“The covetous man pines in plenty, like Tantalus up to the chin in water, and yet thirsty.”
- Thomas Adams
"Find a friend, two by two, we just want to play with you.
Find a friend, come to stay, you will never get away."
-Tantalus Nursery Rhyme
The USS Tantalus (NCC-1831) was a Constitution class vessel which disappeared in 2270. The USS Tantalus was launched in 2268 under the command of Captain Robert "Jack" Lavender. Her five year mission was one of exploration. In her two years of service, she took part in numerous first contacts, scientific discoveries, colonization efforts, and military engagements.
The Tantalus was named for the star system and Greek mythological figure of the same name. Tantalus stole ambrosia and the secrets of the gods and gave it to mortal man. He was subsequently punished with eternal damnation. In 2270, she was refitted with experimental phase technology on a classified mission for Starfleet Intelligence. She was subsequently lost near the Tau Ceti quadrant.
In the years since she went missing, there have been reports of a ghost ship bearing her description. It wanders the stars as it did in 2270, on an unending mission. It is said that those who find the Tantalus do not live long enough to tell the tale. Starfleet has dismissed these stories as space legends.
Constitution Class MK-XIB Edit
As a Constitution class vessel constructed in the late 2260s, the USS Tantalus was outfitted with modified facilities and internal layout. Compared to prior specifications, the Tantalus had aft phaser and photon torpedo capability. The bridge of the Tantalus featured two turbolifts as well as an Automatic Bridge Defense System. These modifications allowed for increased security during emergency situations. A digital clock based on Earth time was placed above the viewscreen.
Traditional recreation facilities were supplanted by the experimental holographic recreation room. The rec room was able to replicate simple environments, animal and plant life. The rec room was intended to address space cafard: a mental affliction of extreme boredom, depression and stress brought on by long periods of confinement to space without shore leave. Without remedy, space cafard could develop into madness. The installation of rec room facilities allowed for dedication of room to other facilities. Among them was a lounge and recreation facility known as The Blue Room, located on deck 8.
- March 29: The USS Scimitar (NCC-1831) is launched under the command of Captain Wesley Black. It carries a standard crew of 430. The ship goes missing from sensors and is later discovered with the entire crew butchered and the words "Find the missing piece" written in blood on the walls. The incident is attributed to space madness and covered up. The ship is taken for cleaning and refit. It is renamed the USS Tantalus.
- September 20: The USS Tantalus is launched under the command of Captain Robert Lavender.
- October 4: Following the detection of a primitive warp signature, the USS Tantalus made first contact with the planet Ambrosia. Ambrosia was a class M planet in a system of 11 worlds. Based native mythology, the inhabitants were transplanted by beings known as the Preservers thousands of years ago. Commander Fox suspected them to be Athenians, possibly saved before the city fell to Sparta. Despite a 20th century level of development, Ambrosia was rich in dilithium and had started testing a warp engine. Captain Lavender considered it an acceptable reason to open relations. Commander Fox objected on the grounds that their culture had not yet evolved to proper maturity for contact. He was overruled. The IKS Korath, under the command of Captain Skarl, was dispatched to convince the Ambrosians to join the Klingon Empire. The Council of Elders challenged both crews to prove which was superior, and therefore worthy of their dilithium. The Klingons were able to win tests of strength. However, they failed tests of moral and philosophical character. The Ambrosians decided to begin relations with the Federation. In retaliation, the Klingons bombarded Ambrosia from orbit. A chain reaction destroyed the planet and her people. A once vibrant culture lay dead.
- October 11: While rescuing a damaged civilian ship, the USS Tantalus encountered a cult known as the Children of the Prophets, lead by the mad emissary Akorem. The cult engaged in ritual mutilation, carving incantations and strange symbols deep into their flesh as a living magick. Preying on the nature of the crew, they took control of the ship and began to sacrifice crew members in strange rituals. They chose security lieutenant Ward for the sickest machinations. The cult destroyed dozens of ships as an offering to their gods. Each time, they would amputate Ward as the officers looked on in horror, cauterizing the wound with a phaser to keep him alive in torturous agony until he was the stump of a torso and head, begging for death in blood curdled screams. His blood and viscera were mixed with shapes carved into the floor to unleash evil incantations. Akorem set course for Dagon III. There, he murdered the population from orbit, killing 20 billion people. Ward was decapitated, bringing an end to his suffering. Lieutenant Smith was chosen next to suffer the same evil process. Akorem planned to murder 13 more worlds, bringing about the opening of the Celestial Temple. They were stopped when Commander Fox activated the bridge defense system, which opened fire on the cult. As his people died around him, Akorem only laughed until he too was killed. With his dying breath, he warned that he would return.
