Montel’s & Belkov’s Starfleet X
Making SFB more Star Trek since 1986
This is an alternate universe of Star Trek, started when we began playing the boardgame Star Fleet Battles (or SFB) in the summer of 1986. Back then, there were only 91 hours of ST on TV and just 3 films, and the differences between SFB & Star Trek could be easily ignored. By 1989 though , there were 2 more movies and more than half again as much TV with The Next Generation’s first two seasons, but the gamemakers of SFB made it clear that they would never, ever expand to include any of the new material. So, we began modifying the game to try to bring it more in line with “canon” Trek. By setting our private little war in the “Mirror Universe,” we could keep what we liked about SFB but not adhere to that timeline or be contradicted by the official one, not quite unlike a certain 2009 film (We’re still waiting on our royalty checks, JJ)
Over the years, I’ve kept a variety of notes on the games and actions we take, and I’ve thought more than once that it should be more than just a record of dates, times, and ships. Once upon a time, when we played SFB in person, I would find myself driving home late at night, rehashing events. These were always a fond memory, but sometimes I wished I had written more down back then about my thoughts on those drives home. So, hence, this simple blog highlighting the various ins and outs of the onging space conflict between the New Federation and the Colonial Alliance, and assorted related things…
The Real World History of SFX
The initial Montel/Belkov conflict began as The Great Phone Machine War of 1986. The war was waged across several fronts, but there was something lacking from the exchanges. For reasons I can’t quite recall, I turned to a product that I had purchased years before – the “pocket” edition of SFB. In a meeting that, though details lost to history, no doubt contained lightning and thunder from the heavens and quaking and trembling of the ground, and from whence emerged a plan to begin conflict anew through the process now known as “Game Night.”
The following years were filled with many such nights, and legends will be told of the great wars. Sadly, as time marched onward and distances grew, the ability to achieve Game Night in person became a phantom thing, ghostly and infrequent. By luck, or perhaps fate, that very game “SFB,” though stuck in a bubble of it’s own creation, was chosen to become a computer game series called “Star Fleet Command”.
The beauty of any computer game is being able to play “person-to-person” despite the distances. The advantage to this game was double – we were both intimately familiar with the background that came from SFB, and that there were other like-minded players that strove to modify and change the look of the game. With only a relatively small effort the game SFC began to look more and more like our own version, which we now dubbed “SFX”.
The Universe of Starfleet X
As we began to fill our fleets with characters and situations, we realized that our vision differed from that of SFB, and was diverging from the established “history” of Star Trek, so the shift to an alternative timeline seemed prudent. By using what we had seen in the classic TOS episode “Mirror, Mirror” we could move forward into what was, at the time, the current timeframe of the TOS movies. (As a sidenote, by the time the SFB Game nights had all but ceased, the Star Trek TV series “Deep Space Nine” gave a different interpretation of the future of the Mirror Universe, further cementing us into our own timeline.) Our initial “war” took place in the post-STIV timeframe, and has slowly stretched into the 2290s.
The Mirror Chang’d
By the mid 23rd century, Earth was the center of the “Terran Empire,” a vast empire based on subjugating whole worlds with the goal of ruling the galaxy. Around 2267, a interdimensional rift caused several persons from the “another” universe to switch places with their counterparts in the Terran Empire. One of these men, an alternate James T. Kirk, tried to change the course of events and encouraged Cmndr. Spock to end the violence. After the appropriate people were returned to the right places, Spock took this advice and mutinied. His actions had extraordinary results.
A civil war began, tearing the Terran Empire apart. Led by the Vulcans, human and Andorian colonies rebelled against Earth. Other interstellar powers like the Klingons, Mirak and Romulans, long held off by Terran might, saw their opportunity. A Great War erupted that lasted almost twenty years as old rivalries pitted one nation against the other. During this period of unrest, the rebels managed to solidify their hold and strike back against the Empire. Weakened from with out as well as with in, the Terrans could not regain what they had lost. Spock led the Vulcans in the formation of the New Federation Of Planets, an interstellar alliance dedicated to peaceful coexistence.
It is now the late 23rd Century. The many governments, weakened by years of warfare, have begun to rebuild their economies. The New Federation has gained more worlds from the shrinking Terran Empire, but is now feeling the pressure from the Terrans’ old enemies, some who wish to take the Terrans dream of conquest for themselves, and others who still view humans and Vulcans with great distrust.
Many small nations managed to escape any real attention from the major nations, and with the Great War as a distraction, began to expand themselves. Towards the core of the galaxy, one of these small nations was the Fabarian Empire. They had resisted the Terrans for many decades, primarily by being too small of a power and too far away from Earth. They had survived most of the War by entering into a treaty with the Klingons that gave the Fabarians a small fleet of old Klingon ships (and the treaty gave the Klingons a hidden construction base). But as the War wound down, nearby colonies began pressuring the Fabarians, and a small conflict began with the Federation over access to a valuable area known as quad L-322. When the last member of the ruling royal family disappeared, the Fabarian Empire began to collapse. A prominent member of the Fabarian military began gathering support, and united the remains of the Fararians with the outer colonies, creating the Colonial Alliance. The Colonial Alliance as created a small but powerful fleet built on the strength of the cloaking device and plasma torpedoes.
The Federation and Colonial Alliance have fought several wars against each other over a shared border, and the Alliance suffered greater losses in the last one. After the Federation destroyed the Alliance base in the sector, the Alliance was forced to accept a Federation cease-fire. This cease-fire was a bid for peace by the Federation, but did little to change the opinions of either government and gave the Colonials time to regroup. In addition to continual border flare-ups, Lyran renegades and Syndicate pirates continue to cause havoc….