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First contact turns into a firefight

ORTHICA’S BANE — Starfleet’s attempt at diplomacy with the Sunak over a missing Cardassian vessel quickly fell into a firefight when another race called the Strox attacked.

If the crew of the USS Victory were hoping for a peaceful and easy first contact, they were in for a surprise. Though the first contact with the Sunak Triumvirate did not begin with shooting, the octopus-like aliens that lived in a liquid environment were not pleased with the Federation’s arrival. Their leader Primus Sobol alleged that the Cardassian vessel Nuvek, under the command of Gul Minessa, open fired on one of their vessels without provocation and that the crew were being held captive for their crimes.

“I honestly did not know what to think of the situation,” said Lt. Cmdr. Barry Morris, Victory‘s beta shift deck officer, in an interview with FNS embedded reporter Cole Sphinx. “We were outgunned and outnumbered with angry squid people who wanted our heads. Furthermore, our senior staff were all off ship. That’s enough to scare any sane person.”

One would think that this was all the stress the small Federation crew would have to handle, but two hours into the Sunak/Victory meeting, the situation became worse. The already crowded section of the nebula came under direct assault by another race living there called the Strox. These cannibalistic species that preyed on Sunak launched an all-out assault against the Victory, two Sunak vessels Unama and Aqawa, and the wounded Nuvek.

“The Strox are a mixture of medium height bipedal creatures that seemed to be a cross of a lizard and a shark with larger versions that looked like monsters from hell. Their red skin was gnarly and disgusting, ” said Crewman First Class Della Minis in a report. Della was one of the many onboard security forces of the Victory that faced the creatures in combat.

“If it was not for the timely computer lockout by some JG on Deck 4, the Strox may have been able to take the Victory,” he said.

Time will tell what effect this new race will have on the crew and the Federation presence in the Tempest Sector.

Ion storm cripples StarBase 118

TRINITY SECTOR — An ion storm has wreaked havoc with StarBase 118’s systems and sent a civilian freighter crashing into the starbase’s strategic ops tower.

Disaster struck less than a day after Cmdr. Leo Handley-Page took command of StarBase 118 Ops with his brand new crew of intrepid officers. An ion storm hit the starbase, crippling sensors and transporters throughout Ops. The issue would have been routine, but the ion storm caused a cascade failure in the SS Cerberas, an approaching civilian freighter. The Cerberas lost control, crashing into the strategic ops tower and trapping survivors both on the crippled ship and in the tower.

“I never saw anything like it,” said Talaxian diplomatic aide Shrax. “This ship just kept getting bigger and bigger until ‘boom!’ The whole place exploded in noise and fire. It was terrible.”

Starfleet teams immediately mobilized, with a medical rescue team led by chief medical officer Lt. Cmdr. Velana working to rescue those trapped in the strategic ops tower and an away team led by Lt. Cmdr. Sal Taybrim approaching the Cerberas by shuttlecraft to evacuate the survivors before the Cerberas lost all life support. Meanwhile, the crew remaining at Ops searched for answers on why the Cerberas was so badly affected by the storm.

Starfleet rescues captured officers from pirates

DURONIS SECTOR — Starfleet has staged a daring raid on a pirate sanctuary to rescue captured officers as demonstrations broke out on Duronis II in the aftermath of the kidnapping of the Laudean prime minister.

The crew of the USS Thunder-A, with Lt. Cmdr. Hannibal Parker in command, set out in pursuit of the kidnappers who had abducted Laudean Prime Minister Vail Daysa, along with Flt. Capt. Turner, Ambassador Vetri, and Lt. Cmdr. T’Lea. Tracking communications from the kidnappers’ ship, the Thunder traced it to an asteroid field called the Zone.

The communication also contained an ominous note: the kidnapped crewmembers were to be sold at an auction in eight hours. To make the situation worse, word had gotten out that Vail Daysa was now missing back on Duronis II, and demonstrations wracked the planet. The development forced Hannibal to split his crew to deal with the multiple threats.

Arriving at the Zone and after the fortuitous commandeering of a Ferengi vessel, Hannibal and Lt. Cmdr. Kamela Allison assumed their former cover identities as outlaws, and they, accompanied by Lt. Cmdr. Rossh, set out to free their captured crewmates and bring them home.

Rossh posed as a captive to be set upon the same stage as their captive crew members. Once the curtain went up, Hannibal was stunned to see that only Turner and Vetri were offered for sale, and T’Lea was replaced by another Vulcan. Undeterred, Hannibal entered a fierce bidding war only to be interrupted by a brawl started by allegations of cheating by one of the buyers. Using the melee as cover, Hannibal, Allison, and Rossh moved to free the three women and make their escape.

Hearing the melee over the open comm, the Thunder moved in and fired an EMP pulse, immobilizing the pirate fleet and beaming the rescue team and the now free captives back to the Thunder. The ship made her escape and set course for Duronis II.

The Thunder crew swore to find their still missing shipmate, a sentiment forcefully echoed by Parker.

“We will never stop looking for her, and whoever has her will pay a heavy price for the abduction and enslavement of a Starfleet officer, the highest crime a being can commit with the exception of murder,” he said. “Rura Penthe is too good for them. They will be found and prosecuted.”

The Thunder crew on Duronis II worked to quell the building tensions on the planet, using the press to help dispel rumors and restore relative calm until the Prime Minister was located and returned. With the help of Britta Daysa, the Prime Ministers’ wife, things on Duronis stabilized, and the Embassy was no longer under threat.

