M’Binga, Skoan, Morimoto, and Maeve returned to the Stauffenberg and briefed the captain. The “inspection” was a success in the fact that it revealed a possibility of a conspiracy but produced precious little evidence to follow up; and Capt. Williamson was running out of reasons to keep his Star Fleet vessel in orbit around an apparently peaceful and quiet colony planet.
The away team pleaded with the captain for another trip to the planet surface. They insisted that further investigation was necessary to find answers to several questions. So, the captain laid out some specific goals for the team to complete.
- Locate and identify the ship that slipped through the neutral zone while the sensor network was down. Why did it approach Colony B-4354?
- Find out what Governor Seabolt is hiding. Why is he acting suspiciously?
- Investigate the ruins of the 3rd Colony with the amateur historian John Smith. Why did the governor patrol this area with his aircraft?
- Find a connection between the Defense Satellites and the solid-fuel boosters. Is the missing shipment related to the Def Sats stolen from the Federation?
The captain would allow a team to return to the surface as long as they could find some evidence that would help achieve these goals. Relieved to be back on the case, M’Binga formed an away team which included: M’Binga, Skoan, Morimoto, Maeve Reeju, and 2 Marines, and a Marine pilot. He planned to take the team to the surface in a shuttle and equip everyone the standard ground load but kept the equipment on the shuttle. In the meantime, everyone carried phaser pistols, tricorders, and standard uniforms. The captain insisted that he be contacted immediately if any information was found.
At dawn (local time to the colony), the shuttle flew down and met John Smith on the municipal landing pad. John offered to take the team to the ruins in his TL8 off-road vehicle but they choose to fly the shuttle to the location. The ruins were located in the mountains some 30 miles away from the town.
They arrived at the ruins of the 3rd colony. The team spread out in search of ‘evidence’ of something. The old colony was built on a small plateau surrounded by steep hills rising about 100 meters above the plateau. The elevation was high enough that thick clouds slowly billowed over the ruins. All that was left of the colony were the short, battered stone walls of the old buildings. The roofs of all the buildings collapsed long ago. The floors were replaced by a thick carpet of winter grass. There was no sign of humanity left in this area; furniture, possessions, tools, vehicles had all been either scavenged or covered by earth and grass.
John Smith proceeded to give a brief lecture on the history of the 3rd colony. The people of that colony fell into some type of disagreement about the management of their new home. The details were never clear about the argument but the colonists separated in two groups. Eventually, the two groups started fighting amongst themselves. The fighting escalated into organized conflict and ultimately, all the colonists were killed to the last child. John said the colonists were most likely miners who found precious minerals in these mountains.
Maeve put down her tricorder, grabbed her portable shovel and started digging into the soil. She would stop occasionally to examine the strange worms she found and she put them into evidence bags; safekeeping for inspection back on the ship. “Scientists. Whatever!” scoffed M’Binga as he shook his head. Maeve continued her digging until she found something really interesting, a human skull! She put down her shovel and started excavating the dirt with her quad hands. Slowly she uncovered a complete skeleton with the remains of the old clothing! John Smith cheered this discovery and could barely contain his excitement. Maeve scanned the skeleton with her tricorder and found an old TL9 microchip in one of the fingers of the old gloves. Carefully, she cut out the microchip with a pen knife and tweezers. She handed it to Morimoto for further investigation.
Meanwhile, Skoan was searching another part of the ruins. There was a hole so completely disguised with grass and weeds that the Skoalean stepped into it! He fell down about 30 feet through a near-vertical tube cut into the earth. His Star Fleet issued TL12 standard uniform absorbed most of the damage from the fall. The other team members saw his fall and rushed to the hole and called down to him. Skoan called back and indicated that he was alright, but, he realized he had landed in a man-made tunnel. This tunnel lead to the east and appeared to be some type of mine shaft. He decided to explore this mine shaft. He followed it until he reached a large subterranean room. Scattered around this room were old mining equipment including power tools and mining carts. There were some air vents in the ceiling of the room that presumably led to the surface. Also, there were some large bat-like creatures hanging from the ceiling. On the opposite side of the room, there appeared to be another passageway that was sealed off by a styrofoam plug. Skoan walked to the plug and started cutting through the Styrofoam while not trying to wake the bat-creatures. After about 30 minutes, he had cut a hole big enough that he could crawl through. On the other side of the plug was another mine shaft. He walked for another 100 meters and reached a laser net. The laser net stretched across the width of the mine shaft. Skoan recorded his location and all information he gathered into his tricorder and returned to the surface.
On the surface, the team followed the direction of the mine shaft. It led them into the steep hills around the ruins. They continued until they reached a narrow ravine. In that ravine, they saw a triangular shaped redoubt fortress. Tricorder scans showed that the fort was protected by an energy shield. This was the evidence they were looking for! Clearly, this fort was still in use and was never mentioned by the Governor or his aide. M’Binga contacted the captain and the captain ordered them team back to the ship immediately.