Captain’s Personal Log, Stardate 47280.6
Captain Matsumoto Sulu
I can’t hide my disappointment that, barely 100 days since we started our exploration of the Shackleton Expanse, I and Excelsior are being recalled back to Narendra Station: our task has hardly started. My disappointment is only slightly offset by the personal message I received from Grandfather’s old friend, Admiral To’Pah.
“Your actions against the Borg have swept across Starfleet, and even led to rumours amongst the population. Of course Starfleet couldn’t confirm that we had Borg incursion on the cards, but it’s hard to hide the mobilisation of a huge fleet, most of whom would unlikely ever return to see their families again. I know it’s against regulation, but you can understand the crews of those ships perhaps saying a subtle final farewell that their loved ones would inevitably recognise for what it was. I’m glad to say the news of your victory reached us swiftly, and the smug smiles of our leadership have reassured all that there was never anything to worry about.
The name Matsumoto Sulu is on everyone’s lips and some are making – in my view premature – comparisons with your illustrious Grandfather, Admiral Hikaru. You have the potential to be something special, but you must earn that over years and not months. But nonetheless Matsumoto, your reputation has gone through the roof, and you should leave plenty of time in your and your crew’s diary for awards ceremonies and banquets on your eventual return to Earth.”
It’s only 178 days since Admiral To’Pah handed me my orders to assume command of Excelsior, my first as Captain. And here I am – here we are – the first Captain and crew to single-handedly face and defeat a Borg Cube and five Spheres. Obviously in Official Despatches I have given Captain Harper and the crew of Aurora every credit and commendation they deserve, and faithfully recorded the actions of Commander Nurama. But in the privacy of my Personal Log I feel I can record the sense of personal pride and satisfaction that I may have what it takes to begin to repair the dishonour of my father and to earn that premature comparison with my Grandfather.
I’m also very pleased to say that my senior crew have all performed with great dedication and professionalism, and Rekan and Resh have richly earned their promotions to full Commander, and Torgh to Lieutenant Commander.
But still I have a slight sense of grumpiness at the fact of our recall. But we cannot depart before our relief arrives, and USS Venture, Bellerophon and Thunderchild are still two weeks away. We will watch and wait, standing guard until they arrive.
Captain’s Personal Log, Stardate 47343.7
It was good to see the Galaxy Class Venture drop out of warp at our position. I briefed her Captain, Garrett Stasny, on the situation as my crew prepared Excelsior for departure. But Stasny had a request: in the rush to reach the wormhole Stasny had been forced to leave a five-strong science team behind on a moon, studying a violent Class Y planet, not unlike Venus back home but with much strong fluctuations of a range of radiations. They had detected something, some strange energy signatures, in the broiling atmosphere of the planet, and the team – led by Stasny’s brother, Commander Malik Stasny – had stayed behind with enough rations to last 10 weeks. The request: could we stop by on the way back to Narendra Station and pick them up, before their supplies ran out.
It was a five week journey at Warp 8, which would get us to their temporary installation on the planet’s moon with a good week to spare. But on arrival we could not hail them, and our scans of their camp showed little sign of life and no shuttle, of which there should have been one. Wider scans of the planet and her moons gave us no clue, but the thermionic radiation flooding the planet’s atmosphere was scrambling our sensors.
Lieutenant Commander Torgh led an away team to the installation, with Chief Engineer Resh in support. Accessing the camp’s logs we learned that the team of five consisted of the commander, Stasny, a xenobiologist called Nicole Dewitt, an Engineer, Jared Callaghan, another Klingon exchange officer, Khorg, their pilot, and a Bajoran medic, Melko Trop. The last entry had been six days previously, and they had signed off before taking the shuttle to get into a lower orbit to investigate the energy signatures from a closer range, cutting through the intense radiation. Torgh muttered something about the stupidity of taking the whole team, but then with only one shuttle there’s little anyone left behind could do to help.
We turned our attention to the planet, and soon found a weak energy trace of the shuttle. The challenge to actually find it was not insignificant: the upper atmosphere was very turbulent, the thermionic radiation was intense and prone to erupt in focused bursts, and the volcanic activity left the atmosphere corrosive and full of ash and molten dust. First Officer Rekan was able to predict a path and plot out a search area for its likely location. But we had to move fast: the specs of the shuttle give us some hope it could survive a week in this atmosphere but not much longer.
We agreed a plan: Rekan and Resh would take one shuttle, fly into low orbit and scan for the science team; while I and Torgh would remain in a second shuttle, at higher altitude and safer from the atmosphere, ready to mount the rescue once the team were located. As the best qualified pilot on Excelsior I decided I must fly the rescue shuttle, despite Rekan’s opposition.
Rekan’s Search shuttle (below) with Sulu’s Rescue shuttle
Rekan’s shuttle took a lot of damage with little success, and I was on the verge of calling off the rescue attempt. It was then that the strange energy signatures appeared, directly ahead of Rekan and seemingly leading them down. They seemed alive! But even though we had no idea of their intentions Rekan decided to follow them. It was then they detected the Venture’s science team, a shuttle crashed on the raised centre of a volcanic crater. Rekan and Resh fired the coordinates to me and immediately pulled away, as I dived the rescue team into the maelstrom. It was hard work, the shuttle “bucking like a Targh on the deck of an Umbah” according to my Klingon Tactical Officer. But despite some false starts and crunching a landing strut into the rock we managed to get close enough to transfer the science team to my shuttle. This included the body of Engineer Callaghan, who had sadly died when their shuttle came down. We pulled away, again led by the planet’s strange energy creatures, and soon escaped the atmosphere.
This place warrants further exploration and investigation.
I am convinced we have had some form of First Contact with the creatures in the atmosphere, and that they had helped us succeed in our rescue: they may well have had a hand in helping Venture’s shuttle reach the ground in one piece, as it was perched on the only outcrop of solid rock for kilometres.
But now we are on final approach to Narendra Station. Despite my initial misgivings when I received the recall, I find myself with feelings of relief at the sight of the great space base. I’m looking forward to a few weeks of very well-earned rest and recuperation for me and my crew.
Captain’s Log, Supplemental: Stardate 47344.2
Well, no R&R for us.
It seems that my old friend, Commander Nurama, has got herself into trouble for advocating warmer relations with the Federation, and needs our help. I’m not clear if she has asked for asylum or needs rescuing, but it seems I, and my crew, have been chosen to go into Romulan space and see what we can do, but not with Excelsior…