Captain’s Log Supplemental
After intercepting an old-style automated distress call from a pre-Federation vessel, Lt. Tahna Laren, Lt. Cmd Tal Duron, Lt. Shon th'Enehr, and I have beamed aboard the Starship Atlantis. It is only a matter of hours before the Atlantis comes apart or is pulled fully into the wormhole that now threatens to engulf this entire system. It is a desperate gambit, but my hope is to rescue her crew and salvage what we can to keep the Faleiro from meeting the same fate. However, it appears that the crew of the Atlantis has gone mad and is fighting what seems to be a limited scale civil war.
After accessing the ship's logs, Captain Hensley decided it was best for their Andorian doctor to stay out-of-sight. For the crew of the Starship Atlantis, trapped in the anomaly over 300 years, only two years had passed. In that time, conflict broke out between the Earth crew and an unknown creature who could assume the identity of any one of them. Unable to escape the wormhole or even trust one another, the crew’s paranoia festered into violent xenophobia and madness. So the doctor would remain behind, gathering whatever data he could from the terminal in the abandoned crewman's quarters. Before leaving, Chief Engineer Duron pulled up the deck plans for the ship and located their position on D Deck, not far from main engineering. He recommended to his captain that they is where they should go. The captain led the away team out into the corridor to main engineering.
In many places, corridor wall and ceiling panels had been removed with cables and power conduits pulled out. Some of those cables hung, their exposed ends sparking, while others had been patched into other systems. Duron noted that they were rerouting power from non-essential ship functions to the engines and structural integrity. It was a brilliant, desperate move but ultimately futile. It was only a matter of hours before the gravitational forces crushed this ship like an egg. When it was time to check in with First Officer Hewett, Captain Hensley received only static. Then, a garbled message came through. He made out enough words to know that his ship was in even deeper trouble than just being caught in the extreme gravitational forces of the anomalous wormhole. Something had attacked the Faleiro, damaged her badly.
At the moment, they heard two crewmen approaching. Hiding in a vertical access ladder connecting D deck to the upper and lower decks, the away team waited until the two men left. Continuing on to engineering, they came upon two armed crewmen guarding a door. The captain decided it was time to make contact. He convinced them that they meant no harm. With a ruse worthy of the stories of James T. Kirk he'd read about at the academy, Captain Hensley persuaded the two Atlantis crewmen that his boarding party were members of an elite Starfleet search and rescue division. One of the crewmen, an enlisted man by the name of Tom Grossman, told his companion to go inside the Command Center and tell Ensign Mendola the good news, "We're going to be rescued!" Then Tom led the Faleiro away team to main engineering.
The away team had a harder time convincing the officers in main engineering, and a firefight broke out. With the Faleiro crew outnumbered, they eventually surrendered. Maintaining a dialogue with their captors, the away team learned that Chief Engineer Darlene Phillips was the woman they saw captured when they first beamed aboard. In her absence, Lieutenant Tom De Sica was the ranking member of engineering. While he made all the command decisions, it appeared that he deferred to Ensign Lou Mendola's judgment on all matters related to the ship's engines. It seemed that everyone looked up to Mendola and praised him as the engineering genius who'd kept them alive this long. The men were jittery, with itchy trigger fingers. It had been drilled into their heads that they needed to find and kill the alien. It was a hostile invader, they said, perhaps a vanguard to an invasion force that took advantage of Earth’s conflict with the Romulan Star Empire. There could be more of these creatures out there on other ships in the fleet, perhaps even on Earth, taking over key personnel to compromise their command structure.
For Lieutenant De Sica, this was a distraction. He needed to figure out what to do and fast. He had been in the middle of planning a rescue of Commander Phillips before these strangers arrived. There was little time. He feared the First Officer would kill her. De Sica blamed First Officer Mallory for their captain’s death. He believed she murder Suarez herself in a coup to seize command. Captain Hensley used this to his advantage, offering to assist in the rescue of Chief Engineer Phillips. And, when two security officers dragged in a bloodied Doctor Shon th'Enehr, Hensley was quick to point out that the Andorian was further proof of their innocence since Andorians did not serve on Starfleet vessels. Explaining Shon's presence, the captain pointed out that his search and rescue operation was a joint venture between the governments of Earth and Andoria.
Convinced of that they were who they said they were, De Sica and the captain formulated their plan to rescue Commander Phillips. Meanwhile, Tal Duron returned with Mendola to the Command Center to assist him in keeping the ship together. Rows of monitors inside the make-shift Command Center displayed various locations throughout the starship. Duron saw bridge, abandoned and sealed off due to micro fractures in the hull. Next, he saw the launch bay, decompressed when the bay doors buckled under the strain from the gravitational forces, and the strange alien lifeboat the Atlantis crew had brought aboard. He saw the ship's doctor performing an autopsy on dead crewmen in sickbay. And, in one of the science laboratories, he witnessed First Officer Mallory arguing with the Chief Science Officer. In the Command Center itself, Duron noticed a patchwork of power cables dangling from open panels in the wall and ceiling, connected to exposed power couplings that tied into several over-worked computer terminals. When complete, these modification would allow complete control of the Atlantis from this location. He rolled up his sleeves and got to work.
At vertical access ladder, the captain, his security chief and members of the Atlantis' engineering department were about to put their plan in motion when a ship-wide announcement came over the intercom:
“This is Acting Captain Mallory speaking. As you may know, we now have Chief Engineer Phillips in our custody. She stands accused of mutiny, and may very well be the alien intruder which would explain a great many things about her behavior of late. A military tribunal will convene within the hour in the main conference room on B deck to determine the chief engineer’s innocence or guilt. Those who wish to attend must relinquish their weapons to Lieutenant Parish upon arriving through the computer core. All other access points to this deck have been sealed. That is all.”
Back in the Command Center, as Mallory made her announcement, Duron discovered that what they were doing would endanger the ship. It increased the risk of a cascading overload that could result in a warp core breach. When confronted with this information, Mendola calmly said that without a functioning bridge the risk was warranted. In the ensuing conversation, Duron began to suspect that Mendola might be the alien intruder. He drew his phaser and told Mendola to step away from the console. But Mendola remained calm. He placed his hands in the air and asked Duron to put away his weapon. The two men pleaded with one other, but neither one would yield. Then Mendola quietly said, "I created the wormhole."
"What?" Duron said as he lowered his phaser.
"This is my fault."
"Maybe I can help you," Duron said.
"Yes," Mendola said. "Yes, I think you can." And then he placed a hand on Tal Duron's shoulder…
To be Continued…