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USS Columbia discovers disturbing truth behind Outpost Alpha

PIKTAR SYSTEM – An artificial intelligence aboard Outpost Alpha was badly damaged after various attempts at merging it with a deadly program called Mercy.

Commodore Heather Westhaven had requested the USS Columbia to investigate incidences of computer and robot malfunctions on Outpost Alpha. As soon as Columbia approached the outpost, it was contacted by Goxac, captain of a Ferengi marauder called The Sons of Ferenginar. The Ferengi seemed to have been tipped on the events concerning Outpost Alpha, and they did all they could to steal the outpost’s artificial intelligence.

An away team from Columbia went to investigate the outpost and came across Lt. T’Sai, who turned out to be at the head of the A.I. project. This unique project used a seven-year-old girl, whose dead body had been donated to the outpost to be subsequently connected to their computers.

The A.I., called Providence, managed to partially control the Columbia, using a musical cypher, inadvertently played by Lt. Cmdr. Silveira. This code had been sold to him by a Ferengi. However, during his diplomatic ventures, Ambassador Gavin MacLaren had also come across the same sort of file. Thankfully, upon discovering that the A.I. was meant to be united to a destructive program called Mercy, the crew managed to reason with it. While doing so, they interrupted the merging process, which unfortunately badly impacted Providence’s program.

“It is the other half of the circle. You are speaking to Providence, and that is Mercy,” said Providence, the A.I. from Outpost Alpha. “One cannot exist without the other, but the link is not complete.”

On the outpost, T’Sai made a desperate attempt to reunite Providence with Mercy, but while this was happening, a mysterious woman contacted Lt. Cmdr. Brek, giving him an ultimatum: if T’Sai couldn’t be stopped, then the outpost would self-destruct within minutes. With so much at stake, Brek fired at the scientist and then stopped her program. Unfortunately, this damaged Providence’s matrix even further.

When everything looked settled, The Sons of Ferenginar fired on Columbia. They had better weapons than the Columbia crew had surmised, and they managed to create substantial damage to the Federation ship. It took the ingenuity of Captain Livingston, along with the tactical, science and engineering departments, to put into action a plan that wrecked the Ferengi marauder. Unbeknown to the Columbia crew, “the mysterious woman” discovered that those Ferengi had been in the pay of the Tal Shiar.

Once everyone was back on board, Ensign Tatash questioned the scientists from Outpost Alpha. When it became clear that none of them were entirely aware of the ramifications of Project Providence, Tatash requested the help of Ambassador MacLaren to devise a protection plan for them.

A few days later, with the ship repaired thanks to the diligence of Ensigns Theo Whittaker and Nuvia Oori, the crew was invited to a holodeck barbecue, where the food was being served by two impromptu chefs: Captain Livingston and Ensign Tatash. The crew then discovered that their chief counsellor, Cmdr. Karynn Brice, had given birth to a healthy baby girl.

Artificial intelligence infiltrates USS Columbia’s systems

PIKTAR SYSTEM — The USS Columbia has confronted an artificial intelligence that took control of Outpost Alpha in the Piktar System, but the A.I. has now infiltrated Columbia’s systems as well.

As part of the Prometheus Incident, the USS Columbia was sent to find out what had happened to Outpost Alpha. En route, they began to suspect that the A.I. had gone rogue. As a routine precaution, outbound communications (except for the main bridge), were cut, so as to avoid any interferences from the station’s A.I.

Soon after, Captain Ben Livingston received a small delegation of Ferengi. With the help of Ens. Tatash, LtCmdr. Vitor Silveira and Ens. Ceilidh Riverview, he tried to make their guests talk about their intentions regarding Outpost Alpha. The scheme looked like it would work when first officer Trolloc revealed that she disliked what her people were doing in the Piktar sector.

While this diplomatic chatter went on, Silveira managed to outwit a Ferengi communication officer, and bought a data stick containing vital information. Moments later, Livingston was called away, as Ambassador Gavin MacLaren had made a surprised visit, bearing an unexpected gift: a coded message that is related to Outpost Alpha.

During those events, LtCmdr. Brek, Cmdr. Karynn Brice, Lt. Johanna MacLaren, along with a squad of Marines led by 2nd Lt. Dorian Grand, went to explore Outpost Alpha. As soon as they ventured into a corridor, they encountered a group of scientists who, in no uncertain terms, asked them to leave. The way all their movements were coordinated and their constant references to a ‘complete or incomplete circle’, convinced the team that this group had somehow been subjugated by Outpost Alpha’s A.I.

