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TrekToday http://www.trektoday.com/content Daily Star Trek news Sun, 02 Aug 2015 16:53:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.3 Retro Review: Learning Curve http://www.trektoday.com/content/2015/07/retro-review-learning-curve/ http://www.trektoday.com/content/2015/07/retro-review-learning-curve/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 21:16:02 +0000 http://www.trektoday.com/content/?p=41256 Tuvok attempts to train four Maquis crewmembers who are having difficulty following Starfleet protocols.

Plot Summary: Lieutenant Dalby discovers a malfunctioning bio-neural gel pack and replaces it without getting authorization, which causes several systems ship-wide to stop working. Tuvok expresses concern to Janeway that Dalby and some other Maquis crewmembers are not trained or disciplined enough to work on a Starfleet vessel. Though Janeway is more worried about the possibility of multiple gel pack failures disabling Voyager’s systems, she recommends an on-the-job training course for the crewmembers having the greatest difficulties. Chakotay gives onetime Starfleet Academy instructor Tuvok a list of possible candidates, from which Tuvok selects four junior officers – impulsive Dalby, belligerent Henley, unfocused Chell, and bitter Gerron – who deeply resent being singled out for extra attention. The group complains when Tuvok insists that they remove all traces of their personal style from their professional demeanor and marches out after what they consider to be an unfair physical exercise. Neelix offers Tuvok some wisdom about plant stalks needing to be flexible, which Tuvok at first takes to mean that the young crewmembers are too rigid, then discovers that Neelix means to criticize himself and his teaching methods. He tries to get to know Dalby and realizes that some of the Maquis crewmembers suffered traumas that make it impossible for them to become contented, well-adjusted Starfleet officers overnight. Meanwhile, the Doctor discovers that Neelix’s attempt to make cheese has cultivated a bacteria that now infects the gel packs. The Doctor proposes raising the temperature to help the gel packs fight off the infection, but although the gel packs are saved, Tuvok and his unhappy team become trapped in a cargo bay where Gerron is injured. Dalby becomes irate when Tuvok orders him to get to safety with Henley and Chell, but when Tuvok himself violates procedure, risking his life to save Gerron, the Maquis officers are impressed and promise to work harder to obey the rules.

Analysis: I didn’t like “Learning Curve” when it first aired for its obnoxious attitude toward Maquis dissidents and indeed toward anyone who refused to assimilate entirely into Starfleet’s arbitrary regulations, which I thought at the time might just reflect my lack of understanding of how military protocols worked. But it rubs me the wrong way even more so now that we’ve seen some of the history of Vulcan intolerance in Enterprise, and now that we know the Maquis will be asked to give up their sense of belonging to their own cultures as well as their identities as members of an organization in conflict with Starfleet (the latter a demand that’s completely justified on a mission like Voyager’s, though I note that Worf was allowed to wear the accoutrements of a Klingon warrior on duty even when the Klingons were at war with the Federation). Of course it’s a problem that many of the Maquis have not had Starfleet training in teamwork, physical fitness, even self-protection, though I might note that Neelix and Kes haven’t either. It would seem both reasonable and fair for Tuvok to include them in a course to get underprepared crewmembers ready for life traveling through the Delta Quadrant, particularly since Kes had never left her village, let alone her homeworld, until just before Voyager arrived. The cheese incident that almost destroys the bio-neural gel packs is a far more heinous betrayal of safety protocols than the replacement of one of those gel packs, even if Dalby is rude when reprimanded while Neelix only stammers in embarrassment. And surely there are Starfleet crewmembers as well as Maquis who were unprepared to have a brief mission into the Badlands turn into a potentially lifelong journey? Couldn’t many of the junior officers use a refresher course in focus and teamwork? If Janeway and Chakotay’s goal is to get their two crews functioning as a single unit with the same ease with which Torres now works with Carey, they’d be well advised to include some Starfleet officers in the remedial class even just for show. Not so long ago, Tom Paris was a criminal and Torres was punching fellow officers, while now they’re fourth and fifth in the command chain; seems like a lot of people on that ship could use a bit of extra attention.

And although Tuvok may have been an Academy instructor for more than a decade, he seems like the wrong person to be leading an exercise in new-to-Starfleet teamwork. These angry, demoralized Maquis crewmembers need a counselor, not a disciplinarian; the morale officer might do them more good, and indeed does them more good when he lectures Tuvok, than a stern Vulcan whom they consider a traitor to their cause. I think it’s a mistake that we see the senior officers’ point of view rather than that of the recruits, since we don’t get to learn the positive independent-minded aspects of what Chakotay dismisses as “the Maquis way.” A strong left hook may get someone hauled before a disciplinary committee in Starfleet, but we’ve had such behavior by the Klingons rammed down our throats for years now as something we should admire, so it just doesn’t look particularly outrageous when a Maquis crewmember does precisely what a Klingon would do in a similar situation of being singled out for his temper. Apart from Dalby, who joined the Maquis because Cardassians brutalized his girlfriend, we never get to know the Maquis crewmembers, and the more Tuvok talks, the more arrogant he seems, like the obnoxious Vulcans of “Take Me Out to the Holosuite” rather than thoughtful, nuanced individuals like Spock and Sarek. Now that the US military and other such organizations have relaxed their rules about whether and when soldiers can wear yarmulkes, hijabs, and other items directly related to the practice of religion, I feel even more justified in my fury against Tuvok when he orders Gerron to take off his Bajoran earring – an accessory quite different from the headband that Tuvok forbids Henley to wear. The Bajoran earring is a symbol of faith. It’s also a mark of one’s family and social caste, two things that the young Gerron has lost being stranded 70,000 light years from home. Whether he had lost those already in a traumatic incident that led him to join the Maquis, as Dalby seems to believe, or whether he joined the Maquis out of sympathy for the settlers’ desire to protect their homes, like Kasidy Yates, Gerron is clearly clinging to this one meaningful relic of his former life, which Tuvok orders him to put away without any care for its significance.

Clearly, Tuvok is obsessed with the letter of the law rather than its spirit – he’s closer to being Javert from Les Miserables than was Sisko when Eddington mocked him with that sobriquet – but given the pettiness of the Vulcans we saw in many TNG and DS9 episodes, I gather we’re supposed to assume that it’s because Tuvok’s a Vulcan, for whom logic demands holding even to the most trivial of regulations. But I can’t understand why Chakotay agrees to let someone whom he thought served his own cause, then turned out to have been working behind his back all along, serve as corrections officer for other Maquis crewmembers. Chakotay’s facial tattoo would not be permitted even in the current US military, and I’d love to hear his response if Tuvok ordered him to remove it or cover it up. He’s usually a champion of diversity and broadmindedness, yet he seems amused at the thought of having four shipmates for whom he was once responsible, who are as troubled as they are troubling, put under Tuvok’s yoke. Of course ship-wide discipline is important in a crisis, as we see when it takes much of the crew working together to solve the problem with the gel packs, but a rigid dress code for people who will be working together for many years can hardly be the element that makes them see themselves as a team. It will be acknowledging, understanding, accepting, and taking advantage of their differences which will accomplish that. If the Starfleet uniform serves to bond Voyager’s crew in early days, it later serves to homogenize them; no wonder Sisko preferred spending his off-duty hours in African dress and Kira never stopped wearing her Bajoran earring even when in Starfleet uniform. “Learning Curve” fails in its effort to be “Lower Decks” because it fears to let us get to know and admire the quirks of the individual Maquis, erasing their distinct histories and grievances even as Janeway’s off playing traditional British governess in a traditional British novel knockoff. She needs to spend more time thinking about exactly which aspects of the Federation she plans to keep thriving on her ship as it creeps toward home.

