Mission 15: "F" IS FOR FLYING
The contents of the Ship Logs are considered to be a
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effected upon publication of this mission by the ship’s Captain ipso facto.
As outlined in Circular 1 (Copyrighted Basics, Library
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This mission may not be reproduced in any form without
the express, written authorization of STARSHIPS OF THE THIRD FLEET.
This mission is dedicated to Don Hyland who
passed away January 16, 2006. Don joined Starships of the Third
Fleet in May of 1990. He served aboard the USS Sovereign, USS
Avenger and USS Concord. Don was 67 years old when he joined SS3F.
He will be missed by his crewmates and this Captain.
It’s 1800 hours, and you’re watching The Flying
Cloud Report, a division of Starfleet News Corps.
Senior officers of all four fleets continue to
gather on Starbase Flying Cloud for the biennial 4Q Summit. The
conference provides fleet commanders, their staff, and starship
captains, the opportunity to meet and discuss policies relevant to
the continued security and exploration of Federation territory.
This year’s keynote speaker is retired Fleet
Admiral Melas Nogero, who is most famously remembered as Captain of
the USS RORKE’S DRIFT. Nogero unexpectedly stepped down from his
post as CO of the First Fleet last year amid rumors of widespread
corruption within his command, including his personal staff and
prominent SS1F captains. The most serious charge leveled against
Nogero, conspiracy to promote illegal interstellar trade utilizing
First Fleet resources in conjunction with the Hadrada crime
syndicate, remains under investigation. These and other similar
charges have indelibly tarnished the reputation of a true Starfleet
The 4Q Summit begins tomorrow at 0900 hours with
the welcoming address by host Fleet Admiral Daniel Evans. A
tour of the USS PHOENIX, recently returned to active status after
completion of repairs, is also scheduled as part of tomorrow’s
1000 HOURS – STARBASE FLYING CLOUD
The applause was polite enough in duration for
Admiral Evan’s opening remarks. He was happy just to have over and
done with the unpleasant duty of being the first to address his
peers concerning the many pressing items to be discussed during the
summit. He hated giving speeches, and was relieved to turn things
over to the current 4Q chairman, Second Fleet Admiral Trewry.
Evans and his staff had spent the two years
following the previous summit preparing for this one. Arrangements
were made on a grand scale and required the assistance of almost
every crewmember assigned to 3FHQ. There were VIP quarter
arrangements to work out, mooring assignments for the First, Second,
and Fourth Fleet flagships, and a menu full of delicacies for every
species that would be gathered for the event. Of primary importance
were the security details, which always required the most attention.
Rear Admiral Bo Donati could always be counted on to be thorough in
his planning for any contingency. Although there had been no threats
to disrupt the conference, nor any notable violent actions aboard
Flying Cloud (outside of occasional drunken fisticuffs), the
safety of the attendees depended on maintaining a completely secure
facility. Evans wanted to make sure that this conference, like all
of the ones preceding it, went off without a hitch.
1600 HOURS – USS PHOENIX
Captain T.E. Lawrence served as tour guide to
Fleet Admiral Evans, Second Fleet Admiral Trewry, and Fourth Fleet
Admiral Pontrix, who were touring the PHOENIX as part of their late
afternoon schedule. Aides and a smattering of starship personnel
also accompanied them. This was their last activity of the day prior
to the much-anticipated speech by Admiral Nogero at dinner that
Every 4Q Summit included a tour of the flagship
of the host fleet. Two years previously it had been 2FHQ’s USS
POLARIS under the command of Captain Phaeron that had the honor. The
POLARIS was currently docked at Flying Cloud but, as T.E.
noted, Captain Phaeron was nowhere to be seen. She didn’t blame him.
In two years she would skip this event herself. Starship captains
had an unwritten rule of courtesy: "Criticize not, lest the white
glove be turned against you."
As the guests enjoyed post-tour refreshments in
"The Nest", Lawrence managed to isolate Admiral Evans from the
"Kudos on a job well done, T.E., " Evans beamed
his only smile of the day at his protégé.
"Thank you, Daniel. But I admit to being a little
confused. I thought Admiral Nogero and Fleet Admiral Polk were also
supposed to be on this tour."
