SHOALS — All contact with the refueling depot Yorba Station was lost as the infamous tetryon storm known as the Maelstrom made its annual return across the region.
The Maelstrom is a large tetryon storm in the Shoals. Existed for centuries and perhaps even millennia, the storm emerges from the hazardous area in the Shoals known as the Shadows and follows a regular path as it moves across the sector, and though dangerous, its arrival marks the coming opening of Missirian’s Pass, a short cut between the worlds of Shadow’s Edge and Antor, as the densest tetryon fields part in its wake.
“The beast is a nasty sight,” said Mandao Uka, a freighter captain who makes frequent runs between the two Colonial Coalition worlds. “But once it passes through, the time it takes to get from Shadow’s Edge back to the capital [of Antor II] gets cut by a third.”
Until the storm clears the area and returns to the Shadows, ships are advised to stay out of its way. The tendrils of the storm whip around in a spiral, extending nearly three light years in diameter. The entire storm itself moves at sublight speeds, but it is able to disable the warp drive of any ship that attempts to cross it, trapping it and carrying the unlucky vessel for the rest of its never-ending journey. Over the years, the Maelstrom has “collected” over a hundred ships and small craft that weren’t able to escape its clutches. As such, the storm has earned the nickname the “Rag-and-Bone Man” among the locals as it continues to scoop up debris, waste, and other space junk along its path.
A few days ago, contact with Yorba Station, a small refueling station, was lost as the Maelstrom approached. The sole Starfleet vessel assigned to the Shoals, the USS Veritas, has been tasked to investigate what has happened to the station, including finding and assisting any survivors. Having just finished their shore leave, Veritas departed from Star Station Esperance to head to the storm. Upon arrival, Captain Roshanara Rahman ordered two hardy Type-10 shuttles launched, one under the command of first officer Lt. Cmdr. Sky Blake, and the other under the command of operations officer Lt. Cmdr. Mei’konda.
The shuttles entered the storm, dodging flying space debris before finding what remained of the station inside with what appears to be a large freighter that hit the station, fusing into it. Upon boarding the station, the shuttle crews have discovered at least one survivor, a Valtese smuggler, but the station and freighter’s crews remain missing.