the card game Star Fleet Battle Force; and the role-playing game Prime Directive in editions for the GURPS, D20 and D20 Modern game systems. Also, ADB produces Captain's Log, a non-periodical journal published roughly semi-annually with additional SFU background material, starship information and reports from various game events and tournaments.

The Starfleet Command games draw on this universe considerably, yet maintain a number of elements not found in the original Star Fleet Universe, such as movie-era ships and the Meskeen race for the ISC.

Nature of the Galaxy[edit]

In the Star Fleet Universe, the Milky Way Galaxy is divided up into 24 sectors, each named for the letters of the Greek alphabet.[2] Each sector extends from the galactic rim, and inwards to where star density and radiation problems cause ion storms, precluding travel. There are five 'void' sectors (Epsilon, Iota, Pi, Upsilon and Omega), where star and planet density is low, and which tend to generate large ion storms and radiation clouds, restricting travel from one set of sectors to another. This leads to the sectors in between to be grouped together in (generally) sets of three, termed 'octants', as three sectors are one eighth of the rim of the galaxy, and which are sometimes inaccurately referred to as 'sectors' themselves.

The Storm Zone is unoccupied, as even bases cannot exist there due to the severity of the storms, and ships cannot penetrate the Radiation Zone. The Core of the galaxy has never been explored.

The five areas into which the Voids separate the inhabitable portions of the galaxy are the Alpha Octant, the Sargasso Octant, the Xorkaelian Empire, the Sigma Octant, and the Omega Octant.

Alpha Octant[edit]

The Alpha Octant is the primary setting of the Star Fleet Universe, being home to the United Federation of Planets, the Klingon Empire, the Romulan Star Empire, and all the other empires inherited from other Star Trek settings. It extends from the Alpha Sector to the Delta Sector, but only Alpha, Beta and Gamma (more specifically, the area covered by the Federation and Empire map sections) have been extensively explored by the major powers of the region.

Omega Octant[edit]

The Omega Octant runs from the Void in the Omega Sector through the Psi, Chi and Phi Sectors (though Phi is mostly off the detailed Omega map, as Delta is in the Alpha Octant), and is detailed in a series of Star Fleet Battles modules (and a playtest pack for Federation Commander). Over two dozen empires have operated in this region; some remain a factor in the Octant throughout the modern era, others rise at an early time only to be crushed or sidelined, while still others only enter the scene at a later point in history. Notable powers include the Mæsron Alliance (a union of several species, like the Federation and ISC; its rise, collapse and renaissance helped define the Octant's history), the Trobrin Empire (composed of silicon-based life forms, who consider a 'Silicate Plan' to rule the galaxy as their only insurance against domination by 'carbonites'), the Probr Revolution (a species of genetically uplifted salamanders who rose against their creators, then used their technology to forge their own empire) and the Federal Republic of Aurora (a collection of exiles from several Alpha Octant empires, involuntarily transferred to the Omega Octant and forced to find their own way amidst the warring factions of Omega).[3]

Other Milky Way Factions and Octants[edit]

Much of the rest of the Milky Way Galaxy remains to be explored in the Star Fleet Universe...

The Jindarians[edit]

The Jindarians are known to be found throughout the Alpha and Omega Octants (controlling a small Freehold in the latter), with two-to-three caravans extant in the SMC. They are described as having been in space for longer than Homo sapiens has been on Earth, use hollow asteroids for their ships (with some "metal-hull" starships in supporting roles) and travel in unrelated caravans. Beyond the Freehold, they care little about borders, governments, and wars; instead travelling from system to system, mining asteroid belts and trading with the locals. They push aside any competition using their warp augmented railguns to fire thousands of cubic meters of gravel and rock at opponent vessels.[4] In the SMC, their legacy was far-reaching; the Jumokian rebels fleeing the Eneen conquest of their home world developed asteroid shipyards based on Jindarian templates, and later passed these on to the Magellanic forces driven into exile by the Andromedan invasion.[5]

The Xorkaelian Empire[edit]

The fearsome Xorkaelians control six Sectors, from Kappa to Omicron on the far side of the galaxy from the Alpha Octant, serving as a grim reminder of their might. It is known that they have sent occasional raids to the Alpha Octant for some time, and invaded the Alpha races sometime after the Andromedan War, but nothing has been published about these events at the time of writing. Their ships are reported to have a modular design, but little else of this race has been revealed.[2]

Sargasso Storm Octant[edit]

The Sargasso Octant contains Zeta, Eta, and Theta Sectors. It has not been covered by any product but is known to experience periods of truly massive ion storms that make interstellar travel impossible for decades at a time throughout the octant. It is believed to be home to some 20 races who live in protected enclaves and come out between storms to claim available resources.

Sigma Octant[edit]

The Sigma Octant contains Tau, Sigma and Rho Sectors. It has not been covered by any product at this time but is known to be inhabited.

