Chapter One - Comets
Captain's log, Stardate 44195.6
The Enterprise in underway to deliver supplies to the observation base on the planet Remmik. The scientists have been observing the behaviour of the pre-warp civilisation that has evolved on the planet, and by all reports they have reached a level of sophistication equal to our twenty first century ancestors. I admit it will be interesting to see the reports of Remmik and how they live without the levels of technology we are used to.
"We have arrived at Remmik, sir," the ensign at the helm announced.
"Drop out of warp and establish an orbit above the observation station ensign," Captain Picard ordered as he stood and straightened his uniform.
As he was about to ask Worf to hail the science station an impact caused the ship to pitch wildly and flung the captain back into his seat.
"Report, Mr Worf," Picard barked as he clambered to his feet again.
"We have sustained heavy damage to the port nacelle, but the rest of the ship is sound," Worf replied as he scanned the data in front of him.
"What was that?" Riker asked, mainly directed towards Data who was the quickest to formulate hypotheses.
"Two electrically charged comets that appeared behind us, one hit us before both continued onward and have struck the planet," Data quickly replied whilst his hands danced over the console in front of him.
"So there is no sign of the Enterprise being attacked?" Picard asked.
"No, sir. It seems to have been an isolated and completely unique case," Data confirmed.
"The science teams will be disappointed when they hear about this then," Riker smiled and relaxed a bit.
"Bridge to Engineering, what is your summary of the damage?" Picard called.
"The damage is severe, but nothing that we can't fix given the time, sir. The warp core was unaffected," Geordie's voice could be heard across the bridge.
"Good, Starfleet has not given us a tight deadline for this mission so you will have the time you need Mr LaForge," Picard stopped the communication and turned to Riker. "If you could start to prepare a small away team to go to the observation station, I shall contact Doctor Tarnawska to let them know we have arrived. Mr Worf, please hail the scientists on the planet and direct the feed to my Ready Room."
The Enterprise had arrived in the late afternoon in relation to the time on Remmik, and by evening the supplies had been beamed down to the scientists, along with Picard who had wanted to see the sum total of the scientist's research.
"It is uncanny how similar their progression has been compared to our own. From my perspective it almost seems that it has resulted in a failed attempt for a colonist group to recreate Earth on this planet," Picard mused as the doctor showed him yet another file.
"That is one of the theories we initially started with, but their history shows no records of past disasters that would have meant the original civilisation should have been reduced to this level of technology," the doctor replied.
"Do you think it would be possible to locate the crash site of those comets? Our scientists have never encountered such an anomaly before and they are eager to examine it," the captain explained.
"That is easily done, this is the first comet strike to happen in the year we have been here, so the local populace is going crazy over it," Dr Tarnawska quickly accessed the relevant information and showed the captain where the comet had landed.
"Picard to Riker," Picard tapped his comm badge.
"Riker here, sir," came the almost instant reply.
"We have located the comets, if the research teams wish to examine it they will have to move fast to reach it before the relevant authorities here do," Picard explained.
"Understood, I will lead a small team to those co-ordinates immediately, Riker out."
"That is one dedicated commander you have there," the doctor commented.
"The best one in Starfleet, it will be a blow to the Enterprise the day he accepts a promotion and his own ship," Picard said quietly.
"Perhaps you would like to see more of the military history of this planet?" Tarnawska said quickly to distract the visiting captain from the obviously uncomfortable topic.
Riker, Data and two scientists from the Enterprise beamed down a few kilometres away from the crash site of the comets that had caused the damage to the ship. Despite the risks of bringing the obviously inhuman android on the away team, Riker felt his knowledge and strength would be beneficial should a situation turn sour. Data was also useful in being able to lead the team unerringly in the direction of the crash coordinates, and within an hour the group was crouched underneath a tree watching a gathering of locals in the crater that the comet had left.
"We need to get down there and see what is left, preferably without them being there… Data, can you create a distraction?" Riker asked.
"What kind of distraction would you be thinking of? I can go in and talk to them, my appearance would most likely divert their attention from the comet," Data suggested.
"I was thinking more along the lines of go and tamper with their vehicles, blow one up and nick another one. Something to get them all moving away from here," Riker replied, slightly exasperatedly.
"Ah, I understand, I shall proceed with your idea," Data rose and started to head towards a group of vehicles that looked similar to cars in design.
"Try not to be seen, or get caught. Return to the ship if we get separated," Riker called after him.
Within a short space of time one vehicle was starting catch fire and another had started up, causing confusion amongst the group of twelve or so natives who had gathered around the crater. With a lot of shouting and cursing they ran over to try to stop the flames from destroying the vehicle whilst some made a futile effort to catch up with the car Data had stolen.
"It's now or never, let's go," Riker led the way from their spot in the trees down into the crater and stood watch whilst the scientists approached the centre.
"Commander there isn't anything here, the comets have been taken," one of the scientists called over.
"How is that possible, there haven't been any reports of the locals removing the remains," Riker turned to the pair who had scoured the area thoroughly for anything apart from charred earth and burnt rocks.
"Maybe whatever they were burnt up on impact?" the second scientist suggested.
"Either way, we should get out of here," Riker motioned for the pair to follow him, before turning and almost running into the barrel of a gun.
"Not so fast. You are under arrest for trespassing on government property," The owner of the gun stated as six men appeared behind him.
"The government doesn't own this land, and the comet came from the sky," Riker tried to bluff his way out of the situation.
"Anything that constitutes a threat to national security by other nations is the concern, and potential property, of the government. Now I will say it again, you are under arrest. Put your hands on your heads and follow me."