=HISTORY - The Astraios Gateway
An Iconian gateway, buried in a watery cave to the south of the main UF Starfleet Colony, has long been secretly housed beneath what appears to be nondescript buildings. Its use is restricted to only the highest necessity, and since the advent of slipstream drive and the possibility of using transwarp conduits for long range travel, it has been seldom used, if at all. The highest secrecy surrounds the knowledge of it, and its location, for if it fell into the wrong hands, it could be used to do great wrong. Yet is an object of scientific and engineering study. The facility around it has not only been built to keep people out, but to keep any visitors in. It was long thought to be the last of its kind, yet... intelligence from around the four quadrants has begun to promote the idea that the Iconians were not completely destroyed 200,000 years ago. It is said that they used the gate on Iconia to escape the orbital bombardment of their home planet. It is theorized that they settled on Ikkabar, DiWahn, and Dynassia. Linguistic morphology of the three languages of these different peoples show that they all have the same root language – Iconian. After the gateway on Iconia was destroyed by Capt Jean Luc Pickard to stop it from falling into Romulan hands, another gateway was located on Vandros IV in the Gamma Quadrant. It was also destroyed by Federation forces in order to stop the Jem'Hadar from possessing it. It is whispered that descendents of the Iconians are now becoming a powerful force in the quadrants. It is suspected that more gateways exist – many more, on many planets, throughout the known universe. Thus security around the Astraios gateway is extremely high and further measures are being taken to avoid detection by enemy forces or use by... whoever might come through it. As yet only a handful of senior officers and gateway security teams, along with the leader of the Astraionian Civilian Authority, are aware of its existence.
=PREAMBLE- “Yesterday's Darkness”
Commander David7 Bravin, Chief Science Officer, examines security records taken in the gateroom during an incident in which a science officer, pushed off balance by the movement of a table placed by the gateway, fell through the gate. Bravin studies the recordings again and again until he realizes only one spot on the artifact was lit up at the time Gaelyth entered the gate. He examines her logs as well as the artifact.
She had theorized that the artifact is part of a starchart. Bravin surmises that it is likely the graphic that glowed at the time of Gaelyth’s movement through the gateway pinpoints where she has gone. He also notes that the artifact, according to her careful use of dating techniques, is likely somewhere between 100,000 and 125,000 years old. The odd energy reading in the gateroom might be linked to the artifact in some way. Records show that the rise in energy readings from the gate began when the asteroid fragment arrived on SS Astraios.
More importantly, a Starfleet officer is missing. Without a key, and without the entire starchart, it is difficult to know where in the universe Gaelyth has gone. But there are two clues. Although near a jagged edge and somewhat damaged, there is an image of a 3 planet system. If that is Astraios... then the system indicated at the time of gate activation is conceivably within the quadrant. And, it is a rare binary system with 13 planets.
The newly refitted USS Neil Armstrong is ordered to find that system, many light years away, through uncharted space. Due to the extreme secrecy around the gate, the mission parameters will be announced as deep space exploration.
There is one other concern. The Treman delegation that came for the Anniversary Celebrations is still on Astraios Prime. Although Astraios sensors show no indication of energy readings outside the gate facility... the delegation was present when the gate was activated and may have recorded the emissions produced by gate activity. Thus a rumor is introduced that an explosion occurred in a facility near the Parade Square but was contained, and that security is seeking the culprits. Captain Toocool contacts Brigadier L.Q. Khan, the Treman leader, and offers to have the UFS Astraios flagship, USS Neil Armstrong, escort his ship back to Treman. Smirking, he accepts.
TO: Cmdr Genny Markus
Executive Officer SS Astraios
You are to take command of the USS Neil Armstrong for the duration of this mission.
USS Neil Armstrong and the Treman ship "Bravo" will embark at 1000 hours 140126. The Armstrong will escort the Bravo along the edge of the Taakar Nebula to Treman, then continue on to exit the Astraios Sector, in order to test its new slip stream drive. Your mission will appear to be one of exploration.
The top secret purpose of your journey will be to locate the alleged binary system with 13 planets, and the gateway that may be in that system, along with the person of LT Isis Gaelyth, if she can be found. You are to take and hold in utmost secrecy the starchart artifact in case it may be a key to detecting the other gate and the possibility that unfriendlies or unknowns have control of an Iconian gateway. When you have established the facts, if necessary, you will take any necessary actions to secure your ship, crew, and the Astraios Sector. Only yourself and your Acting First Officer, Cmdr David7 Bravin, and the Chiefs of your Departments are to know these orders, for now.
God speed and good luck.