Captain Kirk, sitting at the computer counsel in his quarters.
Captain Kirk: “Captain’s log, Star-date 66298.5. The Enterprise has received a distress call from a civilian ship, The Burgess, experiencing trouble with its warp drive. Coordinates place the ship just outside a mysterious area of space known as the Sargasso Nebula. This location was named because of characteristics that resemble the Sargasso Sea on Earth. The Sargasso Sea figures prominently in nautical lore as a place where ships become entangled by the Sargassum seaweed. The area, named by Christopher Columbus, includes the "mysterious" Bermuda Triangle. Because winds and currents are relatively calm, sailing ships frequently found themselves trapped, but not by the seaweed. A lack of wind seems more likely to trap ships than becoming entangled in seaweed. The Burgess has found itself similarly trapped in the nebula. Apparently, it is no longer able to transmit communication. The Enterprise is going to investigate and mount a rescue mission. We will use a vehicle called a ROV, or remotely operated vehicle. The ROV relies on a low-tech means of propulsion using thrusters with propellers.”
Kirk flicks a switch and a hailing tone whistles. The captain uses the ship’s intercom system.
Captain Kirk: “Attention, this is the Captain. All senior officers and engineering core leaders meet me in the Captain’s ready room right away... Kirk out!”
In the Captain’s ready room, the senior officers are seated around the conference table.
Spock, McCoy, Sulu, Scotty, Checkov and Uhura, along with the engineering core leaders, are present.
Captain Kirk: “Uhura, give us a report on the distress call.”
Uhura: “Yes, Captain. About 15 minutes ago a distress call was received from the Burgess, a private space transport. They indicated their warp drive malfunctioned. They were heading into the Sargasso Nebula and could not stop. Before I could respond, their signal went dead.”
Captain Kirk: “Thank you Lieutenant Uhura.”
“Mr. Spock, can you give us background information about the Sargasso Nebula?” The Captain’s intense gaze shifts, pointing in Spock’s direction.
Spock: “Gladly, Captain. The Sargasso Nebula is named because of its uncanny resemblance to the Earth’s Sargasso Sea. Ships have been trapped for extended periods, up to centuries. Apparently, common modes of thrust used by spaceships seem to be ineffective in its unique environment. There is an energy dampening effect that depletes most of the ship’s functions, rendering all navigational equipment and sensors useless. There is also a significant amount of folklore about the Nebula. Stories are fueled by the fact that hundreds of ships have been lost in the nebula and never seen nor heard from again.”
Spock finishes with his customary hand clasp, extended index fingers pressed together and pointing straight up.
Captain Kirk: “Mr. Scott, what tenable solution do you suggest that would enable us to rescue the crew of the Burgess?”
Scottie: “Aye, Captain! As you know, conventional means of ship movement will not work in the nebula. However, past nebula exploration has been successful using rudimentary vehicles that date back to the 21st Century. In the Earth’s ocean exploration phase, researchers used devices called ROVs - these were tethered vehicles that used propellers to move through the water. The properties of the nebula are very similar to water as far as movement is concerned. These vehicles were unmanned but remotely controlled through a tether. I think my engineering staff and I could put together one of these ROVs to send into the nebula.”
Looking encouraged, the captain turns to Lieutenant Sulu.
Captain Kirk: “Sulu, can you and Checkov devise a method to control the ROV as well as a way to navigate in the nebula?”
Sulu: “Yes, Captain. I will program the piloting computer to create a simulation trainer I can use to learn to pilot the ROV based on Mr. Scott's specifications,”
Checkov: “I can develop a navigational system and video so we can see where we are going.”
Spock: “Captain, may I remind you about the energy dampening field. This lower more primitive technology seems to be relatively unaffected. Everyone should be mindful to use only the technology that was available in the 21st Century. I will develop a tether with control and video capabilities that will have a special shielding to prevent energy loss through the tether.”
Captain Kirk: “Bones, what are the chances of finding survivors? The ship must have come to an abrupt halt and its energy must be draining fast due to the dampening field.”
Mr. McCoy: “Well I’m not an engineer, Jim. I can’t answer about energy draining, but as far as coming to an abrupt halt, I’ve seen you do that with the Enterprise a few times. We showed no worse for the wear. I think the ship’s inertial dampening field probably worked well enough to keep the crew alive,”
Spock: “From my calculations, we have precisely twelve hours, forty two minutes and 30 seconds if the Burgess has a common civilian energy system based on dilithium crystals. The antimatter chamber will have to be removed. It is becoming overloaded due to the effect of the dampening field. It should be left in the nebula, which will absorb the blast.”
Captain Kirk: “Let’s get to work. We have a ship and crew to save!”
The meeting ends. Kirk sends crew members to complete their respective assignments.
1. Enter the Nebula
2. Find The Burgess
3. Connect a communication tether
4. Attach the rescue cable
5. Open the antimatter containment door
6. Remove the antimatter and discard it in the nebula
7. Leave the nebula through the entry point you came in through
8. Retrieve The Burgess using the Enterprise to pull it out of the Nebula
This year we entered both Aquadevil and Rovina. We used a two ROV system to deal with the complexities of the nebula (we had to exit through the same point we entered). We managed to retrieve the Burgess, though we had entanglement issues. We ended up with 3rd place.