Welcome back to another month of NPCs from Tuesdays at Quark’s. This month we’ll be looking back to the era of the original series of Star Trek. I’ll freely admit that the characters here have been mostly focused on the 24th century. Most of the TV series have focused on that time period and it’s the default setting for Star Trek Adventures. Personally, though, I’ve always liked the newer series better than the original one so I’ve let my interests carry the materials forward. I’m taking this whole month, though, to remedy that. Let’s start with a classic of the series: the redshirt.
Redshirts are there to take a shot during the away mission and show that the situation is dangerous. It’s a conceit of the show but Palmer Beckett takes it to a new level. He’s dodged death a number of times and he’s out to get one final mission in before oblivion catches up with him. He’ll stand by your PCs’ side as the situation turns deadly, whether they wanted it to or not. I mean, he’s played by Sean Bean for Pete’s sake!
You can use Lt. Beckett as a way to push your crew into a dangerous situation, having him take risks that may not be the best choice but that are direct. A dark interpretation of this NPC is as an unhinged lunatic who’s psychosis has grown without anyone noticing. This version is the shellshocked daredevil who has nothing left in him but what conflict has created and he’s growing increasingly untethered from the world. On the other hand, the need to put an end to all his near-misses and the memory of lost comrades might be a more subtle thing. Beckett might be a fine officer but he is haunted by the past and his depression pushes him towards the fatalistic. An uplifting episode might be where one of the player characters gives him a reason to turn his life around.
Regardless of how you want to play him, there are plenty of situations to include Lt. Beckett. Here are a few plot hooks to get you started.
- When a package addressed to Lt. Beckett arrives on a transport ship, it turns out to be from a helm officer aboard the Defiant. The officer left Beckett this statuette in his will but as soon as it’s onboard the crew starts to report strange, ghostly sightings. Couldit truly be haunted by the dead Defiant crew or is their something strange in the statuette’s construction?
- An alien probe taps the crew in a psychic prison of their own devising! As Lt. Beckett was at the sensor controls when the probe struck, the hallucination is based on his fears. Danger lurks around every corner as the dead haunt the corridors…
- After another brush with death, Lt. Beckett requests time off to recuperate. While he is gone, however, the crew discovers a semi-sentient computer virus that infected the ship’s computer during one of their previous missions. As systems fail and the ship becomes less as less functional, the crew tries to reach Beckett who alone has the crucial details from the away mission that can stop this virus.