CAPT Tungsten, D.
After Action Report
LOCATION Federation Colony, 3-Delta-Gammonis
MISSION Colonists reached out to Starfleet for assistance in dealing with mysteriously disappearing carrot crops.
OUTCOME Native sentient life on the planet was discovered, and found to be responsible, being quite adept at evading detection.
- CAPT Bahieh, K.
- CAPT Mirazuni, A.
- CAPT Tungsten, D.
- LCDR Blake, K.
- ENS Sovum, V.
NARRATIVE Captain Bahieh learned of the colony’s request for assistance in finding the cause of their disappearing carrot crops, and enlisted the help of other Starfleet personnel. The colony was fortunately not too far off our patrol routes.
The colonists had employed camera traps, that is to say cameras that would switch on when detecting motion, not physical traps. That would later be shown to be a very wise decision. However, they would never detect anything from their cameras. They also had colonists stand watch over crops, particularly in the greenhouses, and this would keep thefts from occurring, but they never found the culprit(s) this way. Thefts would occasionally occur if the person(s) standing guard would fall asleep on the job. It was also pointed out that thefts would tend to coincide with storms. No other crops were being affected, and the colonists were in no danger of going hungry, but one can hardly blame them for wanting answers.
LTCDR Blake and I made scans and physical inspection of one of the greenhouses, and found them mostly undisturbed, except for some claw marks near the ceiling vents, obviously made by very sharp and powerful claws to scratch transparent aluminum like that, but this appeared to be a side effect of ingress/egress through the vents, not wanton destruction. This would also explain why the doors stayed shut on the greenhouse during thefts.
At the particular greenhouse we surveyed, there were no claw marks on the walls of the structure, and there was a large outcropping of rock nearby, but certainly too far away for a human to make the leap over to the greenhouse roof. At this point, theories ranged from a humanoid using a grappling hook to some sort of flying fauna, though the former seemed unlikely, due to the noise it would no doubt make. I contacted the Dragon, and had my science teams set up new camera traps, pointed at the roof of the greenhouses, and also set to not emit light within the known visible spectrum to native wildlife. The colonists’ cameras were using infrared motion sensors, and some fauna had been documented to be able to see in that spectrum.
In the meantime, Captain Mirazuni was utilizing the Endeavour’s sensors to try to track any lifeforms on the planet that may conform to the known parameters on display, but her crew were unable to do so, partly because of the high density of native fauna in the nearby rain forest. She also had Ensign Sovum working to cross-reference all findings with known species, but an answer did not present it self this way. I will come back to that shortly.
With scientific due diligence performed, we left the scene of the greenhouse, knowing that a storm was forecast for the area in a few hours, and hoped that the cameras would detect something. In fact, they did. We observed four beings that could at that point be described as almost cat-like in their movements, and with 6 limbs, silently making their way to the greenhouse, and two split off to keep lookout for the colonists. These beings had very rudimentary but utilitarian clothing, and stone tools, and took great care to stay walking on the rocks, so as not to leave tracks in the mud. Quite frankly, their use of stealth tactics was impressive, if you will excuse the opinion here. In any case, we could see them make the leap to the roof on the greenhouse, open the vent, descend, gather a good amount of carrots into a sack, and then ascend to leave, replacing the vent. From there, they regrouped, and made their way with some haste back into the forest.
This was certainly a noteworthy discovery in itself. I doubt they actually knew that the density of life in the forest was shielding them from orbital or surface tricorder scans, but they were very skilled in remaining undetected by the colonists, and only emerging from the forest when the colonists were not out looking, or scanning. Having a fix on them, we were able to track them to an area just inside the forest by heat signature, until we lost them. We decided to head to their last known location, and see if we could reason with them to stop the thefts, hoping there would be some clue there for following them.
As we approached, and it initially seemed to be a dead-end, devoid of tracks or other clues, three of them jumped out and came to stand a short distance in front of us, un-moving. Their stance was not particularly threatening, and I’m sure they were curious.
Before we could really begin attempting communication, Captain Mirazuni was contacted telepathically by them, and a conversation was begun. After we made some introductions, and they spoke with the Captain in this way, and then parted ways, Captain Mirazuni filled us in on the important details back at the colony site. While they were obviously telepathic, they apparently did not partake in verbal communication. Anyway, it seems one of them had sampled one of the carrots in the fields, and just thought they were delicious. Others were then clued in, so they started making regular collections of the carrots the colonists were planting. Fortunately, they seemed rather unperturbed by the colonists’ presence, and only wanted carrots, so Captain Mirazuni told them that it would be arranged to leave some out for them, so they wouldn’t need to break in any longer, and that we do have some telepaths who could speak to them.
They seemed quite friendly, if not overly outgoing, and I’m sure we have some anthropologists would like to make a career of studying them. In all, I would say that our mission was accomplished.
RECOMMENDATION I think ideally, we would have avoided settling colonists on this planet, and I have every faith the colony leaders would agree with me, had they detected this species being present. On top of no distinguishable life sign readings to suggest higher life, there were no structures, no matter how crude, of artificial design either. They live in the treetops, apparently, like many other fauna on the planet of lesser intelligence. But, now that we’re already in this situation, I recommend friendly, but minimal interaction with them. Our science division ought to come up with a protocol for any future conversations with these beings to minimize cultural contamination, though I think they would agree that rebuffing any contact with the native people would also likely be the wrong course.