Author Topic: The Fourth Estate - Season 1, Episode 2  (Read 18983 times)

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James Bryson

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Re: The Fourth Estate - Season 1, Episode 2
« Reply #180 on: July 20, 2021, 08:30:06 pm »
<Katra Station - Promenade>

The sound of plasma bolts began to slow, but whether it was due to the loss of strength from the body below, or power of the firearm was taking longer to recharge on a cycle, it was not clear. What was clear was that time was rapidly running out.

The fading sounds from below the debris had Jeb worried. He was hoping with all hope that it was just the phaser running out of power. He pushed the thought aside and began digging faster. he got so caught up in the moment that he made the mistake that could be fatal in certain situations. He didn't hear a reporter approach behind him.

Suddenly, there was a figure by Bryson's shoulder and a voice rang in his ear, but directed away, as the person speaking had their back to the pile of duranium being moved aside. In one hand was a uni-directional vocal transponder, designed to pick up and convey her voice even among the most deafening of environments, and a tiny hovering device recording - its deceptively small frame containing a tight-beam subspace transmitter somehow accessing the subspace communication network all the way to New Bajor.



"This is Seryn from Federation News, Live from Space Station Katra. What you're witnessing right now are efforts to rescue someone trapped under debris. Debris, it should be said, that has come from an explosion in the the common civilian area of Starfleet's only station in the Gamma Quadrant. The perpetrators have not been found, and is very likely to still be plotting further attacks upon civilians. There are a number of serious casualtiesacross the whole station, caused by serious power discharges from the widespread damage, and a death toll has not yet been determined. There are also rumours of terrible creatures, kept confined by Katra personnel, now released through failures of their containment facilities.

Starfleet are at this moment evacuating civilians but I will remain here as long as possible to give you the most honest, on-the-ground reporting to his tragedy. A tragedy that, perhaps, could - and should - have been avoided. And a question for us all: are we safe? Without the wormhole to the Alpha Quadrant, are we at the mercy of those who wish us harm? Can we trust Starfleet to protect us with their limited resources? Or should our protection lie in our own hands?
"

He could hear her report as he continued to remove debris from the pile. She hadn't directly addressed him so he didn't stop digging in order to stop her verbal attack on the Federation. But he heard every word. She best be glad we have a life hanging in the balance right now. he thought. But you can bet your ass I'll catch up to her later.

John Saxon

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Re: The Fourth Estate - Season 1, Episode 2
« Reply #181 on: July 21, 2021, 06:34:22 am »
<Katra Station - Promenade>


The fading sounds from below the debris had Jeb worried. He was hoping with all hope that it was just the phaser running out of power. He pushed the thought aside and began digging faster. he got so caught up in the moment that he made the mistake that could be fatal in certain situations. He didn't hear a reporter approach behind him.

He could hear her report as he continued to remove debris from the pile. She hadn't directly addressed him so he didn't stop digging in order to stop her verbal attack on the Federation. But he heard every word. She best be glad we have a life hanging in the balance right now. he thought. But you can bet your ass I'll catch up to her later.

As the debris was shifted away, a hand - visibly abrased - burst through a new gap, reaching for free air, and a voice, weak and dry, struggled to be heard. "Civilian....somewhere....". Wessex, even in the midst of his own injuries, had not forgotten the smuggler, Argon Treylove, whom he had tried to protect from the blast.

<SS Wonderland II]>

NPC Jonah


Auditor Jonah had sat among the packed-in civilians ready to be ferried off station aboard the Transport Wonderland II. The journey down to this civilian area after slipping away from  the VIP lounge had been troublesome given the damaged sustained by Starfleet abject failure, but he was not someone who had been put off by such physical trials. Not when he had a point to prove. Not to mentiuon the chaos that was ongoing meant that he was unchallenged (give or take hiding around a corner or two).

He had made sure to find himself part of the crowd that sought to passage aboard, so he could see for himself the impact to Federation citizens and (to a lesser extent) the 'others'. StarFleet had become soft. Pliable. As decrepit in its one potent strength as that relic Commander Saxon. Unable to cope with duties that any other starbase across the UFP could have achieved without the help of the very people they were tasked to serve. StarFleet had lost its teeth, and its spine, more concerned with their public image of tame exploration rather than being a sword and shield to engage with the enemy. He had made some notes on a small PADD device, looking up at those around him...