Other Galaxies[edit]

Andromeda Galaxy[edit]

M31, home of the Andromedan Invaders.

So far, only one empire has been revealed as originating from M31, but it has made quite an impact on the Star Fleet Universe…

Andromedan Invaders
The Andromedans (who were backtracked to a galaxy visible in the Andromeda constellation from Earth) were first contacted in the Alpha Octant in Y166, and in the Omega Octant in Y167; though they had already made their presence felt in the Lesser Magellanic Cloud. In Y188, they launched an all out attack on the Milky Way. They utilise technology unlike any used by known Galactic or Magellanic races, such as Power Absorbers instead of shields, which allow them to use incoming attacks to help power their ships, as well as the devastating Tractor-Repulsor Beam, which can rip enemy vessels apart.

Small Magellanic Cloud[edit]

The Small Magellanic Cloud, a stepping stone of the Andromedan invasion.

The Small Magellanic Cloud (referred to in-setting as the Lesser Magellanic Cloud) is composed of three main regions; the densely populated Core (shrouded by a dense radiation shell), a ring of provinces with "standard" stellar densities, and an outer Fringe region where stars and planets are much fewer and further between. Beyond the Fringe worlds lies the Chomak Cluster, a collection of stars only recently (in astronomical terms) captured by the Cloud's gravitational field.[6]

Module C5 for SFB presented five of the Magellanic empires; the Baduvai Imperium, the Eneen Protectorates, the Maghadim Hives, the Uthiki Harmony and the Jumokian Resistance. Others, such as the ancient Chomak Community and the reclusive Yrol Septs, await publication.

In the decades prior to the Andromedan arrival, several wars were waged between the three Magellanic Powers (Baduvai, Eneen and Maghadim), most notably for control of the strategically vital Neutral Worlds. Unfortunately for these empires, the Andromedans eventually sought to conquer the Cloud outright, in order to claim it as an advanced base of operations for their full-scale invasion of the Milky Way Galaxy. In the face of this common threat, the rival powers formed the Triple Pact; a desperate, and ultimately doomed, joint bid for survival. Once Operation Unity succeeded in subduing the Andromedans, the surviving Magellanic forces (which had held out in exile among the Fringe worlds) took to re-building their fallen empires; though it would take a long time for any of them to approach their former glory.[7]

M81 Galaxy[edit]

The M81 Galaxy, home galaxy of the Tholians and Seltorians in the SFU.

The original location of the Tholian Will was M81, a galaxy outside the Local Group. Before the Seltorian revolt, it was controlled completely by the Tholians, with the exception of isolated nebulae from which the Nebuline species helped support M81 piracy.[8] In addition, this galaxy was once home to the Bolosco Merchant Guilds, later found in the Omega Octant.

The Seltorian Tribunal 
After their successful revolt, the Seltorians kept the same basic political structure as the Tholian Will in place, just with themselves in charge. Fearful of an eventual Tholian return, they have sent out large nest ships as mobile bases of operation against any remnants of the Tholians they locate. It is unknown just how many expeditions were sent out, but it is known that one did go to the Andromeda Galaxy (and presumably did not fare well), as well as to the Milky Way.

The Iridani Cluster[edit]

M3, An example of a globular cluster in orbit of the Milky Way - the kind of place the Iridani call home.

Adjacent to the Omega Octant of the Milky Way Galaxy, the Iridani Cluster is home to one rather adventurous space-faring race presented in the SFB Omega-series modules...

The Iridani Questors 
Otter-like party goers, the Iridani frequently travel to neighbouring galaxies, such as the Milky Way (most notably among the Omega races) and the Small Magellanic Cloud, in single ships (or sometimes in squadrons) performing "Knightly" quests. Their Cluster was conquered by the Andromedans in the Y190s, but there were so many Iridani in the Milky Way that their fleet was able to band together for the greatest Quest of all: the liberation of their home worlds.

Triangulum Galaxy[edit]

M33, the third major galaxy of the Local Group to be examined in the Star Fleet Universe.

The empires of the Triangulum Galaxy come in two distinct flavours; with a handful of older realms dealing with the consequences of several newly emergent species making their mark on M33.[9] Three of these powers (the Helgardian Protectorate, the Arachnid Worlds of Unions and the Mallaran Empire) were presented in playtest form in SFB Module E2, while the Imperium was previewed in Captain's Log #23. Many other empires are noted as being present in this setting, including the Human Republic (founded by a Terran colony caravan which was displaced from the Milky Way in -Y12). The Triangulum setting awaits formal publication in a "full" published module.

