A fiery nebula and stellar nursery

Playing With Rocks

Two weeks after the events of "Incognito" the 'Tem has not been able to get the bridge fully functional again - the viewcreen can't be replicated and was left a viewing hole. With time on their hands until the next layover at a starbase, and the Ascendants being more quieter than usual, orders came in to do some tactical training for the next encounter with the zealous amphibians. The Potemkin was sent to the Orlan system, which has a heavy ring of dust and asteroids in a tight orbit around its star. Fuller and Ryan were to take out the fighters Apollyon and Lancaster (respectively) while Melina, Savage, and Rollands went out in the runabout Tiber to hunt down Prax; he was in the Captain's Gig, the Hawking, and would be acting as a Ascendant decoy. Meanwhile, Arkin, Arnet, and Captain Mitchell would be monitoring from the bridge.

The sim started with the Hawking already in the field, hiding and running cold. Chief Petty Officer T'Par, the acting Auxiliary Vessel Control officer, on the bridge gave the order for the fighters and runabout to take off and begin the exercise. They darted out into space, flanked by two type-11 shuttlecraft. Initial scans failed to turn up anything, mainly do to metallic deposits in the asteroids. Their search was not helped any by a flare on Orlan, which sent out an increase of solar wind along with messing with all EM fields. Prax used the glare to round an asteroid and strike a few shots on to the nose of the Tiber.

Prax continued to harass the fighters and runabout, but managed to get clipped by some shots from Fuller. The flare was now passing the 'Tem and threatened to break down communications until had passed. The fleet was heading deep into the asteroid field in search of the elusive Mr. Prax. Fuller managed to strike the Hawking a few more times before it disappeared behind a large asteroid. At this time the sun flared up again, filling com channels with static once again. It quickly subsided, but another followed on it's tail - at the worst possible moment. As Prax made ready to surprise the fleet again, his eyes found something more than rock and dust in the field...

The Potemkin's sensors began detecting another vessel out in the field at the same time. Due to the EM interference, the fleet was none the wiser until Prax shot out from behind the asteroid with a large sleek (and armed) vessel on his tail. It had a decent weapons compliment, but also several large sensor pods. The fleet was ordered to fall back to the 'Tem, and in the nick of time. The vessel let out some phaser fire that just missed striking the Tiber. That was apparently a warning shot, as another beam lanced out and took the Apollyon's shields down to 70%. Warp tried hailing the alien vessel while simultaneously ordering the Potemkin in to the field to rescue the fleet.

Prax tried to harass the ship and give the fleet more time, but his limited phasers were absorbed harmlessly while the larger vessel aimed it weapon's at him. Meanwhile, Arkin was able to identify the ship as Axlorian - the species that ran everything by consensus. At this, Warp began trying broadcast a message of peace again, saying that the Federation were friends with the Axlorians. T'Par ordered all ships back to the 'Tem, noting that the auxiliary vessels were not moving out of concern for Prax. The Hawking, during all this, had to pull up sharply to avoid being pounded by the Axlorian weaponry. It eventually bounced off their shield and was sent spinning out of control.

Warp jumped to the helm, and ordered the rest of the fleet to enter using the aft bay doors while he went after the Hawking. The 'Tem had fired a warning shot off of the Axlorian bow, so they had stopped for the moment. The gliding Potemkin swallowed up the damaged Hawking like a frog gulping up a fly before turning to deal with the newest threat. The crew was a little beat up after the ordeal, Prax most of all, but good over all. Finally, around this time, the Axlorians opened communications, presented themselves as the science vessel Collaboration, and announced that they had been attacked and that they would defend themselves!

The Axlorians did not seem to believe that the 'Tem was merely doing tactical simulations, even after hearing testimony from Warp. Their consensus turned up a demand that the ship leave the system immediately or risked being fired on. Only after Warp mentioned the Fellowship, did the Axlorian begin to listen. Still distrustful, they convened again and finally agreed that the Fellowship's report did speak of a Federation vessel called "Potemkin." They, in turn, stated that they had been greatly interested in this particular star and had recently arrived to study it. After a moment Warp was able to negotiate by saying that the 'Tem would leave the system and the Axlorians would begin broadcasting a transponder signal so the situation would not repeat itself again. After yet another convening, the Axlorians agreed.

With that, Warp ordered Ryan to take the ship out of the system and toward their next destination...

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