...And almost dropped his device as he had caught sight of something he had never expected to see again; something he had only ever seen on holodocs or briefing materials. The uncanny, featureless visage of a stuff of nightmares. Of a symbol of all that StarFleet should still be fighting all the way to their borders and beyond, rather than hiding behind a treaty of appeasement.

A Founder. Changeling. Wasn't it? There were absolute similarities to a default form that what was thought to have been - in part - a propaganda tool to sow distrust against one of the Federation's - Starfleet's - primary assets against the Dominion. But that was long past. The Dominion's Founders had no real need to maintain this form, given their expertise in form-shaping, but yet continued to do so. This...creature... could be an entirely different species, given the largely unexplored Quadrant, but its unnatural movements, its waxen facsimile of skin almost repulsive, hair that was almost a single mould than strands, only added to the overall suspicion.

If this was one, then it was possible they were responsible for the damage to the station. Certainly it had been speaking causally to whom Jonah took to be one of the Transport crew. And if this was the case, either this Wonderland were also complicit, their assistance a smokescreen and useful alibi, or Starfleet's internal security measures were truly inadequate - either by not detecting this being's presence, or failing to instruct visitors to report any suspicious visitors.

He had to know. He had to be sure. Had to act. So now, as the Wonderland finally slipped the bonds of its moorings, he tapped some final details onto the device, and slowly pushed his way towards where he had last seen 'it'.

There are old soldiers.
And there are bold soldiers.
And then there’s:
John 'Century' Saxon

Rayek tr'Lhoell

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Re: The Fourth Estate - Season 1, Episode 2
« Reply #182 on: July 21, 2021, 11:50:27 pm »

NPC Cathy Daniels
[Katra Station - Central Internal Hangar - SS Wonderland II]

=/\= "Finn, I'm onboard. Heading to the sickbay to see what needs to be done there. Are Cathy, Chiree and Odelot with you?" =/\=[/size]

Finn didn't seem to have heard Juraan's question, so Cathy opened her mic to respond.  "Glad that you made it.  Yeah, Chiree and I are here on the Bridge.  Haven't seen Odelot - though he's likely prepping the galley."

[Katra Station - Central Internal Hangar - SS Wonderland II]

Chiree had just been confused, curious.  They wanted to piece together what they could about the situation, so that they could understand what was going on.  When Finn got annoyed with them, saying things they didn't really understand, they shrunk back, a bit intimidated by him.  They weren't used to interacting with people, and they weren't used to situations like this.  They were sure they were pretty much dead weight at the moment…though, Cathy had saved them from being captured.

Besides, Juraan could be arriving here any time, and they didn't want to be in his way if he needed this seat.  Though, chances were, he'd be helping the injured.

"I'm sorry about bothering you…" they said.  They hoped they didn't seem rude.  They looked around at the area around them…pretty similar to the vehicle they'd arrived in this place on.  "Did I do anything wrong?"

Everyone was so unfamiliar.  Part of them really just wanted to go home, where it was all familiar.  But they were sure all of this, at this point, was real.  "Cathy…when you get a chance…I've got some questions."  They didn't want to bother anyone else with them.  "I hope I'm not being a bother."  They really only trusted her.  After Ensign Norris had tried to convince them to be captured…they didn't know who else they could trust.

When Chiree apologized and asked if she'd done something wrong, Cathy frowned and shook her head.  "If you need to ask, then the answer is most likely no.  People tend to know what's right or wrong and if you don't think you've done wrong then you more than likely haven't.  I'm not sure what that officer's problem was but you're fine.  Being lost isn't against the law." Cathy reassured before she made her suggestion to Finn about the White Rabbit.

[Wonderland]

Cathys idea about the White Rabbit was good, so they got the docking back crew to help them prepare it..
"Can you fly it? You have to stay close to my ship. That little thing has no shields or weapons systems."
Finn placed his hand on her arm and said. "Wait!" Once he had her attention, he added. "Be careful. I need you back with me in one piece."

The ship was packed to the brim with evacuees and there was no time to be wasted.
While Juraan was caring for the wound and flirting vigorously, Finn maneuvered the freighter out of the docking back and away from Katra Station. The normally safe harbor had become the opposite.
"Set the course for..." He told Cathy and thought about the Paklets. Would they be safe? Should he have waited longer? 

