A fiery nebula and stellar nursery

Alone In A Crowd

After refueling at Dunharrow III, the Potemkin continued its mission to explore the Beta Quadrant. Starfleet contacted the 'Tem to request that it make secondary contact with Vandos - a densely populated city-planet that the Federation had made contact with a decade previously.

The ship arrived Vandos, a solitary planet orbiting two blue stars. The 'Tem gained clearance to park in geosynchronous orbit and to beam down and visit the metropolis of 120 billion citizens. The away team, led by Warp and Prax, assembled in transporter room two for beam down. Lieutenant Gayla, filling in for Nguyen, sent the team on their way to the surface.

The away team found itself on a giant platform, swarming with people. Not only that, but the platform was transparent and they could see at least four levels down - all bustling. While the crew enjoyed the view, they were approached by the greeting party; there were two male and two female Vandosians of a mean height of 5'2", and one exceptionally tall Arab looking man of at least 7'5". One of the woman introduced herself as Prime Minister Iato, the other woman as Minister Jast, the two men as Ministers Sek and Thal, and the tall man as Science Minister Rama.

Iato eagerly led the away team on, showing off the wonders of the city. At the heart of it was the Spire, the energy hub of the city. Inside was a fantastic engine burning with all sorts of energy. Iato explained that this was the stellar engine and it basically built stars and destroyed them every hour to produce phenomenal amounts of energy, and would continue to do so as long as hydrogen and helium existed on Vandos. Ryan, by accidentally knocking over a vase, also demonstrated a passive security system that allowed for the engine to be so out in the public. Everyone was much impressed by the massive machine, although Arkin's readings struck her as oddly familiar.

As Rama explained about the engine and its working, it raised several questions from the crew, mostly Arkin who was not trusting of the technology. As she began to question deeper and deeper, Rama became a little frustrated. Finally the science officer revealed that the stellar engine was basically the same as the energy field around the galactic core and the galactic barrier. When pressed for an answer of why they were so similar, Rama finally simply admitted that he had built those too!

After Warp mentioned that he knew the barrier's name to be "Hecatonchires," Rama admitted that he was Ramses or Ozymandias. This caused the crew a bit of concern, considering their disastrous encounters with Zeus and Hyperion, but Ozymandias tried to put those fears at ease. He claimed that he only wished to live a quiet life where he could impart his knowledge and not be worshiped.

When he learned that Zeus had been freed once again, Ozymandias was torn between his quiet existence and returning to the fray. Finally he decided that something had to be done, but warned that it took ten Olympians to imprison Zeus the first time. With a flash he transported the whole crew back to the bridge of the Potemkin and announced that he needed the crew's help in combating his old foe. Suddenly, the 'Tem's engines fired up and the ship took off, accelerating past warp 9.99...

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