Part of a series about the Stellar Alliance.
What Is An Away Team?
An Away Team explores unknown planets and civilizations when scans from orbit will not suffice. “Space Exploration” is part of the Alliance Fleet’s full name (Alliance Space Exploration and Peacekeeping Fleet), but the Alliance explores more than space anomalies and solar systems.
Who Is On An Away Team?
The Captain or Executive Officer assigns junior officers or crewmen1 with a broad range of skills. Typically this includes:
One Command Service member to provide diplomatic and cultural expertise … or if the crew members may lose focus otherwise.
One Medical Service member in case of any injuries
At least one Security Service member in case things get violent.
One or more Science Service members to conduct surveys of the flora, fauna, geology, and other features of the planet.
Optionally, one or more Technical staff if the mission requires analyzing and/or repairing alien technology.
Optionally, one or more Operations staff with special skills, e.g. prior knowledge of the planet, a similarity to the dominant life form, or mission-specific skills like mountain-climbing.
Away Team Kit
Generally each away team member receives one communcator, one multi-sensor, and one exo-pistol. Members of specific services receive additional equipment related to their specialty.
Communicators uplink with the ship or another endpoint, but they can also talk to each other within a radius of 2000 kilometers or so (roughly 1200 miles).
- Comm I:
- A voice- or touch-activated unit worn as an earpiece or badge. Can only send and receive data from the ship network.
- Comm II:
- A palm-sized oblong about the size of a deck of cards with a very small holo-display. Has limited functions apart from the ship network.
- Comm III:
- A tablet about 15cm x 20 cm (6’‘x8’’), sometimes with a fold-out touch keyboard. Doubles as a small computer even when disconnected from the ship network.
- Comm Relay:
- A bulky and heavy unit about 50cm x 40cm x 30cm (18’‘x15’‘x12’’) with an integrated Comm III that cuts through most exotic interference if placed correctly. Can also act as an endpoint if wholly disconnected from the ship network. The Comm Relay extends comm-to-comm ranges to nearly an entire planet.
All communicators have a Nearly Universal Real Time Translator Software (NURTTS) loaded. NURTTS can translate all known languages in both directions in real time. Unknown languages require an uplink to the ship network’s Artificial Linguistic Inference Analyzer (ALIA) which must listen to the language in context for some time (seconds for dialects, days or weeks for wholly unfamiliar languages) before downloading an interpreter to the communicator.
Exotic Particle Weapon
a.k.a. Exo-Ray or Exo-Gun
Each weapon has multiple power settings but only four power modes:
- Stun: Disrupts the targets electrochemical or electrical impulses, rendering the target unconscious.
- Kill: Inflicts radiation burns and other somatic damage, wounding or killing the target.
- Burn: Heat the target until it glows or burns.
- Disassemble: Tear apart the target’s molecular bonds until it’s at best a slurry of simpler molecules and at worst vapor and scorch marks.
- A small hold-out device about the size of a Comm II that can emit a stun ray at low power. It can emit higher levels of Exo-Rays but will burn out quickly.
- The standard sidearm for away teams in unknown territory.
- A larger, two-hander version of the Exo-Pistol with a larger power supply and greater accuracy.
- A carbine-sized device that only emits stun beams, albeit with the range and accuracy of a rifle. Often rigged so that attempts to boost the power mode burns out the emitter.
- A tripod-mounted exo-weapon with an external battery and a high-capacity rapid-fire long-range emitter. While it has a stun setting that can knock out a large group of people, its main use is as an anti-vehicle weapon.
A bulkier Comm II with a wide array of integrated sensors. Can detect atmospheric composition, energy emissions, motion, and even “life signs” across a broad area.
Command officers sometimes carry a Type II or Type III communicator loaded with crib sheets for the planet’s culture, customs, and places of interest.
Operations staff may carry any small tools or equipment needed for their specialty.
Medical officers carry a general medi-kit sufficient to render first aid. If the planet’s population suffer from a particular disease, the shuttle will contain several doses of an immunization serum or general antibiotics and antivirals.
Science personnel may carry special equipment to study a particular phenomenon, although usually a multi-sensor will suffice.
Security personnel typically carry a packet of restraints (26th-century zipties). They may also smuggle small weapons like knives or holdout slugthrowers and contraband like electronic and mechanical lockpicks.
Technical personnel may carry special tools or equipment if their task includes repairing or setting up technology on the planet.
Holonovellas aside, the senior officers do not
beamfly down to an unknown and unexplored planet. They’re too valuable. ↩︎
The space battle rules will borrow from Coriolis, Alien, and Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies: each player takes on a specific aspect of their ship, with the “captain” issuing orders and buffing players involved in and following those orders. ↩︎