Episode Number: 101
Written by: Jon Crew
Directed by: Jon Crew
Transmission: 9th May 2020
- Lieutenant Commander Tek: Tellarite shakedown Commanding Officer, Lyonesse
- Commodore Angrove: Human Commanding Officer, Starbase 514
- Captain Eshraan: Andorian Executive Officer, Starbase 514
- Bobby: son of Commodore Angrove, starship enthusiast
Captain’s Log: Stardate 9823.1
After a year of fitting out and six months of shake-down, Lyonesse is finally approaching Starbase 514 and her formal commissioning. I and many of the caretaker staff will be taking our leave and handing her over to her new commanding officer, Captain Masuda Akari. I understand that Captain Masuda will be taking her into the Black Cluster, a region of space impenetrable to long-range sensors. There are many legends concerning the nebula, but little hard data.
Pure exploration: sounds like fun!
Plot: This episode serves primarily to introduce the series’ ship and crew. Little is said of the eponymous Black Cluster.
The ‘A’ Plot: On Starbase 514, Captain Masuda is waiting for the arrival of her new command. Also on the station are some of her prospective senior staff, Doctor Vale-of-Winds, Lieutenant Astan and Ensign Kheled, as well as a large number of more junior crew and officers. Masuda organises a small drinks reception in one of the viewing galleries as the starship arrives, taking the opportunity to meet some of her officers.
Aboard Lyonesse, Lieutenant Commander Tek shares one last round of engineering reports with Lieutenant Valik, before ordering the helm officer, Ensign Lock, to drop out of warp and approach Starbase 514. Masuda and her crew watch her gracefully slide into the docking bay.
Some hours later, the entire crew gathers for the formal commissioning ceremony. Commodore Angrove gives a brief speech about how wonderful it is that, after nearly three decades of cold war, Starfleet is finally getting back into the exploration game. He turns to Masuda and transfers command in the traditional fashion, before hurrying off to deal with “urgent concerns”. Captain Eshraan, who is distinctly more friendly, apologises for his senior’s behaviour, while giving Masuda and her senior officers a tour of the vessel. Various crew members take the opportunity to check on their new stations.
About 12 hours later, fully resupplied and crewed, Lyonesse slips her moorings and heads into deep space, saluted en route by the much larger USS Warspite. Ensign Lock powers up the main drive and she goes to warp with the usual blaze of light.
About half-way to Deep Space 3, however, the vessel’s subspace bubble collapses, and she drops out of warp suddenly, causing a few minor bumps and bruises that test the readiness of the just-assembled medical team. Investigations by Lieutenant Valik show that one of the dilithium crystals has cracked and needs to be replaced, but this cannot be done while the warp core is online: they can either limp on at around warp 3, or shut down the core and replace the crystal before restarting it, a process that will take a minimum of 12 hours. The Captain opts for the latter course of action, not wanting to limp into DS3 at the end of her first voyage!
The ‘B’ Plot: As the crew boards the starship through the main hatch after the ceremony, Lieutenant Astan heads straight up to Security on Deck E to organise his team, and begin checking the ship. He immediately becomes aware of an unauthorised life-form in the sensor access passages on Deck F. Marshalling his new team efficiently, he catches a pre-teen boy hiding out in a Jeffreys tube. It turns out that young Bobby, son of Commodore Angrove, is anxious to join Starfleet and make a few discoveries of his own. He is handed over to Captain Eshraan for return to his family with a minimum of fuss.
Dr Vale meanwhile is somewhat disappointed to find that the ship does not include an arboretum or other garden facility, unlike the larger Enterprise-class cruisers. She petitions the Captain for permission to use a vacant hold as a makeshift indoor garden and respite space to support the long-term mental health and wellbeing of the crew.
The Arc: The Black Cluster, an ominous swirling blue-black mass, can occasionally be seen through viewports.
Observations: From the delivery of his commissioning address, it is clear that Angrove is really not interested in Lyonesse’s mission of exploration. He seems keen to get back to his administrative duties.
Dialogue: Commodore Angrove hands over the commissioning order: “Ma’am, I am commanded by the Council of the United Federation of Planets, to direct you to repair with all due speed on board the ship Lyonesse lying at Starbase 514. It is required that you complete her Provisioning and assemble her Crew, preparing her in every respect for Space. It is the Council’s express Orders, that you employ the most vigorous Exertions, to accomplish these several Objectives and to put your Ship as speedily as possible in a situation to sail at the shortest notice.”
Captain Masuda’s first order as Commanding Officer: “Man our ship and bring her to life!”
References: Starbase 514 is a Lotus-class station, serving as the central command base for Starfleet operations in the Aquila Reach, and as a trade hub for surrounding Federation and independent worlds.
USS Warspite is an Enterprise-class heavy cruiser, based at Starbase 514 alongside USS Swiftsure and USS Vanguard (both Lor’vela-class light cruisers). The three vessels form Starfleet’s overt military presence in the region.
Lt Cdr Tek has commanded Lyonesse throught her six-month shakedown cruise, and has occasionally clashed with the ship’s Chief Engineer, Lt Valik.
Ensign Kheled is a Zaranite, on loan to Starfleet to help with the upcoming mission, due to being familiar with the regions navigational peculiarities. His native atmosphere is toxic to most humanoid species and his face is covered by a breathing mask.
Lieutenant Astan is from Delta, also a local world.
Questions: The Commodore’s attitude seems to imply that not all of Starfleet’s command structure is in step over the mission of the fleet. Will this have repercussions in the future?
Is the warp failure a harbinger of things to come?