A fiery nebula and stellar nursery


Three days after picking up the trail of the Planet Killer through the anti-proton bursts emitted while destroying planets, the Potemkin has hit a dead end in its pursuit. Following their best guess, the crew entered the Yahta System to stop the Planet Killer before it can do more damage. However, so far there were no signs of anti-protons in seven light year wide area.

The Yahta System consisted of eight planets, with three of them being Class-M. Sensors found signs of industrialization on the seventh planet, and, for a split second, there was a flash of anti-protons in orbit of this world. The flash was gone as quickly as it came, but Prax ordered that they investigate. The planet appeared to be at about industrialization levels equal to 21st century Earth and to have massive amounts of pollution. The oceans and other water systems were contaminated, rain forests were depleted, and the cloud was being produced by industrial complexes in four dozen large cities.

Another anti-proton burst flared to life, detectable on the planet's horizon a bit from the 'Tem's current position. Another soon followed. As the ship moved into position, the crew discussed the state of the planet and how the inhabitants were most likely killing themselves. Melina detected a facility on the planet directly beneath where the burst were occurring and found signs of matter/anti-matter reactions. She had just relayed this information when another burst occurred, enveloping the ships.

The burst played havoc on power distribution. Lights blinked on and off, sensors were fuzzy, and an electromagnetic field surrounded the ship. The field kept shields from being initiated, and there was a steady power drain of 2 percent. Prax ordered the ship away from the area, but the ship only moved for a moment before coming to a dead stop. Adding to the problems, a smaller ship was detected leaving the surface. It was fueled by chemical propellants, but had warp engines onboard with a crew of three. It was soon followed by several other similar vessels.

They did not respond to hails and power kept siphoning. Then, the lead ship fastened onto the Potemkin and actually drilled into the hull! Two other vessels began a similar approach. Suddenly, intruder alerts sounded in the science labs on deck 3. Security contacted the bridge to say they had apprehended a boarding party on that deck. At this Prax ordered Fuller to fire on the ships. However, the phasers didn't work, and mixed with the electromagnetic field to increase the power drain. Meanwhile the two other ships arrived at the 'Tem and drilled into decks 4 and 5. And, on screen, another ship began to lower a tether toward the planet's surface - the first step to having a space elevator.

Security was able to take out the teams invading the ship, and Bom went to the brig to interrogate the prisoners. A man named J'ariano refused to answer most questions, but said that more of his people would come to take the ship. Bom correctly guessed they wanted to take the ship to leave their planet behind. He offered to help if they let the 'Tem go from their energy field. J'ariano refused to let the ship go and revealed that he and his people had done this before and it was necessary for the survival of his people. Up on the bridge Rollands and Arkin brainstormed silicate particles that could help clean up C02 in the atmosphere. However, power was dropping dangerously low now, J'ariano refused to believe it, and the space elevator was climbing from the surface with 100 more people aboard.

Bom decided that a demonstration would be in order. Rollands and Arkin set about to produce the particles and emit them through a discharge via the deflector dish. The treatment seemed to be working, but the ship's power was so low that the beam cut out after only a few minutes. With the ship only able to run the computer and life support, Bom put the ship's fate at the mercy of of the Yahtans. However, those in captivity saw the results from the 'Tem's attempt. Bom decided to allow them to return to those ships - but promising medicine and replicators to help the Yahtnas to recover. J'ariano acknowledged what the 'Tem had done so far and agreed to halt the attack.

A new friendship had begun between the Federation and the Yahtans.

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