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Star Trek: The Exhibition In Washington State http://www.trektoday.com/content/2015/07/star-trek-the-exhibition-in-washington-state/ http://www.trektoday.com/content/2015/07/star-trek-the-exhibition-in-washington-state/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 19:00:37 +0000 http://www.trektoday.com/content/?p=41252 Star Trek: The Exhibition will be arriving at the Washington State Fair in September.

The Washington State Fair will take place September 11-27 in Puyallup.

Star Trek: The Exhibition, under license by CBS Consumer Products, will run for seventeen days and gives visitors the opportunity to enjoy an interactive, museum-style experience of one of the largest collections of authentic Star Trek artifacts and information ever put on public display. This is a separate ticketed exhibit, and requires Fair admission. Exhibit tickets can be purchased in advance for $6.50 until Sept 10 here, or $8 at the State Fair. Children five years and under are free in the exhibit with a paid adult. Online orders are subject to standard processing fees.

The Exhibition brings visitors into the Star Trek universe and allows them to connect with iconic Star Trek moments. Throughout this experience, visitors, especially younger visitors and youth, will be inspired and motivated to seek out more education, and perhaps ignite a passion for lifelong learning and careers in science and technology.

Star Trek fans and novices alike will have a first-hand interactive experience to explore the worlds, wisdom, science, stories, cultures, characters, fashions and fantasies of the Star Trek universe. In the States, and around the world, Star Trek has become a sub-culture for many, supported by countless fan conventions and fan gatherings where many regularly gather and role-play in their favorite Star Trek characters.

“Among the main attractions of The Exhibition is the opportunity to sit in the legendary Captain’s chair where Captain Kirk and subsequently Captain Picard took command of the U.S.S. Enterprise; the opportunity to pose in front of a replica of the U.S.S. Enterprise; and one-of-a-kind displays, interactive kiosks and rare photo opportunities.”

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August-September 2015 Trek Conventions And Appearances http://www.trektoday.com/content/2015/07/august-september-2015-trek-conventions-and-appearances/ http://www.trektoday.com/content/2015/07/august-september-2015-trek-conventions-and-appearances/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 18:53:51 +0000 http://www.trektoday.com/content/?p=41248 There will be nineteen conventions, shows or appearances in August and September that will feature actors of interest to Star Trek fans.

This listing of conventions and shows features actors from all of the televised series and several of the Star Trek movies.

August begins with The Official Star Trek Convention will be held Aug. 6-9 at the Rio Suites Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. In attendance at The Official Star Trek Convention will be Marc Alaimo, Vaughn Armstrong, Richard Arnold, Rene Auberjonois, Robert Beltran, Casey Biggs, John Billingsley, Brannon Braga, Bobby Clark, Joan Collins, Jeffrey Combs, Denise Crosby, Olivia d’Abo, Michael Dante, James Darren, Roxanne Dawson, Nicole de Boer, John de Lancie, Elizabeth Dennehy (Commander Shelby), Chris Doohan, Michael Dorn, Doug Drexler, Aron Eisenberg, Terry Farrell, Jonathan Frakes, Bryan Fuller, Joseph Gatt, Max Grodenchik, Richard Herd, J.G. Hertzler, Jennifer Hetrick (Vash), Manu Intiraymi, Sherry Jackson, Salome Jens, Dominic Keating, Walter Koenig, Alice Krige, Cirroc Lofton, Don Marshall, Chase Masterson, Robert Duncan McNeill, Anthony Montgomery, Ronald B. Moore, Kate Mulgrew, Larry Nemecek, Adam Nimoy, Denise Okuda, Mike Okuda, Robert O’Reilly, Linda Park, Ethan Phillips, Robert Picardo, Andrew Robinson, Rod Roddenberry, David L. Ross (Lt. Galloway and Lt. Johnson), Saul Rubinek, Tim Russ, Jeri Ryan, Judson Scott (Joachim from The Wrath of Khan), William Shatner, Mark Allen Shepherd (Morn), William Morgan Sheppard, Armin Shimerman, Alexander Siddig, Marina Sirtis, Rick Sternbach, Sir Patrick Stewart, Kitty Swink, George Takei, Connor Trinneer, Karl Urban, Nana Visitor, Garrett Wang, and Michael Westmore.

Next up is Shore Leave, to be held Aug. 7-9 at the Baltimore Hunt Valley Inn in Hunt Valley, Maryland. In attendance at Shore Leave will be Daniel Davis (Professor James Moriarty).

The Steel City Con will be held Aug. 7-9 at the Monroeville Convention Center in Monroeville, Pennsylvania. In attendance at Steel City Con will be Nichelle Nichols.

The Dublin Comic Con will be held Aug. 8-9 at the Convention Centre Dublin in Dublin, Ireland. In attendance at Dublin Comic Con will be Gates McFadden.

The Windsor ComiCon will be held Aug. 15-16 at the Caesars Windsor in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. In attendance at Windsor ComiCon will be Marina Sirtis.

Crypticon Kansas City will take place Aug. 21-23 at the Howard Johnson Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri. In attendance at Crypticon Kansas City will be Sid Haig, Chris Sarandon, and Tony Todd.

Walker Stalker Con will be held Aug. 22-23 at the Westin Waterfront in Boston, Massachusetts. In attendance at Walker Stalker Con will be Denise Crosby.

The Central Coast Comic Con will take place Aug. 28-30 at the Ventura County Fairgrounds in Ventura, California. In attendance at Central Coast Comic Con will be Sid Haig (Lawgiver in Return of the Archons) and Deep Roy.

Wrapping up August will be the Bournemouth Film & Comic Con, to be held Aug. 29-30 at the Bournemouth International Centre in Bournemouth, England. In attendance at the Bournemouth Film & Comic Con will be Max Grodenchik.

September begins with Fan Expo Canada, which will be held Sept. 3-6 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In attendance at Fan Expo Canada will be Jeffrey Combs, Malcolm McDowell, Jennifer Morrison, Kate Mulgrew, Ethan Phillips, Robert Picardo, and Jeri Ryan.

Dragon*Con will take place Sept. 4-7 at several hotels in Atlanta, Georgia. In attendance at Dragon*Con will be Terry Farrell, Jonathan Frakes, Gary Lockwood, and Paul McGillion.

Wizard World Comic Con San Jose will be held Sept. 4-6 at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, California. In attendance at Wizard World Comic Con San Jose will be Adrienne Barbeau.

The Alamo City Comic Con will be held Sept. 11-13 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas. In attendance at Alamo City Comic Con will be Olivia d’Abo and Ron Perlman.

