NEWSFAX STARDATE 58380: The Imperial Romulan States Office of Information today disclosed that one of their top officials, Senator Peldon, recently thwarted an attempt by the Tal Shiar to assassinate Empress Donatra at a recent political event. Empress Donatra herself ordered the disclosure as a gesture of goodwill in sharing information with other Alpha Quadrant powers, notably the Federation. She hopes that such disclosures will “foster continuing dialog and cooperation with other Alpha Quadrant powers, thus strengthening our mutual position against the growing threat of the Typhon Pact.”
Captain’s Log, Stardate 58400: We’ve just finished up refurbishing at our Dyson Starbase in The Strand, and are proceeding to Earth for a top-priority high-level meeting. Admiral Zammit would like to meet with us on board the ship to discuss a most important matter. He’s not usually this cryptic, so it must be something important. I trust his judgement. After that meeting we’ll head to The Strand to represent the Federation, along with the USS Guardian, at the 8th annual SuperTrade Summit.
Our visitors from the Triangulum Galaxy are enjoying their time here, and are working on establishing formal relations with the Federation. The Diplomatic Corps. is scheduling visits, exchanges, and eventually plans trade routes via the Supergate (long way off, but all parties favor it).
Personal Log: In the 3 months since we returned from the Triangulum Galaxy, quite a bit has changed. Some changes good, some not so much.
For starters, Captain Byrnes has been reassigned to StarFleet Corps of Engineers, to replace Captain Scott. Inconceivable, I know. I wish them both the best. Also, my former first officer & friend Randolph Phist left for a position at the Daystrom Institute. I wish things between us ended better. One good thing he did before he left was promote Elphaba to Chief Civilian Research Specialist. I think she’s up for the job, though she’ll need encouragement. Both officers will need replacing, along with other command staff changes.
So for the first time ever, the Casey Jones feels like a young school whose inaugural class has just graduated. With change being the one constant we face in life, I find myself pondering my own future.
USS Casey Jones receives a Priority Communication to meet w/Admiral Zammit at Starfleet Headquarters on Earth. Meeting is on the Casey Jones with Zammit, Spock, & Empress Donatra to discuss receiving new science officer, Subcommander Tal Tolak, a specialist in Romulan space science, Romulan ship technology, and Cloaking Device deisgn. Through the presentation, Donatra emphasizes how important it is that the Casey Jones accept the transfer, and keep an open mind with him, just as they did w/Subcommander Alidor T’Baah. Zammit, of course, stands by his crew and answers their questions regardless of their decision.
President Spock says little during the meeting, though he vouches for Subcommander Tolak and stands by the Casey Jones, regardless of their decision. This last statement makes Donatra nervous. Meanwhile, the command crew deduces fairly easily that Donatra is ‘selling’ Tolak to them, and suspect there’s more to her agenda. At this point, Zammit confirms that Tolak had something to do with thwarting the recent attempt on Donatra’s life. However, because his actions disgraced a high-profile Romulan senator—one who is key to Donatra’s power base—Donatra came up with a way to save him from being convicted for Treason, while saving face and preserving her power. The answer: indefinite exile from the Imperial Romulan States to….a posting on the Casey Jones. After airing their concerns w/Admiral Zammit—-and finding out that Tal Tolak is a party animal—-they agree to take him on. Zammit then indicates the crew will pick him up at The Strand’s 8th Annual SuperTrade Summit on Gamandan Prime. They’ll co-represent the Federation at the summit, along with the USS Guardian. As he leaves the ship, Zammit suggests that this should be an easy assignment.
