A fiery nebula and stellar nursery


Three weeks had passed since the transporter mishap over Xenia. Melina and Arkin had more or less recovered fully from their misadventures on the ice moon. An hour ago, the Potemkin received a broken distress signal from an unknown vessel. The female voice in the message requested urgent assistance and noted many lives in peril. The crew has been unable to identify the ship, but were able to obtain a position fix on the signal. The ship was approaching the location at warp 8 and was dropping to impulse near the location of the source of the distress signal.

The ship was not like any previously encountered. It was not responding to hails at all, but visual showed a slender gray vessel with a good deal of scarring on the port side. Arkin theorized that it was possible that it could be weapons damage. However, before any more theorizing could begin, the speakers suddenly crackled to life.

The communication was extremely scattered, but the ship managed to identify itself as the Arel. It was impossible to gleam much more information before the signal drop completely. A few quick scans showed the ship to be structurally unsound and having a compliment of three hundred twenty-six. Warp made the decision to transport the lot to Cargo Bay 1, and Arkin, Hara, and Melina were dispatched to receive the first of the refugees. As an added precaution, Xan had Ensign Takahashi gather a security detail to watch over those in the cargo bay.

Refugees began to arrive in the cargo bay. Tall white skinned aliens who seemed scared at their new surroundings. It took only a moment for Arkin and the rest to recognize their species - they were Wotal. This sent a serious ripple through the crew, especially the ones who had run in with the Wotal before. Even worse, a vessel was detected at high warp, heading toward the 'Tem's current heading. Even while medical teams were arriving in the cargo bay, Warp ordered the ship to remain at yellow alert.

In the cargo bay, one of the Wotal approached Arkin and introduced herself as Ser, captain of the colony ship Arel. She explains that they experienced engine trouble and a plasma fire raged in the engine room. Even though Arkin had her doubts, Warp ordered her to bring Ser up to the bridge. While all of this was going on, the vessel from earlier dropped from warp in front of the 'Tem. It was immediate apparent that it was Wotal - worse than that, it was Rin's ship.

Rin hailed the Potemkin, demanding that the crew release the "Wotal hostages." Warp tried to talk him down and explain the circumstances, but Rin would not hear of it. He pointed out that the Arel looked like it had been fired on and accused Warp of an attack against the Wotal Confederacy. Ser, who had just been explaining to Arkin that the Arel was looking to colonize a world 20 light years away, arrived on the bridge at this point. Despite her attesting to the contrary, Rin continued to believe that the Potemkin had intentionally fired on the Arel and captured her crew. A situation that was not helped by the Arel's suddenly destruction from the previously sustained damage.

Warp ordered shields up and the channel cut, as Rin was obviously not going to believe anything said. Ser apologized for her fellow captain's behavior and promised to report Rin to the military authorities. The captain has offered to take Ser to her destination in the Beta Andronii system. Unfortunately, Rin fired on the Potemkin and demanded once again that Warp release his "prisoners." In response, the order was given to shoot a warning shot off of Rin's bow and then set a course for Beta Andronii at warp 6.

Unfortunately, Rin fired a torpedo at the 'Tem's dorsal shield and set off in pursuit at warp 6.3. He continued to launch torpedoes, bringing down the dorsal shields to 56%. Ser, acting quickly, requested to use the 'Tem's communication's console to contact her government. Meanwhile, Warp ordered a few phaser shots at Rin's vessels, but the ship only received another volley of torpedoes for its trouble.

Unexpectedly, Rin hailed again and said that his government had ordered him to stand down. This he did unwillingly, but still breathing out threatenings and murmurings. He disengaged his pursuit and broke off. Relieved, Ser expressed her gratefulness to Warp and asked to attend to her colonists. The captain, meanwhile, ordered the ship to all stop in order to fix any damage before moving on to Beta Andronii.

An important enemy was back, but some unexpected allies had been gained.

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