The Trouble With O'Shareen Seven
The first survey team to return from O'Shareen Seven was dishonorably discharged and sent for mental examination upon return to the Federation Central. The second team included an android, one of the new models with the fuzzy logic and the complete recall-and-transmit. The android was remote-detonated by a panicky ground control back at Central, claiming - and for a little while, everyone believed them - that the machine had gone insane and killed the exploration crew. The third crew included several of the world's foremost experts, and no androids at all. When they returned with proof - in the forms of not only eyewitness testimony but the best radiation-proof digital recordings, old-style photographs, and readings of all sorts - their ship nearly fell apart on re-entry. This time, someone noticed the person behind the sabotage, and stopped it in time. And, once they did, the puzzle pieces started falling into place. The apologies to the first survey team came too late for all but two of them, but they came with large cash settlements and, more importantly to them, a chance to return to O'Shareen Seven. The families of the second team were offered the same, but all but one rejected the trip. And the third team was covered in glory, but knew they must share it with those who had come before. Carha Tione, who had sent the first team for mental evaluation and thus caused almost of all the mess since, did not get to return to O'Shareen Seven. Almost every other survivor of the mess, however, did. They stared together in wonder at the floating lakes, holding hands as they finally could agree that these were really, truly real.