For some time, Starfleet Command had designated a region of space within the Sagittarius Arm of the galaxy as out of bounds to all United Federation of Planets vessels. Any Federation ship that entered this ‘Quarantine Zone’ had defected and joined the Klingon Empire. The Enterprise has been sent in to investigate and solve the mystery.
With no known means of stemming this rising tide of mutiny within the Federation, Starfleet Command has been forced to isolate the zone completely by enclosing it within a Klein Sphere, an interstellar barrier through which no material object could pass. The Klein Sphere was erected as soon as the Enterprise entered the Quarantine Zone.
Star Trek: The Rebel Universe is an arcade adventure game, set during the original TV series with Captain Kirk, Mr Spock, Dr McCoy, Mr Sulu, Ensign Chekov, Scotty and Lieutenant Uhura. The game features digitised samples ("Now in standard orbit", "Got him!", etc.) and likenesses of all seven of the main TV characters.
The Klein sphere was a handy plot device for limiting the number of potential star systems that the Enterprise could travel to. The multi-vision system allows the player to select each character from the Enterprise bridge. Each of the character's screens has specific functions. For example, Mr Sulu's screen lets you choose a star system and travel to it, then select planets to visit within that system. Mr Spock informs the player of the type of planet, e.g. 'Life Supporting'. Captain Kirk chooses a landing party to 'beam down' to the surface using the transporter and enter the adventure element of the game. Scotty keeps an eye on the warp and impulse engines, and Dr McCoy monitors the health of the crew. Chekov mans the weapons (phasers and photon torpedoes) in case of attack, and Uhura monitors all communications.
There are dozens of different planet types that help or are hazardous to the Enterprise and her crew. Potential attacks from the Klingons and the Romulans usually crop up when you least want them. Each star system is either allied to the Federation, the Klingons, the Romulans or are Independent. Travelling to a Klingon or Romulan system is bound to attract attention, so another useful object to get is a Hot Shot Device, to improve the accuracy of the Enterprise weapons.
Apart from struggling to stay alive, gathering clues and acquiring special objects, the crew of the Enterprise also have to fight against the clock to solve the mystery of the Rebel Universe. Ultimately, the Klein Sphere will become permanent, trapping the Enterprise inside forever and causing the game to end.
Star Trek: The Rebel Universe was released for the Atari ST in 1987, with the C64 and IBM PC versions (CGA and EGA included) published the following year.