Episode Number: 103
Written by: Sam Webb
Directed by: Jon Crew
Transmission: 8th July 2020
- Menos: deceased Vulcan science officer (seen in video only)
Captain’s Log: Stardate 9828.4
We have detected a distress call that appears to have emanated from a Vulcan Expeditionary Group transmitter on the world below us, designated BC-01c. We are assuming the transmitter is associated with the lost VES Sonak, as no other Vulcan vessels are known to have entered the Black Cluster. We lost the signal itself one day ago, but are now in orbit around its origin. The distress call read, in Vulcan: “We require immediate assistance, atmospheric conditions have proven too hazardous to the expedition to continue. One team lost, their coordinates are enclosed. Two members of the expedition remain here at base camp T’Vral. We request immediate extraction. Message repeats.”
Plot: The crew of Lyonesse explores the first planet it has discovered within the Black Cluster.
The ‘A’ Plot: As a small pod of gormaganders swoop past, Capt Masuda orders a closer approach to the world from which the distress signal emanated. It ceased broadcasting about 24 hours ago.
The planet is covered in a dense layer of dark cloud, which is absorbing most of the energy from the world’s sun. Initial attempts to perform a detailed scan of the world and hunt for the source of the signal fail, as the atmosphere is blocking sensors. They opt to use remote sensor probes, although the first one makes it only about half-way to the surface before contact is lost. A subsequent probe is able to penetrate the murk and return to a designated altitude to report back.
Ensign Lock analyses the data, reporting that the surface is extremely dark and very hot, indicating a Class Y ‘Demon’ world, although properly-adjusted environment suits would keep landing party members safe. He is also able to locate what appears to be the remains of a research camp in one location, presumably the origin of the distress call.
An away team is assembled, under the command of Lt Astan, and including Ensign Kheled, Lt Cdr Valik and Dr Vale, and sent to the surface in the shuttlecraft Morgana. Although the atmosphere is turbulent, Kheled is able to get the shuttle close to the surface, before it is hit by something in the murk. The initial impact disables the drive systems, so Valik is forced to carry out in-flight repairs, as Kheled tries to get the small vessel to safety before it is hit again, all indications being that the impact was intentional, although by what is unclear.
They successfully reach the surface near the camp without being hit again, and begin to survey the damage. Kheled believes he can fix the damage himself, so the others don environment suits and head over to the camp.
The camp is made up of a series of prefabricated duranium cabins (a common set up for medium-term research facilities), but the individual structures have been heavily damaged, with a couple partially crushed. No power can be detected in the system. Venturing in through one of the airlocks, they find no sign of life, or bodies. Eventually, having explored the entire structure, they manage to power up on of the computer systems and search for reseach logs.
They manage to recover the log of Menos, one of the Vulcan scientists, containing a description of the first six months of the planetary mission. Apparently, the world was originally class H, if a little dim for that classification, with its own biome. Evidently things changed after a series of meteorite impacts across the surface. A team sent to investigate never returned, then the atmosphere began to darken. Eventually, the camp came under attack by an unknown alien species, apparently resulting in the loss of the entire team.
Venturing outside, the team find the remains of two Vulcans, still in their breached environment suits. Consulting with the others team members, Astan decides to return the bodies and the logs to Lyonesse for further examination.
They are able to return without incident and in the subsequent debrief, options for exploring the impact site mentioned in the logs are discussed. They send a probe, carefully emissions shielded, to reconnoitre the site. It reports a wide crater, with what appears to be a solid object at the centre, possibly a vessel. The Vulcan expediton’s skimmer rests nearby, with suited figures sprawled along the crater rim.
The Arc: The first signs of Sonak are detected, a research camp left to work while the ship explores elsewhere. Lt Valik comments that this is a common practice in the VEG.
Observations: Capt Masuda seems to have an unusually high regard for the safety of her crew. Not a single nameless crew member is killed.
References: The crew have designated their first discovery as BC-01c. It’s a Class Y “Demon” world, with high temperatures and little light at surface level.
Questions: What changed the atmosphere of BC-01c, and why?