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Star Trek: Survival Test

Scenes

Dreams
Examinations
Starfleet Academy
Survival Test Briefing
An Unexpected Complication
Into the Jungle
The Journey Continues
First Contact
Scouting The  Exobiology Station


Dreams  

Many dream of joining Starfleet, of attending the Academy and then taking their place alongside such legends as Robert April, Tyra Yates, James T Kirk and Jean Luc Picard but few are accepted. Starfleet only accepts the best and the brightest of candidates. Every year thousands of aspiring candidates make their way to assessment centers across the Federation to seek admission to the Preparatory Programme for the Starfleet Academy entrance examinations. Star Trek: Griffin focuses on the lives and careers of six of these applicants:

  • Gol, a male Vulcan with an aptitude for science
  • Jarmia Srevin, a female Andorian whose lifelong ambition was to join
  • Starfleet and command a ship of her own. Undeterred by failing to gain admission to the Preparatory Programme on her first two attempts she persisted and finally succeeded on her third attempt.
  • Prev Teral, a male Tellarite with an aptitude for engineering
  • Taylor Robertson, a male human who aspires to be a doctor
  • Vida, a female human
  • Gerron, a male Betazoid

Examinations  

After six weeks and much hard work on the Preparatory Programme the Entrance Examinations are finally in progress at testing centers throughout Federation space. The examinations consist of several formal papers, a number of holographic simulations, tests of physical ability as well as a number of 'hidden' tests designed to test the candidate's character:

Gol is taking the paper on problem solving. He is confident of passing this one as it is an exercise in logic, something at which the Vulcan excels. He looks around the classroom, calmly assessing the other candidates when he notices one of them surreptitiously viewing at miniature PADD attached to his forearm. The candidate notices Gol looking at him, winks and brings his finger to his lips. It doesn't take much logic to work out that he is cheating. Gol of course reports him to the invigilator.

"Psst. Are you Prev Teral?" The Tellarite is relaxing after completing the examinations when a shifty-looking Ferengi approaches him. "I'm Pok and I'm just about to do you a big favour. It so happens that I've obtained the access codes to the examination computer. I've been looking at the results and to put it bluntly you've failed. Course I can change that for a price, say 100 strips of latinum. You interested?" Prev Teral isn't and reports the Ferengi to the authorities.

Jarmia and Taylor are both sitting the examinations at the same facility. They are both invited to a formal dinner in honour of a visiting Klingon admiral. At the dinner the admiral circulates, offering the cadets present some gagh from a bowl he carries. It is said that gagh is best served live and these worms are certainly that. Both Jarmia and Taylor accept the gagh. Taylor swallows his and feels it wriggling on the way down while Jarmia takes the time to chew hers first.

"The Federation way of choosing cadets is weak!" The ambassador continues. "Klingon candidates are taken to Jakar III, a hostile planet with many predators. They must make their way across its surface to a specified location in a designated time, fighting off the predators as they go. Those that make it are accepted, those that don't aren't! A simple system that ensures only the strongest candidates are accepted. You two would never survive on Jakar III and would therefore never become a Klingon officer!"

Both Jarmia and Taylor reply politely, pointing out that Federation culture differs from Klingon culture and that the Federation also values non-combat skills.

All the candidates pass the Academy entrance examinations and make their way by various means to San Francisco and Starfleet Academy.


Starfleet Academy  

On arrival the new cadets are assigned quarters, a bedroom in shared accommodation. It is here that the cadets meet each other for the first time. Each group of cadets sharing quarters is known as a squad and each squad can select it's own name. After much debate the group finally decide on the name Griffin Squad! The year is 2366.

During their first year at the Academy the cadets study a core curriculum: History (Federation), Law (Starfleet Regs), Planetside Survival (Choose Specialty), Energy Weapons (Phasers) plus 1 topic of their choice. There is also plenty of opportunity to explore San Francisco and Earth. San Francisco is home to both Starfleet and the Federation Council. As a site of historical importance there are many preserved buildings. The city is a centre for tourism and has many theatres, restaurants (a particular favourite is Petsi's Parlour). The cadets indulge in a variety of extra-curricular activity including mountain climbing and skiing.


Survival Test Briefing  

Captains's Log, U.S.S. Fearless. We have taken aboard several squads of Starfleet cadets on route to Aldos II, where they hope to complete their final examination is Planetside Survival. Some of the cadets are practicing in the ship's holodeck at this moment. From what I remember of my own examination they're going to need all the practive that they can get!

Not knowing where they are going or what they will be facing Griffin Squad are practicing their ability to survive in an arctic climate.

"Computer, end program!" a voice calls out, the voice of Professor Zakarian, one of the course tutors.

"Right cadets, it's time to tell you about the examination. We're now in orbit around the planet Aldos II, a class M world near to the Romulan neutral zone. Aldos II is a jungle world with no intelligent lifeforms. It does however have a number of predators, the Aldosian lion is probably the most fearsome of these but you'll also need to watch out for the Aldosian spider. These are very poisonous, though a standard anti-venom treatment will negate the effects of the poison."

