‘Plato’s Cave’ Part Three

Episode Num­ber: 107

Writ­ten by: Mar­co Rafalá

Direct­ed by: Jon Crew

Trans­mis­sion: 21st Novem­ber 2020

Guest Stars:

  • Crew­man Ewen­di: an engi­neer from Lyonesse.

Cap­tain’s Log: Star­date 9833.5, supplemental

The land­ing par­ty on BC-02e was out of touch for some time, so it was a relief when they request­ed that Lieu­tenant Valik rejoin them to assist with reac­ti­vat­ing equip­ment with­in the seed vault. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the ship has since begun expe­ri­enc­ing increas­ing lev­els of com­put­er and con­trol issues with an unknown cause. I am begin­ning to regret allow­ing our chief engi­neer’s return to the surface…

Plot: The land­ing par­ty find them­selves sur­round­ed by armed drones, as they take in a macabre scene of dead Vul­can sci­en­tists con­nect­ed to an advanced computer. 

The ‘A’ Plot: As Lt Valik asks Lt Astan why he was asked to return, the com­put­er cuts off com­mu­ni­ca­tions with Lyonesse and repeats its demand: that the land­ing par­ty serve as new hosts for “us”.

Dr Vale imme­di­ate­ly con­tacts all of the team on a secure chan­nel and they dis­cuss the sit­u­a­tion. Obvi­ous­ly, they can­not let the com­put­er have the crew, but, judg­ing from the state of the Vul­cans, the planned pro­ce­dure would be unsuc­cess­ful anyway.

Vale attempts to explain this to the com­put­er, but it repeats its demand. When the group fails to respond, one of the drones shoots Astan’s secu­ri­ty specialist.

Astan imme­di­ate­ly fires back, yelling at the rest of the par­ty to take cov­er as the drone is dis­abled. He and Ewen­di retreat between a cou­ple of the sta­sis pods, and Vale fol­l­lows suit, while con­tin­u­ing to attempt to rea­son with the opposition.

Valik attempts to mechan­i­cal­ly dis­able one of the drones as it pass­es him, but he fails and is grabbed. The drone heads back towards the sur­gi­cal chairs, car­ry­ing the Vul­can, who is still strug­gling to wrench an access pan­el from its side.

Astan con­tin­ues to dis­able attack­ing drones with sup­port from Ewen­di. Vale attempts to shoot the drone car­ry­ing Valik, which cre­ates enough con­fu­sion for him to open a pan­el, dis­able it and break free.

Valik is then attacked by the med­ical drone, but with Vale’s aid is able to dis­able it. He turns his atten­tion to the com­put­er, where he sees a text mes­sage sim­i­lar to the ones they received ear­li­er. Inves­ti­gat­ing, he realis­es it comes from inside the com­put­er, but seems to be a dis­tinct voice with­in the cho­rus of the main intel­li­gence. Astan is able to con­firm this with his empath­ic abilities.

Vale estab­lish­es direct com­mu­ni­ca­tion with this enti­ty, who informs her of the nature of the com­put­er: it’s made up of the unwill­ing­ly-uploaded minds of the orig­i­nal occu­pants of the bunker, fused into a kind of gestalt con­scious­ness. This com­bined intel­li­gence has become insane from the con­flict­ing desires of its con­stituent per­son­al­i­ties and is try­ing to return itself to an organ­ic body.

As the youngest mind with­in the sys­tem, the lone enti­ty has retained a lev­el of inde­pen­dence and san­i­ty. And, although they know how to destroy the com­put­er sys­tem, they are aware that they will die in the process. They don’t want to die…

Valik realis­es that it would be pos­si­ble to move this enti­ty, which seems to be a child, to a remote sys­tem, which could then be pro­tect­ed while the main com­put­er is destroyed. It takes some work on Vale’s part to per­suade the child that this is the safest path. She suc­ceeds and the enti­ty agrees to help them.

With the child safe­ly sequestered, they blast the quan­tum com­put­er sys­tem with phas­er fire, but this caus­es the pow­er to fail in the remote sys­tem. Valik is unable to keep it work­ing, despite his best efforts, but then a bright light emerges from the console.

The child, with Vale’s help, has evolved the will to move on to a high­er state of being. They thank the par­ty for free­ing them and help­ing them realise their poten­tial, then van­ish into space.

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: Com­mu­ni­ca­tion from Lyonesse: “After I uploaded the outpost’s data­base, every­thing went hay­wire. There’s some sort of virus con­trol­ling all the ship’s sys­tems. We’re on back­up life-sup­port. And see­ing strange messages…”

Ques­tions: Who are “we”?