These are the voyages of the USS Burketown. Her mission: to discover strange new worlds, meet new civilisations and to carry out her Federation orders despite being cobbled together from two different vessels, having lost its Captain and being run by a skeleton crew.
Alien upgrades, an abandoned medical kit and footprints leading into the jungle.
“Somebody walked away from this,” remarked the tall man in the Starfleet uniform. He knelt to examine bootprints in the dirt near the exit ramp of the crashed Bajoran shuttle. It was hard to be sure, but the gait of the steps seemed short and uneven to Lt. Scates. “He’s injured,” Scates remarked, “and he’s got a head start on us. Perhaps it’s your friend, 421?”
In the cabin of the shuttle, a purple-furred, eight-limbed alien examined the dead Bajoran slumped over the pilot’s station. “This ship belonged to a Bajoran Priest named Hiktok Mu last time I saw it, and this dead man is not him. He may have survived the crash,” it replied.
“He may be infected by the same plague that killed the pilot,” Dr Lojika interjected. “We don’t know what condition he is in. He may not have long to live.” The Doctor was examining bulkheads and storage lockers as she spoke, and quickly found what she was looking for – the Bajoran symbol for medicine. Opening the compartment, she removed the ship’s medical kit. It contained standard Bajoran equipment and medicines, but it was clear that it had recently been used. Despite the waning power levels, the access log showed that the compartment has been accessed two standard days prior.
Back at the boarding ramp, Lt. Scates was working on a similar idea. Connecting a power generator to the ship’s emergency systems, he accessed the crew manifest and door logs. The manifest showed that there were only two Bajorans on board, and that the missing Bajoran was Hiktok Mu, the man 421 had met ten years before. According to the door logs, Mu had left the ship two days ago.
While Lt. Scates restored power and Dr Lojika examined the medical supplies, 421 inspected the ships systems for anything unusual. The furry engineer quickly realised that the shuttle had been heavily modified from its original specs, and now carried technology from a range of alien cultures. Ferengi power converters, Federation shield generators and Klingon engine upgrades had all been retrofitted into the shuttle. Clearly this ship had been doing a considerable amount of travel in the years since 421 had last seen it.
Then a thought struck 421. It realised why it remembered this particular ship, out of all the particular ships that had stopped by the repair station outpost during its long isolation. Hiktok Mu, the Bajoran holy man, had stolen something from 421’s station!
“We must find Mu, and quickly!” 421 said, exiting the ship.
“I agree,” said Dr Lojika, slinging the strap of the Bajoran medkit over her shoulder. “But if he is hurt, why wouldn’t he take this with him?”
“Only one way to find out. Follow me.” said Lt. Scates, taking the lead and tracking the footprints across the jungle floor.
Will the crew of the USS Burketown find Hiktok Mu before the Bajoran Plague has run its deadly course? And what caused the crash in the first place? Find out next time!