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Excelsior Season 1, Act I: Prologue

by the Excelsior Development Team

14th December 2017

The Excelsior Campaign story begins here! This article begins by describing the major factions in the Excelsior v1.0 cardpool in a familiar setting towards the end of the fourth season of The Next Generation, as the Duras family challenges Gowron for leadership of the Klingon High Council. While the Federation is obliged to support Gowron as Chancellor, the Romulans work from the shadows to destabilize the Klingon government by bolstering the Duras fleet. And while we know what happened in the real story, the Excelsior Campaign gives you a chance to rewrite the outcome by supporting your favorite affiliation!

 

Each time you play in an Excelsior Campaign event, you will earn Victory Points for the headquarters that you include in your deck. Act I begins with three headquarters: Earth (TNG), Qo'noS, and Romulus. Each Act lasts about three months, and at the end of that time, the headquarters with the lowest Victory Point total will be removed from the card pool for the next Act, while two new factions will be introduced. The two new headquarters for Act II will depend on the results of Act I – if the Klingons are defeated, it might encourage the Ferengi to send out ships in hopes of salvaging the wreckage of the Imperial Fleet. But if the TNG crew is defeated, it might rouse Starfleet Command to send reinforcements... it's all up to you and your fellow players to write the rest of the story!

 

Here are three different perspectives on the impending Klingon Civil War, each from one of the involved affiliations. Pick a side, and spring into action in Act I of the Excelsior Campaign!

 

 

* * *

 

Commander’s personal log, I.K.S. Hegh’ta

Stardate 44998.1

 

“Space”. Ironically named, for there is nothing spacious about the Alpha Quadrant. Federation outposts sprout throughout their surrounding sectors like weeds. Romulan reconnaissance patrols precede warbird squadrons, desperate to annex new territory. And my people now squabble amongst themselves, while both the Federation and Romulans look on in anticipation, eager to tip the balance of power in their favor at our expense. The thought of a divided Empire disheartens me, but also ignites in me a desire to prove the worth of Klingon spirit, in myself and my people. Having served with the humans briefly, I can safely say their goals are at least... compatible with those of our government, if somewhat unambitious.

 

While I considered Gowron to be vulnerable, my brother and leader of our House declared that we would support him when the time was right, and ask for his honor to be restored as the price of our support. The Duras family has long lain in Romulan bedchambers, but this outright rebellion against Gowron’s claim to lead the High Council was beyond any capabilities we could have expected them to possess. And while we struggle to secure any meaningful support from our Federation allies, the Romulan fist within the glove of the Duras is all-too present in every engagement.

 

After defeating a pair of Duras’ ships in battle yesterday, we encountered three more today. Although we were able to destroy the lead vessel, we were forced to retreat when a critical junction overloaded and disabled our shielding. We have been under cloak in hiding until the damage can be repaired… but every second we spend here is another moment that the Romulans can force the Duras to victory. Be it Kahless’ will that we can prevent the Empire’s demise, and restore glory to the Klingon legacy. Q’apla!

 

* * *

 

Coded communique, stardate 44993

F/T: Prof. Galen, Adm. Nakamura

RE: Project Nijara

 

Admiral,

 

To admit that your last message was surprising would be disingenuous, and I will spare you any pretense that I am somehow unaware of the machinations currently in motion. Indeed, my current research timetable has been impacted as a result, and my expedition to Kurl is indefinitely postponed as the current conflict threatens the surrounding systems, making safe passage an impossibility for the time being. As such, I have the opportunity to summarize what anthropological background seems appropriate to your inquiry; please share this report with those in positions to effect change that would be beneficial to our mutual goal.

 

The Klingon Empire retains largely the same ideological cornerstones for the past thousand years; glory, duty, and honor. Klingon culture fixates on the notion of honor, a quality that is less a matter of personal integrity than a matter of public reputation or perception. Klingons defend their honor, or affirm the superiority of their honor to others, through displays of belligerence and force. The honorable warrior is open and bold; stealth and subtlety are marks dishonorable intent. We see this in the conflict brewing between the new chancellor, this Gowron, and the House of Duras. Gowron’s position is not secure unless he can prove his strength against a challenger. On the other hand, the late Duras and his heirs have more successfully cultivated an image of strength, yet their bid for power is tainted by rumors of deceit and treachery. I acknowledge that I do not follow current Klingon politics closely enough to have any notion who would make a better leader for the Empire.

