A fiery nebula and stellar nursery


In attendance: Admiral Mitchell, Commander Bom, Commander Arnet, Commander Tora, First Lt. Melina, Lt. JG Aklar, Lt. JG Rayus, Citizen Drosan

The Potemkin remains in pursuit of Ard Jarikar, the Orion pirate suspected of bombing San Fransisco before escaping Starfleet's clutches. Following up on a lead, Admiral Mitchell, Commander Bom, and Varric Drosan beamed to a neutral trading station for information. What they came back with was a nasty bug that turned Warp and Drosan blue, and the usually blue Bom a sickly shade of green. Doctor Arnet immediately shuffled the three off to quarantine in sickbay, where the three stayed for more than 24 hours. Alas, after a day of working on the problem, the Potemkin's doctor was still unable to find a cure--or, for that matter, understand what ailed them.

Commander Tora has the bridge, and the Potemkin is now en route to Viscan IV, where Orion ships have been seen operating in the shipping lanes between the Alpha and Beta quadrants. Known as the Kessel Run, the stretch of space frequented by cargo-laden merchantmen is a notorious haunt of smugglers--and pirates. As always seems to be the case, things start to go wrong for Commander Tora almost from the minute he assumes command. Consoles go dark and come back mysteriously. Melina's console says someone is hailing the Potemkin, but there is only silence when the hail is met. Aklar's starboard dorsal sensors show a mysterious "blind spot." And the computer, when asked to perform diagnostics on all these systems, runs diagnostics on some other system instead of the one requested.

In sickbay, Varric Drosan finally has Bom right where he wants him--trapped behind a force field for the interview he's been trying to lock down since the two returned from the Bolian Civil War. Drosan begins by asking Bom about his childhood, and Bom regales the assembled sick and healer with stories of his youth. Warp is similarly trapped by Arnet. Like Bom, he protests at first, but then easily falls into a quiet and personal conversation with his old friend Arnet. For Warp, it's a chance to discuss the feelings of mystery and doubt he experienced after the failed "Taro" on Vodune (TEM: "Nguyen and Let Die"), feelings that still haunted him about his death and "resurgence" as a genetic transporter experiment.

Lt. Nguyen calls the bridge to tell Commander Tora that the transporters are activating on their own, without signal locks. When Mel receives another hail, it's met with skepticism by Tora--but this one has legs. It's audio only, but it comes from a freighter claiming to be under attack from Orion pirates. Tora reports the communication to Warp, who leaves the matter in Tora's capable hands. Aklar, meanwhile, has launched a probe to investigate the mysterious blind spot in the sensors, but it detects nothing unusual.

Tora resolves to go to the aid of the freighter, technical issues be damned, and orders Rayus to proceed to the freighter's location at warp 8. Rayus inputs the command and engages the warp drive--but nothing happens. Tora's call to Ensign Duran in engineering is met with bewilderment--there's something wrong with the ship's systems? Engineering hasn't caught wind of it yet. The warp drive finally decides to engage, and Aklar's sensors finally also decide to give them a long-range view of the freighter in trouble--and it is, in fact, being attacked by a small Orion raider.

The other shoe drops though when Nguyen calls the bridge. He has identified the problem: the Potemkin's bio-gel packs, ordinarily green, are now blue with infection. Aklar curses and rips the panel off his console, scanning with his tricorder--and confirms the findings. More of the Potemkin's systems fail as they approach the combat zone.

In sickbay, Arnet has been alerted to the virus in the ship's bio-gel packs, and immediately sets to work on an idea to cure both the ship and his three quarantined patients--for it is now clear that the two "illnesses" are related. Bom and Drosan, meanwhile, have moved on to the topic of Bom's son, Rama, and Rama's mother, Serisa. Bom ducks the discussion of Serisa, explaining that it is both simple and complicated.

With the ship still malfunctioning, Tora has an inspiration: scramble the Potemkin's two fighter ships. Unaffected by the virus, they operate perfectly, and soon are harrying the Orion raider. Individually, they are each out-gunned by the raider, but together, they prove too much for it to handle. As Tora has guessed, when faced with any kind of real opposition, the raider runs. The Tellarite captain is thankful--he has lost half his cargo, but the Potemkin has undoubtedly saved him and his crew.

Doctor Arnet has the solution: setting up what is essentially an IV for the ship, he initiates a "drip" that will spread throughout the ship's systems and provide the cure for the virus infecting the ship. The same solution will work for the infected senior staff (and Drosan), and rather than an IV drip, he slides hyposprays into the quarantine chamber. Warp and Drosan turn their familiar shades of pinkish-white, and Bom returns to blue. "Don't take this the wrong way, Mr. Bom," Warp says, "but I'm glad to be getting back to my usual self."

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