Campaign of the Month: January 2012
Star Trek Late Night
- Planet Name: Triskelion
- Class: M
- Moons or Rings: None
- Gravity: 1.2 G
- Climate: Standard, 5% hydrosphere, warm temperature
- Demographics: tens of thousands of thralls
- Civilization: Arrogant monarchy
- Resources: trained warriors
There are many races in the galaxy who have evolved into higher beings, refining their powers of perception and mental abilities far beyond the comprehension of humanity or other such races. Some, like the Organians, become beings of pacifism and peace, using their evolution to better themselves. Others simply become bored. For the Gamesters of Triskelion, that boredom affected the fate of sentient beings across the galaxy, brought to Triskelion and forced to fight for the amusement of their Providers.
Triskelion is the only planet orbiting the primary star in the N24-Alpha trinary star system, approximately 11.63 light years from Gamma II in an otherwise unpopulated sector. It seems unlikely that a Class M planet would evolve as the only planet in such a system, which suggests that the Providers moved Triskelion into orbit around N24-Alpha through either technology or the power of their mental abilities. This may also explain the odd ruins found on the planet’s surface; perhaps the planet had been abandoned, or even the original homeworld of the Providers, and the forces that moved the planet to the new star system laid waste to any structures on the surface.
Triskelion’s climate is managed and controlled. There is little vegetation on the world, and few weather effects. There are no major bodies of water or weather effects. The days are always dark and grey, the evenings always clear, with stars appearing in the sky. Without agriculture or industry, there is little need for the cycles of weather, and the Providers seem to have arranged for that. As the thralls are taught to govern and fend for themselves, the Providers have nurtured a more natural cycle including rainfall, either unlocking long-hidden water or generating their own.
Triskelion is rocky and mountainous. The few plants that survive – some trees and bushes and the like – survive from the moisture in the air rather than rainfall. Rather than construct shelters and buildings, the Providers hollowed out caves in the mountains for their herds of thralls to live.
Before the freeing and educating of the Thralls, it would be hard to call Triskelion’s population civilized at all. The three Providers – three disembodied brains, saturated with energy and having their own distinct color of yellow, green or red – were clearly part of a civilized world once, but after their evolutionary leap they have left such trappings behind. As for the thralls – sentient beings kidnapped from around the galaxy and brought to Triskelion for the games, as well as their descendents – they live an existence not unlike domesticated animals bred to fight.
Thralls are owned by the three Providers, and each wears a collar marking them with their Provider’s color. The Providers feed, clothe and shelter their thralls, which they organize into herds. They breed the thralls together with all the dispassion of a dog breeder raising greyhounds for racing. They train them in physical endurance and combat, teaching them to fight. Thralls are educated, but only at the barest minimum required for communication and training. They are never taught concepts that might distract the thralls or make them discontent.
To keep the thralls in line, the Providers have them wear silver collars with lights on them. When a thrall disobeys, then the thrall master, a being named Galt who might be an artificial construct, activates the collar, giving the thrall extreme pain. Other negative and positive reinforcements are used, such as tying a thrall up and letting the others attack him as a practice dummy, or punishing a thrall’s friends, or rewarding thralls with breeding partners or food. It is a very simple, very brutal form of training… and is all too effective. Nausicaans and Andorians – two of the more warlike and spirited races in Federation space – have been successfully broken and trained by the Providers’ methods.
All of these efforts are all turned to a single purpose: the games. Athletic competition between lower life forms is the only stimulation that appeals to the Providers, who lack purpose in their power and immortality. These games take many forms – races, sporting events, tests of endurance – but the most stimulating of games involve combat. This combat is usually not lethal; the Providers have no desire to deplete their herds needlessly. But violence stimulates the Providers greatly, and sometimes lethal games are the only ones that will do.
The Providers keep track of their progress by wagering quatloos. The quatloo was the basic unit of currency back on the Providers’ homeworld, but now it only exists to track their scores and regulate how many thralls can be vended – purchased – to any one Provider at a time. As there are three Providers, there is tremendous symbolic value for the number three. Thrall architecture is based on triangles and other symbols of the number three. Even the name of the world – triskelion – refers to the number three, being a latin word for a symbol with three branches or arms emerging from it.
The Providers have tremendous mental power, but it is filtered through technological means and reinforced by a powerful energy source. The Providers themselves exist in a chamber by their power source, over one thousand meters below the surface. Rather than visit pain on their thralls directly, they use Galt, who in turn uses the collars. Even though the Providers are capable of instantaneously transporting matter across at least dozens and perhaps hundreds of light years, they do not seem to possess telekinesis or any other means of manipulating their environment directly. One assumes that the perfect, eternal climate of Triskelion is maintained by other hidden machinery on the planet’s surface.
Who can tell how long the Providers have been on Triskelion, or how long the world has been in orbit around its star. Clearly, the Providers have been training the thralls, building their herds and refining their wagers for centuries. But as for where they come from or how they came to this world, very little is known.
One tantalizing clue to the Providers’ past are the occasional ruins found on the surface of Triskelion. Only a few spires or walls remain, but it seems likely that once whole cities stood where now there are only rocky plains. If this was the Providers’ homeworld, they are clearly not nostalgic beings. The evidence seems to suggest that Triskelion was physically moved or transported to this star system, and tailored to the Providers’ needs.
One thing is certain. The Providers have been collecting their species of thralls recently, as well as in the distant past. At least one Andorian thrall has been seen in typical Andorian garb, suggesting recent collection and breaking.
The games of the Providers continued unabated until 2268, when three new thralls were collected. These thralls were Captain James T. Kirk, Ensign Pavel Chekov and Lieutenant Uhura of the USS Enterprise, who had been beaming down to the planet Gamma II when the Providers collected them. They quickly were subdued and fitted with the punishment collars of thralls. Drill thralls – trainers for new thralls – were assigned to them, and their training as thralls was begun.
Captain Kirk immediately turned his efforts to protecting his crew, including taking punishments on his crew’s behalf and seducing his drill thrall. After intriguing, amusing and angering his captors, he finally was brought face to face with the Providers. There, he challenged the Providers to a wager: if their thralls beat him in combat, the Enterprise’s crew would willingly become thralls. If he won, the thralls of Triskelion would be set free, and the Providers would turn their energies to training and educating them.
Needless to say, Captain Kirk won, and the Providers lived up to their end of the bargain, beginning the long process of teaching the thralls to govern themselves and remaking Triskelion’s environment to support agriculture.
PLACES OF INTEREST
The most interesting place on Triskelion is the chamber where the Providers reside. Their power source, capable of moving whole planets, reshaping climates and mountains, and safely transporting living beings across dozens of light years, is found here, as is the core of their technology. Obviously, their technology would interest any number of characters.