Welcome back to another edition of Tuesdays at Quark’s, with Starfleet Academy content all this month! Today’s entry is a ship’s counselor, not as direct as a former roommate or a friend from a class but still a connection to that hallowed campus in San Francisco. When you need someone to keep your player characters from going crazy, Counselor Thebena is your answer.
Some of your crew might have been at the Academy with Thebena but you don’t need to literally connect her to Starfleet Academy to have her represent it in the game. The sense of family and the connections that transcend duty are exactly what cadets come to learn in their Academy days. When they get their commissions and head off into the universe they forget those important lessons. In those cases they need someone like Thebena to pull them back.
For all of that, of course, she’s a deeply flawed person. There is trauma in her past and a loss that she lives with every day. No matter how close her crew becomes they can’t fully replace the family that she lost in the Borg attack. But she doesn’t let that defeat her (unless you use the villainous sidebar) and that, too, is the heart of Starfleet.
There are lots of directions you can take this character, but here are a few plot hooks to get you started.
- Normally, a ship with a social butterfly is a morale boost for the whole crew. When the ship has both Counselor Thebena and Ensign Kanientah, however, their personalities can start to clash. At first its social events that are scheduled at the same time, then its each woman actively undermining the other. The crew starts to take side and by the time it gets to fist fights and it becomes clear that something is affecting the crew’s minds it might be too late to stop them.
- As an advanced bit of storytelling, you might set an episode entirely as a flashback where one of the player characters is going through grief therapy with Thebena following a traumatic away mission. The events play out as the character “tells her what happened” and rolls can be made by the PC (with Thebena assisting) to give the characters in the flashback the chance for a reroll. In the narrative this is framed as “That could have gone wrong but it didn’t, see?”
- In providing therapy to Reil Anaphis, Thebena gives him the tools to access some deeply-buried part of his psyche. Reil remembers a fragment of something from the encounter that changed him, maybe his own memory of something he glimpsed or maybe something left by whatever it was that altered Reil. Either way, the memories lead to something important deep within the Shackleton Expanse but the only way he can keep guiding the crew is with Thebena helping him to recover memories.