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Part of USS Cantabras: Family Reunion

Intelligence Gathering

Siterian Governor's Office, Sitera
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“Governor Lifaeal will see you now, Commander,” came the reedy voice of the governor’s receptionist. The Siterian people were humanoid, on the shorter side, most weren’t much taller than five feet. Their turquoise skin had random colorations of red and orange. On their neck were vertical slits, a testament to their underwater origins. What unsettled Alex the most was they blinked vertically, a trait left over from their evolution.

Alex and Tani stood up and straightened their uniforms. They followed the receptionist to Governor Lifaeal’s office and entered. 

Behind the desk sat a rotund man, he slightly brightened at the sight of the two Starfleet officers. “Ah good, yes, yes. You must be the team Starfleet sent to handle the Shining Hope.” He motioned for them to sit, “They have been a terrible thorn in my side for some time.”

“That’s what we’re told,” Alex replied. “Any information you have of them would be helpful.”

Lifaeal produced a PADD and handed it to Alex. “I’m afraid there’s not much to go on. They have been launching several attacks on our infrastructure: transport vehicles, electrical facilities, our mining operations, and the like.”

Alex read over the PADD, “The reports show they only attack in groups of 3 or less. Why not place guards in critical areas? They can’t be too difficult to overpower.” He handed the PADD to Tani.

With a burbling noise, Lifaeal looked dismayed. “If only it were that easy Commander. I’ve placed the military on a rotational assignment. It seems no matter where I place them, the Shining Hope strikes elsewhere.”

“It says here you have several major felmite mining operations. What would you have use of a mineral like that?”

“It’s a very useful mineral. We refine it for energy and fuel, but it can also be adapted for textiles. It’s quite valuable on Sitera.”

“What do you know about the group itself? Do you know how many members it has? Have they made any demands? And why call themselves Shining Hope?”

Another burble from Lifaeal, “They consider themselves freedom fighters. What they’re liberating I’m not sure. I pride myself on having a fair and judicial governing body. They don’t make any demands and we’ve identified at least a dozen group members.

“We should start at the felmite mines,” Tani said, setting the PADD back on Lifaeal’s desk.

The governor looked confused, “Why do you want to see the mines?”

“I want to see a mine that Shining Hope has attacked.”

“Certainly!” Lifaeal said and stood up. “The nearest mine is roughly an hour from here. I can have transport arranged.”

Alex and Tani stepped off the transport outside of the mine. The two of them stepped out and walked toward the entrance of the mine.

“I’ll wait here for your return Commander,” the driver said, shutting down the transport’s engine.

“So what’s the play here Commander?” Alex asked once they were out of earshot of the driver.

“Something didn’t sit right with Lifaeal. The melting point of felmite makes it a poor fuel source. And using it for clothes? That doesn’t make any sense.”

“You’re right! They use a mineral in unusual ways so that does make them suspicious,” Alex said sarcastically. “You know, not every world has the luxuries Federation worlds do. Some are using what they have available to get by.”The two arrived at the entrance and were met by a military guard. “Command Benson and Lieutenant Commander Veva,” Alex announced. “We’re here to look over what happened during the Shining Hope attack.”

The guard nodded and handed them both a light, “It’s dark in there, be careful.”

Alex nodded and he and Tani moved into the darkened mine. The only noise was the howling of the wind through the empty mine.

 “Well this is certainly spooky,” Alex said, turning on his light.

“Your penchant for stating the obvious is as charming as ever,” Tani said, turning on her light.

“At least you admit I’m charming.”

Alex and Tani walked further through the mine, their footfalls echoing throughout the mine. The further they moved deeper, the smaller the light from the entrance became.

“I don’t see anything suspicious,” Alex said, scanning the walls with his light.

“There are residual energy discharge marks here on the walls,” Tani said, looking at her tricorder. “But here it looks like-” an insistent beep from her tricorder. “There’s a device over here,” she moved towards the signal. She knelt by it, waving her tricorder over it. “This is weird. The tricorder registers it as an explosive device. It’s transmitting a signal, but it’s short-ranged.”

“A remote detonation?”

“I think it’s supposed to be, but the signal would be too weak this deep. The frequency is more like a distress beacon.”

“So it’s designed to draw people-” The realization hit them both and they broke out in a sprint. The pinhole entrance light became bigger until a large vibration shook the mine. Alex and Tani were knocked off their feet. Alex looked toward the entrance and saw only darkness. “Tani, tell me that’s not what I think it is,” Alex asked, dusting himself off.

Tani coughed, stood up, and opened her tricorder. “I’m afraid so. It looks like the mine caved in. We’re trapped.”


  • Yay, new aliens! The Federation and the galaxy at large are such vast places; it's always nice to get a glimpse of a new lifeform, the weirder the better. The vertical blinking creeping out Benson is the perfect touch. I enjoyed Benson's sarcastic response to Veva's observation, particularly because I suspect it's coming back to bite him in the ass; I do love it when characters are wrong in fun ways.

    May 28, 2023