Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140428

Location: USS Colossus

The trip from SS Astraios to the Colossus, in orbit around one of the planets in the system we have charted as FGC-5061382, approximately 17 LY rimward of the Astraios System, went well. I must say slipsteam drive is almost too fast, I want to slow down and enjoy the scenery sometimes. The USS Hideki Yukawa treated us well for the trip, offering refreshments when we came aboard, and then a tour of the vessel, ending on the bridge to watch as we exited the system and increased speed. Then a lunch in the officer's mess and a leisurely afternoon in the holodeck resting on a beach, and also going over some Naasirkhan phraseology in preparation for the evening. We beamed to the Colossus by 1800 and had time to see our quarters and change to appropriate attire before beaming down to the Colony.

I have always been struck by the extreme cleanliness and excellent designs of Naasirkhan ships and their Colony is no different. Of course last time I was here it was under very sad circumstances and I must admit my heart was in my throat as we moved from the beam down point, on the surface, to the huge subterranean chambers where the Naasirkhan's live and work. I remembered the many stasis pods we had found stacked here, with living and dead members of the kidnapped USS Argonaut crew. What a shock that was to us all, and although we retrieved all of the pods and returned with them to SS Astraios, the lost of those crew and the manner in which they died is a memory that cannot be erased. However, we understand that the Naasirkhans were not responsible for these actions, they were under the direct control of the Spouwwqna. Thus these diplomatic niceties are necessary to create and maintain a relationship with a warp-capable species that has some influence in the neighbouring sectors in terms of trade.

Still I had to steel myself to remain unemotional and appear pleasant, accepting the welcoming courtesies and extending my own, sitting down to a meal of various foodstuffs, some of which I could not try as they understand I am vegetarian. My practiced phrases were greeted with smiles and through the meal we managed to speak of their colony and its work, and also their homeworld, some light years away spinward, in an area we have not explored well as yet. I managed to deflect questions about my own homeworld and ancestry, and focussed my talk on my current family at Astraios and the happenings within the community there. They did express concern more than once about the increasing numbers of "outsiders" in the sector. I could not say a great deal about that as everyone is free to come and go as they please according to the laws and customs of the worlds they visit, but I did say that while Starfleet's primary mission is one of science and exploration, we also keep a vigilant eye on the sector and the safety of its inhabitants are also our concern.

By the time I beamed back up to the Colossus, my face was tired from smiling and my neck from nodding. I said a quiet good night to the others and went straight to my quarters, first checking my messages and contacting SS Astraios to report in, and then Hars to say hello and hear the news of the day. Then a solar shower and a change of clothing to something more comfortable for sleep... and record my log. Tomorrow we breakfast in the Colony and say our goodbyes. Then the Colossus will depart for the Astraios system and home.

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140427

Location: SS Astraios

Morning briefing at 1000 hours brought no news of the USS Neil Armstrong. Subspace messages from the USS Marco Polo say they are continuing along her trail but it is getting fainter and they suspect she might have used a transwarp conduit to move into another area of space. They have sent communications buoys and probes in all directions to try to find more data or relay signals. We only have some sketches of the Iconian artefact the Armstrong took with them. It was impossible to take images of it because of the strange energy it emitted. The Marco Polo has copies of the sketches but without the artefact itself, they have no 'divining rod' to led the ship in the right direction.

Scientific investigation into the expansion of the Taakar Nebula continues, I hope for a complete report with recommendations by the end of the week.

The mission to move a communications array to a new location is underway, several fourth year cadets were taken on that mission as a training exercise, I decision I applaud as service in the field is an excellent learning device.

Various other reports from the planet and the Sector. There are apparently some grumblings from Treman again, we await further details from Intelligence when they are able to get an encrypted signal to us. A message from Wolf as well, apparently his investigation into the sabotage of the Prophetic is not bringing much in the way of results to date.

I have decided to take a short trip to the Naasirkhan Colony for a diplomatic dinner to be held this Tuesday evening. I shall take my Yeoman and the Acting Colony Chief Security, leaving at noon tomorrow, and rendezvous with the Colossus by noon on Tuesday. The USS Hideki Yukawa is leaving space dock for sector patrol and will drop us off, I shall enjoy the trip as I have not spent any time aboard this vessel before. Colony Chief Operations will have the conn in my absence, and of course I will be available by subspace as well. Hars will check on my garden, but I don't imagine I'll be gone more than three days. There is an event on the USS Davy Crockett this Thursday I would like to attend if duties permit.

This afternoon is set aside for a meeting with engineering personnel from the station and the colony, to discuss the current infrastructure in the Colony proper and look over plans for suggested installations to assist with providing space for our activities and the growing of food.

Then this evening, a special event to do with the Astraionian spring, we all go to the hilltop on the northside of the main townsite, where a meadow has been set up with tables for food and drink. There is music and singing, and everyone watches the sunset, and then stands waiting quietly for the arrival of the first full moon of spring. As the moon passes the horizon, an Elder begins to sing... It's really quite moving and beautiful to hear the song in the original language, they call it "Singing the Moon". The tides tonight will be extremely high. It's considered a blessing if the sky is clear and the moon glitters on the water... and if the moon turns the rocks along the shore into silver as it rises... it means it will be a fruitful year.

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140426

Location: SS Astraios

This morning I attended a social event we hold each Saturday in order to create relationships with the Community. We hosted today a reception for new members of the Colony and the nearby towns. I was able to break away from my usual morning routine to attend for a half-an-hour and meet some new faces. Afterwards I had a brief meeting with one of my Senior Officers about an upcoming mission, and then continued on with my day.