- October 18: While exploring a nebula, the Tantalus came across the Bonaventure class USS Republic, which had been lost decades prior. This turned out to be a ruse and the Tantalus was attacked by Elasi pirates. The Republic revealed itself to be fully active, refitted with disruptors and other contemporary technology, and under the command of Harcourt Fenton Mudd. Mudd had been using the ship to raid cargo vessels for the Elasi and posed as a Federation starship to defraud unsuspecting worlds. The Tantalus was able to destroy the Elasi raiders but the Republic escaped. In pursuit, the Tantalus encountered the races which Mudd had scammed, who had no prior contact with the Federation and believed the Tantalus to be an enemy as much as Mudd. Discovering the ship in an asteroid belt, the Tantalus managed disable the Republic long enough to beam Mudd aboard. Captain Lavender forced Mudd to make restitution to the planets he had defrauded, many of which wanted him for execution. Lavender left him with the bickering parties to let them sort it out.
- October 25: The Tantalus encountered Pella V. The planet was a tranquil society which had known peace for ten generations under the guidance of Xander. Xander was the holographic projection of an ancient leader who died eons ago, and transferred his consciousness into a computer program. He was revered as a god and controlled all functions of Pellan society, including the weather and the rotation of the planet. The Pellans had never known anything but Xander. As the landing party soon discovered, peace came at the expense of freedom. Pellans relied on Xander to resolve all of their problems, and were designated their place and position at birth. Deviation and disobedience were not tolerated. The landing party discovered this when science officer Hurley remained in the library after evening curfew was announced. As he recorded he planet's history, the disciples of Xander vaporized him with their disruptors. His execution was later reported to the landing party, to their horror. Captain Lavender began an affair with the artisan Ardeme during their visit. Xander had designated Ardeme to marry another man, and their relationship was kept secret. Ardeme shared her dream of traveling space, and Lavender promised to take her away with him. However, Xander was watching. The longer the landing party remained, accidents began to occur and natural disasters swept the planet. Earthquakes shook the capital city, causing buildings to collapse. Security officers David and Fontana were crushed by a collapsing statue of Xander, exploding into a red mist as they died instantly. Ensign Torme was caught in an explosion by the capital building, and flailed wildly as his flaming body collapsed into a charred heap. Hundreds more Pellans died, and they quickly grew suspicious of their visitors, believing they were behind the incidents. Riots followed, an Ardeme was killed in the violence, dying in Lavender's arms. The surviving landing party, consisting of Lavender, Fox and Dr. Ruttler, were taken into custody pending execution. They escaped and made their way to Xander's computer core. The computer informed them that it had caused the accidents. Xander was degenerating and would soon die. Without his guidance, the program projected that billions would die in anarchy and chaos. With the Federation as a scapegoat and dissidents killed in the violence that had occurred, his peace would outlive him. Lavender rejected his right to play god, and disconnected his program, killing him after centuries of oppression. In the aftermath, the Pellans were thrown into shock and the violence stopped. Lavender pledged that the Federation would help them transition to a free society and teach them to live as individuals who made their own decisions. With that, the landing party returned to their ship and left for their next discovery. In the months that followed, the Federation failed to maintain peace and the Pellans collapsed into anarchy and religious factionalism. Chaos turned to violence and war, killing billions as the Federation abandoned the planet.
The Truth Edit
Although the crew of the Tantalus appeared to be upstanding career officers, the truth was rather different. The senior members of the crew were haunted by personal demons, and the ship became a hotbed of intrigue and power play. Captain Lavender and his yeoman had formed a relationship by 2270. However, Yeoman Smith had also formed a relationship with Lieutenant Foster of the science division. The revelation of this drove Lavender into a fit of rage, and he arranged for Foster to be sent on a dangerous away mission to Abrams III. Foster was killed as a result of this action.
During her phase experiments, the Tantalus encountered the hellish dimension of the Redjac entities. The entities were lured by her experiment, as well as the personal intrigue of the crew. Through their interference, the crew grew increasingly mad, and random disappearances occurred throughout the ship. As the situation deteriorated, she was captured by the entities. The essence of the crew was trapped forever between normal space and their hell dimension, to be tortured and forced to relive their own personal damnation. The Tantalus would continue to haunt the stars, traveling throughout the galaxy seeking new souls to capture.
