USS PHOENIX NCC 2315
Starfleet has tasked us
with investigating problems being experienced by the relatively new
Federation science station on Prysmak IV. Problems seem fairly
routine – closed recovery system failures, replicator failures, and
problems in the hydroponics bay. However, that being said, seeing
the unforeseen disaster that Dhal Theta II posed this crew, I am
taking no chances, and am sending a full security detail down with
the Science landing party. This science station is, after all, on
the border with the Romulan Neutral Zone.
LT Debbie Wilson made
copious notes on her PADD as she spoke to the Chief Science Officer
of Prysmak IV science station. She occasionally glanced at her
tricorder, which she had programmed to do a broad scan of the
surrounding environment of the colony’s seven-building compound.
Nothing out of the ordinary so far, she mused. This was her
first landing party of which she was nominally "in charge." All of
the complaints from the colony were of an environmental nature, and
Wilson had to wonder why these issues had not been raised when the
colony was established two years previously.
"Commander Bayne," Wilson
said, addressing the head of the colony, "how complete were
Starfleet’s bioscans of this planet before the station was
established? I’ve read the reports, and they mention nothing of the
mold and humidity problems you are now experiencing."
CDR Bayne drew herself up
before she answered, obviously uncomfortable that she had had to ask
Starfleet for help over a seemingly insignificant set of
circumstances. "Complete surface and subsurface surveys were
conducted, lieutenant. It’s all in the report made to Starfleet,"
she began tentatively, "it’s….it’s just….well, you see….it’s the
Wilson reflected on how she
had dismissed "mud" as a problem when she read the report from
Starfleet before beaming down with the landing party. Now that the
Chief Science Officer and commander of this Federation station
brought it up, it gave her pause.
"It gets into everything,
lieutenant," the commander stressed. "Granted, this planet has an
abundant biosphere that produces lots of humidity, but we never
could have expected that mud would become a problem."
"What exactly do you expect
Phoenix to do, commander?" Wilson inquired.
"I thought, perhaps, that
Phoenix’s engineers could help us upgrade our plasma
generators in order to boost efficiency in the magnetic containment
fields we’ve established on some of our systems," Bayne said. She
shrugged, because at this point she was guessing. The station’s
personnel had tried everything to keep the planet’s mud from
insinuating itself into key systems, with little success."
It was far from typical for
Federation outposts to require magnetic containment fields around
key systems unless stationed in a hostile environment. The jungle
planet of Prysmak IV hardly seemed to qualify.
Just then, CDR Bayne’s
comm. panel beeped, punctuating her statements. "Commander, we could
use your help over here in hydrology."
The science chief gave LT
Wilson an exasperated look. "If you’ll excuse me, lieutenant. Please
consult with your team and do what you can. Hydrology always seems
to get the worst of the malfunctions with the mud."
Better do complete scans of
the surrounding terrain, as well as confirm the findings of the
initial surveys, Wilson mused. And
see if there are any anomalies in the biomatter. But, how do I frame
my report around….dirt?
geologist, LT T’ramar was among the personnel who had beamed down
Captain’s Ready Room, Deck
PHOENIX hung in high orbit
of Prysmak IV as Alpha Watch turned into Beta Watch. The beautiful
blue-green globe glowed through the view ports of the captain’s
As CAPT T.E. Lawrence
proceeded to her replicator to secure another glass of iced tea, her
door chime sounded.
"Come," she said as she
input her selection on the replicator pad.
"Captain, I have my landing
party’s results of their diagnostics of the systems on the planet, "
LCDR T’Prel announced as she entered, glancing at a PADD. She held
it out for the captain to receive.
Lawrence finished inputting
her order into the replicator and reached for the PADD. An unusual
slurping sound drew her attention, and that of the Chief Science
Officer, to the replicator. The curious noise, as opposed to the
efficient whirring sound of the replicator’s program working, was
accompanied by something very different than the iced tea ordered by
the captain. It looked like….
"Mud!!" the captain
exclaimed, holding up her glass for T’Prel to see. It was not an
One of T’Prel’s eyebrows
shot upward. "Curious." She examined the phenomenon as Lawrence gave
cursory attention to the PADD.
"Did your landing party
bring something back with them?" the captain asked in irritation.
"This certainly can’t be a coincidence."
"I do not see how, captain,
as mud is….well, dirt," T’Prel said blankly.
CAPT Lawrence stuffed the
glass of mud (with lemon wedge) into the matter reclamation unit
below the replicator. She crossed over to her desk just as the comm.
panel signaled the Ready Room. "Captain, this is Engineering."
"Ah, Mister QaS, I was just
about the contact you, about…." the captain began.
"About use of the heads?
Replicators? Matter reclamation units?" LCDR QaS, the Chief
Lawrence’s voice attained a
dull edge to it. "What about them?"
"I am recommending that you
issue an order to avoid use of any of those systems," QaS said
firmly. "We have discovered a major disruption to closed system
Lawrence ran a hand over
her eyes. "Now you tell me," she muttered. "But, commander,
the disruption has disabled the closed-systems recovery computer
from efficient recycling of waste, so we dare not use the heads
until this problem is, eh, cleaned up," QaS said. "I recommend the
use of the emergency heads near the shuttle bay, and forward on
decks Two, Four and Six."
"Only six heads for a crew
of 350, commander?!" Lawrence sputtered. "Just what is this
disruption in closed-recovery?!"
There was a very brief
pause, as if QaS was consulting notes. For a Klingon to have to
discuss the ship’s sanitation system was…disconcerting. "It is some
kind of dirt, captain that has insinuated itself into the system."
"Not mud?!" the captain
"Apparently so," QaS
"I want you to coordinate
your efforts with the Science Department, commander," Lawrence said
sternly. "They just did extensive surveys of the planet’s surface,
and it more than likely has a bearing on these disruptions."
"Yes, captain," QaS’ voice
"Oh, and one more thing,
Mister QaS," Lawrence added. "Make sure we get those heads operating
soonest. I don’t need a ship full of cranky crew members waiting in
long lines at what few heads are working."
Lawrence sighed as she
turned from the comm. and looked at T’Prel. "Not the way I
envisioned my Friday ending, commander." She winced as she looked at
the mud on her hands from the replicator.