Flying Cloud
Up Phoenix Rising Pandemic Intruder Alert! Enya By Starlight Black Ice The HanI’Rhy Mystery Passion Fruit The Object Tombstone Trek City Under Glass The Witch Hunt Spindizzy Turn Off the Lights Trekkin' Flying Cloud What The Hell's... Survival Of The Fittest On The Edge Candescium Blindsided Shore Leave Melissa Wells The Listening Post Nostalgia The Artifact The Darkness Within Let The Games Begin Enemy Action Here's Mud In Your Eye The Tungsten Factor Xanadu Sicilian Defense When Worlds Collide Color Of Justice The Gin Joint Sabotage It's About Time Papa The Willow Race

 

Table Of Contents

Mission 15: "F" IS FOR FLYING CLOUD

The contents of the Ship Logs are considered to be a "compilation" under the provisions of Title 17, U.S. Code (known as the Copyright Act): that is, "A work formed by the collection and assembling of preexisting materials or of data that is selected, coordinated or arranged in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work of authorship." As such, it is the property of the ship’s Captain; however, automatic transfer of ownership to STARSHIPS OF THE THIRD FLEET is effected upon publication of this mission by the ship’s Captain ipso facto.

As outlined in Circular 1 (Copyrighted Basics, Library of Congress, Washington DC, USGPO 1989-262-309/12), "copyrighted in each separate contribution to a periodical or other collective work is distinct from the copyright in the collective work as a whole and vests initially with the author of the contribution."

This mission may not be reproduced in any form without the express, written authorization of STARSHIPS OF THE THIRD FLEET.

 

This mission is dedicated to Don Hyland who passed away January 16, 2006. Don joined Starships of the Third Fleet in May of 1990. He served aboard the USS Sovereign, USS Avenger and USS Concord. Don was 67 years old when he joined SS3F. He will be missed by his crewmates and this Captain.

 

 

 

 

 

Prologue

It’s 1800 hours, and you’re watching The Flying Cloud Report, a division of Starfleet News Corps.

Senior officers of all four fleets continue to gather on Starbase Flying Cloud for the biennial 4Q Summit. The conference provides fleet commanders, their staff, and starship captains, the opportunity to meet and discuss policies relevant to the continued security and exploration of Federation territory.

This year’s keynote speaker is retired Fleet Admiral Melas Nogero, who is most famously remembered as Captain of the USS RORKE’S DRIFT. Nogero unexpectedly stepped down from his post as CO of the First Fleet last year amid rumors of widespread corruption within his command, including his personal staff and prominent SS1F captains. The most serious charge leveled against Nogero, conspiracy to promote illegal interstellar trade utilizing First Fleet resources in conjunction with the Hadrada crime syndicate, remains under investigation. These and other similar charges have indelibly tarnished the reputation of a true Starfleet hero.

The 4Q Summit begins tomorrow at 0900 hours with the welcoming address by host Fleet Admiral Daniel Evans. A tour of the USS PHOENIX, recently returned to active status after completion of repairs, is also scheduled as part of tomorrow’s events.

1000 HOURS – STARBASE FLYING CLOUD

The applause was polite enough in duration for Admiral Evan’s opening remarks. He was happy just to have over and done with the unpleasant duty of being the first to address his peers concerning the many pressing items to be discussed during the summit. He hated giving speeches, and was relieved to turn things over to the current 4Q chairman, Second Fleet Admiral Trewry.

Evans and his staff had spent the two years following the previous summit preparing for this one. Arrangements were made on a grand scale and required the assistance of almost every crewmember assigned to 3FHQ. There were VIP quarter arrangements to work out, mooring assignments for the First, Second, and Fourth Fleet flagships, and a menu full of delicacies for every species that would be gathered for the event. Of primary importance were the security details, which always required the most attention. Rear Admiral Bo Donati could always be counted on to be thorough in his planning for any contingency. Although there had been no threats to disrupt the conference, nor any notable violent actions aboard Flying Cloud (outside of occasional drunken fisticuffs), the safety of the attendees depended on maintaining a completely secure facility. Evans wanted to make sure that this conference, like all of the ones preceding it, went off without a hitch.

1600 HOURS – USS PHOENIX

Captain T.E. Lawrence served as tour guide to Fleet Admiral Evans, Second Fleet Admiral Trewry, and Fourth Fleet Admiral Pontrix, who were touring the PHOENIX as part of their late afternoon schedule. Aides and a smattering of starship personnel also accompanied them. This was their last activity of the day prior to the much-anticipated speech by Admiral Nogero at dinner that evening.

Every 4Q Summit included a tour of the flagship of the host fleet. Two years previously it had been 2FHQ’s USS POLARIS under the command of Captain Phaeron that had the honor. The POLARIS was currently docked at Flying Cloud but, as T.E. noted, Captain Phaeron was nowhere to be seen. She didn’t blame him. In two years she would skip this event herself. Starship captains had an unwritten rule of courtesy: "Criticize not, lest the white glove be turned against you."

