Cargo freighters have been following routine routes back and forth across the neutral zone. At this time, the neutral zone had been experiencing unusually intense Ion Storms directly in the path of the shipping lanes. Freighters had difficulty maneuvering through these storms, which made the job harder for the Stauffenberg and her crew. They had been tasked with performing Customs Inspections on all freighters crossing the neutral zone.
The next ship due for a border crossing was called ‘The Wandering Child’, owned by an Andorian shipping company. The freighter lost communications when it entered one of the large Ion Storms and had drifted far off course. The captain ordered the ship into the neutral zone and into the Ion Storm to intercept the freighter. He gave Nomen Clay the assignment to investigate with an away team.
The equipment loadout:
M’Binga – Tactical tricorder
Nomen Clay – Data tricorder – with civilian ship database
Skoan Medical tricorder, medical bag
Cy-Diddah – Engineering tricorder
The weapons loadout:
Phaser II pistol for all
Phaser Carbine for Genn A
Grenades for M’Binga
2 stun, 1 flash-bang, 1 concussion
1x Transporter beacon
The captain suggested the team use the transporter to beam over to the ship, but the team insisted on taking an admin shuttle with Skoan at the helm. The captain moved the Stauffenberg to within transport range of the freighter and launched the shuttle.
The shuttle rocked and turned violently through the Ion Storm, attempting to get closer to the freighter. Several team members became nauseous and lost a few HPs. Skoan skillfully brought the shuttle close to the shuttle hatch of the ship. There was still no communication from the freighter and the shuttle bay doors were closed.
At this time, Nomen attempted to take remote control of the freighter via the control console of the shuttle. He made the skill roll and was about to command the freighter to open the shuttle bay doors….
Suddenly, the shuttle lost all power. It floated helplessly in the emptiness of space.
The emergency power systems on the shuttle came on but it was only enough to illuminate the emergency lights. Everyone put on their emergency oxygen masks and looked through the portals. Outside the shuttle, they could not see stars and they could make out the faint image of the freighter which appeared to have lost all power as well. They could not see the Stauffenberg anywhere.
Skoan successfully fired the shuttle’s grappling hook at the freighter. M’Binga and Genn started cranking the manual winch to slowly pull the shuttle closer to the freighter. But, the shuttle bay doors were still closed.
Two space suits were stored on the shuttle. Cy and Genn suited up and climbed out of the shuttle through the pressurized hatch. But, they noticed that space had somehow become something different. Rather than an empty vacuum, space had become a thick liquid. They could swim through it like water. Cy swam to the freighter and was able to use an old manual hatch control to open the shuttle bay doors. Cy and Genn climbed onto the shuttle bay deck. Once there, they pulled the winch line and dragged the shuttle into the shuttle bay.
The freighter was in the same condition as the shuttle. All engines were off and all decks were completely dark. The emergency life support systems had turned on but they estimated only 8 hours of life support remaining.
Using their tricorders as flashlights, they found a spiral staircase leading up to the rest of the ship. They made their way to the auxilliary control room. There they found 2 dead Andorian crewmen with massive stab wounds in their chests and their Andorian antennae torn out! Who would do such a thing? Clearly, there was a murderer on board.
They continued searching and the team found the door to the main bridge. It was sealed tight with no way to jury rig it without ship’s power. A tricorder scan showed 6 beings in the bridge with indeterminate life signs.
The ship had only 7.5 hours of life support…