Captain Robert James Lavender EditBorn in Fort Wayne, Indiana on January 9, 2233. Lavender was a charismatic and outstanding officer, who constantly sought adventure and new discoveries. His record was exemplary and his accomplishments put him on the fast track to command. He was a romantic, and had a string of relationships throughout the galaxy. Woman loved him, Klingons feared him, and his crew were deeply loyal. Lavender sought his own command since he was a boy. His father, grandfather and great grandfather were all starship captains. Lavender got along easily with others. In his early career, he made a number of friends who helped his career. Many of them were chosen for his command of the USS Tantalus. Despite this, Lavender held doubts about his value as an officer. He was afraid his rise to the captaincy was not based on merit. Lavender was prone to recklessness when accomplishing a mission or making a new discovery. It was something to prove his worth to Starfleet and to himself. His womanizing often left broken hearts, among them his own. He pressured himself and was also a cordafin user. Doctor Ruttler administered his medications in secret. Lavender resented perceived enemies, and used his position as captain to deal with them as he saw appropriate. He was able to bury transgressions through charm and political clout.
Commander Thomas Fox EditFirst Officer and Chief Science Officer. Born in Anchorage, Alaska on December 17, 2234. When Fox was 12, his father, sister and brother drowned off the coast of Alaska. Fox was the only survivor of the incident, and he carried a great deal of guilt for the rest of his life. The following year, his mother remarried to a verbally abusive alcoholic. He was eventually abandoned, and spent his teenage years in foster homes and living with his uncle. Fox was a young scientific prodigy and graduated top of his class. He entered Starfleet Academy at the age of 18. He was a deeply loyal, hardworking officer, and treated Starfleet as the family he had been missing. Fox was a confidant of Captain Lavender and his closest friend. He was extremely protective of the people under his command, but was also prone to social withdrawal and was distant even from his friends. Science and duty were the focus of his life and gave him personal fulfillment.
Lt. Commander Hank DeSilva EditChief Security Officer. Born on Mars on June 3, 2236. DeSilva became head of starship security following the death of his predecessor in 2268. He was the son of a Starfleet captain who expected him to follow in his footsteps. While still a minor, DeSilva accidentally killed a player on an opposing team during a rugby tournament. His record was sealed, and the incident was quietly covered up, allowing him to enter Starfleet Academy. He was nearly expelled a number of times as a result of fights and rowdiness. He required 5 years to graduate. Beneath a calm demeanor, DeSilva had a sense of humor. However, he was also prone to outbursts of anger, and intimidated those under his command as much as enemies. DeSilva was extremely competitive and unwilling to accept failure. Although his record of mission success was commendable, this resulted in the injury and deaths of many men under his command. While he personally lamented this, he saw them as unavoidable. DeSilva was xenophobic, and did not trust non-humans.
Doctor Zachary Ruttler EditChief Medical Officer. Born in Fayetteville, North Carolina on September 8, 2226. Ruttler was a long time friend of Captain Lavender. As an older officer, Ruttler had gone through many tumultuous events in his life. He was argumentative and cynical, and distrusted technology. However, he cared deeply for the crew and his patients. While his wife was pregnant, he had an affair with his nurse. His wife died in childbirth, and he never forgave himself for her loss. Ruttler drank heavily after her death. He raised one daughter alone, and was absent for much of her life. In order to earn credits for the family, he sold starship medical supplies and preformed illegal operations on the black market. Their relationship soured, and in 2268 she died in a famine on an unnamed colony world. Ruttler spiraled into depression, and developed a cordrazine addiction. His work suffered as a result, leading to the death of at least one patient, which was quietly covered up by Captain Lavender. Ruttler was a descendant of Phillip Green. He felt guilt over the atrocities committed by his ancestor.
Commander Bartholomew Argyle EditChief Engineer. Born in Glasgow, Scotland on September 22, 2230. Argyle was a friendly officer and an exceptional engineer. He was fiercely loyal to the ship, and took insults against it personally. However, he pushed himself beyond his limits, and often overpromised on his abilities. He blamed ensuing failures and accidents on other officers or bad luck. Argyle spent a great deal of personal time inebriated. He was generally friendly, though he drank to excess and was given to bouts of anger and jealousy. Argyle had been engaged to be married in 2269. However, he discovered his fiance was cheating on him with an assistant engineer. In a fit of drunken rage, he murdered the two lovers, and threw their bodies into a plasma stream to hide the evidence. Argyle planned to kill himself, but passed out before he was able. The incident was deemed an accident.
Ensign Colt Hardin EditChief Navigator. Born on North Star on May 27, 2243. Hardin was born a cheat, a thief and a scoundrel, and remained an unreformed rogue. He entered Starfleet Academy during initiatives to diversify class composition. Hardin was an impeccable card player, and a lover of many women, leaving broken hearts and broken marriages in his wake. He was frequently cited for insubordination, and used rec room facilities for unregulated, often sexual purposes. Hardin always managed to charm his way out of situations. He was an outstanding con artist who viewed trouble as a challenge.
