• Location: Raveh Sector, Orellius Sector Block
  • Faction and Level: Federation, Any Level
  • Foundry ID and Server: ST-HSRO4D6XK, Holodeck

Summary: One of Starfleet’s many missions is making navigational charts of explored space.  Survey duty isn’t generally the most exciting in the universe unless you find something unexpected… and this unexpected discovery becomes an unusual relief mission.  Diplomacy is the order of the day, especially considering the people you meet…

(Mild spoilers after the break)

Author’s Commentary: I’ve made several missions on Tribble that I’ve shared amongst my friends; they don’t get a particularly Trek vibe off of me, and this mission is made in direct response to it.  Its concept evolved over several iterations based on the current limitations of the Foundry engine and the resources available, but I honestly think that working within those restrictions helped improve it.  The mission changed from a roughly Heart of Darkness or Lord of the Flies style plot to something a little more nuanced when it comes to human nature, and yet it still manages to respectfully question Roddenberry’s “New Man” hypothesis underlying the utopic Federation of The Next Generation.

I didn’t apply the “technobabble” tag to this post because all of the mentioned science is more or less accurate.  I’m an aerospace engineer, so the engineer’s lines about structures, seals, failsafes, and things never quite being perfect are what I live every day.  The science officer’s reports about anxiolytics (anti-anxiety medications) and all the long words associated with them are real; one of the long chemical names is the IUPAC name for phenelzine, which is an MAOI inhibitor (which is also described in the dialog).  Of course, there is talk of “electro-plasma” and “plasma baffles” and the like, but all “plasma” is in Trek is a conductive medium so all of that talk simply boils down to “there’s no more water in the steam engines.”

The working title for the mission was “The Lotus Eaters,” from the episode in The Odyssey with the lotophagi, but after some thought I decided that came down too hard on the “TNG New Men are drugged” side of the argument.  I really liked the reference, though, and it was a major inspiration, so I changed the title to the last words of Tennyson’s “The Lotos-Eaters.”  The act titles were all the usual puns (such as “Between A Wreck And A Hard Place”), but with a new literary reference established, they were all changed to related lines from “The Lotos-Eaters.”

Overall, I’m quite pleased with how it came out, especially based on the first slew of comments (the number of which were truly unexpected).  I’m glad people like it, though that means that now I’ve got a tough act to follow!