That Finn agreed and trusted her to fly the White Rabbit solo at her affirmative answer had a slight smile creep onto her face.  Even amidst a tragedy like the explosion, there were silver linings - such as the opportunity to prove one's growth.  Cathy nodded at Finn's worried reminder to stay safe.. 

"I'll be careful.  I promise." Cathy then looked over to Chiree.  "If you got a question, walk with me and ask quick cause I'm headed to the Shuttlebay to launch."

Mrht Heis'he ehl'ein qiuu
Rayek's BIO : Romulan male. 6'1" (1.8m)
NPC's Lt JG Saqa7 Mountain-Kahn (Human Female) / Ensign Jayce Fuller (Human Hermaphrodite) / Telmuk tr'Lhoell (Romulan Male)

John Saxon

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Re: The Fourth Estate - Season 1, Episode 2
« Reply #183 on: July 22, 2021, 05:35:31 am »

Ferengi D'Kora Class 'Latinum Lobe' - Minutes from Katra Station



"They're back in weapons range," Malro declared from the Flight Control console.  It was no small irony that a tribal warrior was now frantically piloting a state-of-the-art Ferengi trade vessel.  When he'd been a child, the Hupyrians involved in a war over the Ferengi invaders.  Now, he was in service to a Ferengi, trained in systems that once seemed magical, and doing his utmost to save a Ferengi's life.  The Universe clearly had a sense of irony.  "We will not reach the station in time."

As though to punctuate the assertion, the ship shook violently.  The air, which had begun to clear of smoke, now thickened again as the air handlers went back offline.  There was no one left to repair it.  Having a highly automated ship was quite convenient until someone started breaking things. 



"We could get to the yacht, make a run for it," Daimon Nalg suggested, but there was no energy in the suggestion.  He felt like a deflating balloon, becoming a small, wrinkled shell of his former self.

"I would rather die here," Malro said.  "We have a disruptor bank still online.  Let me turn and fire on them.  I want to die fighting."

Nalg sagged in his seat.  Die fighting?  Could there be any greater failure for a Ferengi Daimon?  "I guess I owe you that much.  Good bye, my friend."

Malro glanced back at his Master.  Friend?  Was that what they'd become?

Was that possible?

Malro dropped the ship out of warp, the warp core mere seconds from overloading in a fiery blast.  He didn't let the power core rest, however.  Instead, he shunted all of its power into the forward disruptor bank as he brought the ship about.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

On the Starstalker, as it closed to short sensor range, the pursuing ship could finally be made out with fair clarity.



A Ferengi Nandi Class, well-armed.  Highly advanced. 

But while the Starstalker's sensors were finally able to resolve the vessel... the Ferengi stealth-cruiser had not sensed the Starfleet hunter.

In moments, one Ferengi ship would destroy the other... unless something was done.


<USS Aquila - Bridge>

"They're dropping out of warp" came the report at Ops, a small secondary window appearing on the foward viewscreen's upper right, showing a secondary visual feed. This was closely followed by Tactical. "I'm detecting weapons powering up; the lead vessel is coming about."

Encrypted sensor telemetry from the USS Starstalker streamed to the Aquila's own systems, and all was revealed. Two Ferengi vessels - one seemingly a D'Kora-class Marauder, and the other.... something new. Something...dangerous. And yet with clear design similarities of the Alliance. All still frustratingly out of range of the Firechain Defence Grid, a sphere consisting of dozens of weapon platforms - or rather 'communication buoys with limited self-defence capabilities' - which supplemented the close range tactical firepower of the station and its immediate environment.

Century's back straightened, and his fists clenched. The Starstalker was small. Silent. But that in itself was an acknowledged downside to the otherwise expansive advantages the ship possessed; in a close-quarters engagement, especially when not central to action, its very integral stealth technology was unable to be easily deactivated or discarded as one would a traditional cloaking device. Getting caught in accidental crossfire by two sides that were likely not to have detected its presence was a risk that was simply unwarranted to merely observe all the way back here. Murselas was a gifted pilot, but a series of 250 isoton proximity detonations was going to ruin anyone's day.