"Nogero’s personal assistant contacted my office
just before we were ready to leave to board the PHOENIX," Evans
calmly explained, "Apparently he was making some last minute changes
to his speech for this evening and decided to pass on the tour. As
for Polk, I have no idea why he didn’t come along. I’m sorry, T.E. I
know you were really looking forward to meeting Admiral Nogero."
"He’s someone I’ve greatly admired for many
years, despite all of his recent troubles, " Lawrence sounded
"I’ll see what I can do to arrange a private
meeting before he leaves tomorrow," Evans sought to smooth the
"Thank you, Daniel," T.E. smiled.
"Unfortunately, it’s back into the fray for me,"
Evans announced with a sigh before returning to his guests.
2020 HOURS – STARBASE FLYING CLOUD
Twenty minutes had passed from the time
designated for Admiral Nogero to begin his keynote address. Instead
of sitting among the other attendees, Admiral Evans had been
urgently asked to return to his office by Admiral Alisha
"Alisha, this better be damned important," Evans
fumed, "It’s bad form for the host CO not to be present for the
keynote address, even if it is late in getting started."
"There’s not going to be a keynote address,
Daniel," the Chief-of-Staff did her best to sound dispassionate,
"Admiral Nogero was found dead thirty minutes ago. First Fleet
Admiral Polk and Captain Tynne of the 1FHQ flagship ARGO are also
dead. All three were found in the same location."
"My god," Evans shuddered, "All of them…dead? How
could…I mean, what happened?"
"It occurred in the deck 34 ready room. All of
them appear to have been dead somewhere between two and three hours.
Bo and his team have sealed the area and are still conducting their
investigation. Nothing, and no one, is being ruled out at this
Evans could hardly bring himself to believe it.
"They were all part of the First Fleet contingent. Pretty damned
coincidental, don’t you think!"
"Just one more problem, Daniel," Black-Donati
spoke in hesitant tones, knowing Evans didn’t need any more bad
news, "Five members of Admiral Nogero’s staff are missing as well."
"Well they couldn’t have just disappeared," Evans
demanded, "Have any ships left Flying Cloud?"
"No, sir. No ships have departed or entered port
since the summit security cordon was imposed yesterday. We have
detected no transport signals, either internal or external. No
unusual communication traffic has been reported."
"Then we have no idea where they are, or even if
they’re responsible for these murders in some way." the Third Fleet
CO had difficulty fathoming the many twists of the whole sordid
"I’ve given you all the information that we have
at this time, Daniel."
"I want Flying Cloud completely locked
down, Alisha. Nothing and no one moves without my knowing about it
first. Get me Captain Lawrence on a secure emergency channel."
2038 HOURS – USS PHOENIX
"Now you know as much about the situation as I
do," T.E. finished briefing her department heads, "Admiral Evans has
asked us to assist with the investigation as best we can. Obviously
Flying Cloud doesn’t have the resources right now to deal
with a multiple-murder and maintain the safety of the other
4Q Summit attendees."
"What’s to keep the responsible conspirators from
beaming directly to a ship nearby Flying Cloud?" LCDR Soen
Mon’Teith immediately spoke up.
"For one thing, no ships are permitted within a
half-million kilometers, thanks to Admiral Donati’s summit security
measures, which are being enforced by the EXETER, STARQUEST, and
DILIGENCE. Additionally, the SOVEREIGN is standing guard around the
perimeter of Flying Cloud, ready to intercept or jam any
suspicious transmissions - including transporter signals," Lawrence
explained to the satisfaction of her security chief.
"As all of the victims are connected with First
Fleet operations," T’Prel spoke next, "Could there be some
correlation between these murders and the circumstances surrounding
the victims’ alleged dealings with the Hadrada Syndicate?"
"It’s certainly a consideration," Captain
Lawrence cautiously replied, "The only way we’ll know for sure is to
find Nogero’s missing staff members. Right now we don’t know if they
committed the murders, or if they’re in hiding, afraid of being
killed themselves. It’s also possible they were taken as hostages by
the real conspirators. They could be anywhere on Flying Cloud,
or on one of the docked starships, maybe even our own. Each of your
departments has been assigned a search area either on the PHOENIX or
Flying Cloud. Everyone involved with the search is ordered to
carry a phaser and tricorder with them at all times, and to check-in
frequently with their respective department head. Be sure to stay on
guard at all times, and be careful."
Lawrence watched her senior officers leave the
room. Her crew would do their duty as they always had. But could
they find the real killers before they struck again?