LT Gabrielle Leroux turned from the
communications console to face the captain. "Captain Lawrence, you
have a Priority One message from Third Fleet Headquarters."
Lawrence stood up, "Pipe it to my office, Leroux.
Stryker, you have the conn."
Lawrence settled down into her chair before
switching on the computer. The Third Fleet logo appeared and faded
to reveal the face of Admiral Daniel Evans.
"Admiral, good to see you. What’s going on?"
"I’m sorry to say TE that I have to change your
orders and divert you to the planet Castis IV."
"But Daniel, my crew is in need of some R&R. We
got hit pretty hard on Dhal Theta III, let alone the problem on
Glace. I think…."
Evans interrupted her. "I know, I know, but this
comes straight from Starfleet Command. If I had another ship to send
I would. I’ve pulled up the past data on this situation and am
forwarding it after our conversation. Have you ever heard of
Lawrence sat up. "You’re kidding? Candescium?
Good grief Daniel, that incident happened years ago and the crystal
was never found."
"Not true anymore. The Translucian that was sent
out to find the crystal and return it to their planet has been found
murdered on Castis IV. This is after it was determined he had found
the crystal and was taking it back to his planet. That means that
someone has that stone, which puts Starfleet in danger if they
decided to make a weapon from it."
"You are to proceed to Castis IV and look into
the death of the Translucian and locate that stone. Due to the 20
years of investigation by Starfleet of this Translucian and the
missing stone, the Castis government has turned over all authority
of this murder investigation to Starfleet."
After Lawrence completed her conversation with
the Admiral, an extensive file on Candescium was downloaded to her
computer. She sat back in her chair and began to read.
When Lawrence entered her ready room, the
department heads were already seated around the rectangular table.
TE pulled out her chair at the head of the table and sat down. She
sat a thick folder down in front of her and opened it up.
"You know by now that we will not be heading back
to Flying Cloud. We have a Priority One situation and are on
course to Castis IV, where we will investigate a murder and find a
lost item. That item is a crystal called Candescium."
There was a flutter of murmurs from around the
"I thought that Candescium disappeared years ago,
Captain. It was never found although Starfleet Command had assigned
USS EXETER to locate the stone with the help of someone from the
planet it was from." LCDR T’Prel spoke up.
"Yes, that’s true Commander, but things have
changed. Let me brief all of you on the past and current situation."
"In 2299 an old, itinerant miner named Gerd
Waither appeared at a trade center on Rigel VI with a fantastic tale
of a crystal that could absorb light called ‘Candescium.’ He wanted
to sell it to the highest bidder to get enough money to make a trip
to Terra to die. His health had been growing worse for the past few
months and he felt his time was near. Gerd never made the sale for
he passed away before he could auction the piece off and was buried
on Rigel VI. He had protected his crystal well for the search for it
was fruitless. Soon people were saying his story was just the
lunatic ramblings of an old man.
Starfleet Intelligence has not been idle for the
past 20 years. They visited 30 worlds, checking where Gerd Waither
had been, what he said, and to whom he said it. Starfleet knew
Candescium existed—an alien, called a Translucian from the planet
this stone came from—was also looking for the crystal. USS EXETER
was sent to help look for the Candescium with the help of this
alien. They never found it. That was 16 years ago.
The Translucian kept in touch with a crewmember
of the USS EXETER, one Lieutenant Commander Gregory A. Pyatt. They
seemed to have forged a friendship that has lasted for the better
part of two decades. Commander Pyatt sent his personal journal to
Third Fleet Headquarters when he found out his friend had been
murdered. The Translucian had notified Pyatt that he had found the
Candescium on Castis IV and was returning it to his planet.
Here are some of the data that Pyatt learned of
his alien friend and the planet he was from: Translucians are from a
planet called Candescia. Their world is a place in space with no
stars, planets…nothing. They live in lightly illuminated dome-like
structures. The planet’s atmosphere is breathable. Thick… but
breathable. They wear dark robes to protect their almost translucent
skin. Pyatt learned that Candescium is found in many mines on the
When the Translucian learned of the sensors and
transporters on ships, he told Pyatt that sensors were useless on
his planet for there was no way to ascertain planetfall conditions.
Also, since the planet’s primary element (Candescium) absorbs light
and apparently other forms of energy as well, it would be safe to
assume that a landing party in the act of beaming (comprised of
nothing more than molecules of energy and light) would be absorbed.
The alien told Pyatt that their kind has watched
us for many of our centuries, hoping that we would never discover
them. That is until one of our ships crashed on their planet and the
occupant stole what was their’s to protect. He stated that the void
stone is too powerful an essence for a race as corrupt as ours to
posses. ‘Let’s say that the void stone does more than just "absorb
light" and, with time, its powers would be learned and exploited.’
The alien said that they were familiar with our Federations policies
and would never let the stone get into our hands. Nevertheless,
Pyatt and this alien became friends."
Lawrence looked up and closed the file. "Our
orders are to solve the murder of the Translucian and find that
stone. Any questions?"
After PHOENIX entered orbit above the planet
Castis IV, landing parties were assembled to beam down to the
planet, retrieve the Translucian’s body and begin their