Saxon wasted no time. Professional courtesy had demanded he keep his counsel as the Aquila oversaw support to the station, preferring the team already assigned to continue their work without interference, but in a Tactical situation, he was the ranking officer and that same courtesy transferring to him. "Red alert, shields up. Notify Katra Operations of the situation and to divert evacuation efforts to auxiliary craft and facilities, and inform all traffic to immediately move from our warp field proximity. Helm, plot for maximum warp pulse interception into weapons range... On my mark."

"Aye sir! Plotted. Intercept will take 1 minute 17 seconds".

It was a moderately risky strategy, certainly given the traffic in the local area and being intra-system, but also due to cold force-and-release strain on the engines; yet of all the ships that had been under Katra's umbrella, this Constellation-class was best suited for such short-range FTL hops. Saxon had read it was something to do with the quad-nacelle configuration, but the specifications didn't interest him; only that it worked.

Perhaps for just this one moment, he was grateful for the Aquila's presence and not the USS Healy that was still laid up for repairs at New Bajor. Although the Luna-class USS Amalthea, on patrol somewhere in the Quadrant, wouldn't have gone amiss...

Enough time had passed for objects to get clear. "Mark!"

The Aquila disappeared from the orbit of Katra in a true blink of an eye, and streaked towards the two soon-to-be combatants - and the diminutive USS Starstalker.

What, and who, remained when they got there was, of course, another matter entirely.
There are old soldiers.
And there are bold soldiers.
And then there’s:
John 'Century' Saxon

James Bryson

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Re: The Fourth Estate - Season 1, Episode 2
« Reply #184 on: July 22, 2021, 07:23:15 pm »
<Katra Station - Promenade>

As the debris was shifted away, a hand - visibly abrased - burst through a new gap, reaching for free air, and a voice, weak and dry, struggled to be heard. "Civilian....somewhere....". Wessex, even in the midst of his own injuries, had not forgotten the smuggler, Argon Treylove, whom he had tried to protect from the blast.

"MEDIC!!" Jeb called when he saw the hand and heard the voice. "Understood." he replied as he removed some more debris from the man's legs. "Let's get you out of there and we'll continue digging. How close were they to your location?" he asked as he reached a hand out to help the man up. "Are you able to stand? MEDIC!!" he called again.

Solluk

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Re: The Fourth Estate - Season 1, Episode 2
« Reply #185 on: July 23, 2021, 12:29:11 am »

Katra Station - Promenade - Collapsed Debris

"I'm a medic," Ensign Norris explained as he helped to clear the debris.  Then he addressed the injured Wessex.
 "Sir, I'd like to place a transporter tag on you to get you out of here, but we need to make sure your absence won't cause the debris to shift and crush anyone else."

Unfortunately, the tricorder readings Norris had taken were uncertain.  There was a lot of interference created by Duranium shadows and loose energy conduits.

After additional pieces were removed, Norris nodded.  "Okay, I think we're good to evac you to the Aquila, now."

Then he attached a transporter tag to Wessex' arm.  And nothing happened.

He touched his suit's communicator.  "Ensign Norris to the USS Aquila.  Respond please."

Nothing. 

It was as though the ship had gone out of range.

Norris pulled his PADD and checked it.  And there it was.  A recall notice.  He had somehow missed it in the frantic attempts to clear the buried body, but the text message was clearly there.  Damn it.

"Okay, I'm going to attempt some on-site treatment.  First, I have to pull you as gently as possible out of this cavity in the debris.  It looks like we should be able to shift you without causing more damage."  He consulted his tricorder, which was giving a better reading now.

"Let's lift together," he said to Bryson, "On three.  One, two, three!"





Rayek tr'Lhoell

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Re: The Fourth Estate - Season 1, Episode 2
« Reply #186 on: July 25, 2021, 11:35:31 pm »

NPC Cathy Daniels
[White Rabbit shuttlepod]

"White Rabbit to SS Wonderland.  We are departing your shuttlebay and will follow you down to Meridian"

Mrht Heis'he ehl'ein qiuu
Rayek's BIO : Romulan male. 6'1" (1.8m)
NPC's Lt JG Saqa7 Mountain-Kahn (Human Female) / Ensign Jayce Fuller (Human Hermaphrodite) / Telmuk tr'Lhoell (Romulan Male)

John Saxon

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Re: The Fourth Estate - Season 1, Episode 2
« Reply #187 on: July 27, 2021, 06:05:28 am »

FAS Latinum Lobe - within the Trialus System
NPC Daimon Nalg
NPC Malro



No-one was more surprised to still be alive than Daimon Nalg. Not even his Hupyrian serva-n..friend* Malro.