As soon as Casey Jones reaches Gamadan Prime to prepare for the Summit, it becomes clear that this will be anything but an easy assignment. First, Gamadan Prime’s government greets the crew and invites them to speak at the Summit if they wish, though Prime Minister Sul Krim wonders why they’re here. Third Minister Sal Moneus & Fourth Mnister Birlock are less welcoming, stating that the Casey Jones isn’t really needed here anymore. “After all, you’ve been gone for so long and Admiral Holly has represented your Federation admirably. Why come back now?” The PM strongly insists that the Casey Jones is really not needed here because economically and politically, The Strand is “starting to branch out from The Federation’s shadow toward standing alone.” Captain Monteleone strongly reminds the PM and her ministers that the Summit is possible today only because the Casey Jones helped stablize this region of space many years ago. Prime Minister Krim again invites the Casey Jones crew to visit, indicating that the visit is “a courtesy” to the USS Guardian, also in orbit.
Meanwhile, on the Romulan cruiser Star Talon, also in orbit, Subcommander Tal Tolan, wakes up w/a female logistics officer in his bed and realizes he forgot to set his alarm. Realizing the time, he stumbles about his quarters, gathering the last of his belongings. Security officers arrive to escort him to the transporter room, so he takes a SoberAll pill and stumbles down the corridor with them, dressing himself along the way. The Romulans, eager to complete their delivery, beam him over partially-dressed, followed by his belongings. Before he leaves, Tolak messages his contacts in the Intelligence community, seeking info on advanced Klingon Cloaking Device tech.
The Casey Jones detects 2 Romulan Griffon Class ships in orbit, one of which hails the Casey Jones to transfer an new officer. Security Officer Samzol, Lt. Sorren Nass, & Leeta greet him in the transporter room. On the transporter platform appears a most-dressed, slightly disheveled Romulan Subcommander, Tal Tolak. Tolak extends greetings and presents his transfer orders. Samzol, very tactfully, says, “GET DRESSED. NOW” Sorren shakes his head, saying, “You’ve got to be kidding me,” which earns him a smack to the back of his head…from Leeta. Leeta just stares at Tolak, stone-faced as ever. Tolak, who has an eye for ladies, quickly checks Leeta over and figures he might have a shot with her off-duty. Leeta’s ever-present scowl and her 6’3" Extreme Amazon Physique tells him otherwise. Samzol, Sorren, & Leeta escort Subcommander Tolak to the bridge, where he presents his transfer orders to Captain Monteleone, along with a gift. Sorren help Tolak settle into his quarters, while the rest of the crew decides who beams down during the 4-Day Summit and when.
On Day 1, Canyon remains onboard while Monteleone, Samzol, Tolak, Sorren & Elphaba beam down, along w/other junior officers & crew. The Prime Minister gives her keynote speech, citing where the worlds have been and where The Summit is going. Several new worlds are joining the Commercial Union:
- Rigel II
- Madrele 6
After the speech, the crew have several interesting encounters:
- Deputy Advisor Myers pulls Monteleone aside, warning him that the Gamadan Ministers are considering asking CJ to leave before conference is over. The reason: they don’t feel the CJ is needed here, and some planetary members (Cominotto & Madrele 6) are “reportedly uncomfortable” with CJ being there, especially Captain Monteleone. Monteleone finds this odd, especially considering that only a couple years ago, these ministers welcomed him and his crew with open arms. He then reassures Myers that if Starfleet is asked to leave a region of space, they do so, so long as those parties are able to sustain & protect themselves. Myers then leaves quickly.
- Sorren has a run-in with a planetary security guard named Toba, who thinks Starfleet is getting a little too big for its britches, then presses Sorren to tell him if the Casey Jones is only here for the Summit, and nothing else. Sorren sternly replies that they’re here for the Summit, nothing else. Toba warn* * s Sorren to stay out of private business….or else. Sorren just glares at him, knowing they’ll likely meet again.
- Tolak, while observing the Summit, receives a private text, indicating to meet at Aircar #804—1900 hours outside Conference Center, end of Summit Day 2.