 

By contrast, control is the concept defines Romulan culture more than any other. The Star Empire has a deeply ingrained sense of insecurity, that it leverages in controlling in all aspects of Romulan society. Romulans affect reserved personae and are obsessed with secrecy; openness makes one vulnerable. They avoid confrontation except in rare moments when every piece on the galactic chessboard is so perfectly aligned as to grant absolute certainty that they hold the dominant position. The incident you disclosed regarding their plot to assassinate a Klingon governor suggests that the Star Empire is now actively pursuing their interest of driving a wedge between the Federation and the Klingons, and the resulting turmoil has provided a perfect opportunity. If the Romulans behave true to form, they will assuredly try to exploit the situation by manipulating one or both sides of the conflict. The ideal outcome, from a Romulan point of view, would be a weakened Klingon Empire led by a pawn susceptible their influence and willing to break off the Khitomer Accords. The Romulans are not likely to directly participate in any fighting, and thus reveal their goals – they will work from behind the scenes as long as it remains feasible.

 

Finally, a look inward at the Federation. Starfleet exercises massive practical influence over the Federation populace, and since Starfleet is overwhelmingly human, understanding the Federation as a whole requires a consideration of humans and their ideals. When looking at civilizations from the outside, one is liable to make misjudgments out of ignorance. However, when looking at culture from within, misjudgments arise when familiarity blinds us to salient features. As much as I believe in the Federation, I confess that we are probably more naïve and even arrogant than we would like to admit. We live in a more optimistic, idealistic time than any since the early twentieth century. The humans of that era were pursuing utopian dreams, convinced of the endless advance of progress and growth, certain that they had grown beyond such petty matters as war. The cruel reality of the Great War and its millions of dead proved them wrong. Are we making the same mistakes? Deluding ourselves while a disaster looms? We have been at peace with the Klingons for decades, and while we strive to maintain the alliance with them, we must be prepared for the worst, especially if the Romulans decide to take a more active role in provoking open conflict.

 

* * *

Imperial Annal, Warbird Goraxus

Age of Preparation, Rihannsu 94

Field Operative Evaluation, Gen. Movar

 

As military attaché aboard this vessel for the past three voyages, I can report that Commander Sela’s behavior has conformed to the profile of our objectives, and that she has performed her duties with unusual aplomb, especially in our dealings with the Federation. It is perhaps due to her human heritage that she is able to more readily anticipate Starfleet’s gambits, and she has repeatedly demonstrated her ability to outmaneuver her opponents.

 

However, this latest voyage to abet the Klingon conflict has left me wondering whether she truly has the breadth of experience to achieve our goals in coordinating an operation of this magnitude. Her success in converting the Enterprise’s chief engineer was short-lived, and his exposure could have been prevented with more foresight. The intelligence he would have been able to provide over the long term could have proved invaluable in disabling Starfleet’s rapid expansion into systems that we have already marked for Imperial conquest.

 

The Klingons, while certainly much easier to goad into serving our ends, have presented a much greater challenge than we initially anticipated. Gowron’s stubborn refusal to surrender has prolonged the conflict well beyond our campaign schedule estimate, as his loyalists inflict heavy losses on the Duras, fighting to the death rather than capitulating. We have already surpassed resource expenditure projections, with no end in sight. Quite simply, Sela underestimated the resourcefulness of Gowron and his allies. As such, the feasibility of our continued support for the Duras must be contingent on their combat performance – if they accrue many more costly “victories” of type they have been winning, I recommend we abandon this endeavor.

 

Sela’s fascination with the Enterprise crew in particular gives me pause. She had displayed a marked interest in the Federation flagship beyond the bounds of her duties or strategic analysis. She has pored over personnel profiles, requesting regular updates on the ship’s position. She was not forthcoming in justifying this behavior, offering only the reminder that the Tal Shiar’s purposes were not to be questioned. I have also noticed on more than one visit to her quarters that she keeps an old Starfleet emblem displayed somewhat hidden among her trophies, though she is far too young to have won it in any battle. It may be nothing, perhaps given to her by an instructor at the Imperial War College. However, I have observed her glancing at the icon with a mixture of emotions - rage, resentment, and what I can only surmise as nostalgia as well. I have not pursued the matter with her, as this preoccupation has not adversely affected her command performance. Indeed, her dedication to achieving victory over the Federation is an inspiration to the crew of the Goraxus.

 

Commander Sela is a bright and promising officer, but her handling of the Klingon destabilization has revealed points of immaturity, as well as certain curious behavior that warrants further observation. In this light, I would recommend against entrusting her with another mission of this magnitude until she displays evidence of growth while serving in less responsible positions.

 

 

* * *

 
How does the Excelsior story continue? Find out in mid-February 2018, as we check in at the midpoint of Act I. In the meantime, be on the lookout for Excelsior Campaign events near you, or find an event online! Ever upward!

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