And yet, the glittering gates of the Divine Treasury was still beyond their purchased sight, as the gleaming 'Latinum Lobe' traded stunning levels of fire with the Stygian-coated 'Obsidian Lord', their relentless pursuer from across half the Quadrant.

When the Lobe first opened fire, in an uncharacteristic display of forlorn valour in the face of immediate bankruptcy from the Lender of Life Privileges, the Obsidian merely absorbed the impact and made no immediate response, with such an air of faceless arrogance only matched by a Liquidator with a warrant signed by the Grand Nagus themselves.

Seconds ticked by, as if the Obsidian was totalling the damage incurred to which an invoice would be dispatched to Nalg's Financial Affairs Inheritor (something Hu-Mans approximated as 'next of kin'), and then the expected retribution spewed forth - 500MW of plasma waves, more than enough to cur through the shields of the Lobe.

But whilst the ship rocked ferociously, the bright fires of resignation failed to materialise. Nalg looked to Malro, and squeaked out an expression of surprise, followed by a toothy smile. Perhaps they needed to return their faulty product...

But the Hupyrian dampened the mood. "The latinum coating is-"

(*Nalg reserved the right to nullify the verbal familiarity contract in the unlikely event they survived.)




DTS Obsidian Lord
NPC Daimon Dreq
NPC Co-Ordinator Lum


"-defusing the plasma waves" reported the Obsidian's Weapons Co-Ordinator. He looked up from his control globe, and fought down generations of reluctance to engage in combat as he looked at the Daimon. Co-Ordinator Lum had been selected for the Obsidian Lord for his ability to operate outside his natural portfolio. That wasn't to say he was as adverse to the outside-the-box mindset possessed by the Director of the ship, but he was better than most of his kin of putting it aside.



Dreq glowered at the ridiculous ship on the screen before him - a completely ostentatious display of wealth that only served to prove how ridiculous the Ferengi had become. Frustratingly, it was this very coating that had taken the immediate satisfaction away. "Switch to disruptors" he snapped, and Lum brought the Klingon weapons online - one of a variety of off-the-rack, and bespoke, weapon modes from across the Quadrants that the Obsidian Lord possessed; after all, it was just good business sense to diversify...


FAS Latinum Lobe



The Latinum Lobe shook harder this time, as the yellow arcs of dismissal became green bolts of fury. More sparks erupted from screens and globes Nalg thought had already expended their signs of life, and the noise all but caused him to cover his ears. And yet, even now, their ship remained intact. If we live through this, he promised to all the Grand Nagus's in history, I'll patent the Nalg Latium Space Armour and sell it to the Federation at such a profit margin that it will cause even the Great Gint to gasp!

Malro continued to earn his keep...and his head. "I have found power to the missile bays" he said, with no tone of triumph. And depressed his strong fingers around the globe.

Thin rods tipped with isofusion warhead burst from small silos along the port of the Latinum Lobe, which curved from their initial course and towards the onyx hunter.




DTS Obsidian Lord

For the first time, the Obsidian Lord rocked through an impact all of its own. "Fusion missiles - Type Glunt 17. Premium" stated Lum, not trying to hide how impressed he was - they were certainly top of the line ordnance; expensive and reliable. And potent, given the explosions across the Administrations Chamber.

The report merely caused Dreq to breathe deeply and remind himself that it would take time for others to adapt to the way of thinking that came so naturally to him. He was a new type of Ferengi, homegrown - they would learn to be such themselves soon enough. "Thrusters. I want us moving. Quantum torpedoes - maximum yield when we're clear of blast radius."

A costly engagement for sure, but one that he was not going to just write-off.



FAS Latinum Lobe

"They are moving away."

Nalg squeaked in exaltation until he saw the look on Malro's wrinkled face. The noise died down. "That's good isn't it...?"

"They are arming torpedoes" the Hupyrian said simply. "Once they are out of range of our inevitable explosion...". He trailed off.