Lieutenant Walter "Wally" Chang Edit
Chief Helmsman. Born on Alpha Centauri on September 14, 2239. Chang was a true 23rd century man. He was metropolitan, cultured, adventurous and optimistic, and viewed his heritage as human. As an officer, Chang was highly ambitious, and believed he would make captain by the time he was forty. Chang was raised by an Asian father and an American mother. As a boy, he was infatuated with 21st century films of the Eastern Coalition conflicts, and would practice mimicking the Asian villains, to the dismay of his parents. These films left an impression on Chang, who came to resent and reject his ethnic heritage. He strove to be only human, to forge his own identity, and to prove his value to himself and others. Chang had a string of relationships with male and female partners, none of which lasted long. He was extremely superstitious and feared the supernatural.
Lieutenant Sarina M'Shara EditCommunications Officer. Born on Cait on December 28, 2237. M'Shara was mysterious and seductive, with an allure that enticed many officers. She was talented, smart, and beautiful. Her voice was like silk through smoke, and she often sang at the Blue Room after hours. Her feminine wiles allowed her to rise through the ranks quickly and gain a posting on a Constitution class starship. M'Shara was as deadly as she was beautiful, and would toy with her prey before going in for the kill. She used her sexuality to sway her lovers for her benefit, and blackmailed many officers who shared her bed. M'Shara was dangerous to know but inescapable to desire. In 2269, M'Shara accused Ensign Alex Satler of assault. The investigation stalled due to lack of evidence. Satler was later found dead in the Blue Room with a suicide note, and the investigation was closed.
Secondary Crew Edit
William "Billy" Lavender EditBorn on Earth on July 29, 2256. The son of Pete Lavender and nephew of Captain Robert Lavender. Billy was transferred to Captain Lavender's care aboard the USS Tantalus in 2269. Billy was inquisitive and smart, and beloved by the crew. He enjoyed adventure and wanted to be a Starfleet officer when he grew up. He was neglected by Lavender and constantly in danger well beyond mental and emotional capacity. The resulting psychological trauma would eventually leave Billy as an emotional wreck with serious issues.
Lieutenant Tharsik EditMaster-at-Arms. Born on Andoria on November 17, 2237. As an Andorian, Tharsik was given to intense emotions and rarely kept an opinion to himself. He was also a brilliant tactician and a brave officer. Prior to his posting on the Tantalus, he earned a number of citations and was highly recommended by the commanding officer of the USS Eagle. Tharsik was on the fast track to Chief of Security before Hank DeSilva took that post. DeSilva and Tharsik hated each other, and had more than a few heated exchanges. DeSilva kept Tharsik in his place, never recommending him for promotion and denying requests for transfer to a different department. DeSilva went as far as scrubbing mission reports to ensure Tharsik never received any notice. When he was seriously injured and lost an antenna in 2270, DeSilva did not visit him in sickbay. He spent his career in a weapons locker, logging reports and taking inventory. Tharsik resented DeSilva with an intensity only an Andorian could hold.
Lieutenant Brannon "Biff" Connor EditAssistant Chief of Security. Born in Lubbock, Texas on March 27, 2233. Connor was ignorant, crude and had a lackluster career. Before the Tantalus, he was bounced around from assignment to assignment. He quoted crib note passages from Shakespeare and considered himself a renaissance man, though no one else did. He saw himself as suave, charming and praised his own carnal power. However, he spent a great deal of credits on Orion slave girls. Connor was easily manipulated by the people around him, and his gluttony for alcohol, food, and women was readily exploited. However, he was intensely loyal to Chief DeSilva and made problems disappear. During his time on the Tantalus, Connor sold Federation secrets to the Orion Syndicate to pay off a gambling debt. Connor also had an ongoing sexual relationship with M'Shara. His love was not reciprocated.
Lieutenant T'Pel EditChief Intelligence Officer. Reportedly born on Vulcan on September 17, 2237. T'Pel was dedicated to her work, and left no room for fun and leisure. She was highly opinionated and had difficulty getting along with humans, whom she viewed as irrational and illogical. In reality, T'Pel was a Romulan spy who was planted in Starfleet since the age of 18. She developed a genuine affection for her classmates at the academy and the crew of the Tantalus, which made her deceit all the more difficult. T'Pel became romantically involved with Commander Fox. She continued to hide her secret throughout their relationship.
Ensign Jon Sanford Edit
Born on Aphrodite Colony on October 9, 2240.