The Volant continued on its system surveys of the Shackleton Expanse. Over in Ten Forward, Drezz Klynn sought out Ensign Fisher, to discuss how he was dealing with the death of Ensign Smith, since they had been friends. Drezz made sure Fisher knew that he cared about what happened to everyone on the ship, and if he ever had any issues, he was welcome to approach Drezz with them. Elsewhere, Barret sought out T’rel to start to get her perspective, as a Security officer, on how things were going so far.
On the bridge, Khurron reported receiving a faint distress signal, from just a few lightyears away. K’mir ordered the Volant to respond, and they arrived to find a massive ship, roughly a kilometer in diameter, damaged from what appeared to be disruptor and photon torpedo attacks; the ship appeared to have no weapons. Upon being hailed, the humanoid aliens aboard were shocked the Volant seemed to speak their language, only to quickly hypothesize the existence of universal translators. They then warned the Volant away; there were already 10 million aboard the vessel, and they wanted no one else to die when the warp core exploded, which could happen within minutes.
K’mir offered to send Drezz and a volunteer engineering team aboard, which was accepted; Drezz quickly managed to stabilize the warp core, though it might still take several days of repair before the vessel would be able to enter warp again.
The aliens were the Tondu people, led by Authoritar Shah Buwar, and Lead Observer Twill Hurro. They believed their colony ship may be the last surviving vessel of the evacuation of Tondar, their homeworld. Five weeks ago, their Science Academy had been attacked, and some of their advanced studies had been stolen, with surviving witnesses claiming monsters attacking the facility. Within days, there were signs of the Tondar star destabilizing. The Tondar star abruptly went supernova in the space of a month. They were thankfully close to developing a warp engine, and finished the designs. The vessel itself had been constructed long ago as a thought exercise; they wanted to be prepared if their world was hit by an asteroid or something similar. Much of the vessel was filled with Tondu people in stasis — as many as they could evacuate. Only a few dozen remained active, to control the ship. As they talked, it quickly became clear the Tondu people were a peaceful people who engaged in a wide range of scientific and artistic pursuits.
Explaining how they were damaged, the Tondu noted that they were attacked by an alien vessel a few hours before. They had no weapons, and instead sent out a distress signal. Shortly after that, the attacking vessel retreated — perhaps unwilling to fight a Federation vessel that was on its way. Authoritar Buwar sketched the attacking vessel, and Drezz quickly recognized it: it was a Nausicaan Scourge ship.
Shortly after this, the Nausicaan ship, the Tarkarahen, returned, hailing the Volant. The captain reported he wished to surrender, but only to the Great Drezz Klynn. Drezz noted that he had once saved a major colony world of the Nausicaans from an energy wave that would have wiped out the whole world, and since then, he’s been something of a hero to the Nausicaans. He negotiated the Nausicaan vessel’s surrender, and they dropped shields to allow the captain to beam over. However, the moment the shields were down, Drezz began to be transported away. Khurron, reacting quickly, managed to grab hold of Drezz and transport with him. Once Drezz was gone, the Tarkarahen jumped to warp.
The Volant warned the Tondu ship that they needed to go, but promised to be back as quickly as they could; they then pursued.
Aboard the Tarkarahen, Drezz and Khurron found themselves in a brig; Khurron immediately began testing the strength of the brig’s energy shield with his bat’leth. The captain of the Tarkarahen came to speak with Drezz, and explained what had happened.
The Tarkarahen had been contacted by Isma, a Darian woman from a planet nearby without access to warp technology. Their world had wealth, and Isma was willing to part with it in exchange for advanced technology. They sold her a few pieces — disruptors, shields, and similar technology — and then promised to bring her more. The Naussicans had learned of the Tondu, and saw they had some technology, so they attacked the science center on Tondar. They found plans for a device that could use phased tachyon beams to push a star through its solar lifespan rapidly (entirely theoretical; it was never constructed). The Nausicaans stole this technology, along with a few other designs, and left; they constructed the device, calling it the Stargrave Device, according to the schematics, and used it to destroy the Tondar star. This had two effects: it would prove the device worked, and it would assure the technology remained valuable. When they learned the Tondu had escaped, they moved to destroy the Tondar vessel, to assure there would be no survivors who could recreate the technology. When they learned the Volant was moving to intercept, with Drezz Klynn aboard, they retreated. A shuttle with representatives from both Naussican vessels was dispatched to seal the deal with Isma. However, they returned to the Volant to kidnap Klynn; they hoped to cut him in on their deal by having him create new technology. But failing that, they are willing to just sell Drezz outright to Isma. Drezz, horrified, refused to help them, while Khurron continued to test the strength of the field. The Captain informed him that he had best cooperate if he wanted his Klingon friend to remain unharmed, and returned to the bridge.
The Volant caught up to the Tarkarahen and forced it out of warp. The Volant moved aggressively, getting up close to the Nausicaan vessel and unleashing focused phaser attacks, targeting just the ship’s weapon systems. As the Tarkarahen took damage, the shields in the brig weakened enough that Khurron managed to breakthrough. He began attacking the Nausicaans there, while Drezz further sabotaged the Tarkarahen’s systems. While the Tarkarahen fired back, the Volant’s shields held, and soon the Tarkarahen’s weapon systems were destroyed, and their shields were down. In addition, the Volant managed to catch the Nausicaan vessel in a tractor beam, preventing them from retreating again.
In short order, Drezz and Khurron were returned to the bridge — with Khurron mid-strike with his bat’leth. After expressing disappointment that his attack was interrupted, he thanked the others for returning him and Drezz to the Volant. Shortly after that, the Nausicaan crew was captured and loaded onto the Volant’s brig. When Drezz and Khurron explained what the Nausicaan captain had told them, K’mir realized they needed to intercept the Nausicaan shuttle and its deal with this alien Isma.
Commander Barret took command of the Tarkarahen, bringing a skeleton crew and Drezz along. With the Volant accompanying them, but staying just past sensor readings, the new Tarkarahen crew reached out to the Nausicaan shuttle, which was in orbit over Isma’s homeworld. The four Nausicaans on the shuttle, believing Drezz was a willing participant, invited him over to meet Isma, who had already been transported aboard the shuttle.
Drezz arrived and met the enthusiastic Isma, who was interested to learn whatever he had to offer. The Nausicaans brought out the first piece of technology stolen from the Tondu — the Stargrave Device — and Barret, listening in through Drezz’s communicator, acted immediately. The Nausicaans were transported directly into the Tarkarahen’s brig; the Stargrave device was then transported to the Tarkarahen’s storage, and finally, Drezz was transported back to the Tarkarahen. Shortly after this, he had Isma transported back to her planet’s surface.
With this threat to the Prime Directive dealt with, at least for now, the Volant and the Tarkarahen returned to the Tondu vessel, where they escorted it back to Narendra station, where Authoritar Buwar could begin talks for her people to receive aid from the Federation in finding a new homeworld, and even entertain the possibility of joining the Federation. The Tarkarahen was turned over, along with the Nausicaan prisoners. As Barret returned to the Volant, K’mir asked him how he enjoyed his first command. Barret responded that he preferred the Volant.
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