A Most Troubling Sighting
Episode 5: Better Angels
Location: USS Artemis, Location Classified
Timeline: MD 4
Captain James entered his ready room and headed over toward the desk in the chamber. Flicking on the screen in front of him, he was soon greeted by the visage of Lt. Commander Nugo, the Kelpian Science Chief on Arcadia...and currently the stations ranking officer.
"Commander Nugo, to what do I owe the pleasure?" Chris asked, settling into the seat.
"Ah. Captain. I apologize for the interruption, but we've...received certain reports. It is nowhere near as pressing as your current mission. But it needs to be passed along." The Kelpian replied, looking rather unsettled.
Chris's brow furrowed. "Go on..."
Nugo straightened up. "Captain, as you know, Starfleet had a set of general directives to local traders in this region of space from Defiant's hunt for the missing USS Shelley. We had requested any sightings out of the ordinary."
Chris simply nodded along. "Yes, I'm familiar with the directives. Hadn't we shut those down after we located the Shelley and confronted the creature?"
"Apparently not," Nugo replied. "And...well, we've started receiving reports. Not from nearby, but from a distinct path leading away from the Volan Expanse and into uncharted territory."
Captain James sat forward, his brow somehow managing to tighten a little more. "What kind of reports?"
"Sightings, Captain. And a most troubling sighting at that. Sightings of a vessel bearing the registry number NX-14 USS Shelley," Nugo's face looked almost pale as he finished.
"That's literally impossible. The ship was destroyed. I saw it with my own eyes. Hell, I gave the order to overload its warp core," Chris said, incredulously.
"I am aware of your report, Captain," the lanky man replied. "However...these reports appear to be accurate. There have been a half dozen along a correlated path. And then there's this." The Kelpian pushed a button, transmitting an image to the Artemis screen.
Chris stared at it for a moment. On screen, was the unmistakable hullframe of an NX-refit vessel. And easily distinguishable on its hull were the markings 'NX-14'. Even blinking his eyes didn't seem to change what he was seeing.
Nugo continued. "That image was captured by Starfleet's long range telemetry probe on the edge of the Volan Expanse. It is unaltered."
Chris felt his throat tighten. How the hell was that possible? He had, without a doubt, seen the vessel overload and explode. In fact, he'd seen it slam into a Hydran warship first, becoming badly mangled. And yet, there it was. Visible on screen. Looking old and weathered, but very much intact. His brain shut off its emotional response. "Very well, Mr. Nugo. This will be Defiant's mission purview. I will pass it along to Captain Reynolds once her objective is complete. No need to burden her with this now..."
"Thank you, Captain. I will update you if we learn any more." With that, the science officer deactivated the comm, leaving Captain James staring at his screen in silence.