History[edit]

Star Fleet Universe products outline an extensive history that serve as the backdrop of the games. The usual chronology uses an Earth-based calendar (June, August, 365 days, etc.), with dates given in "Y-years". These are written as (for instance) Y168, or August Y168, and are dated to the year Earth first made contact with the Vulcans. A direct conversion to familiar Anno Domini dating is (purposefully) not given, however the Federation and Empire rules state that Y0 should be somewhere between AD 2020 and AD 2090, the Federation Commander rules arbitrarily set it as AD 2400 (referred to in-universe as the Valkenburg Chronology) and consistently use 'AD' dates derived from that rather than use 'Y-year' nomenclature, while an option setting the date at 2063 (in line with the year of First Contact set in other Star Trek settings) is known as the Amin-Audeh Chronology. In all cases, it is stated that the actual date cannot be precisely known.

As this chronology was created completely separately of anything done for Star Trek after the Original Series (which at the time also avoided any hard date for when it happened), it cannot (and should not) be reconciled directly with current Star Trek canon. As an example of the incompatibilities arising from the separate evolution of the two visions of Star Trek history, the SFU defines the "five-year mission" of the original Star Trek series as being from Y155 to Y160, which by Paramount's chronology would put Y0 at AD 2108; while if one accepts the definition of Y0, it should be the year of the movie Star Trek: First Contact, AD 2063.

While the time periods recorded in the Alpha Octant, Small Magellanic Cloud and Triangulum Galaxy are only loosely arranged into particular eras, the history of the Omega Octant is broken down into 'Cycles', as recorded by the Chlorophon race (who act as the de facto fictional historians of the Octant). Such Cycles cover the defining events of each period, such as the Pax Mæsra (the period of the Mæsron Alliance's furthest extent in power and influence) and the Invasions (when the Andromedans and Souldra sought to conquer the Omega races).

Alpha-Octant History[edit]

Non-Tactical Warp[edit]

Most races of the Alpha-Octant discover warp drive around the same time (Y1 for Humans, Y11 for the Kzintis, etc.), with the exception of the Vulcans and some other future Federation members, who had been in space for some time,[10] and the Jindarians, who have been in space longer than Humans have existed.[4] Warp drives render a ship extremely vulnerable to weapons damage, so all combat is fought at sub-light speeds, with ships moving strategically at faster than light speeds. All races are just beginning to expand and colonize, so wars are uncommon—but not unknown. The Romulans in particular fight both the Gorns and Earth.[10]

Early years[edit]

The "Early Years" start with the introduction of tactical warp drive in Y62. Module Y1 for SFB (the only game system to explore this era so far) presents two distinct generations of ships. the W-era, which mostly consists of non-tactical warp ships converted to tactical-warp, and later, more powerful Y-era ships (starting in Y79) which were built for combat at FTL speeds.

During this period, the fleeing Tholians arrive in the Milky Way Galaxy (Y79). The Klingons and Lyrans manage to conquer all of Hydran space other than three 'lost colonies' (Y84-87). The Klingons make a major effort to reclaim territory from the Tholians, reaching their dyson sphere home world before being defeated (Y92-102). Sixteen Orion ship crews mutiny, disappearing, and becoming the nucleus for the Orion Pirates (Y113). A Kzinti civil war ends when the Usurper sends his ships into an energetic nebula, rather than face capture (Y116). The Usurper finds the nebula is hollow and sets up a government in the WYN Cluster.[10]

Middle years[edit]

This is the era that SFB started out in, the era of The Original Series (Y154-159). It starts in Y120 with the introduction of the first 'normal' ships (e.g., not prefixed by a letter to designate its era in the game designations). Technology and borders are fairly constant through this era, but several important things do happen.

The Federation colony Aurora disappears in a massive ion storm (Y130). It has actually been transported to the Omega-octant where it becomes the capital of a minor interstellar state.[11] The Hydran lost colonies build an all-new fleet and retake the Kingdom in a surprise campaign (Y135).[12]

The Four Powers War involves the Klingons, Kzintis, Lyrans and Hydrans in the biggest armed conflict yet seen in Alpha-octant from Y158 to Y162. The Klingons and Lyrans, forming the Coalition together, do well at first, but the tide of war changes with the introduction of Hydran Helbore Torpedoes and Kzinti fighters. Both sides accept a status quo antebellum peace rather than prolong the conflict.[13] All nations in the Alpha Octant realize that nothing has been resolved and that another major war is just a matter of time. The next decade is marked by the development of new ship designs and refits to improve existing ships.

