Literary Challenge #11 : Hidden Agendas
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Join Date: Dec 2007
The List - Part 1
01-31-2012, 04:15 PM
Captains Log …
I don’t very much feel like a captain today. Captains don’t fail their ship and their crew the way that I have.
I remember when I first became a captain of a starship. I thought it was the greatest moment in my life. I was young and naïve. And, all of those boring briefings, in the painstaking detail that only a Vulcan can muster, outlining all of the dos and don’ts that a starship captain has to know in order to properly command a Starfleet vessel. In that moment, I was sure that I was going to die of boredom. Until, that is, they revealed the list.
Anyone that has been through the Academy has heard of the list through rumor, ghost stories, and tall tales that the cadets tell to younger classmates. However, no cadet has ever actually seen the list, since it is one of those things that are for Captain’s eyes only. The list contains the names of approximately a dozen worlds that are deemed to be off limits and carries with it the penalty of death for its violators. According to General Order 7 all starships are to remain a minimum of three light years away from any system on the list.
You can imagine my surprise when I received orders from Starfleet command ordering us to Camus II, one of the planets on that infernal list. With the orders came some vague details about Camus. Specifically, in 2269, a team of scientist vanished while conducting the initial planetary survey. Their final transmissions to command discussed the discovery of ancient ruins that they believed once belonged to a highly advanced race of people.
So what exactly happened on Camus II? I’ve asked that question dozens of times and no matter how I try; it does not make complete sense. I’m hoping that by recording this log, I can better understand what exactly happened on Camus II.
We had a small window of opportunity, only 72 hours to get in, learn as much as we can, get out, and file our report with Starfleet Command. If they did not receive our report on time, they would issue orders for my ship and crew to be found and destroyed at all costs.
Upon getting these orders, the first thing I did was provide my helms man with the coordinates for Camus II (since our computers don’t list it on any star chart), and set a course to arrive in two days’ time. Then, I set about to organize several away teams to beam down to the planet and search the various locations mentioned in the researcher’s logs. I wanted to see these ruins for myself, so I decided to lead teams Alpha and Beta myself.
When we reached the planet, the away teams beamed down to their respective locations and began to setup camp. Once our tents were up, and all of our immediate supplies unpacked, I manned the base camp’s communications array until every team checked in that they were ready to begin scouting the surrounding country side for clues to what happened to the scientists, the civilization that once called the planet home, and anything else unusual. If something was found, I expected to be notified immediately; otherwise, they were to report back in four hours.
I slung my pack on my back and ordered my team to follow me as I started down the steep decline that spanned the distance between our camp and the ancient ruins. It was after nearly 20 minutes of slipping and sliding down hill before we reached the outskirts of what had once been a city buried under millennia of neglect and natural reclamation. We spent the next two and a half hours defying our natural curiosity for every little oddity that we encountered in order to cover as much ground as we could. Later, back at camp, we analyzed our data and determined how we would spend the next day and a half of our little excursion.
Back at camp …
I think that’s when it all started. The system’s star had begun to set and the other away teams were checking in and uploading their data to the ship. Ration packs were heated and passed around. I was in the middle of a vegetarian burrito, when the biologist on my team, called for my attention. Setting my dinner aside, I found her at the perimeter field generators. When I reached her, she silently gestured towards something. I followed her gaze to a tiny pin-***** of light that seemed to dance on the wind.
“A firefly …,” I stated.
She shook her head without taking her eyes off it. “Watch,” she finally said as she tossed a morsel of her dinner at it.
The sparkle of light adjusted its trajectory and passed without resistance through leaves, branches, tall grass, and a small boulder to rendezvous with the hunk of roast beef.
“Fascinating,” I had replied. Then, I heard a crewman behind me start yelling. I turned just in time to see him swatting at several of the glimmers that buzzed around him, surely to get at his dinner.
“Stand down,” I ordered. “There’s nothing you can do to them. They appear to be either non-corporeal or aligned slightly out of phase with the rest of us.” It sounded reassuring, although I couldn’t be certain as to what exactly it was. Reaching for my tricorder, I turned back towards the shimmer that the biologist had been watching so closely, but it had gone. “Where did it go?” I asked.
“I guess it had its fill, cause it just left—”
Suddenly, the crewman behind me cried out in pain. “It just bit me!”
The biologist and I approached the crewman. He was no longer worried about his dinner, and was more concerned with the small red welt on his arm. “It burns,” he exclaimed. The biologist began to treat the injury as I studied the sparkles closely. They were buzzing about above our heads. I stuck my tricorder into the air as close to them as I can reach, and scanned. Exhibiting curiosity, the glints of light approached the tricorder and buzzed around it, as if studying the palm-sized device. Withdrawing the scanner, I studied the results, or should I say the lack of them.
Although, the evening ran long, that was the last notable incident involving the strange creatures for the rest of the night.