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"Planetfall" was the third of four licensed short stories published by FASA in Stardate Magazine, this one in vol.1 #3/4. It was written by Michael A. DeLuca II, who also wrote FASA RPG module: The Barrier of Essai. In this story, a survey team aboard a shuttle from the USS Enterprise crashes on a jungle planet.

Summary[edit | edit source]

The USS Enterprise visits Tau Omega, a system with two class M worlds. Spock leads a team to the fourth planet, which showed indications of having intelligent life, while Leonard McCoy organizes the ship's senior scientists on a four-hour flight to the verdant third planet aboard the shuttlecraft Copernicus. At the last minute, an emergency surgery forces McCoy to back out, and Doctor James Brennan takes his place. During the flight, a massive solar flare disables the shuttle's circuitry, and pilot Lewis Baker manages a controlled crash landing on Tau Omega III.

Baker tries to repair their subspace communication, but all systems were fried. Having nothing else to do, the science officers explore the surrounding jungle, finding a flint arrowhead and huge footprints. While inspecting a sheered-off engine nacelle in the woods, Baker spots a nine-meter tall dinosaur approaching the shuttle and warns Brennan, who quickly retreats into the wreck. The lizard reaches a paw through the hatch to grab him, but Brennan's phaser burns it, and it’s quickly yanked back. The creature kicks the wreck, flipping it over and crumpling it. Hearing the encounter, the science team rushes back and kills it with phasers. They melt the shuttle's crumpled hatch to rescue Brennan, but it's too late.

The landing party digs a temporary grave, then notices that senior botanist Carl Perez has gone missing. While they search for him, five human-sized, winged reptiles land and strip the dinosaur's carcass with their claws, stacking its meat in organized piles. The harpy-like bipeds debate the shuttle's origins, noting that it looks different from other ships they've seen. Fistus climbs inside for a look.

The science team soon returns, panicking the harpies. Security officer Kevin Fitzroy aims a phaser at one menacing harpy, but Fistus sees what's happening through the shuttle's observation ports and tackles the harpy. Slowly, senior biologist Francis Greelee scans Fistus with a tricorder, then asks Baker to retrieve a universal translator from the wreckage. Baker can't get to it, however, and as the people converge on the harpies, Fitzroy makes a hostile move and a fight breaks out. The brawl is interrupted by the noise of a transporter beam, and the harpies quickly fly away as a rescue team materializes.

Two days later, shortly after the Enterprise rendezvoused with the USS Ranger, Baker and Bennit share lunch in the mess hall. Baker suggests that Bennit try not to obsess over the losses of Brennan and Perez.

That evening, Fistus sits alone atop the abandoned Copernicus wreckage, lamenting that he'd not been able to learn more about the strangers. Perez emerges from the jungle, glad to have finally found his way back to the shuttle. He is startled by the site of the harpy, but Fistus is grateful.

References[edit | edit source]

Characters[edit | edit source]

Lewis BakerLisa BennitJames BrennanChristine ChapelFistusKevin FitzroyFrancis GreeleeLeonard McCoyCarl PerezPlikinPaul SchaferMontgomery ScottSpockRenusWilson
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False OnesJames T. Kirk

Starships and vehicles[edit | edit source]

Copernicus (NCC-1701/7) (class F shuttlecraft) • USS Enterprise (Constitution-class heavy cruiser)
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USS Ranger (Constitution-class heavy cruiser) • Galileo (II) (class F shuttlecraft)

Locations[edit | edit source]

Tau Omega (Tau Omega IIITau Omega IV)
Referenced only 

Races and cultures[edit | edit source]

HumanTau Omega III harpyVulcan
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States and organizations[edit | edit source]

StarfleetVulcan Institute of Advanced Space Studies

Science and classification[edit | edit source]

artificial gravityastrogatorautomatic pilotbiobedbiochemistrybiologybotanycircuitrycommunicatorcomputerecologyengine nacelleflaskforcefieldgeologylife supportmedikitmedscannerphaserscannerspray dressingsubspace communicationssurge suppressortransportertricorderturbolifttype-1 phaseruniversal translatorviewscreenvolt

Lifeforms[edit | edit source]

batbirdCanopan sand eelchickencobradinosaurdolphininsectlizardomegasaurusplantreptileslug

Ranks and titles[edit | edit source]

anthropologistbiologistbotanistcommanderdiplomatdoctorensigngeologistlieutenantlieutenant commandernursescientistsecurity officertechnician

Other references[edit | edit source]

20th centuryanimalarrowheadatmosphereatombloodbrainchicken saladchicken sandwichclawdaydirtdisposal chuteelectromagnetic pulseelectrongamma raygravityhourhourhydrogen bomblaboratorylightningmagnetic fieldmattermeatmess hallmetalmilemineralminutemonthmusicmythologynuclear weaponozonepoisonpubquartersradiationrocksecondshuttlebayskullsolar flarespacestarsteakstunsubspacesurvey partytextbookultrasounduniversityvenomX-ray

Appendices[edit | edit source]

Background[edit | edit source]

Related stories[edit | edit source]

Images[edit | edit source]

Connections[edit | edit source]

Published Order
Previous story:
The Killax Vendetta
FASA short stories Next story:
Coronation Presumptuous
Previous story:
first story
Stories by:
Michael A. DeLuca II
Next story:
The Barrier of Essai
Chronological Order
Previous adventure:
The Shoulders of Giants
One: Fiffick
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:
Storming Heaven
Chapters 16-35
Magazine short stories and roleplay modules
Stardate Magazine TOS stories "Force of Law" • "The Killax Vendetta" • "Planetfall" • "Coronation Presumptuous"
TOS modules "The Serpent Factor" • "Deneva Deception" • "Safari in Violet" • "Continuing the Line" • "Operation Shadowfall" • "The Barrier of Essai" • "Orion Rising" • "The Hottest Blood of All" • "Operation Kingmaker" • "Operation Starling"
Stardrive Magazine TOS modules "Another Piece of the Action"
Star Trek Magazine STO stories "Unexpected Honor" • "Shakedown" • "The Gale, Part I" • "The Gale, Part II" • "Mirror Image, Part I" • "Mirror Image, Part II" • "Chief, Part I" • "Chief, Part II" • "Of Chaos and Kal-toh, Part I" • "Of Chaos and Kal-toh, Part II" • "Dove" • "There's No Place Like..." • "Locks Without Keys, Part I" • "Locks Without Keys, Part II" • "Hope Remains" • "After the Storm" • "Recruitment Drive" • "Time of the Scotsman" • "An Honorable Frontier"
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