"There's a small Federation exobiology station on the planet. We're going to be taking a shuttle down to the planet. You'll each be given a type I phaser, 1 days rations and standard survival gear. Your squad will also be assigned a tricorder and a medical kit. You must hike from the landing site to the exobiology station, a 3-day jouney; find shelter, food and water; and deal with any threats from the native lifeforms along the way. You can request an emergency beam-out at any time, however this will end the examination. We leave now, any questions?"


An Unexpected Complication  

The shuttle to the Aldos II is piloted by Vida Pimoli. She successfully navigates out of the shuttle bay and towards the planet. Aldos II is a striking world. From space its continents are predominantly green in colour and are surrounded by deep blue oceans.

Suddenly the proximity alarm sounds! A Romulan vessel, a D'deridex no less, is de-cloaking nearby. It fires its disruptors at the shuttle as it moves to attack the U.S.S. Fearless. The shuttle is badly damaged and plunges towards the planet with a number of crucial systems offline. Several control panels explode and Professor Zakarian is badly injured. Prev Teral manages to restore propulsion and Vida Pimoli regains some semblance of control over the shuttle. However the computer seems to be damaged beyond repair and all navigation systems are down so she is flying by the seat of her pants.

As the shuttlecraft plunges into the planets atmosphere its structural integrity is threatened by the heat and stress of re-entry. Prev works frantically tries to restore power to the shields and succeeds in raising them to minimum levels, enough at least to provide some protection. Taylor suggests hooking up the data feed from the shuttles sensor systems to the tricorder, since the main computer is down. This is quickly done and Taylor locates a suitable landing (crash?) site. Vida continues to battle with the shuttle, gradually forcing it towards this site.

The shuttle rushes towards the landing site crashing through trees and jungle for some distance before finally hitting the ground. The impact is hard but apart from a few bruises no one is seriously hurt. The shuttle finally comes to a rest in a clearing.

Taylor quickly examines Professor Zakarian, trying to determine the extent of his injuries. He has a broken leg, several cracked ribs and internal bleeding. His brain is also badly bruised and he appears concussed. Taylor stabilizes the professor using the autosuture to mend the broken bones but cannot bring the professor round - brain damage is a distinct possibility!

While Taylor tends to the professor the rest take stock of their situation. The shuttle is damaged beyond repair. There is no word from the Fearless. The Exobiology station, while only a few days walk away, may well have been captured by the Romulans. Not good! However there seem to be few options and after some debate it is decided to make for the station. A stretcher is fashioned for the Professor, the shuttles fusion reactor is shut down and the group enters the jungle.


Into The Jungle  

The jungle air is hot and humid and the strange sounds of many alien life forms fills the air. Progress is slow as a path has to be hacked through the thick jungle. Mid-afternoon a Romulan shuttle flies overhead. An hour or so later it returns broadcasting a message in Federation Standard:

"Attention Federation personnel. Your ship has been destroyed. You have no hope of escape. Surrender and you will be well treated"

Needless to say the cadets don't believe the Romulans and decide to press on.

By the end of the day everyone is hot and extremely tired.  A rustling sound attracts the attention of the group.  Nearby, in the jungle undergrowth, is a medium sized creature with six legs, a long horn and protective armour-plates (an Aldosian Rootbeast). It appears to be using it's horn to dig in the ground. When it becomes aware of the cadets it quickly curls into a ball. After some debate the creature is stunned with phasers and scanned to see if it is edible. It is, so Prev kills it the old fashioned way, using a knife. Gol finds edible roots where the creature was digging.

A bivouac is constructed to provide shelter for the night and a watch established. During the night Prev spots a number of Aldosian spiders converging on the campsite from a number of directions. He raises the alarm and then with his phaser set on wide-beam proceeds to target as many of the creatures as he can. He is soon joined by the other cadets. Spiders start to fall from the jungle canopy to lie twitching on the ground. Some however make it past the energy beams - one drops onto the back of Prevs neck and another onto Gol. Both bite their targets and their poison soon takes effect. Both cadets start to feel woozy. The attacking spiders are quickly pulled off the cadets and phasered. Taylor tends to both cadets, injecting both with anti-venom from his hypospray.

After the combat the jungle floor is littered with the bodies of numerous spiders. A creature appears from the jungle and starts to feed on them. It looks rather like the Sloth that can be found on Earth. There is some debate on whether to capture it but in the end the cadets decide to leave it alone. The rest of the night passes uneventfully.


The Journey Continues  

The journey through the jungle does not get any easier, a path must be hacked through the undergrowth and the stretcher bearing the Professor Zakarian must be carried (his condition shows no sign of improving but at least it hasn't got any worse).

