A fiery nebula and stellar nursery

Purple Haze, Part I

At long last, after months of traveling across the Beta Quadrant, the Potemkin has reached the anti-proton anomaly, the Stellar Fountain. It has come as close to this new fuel source as it dares, ready to refill it's antimatter pods for the trip home. Several dozen other ships have also clustered around the anomaly for the same purpose.

The crew was all talking about finally reaching their destination, when Arnet suddenly asked that the viewscreen zoom in on a certain ship. The doctor, disbelievingly, proclaimed he had seen that ship before. Andrea O'Donnell had drawn it months earlier while the 'Tem was still in Romulan space.

Arkin searched through the database, but could find no hits on the ship. Arnet said he could swear they were in the drawings, but couldn't collaborate it because Andrea has some kind of fit that morning and had to ripped all her pictures to shreds before having to be sedated. As she was going under she kept muttering gibberish about a "blue haze," the same thing she had been drawing for months now.

As if on cue, a patch a what could only be described as blue haze drifted by the Potemkin's viewscreen. At first it was just a wisp, but grew denser and thicker. Warp ordered Arnet to retrieve Andrea, hoping she might be able to shed light on what they were experiencing. In the meantime the crew ran sensor scans on the haze, which was about 50 kilometers away.

Arnet returned to the bridge, reporting that Andrea was still under sedation. Meanwhile the haze had grown even thicker, making the viewscreen a patchy blue. Once it reached the shield boundary of the ship sensors picked up energy readings, but could not determine if there were lifesigns inside the haze or not.

Arkin was able to pinpoint a source for the haze, that it was emanating from somewhere off the ship's starboard side. When sensors were pointed in that direction it detected a planetary system in a "quiet zone" in the haze, something that had not been there before.

Cautious about all the coincidences happening at once, but also eager to find out the mystery of this haze and possibly how O'Donnell had come back to life, Warp ordered a course set for the system. The Potemkin jumped to warp, leaping away from the stellar fountain and toward this new mystery.

After a few minutes of smooth sailing, right before reaching it's destination the Potemkin suddenly lurched, dropping out of warp unexpectedly and coming into an eccentric orbit of it's destination. Anti-matter containment alarms blared to life all through engineering. In amazement Bom had to report to Warp that - for reasons he didn't understand - the anti-matter pods, filled to capacity just moments ago, were now completely empty!

While engineering scrambled to find a leak or vent or other mechanical failure, on the bridge Arkin spoke up that she may have an answer. The planet was inhabited with an industrial, though pre-warp looking, civilization. On the largest continent there was a large complex of buildings that were giving of fusion generator energy readings. There also was some sort of energy beam emitted by that compound at the exact time the Potemkin lost power.

Warp ordered the ship to red alert, sensing that this civilization was more advanced then they were letting on and had attacked the 'Tem. He attempted to contact the planet via subspace radio, but was only met by silence.

The silence didn't last long. After a couple attempts at communication, a burning red energy beam lashed out at the Potemkin, violently rocking the ship. Warp ordered the 'Tem to break orbit, but the planet fired again and again as the ship fled, doing considerable damage. Electrical discharges started to emanate from the consoles as the whole ship shuddered under the repeated attack.

The crew had to jump away from their stations as consoles exploded. Warp ordered the ship into full retreat, asking that all available power be routed to shields and impulse engines.

Suddenly, the ship was hit again hard. A blue tendril of energy spiked out of the console nearest Arnet, striking him dead in the chest. The doctor was thrown into the railing around the command pit. He toppled over it to the floor and didn't get up again. Warp called for Dr. MacCoroy but a quick search for a pulse told him what he already feared - Arnet was dead.

With at least one death at the hands of this civilization, Warp and Prax ordered Mekiah to fire on the complex that was attacking the ship. Mekiah dutifully sent off a spread of torpedoes, but just as they left the ship a now-fully alert and cognizant Andrea O'Donnell burst onto the bridge telling them to stop!

O'Donnell pleaded with Warp and Prax to not attack the complex, hinting that there was something else going on here. Hesitantly, Warp ordered that the torpedoes self destruct.

Then all eyes turned to O'Donnell, demanding an explanation.

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