I met with the Operations Chief to discuss the communications arrays and their placements within the nearby Sectors... one is being interrupted by the advancing edge of the Taakar Nebula and needs to be moved to a more hospitable spot. We agreed to send a runabout with a small team to tractor it to a new location 2 light years from the rimward edge of the anomaly.

I had invited the Acting Colony Chief Security as well as the SS Astraios Security and Tactical Chiefs, and the Intelligence liaision, to a private lunch in my ready room at 1200hrs. Mr. Marrxa served some of his delicious homemade soup, a salad, rolls, and some kind of concoction they call mousse... flavoured with chocolate. It was a light meal, but very enjoyable, and our business was easily discussed. It gave me satisfaction to see the smiles and camaraderie between my Senior Officers, and afterwards, as we drank our Raktajino or Earl Grey, and nibbled on some fruit, we concluded the meeting with an agreement that, if possible, we should do this once a month.

After going over the draft of my Monthly Service Report, and dealing with some further paperwork, I was able to escape work by 1400 hours. I contacted the Operations Deck and gave the Senior Officer the conn, and declared myself on off duty until 1000 hours the following day.

Thus my afternoon will be spent tending my flowers and vegetables, and enjoying the fresh air and sun.... I recently purchased a wooden flute in the market, and, if no one is around, I may practice playing it... I do not wish to subject anyone to my squeaks and squawks! Dinner with friends in the town, and a walk home in the moonlight, are all that I have planned for the evening. Perhaps tomorrow I might even skip the morning run and sleep in until 0600 - a luxury *smiles*

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140425

Location: SS Astraios

Politics over for the week, I was able to focus again on SS Astraios and the Colony proper. I began the morning as usual, with a run around the community lands, a way to exercise, get fresh air, and enjoy being on solid ground before the routine aboard the station. After solar shower and a quick breakfast in my quarters, to Operations Deck to receive the overnight reports from the Communications Officer and speak to the Operations Chief about the status of the station. Then a short meeting in the Ops briefing room with Senior Officers.

In my ready room, a conversation via subspace with the CO of the USS Colossus concerning the Naasirkhan Colony. The linguists aboard have made some headway in translating the language but in many ways it is like Tamarian: if you don't understand the reference, the words make no sense.

Then a longer meeting with Tactical and StratOps at Mission Control, about the deployment of the fleet and the issues we currently face. Although our mission has always been a scientific and diplomatic one, the pressures on us here require vigilance. We have some excellent charts of the systems and sectors around us, they are good tools for understanding the situation and planning solutions.

Since it was Friday, I took lunch in the Mess Hall with members of the crew. Mr. Marrxa made a wonderful vegetarian soup, I enjoyed it with a fresh baked bun, very delicious indeed. Oh, and it was Ensign Krepot's birthday, so a large cake was served. I wished her many happy returns and allowed myself a small slice of cake. Chocolate, they call it. I call it addictive.

This afternoon was spent dealing with several enquires... some from civilians, some from crew. Although my Yeoman handles much of the day to day questions and concerns, I like to have my door open for an hour or two a week. Sometimes it's a homesick Ensign, or a Lieutenant who is wondering if they chose the right branch, or a civilian who is talking about entering the Academy but is yet unsure. I had three short meetings with different officers, and then was pleased in my final meeting of the day, to be asked to perform a wedding ceremony in June for one of the junior science officers. Of course I said yes, and I look forward to being part of such a happy event.

Our family is truly growing. Some transfer here, some go through Academy here, and some now have families. As private a being as I can be, this is something I do like to see and enjoy.

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140424

Location: SS Astraios

Today was shot to hell by unexpected problems that radically changed my usual schedule. I ended up in a long meeting with a member of the Astraionian Council, who had several complaints about the way Starfleet does what it does, I had to hold firmly to my diplomatic training and in the end things were resolved to my satisfaction however the work in this respect must still be ongoing as he was clearly under the influence of others unfriendly to us, and had been fed some misinformation in order to sway his vote on the Council against us. By the time I freed myself from this, I was running 40 minutes late. After some work to catch up and a very short lunch it was time for the second Council meeting of the week and the Klingon Pegh still had the floor. Although the rules state a speaker may have the floor until they are finished and may not be interrupted, I objected twice to what was being said, as the topic of our Colony was addressed in a derisive manner and I felt that was also against the rules. Facts, yes. Snide remarks, no. Each time the Klingon was admonished and accepted this with a nod of her head but a smirk on her face.

When all this was over I felt rather worn out. I took a walk by the ocean and tried to put politics out of my mind for a time. Now I make a simple meal and plan a quiet night.

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140423

Location: SS Astraios

Today after the morning routines of personal routines and overnight status report, I took a flight with one of our runabouts and a young officer, to tour the northern continent more thoroughly. Maps and pictures are one thing but when you fly over and see the topography I think you get a greater appreciation for this planet and its beauties. I have heard there are thousands of Minshara class planets, I have visited quite a few and each is certainly individual in its flora and fauna. I wanted this vision of Astraios Prime in my mind as I sit in Council. It is important yes, the Prime Directive, yet, at the same time, we surely want the population to be safe and happy. They cannot be so if there is damage to the environment by unhealthy practices. I am concerned about those on the Council who appear to place profit above quality of life for the inhabitants.