The Wizard World Comic Con Pittsburgh will be held Sept. 11-13 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Appearing at Wizard World Comic Con Pittsburgh will be Colm Meaney and William Shatner.

RocCon will be held Sept. 11-13 at the Kodak Event Center in Rochester, New York. In attendance at RocCon will be Nichelle Nichols and Marina Sirtis.

Wizard World Comic Con Columbus will be held Sept. 18-20 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio. Appearing at Wizard World Comic Con Columbus will be Brent Spiner.

The Rose City Comic Con will be held Sept. 19-20 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon. In attendance at Rose City Comic Con will be Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, and Wil Wheaton.

The Salt Lake Comic Con will be held Sept. 24-26 at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah. Walter Koenig will be appearing at the Salt Lake Comic Con.

September wraps up with the London Comic Con, to be held Sept. 25-27 at the Western Fair District in London, Ontario, Canada. In attendance at the London Comic Con will be Nicole de Boer and Ron Perlman.

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Shatner To Pen Book On Nimoy http://www.trektoday.com/content/2015/07/shatner-to-pen-book-on-nimoy/ http://www.trektoday.com/content/2015/07/shatner-to-pen-book-on-nimoy/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 18:45:58 +0000 http://www.trektoday.com/content/?p=41245 William Shatner is planning on writing a book about his friend Leonard Nimoy.

Shatner considered Nimoy to be a brother to him.

“I’m writing a book about Leonard,” said Shatner. “I had a brother, whose life arc was so much like mine that we understood each other completely. Our age, our birth, the same types of problems in our marriages – our careers arced in the same manner.

“We had a great deal in common, Leonard and I. And thusly we were able to understand each other. I’ve lost a dear friend.”

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Star Trek Beyond Building Continues http://www.trektoday.com/content/2015/07/star-trek-beyond-building-continues/ http://www.trektoday.com/content/2015/07/star-trek-beyond-building-continues/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 18:42:43 +0000 http://www.trektoday.com/content/?p=41236 More photographs from the Star Trek Beyond set have emerged.

Five new photos show the progress made in building the set which began back in May.

STB-1

The first photo shows the bare bones of the set back in May.

STB-2

The second photo shows what appeared to be a building with some broken trees on it.

STB-3

In the third photo, it becomes clear that the second photo was not a building, but hills with broken trees. The plywood of the second photo has been covered with dirt.

STB-4

STB-5

In the last two photos, the “hills” set is being expanded.

Larger-sized photos are available at the referring site.

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Trinneer In Western Horror http://www.trektoday.com/content/2015/07/trinneer-in-western-horror/ http://www.trektoday.com/content/2015/07/trinneer-in-western-horror/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 17:14:05 +0000 http://www.trektoday.com/content/?p=41232 Fans of Connor Trinneer will be able to see the actor in a western horror movie set to release on DVD and VOD beginning August 4.

The movie is called A Good Day To Die.

In A Good Day To Die, “Baron Emerson uses his vast wealth to travel the world and hunt. He does not hunt animals, he hunts warriors. The Baron arrives at the American frontier and is looking for his next prey. An outlaw gunslinger named Chamberlin who is in jail and set to be hanged. The Baron arranges for Chamberlin to be freed so that he can hunt him like an animal in a bloody game of life and death in the Wild West.”

Trinneer portrays the hunted Chamberlin, while Robert Koroluck is the hunter Baron Emerson. Others included in A Good Day To Die include Nadia Lanfranconi, Jay Kown, and Leia Perez.

A Good Day To Die was written and directed by Rene Perez.

The movie has already made its European debut, where it was released under the title Prey For Death.

For US fans, to pre-order A Good Day To Die, which sells for $8.46, head to the link located here.

 

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Beam Me Up Scotty Figurines http://www.trektoday.com/content/2015/07/beam-me-up-scotty-figurines/ http://www.trektoday.com/content/2015/07/beam-me-up-scotty-figurines/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 17:10:46 +0000 http://www.trektoday.com/content/?p=41229 Two new original series figures feature Kirk and Spock in the process of “beaming up.”

The figures will be available from Funko beginning next month.

Each poseable figure is 3 3/4″ in height and features a beaming effect (the bottom part of each character shows this effect). “Captain James T. Kirk [and Spock have five] points of articulation and features unique accessories and the 1980s style card back design.”

The Beaming Kirk and Spock ReAction figures will ship next month. Each sells for $12.99 and can be pre-ordered here for Kirk, and here for Spock.

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UK Auction To Feature Spock Costume http://www.trektoday.com/content/2015/07/uk-auction-to-feature-spock-costume/ http://www.trektoday.com/content/2015/07/uk-auction-to-feature-spock-costume/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 17:08:35 +0000 http://www.trektoday.com/content/?p=41226 TrekUKAuction073015

An auction to be held in the UK this autumn will feature a costume worn by Leonard Nimoy.

The Prop Store and Odeon Entertainment Memorabilia Live Auction will take place September 23.

The catalog for the auction isn’t available yet, but at least two Star Trek items will be auctioned.

A costume worn by Nimoy during the second season (blue shirt and black trousers) will be up for auction, and is expected to fetch up to £70,000.

Also in the auction will be a model starship used in The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine.

Other non-Trek items of interest include a Star Wars stormtrooper helmet, Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s jacket from Terminator 3, a Lord of the Rings Witch King’s dagger, and a set of claws worn by Hugh Jackman in X2:X-Men United.

In all, four-hundred-and-fifty items will be auctioned.

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Pine To Star In Wonder Woman http://www.trektoday.com/content/2015/07/pine-to-star-in-wonder-woman/ http://www.trektoday.com/content/2015/07/pine-to-star-in-wonder-woman/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:57:20 +0000 http://www.trektoday.com/content/?p=41222 PineWonderWoman052815

Back in May, TrekToday reported that Chris Pine was in negotiations to star in Warner Bros. Wonder Woman; today comes word that Pine has signed on for the role.

Pine will be playing Steve Trevor, Diana Prince’s love interest.

In the Wonder Woman comics, Trevor “was an intelligence officer in the United States Army during World War II whose plane crashed on Paradise Island, the isolated homeland of the Amazons. He was nursed back to health by the Amazon princess Diana, who fell in love with him and followed him when he returned to the outside world. There she became Wonder Woman (and also his co-worker, Diana Prince).”

Pine’s deal reportedly includes sequel options.

Written by Jason Fuchs, Wonder Woman will be directed by Patty Jenkins. Pine will be starring with Gal Gadot, who will take on the role of Diana Prince.

Wonder Woman will be released June 23, 2017.

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Pegg Teases Elba Character http://www.trektoday.com/content/2015/07/pegg-teases-elba-character/ http://www.trektoday.com/content/2015/07/pegg-teases-elba-character/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:54:46 +0000 http://www.trektoday.com/content/?p=41218 Elba072915

Simon Pegg spoke briefly about the character that Idris Elba will be playing in Star Trek Beyond.

The character that Elba will be playing will be unique, Pegg promised.

“It’s a really interesting, complex character,” said Pegg. “We shouldn’t expect to see anything like Benedict Cumberbatch‘s creepy genius Khan from Star Trek Into Darkness in Elba’s performance, however. His performance is all his own.”

