Episode Number: 114
Written by: Michael Dismuke
Directed by: Jon Crew
Transmission: 31st July 2021
- Science Specialist, 1st Class Ara: Auran anthropologist
- Lieutenant Ed Parish: former Armory Officer, SS Atlantis NX-05
- Lieutenant Darlene Phillips: former Chief Engineer, SS Atlantis NX-05
- Lieutenant Shiro Takahashi: former Chief Science Officer, SS Atlantis NX-05
- Lieutenant Alejandro Martinez: former Chief Medical Officer, SS Atlantis NX-05
Captain’s Log: Stardate, 9851.9
Following our adventures in the temporal wormhole at BC-04, we find ourselves burdened with 47 time-displaced refugees. We are not having too much difficulty finding accommodations for them, but Lt Astan has pointed out the need for making sure this is in a secure part of the ship, given the social disruptions on Atlantis. Since they really need access to special services to help them acclimate to their new century, we are heading back to Deep Space 3.
Plot: Lyonesse heads for the entrance to the nebula, carrying Atlantis’s crew back to Deep Space 3. Unfortunately, that won’t be as simple as they think, and plans have to be revised.
The ‘A’ Plot: When the ship arrives at BC-05, they detect a single planet, another M‑class world, in a clear pocket of cloud of ionised gas surrounding the star. The captain orders a probe launched to investigate before Lyonesse attempts to negotiate the ionised gas.
The probe reveals a vast ocean, a breathable atmosphere and life. Most interestingly, the planet seems to host a primitive civilisation, an amphibious race with an eel-like lower half, and humanoid upper torso with a head and two powerful arms. They appear to live in communities along the coast, with a bronze-age level technology and elaborate pyramidal temples.
Oddly, there also appears to be a strong artificial source of neutral particle emissions in the centre of the biggest city.
Considering the main directives of the mission, the captain feels compelled to investigate further, but the Prime Directive definitely applies. A conference of the senior officers is assembled to consider the options, Science Specialist Ara attends as the ship’s resident anthropologist.
The emission source appears to be located within the crater of a volcano in the centre of the largest city. While no locals live on the mountain, it is surrounded by habitations and seems to hold major temples near its base.
The emissions themselves would make transporter use in their vicinity extremely dangerous. The ionised gas in the system ensures that this part of the world is always well-illuminated (there is no night), which means flying in by shuttle would result in discovery by the locals.
Personal investigation is definitely warranted, but they cannot afford to break the Prime Directive.
After discussions that go as far as fabricating a natural disaster in order to force an evacuation of the city, Dr Vale suggests that it may be possible to make a disguised visit. Surgical alteration would be too radical, and portable holographic displays are not reliable, especially with the radiation, but it may be possible to fabricate “living puppets”, unintelligent copies of the locals that can be remote-piloted by crew members. There are some discussions around the ethics of this, and the doctor explains the origins of the technology in her homeworld’s wars the previous century, but they eventually decide to give it a go.
The ‘B’ Plot: As Lyonesse leaves the BC-04 system, Captain Masuda confers with Dr Vale and Lt Astan about the best way to accommodate the surviving crew members of Atlantis and what to do with them. Both officers have already begun interviewing their guests.
The doctor’s assessment is that with appropriate treatment, they can overcome the trauma of both the war and more recent events, but that it will take expert care. Astan is worried that the factions that had formed aboard the stranded vessel have remained once they were removed from that environment, and also that there may yet be some kind of alien infiltrator among them.
Masuda decides it would be best to quarter them in one section of Deck E, where they can be monitored and have easy access to the medical facilities on Deck F. She will also suspend the mission and return to Deep Space 3, in order to deposit the refugees for onward transportation to Starbase 514 and its extensive medical facilities. Meanwhile, the medical and security staff are to continue to interview them with a regard to establishing their emotional conditions and if there is any ongoing danger.
After about a month of travelling, including a high-speed pass through BC-03, the vessel arrives back at BC-01 to locate the passage back to the outside world. Unfortunately, there’s no trace of it! The passage appears to have closed.
Reluctantly, Masuda decides to take the only other tunnel out of this area, following the path to BC-05. Dr Vale and her team will need to deal with the refugees’ treatment themselves.
The ‘C’ Plot: The patches of ionised gas on the approach to BC-05b trigger a cascade of technical failures across the starship.
First, ionised particles accumulating on the Bussard collectors lead to an overload in the warp coils, forcing a shutdown of the entire drive system to avoid a catastrophic failure. The ship is able to coast in to standard orbit on thrusters, but the engineering team will need to de-Gauss large parts of the system.
The build-up of charged particles also affects the lateral sensor array, a key part of the high-resolution sensor systems. Again, the system has to be shut down to prevent further damage. Unfortunately, this prevents detailed surface scans of the planet, making direct observations impossible without the use of probes.
The charge overloads in both systems cascade into the main EPS system, causing a series of localised blackouts across the vessel.
The engineering department finds itself overstretched in attempting resolve all these issues, but luckily, the engineers from Atlantis are available to help with the less advanced parts of the system.
The Arc: Lyonesse heads towards the far end of the Black Cluster.
Observations: 24th century surgery may be able to modify a humanoid into a legless form on a non-permanent basis, but this does not appear to be possible in the 2290s.
The crew of Atlantis will be stuck on Lyonesse for the forseeable future. Unfortunately, their factions are still very much in evidence: the command staff keep themselves to themselves, while the engineering crew are learning as much as they can about the new century. The science team are learning what they can, while their awareness of their own transgressions keeps them from socialising in case of reprisals.
Dialogue: Dr Vale: “Artificially triggering a volcanic eruption isn’t really in the spirit of the Prime Directive, is it, Captain? At least not in my days at the Academy.”
References: Although not heavily use in the 23rd century, its existence has been established in Star Trek: Enterprise, Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: The Animated Series. It is much less sophisticated than it will become in 70 years, and does not have the ability to create apparently solid surfaces.
Dr Vale-of-Winds references Alpha Centauri’s wars of the early 22nd century. The various colonial factions fought for over a decade over philosophical beliefs and governmental systems, deploying a variety of biological weapons. Although created for war, these technologies formed the basis of modern Centauri biological science.
Questions: What happened to the entry passage? Did it close naturally, or is something more sinister happening?