‘Points of Departure’ Part One

Episode Num­ber: 101

Writ­ten by: Jon Crew

Direct­ed by: Jon Crew

Trans­mis­sion: 9th May 2020

Guest Stars:

  • 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?