One Last Rodeo
For Captain M’Rett’s heightened senses, hints of ozone and smoke still lingered in the air even though the danger of toxicity had long since passed. It would take several months for the ionization still crackling through the atmosphere to subside and the embers to burn out, but the colony was once again safe for inhabitation, at least until the next once-in-a-century solar flare set off catastrophic lightning storms. There were three generations of mostly-Human colonists who would rush to grab a breather mask whenever the distinct scent of noxious trioxygen drifted through on the breeze or the flash of lightning crackled in the distance, but for now, her crew had managed to treat all of the pulmonary and cardiac emergencies caused by acute ozone and smoke exposure and had set up enough negative pressure shelters around the colony to give folks a sense of security. Her last mission as captain of the Hippocrates was complete, but M’Rett didn’t want to head back to port without seeing Gamma Tauri IV for herself.
Until the 2380s, the planet had been home only to unmanned monitoring stations keeping an eye on the Ferengi border, but the Gamma Tauri system had been part of the first wave of post-war colonies; several hundred thousand civilians and ex-Starfleeters had made it their home to find solace in the toil and excitement that came with taming a new planet. The high oxygen content in the air had made some things easier, like agriculture, but it made the planet a tinderbox. Even the tiniest bits of iron in the soil oxidized almost immediately when they came into contact with the atmosphere, and so the planet’s surface was a mix of waving fields of crops and grass with plains of rust. M’Rett thought it looked a lot like what Mars was starting to before that colony suffered an even greater catastrophe.
It was a good mission to retire on; they’d helped a lot of people and there had been no major incidents in the process. Some Starfleet captains lived for the thrill of meeting a new race, but M’Rett had always savored the challenge of helping the Federation’s citizens wherever she could Life out on the frontier wasn’t easy even in the 24th century, after all. The hospital they had set up was on the edge of the main city, along the banks of a river that she had never bothered to learn the name of. Confident that the cargo shuttles coming and going to retrieve their supplies could continue without her watching, she slunk away from their landing site, going down to the banks of the river to sit and watch alien fish swimming through ruddy water.
After just a few moments, she heard footsteps behind her. Before he even announced himself, she knew it was her first officer, Commander Galbraith.
“We did a good job here, Seth,” she said, as she stood up. “I guess you’re about to tell me to get on the damn shuttle, so we can get back to the ship?
Galbraith grinned. “Something like that, Captain. The Hippocrates is picking up a Ferengi ship about to enter orbit. I thought you’d want to know.”
M’Rett sighed. “Well, of course I want to know that. I wouldn’t put it past them to have set off the damn solar flare themselves,” she said. “Alright. Let’s get back up there. I’ll have to sit on a riverbank in my retirement.”
The shuttle ride up from the surface was smooth despite the lingering tempestuousness among the clouds, and the red and green surface of the planet faded as they got closer to ther ship. The Hippocrates was distinctive with its spherical primary hull and hundreds of windows, standing out next to the trio of California-class ships painted in white with blue medical symbols that had helped out on the mission.
M’Rett was happy to get to see her ship one last time from the outside, but couldn’t help but frown when a brown-red, beetle-like Ferengi marauder came into view just as they were entering the shuttlebay.
“If they had waited twenty minutes, they’d have been the colonial administrator’s problem,” M’Rett grumbled; the Ferengi were a fact of life on the Federation frontier, with their trading vessels always attempting to “help” with the Federation’s efforts in the area in exchange for access to resources, when they weren’t harassing free traders or taking salvage without asking. “But, I guess they’re my problem now. One last rodeo.”
Task Force News
- We’re pleased to welcome Tim, who is taking over the USS Spartan, our Saber-class scout/frigate!
- As you can see, Captain M’Rett is stepping down from the Hippocrates, so you can apply to run this premade hospital ship as a GM and help out on the frontier.
- Last month, I appointed TrumpetMaster as a TGCO, so he’ll be the third member of the TF staff and is here to help new members learn the ropes. Welcome aboard!
For our first Task Force-level event, I’m pleased to announce that it’s Ferengi Week! As the most important power in the region we operate in, the Ferengi have their hands in almost everything that we do. So, in the next few hours expect to see a whopping seven competitions involving them to open up! These include a puzzle, a word search, a quiz, a biography competition, a short story competition, and a flash fiction competition, so there’s something for everyone. Though hosted by TF9, these are available to everyone in Bravo Fleet and will run from the 18th of October through 11:59 p.m. on the 25th of October.