SAN FRANCISCO FLEET YARDS, EARTH – Thirty-one different starships making up the bulk of the Twelfth Fleet were recalled to back to the Sol sector this past week following the discovery of contaminated vertarium cortenide.
“We’re just glad we caught it in time,” stated Starfleet spokesperson Commander A.J. Ciaravolo from fleet headquarters in San Francisco, shortly after the Starfleet Corps of Engineers issued the recall.
The vertarium cortenide was sealed in standard Starfleet pressure housings. Though not a volatile compound, maintaining purity is paramount for it to be useful in the operation of Starfleet warp systems. Investigators quickly found that the sealant around several of the housings had degraded, allowing foreign contaminants to enter the mixture.
The starships in question had recently undergone routine repairs or refitting of critical engine components and had been certified space worthy by the Yardmaster General. For many of these vessels, the warp coils, a critical component within the warp nacelle that allow the ship to enter and sustain faster than light velocities, needed particular attention as over interminable periods, these coils can lose their effectiveness. According to the report released by Starfleet Operations, part of the routine maintenance procedure involved re-coating the coils in a fresh layer of vertarium cortenide.
“When we left drydock, everything should have been running smooth as silk,” declared Lieutenant Ourn, chief engineer of the USS Advance. “Let’s just say they weren’t.”
Within twelve hours of the fleet’s departure for maneuvers in the Beta Stromgren system, ships were plagued with a multitude of issues, most of which stemmed from imbalances within the warp nacelles and power surges along their EPS grids. They quickly discovered each vessel affected had recently undergone a re-tuning of their coil assemblies. When communicated back to Starfleet Operations, it halted all work at the San Francisco Fleet Yards until they could conduct a thorough review.
“We are not treating this incident as the result of hostile activity,” reported Lieutenant Commander Rohl Anderson, the Starfleet Security head of the investigation. “We will continue to seek the answer how this could occur.”
There is no word as yet regarding how the absence of the Twelfth Fleet will affect the fleets patrol efforts along the edges of the Alpha Quadrant.