The Devastator-led convoy of Mercy Ships arrived in the Meronia Cluster where several planets throughout the cluster were home to Federation colonies. On the planet that the Federation has classified as Meronia IV, the largest colony was not only dealing with some kind of virus spreading through their crops, but it was also concerned about further attacks from the Hunters. The main colony, despite their best efforts, had lost contact with their, smaller, sister colony on Meronia II only two days ago. Nothing had been heard from them since.
Captain Horgoth was taking stock of the situation down on the surface. The big concern was whether or not the virus has jumped into the water supply, which could lead to it jumping into the local population. “We have brought the best scientists in the quadrant to deal with this, I assure you Governor Dr’dan.” He said. Motioning his hand up to the skies, the Tellarite continued. “And, the Devastator will be on patrol for any unwanted activity. We have full trust in Captain Scotto and his crew.”
Governor Dr’dan expressed gratefulness through her facial expressions, while her concern came through in the tone of her voice. “Thank you, Captain. But, what about our people on Meronia II, we have family members here who want to know whether or not their children, or their parents are still alive?”
In a high orbit of Meronia II, the Danube-class runabout Euphrates was attempting to evade detection by masking their signature between the planet’s moon and their northern pole. Long range scans from the Devastator detected traces of the D’Ghor ships from their earlier almost run-in. Those scans brought them here, where the crew was getting ready to plot a touchdown and scout out the colony.
“Euphrates to Devastator.” Commander Sera spoke as she reviewed the touchdown scans.
“Go ahead Euphrates.” Captain Scotto responded.
“We’re ready to touchdown and begin scouting. Aiming for a kilometer outside of the main colony.” She stated.
“Roger that Euphrates, you are a go. Good luck and maintain communication.” Scotto commanded.
The Andorian looked back to the away team assembled and looked for the affirmative nods she was used to. She began revving up the impulse engines to pilot them through the atmosphere. As they began to encounter the familiar resistance, she balanced things out with thrusters and coordinated with the other officers as they descended towards the planet surface. Soon, the green hills and grey mountains began to appear as Sera monitored for their landing site.
“Picking up bio-signs one point five kilometers away from the landing site. Can’t tell from here what kind.” Ensign Hunter reported.
Commander Sera engaged landing thrusters as the runabout came to a jolted landing in a valley surrounded by local plantlife. The computer chirped to indicated a hard connection with the ground and began to run through its protocols for landing. Sera spun around to the crew, “Atmosphere here should be plenty safe for us. Let’s make sure we’re armed. Ensign Hunter and Lieutenant Froth, please make sure we bring medical equipment and emergency transporters.” She stood up and began walking towards the back of the craft, “Let’s move.” She ordered.
“We should let our targhs feast off the remains of your younglings!” Yelled I’krath, one of the Klingons standing in the way of freedom from their imprisonment. It had been nearly 48 hours since any of the colonists still alive saw the light of day. This particular comment was in response to the request from the captured to attend to their dead, littered throughout the village.
When the Hunters arrived, the colonists were taken by surprise. Dealing with an enemy invasion force was not exactly what they were preparing for while dealing with an agricultural crisis. Too many lives were lost, without the opportunity to even fight back. What was left of their village was shoved into these caves, waiting for something to happen. It wasn’t clear what the end goal was. Klingons attacking a Federation colony was an event from what seemed like another age.
Phaser fire could soon be heard from beyond the opening of the cave. I’krath turned away from the prisoners to see what was going on. As he took one step away from them a rock came flying from the back of the assembled colonist, hitting I’krath in the head. Instantly after, several colonists at the front of the group lunged for the Klingon, knocking him to the ground.
As three or four of the colonists tried to subdue the Hunter, a shot rang off followed by a loud scream. Smoke and mist appeared as one of the would-be heroes was vaporized.
Another colonist was able to smash I’krath’s hand with a boulder, causing him to release his weapon. Kicking it away, a Starfleet officer picked it up. “Enough!” The Andorian yelled out as the rest of the Devastator’s hazard team had their weapons pointed at I’krath. Commander Sera stepped in to pull the Klingon up to his feet. “Let’s go.” She snarled as the team placed constrictors on him and led him out of the cave.
Addressing the rest of the colonists, Commander Sera assured them that they would be taken care of. “We have scanned the area and things seem to be safe, no other Klingon signals. We will get you back to the Devastator and eventually reunited with the rest of the colonists.” She had to acknowledge the gruesome scene beyond the cave. “I’m terribly sorry for the losses that I’m sure many of you have endured. I only wish we could have been here sooner.” She stated.
“Starfleet’s always a day late and a dollar short.” One of the colonists said, clearly emotionally charged.
Another member of the team took a step towards Commander Sera in a clear move to protect if things started going south. Instead, Sera motioned him back. “Again, we’ll get you out of here as soon as possible. As soon as my team has taken care of the scene outside, we will start getting you out. None of you need to see what it looks like out there…” She trailed off.
Captain Scotto tossed the PADD down on his desk, furiously, “How did you not scan him for something like this?!” He asked angrily.
Commander Sera looked down as she defended her team. “Sir, I’m sorry, but we wouldn’t have been able to identify the capsule anyway. It was grafted into his inner cheek. We couldn’t have known.” Looking up, empowered, she continued, “He was already dead before we took off from the planet, sir.”
Scotto picked up the PADD again to read it. “I expect a full report on my desk within the hour. I’ll need to forward it on to HQ.” Looking back up to his first officer he relaxed his brow, “I apologize, but, Starfleet is looking for a break here and all I have to give them is some backwater Orion communication mentioning an attack on the Federation/Klingon border.” Tapping the PADD on his desk, he looked out his window. “I just wish we had more.” He said.