GM’s Log- with the successful resolution of the baffling mystery surrounding the disappearance of the personnel of Federation Deep Space Research (FDR) 39, the officers and crew of the USS Phobos returned to Star Base 15 for some much needed R&R before their next assignment. They were shocked to learn that Captain Bowman’s father had fallen ill to a life-threatening sickness, and that he would be forced to return to Earth as the admiral’s only close kin. With much emotion, he addressed the crew to inform them of this turn. First Officer T’Androma nearly had an uncharacteristic outburst at the news of Captain Bowman’s departure, but quickly resumed her composure- while the other officers expressed their concern for Captain Bowman’s father and gave their sympathies. Bowman took one last, sad look at the Phobos to watch it fade in the distance as he left for Earth on the first outgoing starship bound for home.
The Phobos’ crew decided to make the best of the situation by pursuing some well-earned leave planetside. Despite the availability of camp grounds, city life, shopping, etc, the majority of the Phobos’ senior officers eventually found themselves at the base’s local watering hole, Kessel’s Gambit. First Officer T’Androma decided to settle herself in a corner table in the bar with a book and some tea, while Science Officer MacCauley and Security Chief Hunter predictably made their way to the center bar to start the festivities. They were joined by Chief Engineer Zarath, and next by their new communications officer Yuri Pushkinov. Although they were requested to report to Commodore Bradley the next morning, most of the crew wasted little time in getting to the carousing. They enjoyed sampling mass quantities of whatever the bartender had, but were eventually introduced to a mischievous cocktail the bartender called ‘warp coolant’, with it’s characteristic ice-blue coloration, served in a glass with a shimmering light core. The evening would not go without a gratuitous bar fight, as a disgruntled base technician, bitter at having been passed over for space duty aboard a starship, foolishly elected to start a fight with Security Chief Hunter. His mouthing off was eventually rewarded with a bottle to the head, and was finally subdued with a broken nose, courtesy of Comm Officer Pushkinov. Seeing how the fight was turning, the base crewman’s friends hastily left the scene.
Much to the displeasure of the First Officer, Security Chief Hunter nearly missed the morning meeting, having been caught vomiting throughout the night per his excessive consumption of all manners of drink. MacCauley and Zarath did not fare too much better, except that Zarath had remembered an old hangover cure- a family recipe which he hastily concocted for himself and his crewmates. All recovered to more-or-less normal save Hunter, who only stopped vomiting and looked quite worse for wear. The three arrived at Commodore Bradley’s office to find their disapproving first officer, and Pushkinov..who, for all appearances did not seem to have consumed any alcohol the night before. Commodore Bradley glared angrily at some of the Phobos’s officers, but decided to ignore their disrespect to give them the news. First Officer T’Androma was given command of the Phobos for an evaluation period and awarded permanent promotion to Commander. For their actions on FDR 39 and earlier, all present were up for consideration for promotion (Pushkinov as well for his other work, although Bradley made no mention). The news that followed was not as easy. The Phobos was ordered to the Neutral Zone, at Romulan borderspace near Gorn territory. StarFleet wished to test their newest upgrade in battle if the Romulans gave cause, the crew suspected.
Before their departure, the Phobos’ officers were approached by one of the base’s shipyard engineers, Lt. Wilkins. He offered to fit the Phobos with end-phased although still-experimental sensing and communications enhancements, fitted for reversion if the bridge officers wished to use their conventional technologies. He also advised Chief Zarath against any untried propulsion modifications. Captain T’Androma agreed, and the changes were committed before the Phobos’ departure for the Neutral Zone. It was an uneventful journey to borderspace, marked only by some training engaged in by some of the officers. What happened next..the crew was likely never to forget.
On approach to the Neutral Zone, Comm Officer Pushkinov received a distress call from the independent trade vessel Pride of Rigel. She reported fleeing from a large indeterminate craft, with one badly damaged engine. Captain T’Androma ordered yellow alert and increased speed to intercept the Pride and its pursuer. What they encountered was beyond belief..a second doomsday device in pursuit of the Pride, as encountered earlier by Captain James Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise. Miles long, it’s hull was constructed out of impossibly dense neutronium and capable of destroying whole planets with a terrifying anti-proton beam weapon. It’s maw was a fiery chasm, out of Dante’s Inferno.