There’s a good reason that Elba’s villain is different than Cumberbatch’s. “Only because it would be a retread,” said Pegg. “What we don’t want to do is have the same kind of villain with the same motivation.”

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Old February 3 2013, 11:57 PM   #1
jerriecan
Lieutenant Commander
 
Star Trek: Pathfinder #3 - The Revenant Star

Prologue

Chaa't'ka fled, and the Dragon chased him.

He knew he could never escape the flames - the Dragon was eternal, unyielding, and he was but a simple acolyte. But the treasure he carried was too precious to leave to the fire. The edges of the heavy box dug into his flesh, drawing blood that fell on the baked ground and sizzled. Waves of heat shimmer transformed the grove into a nightmare of wavering ghosts, twisted husks that had once been beautiful trees heavy with fruit. Now the branches were bare, scorched blacker by each pass of the Dragon.

Chaa't'ka's one good eye searched desperately for safety - much longer exposed and he would end up just like the trees. He frantically searched the base of the ridge, pushing against the stone, raising and breaking blisters on his hands until one of the stones tipped aside, revealing a dark passage.

He pushed through the narrow opening and pulled the stone back into place, thankful to be shielded from the Dragon's sight. The heat was relentless, even protected by rock, and the air was thick with sulfur. He turned to the others, the ones who had found this shelter - and froze in horror.

Lying around the spring in the center o the chamber were a dozen still forms. The spring hissed and spluttered with steam, filling the chamber with toxic fumes, and Chaa't'ka knew that they were already dead. Numb, he let the treasure slip from his grasp - it was useless now, worse than useless.

He was the last of his kind.

Chaa't'ka slowly got to his feet and approached the opening, pressing his hands to the stone and pushing with all the strength he had left. The stone tipped, slowly at first until gravity took over and sent it crashing to the searing ground. He looked up, his single good eye looking up at the sky and its terrible heat.

He would die facing the Dragon.


Part One

USS Pathfinder
Sector 19, en route to Ravala II
May 27, 2163


Lt. Tegan Webb drummed her fingers on the helm console and did her best not to yawn.

The Pathfinder was a magnificent machine, even after her recent battle, but all too often that meant things worked too smoothly. Webb barely had to monitor her station at all as the ship cruised along at a healthy Warp 4 - a cursory check every now and then was enough to ensure everything was functioning normally. To her, that wasn't piloting - it was babysitting. "Hell, at least give me a rogue planetoid or something," she muttered. "Maybe a healthy ion storm."

"If you're bored, I'm sure Commander Amara could use a spare set of hands," came Beaumont's voice from right behind her. "Maybe scrubbing the plasma vents?"

How the hell does she do that? Webb thought, not for the first time. Beaumont had a talent for overhearing her various offhand remarks, some more colorful than others. Nothing worthy of disciplinary action, but the fact that the first officer could so easily sneak up on her was starting to get on her nerves. "No, sir," she replied carefully. "Not bored at all."

"Good," Beaumont replied, the ghost of a smile curling the corners of her lips as she sat in the command chair and checked a PADD.

At the Navigation console, Lt. Marakis chuckled. "Ever get the feeling she's keeping an eye on you?"

"Only every day," Webb replied.

A soft beeping came from Marakis' console. 'Commander, we are approaching the Revala system."

"Prepare to drop to impulse," Beaumont said, putting aside the PADD. Quiet warnings sounded from the ship's internal speakers, alerting the crew to be ready for deceleration. "Disengage warp drive."

"Aye, sir," Marakis said. On the main viewer the star-streaks of warp speed resolved into the pinpricks of individual stars. Pathfinder trembled as the warp field dissipated, leaving the ship to make its way into the star system at a relative crawl under impulse power.

"Set course for Revala II, full impulse," Beaumont said.

Webb looked out at the Revala system on the main viewer. At this range, the only visible feature of the star system itself was its star, a larger pinprick among the thousands of smaller ones. But hanging ominously just beyond was the Veil, a massive cloud of thick black dust that stretched almost half a light year in every direction, blotting out half the stars that should have been visible.

At the science console, Lt. Cmdr. Kassin was already crouched over the scanner hood. "Nothing unexpected at first glance," he said. "Local space is quiet except for us."

"Hardly surprising," Webb said. "Only thing out here worth looking at is the Veil, and once you go inside it all looks the same - pitch black. Even the Tellarites never did more than a fly-by."

Kassin spared her an annoyed glance, despite the fact that she was partly correct. The Revala system was less than unremarkable - it was almost insignificant. No gas giants, no asteroid fields, and of the four rocky planets that orbited the star, three had long ago lost whatever atmosphere they might have had and were now scoured black. Only the second planet in the system had anything of interest - a viable Earthlike atmosphere.

The turbolift door slid aside and Captain Teague emerged, followed closely by Chief Medical Officer Ranik. The Tellarite waved a PADD in Teague's face, saying, "...Starfleet Regulation Sixty-One, subsection A, clearly states that all crew disembarking to a planetary surface receive a full set of up-to-date inoculations." He shoved his portly frame in front of Teague. "Speaking of regulations, a third of the crew has yet to report to Sickbay for their initial physical examination - which we were forced to delay due to the abrupt nature of our launch." Ranik folded his arms across his chest. "This situation is unacceptable, Captain. I will not permit any personnel to disembark until I am satisfied they are fit for duty - including yourself."

Teague held up his hands in mock surrender - no doubt Ranik was thoroughly enjoying his arguments, but Teague was in no mood for the verbal sparring Tellarites were famous for. "Very well then, Doctor. Set up a schedule as you see fit."

"Including yourself?"

Teague opened his mouth to argue but stopped himself - I already stopped by for my physical, he was going to say, until he realized that was just the old lie he'd used time and again in the past. Behind him, Amara hid a smile beneath his hand.

After a long moment Teague nodded. "I'll report to Sickbay at your convenience."

Ranik eyed him warily. "Very well, Captain. I'll expect you tomorrow, 0800 sharp." With a curt nod Ranik returned to the turbolift and was whisked away.

Teague turned to Amara. "Something funny, Commander?"

'Nothing - sir," Amara replied, no longer trying to hide his amusement. "Just admiring your performance. Very smooth."

"Could have been worse. For a second there I thought he might just haul me down to Sickbay right now." Teague turned to Beaumont. "Ship's status?"

"All systems normal, sir. Our ETA at Revala II is - "

Without missing a beat, Marakis said, "Four hours, twenty minutes, sir."

At least he quit with that 'Captain on the bridge' nonsense, Teague thought as Beaumont vacated the command chair and he settled in. "Very good. Open a channel to the science team."

Several moments passed before Sarria finally replied, "Aye, sir."

Teague turned to the Andorian ensign. "Is there a problem?"

"No, sir," Sarria replied, shooting a glance at Webb as she bit back a yawn. "I have the outpost on speaker."

"Revala Outpost, this is Captain Teague of the USS Pathfinder. We are inbound and should make orbit in just over four hours."

"Oh, that's excellent news!" an excited voice replied. "We'll require a full sensor sweep of the planet at maximum resolution, as well as spectrographic analysis of the local star. And then - "

"I'm sorry, Doctor - ?" Teague said, confused. Their task at Revala II was a simple supply drop and check-up on the science team. Detailed scans were not part of the plan.

