Unable to escape the gravity well of a collapsing planet, USS Pathfinder gets pulled into subspace and emerges in an unfamiliar place.
2400.07.06 - 2400.07.12
Unable to escape the gravity well of the collapsing planet, USS Pathfinder was briefly pulled into subspace before emerging inside a nebula. The transit had severely damaged several of the ship's systems, and to complicate matters, residu from the nebula was starting to build up on the ship's hull.
After the ship managed to limp out of the nebula, the crew realized they were in a different universe. While some repairs were being made and the crew was trying to make sense of what exactly had happened, first contact was made with a group of aliens calling themselves the Gathering of Races.
A small group of senior officers was invited over to the Gathering flag ship to a formal dinner and Captain PaRel was asked to participate in a diplomatic ritual. Things got a little awkward when the ritual involved having sex with the President of the Gathering, and the captain had to decline.
The Pathfinder was towed to a Gathering space dock for repairs and the crew got a chance to visit one of the Gathering's worlds. Ensign Anita Schofield and kids were on a bus when the vehicle was attacked by some alien creatures. The creatures, called Byzaani, had been a threat to the Gathering for a long time, and the special Unified Defense Force was tasked to countering this threat.
While Lieutenant Summers and Commander Denebris went to the planet to investigate the attack, the UDF General Rytoff visited Captain PaRel aboard the Pathfinder. During his visit, portals of the alien's Gateway technology opened and an UDF team accompanied by Denebris emerged, after they had had an encounter with the Byzaani, who hadn't appeared to be as hostile as initially believed.
Lieutenant Summers had not returned and she spent some time with the Byzaani at one of their tribes in an area that was naturally shielded from sensors. After researching the alien's Gateway technology and with the ship's sensors finally fully repaired, the Pathfinder crew managed to locate their missing chief of security.
As the crew prepared the ship to reenter the nebula to return home, news came in from the Gathering's homeworld: the UDF had been disbanded and the peaceful nature of the Byzaani was finally revealed to the general public. Science also realized that the subspace anomaly that had pulled them into this pocket universe was still growing, and that they had to go back to it soon to return home and seal the rift behind them.
Goodbyes were made and the ship set course for the nebula. Able to prepare ahead, the trip back into the nebula was far less taxing on the ship, and after launching several probes to emit a subspace field around the rift to ensure it would close as the Pathfinder passed through, the ship went into the anomaly.
The ship's passage through the rift was without problem and the rift was indeed being sealed behind them. When they emerged on the other side, the crew did get a surprise: the beach planet Oralius' Tibia was there, still in the process of collapsing, and a Vesta-class ship was in orbit. They had arrived back in their home universe mere seconds before the planet had actually pulled them into subspace, and now the crew were witnesses that exact event.
The planet soon vanished together with their past selves, and nothing remained of the subspace anomaly. The Pathfinder spent a bit more time scanning the area to gather more data, before setting course back home.