Star Trek: TNG S1 Story Arc – Alien Parasites
While I attempted the Star Trek Adventures game as best I could, I really never get into it. It needed more. But that doesn’t keep me from trying to find story ideas for a good Star Trek RPG adventure. I know there is a Star Trek conversion to Savage Worlds and I may explore that at some point. But with all the new ST, I have gone back to watch TOS and TNG and have drawn some ideas from that.
The alien parasite story arc was the first attempt TNG made at a multi-episode spanning story. Because of it’s nature – alien parasites – it drew me in. But there were a lot of missed opportunities with those creatures and the story. The two episode arc – Coming of Age and Conspiracy revealed that Star Fleet was infested with alien parasites at the top most levels of its hierarchy, creating a pattern of disconnected orders and missions all with one purpose in mind – to bring more parasites to the Alpha quadrant and take of Star Fleet.
There were a lot of missed opportunities in this story arc, primarily because of the structure of television at the time. You did not have serialized TV back them so doing even 2 episode arcs were considered a risk. To have the upper echelons infiltrated by an alien being could have serious repercussions, if you look at it through the lense of the current state of Star Trek – namely Star Trek: Picard.
I read somewhere about Roddenberry’s personal philosophy for the Federation. He believed humans of the Federation had transcended past violence against each other and the need for comquest. Star Fleet was part defensive and part exploration but never considered a military arm of the Federation (although most people I know love the military aspects of Star Fleet). It was most evident in ST: TOS that the only time humans were violent against one another was when some outside influence made them – alien or insanity or the like.
The alien parasite represents an outside influence. Not a lot was explored in that area in these episodes except maybe their eating habits – perhaps another missed opportunity. The overall details of these parasites were a missed opportunity.
The subplot in this story of a coordinated effort of the aliens hidden in the missions for ships, starbases and colonies throughout Federation space in the past 6 months – something they used Data to uncover. “Starfleet’s left hand did not know what it’s right hand was doing” was the quote. It was in an effort to control specific portions of the Federation.
Adventure Idea: Strange Missions in the regions they were trying to manipulate. I am sure the Enterprise was not the only one to notice strange goings-on. Perhaps a ship sent on one of the strange missions also started asking questions. What kinds of missions would these parasites want done? Why would they seem out of the ordinary enough that a Star Fleet officer would start to ask questions? Would there be an “infected” on board? What would happen if there was? Murder? Then how would the adventure wrap up to preserve the canon?
The threat overall was aliens controlling humans against their will, but what else was there. There was so much unexplored in the episode that the adventure possibilities are endless. These creatures were never expanded up and explored beyond the fact there was a queen and many little scorpion-like bug drones.
Adventure Idea: How did Lieutenant Commander Dexter Remmick get infected with a Queen? This could be an adventure post S1E25 Conspiracy. Perhaps the Star Fleet follows clues to the origin of the queen creature. Remmick had to have gotten it from somewhere.
There was enough left out from the alien background that a GM has a lot of room to explore, allowing one to add whatever story they want to. I would take and run with it as far as the players want to explore. Are they related to the creature – Ceti eels – from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan on Ceti Alpha V. Is that were Remmick went to find the queen?