Episode Number: 105
Written by: Marco Rafalá
Directed by: Jon Crew
Transmission: 12th September 2020
- Crewman Ewendi: an engineer from Lyonesse.
- Stoltz: deceased Vulcan xenoarchaeologist (seen in video only)
Captain’s Log: Stardate 9833.3
We have assumed a standard orbit around BC-02e, an Earth-like planet in the throes of an ice age. Automated broadcasts from the surface indicate that the Sonak left a team of archaeologists and paleoclimatologists here thirty years ago. Reports contained within the broadcasts indicate a remarkable find beneath the ice: a collection of this world’s crop diversity stored in a doomsday seed vault. While we would not expect to find any survivors after so long, we hope to be able to recover their data and discover what happened to them.
Plot: Lyonesse finds another long-dead Vulcan outpost on an ice-age world harbouring the remains of an ancient civilisation. Once a landing party begins exploring the ruins, they discover something is still alive.
The ‘A’ Plot: Lyonesse picks up an automated signal from a world designated BC-02e, which appears to be from a Vulcan archaeological expedition left by Sonak. The transmission is reporting the discovery of what appears to be a doomsday seed vault left by the extinct civilisation.
Following scans and analysis, Capt Masuda orders Lt Astan to put together a landing party. He takes Lt Valik and one of his team, Crewman Ewendi, to help extract data records, Dr Vale to investigate the seed vault, and a security specialist.
Appropriately equipped with environment suits (the temperatures are around ‑52℃ inside the outpost), the team beams onto a transporter reception stage. The exposed surfaces are covered in a deep frost, although the base walls have apparently maintained their integrity against the external cold. Checking a schematic on the wall, Astan decides to head straight to the central control module of the outpost.
The doors to the control centre are partially closed and the controls have been blasted with a phaser. They manage to get the doors open with the application of some brute force, and discover the corpse of a Vulcan sat at a terminal. Valik informs them that this is his relative, Stoltz. Although there is evidence of a head injury, Vale confirms that he died of strangulation; the head wound appears to have been result of the insertion and removal of a device of some kind.
They decide it is now imperative to restore power and head straight to the reactor module, where they find evidence of deliberate vandalism. The reactor is powered down and the control panels and backup batteries have been destroyed. Valik believes the reactor can be brought online, but it will require parts to be brought down from Lyonesse.
As Valik and Ewendi begin connecting the new parts, the team becomes aware of the approach of a tracked robot. As it reaches the door, it begins uttering sounds which the universal translator renders as “intruder”. A lethal-looking projectile weapon mounted on the top of the robot begins to activate, so the team members scramble for cover. Astan expends a great deal of effort to close the damaged door to prevent it entering, and the machine evidently damages its manipulator arm attempting to open it. A minute or so later, a series of large holes appears in the barrier as the robot fires its weapon, causing the door to collapse. Astan resorts to his phaser, destroying the machine’s processing unit with one blast.
Valik returns to work, but begins having difficulty, making a series of mistakes as he begins to get uncharacteristically stressed. Astan and Vale decide it would be a good idea to get him out of the immediate area for a while to allow him to centre himself. The three of them move out to explore the rest of the outpost, checking for more robots and other problems.
They quickly check several modules, revealing the frozen record of the expedition. They discover a PADD containing reports of climatological and archaeological findings in the laboratory and the corpse of what appears to be the expedition’s engineer in the informary. It appears that he died of blood loss due multiple gun shots, while trying to get medical aid.
As they return to the reactor module, Ewendi succeeds in getting the generator working. Immediately, the screens around the room display the face of Stoltz, relaying a portion of a message to the Sonak, while a cacophany of other voices is heard from the intercom systems. Valik is impassive as Astan quickly shuts down the screens, then leaves for the transporter stage to meditate.
Ewendi manages to get Stoltz’s full message out of the computer system, and the team learns that the voices were simply the computer playing all audio logs at the same time – but that the Vulcans were unable to to do anything to stop it. It appeared to be driving them to emotional distraction. He also finds evidence that it is being remotely controlled from somewhere within the seed vault, but is unable to do anything about this.
Astan and Vale discuss the situation and decide that Valik should go back to the ship, where he can be examined away from the voices. Meanwhile, they become aware of what sounds like a child’s crying from within the seed vault.
With all clues pointing to the seed vault, the group decides to head down to explore the structure.
The ‘B’ Plot: Valik meets with Vale early on, and confides his disquiet about the fate of his uncle Stoltz, a xenoarchaeologist who was on Sonak. Stoltz was a personal mentor to the engineer when he was younger, and they had many discussions on the merits of emotions and emotional species. Despite their differences they were close and Stoltz influenced much of Valik’s approach to his career.
Valik is understandably affected when they discover Stoltz’s remains at the Vulcan outpost, and has difficulty maintaining his Vulcan demeanour in the face of his personal feelings. This appears to be affecting his ability to work, and Astan sends him back to the ship under Vale’s advice.
The Arc: Another of Sonak’s planetary missions is discovered, this time with a focus on archaeology and climatology. It is just as dead as the first.
Dialogue: One of the intercom voices: “What about the bodies? Alive, alive, alive. A lie. We are a lie! The bodies rot.”
References: BC-02e is a class M world in the middle of an ice age, but most life was wiped out in a runaway greenhouse event ten thousand years ago. The disaster was caused by overuse of fossil fuels by a native civilisation roughly equivalent to Earth in the 21st century. The Vulcan team named the world Tanghal IV.
Questions: Who (or what) is crying in the seed vault?
What lies beneath the vault itself, and who or what within it is remotely-affecting the outpost?
Who killed the scientists?