This evening has nothing scheduled, I look forward to a quiet evening without the need for conversation or diplomacy. Unless I talk to my flowers.

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140422

Location: SS Astraios

This morning, after my run and breakfast, an extra long briefing with Senior Officers and Yeoman to ensure all departments are running smoothly. Then our monthly "Town Hall", a meeting of UFS officers and crew, where anyone may ask questions or make suggestions. I began by welcoming three new Ensigns to the Astraios family, they all seem bright and eager, it is good to see that kind of interest and passion, although the longer-serving officers feel the same as the new ones, those bright pips and the spring in the step of someone who has just earned that uniform, brings a smile to the faces of us all. We had a good discussion with lots of input from everyone there, including some of the crew of the Davy Crocket as well as SS Astraios.

After thanking everyone for coming and dismissing them, I reminded them of the "Boogie" -- the weekly dance we host for the Community at 1200 hours. It is held at the new "Shuttle Bay Club" only a short walk from where the Town Hall took place, and was about to begin. I walked over and spoke with some of our guests before returning to duty. At 1400 the dreaded Council meeting, this time the Klingon Pegh had its turn and spoke at length, sometimes in Federation English and sometimes in Klingon. The Council concluded its day at 1700 hours and, in my opinion, the Klingon had said nothing of any importance after those three long hours. The Council sits again Thursday, and the Pegh still has the floor.

This evening I made dinner for some friends, just a simple vegetarian meal with steamed vegetables from my own garden as well as some I had received as a gift from the Farming Cortel, served with a delicious sauce and some fresh baked bread. I usually eat only raw or steamed foods, but I admit I have grown very fond of breads and buns... another reason to run an extra half mile in the mornings!

After we tidied up, Hars and I sat in the garden, watching the sun set and the moon grow silver, speaking of nothing important, just enjoying the peace at the end of the day.

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140421

Location: SS Astraios

After this morning's briefing I had another brief lesson in Klingon. I've never considered myself a linguist, however during my travels I often picked up a few words or sentences in the languages around me. My teacher says I am doing well but, then, she is human so, I hope she is right.

Then a briefing with science, going over the data received from USS Angola and USS Arcos, who have been doing an intensive study of the Taakar Nebula. There is no doubt the Nebula is growing, expanding far beyond its borders of three years ago. They tell me that any anomaly will change in shape and size over time, however, it seems this expansion, so large and so fast, is entirely abnormal compared to other similar anomalies. At present there is no answer to the question why, but there are some very real concerns about the larger mass drifting into inhabited star systems. Such a cloud could affect the star's light, thereby agriculture; the Nebula is notorious for affecting systems; and lastly, if there are any Spouwwqna living in it... lives could be in danger. I am establishing a task force to investigate this further, to be led by the USS Uralia, our Science vessel, as soon she returns from her current deployment. The TNTF is to use all available technology to assess the reasons for the Nebula's growth as well as to study various means to contain it.

I have scheduled a brief meeting with Mr Pookara of the Astraionian Civilian Authority after lunch, to apprise him of this report and allay any concerns he might have. We shall also speak of the Council and the strategies we might use to sway the vote our way.

Later this afternoon, a briefing with Security on the situation with the Klingon Pegh, and results of the investigation to date on the sabotage of the USS Prophetic.

A formal dinner to follow, the Northern Community Farming Cortel has invited Senior Officers to a spring buffet. A good time to practice my Astraionian. I should contact my Yeoman right now to ensure I have a gift to take, it's considered rude to come to someone's home without an offering. I was thinking perhaps some bolts of fine cloth, as I hear their seamstresses are very well respected. I shall wear the usual Dress Bs, I suppose. Mess Dress with the sword might be a bit overkill *chuckles

With all these dinners, lunches and breakfasts - everyone, it seems, wants to feed me - I better add another half a mile to my morning run.

Computer, set alarm for oh-five-fifteen hours from now on.

*Acknowledged*

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140420

Location: SS Astraios

All has been eerily quiet, I can't help thinking it's the calm before the storm. I think I am unused to relaxing. There is always something more to be done. But today was declared a 'holiday' for some of my crew, who either come from Earth or have a relationship to it. For the Astraionians, it is just another day... they had their spring celebration a couple of weeks ago, at the festival they call 'Robstock'.

But this put me in mind that our yearly military ball is just 4 or 5 weeks away. It is traditionally a masked ball, to which anyone may come in formal costume. I checked and we have already organized the music and food. Soon invitations must be sent. Which puts me in a quandary... do I diplomatically invite Council and potential Council members. I suppose I have to, although the thought of a Klingon in fancy dress! Pfff.

The ball is something I have always enjoyed with my crew, since the very first one four years ago. If the Neil Armstrong does not return before then, I am afraid I will not have a very good time. I can smile, but I cannot truly celebrate while those who have served with me may be in danger. Since we are still without any word from them, the concern over their fate grows.

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140419

Location: SS Astraios

Today I had the pleasure of being invited to a garden party in the Colony where several of our Starfleet families reside. There are several Terran parents and besides the usual food, drink and chatter, there was an extra excitement for the children, as they had to search for candy hidden around the yard. I was unfamiliar with this custom but, judging by the smiles from parents and offspring, it was a delightful part of the celebration that they call Easter.

I spent the rest of the afternoon in the garden, and came in, hands dirty from good earth and face warmed by the sun, satisfied with my days labours.

