By Aaron M Pollyea
The Gamma Quadrant evokes a lot of imagery for fans of Star Trek, in particular the events of the devastating Dominion War as shown in Deep Space Nine. But the primary foes of Federation and the rest of the major Alpha and Beta Quadrant powers weren’t all from the Gamma Quadrant. Some of the Wars greatest foes were home-grown. And some of the most important, and interesting vessels, were Starfleet and proud. So, how did I go about choosing what starships to write about in the Gamma Quadrant book?
First in my mind was that some of the powers hostile to the Federation have already been covered in other publications; the Breen had their vessels covered in the Alpha Quadrant book, and the basic vessels of the Cardassians and the Jem’Hadar are covered in the corebook. So, in order to give a better breakdown of the War as a whole, the fleet of the Dominion should be explained more. So, the Dominion ally of the Sona have their vessels given descriptions and rules including for their nasty isolytic weaponry. Further, member species of the Dominion were given vessels that are not warships, but very well could be seen in the Gamma Quadrant and beyond, many possibly operating in the region around the Bajoran wormhole. But I couldn’t resist putting in a Jem’Hadar vessel that should make even the most hardened Klingon warrior to consider that it is a sign that today they will go to Sto’Vo’Kor.
Even with those vessels, the story of the Gamma Quadrant is still one of war, and a war has two sides. Working with Jim Johnson, he and I came up with a list of ‘hero’ vessels of Starfleet that have come up in important episodes dealing with the War, or multiple ones. I wanted to detail the crews and adventures of these vessels before the war, or if they were products of the conflict, explain for what combat roles the vessel was built. U.S.S. Sutherland is a Nebula-class vessel that served for years during peacetime, and even now as a warship, the crew continues traditions that link back to more peaceful and simple times, perhaps to help relax and bond before the horrors of war, and perhaps to forget the pain they all feel for just a short amount of time. At the other extreme is U.S.S. Prometheus, a vessel born out of need for a combat vessel and designed as a test-bed for multiple types of experimental technologies.
There are more, but I’ll let you find out what stories I wanted to tell to let your own take root and blossom. Take these stories and add them to your own game, weave them in for encounters with other Starfleet vessels, or use them as a stepping stone in developing your own histories for a ship and her crew while traversing the battlefields of the Dominion War.