"Ghosts in the Machine"

By Bill Barbato, STA Contributing Writer
 Art by Leonard A. Emery


I have been creating and telling stories as a gamemaster for over 25 years. In all that time, I don’t think I’ve had a more satisfying experience than I’ve had since I got my hands on Star Trek Adventures three years ago. Since then, I’ve been able to tell a number of the Star Trek stories that I have been dreaming up for the past 30 years. Thanks to this amazing opportunity provided to me by the fine folks at Modiphius, I now have the honor of sharing the new standalone mission, “Ghosts in the Machine,” with a wide audience.

When I create an adventure, I try to incorporate elements that I love about the various Star Trek series. For this particular adventure, I used two key concepts that excite me. The first is getting to see unique alien societies. I wanted the aliens in my story to have a trait that feels new but also understandable. The race that I created for this story, the Gen’Ei, have a peculiar feature that we have seen before in Star Trek, but I added a little twist to give them a slightly different presentation that I think feels logical for a reclusive society.

The second element I wanted to add was not just seeing a new world, but discovering a world in an unexpected state. I remember watching the Voyager episode “Time and Again” from season one and seeing the condition of the planet they came upon. In the blink of an eye, the entire world had been forever changed. It was even more striking that it was a world that was quite technologically advanced but even they could not prevent a disaster on a planetary scale. The episode left a deep impression on me and that idea has fascinated me ever since.

In addition, I enjoy providing some commentary about our modern world in my stories whenever possible. For this adventure, I was inspired by an article about smartphone addiction. It discussed the concepts of “smartphone zombies”, or people who are so focused on their smartphones that they’re oblivious to the world around them, and “nomophobia”, a term to describe the habit of constantly checking (and checking for) one’s smartphone. These are behaviors that are becoming more and more common in our society. It made me wonder what would happen if the simple act of checking your smartphone – something I’m sure most of us do countless times per day – would suddenly lead to your demise. Many people would be doomed immediately, as would all those who tried to call for help or to seek information on their own phones. It would be a chain reaction that could potentially destroy our whole civilization in less than a day. The idea was too thrilling for me to pass up.

I hope all who play this adventure enjoy these concepts and take the story in new directions that I could never even dream of. I am extremely grateful for this chance and I would be delighted to hear from anyone who gives it a try.  

Grab a copy of this new mission now!


Core Rulebook:

Starter Set PDF:


Thanks for reading this article, and thank you for your interest and support of Star Trek Adventures! Keep frequencies open for news about additional STA products in the coming months. Live long and prosper!



TM & © 2024 CBS Studios Inc. © 2024 Paramount Pictures Corp. STAR TREK and related marks and logos are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved

Star trek adventures