Star Trek: Chasing Ghosts

Log 3: Escaping into the Unknown

As they approached their destination, the protagonists awaited their destiny with various stages of anger, denial, and acceptance.  They were taken a bit by surprise as they were unceremoniously transported into a derelict ship, damaged and on the verge of destruction.

As they took their bearings, they grabbed a set of gear beamed over with them – crowbars and a comm unit.  Huron, looking around, discovered that they were on a Cardassian ship.  Going about the ship, they discovered several bodies of both Cardassians – Central Command, per D'Haran – and an unknown species.  

As they explored the ship, they came across a room full of deceased Cardassians – killed via exploding conduits by Huron's estimation – when they were assaulted by a living member of that unknown species – horned, barbed, and armored.  As T'Ken engaged him in hand to hand combat, they eventually maneuvered him into a corner, where D'Haran delivered a death blow.  

Their elation turned to fear as T'Ken and D'Haran heard the faint ticking sound coming from the alien.  The protagonists scattered as the soldier exploded, separating D'Haran and Huron from T'Ken as emergency bulkheads sealed.

T'Ken found himself on an auxiliary bridge of sorts.  Examining a console, he was able to get a listing of the passengers – 75 Cardassians, 24 "Jem'Hadar" and 2 "Vorta".  Examining the alien, T'Ken discovered it's mind was a sea of rage and anger.  Learning it was a "Jem'Hadar", T'Ken quickly through it out the room as it's life expired, trapping him in the auxiliary bridge.  After a few hours, T'Ken was able to emerge from the room via the Cardassian version of the Jeffries tube that connected to a non-functional turbolift.

D'Haran and Huron, meanwhile, came across the cells of a group of Bajoran prisoners…being quickly executed by a Cardassian soldier.  D'Haran dropped him with one swift swing of his crowbar, but quickly noticed that the prisoners were in various stages of execution.

Huron and D'Haran managed to save around 20 prisoners – 19 Bajorans and 1 Cardassian.  They rendevoused with T'Ken, and were transported back into the brig on the Constellation-class cruiser.

Days passed, with the brig adding one additional occupant: the rescued Cardassian, beaten and interrogated.  With only one Bajoran woman, rescued from the ship and with an apparent bond with the Cardassian, keeping them company, they arrived at their destination: an asteroid base in Tholian space.

Transported onto the base into shock collars attached to other slaves, they were marched into holding cells.  As they approached the cells, they noticed the majority of the occupants were human, with a few notable exceptions.  They all seemed to carry themselves like Starfleet, but D'Haran and Huron noticed something off about them.

After a few days in the cell, the protagonists noted a few things: there was an apparent leader, the prisoners were more organized than it was readily apparent, the Bajorans were being taken by the Jem'Hadar, Ranjen Bareil was in league with them, and that they were in an apparent stasis field.  Their wait came to a quick end, as the asteroid base was under attack – by the USS Ranger, captained by Arenton Ring!

As the stasis fields began to weaken, they saw the Bajorans, led by Ranjen Bareil and flanked by the Jem'Hadar, board the Constellation cruiser and it warped out, at high speed with a fully functional warp drive.  As they completely failed, the prisoners organized a jailbreak.

Led by a man named Connor Solomon, they raided a room for supplies – medical and weapons – and headed up to another one of the captives, Gabriel Callahan, that had a ship docked at the asteroid. Loading up the supplies and the survivors, the ship roughly launched as the asteroid base was getting increasingly unstable.

With D'Haran in engineering working on the impulse engines, Huron at the navigation station, and T'Ken at weapons, Gabriel Callahan gave the order to pursue the USS Ranger through a spatial vortex forming as the asteroid began to break apart and was on the verge of destruction.  

Log 2: Rebuilding and Repurpose

With new cover identities as civilians crewing the Bajoran ship, a Constellation-class cruiser rechristened the Prophet’s Voice – the ensigns spent a day on the starbase to cement a cover story.  T’Ken spent the day in mediation after purchasing an older model medical Tricorder and 3 23rd century communication devices.  Huron Mudd wheeled and dealed on the black market, acquiring “curio and relic” antique weapons, food, and banned alcohol.  Ensign D’Haran spent the day in a holosuite, eating, drinking, and relaxing.

When they arrived on the ship, they were given their quarters – a 4 person bunk room with an empty bunk – and a tour of the ship.  D’Haran became visibly angry at the decrepit state of the ship and the incompetent repairs done by the Bajorans, T’Ken raised an eyebrow at being stereotypically assigned scientific technical work, and Huron tried to unsuccessfully bribe the crew to obtain information, only to end up donating a crate of tubers.

Over the next 2 days, they worked tirelessly on repairing the ship to little affect.  While D’Haran was able to prove useful, T’Ken was out of his element and Huron spent most of his time with another human on the crew, a scientist named Jessamin.  Finding it easier to bribe D’Haran, Huron and Jessamin spent their time on the starbase, acquiring more goods and trying to obtain more information. 

At the end of the 2 days, they took stock of what they knew and had.  D’Haran explained the state of the ship, with comms being online and full impulse power but a worrying lack of repair of the warp nacelles.  T’Ken discussed the overhauling of the science labs – the computers were repaired but the operational systems outdated by a century.  Huron took stock of their loot:  3 Communicators, a Vulcan Lirpa weapon, a Klingon dagger, a Bajoran phaser, and 2 23rd century phaser pistosl, along with 2 bottles of Andorian Ale, a bottle of Romulan ale, 5 bottles of Bajoran fruit wine, and a mostly empty bottle of Lagavulin whiskey to go with 100 cups worth of Raktajino.

