Elsewhere II

The USS Enterprise approached the burning cargo ship. Trails of various sorts of debris could be seen spreading out from the endangered vessel. Lt. Commander Scott sat in the command chair and stared up at the screen.

"Lt. Uhura," Scotty said, "Try hailing them again."

"Yes sir," Uhura said. "Cargo vessel, this is the USS Enterprise; we are responding to your distress signal and are ready to give assistance."

Scotty looked back at Uhura.

"Ena' thing," Scotty asked.

Uhura tried hailing the vessel again, and then gave Scotty a puzzled look.

"Just as before," Uhura said. "All I'm getting is their automated distress signal; but that's it."

Scotty looked back at the screen, and then stood up and went back to the science station, which was temporarily being manned by Ensign Chekov.

"Lad," Scotty said, "what are the sensors tell'in ya?"

Chekov, who was slightly bent over in order to look into the science station viewers, stood upright and shook his head.

"The radiation is masking the readings, sir," Chekov began to say, "I am getting intermittent life signs."

Scotty gave Chekov a pesky look, and then looked back at the screen. Uhura could detect Scotty's puzzlement and came over to him.

"Do you think something is wrong?" Uhura asked. "We've done everything we can to contact them."

"Don't ya just think its mighty peculiar that we can't contact them, and," Scotty added, "we can't do anything until we determine the situation?"

"Why would anyone make rescuing them hard to do?" Uhura countered with.

"Aye lassie," Scotty said with a grin, "that is the question."

Scotty went back over to the command chair, and sat down. And while he was suspicious, he knew that regulations tied his hands behind his back. He just hoped Kirk, Spock and McCoy were not in jeopardy because something deep inside his craw told him otherwise.

The Galileo II in high orbit of Outpost E10…

Lt. Sulu and Ensign Bryce Winters, who was brought along to monitor the sensor readings, and wore a blue shirt due to being part of the science department, had found a mystery of their own; a small artificial satellite in orbit as well. They were waiting for the computer to finish its scans. Sulu could tell that Ensign Winters was very anxious to prove himself, due to the double effort he was making.

"This is your first assignment; the Enterprise, right?" Sulu asked.

"Yes sir," the ebony colored skinned Winters said, "getting posted to the Enterprise was my goal in the academy and I want to do everything I can to make sure I serve this ship as best as I can."

"Well, just do your job, stay out of trouble, and trust me," Sulu said, "you'll do just fine."

The computer chirped.

"The scans are competed," Ensign Winters said, as he removed a square shaped disc placed it into another slot. "The satellite is acting as a dampening field of some sort."

"Powerful enough to block communication with the planet's surface," Sulu asked.

"Affirmative," Winters replied.

"Interesting," Sulu said, as he looked at the satellite on the main screen of the shuttle. "What is your estimate," Sulu continued, "do you think our presence up here can be monitored below?" Sulu already knew the answer, but he wanted the give the young officer a chance to prove himself.

Winters studied the read out.

"No sir," Winters concluded, to Sulu's pleasure, "I believe, like a Klingon cloaking device, it may work in reverse."

Sulu knew he had two choices; stay where they were, in orbit and monitor the situation, or, take the shuttle down to the planet below and rescue Captain Kirk and the others.