Oh, I should note that the Pegh again was delayed in speaking as the prior party with the floor had not yet completed his remarks. As boring as it might be to listen to, watching the increasing frustration of a Klingon had a certain charm. They will now speak Tuesday. I ordered more security for the colony's bars *grins

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140418

Location: SS Astraios

We have received a brief message from Captain Foulsbane, with particulars as to his position and present course of action. He has also mentioned an anomalous cloud that the ship encountered, which affected systems whilst the vessel was inside it. Sensors also could not penetrate the cloud when the ship was approaching or leaving. They have taken samples and will study it, and have passed the coordinates to us. I am curious as to the make-up and trajectory of this cloud. I will dispatch one of our science vessels to examine it as soon as they have finished their resupply.

This afternoon is the Council meeting in which the Klingon Pegh will give their reasons for the establishment of trade treaties, a Council seat, and land on the northern continent so they may establish a base and home for their families. I will be studying their words and their documentation very closely.

In other news Hars had a follow-up appointment at the Majel hospital and it appears that he is still improving, although nothing was said from the look on his face I think he knows deep inside that he will not be able to return to active duty. There is only so much they can do. He does not speak of it much but I know he is still sometimes haunted by the fact that his crew turned against him and attacked him. Of course they were under alien influence, and he knows that intellectually, but still, the memories of those faces he trusted looking at him with hate... how I detest the Spouwwqna, even today. I hope the last one did die in the Takaar Nebula.

A shocking thing for one such as me, who values the living entity so highly. I think I have changed since coming here. Not so gentle anymore. Whether that is good or bad... I can't say. It's just necessary.

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140417

Location: SS Astraios

The Pegh made their appearance in the early morning. With the main Colony area under rebuild, I was able to remove the Klingon vessel further afield. They landed and their representatives have been escorted to Diplomatic Quarters prior to their appearance at Council, however, that was delayed as a representative of Treman had the floor. The Pegh will speak first tomorrow. I shall be there.

I shall spend an hour with my Communications Officer, going over some basic Klingon. We of course have the universal translator, but I believe it shows strength to speak directly to a Klingon in their language.

The Davy Crockett had a good flight today, all the news outlits had the story.

Tonight I attend an Official Dinner hosted by the Astraionian Civilian Authority. I shall be pleased to be there. I am not sure whether I'll wear Mess Dress or something formal. Perhaps being out of uniform would be good for a change. I shall focus on talking with friends and acquaintances about the current situation, although it is a celebration, it's also a good time to touch base with those I know about the potential outcomes should the Council vote to allow the Pegh and the Dosi a seat on the Council and land for a base.

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140416

Location: SS Astraios

I spent the morning with my Yeoman going over the draft star charts of the adjoining sectors. Mr Farrell has a few notes for the chartist, overall the maps look lovely with wonderful graphics but it is also important that the distances be accurate.

I am also waiting reports from the Angola and Arcos, currently remapping the Takaar Nebula. When my crew was searching for the Argonaut a few months ago we noticed that the Nebula had expanded significantly, even encompassing a system that was previously over two light years distance from its rimward edge. That is of grave concern as the outer envelope of the anomaly may one day reach either Treman or Astraios, or both... this could lead to all sorts of issues. First we need information.

I see the Davy-Crockett is preparing for its day in the media spotlight tomorrow, I hope things go well for them. It's a sturdy frigate and well designed, built here in our shipyards which makes it extra special to the crew.

This evening we received a subspace message from the Marco Polo, now nearly 70 light years coreward of us, the warp signature of the USS Neil Armstrong is faint but they are following it at best possible speed.... *sighs*

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140415.2200

Location: SS Astraios

I survived the day. Hars made a wonderful dinner of vegetarian ragu with fresh bread he had made from Astraionian wild grains, I couldn't believe it. The Council meeting went as expected except I think I surprised them all with my fortitude, as I spoke for three and a half hours without a break, and after me there was only a short speech by one of the members from the southern city of Feldspar before they called a recess until tomorrow. As I have 'done my thing' as the Terran's say, I shall send my Yeoman to represent me and concentrate on SS Astraios and the Colony... at least until Thursday, when the Klingon Pegh will have a turn.

I have to admit, I dislike looking out of the Welcome Centre and seeing a Klingon battleship landing in the distance. Something about that just irks me... I'll talk to the acting Colony Chief Security in the morning. I want an eagle eye kept on that ship and on its crew when it arrives.

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140415.0530

Location: SS Astraios

Well, I'm prepared as I can be for today's meeting of the Astraionian Council. I enough have documents, facts, charts, and diplomatic information to put the entire chamber to sleep for the whole afternoon. One nice thing about the Council... once you have the floor you may not be interrupted until you have completed your thought. One windbag went on for 3 days last year, I remember it well. I think toward the end I just sat there, staring forward, but asleep in my mind. Thankfully there are recordings... terrible job, to give some poor junior officer the task of wading through what was said... Anyway, today I am first and therefore I am able to talk as long as I like.

But that's this afternoon. This morning at 0600 hours I have the pleasure of a tour of the station with Engineering Officer T'Pec, who has some thoughts on how we could use some empty decks, and provide more services for the visiting crews of our fleet. Our Civilian chief, Mr. Marrxa, has invited me for breakfast in the mess hall at 0700, he wishes me to sample a few dishes he has made with the food we have been growing in our agricultural areas. Mr Farrell will brief me for the day at 0830, and I am scheduled to inspect the progress on the new Engineering Facility at 1000 hours. After that a break for relaxation, lunch (fruit salad), and then dress for the Council Meeting. A full day. One I would thoroughly enjoy, except for the prospect of the Council. I decided in order to have something to look forward to, I should plan something special for this evening. Hars is making dinner, and we will go to the table in my Zen garden to eat and watch the sun set. Right now, I best get a move on... rather not keep the very punctual Vulcan engineer waiting or there will be a raised eyebrow as he greets me.