However, it was soon determined that Prime Minister Daysa had been returned to Duronis by the Laudean gangster Gaev into the hands of former prime minister Chandra, who had ill intentions of her own.

Largest protomatter cloud discovered

MENTHAR CORRIDOR — One of the densest known clouds of protomatter has been discovered near Deep Space 10, and the USS Garuda has been dispatched to survey the finding.

Dubbed the Genesis Cloud, a reference to the 23rd century terraforming project that had used protomatter at its core, the cloud was first identified by the Qilin Project.

“The numbers are literally off the scale,” said Dr. Eloise Wancata, a researcher with the Qilin Project. “If we put the measurements of previous protomatter collections next to the Genesis Cloud, you wouldn’t even notice them.”

Starfleet, eager to return a sense of normalcy to the troubled region after the recent terrorist attack by the Maquis Reborn, has assigned the USS Garuda to investigate the cloud, which is eight hours from Deep Space 10 at warp.

For their actions during the crisis aboard Deep Space 10, the Garuda crew were awarded the Silver Star, and the ship’s first officer Nia Calderan was promoted to commander and named Federation Ambassador to the region. The crew spent much of the aftermath of the Maquis attack helping the station rebuild and reconnecting with their own loved ones. Several crew members attended a charity bazaar for the reopening of Room 7, a local bar and club.

With the upcoming scientific mission, Starfleet also hopes to reconnect with the Community, a species native to the Menthar Corridor comprised of a collective consciousness that uses plant-like forms to communicate. Starfleet had previously encountered the Community during their dispute with their long-term enemy the Myr Luuk. The Federation Diplomatic Corps hopes a demonstration of a standard scientific survey to visiting delegates from the Community will help pave the way for renewed relations between the Federation and the Community.

Colony leader killed after taking several Starfleet hostages

PERNIPIA GAMMA IV — After numerous attempts to compromise the colonization of Pernipia, rogue colony leader Robert Carson was killed in a final confrontation with Starfleet officers.

“I don’t know about you sir, but I’m not convinced there can be a peaceful resolution,” security officer Lt. Tyler Kelly was reported to have said to his commanding officer Commander Ben Livingston of the USS Columbia, foreshadowing the deadly showdown.

The crew of the Columbia had brought a group of colonists to Pernipia Gamma IV, where they were soon joined by a Klingon vessel, the IPS Rapier. The Klingon ship was soon taken over by its first officer, an intelligence officer working undercover and on a mission to catch Carson.

Meanwhile, after a cunning breach into the Columbia‘s systems, Carson escaped from the brig. Once again, he used violence and Counselor Ceilidh Riverview, who had been interviewing him, ended up in sickbay. With the help of his associate Gerard, Carson then reached the Columbia‘s bridge. There, upon discovering that the Rapier had betrayed them, the two colonists forced Commander Livingston, Ens. Ian Connory and Lt. Vitor Silveira to go to the captain’s ready room.

Security and engineering worked promptly on transporting the criminals elsewhere. After a crafty distraction involving a replicator that exploded, Carson, Gerard and, by inadvertence, Silveira, were sent to cargo bay 2. Unfortunately, as effective as the diversion had been, the explosion also knocked out Connory.

Realizing that his options were running low, Carson insisted on speaking with a negotiator, Lt. Cmdr. Sal Taybrim, but this was not to be as Lt. Kelly came to the rescue of Silveira. An intense fight ensued, during which Silveira was stabbed and Kelly nearly killed. Thankfully Silveira managed to throw a phaser towards Kelly, who grabbed the weapon and killed Carson.

On Pernipia, Lt. Cmdr. Brek’s away team returned to the cave, in hot pursuit of a Pakled who had captured a security officer. They caught him without too much difficulty and beamed back aboard the Columbia.

Having killed the Rapier‘s crew, the first officer destroyed the ship and, accompanied with the tactical officer, fled in escape pods. They regrouped on the Columbia and left the area in an unmarked runabout.

Once the crew had recovered from their ordeal, they rejoined on Pernipia for a well-deserved shore leave near a lagoon. There, the traditional end of the year awards ceremony took place.

USS Gemini continues search for the missing USS Spartan

ARACHNIS SYSTEM — Starfleet continues to search for the USS Spartan, the Defiant class starship that went missing near the Klingon Border after being fitted with experimental technology from the Starfleet Corps of Engineers.

The USS Gemini left Deep Space 224 after receiving word that another ship had gone missing in the Borderlands. This time, the ship was the USS Spartan, commanded by Captain Jeremy Clarkson. The Gemini’s commanding officer Captain Liam Frost set a course for the last known location of the Spartan and called a briefing with the senior staff. With everyone assigned their tasks, the crew got to work, knowing that time was precious.

“While there is no current evidence that the Klingons are directly involved, incidents of pirating near the border are impossible to ignore at this time,” said Capt. Frost.

The similarity of the situation compared to the Gemini‘s maiden voyage to find the missing USS Hermes was also not missed. Suspicions of possible Klingon involvement rose when it was discovered that the Spartan had been fitted with technology from the SCE that allowed the Spartan to appear as any vessel on sensors. First Officer LtCmdr. T’Mar ordered the Chief Engineer LtCmdr. Alex Blair to find a way to outthink the SCE and find a weakness; however, the Gemini got a lead when there was evidence of a battle near the Klingon border. While they were too far away to identify the ships, there were signs of a Klingon vessel being involved.

While the Gemini changed course, Frost and T’Mar discussed the situation further. There was one possibility that could not be ignored: that Clarkson has gone rogue.

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