As the guests enjoyed post-tour refreshments in "The Nest", Lawrence managed to isolate Admiral Evans from the crowd.

"Kudos on a job well done, T.E., " Evans beamed his only smile of the day at his protégé.

"Thank you, Daniel. But I admit to being a little confused. I thought Admiral Nogero and Fleet Admiral Polk were also supposed to be on this tour."

"Nogero’s personal assistant contacted my office just before we were ready to leave to board the PHOENIX," Evans calmly explained, "Apparently he was making some last minute changes to his speech for this evening and decided to pass on the tour. As for Polk, I have no idea why he didn’t come along. I’m sorry, T.E. I know you were really looking forward to meeting Admiral Nogero."

"He’s someone I’ve greatly admired for many years, despite all of his recent troubles, " Lawrence sounded disappointed.

"I’ll see what I can do to arrange a private meeting before he leaves tomorrow," Evans sought to smooth the matter over.

"Thank you, Daniel," T.E. smiled.

"Unfortunately, it’s back into the fray for me," Evans announced with a sigh before returning to his guests.

2020 HOURS – STARBASE FLYING CLOUD

Twenty minutes had passed from the time designated for Admiral Nogero to begin his keynote address. Instead of sitting among the other attendees, Admiral Evans had been urgently asked to return to his office by Admiral Alisha Black-Donati.

"Alisha, this better be damned important," Evans fumed, "It’s bad form for the host CO not to be present for the keynote address, even if it is late in getting started."

"There’s not going to be a keynote address, Daniel," the Chief-of-Staff did her best to sound dispassionate, "Admiral Nogero was found dead thirty minutes ago. First Fleet Admiral Polk and Captain Tynne of the 1FHQ flagship ARGO are also dead. All three were found in the same location."

"My god," Evans shuddered, "All of them…dead? How could…I mean, what happened?"

"It occurred in the deck 34 ready room. All of them appear to have been dead somewhere between two and three hours. Bo and his team have sealed the area and are still conducting their investigation. Nothing, and no one, is being ruled out at this point."

Evans could hardly bring himself to believe it. "They were all part of the First Fleet contingent. Pretty damned coincidental, don’t you think!"

"Just one more problem, Daniel," Black-Donati spoke in hesitant tones, knowing Evans didn’t need any more bad news, "Five members of Admiral Nogero’s staff are missing as well."

"Well they couldn’t have just disappeared," Evans demanded, "Have any ships left Flying Cloud?"

"No, sir. No ships have departed or entered port since the summit security cordon was imposed yesterday. We have detected no transport signals, either internal or external. No unusual communication traffic has been reported."

"Then we have no idea where they are, or even if they’re responsible for these murders in some way." the Third Fleet CO had difficulty fathoming the many twists of the whole sordid situation.

"I’ve given you all the information that we have at this time, Daniel."

"I want Flying Cloud completely locked down, Alisha. Nothing and no one moves without my knowing about it first. Get me Captain Lawrence on a secure emergency channel."

2038 HOURS – USS PHOENIX

"Now you know as much about the situation as I do," T.E. finished briefing her department heads, "Admiral Evans has asked us to assist with the investigation as best we can. Obviously Flying Cloud doesn’t have the resources right now to deal with a multiple-murder and maintain the safety of the other 4Q Summit attendees."

"What’s to keep the responsible conspirators from beaming directly to a ship nearby Flying Cloud?" LCDR Soen Mon’Teith immediately spoke up.

"For one thing, no ships are permitted within a half-million kilometers, thanks to Admiral Donati’s summit security measures, which are being enforced by the EXETER, STARQUEST, and DILIGENCE. Additionally, the SOVEREIGN is standing guard around the perimeter of Flying Cloud, ready to intercept or jam any suspicious transmissions - including transporter signals," Lawrence explained to the satisfaction of her security chief.

"As all of the victims are connected with First Fleet operations," T’Prel spoke next, "Could there be some correlation between these murders and the circumstances surrounding the victims’ alleged dealings with the Hadrada Syndicate?"

"It’s certainly a consideration," Captain Lawrence cautiously replied, "The only way we’ll know for sure is to find Nogero’s missing staff members. Right now we don’t know if they committed the murders, or if they’re in hiding, afraid of being killed themselves. It’s also possible they were taken as hostages by the real conspirators. They could be anywhere on Flying Cloud, or on one of the docked starships, maybe even our own. Each of your departments has been assigned a search area either on the PHOENIX or Flying Cloud. Everyone involved with the search is ordered to carry a phaser and tricorder with them at all times, and to check-in frequently with their respective department head. Be sure to stay on guard at all times, and be careful."

Lawrence watched her senior officers leave the room. Her crew would do their duty as they always had. But could they find the real killers before they struck again?