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140414

Location: SS Astraios

The dreaded Council meeting is slated for tomorrow. I have to reframe my mind and my attitude. Present the facts - and there are many - that support our point of view. I just can't believe that some Council members think it would be good to allow Klingon and Dosi a voice in Astraionian affairs. What's next, the Dominion? Cardassians?? Pfff.

In the meantime I've been working with my Yeoman on SitRep reports and with StratOps on the deployment of the fleet. Most of this information is top secret and the full strength of our fleet and their positions is known to only a few.

Thus I had again to deal with the issue of Mr Ferrara. With Capt Barbosa away on the Armstrong, I have to have someone else handle Colony Security. I interviewed LTcmdr July Bradford, she's been a team leader for several months. She writes excellent, thoughtful reports full of detail and isn't afraid to mention the performance of her subordinants - good and bad - in those reports. She also seems to have a handle on the Astraionian culture and traditions, a bit of an amateur anthropologist, it seems. I like that. She seems sensible so we have agreed she will step up as Acting Colony Chief Security for a period of three months and if I am happy with her performance it will become permanent.

I am a little tired of PADDs, charts, and computer projections. Supper. Maybe a green salad from my own little garden and a walk in the sunset.

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140413

Location: SS Astraios

I have received a brief report from Wolf. He's heading to a transfer station from which the saboteurs launched their vessels. One apparently headed to Treman but didn't stop there, only in orbit long enough to pick someone up. The other ships scattered and entered the Astraios system from different directions. The Treman authorities insisted that no one from Treman was involved in the bombing. The jury is out on that.

Further reports when Wolf reaches his next goal, which will be in another three days or so.

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140412 - Supplemental

Location: SS Astraios

It occurs to me I really don't have an office at our Welcome Centre. It's all very well to beam people up here so they can get a glimpse of the might and strength of this huge Hellenic space station. But since most people live on the ground, and can't see the station from the planet... hmmmm. We have two issues. The need to be more omnipresent on the surface.... and the need to grow more food for our Colony. Replicators are okay to a point. In my chat with Mr Pookara I talked about the land we have and what we are using it for... and Hars has been quite enthusiastically learning more about Astraionian agriculture. I have a germ of an idea. I will do some research and then speak to my Colony Chief Engineer.

The next Astraionian Council meeting is slated for 140415.1300. I hope I hear more from Wolf before then. I want to speak at Council about the bombing and how it is an indication of the lack of respect towards Astraios as a whole and this is a good example of the types of things that could happen more frequently if they do not change their minds about permitting certain trading partners a presence on the planet.

Still no word from USS Neil Armstrong. As we go about our daily tasks and deal with the issues here at home, they are in our hearts and minds.

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140412.0832

Location: SS Astraios

Wolfton is gone, aboard the USS Icarus, after carrying out further interrogation of those who bombed his ship. His first stop is, believe it or not, Treman. Well, that doesn't surprise me much. It would make sense. Treman is a melting pot of degenerates, pirates, shady traders and greedy landowners... and a military-style government that is often unstable. I await his encrypted reports.

I have concluded my questioning of security officers and marines on duty at the time of the bombing. It seems apparent that there were no lapses in the standard rounds and watches of the night, and Mr Herrera's failure to contact me was based on the assumption that I should not be disturbed until morning. At least two squad leaders had urged him to contact me and he had demurred. Incompetence or stupidity, I don't know. But I can't leave him in this position. I have informed him he is to take leave and, if he chooses to remain with us, he will be assigned to one of our vessels under the supervision of a good chief security officer.

Ah, he is so young and so obviously embarrassed. But if you want to be security, you better be strong enough to handle it and make the tough decisions... he's very good at the administrative end, I have to admit, which is why he ended up being Dollie's vice - she doesn't like the admin end at all, prefers action in the field. But I have the feeling Herrera's in the wrong branch. Towards the end of the meeting I suggested he take a look at the requirements for operations, and his face lit up.

This afternoon I meet with Mr Pookara of the Astraionian Civilian Authority, to bring him up to date on what has occurred and discuss the ramifications of this attack on the Colony and one of its vessels.

Thankfully there are no more Council Meetings for a couple of days.

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140410 - Supplemental

Location: SS Astraios

I just had a meeting with Wolfton. He has placed his build crew on R&R during the investigation of the sabotoge of the USS Prophetic. The hanger in which the ship was being constructed was badly damaged, as well as the central computer core of the vessel itself. The technology used to bomb the Prophetic and facility is of mixed origin, further examination by science and engineering may tell us more. It seems apparent those we have in custody do not belong to any known anti-Starfleet faction, they are more likely mercenaries who have been well paid for their actions.

Wolf requested that he be placed in charge of a small Task Force to carry out further investigation and follow the clues that may lead to the real perpetrators of this mischief. I agreed.

My next task is distasteful to me. I have to question the members of our security and marine details who were on duty during the night, and find out where they were deployed and where Cmdr Herrera was during their shifts. Perhaps everything is above board but the fact I was not informed about an act of sabotoge at my Colony immediately after it occurred is enough for me to question Herrera's abilities to carry out the job assigned to him. I've got him confined to quarters at the moment. My Yeoman is compiling the security roster and arranging appointments. I meet with the first one in 15 minutes.

