Ender’s communication terminal went off and Ender sighed and said, “Now what?” Petra turned away under the covers as Ender pressed the “Audio only” button and said, “Wiggin here, what is it?” Joachim replied, “Sir, we have just received a follow-up message. There are crash survivors on Talos.” Ender replied, “Be right up!” He quickly pulled back the covers and quickly got dressed as well as Petra. When the turbo lift doors opened Petra went straight to her station as Ender pressed a button on his arm rest and the monitors appeared in front of his command chair and displayed the message as it read, “Eleven crash survivors and gravity within normal parameters. Food and water attainable but unless....” The message stopped typing and Joachim said, “That’s all we are able to receive sir.” Ender looked to his left visual display and it showed the Endeavor’s course and Talos IV and the distance on the star chart. Ender stared back at the message with a grim expression and then he pressed the visual off button and the visual screens retracted back and Ender said, “Thank You Mr. Weiss.” Ender sat in his command chair and pressed a button that gave an all hands whistle and he said, “This is the captain. Our destination has now changed to the Talos star group. I know you all are weary and need some rest after our last mission but we have received a transmission that there are survivors from the SS Columbia that disappeared some 22 years ago. Our mission, find and pick up the survivors and resume our course to Starbase 11. All decks prepare for Trans-warp drive factor 7. That is all.” Ender pressed the same button and closed his arm rests as well as the rest of the bridge crew and Joachim said, “Trans-warp at your command sir!” Ender replied, “Execute!” Joachim pressed a button and the Endeavor speed through space in a blue and red streak towards Talos IV.
During the journey Ender left his seat and walked around the bridge looking at various stations as the bridge crew continued their normal duties as the Endeavor flew across space till a male robotic voice in the bridge intercom said, “Arriving at Talos IV.” Ender turned back forward and saw Talos IV filling the main view screen as the Endeavor came out of Trans-warp and continued to Talos IV till the ship entered orbit. Joachim said, “We have reached standard orbit sir.” A crewman then exited the turbo lift and he and Petra presented their reports to Ender and the crewman said, “Ensign Kyle sir, I have a report from Bio-lab. Limited vegetation on the surface but mainly barren.” Petra said, “Planet has nitrogen, oxygen atmosphere captain.” Ender said, “Gravity?” Petra said, “0.9 of Earth.” Joachim said, “Captain, reflection from the planet’s surface!” Ender said, “That will be all ensign.” Kyle left the bridge as Ender and Petra moved to Joachim’s station as he looks down on his console and said, “I read metal bits along the surface! Probably from a crashed ship!” Ender said, “Prepare landing party of six. Are you up to it?” Joachim looked up at him and said, “Yes sir!” Ender said, “Hop to it Lt. and notify Delphiki that he’s also needed.” Joachim replied, “Yes sir!” And Joachim left the bridge as a Deltan ensign relieved him. Ender turned to Petra and said, “Sorry commander but until we have more information on this planet the second most experienced officer has to remain behind.” Petra was about to protest but stopped as she saw Ender’s serious expression and said, “Of course sir.” Ender patted her on the shoulder and he left the bridge as Petra stood and watched the main viewer of the planet below.
In the transporter room everyone was geared up with tricorders, phasers and back packs as Ender walked in with a belt on that had his communicator and phaser. He stood in front of the transporter controls and said, “Find us a safe spot because in this unknown world we still don’t know the dangers and need an easy escape.” The transporter operator said, “Yes sir, there is a canyon where it will conceal you and provide cover for immediate beam out.” Ender replied, “That will do.” Ender, Joachim, Nikolai, the ship’s doctor and a security ensign (Andorian) stepped onto the transporter pads and the transporter operators operated on the controls and Ender and the others dematerialized. They rematerialized on the surface and Joachim immediately pulled out his tricorder (as did Nikolai and the ship’s doctor) while the security ensign pulled out his phaser and they all proceeded south following the tricorder readings while looking at the area around them at the same time. A young female’s voice spoke in Ender’s head, “I think this planet is too barren for me.” Ender said (mentally), “I quite agree, but why up till now have you not spoken?” The Hive Queen replied, “You seemed rather preoccupied in recent events that I did not want to intrude.” Ender said (mentally), “Wise idea.” He heard a soft humming noise and he followed where it was coming from and saw a group of single blue leaves on stems as they vibrated. Ender lightly grabbed two of them and the sound died down as Nikolai approached from behind with a look of curiosity. Ender smiled and let go of the leaves and they resumed their hum as Michael and Nikolai moved on when Kyle called out, “Sir!” Ender reached Kyle’s position and saw survivors in tethered clothing and a makeshift camp.