"Jahnavi, Professor Avila Jahnavi," she replied. "And we'll need a scientific team on the surface, gathering samples and running serial grid searches."

"Doctor - Professor - I'm afraid we haven't been briefed on your current situation," Teague said. "We understood this to be a standard supply drop. I take it that's changed."

"You could say that, Captain," the voice replied. "Our situation is that there's life here, life on this long-dead world."

To Be Continued...
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Old February 6 2013, 12:29 AM   #2
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Re: Star Trek: Pathfinder #3 - The Revenant Star

Awesome work, Jerriecan. I love how you mix Enterprise with the Original Series here. You do a great job with it. Keep at it, please, sir.
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Old February 6 2013, 06:53 PM   #3
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Re: Star Trek: Pathfinder #3 - The Revenant Star

More Pathfinder. Yay!

An exciting 'pre-credit sequence', followed by an apparent milk run turning into a mystery. An intriguing start, and I look forward to more.
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Old February 9 2013, 10:19 PM   #4
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Re: Star Trek: Pathfinder #3 - The Revenant Star

Good, mysterious beginnings make for great stories.

Now we and seemingly Pathfinder have a nice little secret to unwrap.

Looking forward to see what we find.
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Old October 3 2014, 01:09 AM   #5
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Re: Star Trek: Pathfinder #3 - The Revenant Star

Part Two

The briefing room was filled with muted conversation as Beaumont made her way to the chair to the captain's right. Their mission had been very simple - check in with the science team on Revala II, drop off supplies to last them another six months, and continue into Sector Nineteen. Providing detailed scientific support had not been part of the plan. Not that she was annoyed - scientific exploration was central to Starfleet's mandate - but they would need far more detailed information to be of any real help to the science team.

Teague sat at the head of the conference table and tapped a button. "Professor Jahnavi, can you hear me?"

"Loud and clear, Captain," came her voice. "We should have the video feed up in just a moment." After a few seconds the wallscreen lit up, displaying the interior of a prefabricated living module. A dark-skinned woman in desert gear was centered on the screen. "How's the image?"

"Just fine," Teague replied. "Professor, maybe you should brief us on your mission here before we get to the matter at hand."

"Of course. Ravala II is on the short list for being terraformed. It's lorana-class - dry and hot, but with an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere. Equatorial temperatures can reach fifty-six degrees Celsius; temperate zones are about ten degrees cooler." Jahnavi paused and wiped the mix of sweat and dust from her forehead with a rag. "Almost makes Vulcan look like a vacation spot."

Commander T'Vril arched an eyebrow as Jahnavi continued. "The planet was surveyed by the Andorians a century ago - too hot for them to even try an colonize, so they ceded control to the Colonial Authority. Initial surveys revealed minimal life - algae, simple flora and fauna - but nothing more. We've been here six months collecting data for our final report to Starfleet. Until six days ago, that report would have been an unqualified approval for terraforming."

"What changed?" asked Beaumont.

Jahnavi opened a crate and pulled out a ceramic container. "One of our survey teams found this in a crevasse. Scans show it's almost seven thousand years old, and isotopic ratios prove it was produced locally." She placed the container back in the crate. "That leaves us at an impasse, Captain. We now have proof of an intelligent civilization existing here thousands of years ago... and virtually no trace of who they were, or what might have become of them. Under these conditions, it's hard to believe any sentient life could evolve."

"Orbital shift, maybe," Kassin said. "If the planet is in a very slightly elliptical orbit, it could take centuries to notice any significant change."

"That's just one reason we need your help," Jahnavi said. "We only have two shuttlepods, and our transport isn't built for scientific work. We need a detailed planetary survey to get some idea of what happened here."

Teague looked at his senior staff. "Ensign Sarria, please contact Starfleet Command to apprise them of the situation. Pass along our apologies, but our next stop will be delayed."

"Aye, sir."

Teague turned back to the wallscreen. "My first officer and science officer will coordinate with you. We'll begin scanning as soon as we reach orbit."

"Thank you, captain," Jahnavi said. "I'm looking forward to working with you."

The screen blinked off, and Teague turned to his staff. "Commander Kassin, you're in charge of the planetary scans. Identify likely sites for the ground teams to search and pass that information to Commander Beaumont - she'll be coordinating on the surface." He paused. "I also want you to keep an eye out for anything... out of the ordinary. We don't know what happened here."

He stood, a sign that the briefing was over. "I'd rather whatever happened to this planet not happen to us as well. Dismissed."

To Be Continued...
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Old October 4 2014, 12:01 PM   #6
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Re: Star Trek: Pathfinder #3 - The Revenant Star

It's been a minute since you posted this so I had to re-read some of it to catch up on this.

It made me remember why I liked this, a good old-fashioned Trek mystery complete with ancient civilizations and unexplained disappearances. Really interested where you'll take this.
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Old October 5 2014, 10:51 PM   #7
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Re: Star Trek: Pathfinder #3 - The Revenant Star

Part Three

As the shuttlepod hatches swung open, the dry, thin air of Revala II rushed into the pod like a blast furnace, carrying with it dust that instantly coated everything in a fine gray layer. Beaumont's eyes instantly began to water, and she quickly pulled down the dark goggles to protect her vision. It was hardly a historic moment. Nevertheless, this was the first world besides Earth that Beaumont had set foot upon in almost four years, and the sensation of alien ground beneath her soles felt good.

Huge, skeletal rock formations jutted up from the ground, worn smooth by time and the unceasing combination of wind and dust. Nestled in the lea of one outcropping were the half-dozen huts that were the home of the science team, domed modular structures that could be assembled in minutes once they were on the ground. Easily shipped and just as easily abandoned, if need be. Even after only a few months, the grey polymer shells were already pitted and scored by erosion, turned a dusky brown by the thick layer of grime that clung to them. Atop the nearest hut, a pair of scientists were scooping handfuls of dust out of the air cycler vent.

At one of the huts further down the line, the hatch opened and an arm gestured for the group to come inside. By the time they complied, a fresh layer had been deposited over the interior, puffing back into motion with every step the landing team took. "I see you've already been greeted by the welcoming committee," Professor Jahnavi said, passing out well-used but clean rags for the landing team. "The dust is everywhere, can't keep it out. Most of our gear wasn't designed for this."

"At least it's a dry heat," quipped Beaumont.

"On the surface. There are deep underground aquifers, saturated with sulfur, but that can be filtered," Jahnavi said. "And the Oort cloud has enough cometary bodies to provide at least some surface water - not as much as we'd like, but enough to create temperate zones after a few decades. It'll be like living in the Mojave." She looked at the half-dozen new arrivals. "Welcome to Revala II."

"Thanks," said Beaumont. "Hard to believe this place is suitable for colonization.

Beggars cant be choosers, Jahnavi said, prompting TVril to raise an eyebrow at the unfamiliar phrase. With the demand for habitable space, even marginal worlds like this one are of tremendous value. Even if it takes generations to terraform, Revala can eventually become a garden world.

Which begs the question as to why it is not one at present, TVril said.