*Sighs*

This is all we need.

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140410.0420

Location: SS Astraios

Furious doesn't begin to describe how I feel right now. I was just woken in the middle of the night, not by the Acting Colony Chief Security Ted Herrera, but by the Captain of the USS Prophetic, who informed me that his vessel, currently in the shipyards, had been damaged by saboteurs one hour ago. Of course Wolfton was extremely upset. Several perpetrators have been captured and are on their way, under armed guard, to the brig aboard SS Astraios for interrogation. I will now contact Herrera and demand to know why I wasn't informed immediately. I'll have his stripes for this.

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140409

Location: SS Astraios

The drama of yesterday might have had an effect. Apparently, after I marched out of the Council Chambers, a vote was held and a motion to delay any action in dealing with the merchant group's request for a land base was passed. That's one piece of good news.

I also received a long range communication from UF Starfleet Headquarters at Pinastri. They had reviewed all the reports on the performance of the Davy-Crockett during her test runs, and have now assigned a crew to man her for a shakedown cruise. They were wise enough to assign the existing team to the ship, and Cmdr Selenmoira Resident now has her first command. We shall see how ship and crew perform in the days ahead.

There is still no word from USS Neil Armstrong. Our last message from USS Marco Polo was from their position several light years coreward of Treman. They had picked up a faint warp signature but suspect the Armstrong might have gone to slipstream or even used a transwarp conduit to expedite their journey. If that is the case, there is not much we can do until we hear from her...

I admit to a slight headache. I think I will beam down and take a walk in the garden. Maybe drop in on a friend for a chat and a cup of Earl Grey. Get away from politics, work, and worry, for awhile.

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140408

Location: SS Astraios

Another endless droning Council meeting in the airless room they provide because it's tradition to do so, and, I lost my cool. Yes, yes, Toocool lost her cool. I'd laugh but it isn't funny, not at all.

It started with this dimwit on the Council - Forqeekac Spennafic - who pontificated for one hour, thirteen minutes, and twenty-five seconds about his vision of Astraios. All those weighty and long-winded thoughts could have been said in one short sentence: "Trade is money, we need money, thus we need Traders, and we will have them no matter what." He had the audacity to suggest that since the Civilian Authority had 'granted' Starfleet land for a settlement, that the same courtesy should extend to others. He specifically named the Klingon Pegh as well as the Dosi Merchant Association as two groups that should be offered land as a base for their trading.

At that point I rose, out of order, and said, clearly so all could hear, "Starfleet came here at the request of this Council in order to protect this planet, system and sector. In exchange, we received one 'region' where we could build our Academy. May I also remind you we have since purchased several tracks of land adjacent to our base, and we pay our taxes into your coffers, even for the original piece of land you gave us. We get nothing for free. We have earned this little piece of land with the blood of our crews and their unstinting devotion to the duty of protecting you. Hundreds of lives have been lost protecting you from the Spouwwqna, the Tremonites, the rogue Klingon pirates. And now you want to extend to some of these same groups the 'courtesy' of a presence here on Astraios, where they may conspire against you, spy on you, work against you, smile to your face while they stab you in the back? Have you all lost your collective minds??" I turned and stomped out, my Marines marching after me as the Speaking Manager called for order.

Sometimes a dramatic exit speaks volumes.

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140407

Location: SS Astraios

I began the morning with a meeting, my Yeoman LTjg Michel Farrell and I, sat down in my Ready Room to discuss the crew of SS Astraios. It seems strange to have a meeting about our crew without our XO, but... she has been away on mission for weeks now. In any case, we seem to be light on security officers, which, given our current situation, is not a good thing. Operations as well could use a boost. Science officers are needed too.

Of course, our Colony is very far away from the comforts of Pinastri and those who are seeking assignment may not consider us a viable option. Oh, I mean the ships in the Delta Quadrant no disrespect of course. It's just... well, it's a challenge, isn't it. Not many can rise to it. Being deployed countless light years away from anything they've known, especially if they have family. Over the past years I've had a few make the long trip only to turn around and go back again. The Astraios Effect, perhaps. Or maybe just a realization how far from home they will be. I understand that. But... since I'd never had a home... this place, and the people here, have become my family.

We do have a few recruits in the Academy, we shall see how they shape up over the coming year.

The next task is to read some Intel reports and make notes of unclassified information to share with the Astraionian Council at the first meeting to be held this afternoon.

I better have a good lunch.

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140406

Location: SS Astraios

The local festival ended well, my friends Mr Pookara and Ms Tomorrow tell me it was very successful, that they met their target for charitable fundraising from the attendees. All reports say the Astraios Colony crew had fun and also managed the security patrols well. No major disturbances, other than a few drunken rowdies in the late evenings.

Now the weekend is ebbing, all seems quiet. However there are further Astraionian Council meetings this week and I am beginning to dread them. Not the politics or diplomacy - although that can be tiring. The council chamber is a dour enclosed room without windows or, it seems, proper ventilation. I suppose they did it that way to stay warm or stay safe, but it's stifling. I shall spend the evening in the garden, tending the small shoots and trying to figure out what is a weed and what is the beginnings of a flower I planted.