As the ship left spacedock and headed towards Deep Space K-7 on a shakedown cruise, the situation went from bad to worse.  Noticing the instability of the warp field – the ship could only obtain warp 5 – Ensigns Mudd and D’Haran attempted to tell the leader, Ranjen Bareil Shada, of the need to drop out of warp.  When she dismissed their concerns as being out of line, D’Haran and T’Ken attempted to drop the ship out of warp.   They managed to subdue the Bajorans, but were transported into an isolation cell somewhere on the ship. Meanwhile, Jessamin used the diversion to probe the Ranjen’s quarters, finding out more information on the Ranjen and her communications with the Bajoran Kai Winn.

In the isolation cells, T’Ken noticed a white noise affect being broadcast that was making meditation difficult.  D’Haran, meanwhile, was overcome by the white noise and began hallunicating.  After an unknown amount of time, they were beamed into a traditional brig cell.

Ensign Mudd involved Jessamin in their attempt  to rescue D’Haran and T’Ken, but was unfortunately captured by the guards and sent to a brig holding cell, where he met back with T’Ken.  While there, they all noticed the ship drop out of warp.  Their sigh of relief was cut short as the ship immediately – and roughly – reentered warp. 

They were visited by Prylar Balen, who greeted them with pleasantries.  D’Haran accused him of torture, which Balen disputed, and was told of their fate:  the Bajorans detected a distress beacon, and were going to investigate.  As penance for challenging Ranjen Bareil, they would be tasked with the dangerous task of investigating the distress beacon and rescuing any survivors.  D’Haran seethed, T’Ken stoically nodded, and Huron let out an dejected sigh as the Prylar left.

Log 1: Intentional Misperceptions

The protagonists were manning the night shift bridge of the USS Ranger – a first time for the majority of the crew – when things appeared to be off.  Ensign T’Ken noticed a large amount of activity in the engineering section of the ship, and brought it to Lt. Baren – the ranking officer – to review.  At the same time, Ensign D’Haran noticed large sections of power conduits were being rerouted from the saucer section, and Ensign Mudd, poring over internal sensor logs, noticed a shift in the population: junior officers and civilians were disproportionately in the saucer section at this time of night. 

As Lt. Baren reviewed the logs, they all came to the same conclusion: it looked like they were preparing to separate the saucer section.  As they tried to hail Captain Ring, Ensign Mudd notified them that the ship’s course was modified to head to the Tholian Assembly, and the ship rapidly accelerated to Warp 9.2.  As they were frantically trying to wrest control of the bridge and drop out of warp, their computers shorted out – identified by Ensign T’Ken as a computer virus – and the bridge lurched heavily.   Looking out the view screen, they all noticed the disturbing site of the main drive section of the ship leaping away  under warp power as the saucer section violently decelerated and fell out of warp.

With the systems down, under auxiliary power and impulse drives only, they made their way to the nearest Federation colony, a mining asteroid named K-90.  As they approached, they worked on the computer systems to bring up comms and find out what happened.  What they discovered infuriated them.

With the Comms up, Ensign Mudd discovered that K-90 was destroyed, and it was registered as being done by the Galaxy-Class Federation starship USS Ranger.  Ensign D’Haran plotted a course for K-90 – crunching the numbers, he realized that they needed to get to a settlement soon before power was depleted and they were dead in space.  Ensign T’Ken noticed a discrepancy in the computer logs, where he discovered what he believed to be falsified logs describing a mutiny amongst junior officers, the junior officers plans to destroy K-90 and defect to join the Maquis, and information describing the Maquis-affiliation of Ensigns D’Haran and Mudd, and T’Ken’s affiliation with the Romulan Star Empire.  He also noticed that there was a conspicously large amount of officer transferred to the ship over the last few months…all of which were on the Engineering section.

As they made their way to K-90, they were intercepted by 2 Excelsior-class cruisers.  The junior officers were detained in the brig, and the saucer section towed back to an unknown Starbase, where the junior staff were transferred to holding cells while awaiting the military tribunal.

Languishing in the holding cells for days, tensions flared.  D’Haran become more angry by the day, with Huron Mudd bemoaning the situation and the spectre of a penal colony and T’Ken stoic silence driving D’Haran angrier by the minute.  After 4 days, they had their first visitor, Admiral Raines, who offered them a conditional way out…if they agreed to her terms.

Admiral Raines’ proposal was simple: she suspected they had nothing to do with the event and the charges were falsified, but she had no direct proof to contradict the narrative.  In order to prove their innocence and get their records expunged, they would need to capture Arenton Ring and find out what his plan was.  She explained the Tholians were, at best, mildly antagonistic towards the Federation, Arenton Ring could cause a sector-wide disturbance and the opening of a 3 front war.  In order to circumvent the situation, she would task the 3 ensigns with infiltrating the crew of a decommissioned Federation starship graciously donated to a group of Bajoran missionaries heading towards the Tholian/Klingon border – as the Bajorans were being courted by the Dominion, they were granted dispensation to travel through Tholian space as part of negotiations between the Dominion and the Tholians.  Once they stopped Arenton, they would have their records expunged.

With no other course available, they agreed.

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