Tactics, buried beneath thousands of years of commercial upbringing, forced its way up. Perhaps a race memory from the unthinkable days where the Ferengi were not chained to Finance. Heresy, of course. "Can we follow them? Keep them in range? " Never leave a customer time to think, seemed to apply.

But Malg shook his head. "We are unable to move."

"Oh."

The display showed the Obsidian Lord's distance tick upwards... Not long now, then.



DTS Obsidian Lord

"Risk-free range in...5...4...3..."



Suddenly, as if blinking into existence, a Starfleet vessel materialised in the ever-increasing gap between the two Ferengi vessels. Instantly, both ships automatically scanned the ship - estimating wealth, personal threat, and ownership.

USS Aquila. Constellation-class. Captain Solluk. Starfleet. Space station Katra. 40 million bars of latinum new; this one was refurbished.



DTS Obsidian Lord

"Hold!" yelled Dreq, his four-lobed mind racing to analyse these change in fortunes. The last thing he wanted was to fire on Starfleet. Yet.

A shriek of a patched-in communications filled the air. It was gravelly but polite. "Attention. This Commander Saxon of the the Starship Aquila to both Ferengi vessels. You have entered Federation territory. Any continued hostile action will result in a net loss of personal fortunes. We are in receipt of a request for asylum from the 'Latinum Lobe' and until such time this request can be properly assessed and a decision made, we offer our active protection to such applicants."

Fists slammed down on the arms of the Chief Administration chair, and Dreq let out a raw cry. Katra should have been completely preoccupied following the explosion. And yet...  He wanted to attack. To show Starfleet that the Ferengi were not just a mercantile peoples and not the joke many took them for; and he had no doubt the Obsidian Lord could destroy this vessel. But...now was not the time. Pieces were still in play and should not be squandered. His own 'Rules of Warfare' were clear...

"No answer. Subspace dive and set course for Terrax."

"Yes Daimon."


To the Bridge crew of the Aquila, the dark Ferengi vessel seemed to sink into the space around it, a ripple around its structure adding to the notion the ship submerged itself as one would an deep-sea ocean explorer. Saxon wondered if such a sight would have interested Paul Wessex. "Can you track it?" he asked, turning to both Ops and Tactical. Both shook their head, but Ops answered. "I'm detecting some subspace disruption; tertiary layer... They've gone."

The old officer nodded, and rubbed his beard in deep contemplation. The attacking ship was certainly an enigma; one that he hoped those aboard the remaining ship - badly damaged as it was - could assist with. "Hail the Ferengi ship and render whatever aid they need; priority on whether we can tow her back to Katra; I'd rather not be away any longer than we need to right now.. Signal the Starstalker and have them dock with us or return to the station."

A lot of unanswered questions remained.

And a lot more to be raised from the Auditors, of that he had no doubts.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2021, 06:49:39 am by John Saxon »
There are old soldiers.
And there are bold soldiers.
And then there’s:
John 'Century' Saxon

Solluk

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Re: The Fourth Estate - Season 1, Episode 2
« Reply #188 on: July 27, 2021, 02:15:06 pm »

FNS Special Report - One Month Later

"And now, to our main story - the Katra Station Special Report.

As you know, thirty days ago, reporters and auditors were sent to Katra Station for a special 'Day of Transparency.' This was the result of a vote by the interim Federation Council on New Bajor to gather more information about Starfleet's state of readiness and general capability in the face of the unique challenges facing the isolated Federation government in the Gamma quadrant.

What the teams expected to find was a carefully curated display of typical Starfleet efficiency.

What they found instead was a disaster.  A disaster in which the teams themselves were terribly imperiled.

Now, over four weeks since the incident, one would hardly be able to discern that anything had been amiss.  Yet weeks ago, the entire Katra station had been brought to its knees.  Not by Dominion agents, or Thinker plots... but rather by the unlikeliest of foes:  Ferengi Organized Crime.

The plot was first discovered by former Starfleet Officer Wessex, now serving with civilian security on the station's promenade.  Unfortunately, the criminal terrorist plot was not discovered quickly enough to prevent a stationwide incapacitation: The result of a bomb planted near primary Electro-Plasma-Conduit lines, coupled with a sabotage of the station's safety systems.

