PERNIPIA GAMMA IV — The leader of the Pernipia Gamma IV colony has claimed diplomatic immunity as an ambassador in response to allegations that he and his assistant are responsible for the arson fire that killed two colonists aboard a Starfleet vessel.
After an investigation by the crew of the USS Columbia, Robert Carson and his personal assistant Gerard have been connected to the fire aboard the Columbia that killed Aiden Richardson and his fiancée Kate Stone. However, when security officer Lt. Tyler Kelly went to arrest the two, Carson announced that he and his accomplice were protected by diplomatic immunity.
“It means that no matter what proof you might think you have, it is worthless,” said Carson to the security officer. “I have diplomatic immunity, lieutenant. I am Ambassador-at-Large for the Son’a Solidarity.”
According to legal experts, Carson may have a legitimate claim.
“The rules regarding diplomatic immunity are pretty clear,” explained Starfleet JAG officer Lieutenant Sean Naughton. “The highest levels of diplomatic office such as ambassadors have full immunity, as do their deputies and families. That means an ambassador can commit nearly any crime—from littering to murder—and still be immune from prosecution. He cannot be arrested or forced to testify in court.”
If Carson’s credentials are authentic, the Federation would be left with limited options. The simplest solution would be for the Federation Council to formally ask the Son’a Solidarity to waive Carson’s diplomatic immunity. Though there has been the occasional exception for a particularly heinous crime, such waivers are rarely granted. Another possibility is that Carson could be declared persona non grata and sent back to the Son’a. The Son’a Solidarity could then take up the case through their own channels.
“While it can be hard to understand, we have to remember that diplomatic immunity serves an important purpose,” added Naughton. “It protects our own diplomatic officers in their dealings with other powers. Otherwise, a foreign government could attempt to harass or even falsely prosecute our officials in an attempt to coerce the Federation.”
To better understand the situation, Lt. Kelly, Lt. Cmdr. Sal Taybrim and Counselor Riverview interviewed Carson further, but this led to some hostility as Riverview insisted on being able to talk to Carson alone.
Meanwhile, science officers Lt. James Kolk and Ens. Esme Drake, aided by Ens. Ian Connory and Doctor Drake, worked relentlessly to prepare the first expedition to Pernipia, and an away team was sent to the planet. Led by Lt. Cmdr. Brek, the team was accompanied by Mirielle Danvers, a colony leader.
During the team’s survey, Brek fell into a cave, where he discovered kelbonite, along with aggressive spiders. After rescuing the Ferengi, the team’s return to camp was compromised when Danvers informed them that she had seen a man in the shadows of the cave.
As the Columbia’s engineers Lt. Cmdr. Kael Thomas and Ens. Aaron Locke worked on improving the systems of the mission pod, an approaching ship was detected and unresponsive to hails. Complicating matters, disruptive signals emitted by the unknown ship have caused the Columbia to lose contact with the away team.
The vessel has now been identified as a Vor’cha class attack cruiser captained by a Ferengi named Fok, an ally of Carson.