This week is also meetings with senior security officers and available Captains from our Fleet, to discuss the current state of affairs and make our plans for securing the planet and our crews in these dark days. Ever my mind and heart is with the Armstrong, wondering how they are faring. I hope they are exploring fascinating planets and gathering scientific data as they continue their mission. I hope they are fulfilling their curiosity. I hope they are safe. I hope... *sighs*

Just come home soon, dammit.

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140405

Location: SS Astraios

I was able to spend some time at the Astraios Festival called, "Robstock" today, although I was called away to greet a visitor from Pinastri and ended up showing him around the station. I don't usually do the tours these days but my Yeoman and others were at the festival and I thought I should let them have their fun. They work hard and deserve a break.

Afterwards, instead of returning to the event I decided to take my work with me to my garden. I have set up a small table there, underneath the flowering fruit trees, the spring sun was pleasantly warm, the air was fresh, and I was glad to be off the 'tin can' for awhile. For someone born and raised in the wild, being enclosed in an artificial environment the majority of the time is not always comfortable. Although the station and our ships are extremely well designed to support life aboard, I confess even still I miss the caves and savannah of my...youngling days.

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140404

Location: SS Astraios

Preparations for the Astraios Community Event, called "Robstock" are in full swing. I had a tour of the entertainment area and discussed our Starfleet Information Booth with my chief engineer. We have had several wonderful applicants from Astraios, I watched over them from the first day they entered the Academy until now... some, like Dolfke Barbosa, have even progressed to the rank of Captain. My First and Second Officer are both Commanders... when you recruit locally I feel there is a stronger connection to the planetary community at large as well as a... hunger to explore beyond it. The fact that several of my senior officers were born and raised on Astraios helps me in terms of their knowledge of their people and planet, it also helps in terms of us being seen less as outsiders.

I asked my Yeomen to make sure there was time each day in my schedule to be present at the Robstock to chat with friends and to be seen, along with our Marines and Security Details. Everyone is eagerly anticipating the three day festival, it is nice to see everyone so excited.

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140403

Location: SS Astraios

Today I was able to focus on the Colony proper. I had a walkabout with my Chief Engineer discussing the use of the additional lands we have obtained. Later, I had a tour of the new Engineering Facility designed by LTs Baumeister and Tamae. It is quite marvelous. They told me they had issues with items disappearing after being built, and I could only sympathize, it is part of what we live with here.

I then checked in at the Majel Community Hospital, which was completed just a few months ago and is now fully staffed. It is a training hospital as well as a base of community care, I saw several young Ensigns scurrying about as well as a group of Interns on rounds. I had a casual chat with one of our medical officers in her office overlooking the parade ground.

When leaving the hospital, I could see the USS Prophetic in the distance. When the hull is fully prepared for space they will take her up to space dock, but at the moment they are assembling her on the surface. She looks sleek and powerful, it's only when you get up close that you see the scaffolding and empty places where windows or arrays will be.

I returned to my Ready Room only to find another troubling report from Intelligence about the situation on Treman. It fully relates to the increasing number of undesireables in the sector. I had my Yeoman contact Mr Lazuli Pookara, the leader of the Astraionian Civilian Authority. There is a huge three day community festival on Astraios this weekend. I strongly suggested Starfleet provide additional security to augment his police forces during the event. Our presence may act as a deterrent. He agreed. He's a sensible man. I wish there were more like him on the Council.

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140402

Location: SS Astraios

Posturing. That's the word. And that's what we had today, three full hours of posturing by Telik Bulretra, Tugladin Zeeya, and other supposed diplomats. Their words are sugary and full of compliments but their eyes are calculating. They are so busy counting up the profits they fail to see what is right in front of their noses. Starfleet went to great expense and many of our officers have come here and even given up their lives so the inhabitants of this planet and this sector can be safe. Does all that mean nothing?

*sighs*

You know, it's not that I don't understand what diplomacy and negotiation is all about. It's just that I know what is being said is very far from the truth, yet I am constrained from pointing it out. I have to stand, smiling, listening to half-truths and opinion presented as fact, and nod my head as though the speaker is eminently wise. And the sun passes over us and the day wanes into evening, while the air inside grows stale and my ears grow tired. Yet in my heart I know, while we are gathered here tossing words back and forth, outside the different factions are jostling for position, and some of them care not for politics, diplomacy, peace, or even life. What's the most frustrating is that the Astraionian Council, by opening the door to these... borderline factions, is creating a situation that they may regret, very soon. But they just won't see sense.

If I drank I'd have a large one right now.

Oh, I'll be better tomorrow after a night's sleep and a walk in my garden... I think.

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140401

Location: SS Astraios

This morning, my new Yeoman, Mr Michel Farrell, came in and told me I'd been recalled to Pinastri. After my jaw dropped, he had a fit of the giggles and managed to get out between guffaws, "April Fools."

"What the hell is that," I demanded sternly.

At which point he nearly fell over laughing... suddenly I was laughing too. We both had tears on our cheeks. I realized later it had been ages since I had laughed like that. I should give him an award *snorts*

Now everytime I look at him sternly we both smile a little inside.

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140331

Location: SS Astraios

I've decided we need a proper council building to conduct business. The Command Deck of the station is agreeable, but meant more for cocktails and Mozart than facing down members of a highly aggressive species. I did my best though.

I had fully armed Marines and Security Officers posted along the walls, staring stonily at attention. I had my seat placed on the raised platform and got them to move the planters behind me, with the Colony flag and the UF Starfleet flag displayed behind my head. I had two Honor Guard on either side of me. Oh, and I had them give me a silver embossed stool to sit on - no cushion - so my feet could touch the floor and my sword could hang freely at my side. Mess dress. My hair swept up and no adornment of any kind other than Starfleet. No earrings, no bracelets.

