A fiery nebula and stellar nursery

Spanish Caravan

A day and a half after bidding farewell to HIRAM and continuing toward the anti-matter anomaly, the Potemkin's sensors picked up nearly a dozen ships crossing the sector and all on a course toward the anomaly as well. The 'Tem and Accipiter increased speed to rendezvous with the caravan and learn more about the group and their interest in the anomaly. In the meantime, Arnet and Bom discussed Andrea O'Donnel's odd behavior of late and how the proximity to the anomaly seemed to be making it worse. The correlation still seemed tenuous, but the doctor was sure something about this anomaly was affecting her.

Arriving at the position of the caravan, Warp had Melina hail them and the Terethi vessel Karus answered. Their commander, Golanus, greeted the 'Tem warmly and, after a moment of hesistation, did the same for the Romulan vessel with them. Golanus asked if the 'Tem and Accipiter were also seeking the "Celestial Beacon." The Terthi said it was foretold in ancient prophecy and heralded the arrival of the "Arbiter" - a figure who would unleash the powers of good and defeat all evil.

Warp asked to arrange a transfer of information to learn more about the prophecies so many were affixing around anti-matter fountain. Golanus gladly agreed and Warp, Arnet, and Melina went to the transporter room to beam over to his ship. But as the away team was greeted by Golanus, his first mate Ardonus, and wife Celestia, the 'Tem was hailed by another ship - which was armed to the teeth.

Celestia escorted the away team to the mess hall, a spartan room with a shrine to the "Arbiter" in the corner. Upon questioning from Arnet, Celestia said her job was to look after the crew's well being and serve as a priestess to the Arbiter when he comes. However, she was confused when Arnet asked if that meant she was a doctor. Eventually she revealed that there was no such thing as sickness, and Golanus said there had been no disease on Terenthia in an untold number of years.

Meanwhile, Bom initiated a conversation with Klorath, the commander of the well-armed shipped. Klorath scoffed at Bom's saying the 'Tem comes in peace, noting that both the Potemkin and Accipiter were well built for war. His ship also scanned both the 'Tem and accompanying Romulan vessel. Klorath mentioned that they were traveling to "Klurt's Star" (the anomaly). When he realized the 'Tem was heading in the same direction, Klorath said a "bonding" must occur before further interaction was possible, and announced he would beam aboard the 'Tem before cutting the channel.

The away team was learning more about the intriguing Terenthi, who said several Anointed Ones served as prophets for the Arbiter and read the stars to know his will. They also revealed that the Arbiter has no physical form, but was described as being a brilliant shade of blue and often appears depicted as a haze or mist - causing Arnet to ask for any and all information the Terenthi could share about the Arbiter.

At the same time Klorath and a few men managed to beam directly onto the Potemkin bridge, and explained to Bom that the crew needed to participate in a ritual of ceremonial combat before any friendship could occur between the two ships. Seeing no way out of it, Bom appointed Mekiah as the 'Tem's champion and arranged for the ritual to take place in the holodeck. After sword blows were exchanged, Klorath announced his people, the Alirii, would be pleased to travel with the Federation ship. He also mentioned Klurt the Warrior, whose star the anti-matter fountain supposedly was. Bom asked them to stay on the 'Tem for a while and enjoy Federation hospitality and explain more about Klurt.

On the Terenthi ship, Arnet was busy asking question about the Arbiter and the Anointed Ones, convinced it had something to do with Andrea's condition. Warp turned the conversation back to the practical matters, finding out the anomaly was still seven months out.

But the 'Tem was now welcome to follow the caravan as it made its way to the Celestial Beacon, Klurt's Star, Star Fountain - or whatever you wanted to call it.

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