Eyes In The Dark (Columbia)
|USS Columbia Mission History|
The Columbia and her crew have resumed their mission of exploration in the Sagittarius Reach. They are entering a desolate region with little in the way of interest. Without warning, one of the navigation buoys previously laid by the ship- Sextant Alpha- stops transmitting and Columbia alters course to investigate. Dropping out of warp they find the buoy has been destroyed, although the debris field also includes wreckage of a small starship. Newly arrived Science Officer Ensign Rebecca Owens decodes the last message the buoy sent which seems to confirm a battle took place and the presence of a spatial anomaly. It is then that a distress call is received from an alien vessel adrift near the battle site. The crew move to respond, with Commander Jarred Thoran leading a team to the vessel to render aid, while Captain Whittaker and the remaining bridge crew work to ascertain what happened. Newly appointed Acting Chief Science Officer Pholin Duyzer and Ensign Owens bring some samples of the debris cloud on board while Ensign James Colquhoun and Assistant Chief of Operations Jona ch'Ranni keep the ship prepped for unexpected surprises.
Aboard the stricken craft- known as the Eldae, the away team make contact with the Shanshuri, a race of diminutive felinoids. The Eldae's Captain, Kraia Csuuri is frustratingly vague about what happened the vessel while Doctor Anath G'Renn and Ensign Karen Stendhal find irregularities in the treatment of the injured crew. Elsewhere, Duyzer and Owens find evidence that the debris field was planted and not the result of a battle as previously believed. Ensign James Colquhoun spots that the Eldae may be scanning the Columbia and Captain Whittaker and Lieutenant Jona ch'Ranni discover an unexploded torpedo lodged in the ship's drive section while in a workbee. Suspicious about the amount of lucky escapes and coincidences that have occurred, Captain Whittaker returns to the Columbia- just in time for the Eldae to apparently explode and claiming the lives of the away team.
Unbeknownst to the Columbia, the Eldae has not exploded but has shifted into another phase variance: the explosion was orchestrated to make the Columbia think they had been lost. Csuuri sheds her affable disguise and takes the away team prisoner with the intention of interrogating them. The felinoid orders the Eldae away from the area to rendezvous with her employers. She also deploys a phase-cloaked operative to gather intelligence from the Columbia's computer systems who is transported aboard the Nebula-class ship undetected before the 'explosion'. The away team are promptly incarcerated in the Eldae’s brig where Lieutenant Commander Jolara attempts to sow distrust between Csurri and her XO.
Both grief-stricken and furious, Captain Whittaker angrily orders the remaining crew to come up with a plausible explanation of how the Eldae could be destroyed without any warning. Duyzer and Colquhoun investigate the immediate aftermath and immediately notice that there is new debris which is almost unheard of when a warp core breaches. They also discover a strange “blip” on sensors prior to the loss of the Eldae- and link it back to a similar reading from Sextant Aloha before its destruction when a ship appeared with no explanation. Meanwhile, Ensign Owens assists ch'Ranni and HCO officer Torrel in continuing to piece together what happened prior to Columbia's arrival and they begin searching for the buoy’s “flight recorder”. Captain Whittaker has the sad task of telling Danni James- Walker's wife- that she has been lost. He blames himself and struggles to reign in his emotions. The shock of the news triggers Lieutenant James going into labour- with only the Captain to help her through. When she gives birth to two healthy boys, she realises that Luna is still alive because of testimony given to her on a previous mission. This- along with evidence collected by Duyzer and ch'Ranni's teams- convinces Theo and they set about planning a rescue mission for the crew.
Aboard the Eldae, Walker plans an escape attempt with the help of Rune and Jarred- who unfortunately suffers a head injury after coming into contact with the forcefield in the ship's brig. Elsewhere Doctor G'Renn incapacitates a doctor that was shadowing them and along with Ensign Stendhal, escapes deeper into the Shanshuri vessel.
Aboard the Eldae Walker, Jolara and Thoran break free from their cells using the ship's damaged power systems as a tool and overloading the forcefields by prolonged contact with them. Gaining the upper hand, they quickly overpower the brig guards- including Csuuri's first officer Hrala. However a stand off ensues when a security team prevents them from leaving the brig. Doctor G'Renn and Ensign Stendhal arrive with the CMO taking a hit from a phaser though she does not appear seriously injured. At the same, a team from Columbia infiltrates the Eldae and proceeds towards the away team's location, having entered the Shanshuri's phase variance and boarding the ship undetected. Ensign Torrel develops an eager trigger finger, revealing the boarding party to the Shanshuri, who are never the less easily taken down. Pran and Thoran lead the captured officers back to the Kalpana Chawla without further resistance from the Shanshuri and the shuttle departs for Columbia.
A Shanshuri infiltrator- Shaasha- is discovered about the Columbia when Duyzer, ch'Ranni and Ensign Owens jury rig the tomographic imaging scanner into the main sensor array which allows them to scan through different phase variances. Incapacitating Shaasha and forcing into the Columbia's variance through an anyon field, Theo has Duyzer and Owens examine a wrist mounted device found on Shaasha while he, ch'Ranni and newly arrived medical officer Ensign Nali Talia head to sickbay to treat the unconscious Shanshuri and interrogate her. In sickbay; Whittaker, ch'Ranni and Talia discover that the Shanshuri have been contracted by an alien race living within another phase variance to get intelligence on the Columbia and Theo realises that this is why the away team were captured and their deaths faked. Shaasha reveals that she has no idea who these aliens are as they are extremely xenophobic but knows that the Shanshuri cut a deal with them to act as their intelligence apparatus in exchange for not being eradicated. She also states that the technology she used was given to the Shanshuri by these beings. Whittaker assigns Talia to work with Shaasha to learn more if she can while he instructs ch'Ranni to reverse course, intending to regroup with Dehner Base to decide what to do next.
Meanwhile at Dehner Base, Ensign Artinus Serinus, a newly commissioned Magna Roman security officer assigned to the Columbia arrives and is met by Olivia Sellards and Lieutenant Commander Donturr who fills him in on events aboard Columbia and accidentally reveals the tensions between Sellards and Whittaker...
Rolla Haneer, Angosian, Bridge Relief Officer - played by Theo Whittaker
Donturr, Benzite, Lieutenant Commander, Head of Security, Dehner Base - played by Theo Whittaker
|REV SD 239607.15|