Around mid-day the jungle suddenly drops away before the cadets. They find themselves standing on the edge of a deep gorge through which a wide rive flows. On the far side of the gorge the jungle continues and in the distance a mountain towers above it. The Federation Exobiology station is located on the slopes of this mountain. The cadets follow the path of the river upstream, looking for a good place to cross. They come across the body of an Aldosian lion. Although dead, it's flesh seems to move. Prev pulls out his phaser and disintegrates the body, visions of spiders floating before his eyes.

The cadets work their way down the the steep side of the gorge to the rivers edge. Taylor and Gerrol build a raft to ferry the unconscious Professor Zakarian over while Prev and Jarmia gather vines to make a rope. Prev then ties the rope around himself and wades into the river - at the mid-point the water reaches his chin. Once he reaches the far side he ties the rope to a tree and the others gradually make their way across the river.

Once across the journey continues, somewhat easier as the cadets are able to follow one of the tributaries of the river that leads towards the mountain. As darkness starts to fall they once again look for a suitable place to camp and make a bivouac. Jarmia and Gerrol stun a family group of Aldosian root beasts and jarmia then kills one with her Chaka. Once again the group are attacked by Aldosian spiders during the night (something is attracting them, but what?). Phasers set on wide-beam soon deal with them however, apart from one that bited Gerrol. Taylor administers more anti-venom from the hypospray. 


First Contact  

The following day the cadets resume their journey. Towards lunchtime they are surprised when nets drop down onto them from the jungle above. They are quickly surrounded by a number of small fur-covered humanoids brandishing spears (so much for the briefing that there were no intelligent life forms on the planet!). One of them speaks and gestures with his spear. While the universal translator has yet to decipher his language but his meaning is clear - the group are to walk in a certain direction. The cadets decide to co-operate for the time being.

They are led to a small village consisting of a collection of huts built high-up in the tree tops, connected by narrow rope bridges and platforms. One of the villagers is clearly the leader - he stands in front of the largest hut watching the group approach. Around his neck he wears a crystal on a leather thong.  Prev identifies it as dilithium!

The universal translator has by now heard enough of the Aldosian language to decipher it. Jarmia talks to the chief, trying to persuade him that they are friends. The chief, Nexx, is somewhat dubious at first (he is particularly war of Gol), but he is eventually persuaded. From what he says the cadets surmise that the Romulans arrived about a month ago. They captured the Federation Exobiology station along with many of the Aldosians. The captives are being forced to mine the dilithium crystal from the mountain. Nexx would welcome the cadets aid in freeing his people and he offers to lead them to the station so they can scout it.


The Exobiology Station  

The Exobiology station stands above the Aldosian jungle on the slopes of the mountain. A trail leads from the station down the slope and skirts the edges of the jungle. It leads to a series of caves in the mountain where the dilithium is being mined. Behind the station are two shuttlecraft, one Romulan the other Federation. The station and the shuttlecraft are protected by a force field. Four Romulans patrol the perimeter of the force field (2 groups of 2). At the end of each day the dilithium that has been mined is taken from the caves to the station by four of the captives escorted by four Romulans. The Romulans are all armed with disruptors.

The cadets settle down to watch the station for a while and to make plans. One of the Aldosians returns to the village to bring reinforcements. Gol and Prev examine the force field. Gol theorizes that it should be possible to 'short-circuit' the field by inducing a phase variance in a section of the field. Using this theory Prev builds a Phase Variance Inducer using parts from one of the tricorders, a phaser and a com-badge. Before trying it however the cadets decide to explore further.

Further down the mountainside they discover another cave entrance, this one unguarded. They enter and begin to explore. The cave runs some distance into the mountain, gradually getting smaller and narrower. Eventually a point is reached where further progress can only be made my crawling. Jarmia opts to explore further. She travels some distance but eventually gets stuck and starts to panic. Hearing her screams Taylor enters the tunnel and attempts to help her. Eventually the tow manage to return to the others, Jarmia somewhat shaken by the experience. Deciding there's no point in continuing to explore the cave system the group decide to implement their previous plan.

Prev uses the Phase Variance Inducer he's built to temporarily negate a section of the force field. The group, accompanied by some Aldosians quickly head for the main building, avoiding the Romulan patrols. Prev bypasses the security lock and the group make for main control center, surprising the Romulan occupants and stunning them with phasers. They quickly secure the building and then Gol tries to mind-meld with one of the Romulans, finding to his surprise that he can't as the Romulan doesn't seem to have a mind!

After spending some time searching Jarmia finally locates a concealed access panel to the holodecks isolinear control unit, though she is unable to open it.

"Computer, freeze program" a voice says and Professor Zakarian enters the simulation. "Congratulations cadets" he says. "You've passed your planetside survival test with flying colours. End program".

The backdrop of the Federations Exobiology station fades away, replaced by the familiar grid of the holodeck on board the Fearless."




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Last Updated: March 2001