Exactly, Jahnavi nodded and brought up a series of scans on the desk terminal. Weve found signs of cyclical heating and cooling in geological core samples, turning the planet from jungle to desert and back again. Whatever is happening here, theres definitely a pattern. We just need to find it.

The Pathfinder has already started scanning the planet, Beaumont said. "They should be finished within the day. In the meantime, we can get started looking for candidate sites using the data you already have. Hopefully we can find some answers.

Very good, Commander, Jahnavi said. Weve made some progress at translating some of the writing weve found on the fragments. Its reminiscent of the pictographs used by ancient Egypt and the Talok-vas of Andoria. She opened a crate and showed them a crumbling ceramic pot, inscribed with symbols. Most of the fragments weve found were painted and glazed. Not much left of their coatings. This one was different much thicker material, and the symbols were deeply inscribed. The ceramic itself is also of different composition, heat and erosion resistant.

A time capsule? Beaumont said.

Jahnavi nodded. Thats our best guess. Some kind of record of what happened to the people who made it - if we manage to translate it. So far its the only intact example and theres precious little else to compare it to.

Well send your scans up to the ship, run them through the linguistics databanks, Beaumont said. Our communications officer might be able to help.

Good. Were hardly experts on linguistics or xeno-archaeology, Jahnavi said. Were geologists and meteorologists, mostly. Were pretty far out of our depth nobody was expecting to find remnants of civilization here.

Good thing we dropped in, then, Beaumont said. She looked closely at the pot. Was it hollow when you found it?

It was filled with sand, Jahnavi replied. We took samples as we emptied it. If the pot held anything of relevance its long gone. Why do you ask?

Beaumont pointed to the rim, where the remnants of a dark substance clung stubbornly. I think thats pitch. Whoever made the jar intended for it to hold something, sealed away from the outside.

Whatever it was, its long since been scoured away, Jahnavi said.

You said you had managed to translate some of the symbols, TVril said.

Yes, Jahnavi said. She brought up a series of images on the terminal. Weve identified symbols representing drought, fire, water, and death, among others. But this one seems to be the most prevalent. She focused in on a circle with lines radiating from it, a dark spot in the center. In context, this symbol represents fire from the sky, or a devouring beast that leaves nothing but ash in its wake. The closest translation is dragon.

Fitting, Beaumont said.

Fictional, TVril added, frowning.

Either way, an enigma, Jahnavi said. One that needs to be solved. The Colonial Authority would never allow development of a potentially unstable planet. Eighteen months of work would all be for nothing.

Beaumont nodded and stood. Well find your Dragon.

To Be Continued...
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Old October 9 2014, 03:29 AM   #8
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Re: Star Trek: Pathfinder #3 - The Revenant Star

Part Four

Ships Log, USS Pathfinder May 30, 2163.

The Pathfinder has been in the Revala system for three days now. We have scanned every inch of the planet, the star and every planetoid of measurable size. So far, nothing has led us any closer to finding out what happened to the civilization hat once existed on Revala II. We are considering our next action.


Nothing, said Kassin, disgusted.

Can you clarify? Teague asked.

The senior staff minus Beaumont and TVril, still on the planets surface were assembled in the Conference room, where Lt. Cmdr Kassin was sharing his findings.

All scans indicate no orbital shift the planet is stable as they come, Kassin said. He pulled up the results of his scans on the large wall display. Weve scanned every inch of Revala II and identified several promising sites for excavation, sites that may once have been settlements. But theres no indication the planet itself has anything to do with the climate shift.

What about the star? said Amara.

Same story Revala is a G5 sequence star, slightly smaller and cooler than Sol, Kassin said. Somewhere in the middle of its lifespan. Nowhere near the point it would lose stability. And there are no gravitic anomalies, no subspace disturbances. Nothing to explain what happened here.

Teague stood and went to the windows. The Veil hung there ominously, like a black cloud waiting to engulf them all.

Engulf or conceal.

Tell me the composition of the Veil, he said.

Kassin looked up, confused. Sir?

The Veil. Whats it made of?

Fairly typical for an interstellar cloud, Kassin said. Mostly chondrites of various sizes, from dust to planetoid size. Silicon carbide, aluminum oxide, some heavy metals, some radioactives, all spread out very thin not enough to bother trying to extract. Based on the size of the Veil its probably the remnants of a planetary system that failed to become coherent and ultimately disintegrated.

Could it conceal something?

Easily, Captain, Kassin said, realizing where Teague was going and almost ashamed he had not considered it himself. Most starship sensors would be effectively blinded once inside, due to the density of the Veil. It would be like flying through pea soup.

Teague nodded and looked at his helmsman. Lieutenant Webb, are you up for a challenge?

Itd be nice if I could see where were going, she shrugged.

Commander Kassin, do whatever you can to enhance our sensors, Teague said. Rik, make sure were sealed tight. Have damage control on standby, just in case.

Right, Amara said.

Ensign, inform the surface teams of our plans, Teague said. Drop a subspace repeater here, just in case. At least we can stay in touch.

Aye, sir, Sarria replied.

Very good. Dismissed, Teague said, heading toward the door.

+++

I hate sand, Beaumont thought for the umpteenth time that day.

Between her training and her years in active service, she had set foot on dozens of worlds. Few were truly earthlike there was always some element that made alien worlds alien. The gravity was too low or too high; the air had an unusual taint that made it taste odd; the sky was green or pink or some other color than familiar blue. But Revala II was proving the least hospitable of them all.

Grains of sand permeated everything, somehow getting through most every filter and seal and into the delicate inner workings of every piece of equipment the away team had brought with them. After their first day one of the shuttles had been grounded; by noon on the second day, all three were down for repairs. Which led to Beaumont lying on her back, half buried in the guts of the engines while fresh sand threatened to cover her as well. She pulled the clogged filter free, crawled out, then tapped the filter against the hull, releasing a thick cloud that swirled around her head and made her cough.

Do you require assistance? a familiar voice said, and Beaumont looked up to see Lt. Cmdr TVril standing there, hands clasped behind her back.

No, Im fine, Beaumont replied. Just enjoying the reminder why away missions arent always what theyre cracked up to be. She looked up at the Vulcan tactical officer. How about you? This place remind you of home?

Not as much as you might think, TVril replied, then knelt down, holding out a sealed case. Replacement filters for the intakes.

Howd you guess?

There was no need for guesswork, TVril replied. All shuttlepod malfunctions have thus far been related to the intake filters becoming clogged with dust. Logic dictates that would be the most likely cause of this malfunction as well.

Got to love logic, Beaumont grunted, and immediately regretted the words.

If TVril took offense, she didnt show it. We can complete the replacements faster if we work together. Without another word she sat on the ground and crawled into the open access panel.

At least shes not afraid to get her hands dirty, Beaumont thought, and crawled in after her.

The space was cramped, just barely enough to allow both women to work. As they pulled the clogged filters from their brackets and replaced them with new ones, Beaumont gradually became aware of a scent flowery, like hyacinth. Is she wearing perfume? Beaumont thought. Thought that wouldnt be logical.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a chirp from her communicator. She reached down, barely able to maneuver her arm between their bodies, and managed to lift the device close to her face. "Beaumont here," she said.

