Double Trouble (Challenger-A)

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Mission Report submitted by Ensign Lawn stardate 238612.20

As is a common duty of Starfleet vessels, the Flag Ship, USS Challenger, was assigned to a routine escort mission accompanying a Bolian freighter convoy along the edge of the Romulan Neutral Zone. Captain T'Pen, while on board, had relinquished temporary command to the ships first officer, Commander Frazier. Starfleet had reason to field test the command skills of the XO, as he was being evaluated for promotion to starship command.

Considering the routine nature of the assignment, Starfleet took the opportunity to assign two new staff members to the Challenger’s bridge crew, Ensign Joseph Cormalen and Ensign Jesse Lawn. Ensign Cormalen is a fine young officer who wasted no time demonstrating his efficiency as an Operations Officer. He immediately befriended the crew, and established himself as a solid member of the Challenger team. Ensign Lawn had made the transition to Starfleet from Earth’s Security Forces, where he had been a Senior Investigator and Field Commander. While Lawn was primarily a tactical expert, he discovered a love of flying in the Academy. Upon graduation, the Ensign requested a position as a Helmsman, and found himself assigned to the position of HCO Officer aboard the USS Challenger.

At first, the voyage seemed to be a standard escort cruise. As the mission progressed however, several members of the crew began to experience unexplained behaviors, contradictions in orders, double sightings of certain crew members, and unexplained acts of suspected sabotage. At first, these events merely caused confusion, but as vital ship systems became affected, concern turned to resolve.

Ship Security began an involved investigation. Lt. Brakur, the ships Chief of Security, dispatched security personnel throughout the vessel to determine the nature of the threat. Though, despite their best efforts, issues continued to arise. It became clear that not only did the Challenger have a significant internal problem…we had an intruder. As the investigation continued, it was discovered that the “doubles” of certain crew members were actually holographic representations. Armed with this new data, security began to form a tactical plan to combat the situation.

As navigation and propulsion systems became compromised, the bridge crew had all they could handle re-routing controls and locking out the primary controls. During the fray, one of the Bolian Freighters, the Kobar, attempted to disengage from the convoy and cross into the Romulan Neutral Zone. Despite Commander Frazier’s warnings to hold position, the Kobar continued to break away. Once the Commander ordered “Red Alert”, it became apparent that the defensive systems were sabotaged as well. With the weapons down, the Kobar fired on the Challenger and proceeded along its illegal heading. Left with few options, the Commander beamed over an away team and ordered the launch of a Marine Fighter Squadron.

Back on board the Challenger, security officers continued their man hunt. In true Starfleet fashion, starship security always gets their man. Security officers captured the saboteur, Ensign Galen. However, before they had a chance to thoroughly interrogate the suspect, Galen bit down on a capsule he had hidden in his mouth, committing suicide in the ships brig. An astute security officer, Ensign Menar, noticed a crystalline object Galen wore around his neck, and retrieved it as evidence. Later, Ensign Menar, with the investigative assistance of Ensign Lawn, would identify this object, as well as a second crystalline object recovered from a hologram, as anti-matter disruption devices. They had likely been intended as back up weapons to destroy the Challenger if all other plans failed.

Meanwhile, it was determined that the Bolian Freighter had been commandeered by an intergalactic criminal, known as “Be’RT”. Be'RT had taken the Freighter Captain hostage, and executed most of his crew. He had apparently hijacked the Freighter in an effort to steal some sensor technology that the Bolian’s were transporting. We believe Be’RT was trying to deliver the stolen goods to a Romulan source in the Neutral Zone. Via some creative scanning techniques, the bridge crew of the Challenger discovered that Be’RT had rigged the Kobar with high yield explosives.

Due to radiation and system malfunctions, beaming the away team out was simply not feasible. Chief Helmsman, Lieutenant Tallis Rhul, volunteered to take the shuttle Peacock out on a dangerous rescue mission to the Kobar. When Be’RT realized he was likely to be captured or killed, he set off the bomb on the freighter. In an act of tactical skill, he launched several escape pods, including a cloaked pod that was apparently recovered by a cloaked Romulan vessel. Just prior to the explosion, Lieutenant Tallis managed to beam back the entire away team just in time. We believe Be’RT escaped in the cloaked pod.

The Marine Fighters recovered the remaining escape pods, only to find that they too had been booby-trapped with high yield explosives. After much toil, the Marines were successful in their mission and returned to the Challenger as did Lieutenant Tallis with the Peacock and the away team.

As the Challenger finished its escort mission, one final encounter with a holographic intruder occurred. This time, the hologram took the image of Ambassador Ensign Mailea Labria. The hologram took control of the Captains Ready Room, and demanded an audience with the real Ambassador. As it turns out, this was something of a first contact situation, which the Ensign handled admirably. The holograms were programmed by a nameless race from a planet called Seniva. They were under the impression we might be a threat to them, so the holographic intrusions were set up as a reconnaissance detail. They have since decided we do not pose a significant threat, but they remain in relative isolation. While they do not posses our level of technology, they demonstrated great intelligence and resourcefulness. They did utilize two living imposters, originally recruited by the Romulans, to infiltrate our security; one was Ensign Galen and the other was discovered to be Dr. Knightling. The imposters were apparently supposed to steal information, but the “Senivans” found them to be useful tools… and commandeered them for their own use.

Dr. Knightling’s imposter was killed shortly there after in a shoot out in the forensics lab by Lieutenant Commander Tal Tel-ar in the Forensics Lab. During the attempted arrest, Ensign Lawn was shot in the arm while pushing Ensign Menar out of the line of fire. He recovered quickly under the outstanding medical care of Dr. Reid.

On route back to Earth, for some much needed shore leave, the crew of the Challenger was introduced to a change in command structure. Our former Captain, Fleet Captain T’Pen retired and appointed Samal Frazier as her successor. Subsequently, Captain Frazier promoted former Chief of Operations, Lieutenant Commander Tal Tel-ar, to first officer and former Chief Helmsman, Lieutenant Tallis Rhul, to Chief of Operations.

And so, the legacy of the USS Challenger continues…