(Part 2 of Actions – Sequence of Steps)
Actions – Step 2: Responses – After an action has been initiated and before its results begin, optional responses are allowed. A valid response must specifically relate to (modify, cancel, nullify, or prevent) the action.
For example, if you initiate a personnel battle at a site, any action that says it “plays at start of battle,” occurs “during battle,” “cancels (or prevents) a personnel battle,” plays when an adversary is “just engaged,” etc. would be a valid response. Smoke Bomb and Phaser Burns are valid responses to personnel battle. Going to the Top is not a valid response to personnel battle; although returning a personnel to hand or downloading one could affect the outcome of the battle, Going to the Top does not specifically say that it is related to battle. Likewise, Hugh is a valid response to the attack of a Borg Ship dilemma just encountered, because it nullifies that attack. Playing Temporal Rift on the ship and returning the ship to your hand by discarding a Space-Time Portal are not valid responses to encountering a Borg Ship (or any other dilemma).
A card play or other action that may occur at any time (e.g., playing an Interrupt card, revealing a hidden agenda) is not a valid response to an action unless it specifically relates to that action. For example, a card may not be played via Devidian Door to an Away Team during a mission attempt or battle.
A card which says it suspends play may be played at any time (not just during the response step of an action), and may temporarily suspend any action, whether related or not. (The suspending action may be responded to normally, and after it is complete, the suspended action resumes.)
Using a special download icon also suspends play. Thus, a personnel’s special download icon may be used to download a card during a mission attempt or battle, and Launch Portal may be used to download and launch a shuttle during battle. See downloading
More than one valid response may be made to an action. For example, if I play Palor Toff, you may respond first with Countermanda to place three cards out of play, and then with Amanda Rogers to nullify Palor Toff. Interrupts and skills that “prevent” an action may be used as a response to that action. If the action thus prevented is a card play, it nullifies that card play. For example, if I play You Dirty Rat on Anya to morph her into a rat, you may respond with Howard Heirloom Candle to prevent her from morphing and nullify You Dirty Rat. (See battle)
When all responses are over, or if neither player chooses to respond, the action has its result.
If a properly initiated card play is nullified, any costs paid are not recovered, but all results of the card play are canceled. For example, you play Q’s Tent and I nullify it with Wrong Door. You cannot play another Q’s Tent this turn (a cost of playing the card), but you do not lose the ability to draw cards this turn (part of the results of the Q’s Tent).
Responses modifying targets or conditions – If a hidden agenda is activated as a response to an action, all of its effects are retroactive to the start of the initiation of the action, as if the hidden agenda had already been revealed before the action was initiated. Thus, if the hidden agenda invalidates a condition for an action, the action becomes illegal. If the action was a card play, the card returns to your hand.
If a condition for an action becomes invalid before the action resolves, for any reason other than the activation of a hidden agenda (e.g., through the play of another card in a Manheim effect “hiccup”), it has no effect on the initiation.
For example, if you initiate the play of K’chiQ, and I close your Alternate Universe Door with a Revolving Door during a “hiccup”, you can still play K’chiQ because the condition was met during the initiation and is not re-checked.
If a target of an action becomes invalid after the action is initiated, then the action is “played out” without results. If the action is a card play, that card is discarded. For example, if you target an outpost to play K’chiQ, and I then destroy the outpost with a Supernova during a Manheim “hiccup,” you must discard K’chiQ.