Episode Number: 104
Written by: Sam Webb
Directed by: Jon Crew
Transmission: 12th August 2020
- Menos: deceased Vulcan science officer (seen in video only)
Captain’s Log: Stardate 9828.6, supplemental
The shuttle was attacked as it came in to land on the surface, the crew were able to make a landing and Lt Cmdr Valik made temporary repairs to the engine. Lt Astan evaluated that the mission was able to proceed and the remains of the base camp left by the Sonak were explored. Unfortunately our worst fears were confirmed when Dr Vale found two of the expedition dead, along with evidence that their problems began with a meteorite impact and a subsequent storm, which changed the atmosphere itself. The last log entry says they were under attack and tried to abandon their position paying the ultimate price. This means that BC-01C was a Class H world and is now reading as Class Y. What could have caused such a drastic change in so short a period of time?
We have sent a probe down to the impact site, discovering a crater which still contains the object which caused it. We also believe we have found the bodies of the rest of the survey mission. It seems an away team should be sent to the impact site, but with so little information it is difficult to know if we might not find ourselves in a similar situation to that of the crew of the Sonak. Given the existing evidence, we might also find ourselves in a First Contact situation.
Plot: The crew of Lyonesse continues delving into the mysteries of BC-01c, and makes first contact with an intelligent lifeform within the Cluster.
The ‘A’ Plot: The captain reconvenes the conference, and the senior officers discuss the latest information. Lt Astan suggests that there may be some residue from the object that struck the shuttle Morgana, and that it may be worth analysing.
Lt Valik is able to retrieve a small amount of a rocky substance and Dr Vale works with the chemical lab to carry out an analysis. From the structure of the sample, they conclude that the floating object may have been a silicon-based lifeform.
While the senior officers are discussing this, Ens Lock reports that atmospheric disturbances are building on the planet, near the crater.
A return to the planet is suggested, with the intention of visiting the crater site. Since the collision on the previous trip may have been deliberate, the captain orders the user of Lyonesse’s scount shuttle, Nimuë, a fast shuttlecraft with powerful sensors, adapted for low visibility and manoeuverability. Valik installs extra shielding, to help protect against electrical discharges in the storms.
Astan and Ens Kheled take Nimuë back to the surface, successfully avoiding impacts, although there is a near-miss, during which they get a glimpse of what appears to be a floating rock the size of the shuttle. They make a low pass over the crater, spotting the alien “ship” at its centre, as well as several more floating rocks, and the suited bodies of several Vulcans. Kheled aborts the mission when Astan suddenly comes under what appears to be a psionic attack, feeling as if an external force is attempted to flood his mind. As they flee the area, Kheled notices the floating creatures in the area deliberately reacting to their presence.
As this takes place, Lock records another increase in atmospheric activity, especially in the form of lightning strikes, above the area. They begin to wonder if it could it be analogous to neural activity? Is it possible that a gaseous lifeform is lurking in the clouds, or that the clouds themselves are a lifeform?
Back on Lyonesse, Astan is thoroughly examined by Vale; he seems to be ok, apart from a lingering headache, but she recommends taking the rest of the day off. A hypothesis emerges that the proposed lifeform was trying to communicate with Astan telepathically. Despite his empathic abilities, Astan is not a telepath and is not capable of understanding telepathic signals. He was simply being battered by a more powerful mind.
Vale proposes a plan to try to communicate through a true telepath. While there are none onboard, Ens Saurik, a Vulcan science officer, is trained in the mindmeld. Vulcans are touch telepaths with no range, but melding with Astan should allow them to combine their capabilities and communicate at range.
After some practice, the go-ahead is given and Astan and Saurik return to the mindmeld as the ship approaches what appears to be an optimal range. The process works, but not quite as expected. Saurik is supposed to be using Astan as a conduit to speak to the lifeform, while providing defences for the security officer, but as soon as it spots the Vulcan, the lifeform concentrates all its efforts there. Saurik has to focus all his capabilities on avoiding being washed away by the power of the mind. Astan is largely ignored and is able to communicate through the Vulcan, taking on a diplomatic role.
He succeeds in establishing first contact, discovering that the lifeform is indeed sentient, although it had believed itself to be unique in that sense. It had tried to communicate with the Vulcans but accidentally killed them as it was not familiar with their forms. It is fascinated by the Federation and the idea of other inhabited worlds, and is curious to learn more.
The Arc: Sensors show two “passages” leading out of this clear bubble within the nebula. The captain decides to follow the one to rimward.
Observations: Astan’s pivot to lead on the first contact is both unexpected and remarkably logical given the circumstances.
The new lifeform is electromagnetic in nature, existing within clouds of silicon-based dust and using silicon-based puppets as its “hands”. It migrates slowly from system to system, terraforming the world to provide a suitable habitat. While it was aware of other living things, it had not considered them sentient and did not care about the impact of its activities.
There is quite the debate as to whether the creature is subject to the Prime Directive: it’s intelligent and interstellar but restricted to sublight speeds. Where does the line fall? It’s largely moot since it knows about the Federation now.
References: Dr Vale notes the existence of other lifeforms based on non-carbon biochemistry, including the Horta seen in the original series.
Lyonesse possesses a stealthy “scout shuttle”, painted near black and dubbed Nimuë.
Ensign Saurik is a Vulcan stellar cartographer, and trained in Vulcan psionic disciplines, unlike Valik.
Questions: While the being insists it’s not hostile, it is very interested in the universe beyond the Cluster…