Author Topic: The Decision Engine  (Read 249 times)

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Offline Solluk

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The Decision Engine
« on: February 10, 2017, 07:42:45 pm »
Mission Title: The Decision Engine

Synopsis: While exploring a newly discovered rogue planet, the Discovery away team finds an alien computer system and associated artifact in a strange building.  As they come into proximity to the artifact, the computer springs to life and the alien artifact sends out a powerful psionic flash that affects each member of the away team.  Each away team member enters a mental simulation of a universe where one pivotal decision or event from their past has gone a different way.  In each case, the result is a more disappointing or even tragic life.  Eventually, the Discovery realizes the away team has been incapacitated and sends a second team who disables the computer and frees them from their alternate simulated existence.  Each of the away team members is helped to resolve some issue or regret from their past thanks to this experience.

Starting Point: The Discovery encounters a rogue planet, and sends an away team to investigate an alien structure on its surface which is impervious to sensors.

End Goal: The first away team members are freed from their simulated alternate lives, and the purpose and fate of the alien device is revealed.

Story points that must be passed?:

I) The Discovery encounters a rogue planet in deep space, and sends an away team to investigate a structure on its surface which is impervious to sensors.

II) The away team finds a building containing an alien computer and a strange alien artifact.  When they approach the artifact, it flashes them with a powerful psionic signal that renders them apparently catatonic, but really places their minds in a simulated reality tailored to each of them as individuals.

III) The Discovery loses contact with the Away Team, and dispatches a second team to retrieve the first.

IV) Each member of the away team experiences an alternate existence where one tragedy or decision from their lives has resolved itself in a different way.  This alternate experience is ultimately disappointing or even more tragic than the original. 

V) The second away team manages to deactivate the alien computer and get the first away team out of their trance-like catatonia, freeing them from their virtual alternate lives.

VI)  In the end, it is learned from files stored in the alien computer's data storage module that the alien artifact is a 'Decision Engine' created to study life choices and simulate alternative outcomes.  The aliens hoped to use this device as an educational tool to improve their decision making process, but in the end found that their species only became obsessed with everything that they might have done differently in their lives.  They spent all of their time in the machine, second-guessing everything they had ever done and exploring alternate realities instead of living their lives and advancing as a culture.   These aliens destroyed all of their Decision Engines except this one, which they set adrift on a rogue planet for the unlikely event that it should be needed some day.  This was over five thousand years ago, so apparently that need never surfaced.   





Departments: (To make sure everyone has something to do.)

- Flight: For the purposes of this mission, it would be best if one flight control person wound up on each of the away teams.  Preferably anyone with serious unresolved personal issues would be placed in the first away team.

- Engineering: There should probably be an engineer on each of the away teams.  Preferably anyone with serious unresolved personal issues would be placed in the first away team.  The engineer in the second away team can help to deactivate the alien computer and retrieve the data storage module for study.

- Operations: There should probably be an Operations person in each of the away teams. Preferably anyone with serious unresolved personal issues would be placed in the first away team.  The Operations person in the second away team might assist the Engineer with studying the alien computer and figuring out how to deactivate it and read its data storage module.

- Security and tactical: Each away team will have security personnel.  Preferably anyone with serious unresolved personal issues would be placed in the first away team.  There are no serious security issues with this mission, so I would place PC security personnel in the first away team and use NPC personnel in the second one. 

- Medical: Each away team should have a medical person with it.  The second away team's medical person can diagnose the condition of the first away team.  Preferably anyone with serious unresolved personal issues would be placed in the first away team.

- Science: Each away team should have a science person with them.  The second away team's science person can help to analyze the alien artifact and computer, and work with Engineering and Ops to understand the data on the alien computer module.  Preferably anyone with serious unresolved personal issues would be placed in the first away team.


NOTE:  This is a character-development heavy mission without the exciting action sometimes expected.  (Although each person's simulated life may potentially have action in it.)  This mission is primarily designed to give insight into character histories and help characters to partially resolve some of their personal issues.  They will learn that, although their lives may be filled with sadness and mistakes, the alternate lives where these things did not occur may have been even worse.   I would liken this concept to Tapestry, an episode of TNG where Picard, thanks to Q, got a glimpse into an alternate life where he had never been stabbed through the heart in a fit of youthful rebelliousness.   

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