We Are the Borg Mission Briefings

From Bravo Fleet
Mission Briefings offer unique stories about encounters with the Borg

This article is an Out of Character article relevant to Bravo Fleet's second 2023 Fleet Action, 'We Are the Borg.'

The We Are the Borg Fleet Action includes a Campaign, during which members of the fleet may write stories revolving around the events of the Borg Collective’s reawakening. As with any previous campaign, the main Mission Briefing explains the overall story, with indications of how members can write their own missions and be involved in contributing to the wider narrative. This includes ideas and suggestions of stories members can create themselves in order to participate.

We Are the Borg also offers an alternative, however: Mission Briefings. These are unique story concepts developed by the Intelligence Office, which identify specific scenarios and locations and outline what mission objectives need to be accomplished. In most cases, they don't specify how the mission should be accomplished or what the outcome needs to be - even if the mission needs to be successful - but often include some suggestions or considerations.

Regardless of if you choose a Mission Briefing, the Intelligence Office has provided essential guidance on how to depict the Borg during this campaign.

Why Choose a Mission Briefing?

The advantages of Mission Briefings are as follows:

  • They do a lot of the initial work for you. Rather than starting with the generic prompt of ‘break a Romulan Star Navy blockade on a former member world’ (to draw an example from Sundered Wings), you get more information like what the world is and what the stakes are. There’s still plenty of room for you to add detail of your own, but you know where you stand from the beginning.
  • They help the Intel Office convey tone and setting details of the FA’s scenario. Different missions will approach different story threads or factors in the scenario. By taking on a mission briefing, you’re helping the FA tell a specific, consistent story.
  • A mystery story like We Are the Borg is difficult to write. There are mysteries that members do not have the answer to, and writing the Collective accurately is challenging. Outside of a mission briefing, the IO encourages restraint in how to depict the Borg. A mission briefing gives specific parameters on engagements with the Collective, allowing members to write higher-stakes encounters and storylines without breaching fleet canon.
  • Mission briefings are usually about key, important events in the scenario. In Character, these are the big ones – the ones that turn tides or uncover new information. Many members can say their mission is hugely important to the FA. Those taking on a mission briefing have the Intel Office’s say-so that their story matters.
  • This will also make it easier for the Intel Office to monitor story progression and incorporate it into any reports or releases that occur across the FA's three phases.

WATB Briefings

Compared to The Lost Fleet, WATB briefings are, on average, much more structured. TLF depicted starships engaged in a frontier war, where the stakes were very clear. Most mission briefings gave a scenario for striking back against the Dominion in some way. WATB, on the other hand, engages with themes of mystery and horror. Mission briefings are more likely to set up specific stories, often providing several plot beats that must be written to reach the main conceit of the mission. Usually, how to get there or how to resolve the situation is up to the member, but these missions are, on the whole, more proscriptive than in TLF. The advantage is that they let members get their hands dirty with the secrets of the Borg.

Members participating in the We Are the Borg campaign have three options:

  • Key Missions. These are as described above and are intended to have the scope to keep a writer busy across the FA’s six weeks. Take these on if you want to be a part of the briefing system, but still have the freedom to flesh out details and direction. These will be the most numerous and typical of what the IO offers.
  • Special Assignments. These are ideal for writers expecting to write between 1 and 6 Stories over the 6-week FA. They’re like normal briefings, but the concept – while In Character important to the ongoing effort – is much briefer in scope. Take these on if you want to be involved and have your story make an impact, even if you can’t dedicate that much time or words.
  • Priority Tasks. These are a little different - generic, repeatable story prompts that multiple members can choose to write independently. Unlike the short prompts in the main BFMS briefing, these give more guidance and better flesh out what missions in the FA storyline might look like. They also provide more guidance on the types of encounters a member’s ship might have with the Borg.
  • Your own concept. Just like in the past, you can create your own story idea based off the briefing and develop it freely.

There are no Critical Operations in the We Are the Borg FA. The nature of the storyline means that clues and key information are scattered across various missions, which may, at the outset, not be obviously more essential than another. The intention is that most of these missions will provide some context to the wider situation.