Pandemonium resulted, with fires, loss of gravity, and extreme casualties due to the explosion itself.   The entire station was rendered incapable of meaningful action while its Captain and senior staff were attending a party.

Only the swift action of a legendary Starfleet hero, Commander John 'Century' Saxon, prevented the criminals from enacting similar destruction upon the crew of a Ferengi freighter- a ship which was itself involved in the criminal activity which laid the station low.

Meanwhile, reports surfaced that the station maintains a menagerie of dangerous alien life forms, kept in prison and isolation for unknown reasons.  It even seemed possible that these mysterious creatures may themselves have been responsible for some of the station's damage. 

Some suggested Starfleet incompetence, and wanted the station to be placed fully under civilian control.

However, with inquiries on New Bajor now complete, it is now known that the worst reports were only rumor.  That the station staff responded well under the crisis.  That the civilian freighters on the station worked with Starfleet personnel to evacuate the wounded.  And that the sabotage of the station's safety systems was conducted by a bribed enrollee of the New Bajor jobs program.

Captain Solluk and his personnel have been cleared of any accusations of incompetence, with his statement at the Council Hearing becoming one of this year's top-ten quotable moments.

______________________________

Representative Rigal - "Are you telling us that there is no way to prevent this kind of sabotage in the future?"

Captain Solluk - "Not at all.  There are many steps to be taken.  For one thing, Civilian and Starfleet security personnel need to become less segregated.  It was always a mistake to divorce the security on the Promenade from general Starfleet Security to the extent that we did.  Instead, civilians should have been embedded within standard Starfleet patrols in the area for better coordination. 

In addition, the programming and maintenance of sensitive Starfleet hardware should have remained exclusively in Starfleet hands, and not farmed out to civilian contractors under the New Bajor jobs program. 

But these are details that can be worked out.  There is a larger issue.

That larger issue is freedom. 

Some on this council have accused us of lax security measures.  Alarming proposals have been made to ameliorate these perceived deficiencies.  Proposals which would severely curtail public freedoms.  One of Starfleet's most cherished mandates is to protect the freedoms of Federation citizens.  I would hate for the current crisis to be used as an excuse to eliminate those freedoms, turning Starfleet into a weapon against the Federation people. 

I will work with you on processes and procedures.  On better integration.  And I will invite oversight.

But I will not begin random searches of 'suspicious persons' nor will I implement any imprisonment without just cause.  These proposals are the reflexive reactions of a frightened people, in a frightening time.  But Fear has never been an avenue to sound policy.  If I am ordered to undertake such procedures, I will resign my commission.  We are peacekeepers and explorers... not tyrannical enforcers.  To paraphrase a wise Terran from Earth's North American continent: "Those who trade liberty for security will receive neither."


______________________________

"While the hearings are concluded, the work to improve Katra security- and the security of Federation assets in the quadrant- continues.  The USS Theseus and her sister ship are nearing completion at New Bajor, and will soon begin trials.  These experimental ships, which have been assembled from multiple damaged cruisers, will soon be responsible for exploring the space between New Bajor and the Trialus system, while maintaining patrols of vital shipping lanes.

Katra herself is fully repaired, and the station's Chief Engineer has fully checked and vetted all systems aboard.

The USS Aquila continues its in-system patrols, working with the station's fighter squadrons.  And all wounded have finally been released from treatment at Kir'Shara outpost, where an emergency hospital had been erected.

One of the Ferengi ships at the heart of this matter- The Cruiser 'Latinum Lobe' has been seized following the conviction of its Captain and First Officer for a laundry-list of crimes.  The pair received reduced sentences in exchange for their 'Guilty' plea.  The ship's extravagant latinum hull-plating will be stripped to provide for the Federation's Reserves of trade currency with external governments, while the ship itself will be auctioned to raise funds for the Trialus Development Project, in accordance with Meridian political agreements.

Meanwhile, a permanent Federation Satellite Office has been opened on Katra, ensuring that Starfleet and Federation interests continue to develop in harmony as we continue to navigate these difficult times.

Stay tuned to this subspace datastream for Goz Nelyss's special report from The Bajoran News Service: Dominion War Orphans, Where are they Now? 

Until next week, this is Karen Tartuccio of the Federation News Service, signing off."