Ender and the others approached the camp seeing half-shocked and happy older men and women as they saw them and Ender shook the hand on what he believes is the leader and says, “Captain Andrew Wiggin of the Federation starship Endeavor.” The leader said, “Theodore Heston of the American Institute.” A survivor said, “How is earth?” Ender replied, “Same old earth and you will all be seeing it soon.” Ender noticed a beautiful blond girl with blue eyes walking up from one of the tents to Heston’s side. Heston took notice and said, “This is Vena. Her parents are dead. She was born as soon as we crashed.” Somewhere else on the planet four humanoid beings in silver robes and heads twice larger than an average person with no hair watched a large video monitor on Ender and the rest of his crew as they shook hands and greeted the survivors with one of the large head beings (wearing a medallion necklace) focused solely on Ender as he looked at Vena with interest even as he shook hands and hugged the other survivors. The being looked at the others and nod his head and the others left.
As Ender’s away team helped the survivors pack Ender pulled out his communicator and said, “Endeavor this is the captain, prepare to transport the survivors and their personal effects up on my mark.” Petra replied, “Yes sir, should I also send out science parties to further study the planet?” Ender replied, “That’s affirmative on this...” He then saw Vena standing by and looking at him as Ender looked back at her with awe and Vena said, “You appear to be intelligent and strong captain. Prime specimen.” Ender looked a little confused and Petra said, “I didn’t get that last part sir.” Ender shook his head as he refocused and said, “Uh that’s affirmative on request. Landing party out.” Ender put his communicator away and one of the survivors came up and said, “You have to excuse her captain. She lived her whole life with a bunch of aging scientists with her only education is our science texts and manuals.” Nikolai appeared and said, “Sir I like to make my report as well as the doctor’s.” Ender said, “Go ahead.” Nikolai noticed the attractive girl but did not care and said, “All the equipment they have been using are functioning perfectly and all the survivors are very healthy given their condition living here but it is too perfect.” Heston appeared next to Vena and the other survivor and said, “There is a reason for that captain. Let the girl show you, we’ll accept her judgement.” Vena looked at Ender with interest even as she walked away as Ender followed till they reached a large pile of rocks that looked like it was almost a man made path against a rock wall along the side of a mountain. Vena said, “Are you tired?” Ender replied, “No, I don’t tire easily.” Hive Queen said (mentally), Ender something doesn’t fell right.” Ender ignored her voice as he continued to look at Vena as if he was in a trance as she smiled at him and said, “You are a perfect choice.” Suddenly she disappeared and Ender looked around puzzled while at the camp itself and the survivors disappeared in an instant leaving only the away team as they looked around startled as well.
A side of the mountain behind Ender opened to show an elevator inside and Ender immediately started to pull out his phaser when tow silver cloaked beings approached him and one had a small metal rod and pressed a button and a yellow mist shot at Ender’s face as he stumbled back but suddenly he felt dizzy and he fell to his knees and then on the ground. Joachim looked up and saw Ender falling to his knees and yelled, “CAPTAIN!” He ran up the rocks as the large head beings dragged Ender into the elevator but the rock wall closed on Joachim before he could reach Ender. He tried pulling the fake wall open but it wouldn’t budge and he jumped down from the top and he and Nikolai pulled out their phasers and fired them at the wall but nothing happened. They changed their phaser settings and fired again but it only blew apart the camouflaged rocks leaving what appears to be two metal elevator doors still intact. Nikolai pulled out his communicator and said, “Delphiki here.” Petra said (both worried and angry), “Landing party what’s going on down there?.” Nikolai said, “There are no survivors or camp commander. This was all a trap. We lost the captain, do you read?” On the Endeavor’s bridge the crew looked shocked except for Petra as she tried to keep a straight expression and said, “Report back to the ship immediately!” Joachim replied, “But ma’m...” Petra yelled, “That’s an order Lt!” Nikolai said, “Yes ma’m.” Petra said, “Helm take the con!” Helm replied, “Yes ma’m.” Petra left the command chair and entered the turbo lift looking very worried.