A fiery nebula and stellar nursery

Dark Places

A little under the week since the disasterous incident involving the destruction of the USS Cincinnatus, the Potemkin returned to Starbase 74 for debriefing and to finally have the viewscreen patched up. An official investigation was launched about the destruction of the Cincinnatus, so the 'Tem was ordered not to roam too far. However, a unique opportunity has presented itself to keep the crew occupied while waiting for word from the powers that be.

The Pollard Mining Facility, a contractor to Starfleet as a source of uridium, is in need for its yearly review so that the contract can continue. Every year a team is sent to assess the mining facility, it's systems (such as ore processing and life support), operation, and capacity. Since it's in a neighboring system to the Starbase, the 'Tem was dispatch to carry out this inspection. As the sim opened, a small away team had been dispatched to the surface via shuttlecraft (mineral deposits made transportation and underground communications impossible). Prax, Rollands, Micheal, Melina, Ryan, and Savage had been in the facility for a little over an hour and things seemed kosher so far.

The away team was guided by Charlotte "Charlie" Pollard, a member of the family that ran the mine. At Prax's suggested, they split up to explore different shafts of the dark tunnels and blue rock. Prax led Rollands and Savage down the north tunnel, while Pollard guided Micheal, Melina, and Ryan down another route.All seemed well, but Savage's tricorder began to pick up strange energy fluctuations coming from up ahead. During this time, those still on board the Potemkin were trying to cope with not having to do anything. They didn't have to worry, a shuttle was picked up heading their way. It was definitely a Federation vessel, and it was on an intercept course.

The shuttled identified it as the shuttlecraft R101, and was being piloted by the one and only Joseph Cornell. He requested permission to dock, which was met than a less than enthused reaction from those still on the ship. Meanwhile, the away teams in the mines both began to pick up random power spikes. Savage, Rollands, and Prax followed theirs to an old air filtrations system that seemed to be slowly accumulating excess energy. Pollard, Melina, and Micheal found the power conduits along their shaft active -sending pulses of power along the shaft. This was strange, as all power was supposed to shut off. Of course, it didn't take much deductive reasoning to figure out that explosive power next to volatile uridium was not such a good idea.

Before they all could get out of the way, a massive explosion ripped out from the air filtration system. It set off a massive chain reaction that traveled down the conduits, blowing out the ones in the corridor where Pollard, Melina, and Micheal were. The blasts managed to cause two simultaneous cave ins that stranded the away teams in virtual darkness. Pollard managed to find an emergency box with oxygen canisters and torches so they could work on a way out. However, Micheal seemed to be missing. Prax and Rollands were faring much better; Savage could not be found, Prax's leg was stuck underneath some machinery, and Rollands was left stumbling about in the dark. Up on the 'Tem, Cornell had found his way onto the bridge and asked/ordered everyone into the Observation Lounge. There he stated Starfleet's disappointed about the loss of the Cincinnatus and that this latest incident was the spark to the powder keg.

Rollands, meanwhile, was busy trying to move away enough debris to free Prax. He struck up a conversation with her to make the time pass faster. Finally, she was able to lift up the metal equipment pinning him down, and Prax managed to work his foot free. At the same time, Melina and Pollard managed to find some mining laser drills and they came up with an idea to cut through the rock wall to reach an elevator to the surface. At the same time, however, the communications panel began to spark... Ship side, Cornell continued his tirade again the crew. He asked about the readiness of the ship and made several thinly veiled threats about replacing the command staff, going so far as to blatantly offer Fuller the executive officer position under the next captain.

Pollard had the idea to blow a hole through the wall, using the uridium and a controlled explosion. She set her drill to overload and she and Melina took cover. Rollands and Prax were trying to figure out the best way to escape seeing as they only had one hand drill between them. Soon, a loud rumble echoed through the cavern. Rather than be a herald of future cave ins though, it was Pollard and Melina finally breaking out of where they had been trapped. While they were working of getting free, the noose was tightening around Warp's neck. Cornell revealed that he was their to inform them of a hearing to be held to discuss all the unusual events surrounding the Potemkin. While he was not going to act like the prosecution again, he would certainly be there to witness the whole thing. He then left, leaving the crew to take in this newest problem.

While a reunited away team considered how to get to the emergency lift, there was yet another rumbling sound. This time, however, it was a rescue crew led by Johann Schmitt, one of the miners. He explained, while getting the team out of their hole, that an old generator had been hooked to the wrong line and had caused all the problems. Schmitt also revealed that he had Ryan, Micheal, and Savage with him; they had managed to get out before the cave ins. The facility also contacted the 'Tem to inform them of the problems and that they would return the crew safely. Warp ominously stated that the away team had gone from one dark hole into yet an even blacker one...

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