The Willow Race
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

 

Mission 39: THE WILLOW RACE

 

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.

Prologue

USS PHOENIX NCC-2315
Captain’s Log, Stardate 2329.IX.27, 10003 hours Zulu

Starfleet Command has directed Third Fleet to perform a First Contact mission with a planet in the Vath System. Ishria II is a Class M planet in a binary star system that supports a thriving biosphere. Admiral Evans has apprised PHOENIX of an outbreak of a mutated strain of Rigelian Fever on Veneran IV in the Betelgeuse System. Some freelance traders from Nerendra Prime apparently disseminated an herbal preparation from their cargo from Ishria II that cured the plague symptoms. Ishria II is a non-aligned world that trades with the Federation on a small scale. Full or associate membership in the Federation for this world could ensure a supply of medicinal herbs badly needed to prevent the spread of a virulent disease that – according to common Federation wisdom – has been eradicated. A First Contact landing party is being assembled.

"Are the holo-emitters replaced, ensign?" asked Chief Engineer QaS of a closed-systems officer, having arrived early for the briefing in the Conference Room on Deck One.

ENS Barber glanced awkwardly around the compartment before answering. No one else had arrived yet. "Yes, sir," he said, as he replaced the comm. panel’s face plate into the bulkhead. "Everything’s up to specs, including the subspace relays."

"Thank you, ensign," QaS said, remembering his human civility rather than saying Then get out. "Our meeting with the captain is about to begin."

Barber nodded respectfully to QaS. As he exited the hatch, the beginning of a group of senior staff officers began to flow into the Conference Room. QaS did a quick visual double check of the bulkhead faceplate and hastily wiped off some fingerprints with his jacket sleeve.

CAPT T.E. Lawrence entered at that moment with LCDR T’Prel and LCDR Wilson. She smiled at her Chief Engineer. "Seeing to repairs personally, Mister QaS?" She set some PADDs down on the transparent aluminum conference table.

QaS nodded. "I arrived early, captain."

"Well, let’s get started," Lawrence said without further ceremony. She picked up a PADD as the summoned senior staff filled in the other chairs at the table. "Third Fleet has tasked Phoenix with a First Contact mission." She pressed a pad on the table inset, and the holo-monitor in the bulkhead brightened with a space view of Ishria II, vital statatistics on the planet scrolling down a sidebar.

"Ishria," muttered LCDR Spahn, "I just received a memo from Third Fleet about the Nerendra "trading" activity in that non-aligned system."

"Yes, well, commander," Lawrence went on, "apparently that trading has led to some interesting …. Important data: an herbal cure to a mutated strain of Rigelian Plague on Veneran IV."

""Rigelian Fever?"" LCDR Debbie Wilson, the Chief Medical Officer repeated quietly. "That pathogen has been an artifact in studies at Starfleet Medical. There has not been a case of it reported since 2269, when Dr McCoy helped formulate an antidote for it from the rare mineral ryetalin."

CAPT Lawrence frowned slightly, "Yes, that’s why this mission is top priority from Starfleet. There’s a danger that this a natural mutation from the original disease – or that some unknown entity has engineered a new strain of the disease. Admiral Evans feels it is imperative that the Federation form some sort of relationship – either full or associate – with the Ishrians."

A tall Terran male with Vulcan features stepped forward from the bulkhead by the viewing ports.

"Lieutenant Kov joined us at Starbase Cathedral two weeks ago as our First Contact specialist for this mission," Lawrence said, by way of hasty introduction.

Kov nodded politely. "It will be my duty to apprise the Ishrian leaders of the benefits of some sort of relationship with the Federation."

LCDR T’Prel, Chief of Science, was typically skeptical. "Just what does Starfleet know about the biosphere on Ishria II?"

"We have received permission from the Ishrian leaders to send down three landing parties to ascentain just those details, commander," Lawrence jumped in. "Science and Medical will meet with agrarian officials to investigate the planet’s plant life; Engineering will check out their harvesting and processing technology, while Command and Lieutenant Kov will meet with government leaders in order to form some sort of contact in order to secure access to the herbs for the Federation."

CDR Stryker spoke up. "Phoenix will achieve orbit of Ishria II in twelve hours. Captain Lawrence has already spoken with their ruler to plan the logistics of our visit."

"She seemed genuinely pleased about our visit," the captain shrugged. At least I think she was a "she", Lawrence mused, remembering the Ishrian’s – odd – appearance on the subspace link.

The senior staff officers glanced downward at their PADDs, noting that the captain had forwarded all pertinent known data on Ishria II to the department heads involved . They discovered that Ishria II was a highly sophisticated agrarian society with technology on a par with the Federation.

"Be available in Transporter Room One at 2300 hours," Lawrence ordered as she shut down the holo-display. "Any questions?"

There were none. Each department head was mentally preparing whom they would bring with them on this mission.

"Very well, then," Lawrence said, smiling, "dismissed."

As the assembled officers rose and prepared to exit the compartment, Lawrence held up a cautionary hand. "Pay attention to your briefing packet on Ishria, people," she advised. She looked meaningfully at LT Kov.

LT Kov understood her look, and added, "Be absolutely certain to address the ishrian leader as "Nshnook’nok." It is honorific, and absolutely regarded as an affront if omitted." He paused, his eyes closed, apparently summing up his thoughts. "Consult your briefing packet about gestures and words that may be considered insulting, because the universal translators will not necessarily edit such things out. I suggest a brief 20 minute review of these protocols in the briefing room off of the Transporter Room before we beam down."

"That would make it at 2240 hours, people," Lawrence added. She paused at the hatch. "By the way, if you haven’t already read your vocabulary list in the briefing, be aware what the leader’s title – Nshnook’nok – means: Guardian of the Growth." With that she swept out of the Conference Room out onto the Bridge.