I set the stage, having my Yeoman greet my visitors and escort them to me, announcing them in a powerful bass voice.

"Tugladin Zeeya, Dosi Diplomatic Envoy," he said loudly.

I rose from my chair, locking eyes with the Dosi and nodding my head slightly, "Welcome aboard."

Then the conversation began. Although in my mind I am aware it is not our place as Starfleet to interfere with the internal governance of Astraios, I gave the impression I thought otherwise. In fact, I insisted that Starfleet was the best and most powerful trading partner Astraios had ever known and that we would not meekly step back and give that place to another group. We bandied words for a time, thrust and parry. Tugladin was extremely confrontational, as expected. In the end I rose again, with a quick nod of my head six Marines stepped forward to escort our guest from the station.

I'd like to think we won that round but it's the Astraios Council that concerns me. There are a couple of... idiots... who argue free trade should be the main goal, no matter who the trading is with. They don't seem to have any ethical issues. I believe their lust may lead them down the road to ruin. Which would be fine except they would take the rest of the planet - and us - with them.

I keep us at DefStat 3 but privately I have spoken with Colony Chief Security, Captain Dolfke Barbosa. I want a section of our fleet patrolling the Astraios System or in space dock as a display of strength as well as frequent patrols of our ground installations.

We have been, up to now, happy to leave the Colony open to visitors providing they go through our security screening. That may need to change should this continue.

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140325

Location: SS Astraios

Still no word from USS Neil Armstrong. I have decided to deploy USS Marco Polo to follow their known trajectory and try to pick up their warp signature. Although she cannot trace their path the full distance, perhaps she can get close enough to get an encrypted signal through. I admit the loss of the Argonaut crew remains an unhealed wound, and that is why I cannot help but worry.

Meantime diplomatic relations here are stressful. I know the Civilian Authority is on my side but the Astraionian Council is divided, and the leader of the Klingon faction seems to be gaining sway. I have pointed out some hard truths, including the fact that the Klingons are known to be in league with the Tremanites and, if Astraios permits the Klingons more of a presence here, the peace between the two worlds may disappear overnight. That argument seemed to have some weight, but we shall see.

The Astraionian Spring approaches. I notice already some blooms peeking in my garden. This morning I hope to sit there with a quiet cup of Tea and discuss flora and fauna with Hars, who has taken a great interest in the local agriculture.

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140318

Location: SS Astraios

I am deeply concerned about the USS Neil Armstrong. Since they left Treman for deep space we have only had a few messages and none recent. I trust Genny with the Command, of course, but it is hard to sit back here and know that she, David, Breydon, Karl, Dolfke and the others might be in danger. The Iconian connection must be investigated, however. The technology that ancient race left behind (assuming they really left) could change the balance of power in this area of space and beyond.... who knows how far their network might reach, or who might be at the other end.

But, although this preys on my mind, my concern at the moment is preparation to beam down and meet with the Astraionian Civilian Authority. The Tremanites and the local Klingon faction have been a thorn in my side for some time now. I have heard a rumor that the Astraionian Council is in negotiation with the Klingon... pirates... I have a few words to say about that. I am wearing my Mess Dress uniform and will be escorted by two Marines in full regalia as well as my Yeoman. I need to remind them I represent United Federation Starfleet, and, unlike me, that is no small thing.

Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 140311

Location: SS Astraios

Three years to this day I became the officer in charge of this far flung outpost and our base, the Hellenic class SS Astraios SS006.

This is an odd place. It was odd when we arrived and it is no less odd as we grow to know it. The planet herself has grown more friendly - perhaps she knows we are here to protect her and her peoples. She still plays her tricks, although they seem less malicious than at first. Still even today we may build something Tuesday and find less of it on Wednesday. Paint something Thursday and find raw wood on Friday. We have been unable to determine how she does this, partially because the planet inhabitants are strongly against anything they consider invasive in terms of investigation. Astraios is the "Third Rock" and the Astraionian people traditionally worship certain specific rocks they believe to have special abilities.

The Astraionians requested our presence here, and welcomed us, but there are segments of the population who are wary of us or even vocally against us being here at all. Given the Prime Directive, I understand some of their concerns. However, the Astraionian Civilian Authority feels differently. They have been grateful to us for the continuation of the fragile peace with Treman. I am rather concerned, however, that the last elections brought to the Astraionian Council some who appear to be more focussed on gaining power and latinum than the care of the common folk. I am also gravely concerned with the presence of Federation enemies or near enemies in the Sector, and while we attempt to stand back and allow the Astraionians their right to govern themselves as they see fit, it is clear there is a faction gaining sway here and that some decisions are being made that affect us, in particular, the proliferation of trade deals with groups I consider to be undesireable, such as Klingons and Dosi.

Off planet our mission remains the same - exploration, peacekeeping, medical assistance, scientific study. We have certainly discovered strange new worlds, found new life and new civilizations. USS Argonaut and USS Neil Armstrong have been the vanguard of this mission, along with USS Mak'ala and USS Marco Polo. Our fleet is well established and we patrol the Sector borders in every direction.

Although we have been successful to date in many ways there is much more work to be done to establish the Colony as the base of Starfleet's activities in this quadrant. Thus I look forward to another fruitful, hopefully peaceful, year.