- Elphaba encounters trade reps from her former homeworld Madrele 6, one of them being Madam Morrible. Morrible berates Elphaba for “weaseling her way on to the Casey Jones. Speaking of which, those social reforms are moving along I suppose, but your bullheaded captain failed to realize or accept that some of us like things as they were.” Elphaba holds her own w/Morrible. Subcommander Tolak notices this and approaches, but does not interfere. Elphaba notices him, and knows he has her back. Just then, Madrele 6’s other trade rep, Bocq, shows up and also starts verbally accosting Elphaba. Morrible and Bocq together berate Elphaba, suggesting she has little or no value to society. At this, Captain Monteleone steps in, towering over Bocq. Tolak steps up at this point. Morrible & Bocq now realize they’ve made a colossal mistake & quickly retreat to their booth, texting.
- Samzol notices a figure leaving the building (Myers). As he leaves, he’s texting something or someone. Samzol follows him out, sees him get into an aircar, and speeds off. He warns the captain, who in turn alerts the ship.
- Canyon, in orbit, notices no unusual traffic. However, after several Communications scans, she detects a coded “Piggy back” text message to Comstock and Rigel system: tell arriving ship to hurry up, the kitchen’s getting a little too hot.
Captain Monteleone then confers w/Admiral Holly on the USS Guardian. Holly indicates that his crew has been working w/Starfleet Intelligence on tracking a possible new smuggling route to get hijacked & contraband goods to The Typhon Pact. He’s not sure, but he suspects The Strand may be playing an unwitting part in this racket. So he’s been on high alert. Meanwhile, he warns Monteleone & his crew to be careful while planetside; several of his own crew were recently assaulted while walking around the Capital City before the Summit. Of course, Holly complained to the planetary security and they told him not to worry. Monteleone & Holly agree to keep each other posted.
After lunch on Summit Day 1, Monteleone, Sorren, & Tolak, along w/several trade dignitaries. take automated aircar tours of the city. As the aircars pass by the Government building next to the Conference Center, the crew spots someone outside looking at the aircars while holding some kind of device in his hand. The aircars go a couple blocks when all hell breaks loose. Controls in each aircar short out, the doors lock from the outside, and the aircars start flying erratically. Some swipe the sides of buildings, others scatter toward the south side of town. Moments later, the aircars start filling up w/poison gas. Sorren & Tolak are in one aircar, while Monteleone is in another. On the ship, Canyon picks up a live newsfeed from the planet about the breaking disaster and tries contacting the away team. She also starts beaming up crewmembers.
The crew attempts to contact the ship, but finds a jamming field set up around each aircar that prevents contact & beaming. After shorting out the field w/their phasers, the crew are beamed to sickbay. Monteleone orders all aircars beamed to the shuttlebay and passengers beamed to sickbay for treatment. Dr. House treats all passengers for Somnazine, a toxic nerve gas used by Bajoran freedom fighters during The Cardassian Occupation.
Monteleone & Tolak head to the bridge while Sorren investigates the aircars. He determines that all aircars were hacked from the same place at the same time: the person standing in front of the Government building, and that all aircars were to be rerouted to the Warehouse District. He relays these findings to the command crew.
Once on the bridge, Monteleone reiterates orders to recall all Casey Jones crew from the surface and sets ship on Yellow Alert. Just then, the transporter tech. calls up with a problem: Elphaba is missing. All they got was her commbadge.
Monteleone orders security troops to prepare to beam down. Just then, Admiral Holly calls from the USS Guardian. Holly informs Monteleone that Starfleet Intelligence has just tipped him off that a ship of interest, possibly related to the smuggling ring he’d been investigating, is en route to The Strand, and is at most 50 light-years away. He needs to intercept it, so Casey Jones will be on their own. Monteleone then tells Holly about the gas attack and Elphaba missing. Holly commits 25 of his troops to help w/the search.
At this point, Sorren returns to the bridge and relays his findings to the command crew. Monteleone instructs the crew to modify the sensors to scan for any biological material unique to Elphaba. Together, Canyon & Tolak check Elphaba’s medical records. Turns out her mother drank a potent ambrosia liquid before she was conceived, resulting in Elphaba’s green skin. Canyon & Tolak modify the sensors to scan for this bio-element and start doing so.