When it became clear that the A.I was trying to get rid of the Ferengi who recently boarded the outpost, the away team tried to help Alpha find them. However, violent actions from those Ferengi thwarted their plans.

On Columbia’s bridge, Ensign Diego Beyett and CPO Hector Adler struggled to keep control of the probe that had been sent to monitor the outpost. This signaled the beginning of new complications: Alpha’s A.I. took advantage of a coded message consulted by the crew to infiltrate Columbia’s systems. Replicators and forcefields were among the first systems to fall under its control.

“It’s a life form. The outpost was experimenting some time ago with intelligence. Not artificial, but cybernetic,” said Ensign Tatash, Columbia’s security officer.

USS Columbia to investigate incident on Outpost Alpha

PIKTAR SYSTEM -– The USS Columbia has been assigned to a task force to investigate the unusual behavior of computers and robots on an outpost.

“These subspace rifts seem something like a tsunami on earth. They’ll wipe over everything in their path,” said Lieutenant JG Ian Patrick Connory, Columbia’s operation officer.

While in the midst of a training exercise, Commodore Heather Westhaven requested the USS Columbia, to investigate incidences of computer and robot malfunctions on Outpost Alpha. A briefing was duly called during which the crew developed various strategies to protect the Columbia from potential rogue machines on Alpha. Choosing among them, Captain Ben Livingston issued several assignments.

One of them was the launch of a probe to assess the situation on the outpost. Meanwhile, Tactical worked with Lt. Cmdr. Kael Thomas on a solution to protect their shields and weapon systems from any computer corruption.

Elsewhere on the ship, Cmdr. Karynn Brice, Ens. Ilyazi Malon, and Lt. Cmdr. Tyler Kelly worked in a holodeck on a scenario that simulated the way the computers on Outpost Alpha might react in a “protect and survive” situation.

Soon after, the Columbia was contacted by Captain Goxac, a Ferengi who insisted on receiving some compensation after having lost an away team on Outpost Alpha. In order to get more information from him, Captain Livingston invited him onboard.

Meanwhile, Cmdr. Brice, Lt. Cmdr. Brek, Lt. MacLaren and 2LT Grand prepared themselves for an away team that will be sent to Outpost Alpha.

USS Columbia going in blind by testing innovative sensors

USS COLUMBIA — Captain Ben Livingston of the USS Columbia has put his crew to the test by asking them to find the proverbial “needle in a haystack.”

“There will be any number of obstacles in our path; I’ve called in some favors. But somewhere in that field will be one of these,” said Captain Livingston, as he held up an antique steel sewing needle.

The crew of Columbia had enjoyed a well-deserved shore leave on Pernipia Gamma IV before continuing onward to StarBase 118. While for most people the leave meant light flirting or exploring the station’s commercial sector, Lt. Cmdr. Silveira took advantage of those few days off to visit his Andorian family.

Once everyone was back aboard the Nebula class starship, a senior staff meeting revealed the details of their next mission: the Columbia’s old sensor pod had been reinstalled, only this time it had been upgraded with specialized sensors. These sensors used a brand new technology that forced the crew to rethink the way they worked.

This though was nothing compared to what their captain had in store, as among the various challenges set for them, they would also need to pinpoint the location of a sewing needle.

As the crew familiarized itself with their new sensors, it wasn’t long before Ensign Beyett and Lt. Cmdr. Silveira found the first object that had been concealed in their area of operation.

Meanwhile, in some corridors below decks, a conduit ruptured and started to spray gases. Along with this, proving that the tests were well under way, a squad of four Mark VI Anti-Personnel Training Drones started to roam the ship.

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.

Colony leader claims diplomatic immunity in arson murders

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.

Columbia plot summary for October

The crew of USS Columbia NCC-85279 continued its journey to Pernipia Gamma IV with about 170 Terran colonists onbard. These are led by two differing leaders, Robert Carson and Mirielle Danvers. While one of their engineers was creating problems over the installation of the mission pod, a fire erupted on deck 14, claiming two lives. At the same time, a severely injured man called Noah Richardson was found on deck 13 by LtCmdr. Sal Taybrim.

The investigation, led by Ens. Tatash, Lt. James Kolk, Ens. Marcus Drake and Lt. Tyler Kelly, soon revealed that the fire was a carefully engineered arson. The victims (Aiden Richardson and his fiancée Kate Stone), were poisoned by snake venom before their quarters were set on fire. Doctor Drake also discovered that it was the same venom that killed one of the colonists’ cows and gave LtCmdr. Brek a mild case of food poisoning.

