Campaign of the Month: January 2012
Star Trek Late Night
- Planet Name: Elba II
- Class: K
- Moons or Rings: None
- Gravity: 0.85 G
- Climate: Thick nitrogen-argon-ammonia atmosphere, no hydrosphere, cold climate
- Demographics: The Elba II asylum has 15 inmates, and a staff of 10
- Civilization: Federation As ylum for the criminally insane
- Resources: None whatsoever; aside from the asylum, Elba II is valueless
A poisonous, hostile world, Elba II would barely be considered for habitation. Since it’s discovered early in the Federation’s expansion into space, though, it proves to be useful for one thing: isolating people who would otherwise be difficult and dangerous to contain.
Elba II orbits a remote, useless M V red dwarf star in the Beta Quadrant. The only ships that find Elba II are those that come looking for the planet well off the common space lanes. While Fleet Captain Garth of Izar was confined there (2267 to 2278), a starship regularly passed Elba II on patrol to keep an eye on his security. Given his deep knowledge of vital Starfleet military secrets, Garth’s old Romulan foes may well have plotted to break him out for brainwashing or mind-sifting. Orion Syndicate partisans might also have something similar planned for the legendary murderess-politician Marta (confined 2266-2268), and her former lover the Romulan centurion Vonath might attempt to free two birds with one stone.
CLIMATE AND GEOGRAPHY
With only feeble light from its star, Elba II has only its thick, poisonous atmosphere to retain heat, which it doesn’t do very well. The sky remains a flat, featureless bluish-purple at all times; there isn’t enough atmospheric energy or heat to create storms or even weather. The surface of Elba II is an uninterrupted landscape of boulders, escarpments, and other detritus jutting out of a flat, frozen permafrost. The Elba II asylum is located in the center of a large, eroded meteor crater in the planet’s northern hemisphere.
In the late 20th century on Earth, emerging medicine diagnosed mental illness as a physical ailment much like any other disease, rather than a pseudomystical imbalance in spiritual energy. This conceptual breakthrough eventually removed much of the disturbing mythology and distanced dehumanization of the insane and led to pharmaceutical and biological therapies for many common psychoses and problems. Contact with psionic and empathic species, and the categorization of the few Human psionics, allowed “inside-out” investigation of derangements or delusions that indicated more promising therapies still. By the 23rd century, only a very few cases resisted treatment, but those were the hardest of the hard core – hardened psychotic killers, sociopathic madmen, and completely broken or dissociated personalities.
However, the earlier psionic breakthroughs allowed the creation of the psychotricorder, the neural neutralizer, and the rehabilitation chair, all of which used electromagnetic and electronic signals to read, diagnose, and adjust brain responses. New psychopharmaceuticals, designed using the new tools as diagnostics, were even more effective in altering neural chemistry toward calm and coherence. The mad could be made sane – but the issues of privacy, personal freedom, and dignity inherent in any regime of treatment for mental illness became even more contentious, as the new technologies could literally reshape minds. In the wrong hands (such as the psychological torturers of the Klingon and Romulan Empires, or the power-hungry Dr. Tristan Adams), even healthy individuals could be brainwashed or mentally crippled, or even killed with such methods. The debate over such questions, and concern for the rights of distant inmates, led to the abandonment of formal, isolated asylums such as Elba II; the vanishingly small number of those still incurably mental ill now occupy individual wards in prime research hospitals on Vulcan or Betazed.
The Starfleet Medical Corps founded a network of twelve rehabilitation colonies during the 2230s and 2240s, including Elba II in 2242. Initial construction was slow, due to the unforgiving conditions of the planet and the last-minute installation of the overpowered (for its time) force shield. By 2245, Elba II was ready for use and Dr. Elton Waugh became its first governor. Governor Waugh’s tenure ended abruptly in 2260, however, when a Starfleet inspection trip discovered that the isolation and stress of his assignment had driven him into a delusional state. Convinced that his patients had all been replaced by android puppets, Waugh had initiated very unpleasantly specific research into methods of pain induction. He remained on Elba II as a patient, under the care of the new governor, Donald Cory. Ironically, when Garth of Izar led his brief patient revolt against Governor Cory in 2268, he used Waugh’s research to modify the rehabilitation devices and tortured Waugh to death as a final calibration test.
During the run-up to the Dominion War, Starfleet renovated Elba II as a confinement and research facility focusing on rogue (or enemy) psionics, and on illicitly gene-modified prisoners. A large library computer bank on genetics and xenopsychology makes Elba II a coveted position for scholars in these areas. Starfleet vets all such applicants thoroughly, but those who wind up in such a remote post remain (or, possibly, become) more than normally quirky. Although no longer a psychiatric rehabilitation facility per se, many powerful psionics (especially those from essentially non-psionic cultures) display symptoms of personal maladjustment and mental illness; symptoms of genetic manipulation can include near-catatonia and other behavioral disorders. Therapy and rehabilitation continues under Counselor Pirig, although Commander Thek of the Vulcan Science Council is Elba II’s governor.
With the introduction of The Force during the Empire War, many people have been sent to Elba II to be studied and to recieve therapy for the so called, Darkside. Commander Thek has been noted as having developed a particular interest in the Force phenomenon and a new facility is being built to house the several hundred Force users that now reside on Elba II.
PLACES OF INTEREST
The only place of interest on the planet is the Elba II rehabilitation colony, an underground facility with 30 force field secured cells and administrative quarters and offices for 15 staff members, and the governor’s suite for the colony administrator. In that suite are the controls for the colony force shield (Protection Rating 20, Threshold 10, Reliability B) that keeps the poisonous atmosphere out and prevents unauthorized transport onto or off of the world. The shield and facility are powered by an automated fusion plant buried deep beneath the facility and completely inaccessible without the correct transporter coordinates.
Facility common rooms include a refectory, a lounge, and a swimming pool; there is a smaller pool in the hydrotherapy chamber. Several other therapy chambers include (after 2345) a holodeck system for diagnosis and exploration of patients’ psychoses. Holotherapy requires very specialized skills and a strong degree of self-control; Vulcans make good holotherapists.