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Part of USS Pioneer: Murder on the Oridian Express

Surprises in the Helix (pt.1)

SS Christie, In orbit of Agrima III
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XO’s Log: Pioneer has been diverted once again. Following our recent under cover operation to Valkoran Base we have spent several days at DS19 transferring prisoners and supplies. We had only just left the station when we received a distress call from the passenger liner SS Christie in orbit of Agrima III. It seems there has been a violent crime aboard that has resulted in the death of a passenger. As the nearest Starfleet vessel, we have been instructed to respond and establish what has occurred. A larger vessel with a full investigation team are en-route but are still several days away. I guess the Talvath Cluster will have to wait a little longer… again. 

Part 1 – A Chilly Welcome. 

Our crack team of investigators arrive aboard the converted Miranda Class vessel, SS Christie, a passenger cruise liner that has recently returned to service following an extended period of closure. They are greeted by Head Steward Amarilla, a chilly and formal Betazoid who explains the situation to the team; a few nights ago a young woman accidently stumbled into a Jefferies junction room looking for the bathroom, there she discovered the dead body of a Vulcan passenger. Since that time the vessel has also lost the ability to go to warp and whilst they do not know if the two things are connected their chief engineer cannot find any reason why the ship would be stalled now. A fellow Betazoid, Doctor Kaz notices from her surface thoughts that the woman is very panicked and is working over time to keep her professional demeanour. Taking the lead for the moment he requests to see the body and the team are lead to sickbay. Whilst they travel the corridors they notice several groups of passengers trading gossip surrounding the incident and Starfleet’s arrival, our diplomat James Shaw notices that not many people seem bothered about the dead passenger. 

Part 2 – Questionable Medical Licences

On arrival at Sick bay Amarilla holds the team at the door and requests the team treat the ships doctor, an elder Tellerite by the name of Knowles, with respect as a seasoned practitioner. Though they do not quite understand her meaning they agree to tread carefully. Upon entering the sickbay they find a bumbling man attending a hungover Andorian alongside several synth nursing assistants, (they note their presence to be odd following recent events with Copellius) and begin questioning the Doctor about the corpse. From their questioning they establish the following:

  • The Vulcan died from a major blunt force trauma to the cranium. 
  • It appears he dies approximately 4 hours prior to being found. 
  • Initial scans show no abnormalities or surprises with the body. 
  • The passenger’s identity have been erased from the ships logs, there is no record of him being aboard despite having interacted with multiple crew members and services over the course of three weeks. 

Shaw and Kaz both decide to undertake their own scans, focusing particularly on the incomplete medical scan data that identified some unusual genetic markers. Following some further questioning from Kaz, with their specific field of knowledge they identify Doctor Knowles to be less than dependable, identifying several mistakes in his initial investigation. The team suspects he is suffering from his age and decide not to point out his mistake. Yupaz attempts to model the weapon but is only able to identify it was round and struck with massive force. The team decides to split up to investigate further:

  • Yupaz and Shaw will head to the Vulcan’s quarters and look for leads. 
  • Lane will head to the engine room to assist the chief engineer with investigations into the disabled warp engines. 
  • Kaz will head to the lounge where the 4 passengers present at the time of discovery have been assembled. 

Part 3a – Yupaz & Shaw

Whilst journeying to the cabins, Shaw investigates the medical scans further and identifies an unusual but familiar genome sequence hidden amongst the victims DNA. It causes a security lockout and he requests special dispensation from Pioneer’s XO to have the record unsealed, revealing an unexpected genetic marker. (GM Note: this is not revealed to the rest of the party). 

On arrival to the Vulcan’s quarters they notice a number of synths operating in the corridors, acting as both sentries and stewards, one attempts to physically block the pair’s entrance as they are not guests but Amarilla grants the team access rights. The duo use their scans of the victim to identify where he was most active in the quarters (GM: Yupaz discovered the abnormal genetic markers at this time, it is still a secret from the other members of the party), this leads them to notice a particularly well used ceremonial Japanese tea set that appears to be an antique. After some investigation they discover the set is an excellent forgery and notice the box features a number of non-Terran symbols consistent with traditional Romulan pictographs. 

Part 3b – Lane

Lane makes his way to the engine room where Deck Chief Nickul is working with a team of a half dozen synths to investigate the ships faulty warp systems. The jaded Bolian chief seems reluctant to accept Lane’s fresh faced help but agrees he can run his own diagnostics, she explains that there is no obvious fault but every time they attempt to engage the warp field the computer engages safety overrides without explanation. 

After a series of investigate diagnostics Lane discovers the ship’s computer is detecting an surge in power through the plasma conduits and institutes a shutdown to prevent an overload. This feature is hard wired into the safety features of the vessel and would take extensive work to bypass, Lane also discovers that there is no actual power surge but the system appears to be being duped from a relay that then erases it’s activities, suspiciously this relay is located in the Jefferies junction where the victim was found. He takes Chief Nickul and goes to investigate. (GM Note: Lane also discovers the secret genetic markers of the victim during his research. At this point only Kaz is unaware)

Part 3c – Doctor Kaz

Doctor Kaz is shown to the Midnight Lounge in the forward section where the four witnesses/suspects have been assembled, though a series of interviews he establishes the following information:

Captain Fabian Hiskel (Retired)

  • First he interviews Hiskel who introduces himself immediately on Kaz’s arrival. He is full of bluster and sprinkles his answers with repeated references to heroic adventures alongside Starfleet greats. 
  • Kaz sees through Hiskel’s fabrications and after consulting the Starfleet records confirms he was actually a captain of little note spending much of his career in the Starfleet interior on milk runs. 
  • Hiskel is a long-term passenger aboard Christie and saw the victim come aboard approximately three weeks ago. He has been quiet and solitary, interacting with the others rarely despite Hiskel’s multiple attempts.

Feystin Krill

  • Feystin is dour Bajoran who holds a lot of anger towards Starfleet following the death of his wife aboard Probert Station on Frontier Day. 
  • He had originally planned to come on this cruise with his wife, when prompted he did not give an explanation why he still came aboard following her death. 
  • Kaz noticed that the man was hiding something and after some probing ascertains that Feystin remembered seeing the Vulcan before coming aboard the ship, in some less than reputable locations on Freecloud. He can’t be 100% sure but is confident he had seen the man before. 

Djon, son of Naykar

  • Extremely reluctant to answer Kaz’s questions Djon admits he did not like the victim, believing him to be a liar and that he had come aboard under false pretences. He insinuates the victim may be a Romulan, though this appears on the surface to be simple racism.
  • He admits that he had a run in with the Vulcan several nights ago as they passed through a slalom course in an asteroid belt. The Victim had attempted to steal his personal belongings including his ID and his dagger. 
  • He noted that the Vulcan was unexpectedly aggressive and emotional. 

Alianna Kane

  • Alianna is the young woman who discovered the victim’s body. She is calm on the surface but clearly struggling with what she has seen. 
  • She is a journalist from the Federation News Service travelling aboard the ship, though Kaz does not discover what her current investigation is regarding. 
  • She also feeds Kaz several pieces of information including proof that Hiskel is not the man he says he is and that Djon’s history has several holes. She suspected the victim was not what he appeared but doesn’t have any information to share. 

As Kaz removes himself from the lounge under the guise of needing to contact the ship, he meets Lane and Chief Nickul in the corridor and joins them en-route to investigate the crime scene. 

Theories abound throughout the ship and amongst the team as to the nature of the victim and the cause of his death. Was it Changelings? Synths? The Tal Shiar? Perhaps it relates to the secret genetic markers that remain a mystery only to Doctor Kaz? We will see next session.