Next, Sorren & Tolak check security feeds from the Government building and, through face-recognition, identify the mysterious figure as….Deputy Advisor MYERS! They then check varioius Starfleet & non-Starfleet databases for background data and find out about his checkered past.
Armed with his crew’s findings, Monteleone contacts Gamadan Prime Minister Sul Krim, sitting at her desk reviewing reports about the aircar attack while getting updates from her ministers. She irritably tries brushing Monteleone aside, insisting that she’s quite busy with this “small security matter” and that her people have it in hand and are assessing corrective steps. Monteleone reminds her that such an attack on Starfleet personnel contstitutes an act of war. She insists that her people can handle the “developing situation.” She then turns to Third Minister Sal Moneus and says, “You told me this would be handled discreetly, that nobody would get hurt! What’s going on here?!”
Fourth Minister Birlock then turns to Monteleone, warning him not to interfere w/their plans to address the matter. To try to reassert her authority, Prime Minister Sul Krim repeats her earlier statements. Then all ministers stare at Monteleone, and realize they’ve just made a volcano erupt.
Fed up with the planetary government’s ineptitude, with several Starfleet officers & civilians attacked, and one of his crew missing, Monteleone unleashes a small portion of his fury.
“Prime Minister, several Starfleet officers & civilians have been attacked, gassed, and nearly abducted. And now one of my crew is missing. Starting now, I am sending troops down to search for my missing crewman. Neither you nor any member of your government will interfere with this search. You WILL cooperate as required. I expect to find my crewman alive and well. If she is otherwise, I will hold you and your government responsible.”
The Prime Minister’s face turns white as she slumps back in her chair. Her ministers & advisors quickly leave her office. She simply nods and closes the channel.
Monteleone orders troops to the transporter room, then orders the fighters configured to form a sensor net around the planet to expedite scanning. Meanwhile, from his security office, Lt. Commander Storn assists Tolak & Canyon in programming the fighters to search for Elphaba’s biosignature. Then he orders the fighters to set up a search grid on the far side of Gamadan Prime, opposite the side of the planet the Casey Jones is orbiting. He then sets up a communication relay grid so that all fighters’ readings are in sync with each other and the ship.
After several sensor sweeps, the fighters don’t find Elphaba’s biosigns. However, they detect unusual magnetic readings from under several buildings in 5 cities on the far side of the planet. The Casey Jones detects similar readings under Gamadan Prime’s government building, and in several compartments in the Warehouse District near the edge of the Capital City. Sensors also detect a ship with similar magnetic readings about to launch.
Canyon hails the ship, which doesn’t respond. Tolak scans the ship’s cargo hold and finds it lined with ‘magnetic insulation’ similar to that on the planet’s surface. The cargo ship ignores all hails and fires on the Casey Jones just before breaking orbit. Casey Jones fires back, disabling its Ops systems, then Canyon & Tolak hack into the freighter’s computer and take control of the ship.
Storn sends Sorren to take the freighter crew into custody. Sorren then searches the freighter’s cargo bay and finds cargo containers reported stolen from Winston Enterprises and several other shipping companies. Many crates have new labels marked “Jazeera Shipping Company.” Sorren takes the crew into custody and back to Casey Jones, while Storn checks the freighter’s computer core. He identifies it as one of 5 freighters that Winston Enterprises reported stolen over the past 3-6 months. Storn then contacts his good friend, Wes Gorman, at Winston and requests the command access codes for the ships, which will help secure control of this freighter and the others should Casey Jones encounter them.
Meanwhile, the fighters report back to Storn that several armed shuttles have taken up position in low orbit and are taunting the fighters; they fly close to the fighters, weapons armed and shields up, but not locking and firing. The pilots, including Fiyero (Elphaba’s fiance) figure that these shuttles are just toying with the fighters and trying to provoke a fight. Storn orders the fighters to hold position and “play with these guys a bit, so long as nobody gets hurt and nothing disrupts the mission.” The fighter pilots gladly comply and do some hotdog flying of their own, which flusters the inexperienced shuttle pilots.
TO BE CONTINUED—————————————-