Welcome to another installation of Tuesdays at Quark’s! We’re continuing with our exploration of institutions in the Federation with guest author JtEvans. Last week we looked at Viristia Delnar (updated for some typos, by the way) of the Trill Science Ministry but now we’re getting a little more militaristic with the Zakdorn Defense Institute.
Now, as JtEvans pointed out to me, the Zakdorn Defense Institute is not actually canon in the Star Trek series. It gets a fleeting mention in the Beta Quadrant Sourcebook and it certainly fits the character of the Zakdorn we see in the series. If you’ve watched or listened to the Geek and Sundry campaign Shield of Tomorrow you know just how nasty the Zakdorn can be if you want to cast them as a villains. Haldrin Poleira, on the other hand, is certainly an ally but not a very friendly one. He’s gruff and opinionated but often right (if you know people like that, it only makes them more insufferable) so he could be an adversary (like Sirna Kolrami who actually stars in a scenario published here on Continuing Mission) or he could be an ally of the crew and the only one willing to call things like they are while the diplomats like Admiral Nechayev try to smooth it all over.
The Zakdorn Defense Institute also offers some unique opportunities in a game of Star Trek Adventures. They are a strategic council with influence at the top levels of the Federation but they are completely separate from Starfleet. They might be a source of corruption, a panel that can expose a group like Section 31, or just a civilian group that your Starfleet officers have to work with and maintain good faith with. It’s an interesting problem to set in front of your players.
A character as interesting as Poleira can be used many different ways. His expertise in psychology and military history can go a long way in a story. Here are a few examples.
- The ZDI has asked Starfleet to allow Haldrin Poleira to run a test on Officer Readiness. Your ship has been selected to run the test. Poleira comes off as fussy and particularly attached to the power of his position, but it is actually his first time being allowed to run a diagnostic on this level. The test, which is run individually on the holodeck, is going fine until an accident occurs in the holodeck. This makes a situation where the test becomes all too real.
- A ZDI summit is happening in a star system close to your location. Your tactical and strategic departments are eager to attend, and Haldrin Poleira is speaking at the summit. Your captain invites him on board, and he immediately is at odds with your Chief Tactical Officer. When Nausicaan Pirates attack the conference, Poleira suggests a challenge. Who’s strategy will win against the Pirates? His own, or the CTO?
- With a Dominion fleet approaching the Bajoran wormhole (as seen in the Deep Space Nine episode “By Inferno’s Light“) Starfleet is on high alert. The crew is on a regular patrol when they receive an urgent message from Haldrin Poleira who is heading their direction in a shuttlecraft. He says that the Dominion’s arrival will trigger something he’s been worried about for some time: an alliance between the Cardassians and the Dominion. He needs the crew’s help evacuating Cardassian defectors willing to work with the Federation before it’s too late, but why should they believe his crazy story?