Where Do You Draw the Line? A Review of Tony Pi’s “Majestic Matter”

By Troy Mepyans


This review is based on Tony Pi’s “A Majestic Matter” found in the Star Trek Adventures – Mission Briefs: Starbase Adventures – Free PDF

Personal conflicts are a staple of fiction in general and Star Trek in particular; and “Majestic Matter” presented my character, Captain Jilel of the USS Pioneer, with a conflict that not only he had to deal with, but that caused me to look at myself and ask how far I’d be willing to go to help a friend. It began with a diplomatic meeting discussing and debating the nature of the Prime Directive compared to the Elevated Edict, a regulation of the Confederation of United Worlds, a peaceful conglomeration of alien species in the Centaurus-A galaxy (13.7 million light-years from Earth) that encourages interference with species to help reduce the suffering of fellow sentients. They are the Federation’s newest friends and potential allies in the Centaurus-A Galaxy, and Jilel found himself having to truly consider the flaws and warts of his own closely held views.

We used this piece of art to represent Ul’Roq of Quelthonia

An explosion the following day seemed to have killed Prince Ul’Roq sucking him into space when the windows of his dwelling were breached. But Jilel sensed there was more to it when sensors showed that the Prince had left the dwelling and jammed the cameras and sensors right before the explosion.

A conversation with the Prince’s fiancé confirmed it had indeed been a staged event to cover Ul’Raq’s flight from Zed Med station, as he had learned that the Royal Family from his homeworld had suffered a tragedy that left him as Emperor.

Through a series of misadventures, Jilel and Ul’Raq had to face the reality that his fleeing his duties would be violating his people’s laws and traditions, and the people of Zed Med were obligated to return him to his world.

It was here that the quandary dug deep for me as I abhor the idea of someone being forced into something against their will no matter how noble the reason. Jilel tried several different angles to wiggle free of the confines of law but was countered at every turn, to the point where Ul’Raq himself said that he would return and rule, attempting to change things from within. Jilel reluctantly agreed, telling his friend that he would be a good and wise ruler.

Facing closely held views is never easy when they are being challenged, and holding to those views under challenge is even harder; but Jilel realized, as I have over the years, that there are times when holding your ground will do more harm than good.

Tony Pi created a scenario to challenge players using their own senses of justice as the wedge, and he did it to brilliant effect. “Majestic Matter” is tension, moral quandary, and social conflict without a speck of hate or violence between the opposed parties. That is what makes this mission a rare gem, and one I’ll remember for a long time to come.

(To see our entire play report, see Star Trek Pioneer, Season 5, Episode 1: “It Takes a Village.)

Continuing Mission has done so much to support STA that Modiphius wants to give some love back, and so we are pleased to offer this discount code, CMISSION01, which is a 10% off coupon for the STA Starter Set and usable on both the Modiphius UK site and the Modiphius US site.

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