The crew also unveiled further issues: the diseased cows are a breed that was not supposed to be among Mrs Danvers’ livestock. And the Richardson brothers have fallen foul of Robert Carson after discovering his plan to find and mine Kelbonite on Pernipia.

Meanwhile, Cmdr. Ben Livingston, LtCmdr. Kael Thomas, Lt JG. Kendall Washburn and Ens. Santiago Montoya worked together on a safe method to pilot the mission pod to the surface of Pernipia.

Columbia plot summary for September

The crew of USS Columbia, NCC-85279, continued its investigation of the mysterious ruins on Avronis V. After receiving an ultimatum from the Tal Shiar, the away team prepared for a quick evacuation. Unfortunately, despite prompt actions from Brice and Tatash to dispatch signal enhancers to the surface, the Tal Shiar opened fired once again on the away team.

When one of the strange aliens seemingly working with the Tal Shiar was about to lay its hands on their severely injured Romulan guide, Brek asked for immediate back up. Silveira reacted promptly and eradicated the alien menace. Tatash assembled a security team and, braving the lethal radiations, took a second shuttle to Avronis. A fierce battle ensued, allowing both away teams to fly back to the Columbia.

On the Columbia, the Bridge crew continued to negotiate with the Administrator of the Moon Base and the Captain of the Romulan garbage freighter. The arrival of a D’deridex complicated the discussions. Thankfully a compromise was found, forcing the freighter to cease using Avronis as a dumping ground.

The science department discovered that the Tal Shiar had been trying, without success, to reopen an Iconian gate.

The Columbia returned to Starbase 118 for shoreleave. It started with a crew reunion in a holodeck, programmed to look like a Jurassic park. There, ribbons and promotions were handed by Cmdr. Ben Livingston.

The next day, during a mission briefing, the crew discovered that they were to transport a large group of people to Pernipia Gamma Four, which Starfleet wants to colonize speedily. While Ops and Engineering made sure that all was well with the mission pod recently fitted on the Columbia, other crewmembers went to meet the settlers, hoping to understand their motivations.

August plot summary for Columbia

Aboard the USS Columbia, NCC-85279, Commander Livingston contacted the administrator of the Romulan base on Avronis’ moon. This Romulan official, whilst being rather deluded regarding Avronis’s prospects, granted the Columbia the right to investigate the planet.

Once the work on a modified shuttle had been completed, an away team was sent to the planet. It consisted of Lt. Commander Brek, Ensign Orsisius Kizito, 1st Lieutenant Cross and a team of Marines, plus a Romulan guide, named Kereth, (from the Rigelian Freighter that has imposed its nefarious presence in the vicinity).

No sooner had the team landed, that Kereth found traces on the ground, confirming that a Romulan shuttle had indeed visited this area recently. The team also found an archway structure that appeared to be activated.

Moments later, when Ens. Kizito picked up an energy signal, about one kilometer away from their present location, Lt. Commander Brek ordered the team to retreat to the caves. From there, on the horizon, they could see two lean silhouettes approaching their landing site. There was no time to investigate though, as somewhere in the cave, someone fired a disruptor at the away team.

Meanwhile, on the Bridge, Commander Livingston was confronted to a wave of misbehavior from several officers who disregarded basic protocols. The most serious of them involved a science officer who prevented the science station from receiving vital information. Ensign Tatash was sent to collect the stubborn officer and brought him to the Captain’s ready room.

July plot summary for the Columbia

The crew of the newly relaunched USS Columbia, NCC-85279, spent some time getting to know each other, and then reported to a mission briefing. There, they discovered that they would be heading into Romulan space to investigate a desolated planet: Avronis V, which is being used as a dumping site for spent antimatter. This was the apparent destination of a mysterious Romulan, whose shuttle, destroyed in an uncanny manner, has been found in Federation Space.

In preparation for their mission, Dr Corbin put in place an inoculation program to protect those who may have to visit the planet; and Cmdr Brice ran a piloted simulation to check that the modified shuttle his team prepared is adapted to the effects of the theta radiation found on Avronis V.

Meanwhile on the Bridge, there was a period of uncertainty as crewman Ames discovered that one of their sensors wasn’t working properly. Fortunately the problem turned out to be due to human error and had nothing to do with sabotage.

As the Columbia finally approached its destination, the crew discovered that the area wasn’t as isolated as they had expected. There is a Romulan base on Avronis’s moon, and a Rigelian Freighter is on its way to Avronis V.

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