Captain's Log, Stardate 5517.9. The Enterprise has picked up a signal originating in the Kappa Mu system that matches that of the recently disappeared SS Ingalls, a colony scout ship. As we believe the craft to be in distress, we are heading there to investigate. Our report to Starfleet Command has not gone unnoticed; there is someone in particular who awaits news of the Ingalls.

Kirk studied the worried face of the woman on the display in his conference room. Blond haired and in her late middle age, she wore the uniform of a medical officer. "You are certain it's the Ingalls?"

Kirk nodded. "Positive, Dr. Gellar. The message contained their carrying code." He rubbed his chin. "The signal only began transmitting three days after last two-way contact. Someone had to send the message."

The woman looked down before continuing. "Yes. Someone. Not necessarily my daughter, though."

McCoy tapped the table with his index finger. "You don't know that, Eloise. Daphne's tough as nails. I should know; I treated her myself for more broken bones than any cadet has a right to have and still graduate. Hardly had to use any painkiller either. If anyone's still kicking, she'll be."

Dr. Gellar smiled at McCoy. "Thank you Doctor. Personally, I think you had more to do with getting her interested in medicine than I did."

McCoy smiled back. "Let's just say she had no shortage of role models growing up and leave it at that."

"When we find her, you'll be the first to know, Doctor. Kirk out." Kirk switched off the display and sat back in his chair. He closed his eyes, but opened them shortly afterward and found himself staring into the concerned face of Spock. "What did I do now?"

"That was a foolish promise to make, Captain. The colonization authority and Starfleet Command should be notified first, as you know." Spock placed one hand on the table, then turned to McCoy. "I am sure you are aware of the standard procedure as well, Doctor."

McCoy frowned. "Yes. Yes I am. But I'm also aware of the fact that Dr. Gellar is worried about her daughter. It'd be downright cruel to tell her the news second-hand, whatever the outcome."

Kirk leaned forward. "So you think there's a possibility the passengers and crew of the Ingalls may be dead?"

"It's always a possibility, Jim." They all sat in serious contemplation before the comm interrupted them.

"Bridge to Captain Kirk," Uhura's voice called.

"Kirk here. Go ahead, Lieutenant."

"Sir, we've managed to narrow down the source of the distress signal. It appears to be coming from the surface of Kappa Mu VII."

"Good. How soon can we get there?"

Uhura paused. "About an hour from now, sir."

"Thank you, Lieutenant." He switched off the comm. "Spock, pull any information we have on the planet from the ship's library."

Spock stood and headed for the door. "Yes, Captain."

"Bones," Kirk continued. "Make sure you have everything you need before we arrive. We're looking at seventeen people in various states of medical distress; on top of that, they'll likely all be suffering from hunger and dehydration, too."

McCoy nodded. "Mmm. That ship didn't land there, did it?"

"Not by choice, anyway," Kirk agreed.