"Commander, this is Pathfinder," came Sarria's voice. "The ship will be leaving orbit shortly. Captain Teague plans to search the Veil for..." Sarria searched for the word. "Anomalies," she settled on.

"Understood. We will continue working our search grids. Don't be a stranger."

"No, sir. Pathfinder out."

Beaumont snapped the communicator closed. Looks like were on our own for now.

TVril snapped the last filter in place and slithered out of the access panel, then offered a hand to Beaumont. I have plotted a course to the next grid location.

Beaumont reached up, grasping the Vulcans strong hand and pulling herself to her feet. By all means, she said, brushing sand out of her hair.

Again she thought, I hate sand.

To Be Continued...
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Old October 10 2014, 06:21 PM   #9
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Re: Star Trek: Pathfinder #3 - The Revenant Star

The mystery deepens. And now Pathfinder is going to dive head first into an unknown dust cloud while leaving the away team on its own? I hope whatever either team finds won't be too much for them to handle on their own. Otherwise there's going to be all kinds of trouble.
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Old October 11 2014, 09:53 PM   #10
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Re: Star Trek: Pathfinder #3 - The Revenant Star

Part Five

Youre not superstitious, are you? said Marakis.

The Pathfinder was cruising at a leisurely half impulse, making its way toward the edge of the Veil. It had taken most of a day to approach warp drive could have gotten the ship there in minutes, but they were within the gravitational boundary of the Revala system, far too close to the star to safely use the warp engines. So far, the trip had been uneventful except for the ominous black cloud that stretched out in front of them, concealing everything beyond.

And within.

Webb looked at him with a hint of derision. Im a Boomer superstition is in my blood.

So tell us, what do the legends say? Marakis said, tilting his head toward the main viewscreen. His voice took on a low, somber tone. What hides behind the Veil? What lurks in the shroud of dust and darkness?

Less melodrama than whats on the bridge right now, Im sure, Webb replied

Marakis chuckled. Fine, so what stories do Boomers tell each other around the proverbial campfire?

You name it, Webb said. Lots of time for tall tales when youre moving at Warp 2.5. Uncle Rhys used to tell me about a planet he saw once, tidally locked in orbit one side baked dry, the other frozen because it had never seen the sun. The only habitable area was along the terminator no day, no night, just eternal twilight.

Sakhaji, said Teague from the command seat, where he was perusing a PADD. Saw it once when I was a lieutenant aboard the Houston. Nice people, but had funny ideas about time. He looked up when Webb remained silent. Please, lieutenant, continue.

Anyway, she said, choosing her words carefully, then theres the Great Bird of the Galaxy. Legend has it a world becomes rich and prosperous if one chooses to settle there.

Hopefully it wont get hungry, Marakis said.

On the other side of the bridge, Sarria looked up from her studies of the pot. I remember when we spent the night out in the ice caves, away from the city, she said. Somebody always told the story of Vakkir. The gods cast her out and she carved the Great Caves with her tears. The pools left behind eventually gave birth to all life on Andoria.

Teague set down his PADD. And what about more pertinent legends? Have you made any progress with translating the symbols on the pot?

A little, sir, Sarria said. Ive run all the symbols the ground team collected through the linguistics databanks. There are certain similarities to several ancient languages, but no direct correlation. The computer is working a brute-force cross-match algorithm right now but Im not holding out much luck too many variables to get a coherent result.

She brought up an inset image of a section of text and displayed it on the main viewscreen. But this segment is fairly clear. Its like whoever inscribed it deliberately chose to make the meaning as clear as possible.

What does it mean? said Webb.

Beware the fire hiding within the dark, Sarria said. Beware the waking dragon.

Teague looked back toward the main viewscreen. Sounds like were heading in the right direction.

Or the wrong one, Webb said, her hand automatically reaching into her pocket to grasp the lucky twenty-one dulac coin she always kept there. Just in case.

An alert sounded and Marakis checked his console. Were approaching the outer boundary of the Veil.

Helm, drop speed to one-quarter impulse, Teague said. Charge hull plating to repel debris. Keep a close eye on resistance I dont want any more scratches on Starfleets fancy new ship.

A moment later, the lift doors opened and Lt. Cmdr Kassin stepped onto the bridge. Glad you could join us, Commander, Teague said.

I was fine-tuning the main sensors, he said, sitting down. They keep losing alignment. We might have warped the spaceframe during our little battle.

Teague said. Is it serious?

Annoying, more like, said Kassin. Ill have to realign them every two weeks or so.

Ill have Commander Amara put together a work crew, Teague said, tapping on his PADD.

No need, sir, Kassin said. Id rather do it myself. The necessary adjustments are minute, anyway. What would be more use is repairing the spaceframe.

As soon as we reach Septimus Six, Teague said. Ill add it to the repair schedule.

Kassin brought up his display and looked at the fresh scan readings. Scans coming through now. Composition is just as expected chondrites, trace heavy metals. His brow furrowed. Significantly more dense than typical dust clouds. I recommend we proceed slowly, with hull plating at half charge.

Tactical, you heard the commander. Half charge on the hull plating.

He leaned forward, gazing into the featureless darkness. Helm, he said slowly, take us in.

To Be Continued...
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Old October 13 2014, 03:33 PM   #11
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Re: Star Trek: Pathfinder #3 - The Revenant Star

And in we go.

The ominous vibe on the bridge seems to promise interesting discoveries. And interesting in Starfleet is usually a synonym for highly perilous.
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Old October 14 2014, 01:09 AM   #12
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Re: Star Trek: Pathfinder #3 - The Revenant Star

Thanks - glad you're enjoying it.
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Old October 21 2014, 03:10 AM   #13
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Re: Star Trek: Pathfinder #3 - The Revenant Star

Part Six

We have arrived at Grid 97-B, Commander.

Beaumont looked up from her PADD, where she had been reviewing the data they had already collected from a dozen search sites. So far, none of them had yielded anything more noteworthy than sand and scorched rock. These were the times she longed to be a mere science officer again, eyes locked to the sensor hood of a starship. So much more capability than hand scanners and bare eyes.

She set aside the PADD and stood, moving toward the front of the shuttlepod. You know the drill, Beaumont said, settling in the copilot seat and focusing on the screens.

Yes, Commander, said TVril, gently banking the shuttle to port and flying in a wide circle. They would circle the site first, scanning the area, then land to investigate whatever appeared most likely to be signs of life. Thus far, all they had found were a couple of granite blocks that might have been fashioned by tools several thousand years ago.

Beaumont studied the screens carefully as they circled. Below them was a wide ridge, near-vertical on one side and gently sloped on the other. Nothing out of the ordinary, she said after several minutes. Several fissures on the cliff face, probably natural

An alarm chimed on the console and Beaumont leaned in. On the screen, a red crosshair was flashing near the base of the cliff, a few meters inside the rock face. Radiation source, she said. Looks like low yield, maybe a power cell of some kind?

Unlikely, given the primitive technology the civilization appears to have possessed, TVril replied. Perhaps a natural source?

No, its too concentrated. Beaumont focused the view. Not picking up any gamma particles. Set us down.

