|TO: CAPT Morton;|
CC: CMDR Inman; VADM Rilem; FCAPT Perim; Squadron Commanders;
BCC: DS13 Operations;
FROM: LCDR Zaldo
SUBJECT: SVS Belvot
This is my report on the situation concerning the SVS Belvot, and the communications we had with the Captain of that vessel as well as our follow up meeting with the Shropshire senior staff.
After departing DS13, we set a course to the location Belvot's transponder was indicating her location would be, which happened to be off the filed flight plan by several lightyears, and deeper into the Kelterre sector than any of the suggested trade routes recommend. Once we had visual confirmation of the Belvot, we were able to determine that the vessel had sustained damage to it's primary hull, indicative of energy weapons fire, mainly around the propulsion systems, though also near the ship's meager defensive weapons as well. Scans showed they had shields, though they were not at full capacity.
Attempts were made to hail the Belvot, but were not answered at first. Instead the ship attempted to alter course and speed to evade. We went to yellow alert and gave chase. We were easily able to overtake them and their attempts to flee were unsuccessful. After the better part of an hour the Belvot dropped out of warp, unable to maintain the speeds they were traveling at. During this time we contacted USS Shropshire and alerted them to the situation, and set up the rendezvous to consider the new bizarre conduct of the Belvot.
With Shropshire about a half an hour out, the Belvot's captain finally responded to our attempts at contact. He reiterated that the ship had suffered some warp engine problems that had been repaired and that they no longer required any assistance. Despite the fact that scans showed that the damage to the hull was recent enough that it likely came after the initial call, they denied this and claimed it was from a previous encounter with pirates in the Ba'aja sector. When confronted with the inconsistencies they continued to stick to this story. When asked why they were off course, they claimed it was a simple navigational error, and that they were correcting the issue.
We requested that Belvot remain at it's current location while we coordinated with the newly arrived USS Shropshire. Belvot's Captain made a point of mentioning that the Kelterre sector wasn't part of Federation territory, and they had no obligation to wait. Still they obliged us, though our scans showed they had little choice as they were suffering some engineering issues from their attempt to flee earlier.
Apollo's senior staff met with their counterparts on the Shropshire to discuss the situation and our options. It was during this meeting that we were alerted by RM1 Pela of a communications attempt coming from the Belvot, but not it's primary array. Instead someone on the Belvot was attempting to contact us via standard communicator device, and before that signal was jammed by the Belvot, we had learned that the ship had, as we suspect, been stopped by raiders in the Kelterre sector. And that of the original crew of 112 people, six people had been taken by force after the raiders took biological scans and seemed to inspect the crew for various traits.
We confronted the Captain of the Belvot with this information, and he at first denied the validity, but finally admitted that their had been a raid and kidnapping of half a dozen of his crew. He explained that he was warned not to alert anyone to this, and that if he did, he and his crew would be marked for further raids of this kind. He also said that the raiders only took the people, and left the cargo, even leaving a small sum of latinum behind to "compensate for the inconvenience."
At this point Commander Inman demanded the right to inspect the Belvot to ensure the safety of the Federation citizens aboard, and to access the damage to the ship's systems so that the Shropshire engineering staff could see to it. After a short protest the Belvot's Captain allowed this to happen. I led the away team personally with medical, engineering and security personnel in a small six member team. No one on the Belvot offered resistance to us, and seemed somewhat relieved, though clearly still very tense and upset about the ordeal and the loss of their crewmates.
After rendering medical assistance and questioning the crew of the Belvot about the situation, I discovered that one of the raiders had used the term, "Verinite" to describe the place the hostages would be taken. No record of a place or people using this name came up in our search after the fact. Using the Belvot's sensor records and internal recording we found that the raiders were a group mainly made up of Orion and Nausicaan forces, and that their ship left the area and headed deeper into the Kelterre sector, and not away from it as might be expected. Though long range sensors showed that their warp trail grew cold and it would be unlikely that we could find them at this point.
After leaving Belvot, we alerted Shropshire to our standing orders and turned the repairs over to their staff. We will continue to investigate as we are able, but we have moved on to our standard patrol route and expect to return to DS13 after fulfilling it.
Attached are the witness statements, internal recordings of the Belvot raid and sensor data.
Be well, Sir,
Lieutenant Commander Mathilda Zaldo
U.S.S. Apollo - 38th Fleet Aries Squadron