‘Plato’s Cave’ Part Two

Epis­ode Num­ber: 106

Writ­ten by: Marco Rafalá

Dir­ec­ted by: Jon Crew

Trans­mis­sion: 17th Octo­ber 2020

Guest Stars:

  • Crew­man Ewendi: an engin­eer from Lyo­n­esse.

Although Lt Valik has returned to Lyo­n­esse, appar­ently suf­fer­ing from some form of psy­cho­lo­gic­al trauma, the land­ing party has pro­ceeded with the invest­ig­a­tion of the Vul­can archae­olo­gic­al team’s out­post, and the sub­ter­ranean struc­tures they were study­ing. Lt Astan’s team have uncovered evid­ence of a viol­ent end for the Vul­cans and have repor­ted evid­ence of energy gen­er­a­tion and usage with­in what appears to have been a seed vault. Their addi­tion­al reports of a child’s voice call­ing for help from with­in the vault are con­cern­ing: there is no way such a per­son could be alive in that environment.

Cap­tain’s Log: Stard­ate 9833.4, supplemental

Plot: The land­ing party’s invest­ig­a­tion of the Vul­can site on BC-02e con­tin­ues, as they enter the seed vault and dis­cov­er a hid­den tun­nel lead­ing to what appears to have once been a mis­sile silo repur­posed as a “dooms­day vault” for a small num­ber of res­id­ents. Des­pite it being over a mil­len­ni­um since it was built, some­thing is still act­ive within.

The ‘A’ Plot: Hav­ing sur­veyed the Vul­can sci­ent­ists’ facil­ity, the land­ing party begins its explor­a­tion of the nat­ive seed vault. Lieu­ten­ant Astan asks Crew­man Ewendi to work out how to dis­con­nect the power cables from the Vul­can fusion react­or, in case of an emer­gency. Ewendi reports that break­ing the con­nec­tion could be a bad idea: the feed­back would be likely to cause a power­ful explo­sion. They aban­don that idea and enter the vault.

The entry is a tun­nel deep into the bed­rock of the plan­et. At the end is a large cham­ber con­tain­ing 3 sep­ar­ate vaults and a con­trol room. They find that prim­it­ive com­puters in the con­trol room are still mon­it­or­ing con­di­tions with­in the seed vaults them­selves, which are pro­tec­ted by a double air­lock sys­tem. Ewendi notes that the power to main­tain all this is far less than that being drawn from the fusion reactor.

While Dr Vale is examin­ing the doors, a hid­den pan­el in the side wall opens, reveal­ing a tiled pas­sage­way lead­ing fur­ther into the moun­tain. A tri­cord­er scan reveals that it leads to the large void iden­ti­fied by the earli­er scans from Lyo­n­esse. They cau­tiously ven­ture in, arriv­ing in a large cir­cu­lar room filled with shelves of rot­ting veget­ables – it appears to be some­thing akin to a food mar­ket. On the oth­er side of the room are a lift and a door to a ramp spiralling around the out­side of the room. After some debate, they opt to use the ramp to go down.

One level down, they reach what appears to be a med­ic­al centre, com­plete with a small hos­pit­al, a phar­macy and offices. While Vale is examin­ing the treat­ment rooms, they hear more strange noises over the inter­com, includ­ing sin­is­ter laughter. A small robot appears and tries to per­suade them to enter a hid­den elev­at­or, but Astan decides this would not be safe.

They leave the med­ic­al centre and ven­tur­ing down anoth­er level, they find a sol­id, secured door. Bypassing this, they find sev­er­al levels of liv­ing quar­ters, an edu­ca­tion centre, a recre­ation level, a hydro­ponics facil­ity and a level full of pumps and oth­er pro­cessing machinery. This facil­ity was obvi­ously a dooms­day sur­viv­al bunker. But what happened to the inhabitants?

Return­ing to the top of the struc­ture, they find what appears to be a con­trol room, over­look­ing a series of hydro­car­bon-fuelled power gen­er­at­ors. All are defunct, and the facil­ity appears to be run­ning off the power from the Vul­can gen­er­at­or. Ewendi’s attempt to hack into the com­puters fails and he finds him­self locked out of fur­ther attempts.

The second level down from the con­trol room appears to be an armoury and secur­ity level. Find­ing that it is defen­ded by sev­er­al of the armed tracked drones that they fought earli­er, Astan decides it would be too dan­ger­ous to invest­ig­ate fur­ther at this point.

Return­ing to the med­ic­al level, the land­ing party invest­ig­ates the hid­den elev­at­or. Astan’s ini­tial vis­it assures him that it’s safe, so the oth­ers fol­low him, arriv­ing in a short cor­ridor. The small robot leads them into a side room where they are shown a short video record­ing: a mes­sage request­ing the destruc­tion of its author, accom­pan­ied by images of a lone boy and of the Vul­can sci­ent­ists, strapped into sur­gic­al chairs in a large room.

They exit the far end of the cor­ridor and emerge into the level below the med­ic­al centre. This is a large room, packed with odd egg-shaped pods. In the centre of the room is a huge tower, which appears to be some kind of com­puter. As they ven­ture fur­ther into the room, they dis­cov­er the sur­gic­al chairs from the video, occu­pied by the long dead bod­ies of the Vul­can exped­i­tion mem­bers. Their skulls have been opened, so that cables from the com­puter could be con­nec­ted dir­ect to their brains. A robot with a human-like face, con­tin­ues to super­vise the futile work.

Scan­ning the tower, they dis­cov­er that it is a power­ful quantum com­puter, appar­ently hold­ing a vast, pos­sibly arti­fi­cial con­scious­ness. The cables appear to be designed to trans­fer entire minds to and from the com­puter. The pods turn out to be stas­is cham­bers, hold­ing the long dead bod­ies of the vault’s ori­gin­al occupants.

As they try to decide what to make of this, a num­ber of the tracked secur­ity drones appear, mov­ing to sur­round the group. Astan’s com­mu­nic­at­or beeps and he is informed by a cold voice that “we have con­trol of your ves­sel”. He is informed that they will be new hosts for “us” – unless they choose to die, in which case, host bod­ies will be recruited from the crew of Lyo­n­esse.

As if to prove the point, Valik mater­i­al­ises in a trans­port­er shim­mer, ask­ing why Astan had ordered him back to the planet…

The ‘B’ Plot: Aboard Lyo­n­esse, Lt Valik under­goes a com­plete psy­cho­lo­gic­al eval­u­ation, cour­tesy of the med­ic­al team. He is passed fit for duty, but advised to spend some time in meditation.

Dia­logue: The intel­li­gence: “We have con­trol of your ves­sel. If you wish to save the lives of your ship­mates, you will do exactly as you are told. Your bod­ies are ours now. We will live again in cor­por­eal form.”

Ref­er­ences: Engin­eer Crew­man Ewendi is of Ethiopi­an extraction.

Ques­tions: Who are “we”?