TVril nodded and steered toward the ground, setting the shuttlepod down on the nearest flat patch of sand, three hundred meters distant. Beaumont headed toward the rear of the pod, retrieved two small packs which contained various tools, and handed one to TVril. Hopefully we wont have to dig too far down.

As soon as she stepped out of the pod, Beaumont knew her hopes were in vain. The fine sand gave way, letting her foot sink up to her ankle. Each step was going to be a chore. She checked her hand scanner to be sure of her bearings, then trudged off, TVril close behind her and seemingly none the worse for wear.

By the time they reached the cliff face Beaumont was breathing heavily. The heat was oppressive, even as they entered the shadow of the cliff; waves of heat radiated from the baked stone. As they approached, Beaumonts spirits sank. The sand had drifted against the base of the cliff, leaving them with several meters of sand to try and dig through. And every time the fine sand was disturbed it slid to fill the void that had been created. Beaumont looked at the small collapsible shovel in her toolkit. I dont think this is the tool for the job, she said.

TVril slung her kit and pulled her phase pistol from its holster. Perhaps this will be more efficient, she said, adjusting the weapons settings. She aimed downward toward their goal, then squeezed the firing stud.

A cone of bright blue-tinged energy lanced out and struck the sand, disintegrating the particles within and heating those along the perimeter into smooth glass, forming a meter-wide tunnel through the sand. TVril adjusted the beam spread, narrowing the cone the further the tunnel went, until a void appeared at the bottom. She snapped off the pistol and returned it to its holster. After you, Commander, she said.

Beaumont gingerly touched the newly-formed glass, then tapped her knuckles against it. Seems solid enough, she thought. Then she knelt down, pulled a lamp from her kit, and carefully made her way inside. The glass was smooth but not slippery; the couple of times she lost her grip, the tunnel was narrow enough for Beaumont to reach out and jam her hands against the walls. Two meters behind her TVril followed, her breathing calm and steady.

Beaumont reached the bottom and pushed aside the half-melted chunks of sand and glass, then shone her light into the void. Its a cave, she said, looking at the walls several meters away. She broke apart the remains of half-formed glass and crawled out of the tunnel, shining her light around.

TVril looked at the walls. These appear to have been smoothed by tools, she said.

A shelter? Beaumont mused. Maybe even a home? She looked at the dark chamber. Doesnt seem very welcoming.

Things may have been different several thousand years ago, TVril replied. Where is the radiation source?

Beaumont checked her hand scanner. Close. Were practically on top of it. She looked around, checked the scanner again, then pointed at the floor. Right there.

TVril assembled her shovel and knelt down, rapidly clearing away the sand until the shovel blade struck something solid. She carefully cleared away the sand by hand, revealing a heavy metal box. She pulled it out of the hole and set it between them, running a finger across the top. This would seem to be lead, she said.

Beaumont nodded, looking at the screen of her scanner. Confirmed. She looked at the locking clamps, crusted with millennia of sand but still intact. And those are titanium alloy. She looked up at TVril, shaking her head. Theres no way whoever made that pot made this its a thousand years more advanced than what this civilization left behind.

TVril raised an eyebrow and asked the obvious question: So how did it come to be here?

To Be Continued...
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Old October 21 2014, 02:59 PM   #14
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Re: Star Trek: Pathfinder #3 - The Revenant Star

More questions without any obvious answers. This expedition is getting more intriguing by the minute.
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Old October 29 2014, 04:02 AM   #15
jerriecan
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Re: Star Trek: Pathfinder #3 - The Revenant Star

Part Seven

Ship's Log, May 31, 2163

The Pathfinder has been inside the Veil for almost eighteen hours. No contact has been made with anything larger than a fist-sized rock. At the present rate, Commander Kassin informs me it will take us roughly seven years to map the Veil in its entirety.

Good thing we packed a lunch.


Webb stared at the blank main viewscreen and drummed her fingers on the helm console. "And to think I was complaining about being bored at Warp Four," she grumbled. "At least there were stars to look at then."

Sarria looked up from her analysis of the symbols which covered the urn. "You're easily bored, you know. Have you considered a hobby? Something... relaxing?"

"Flying is relaxing," Webb replied. "This isn't flying, this is..." Webb trailed off as Sarria looked at her expectantly. "Well, it's not flying," she finished.

"I see." Sarria turned back to her console. "I could teach you ice carving. I'm sure the chef could set aside a small section of freezer space."

"No thanks, I'd rather stew," Webb said, folding her arms over her chest. She had never been much of a morning person, and the near-deathly quiet of the bridge was the exact opposite of the environment she thrived in. The first shift officers had little else to do other than stare at their nearly-blank readings. She was tempted to pull a few evasive maneuvers, call it a practice drill, and deal with the fallout later. But even though they had not encountered anything in the cloud as yet did not mean there was nothing out there to encounter. Hell, maybe ice carving's not so bad, she thought.

As soon as she opened her mouth a piercing alarm sounded and the bridge lights went red. "What the hell?" she said, checking her console.

At the science station, Kassin's eyes widened as he stared into his scanner hood.

A side hatch slid open and Teague stepped onto the bridge. "Report!" he barked.

"Massive surge of ionizing radiation, port-side forward," Kassin said. "Alpha, beta, and gamma particles."

"Hull plating to full charge. Helm, full stop." Teague sat in the command chair and stared at the darkness on the main viewscreen. "Can you pinpoint the source?"

"Working on it, Captain, I just - wait, it's gone." At the same moment, the radiation alarm went silent, leaving the bridge eerily silent.

"Radiation doesn't just disappear, Commander," Teague said, standing up and moving over to look over Kassin's shoulder. He peered at the readouts, but could find nothing but dust and darkness. "This doesn't make any sense."

"Agreed, sir." Kassin began a deep scan of the direction the radiation had come from. "There's nothing out there, not a damn thing."

Teague returned to the captain's chair and looked back at the main viewscreen. "Are we in any danger?"

"Our hull plating will protect us in the short term," Kassin said. "But only if it stays intact. Still, I wouldn't want to spend much time bathed in that kind of radiation - minutes rather than hours, if we have a choice."

"I'm not planning on staying," Teague said. He slapped the comm switch on the arm of his chair. "Bridge to Engineering."

"Amara here. Was that what I think it was?" the chief engineer's voice said.

"We encountered a pocket of ionizing radiation, source unknown. What's the ship's status?"

"All internal systems are a hundred percent. We're showing minor degradation of the hull plating - it wasn't designed to handle constant use in dense dust clouds. The whole system is operating well outside tolerances." He paused. "Recommend we don't push it much further. Sir."

The warning tone in Amara's voice was unmistakeable. "Understood, Commander," Teague replied. "We'll step lightly. Bridge out. Ensign Sarria, advise the away team of our situation. Looks like everyone's having a problem with dust today." He looked at Webb. "Helm, make your course 035 by 330, speed one-quarter impulse. If the radiation alarm trips again, go to full stop."

"Aye, sir," Webb said, her fingers flying across the controls. That's what I get for complaining, she thought.

The Pathfinder crept further into the Veil, leaving no trace of its passage.

To Be Continued...
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Star Trek: Pathfinder #1: The Siren's Call
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