The General War[edit]

In August Y168, the new war came. First the Lyrans and Klingons attack the Kzinti Hegemony, then the Hydrans attack them, in the understanding that they are the next target of the Lyran-Klingon Coalition. The Hydran capital falls (again), the Coalition assaults the Kzinti homeworld, and the Federation starts preparing to intervene on behalf of the Kzintis. With war against the Hydrans and Kzintis wrapping up, and the Federation mobilizing, the Klingons invade the Federation in Y171, and convince the Romulans to join the Coalition in Y173. The Coalition drives deep into Federation space before the lines stabilize, with the Gorn Confederacy joining the Federation-led Alliance in Y174. The situation becomes a large-scale stalemate with both sides fighting back and forth in "devastated zones" that have been denuded of pre-war bases. The superior Federation economy, and the toll of several years of war prior to invading the Federation cause the war to slowly turn in the Alliance's favor. The Hydrans recover and make a drive back to their capital in Y178, Federation and Gorn fleets make a strike into Romulan space that ends with the devastation of the secondary capital, Remus, in Y181. Finally, a cease-fire that leaves the original borders mostly intact is agreed to in Y185, with all parties thoroughly exhausted.[14]

This eighteen-year period of conflict is the main focus of current SFU products. Most new SFB products contain ships and variants that appeared or took part in the conflict. With a very few exceptions all Federation and Empire scenarios revolve around the General War in whole or in part. The ships presented in Federation Commander are the fully refitted versions that appear about mid-way through the war.

X-Technology[edit]

"X-Technology" is a reference to a set of new technologies that started appearing on ships in Y180. By and large, new ships were built with this technology, a few older ships were completely rebuilt to use it, and a few ships had individual systems upgraded to use parts of the new technology. After the end of The General War, more and more ships received these partial upgrades, allowing older designs to stay relevant next to the steadily increasing number of X-ships.[15]

The peace after the General War did not last very long. Right after the end of the war, the Interstellar Concordium, determined to save the other races from themselves, started occupying the border areas of all the opposing states in the "Pacification Program" or "ISC Conquest", in the hopes that if the conflicting factions could be kept apart, any wars could be prevented. By Y188 ISC forces had reached Lyran space on the far side of the Octant and had spread everywhere in 'peacekeeping' duties.[16]

Andromedan ships had been encountered at random in steadily increasing numbers since Y166. In Y188 they launched the Andromedan invasion, which decimated the spread out forces of the ISC, and put great pressure on all of the major powers of the Alpha Octant before the secret of their transportation network was discovered in Y195. In Y201 the galactic powers (led by the Federation and Klingons working together) counterattacked in Operation Unity, which traced the Andromedans back to their main base in the Small Magellanic Cloud and stopped the invasion by destroying the starbase there in Y202.[17]

Past that point, there has not been much information published in any SFU game, though there are references to a second generation of X-Technology and Trade Wars in Y205,[18] and an invasion of the Alpha Octant by the Xorkaelians in Y210.

Various versions of the official timeline have ended in Y225: "Presumably a third generation of X-ships was developed, but The Next Generation is not within the scope of the Star Fleet Universe."[18] This is presumably a humorous reference to Star Trek: The Next Generation and the fact that SFB has no license for Star Trek materials outside of TOS and TAS.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lucas, Andrew J. (1999-11-12). "Pyramid Pick: Starfleet Command". Pyramid (online) (Steve Jackson Games). Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  2. ^ a b The Milky Way Galaxy, Captain's Log #27, (ADB, 2003)
  3. ^ (OA1.0) History of the Omega Octant, Star Fleet Battles Omega Master Rulebook, (ADB, 2007)
  4. ^ a b (R16.1) Jindarian Background, Star Fleet Battles Module F1: The Jindarians, (ADB, 2005)
  5. ^ (MR1.15) Small Asteroid Shipyard, Star Fleet Battles Module C5 (ADB, 2006)
  6. ^ Magellanic Map (ADB, 2006)
  7. ^ (MA1.0) Magellanic History (ADB, 2006)
  8. ^ Pirates of M81 Galaxy, Captain's Log #41, (ADB, 2010)
  9. ^ Timeline of the Triangulum Galaxy, Star Fleet Battles Module E2, (ADB, 2001)
  10. ^ a b c Star Fleet Universe Timeline: The Early Period, Star Fleet Battles Module Y1: The Early Years, (ADB, 2000)
  11. ^ Star Fleet Battles Module Ω1: The Omega Sector (ADB, 2000)
  12. ^ (R9.1) Hydran Background, Star Fleet Battles Module C1: New Worlds I (ADB, 1999)
  13. ^ (607.0) The Four Powers War, Federation and Empire: Fighter Operations, (ADB, 2004)
  14. ^ A Brief History of the General War (ADB, 1995)
  15. ^ (XR0.0) Partial X-Refits, Captain's Log #31, (ADB, 2005)
  16. ^ (R13.1A) ISC Background, Star Fleet Battles Module C2: New Worlds II, (ADB, 1994)
  17. ^ (R10.1B) Andromedan Background Update (as of Y205), Star Fleet Battles Module C2: New Worlds II, (ADB, 1994)
  18. ^ a b Star Fleet Universe Timeline (ADB, 2007)

External links[edit]