Mission List

Applying for a Mission Briefing

Soon after Mission Briefings are released, the Intel Office will make an online form available where members can apply for their chosen mission. Once a mission has been chosen on this form, it will be removed from the selection pool, and you should consider it yours to develop and plan for ahead of the FA beginning on October 27th!

Unlike in The Lost Fleet, the complete briefings for Key Missions are unavailable to all members. In the articles, you will find the title, basic briefing, and a mission’s classification. From there, you can decide which Key Mission to apply for and request it on the form. Once assigned a mission, you will be sent a link to the complete briefing.

Finishing Missions

You may not reject a mission once you have received the full briefing. Mission briefings are in high demand and are often taken quite quickly; it would be disruptive for a briefing to be listed as unavailable only for it to be reopened a day later. The basic briefing is intended to be a sincere introduction to the topic and themes of the complete mission. If you receive a complete briefing and are dissatisfied in some way, discuss the matter with the Intelligence Officer. It should not be the norm to negotiate details, but the IO may help guide how to follow the briefing in a way that suits your interests. Members who apply for a mission briefing and then fail to write it - failing to complete a story by FA’s end, or deviating from the mission briefing such as their story becomes unrecognisable - will not be permitted to participate in the mission briefing system again.

Related to this, if a Key Mission or Special Assignment is not fully written by the end of the FA, the position of the Intelligence Office is that it was not completed In Character. This does not mean that the ship in question was destroyed or calamity befell the crew, and the Intel Office will not go to any lengths to explain why the mission was not completed. Simply, whatever a mission was trying to prevent, happened, or whatever a mission was trying to achieve or learn did not come to pass or was not uncovered.

If a member was assigned a mission briefing in The Lost Fleet and failed to complete it within the 6 weeks of the FA or reasonably soon after (at the discretion of the IO but should be considered as ‘within a fortnight of the FA’s end’), they are banned from taking a mission briefing in WATB.

Priority Tasks are excluded from this - any member may sign up for a Priority Task, and failure to complete a Priority Task does not forbid a member from taking a mission briefing in the future. Nor does failing to complete a member-developed storyline forbid a member from taking a mission briefing in future. This ban is not intended as punitive; Key Missions and Special Assignments are finite, and members who have taken and not completed them have also denied them to other members.

Members may always write campaigns as they have historically - developing their own concepts off the back of the central briefing. Key Missions and Special Assignments are a privilege, not a right, and have taken scores of hours of the BFSS’s time to develop, write, and streamline. The Intel Office expects and requires that time be respected. Members banned from taking a mission briefing in WATB may have their mission briefing privileges restored for future campaigns if they write and complete a Priority Task or member-developed storyline and at the discretion of the Intelligence Office.

Additional Points

  • Members without a Command should not apply for a mission, as they cannot yet participate directly in the FA. They should consult their TF Staff for guidance if they want to be involved. Likewise, members who have not earned more than 20 Service Ribbons should consider their choice heavily and perhaps try writing their own idea or a Special Assignment before they pick a Key Mission.
  • The WATB storyline is located across the galaxy, particularly in the Delta and Beta Quadrants. Members may incorporate all manner of locations, especially of their own member canon, into their stories.
  • Briefings should not be significantly altered without the permission of the IO, but they may be expanded, with the addition of new plot elements or factions as complications or sub-plots. This might entail introducing the Borg Collective directly to a mission briefing that does not engage with them. It is not in breach of the mission briefing system to introduce any of these elements to a briefing that does not mention them - but a criminal underworld mission briefing should not end up as a story about a Borg Cube.
  • The storyline is about the Borg, and those who would seize Borg technology for their own purpose. While the latter category mostly focuses on the black market as depicted in PIC S1, you are free to introduce your favourite Star Trek opponents into these storylines.
  • Almost all missions are written with the assumption of being undertaken by only one ship/crew. Squadrons may participate together in a mission briefing, but members should be mindful of a briefing’s theme/genre - a horror-survival story about surviving against the odds is inherently changed if it is three ships against a Borg Cube rather than one. Members with a squadron who take up such a mission briefing should consider using only one ship, writing an additional (Priority Task or member-developed) mission for the other ship(s), or consider how to expand a mission to occupy multiple ships.