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Settle for Less (Columbia)

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PART 1 The crew of USS Columbia is ordered to transport 170 Terran colonists to Pernipia Gamma IV. This world is of tactical importance to Starfleet, and it is critical for the Federation to claim and colonize it swiftly. The colonists are led by two differing leaders: Robert Carson and Mirielle Danvers. It quickly becomes clear that the two colony leads have wildly different intentions and approaches.

Trouble begins when some of the livestock the colonists brought onboard show signs of sickness. After two cows are found dead, science and medical starts an intensive investigation. Things get worse when a fire erupts in the guest quarters housing one of the colonists. Fire suppression and security systems mysteriously fail, and two people are killed in the tragedy.

Meanwhile one deck below the fire a group of engineering and diplomatic officers find one of the colony engineers - Dr.Vivan Connell - tampering with the ship's engineering systems. While they question the woman, a critically injured teenager stumbles out of a nearby jeffries tube and collapses. The officers quickly transport the injured teen to sickbay, where he is identified as Noah Richardson - the youngest of a family of 5 brothers, all of which are miners.

The head of the Richardson family - Declan Richardson - appears near the scene of the fire, accusing Colony Lead Carson's right hand man Gerard of attacking and killing his brother Noah. Declan is unaware that Noah survived, and he physically attacks Gerard. Declan Richardson is intercepted by security and put under house arrest.

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

The crew also unveiled further issues: the diseased cows are a breed that was not supposed to be among Mrs Danvers' livestock. A conversation between Dr. Connell and Declan Richardson reveals that Declan brought the cows onboard with the intent of killing off Danvers' cows and breeding his own to make a high profit. Connell tells Declan Richardson that his baby brother Noah survived and is being tended by Starfleet. Declan remains unaware that his brother Aiden was actually the on targeted and killed.

The Richardson brothers have fallen foul of Robert Carson after discovering his plan to mine Kelbonite on Pernipia, and sell it on the black market. Aiden discovered this and spoke about it while drunk, not understanding the implications of Kelbonite mining. Noah and Ryan discovered Carson's plans to attack Aiden and tried to warn him or stop Carson, to no avail. Dr. Connell may be working as a double agent as her programming was found to be the source of the system wide failure that allowed the Columbia's fire suppression systems to fail. The cascade failure was framed on Lisa Danvers, the daughter of the second colony leader - but the Danvers family was quickly cleared of any role in the attacks.

As Security closes in on Mr. Carson, he pulls an ace in the hole from his sleeve. He contends that he is an Ambassador-at-large for the Son'a, and therefore has diplomatic immunity. Lieutenant Kelly disregards and 'accidentally' destroys his credentials, incarcerating Carson anyways. Meanwhile Carson's assistant Gerard works to get into contact with Admiral Nokolai, the overseer of this entire colony project. We find that Admiral Nokolai is Carson's enabling brother.

As the Columbia arrives at Pernipia Gamma IV, the crew struggles with how to handle the murderer in their midst when he has a 'get out of jail free' card...

PART 2 The Columbia is in orbit around Penipia Gamma IV, and they need to complete the survey of the planet before the colonists can disembark. An away team of Lt. Commander Brek, Lt. Kolk, Ensigns Marcus and Esme Drake, Ensign Allanburg and Colony Leader Mirielle Danvers beam down to start the final study of the colony area. Just before they go the away team is warned that the caves in the area are lined with Kelbonite and Fistrium - a combination of minerals that makes it impossible for scanners or transporters to penetrate. The away team sets up a basic on-planet science lab and starts taking samples. Brek starts to investigate the caves and finds a nest of giant spiders, narrowly avoiding getting taken as spider food. While in the caves the team catches a glimpse of something - or someone deeper into the cave. A short while later Ensign Allanburg disappears and the away team calls for help. Commander Livingston makes the tough decision to split the security force guarding Carson in order to send a team down to the planet.

Meanwhile Carson is being detained in the brig while Gerard is detained in his quarters. Gerard starts to hack into the ship's computer while Carson is questioned by Lt. Kelly, Counselor Riverview and Lt. Commander Taybrim. After an emotional outburst Counselor Riverview asks Kelly to leave the brig area where he meets with new security officer Storey. Shortly afterward Gerard's sabotage becomes clear and a power relay inside the brig access explodes. Carson is set free and he attacks Counselor Riverview who suffers head trauma and telepathic trauma. Taybrim takes Riverview to sickbay while Kelly and Storey pursue Carson.

The Columbia is dealing with bigger problems in the form of a salvaged Vor'cha cruiser being manned by pirates. The cruiser de-cloaks when forced to show her hand and threatens the Columbia, however there is an internal struggle onboard as a SFI agent reveals himself and fights back against the crew. This cuts off Carson's escape route and he needs to make other plans. He meets up with Gerard, and they proceed to the bridge, where Carson takes the bridge crew hostage. Meeting resistance, Carson takes Commander Livingston, Lieutenant Silveira and Ensign Connory hostage inside the Captain's ready room. With security closing in, Carson and Gerard become more and more threatening, until Lieutenant Kelly breaks in with the help of science and engineering, using an exploding replicator as a distraction. Ensign Connory is injured in the altercation, while Commander Livingston is rescued. Carson and Gerard escape by beamout still keeping hold of one hostage: Silveira.

Planetside Lt Commander Brek leads the security team into the caves where they save Allanburg and apprehend a Pakled pirate named Plurg. Plurg had been prospecting for Kelbonite, Fistrium and other minerals that are desirable on the black market. With their captive in hand, the away team is called back to the Columbia.

On the bridge Lt. Commander Taybrim negotiates with Carson stalling for time as Commander Livingston works with Lt Commander Thomas and Ensign Locke to get the brig repaired. Lt. Kelly closes in on Carson once again, and this time it results in a deadly showdown in the cargo bay. Gerard stabs Silveira in the back, but is taken out quickly by an pressurized gas explosion engineered by Kelly, but he is quickly disarmed and ends up in a vicious game of fisticuffs with Carson. Carson gets the upper hard and is about to strangle the security officer when Silveira summons a last burst of strength, enough to push Kelly' phaser to within his reach. Kelly shoots Carson and collapses.

Ensign Connory who is recovering in sickbay manages to get a lock on Silveira and has him beamed to sickbay where the doctors rush to treat his grievous injuries. The away team converges with Livingston and Taybrim towards the cargo bay and they try to clean up the mess, praying that everyone makes it through a line...