Planet of the Ebon Pearl, Part III

Epis­ode Num­ber: 2×03

Writ­ten by: Michael Dismuke

Dir­ec­ted by: Jon Crew

Trans­mis­sion: 26th Septem­ber 2021

Guest Stars:

  • Sci­ence Spe­cial­ist, 1st Class, Ara: Aur­an anthropologist
  • Kly­gon: an Ich­thy­as­an priest

Spe­cial­ist Ara’s unusu­al and ambi­tious plan to sim­ul­tan­eously invest­ig­ate both the indi­gen­ous cul­ture of BC-05b and the appar­ent sphere of dark mat­ter at the centre of their largest city appears to be suc­ceed­ing. The fake Ich­tharysans remote-piloted by the away team are in the pro­cess of embed­ding them­selves into the city, and the loc­als do not appear to be any the wiser.

Cap­tain’s Log: Stard­ate, 9861.8

Plot: The land­ing party embeds them­selves into the loc­al civil­isa­tion in order to learn how to get to the pil­grim route up the vol­cano. Cap­tain Mas­uda and her crew dis­cov­er they may not be the only warp-cap­able civil­isa­tion mov­ing about the nebula.

The ‘A’ Plot: The land­ing party explore the loc­al part of the city in an attempt to find out what they need, in order to reach the dormant vol­cano. Ara and Astan vis­it a mar­ket and dis­cov­er that most of the goods being traded are tools and dec­or­a­tions with a reli­gious theme. Dr Vale approaches the large open pool at the city’s edge closest to the vol­cano, the Grand Plaza. She talks to a low-level priest named Kly­gon and dis­cov­ers that only a sac­ri­fice of suit­able worth would allow access to the path up the mountain.

Ara decides that it would be best to accu­mu­late some loc­al cur­rency in order to make a suit­able sac­ri­fice and, with the cap­tain’s approv­al, they take up res­id­ence in the city, oper­at­ing as fish­er­men. Astan also arranges for a suit­able rock to be carved on the ship to look like a rep­res­ent­a­tion of the Ebon Pearl.

After about three weeks, they decide they have accu­mu­lated enough cur­rency, and inform­a­tion about the civil­isa­tion and its beliefs, and approach the Grand Plaza. Kly­gon sees their offer­ing of both cash and the rock (which they claim they found in the sea) and imme­di­ately takes them to meet the high priests. After some con­sulta­tion, the high priests decide the offer­ing is worthy and con­duct the appro­pri­ate rituals for access to the pro­ces­sion­al way.

The land­ing party step between the gates, flanked by 8 metre tall rep­res­ent­a­tions of the Ebon Spir­its, and begin the long climb up the moun­tain. The path is quite shal­low, but it’s heavy going for the limb­less Ich­tharysans; the team are quite grate­ful that they are not doing the work themselves!

About half-way up, they are attacked by a pair of jok­tools, 4 legged insect­oid pred­at­ors. Astan holds them off by brute strength (throw­ing one off the moun­tain), while Vale and Valik (who briefly replaces Ara at the con­trols of her drone) rig up a tri­cord­er to broad­cast a sig­nal ward­ing the jok­tools off.

Finally, they reach the top, climb­ing over the lip of the dormant vol­cano to dis­cov­er a 6 metre dia­met­er globe of dark mat­ter sit­ting in an arti­fi­cial cradle at the bot­tom of the crater. A con­trol pan­el of some dis­cus­sion is attached to it. Upon scan­ning the globe and the device attached to it, they dis­cov­er that the orb is col­lect­ing sig­nals from temples across the plan­et, which are then being com­pressed and sent via a nar­row beam of energy off­world (actu­ally through the exit on the far side of the neb­ula bubble). It looks like these data are made up of the pray­ers of the natives.

They also learn the name of the com­puter­’s build­ers: the K’si.

The ‘C’ Plot: Ensign Lock runs a detailed dia­gnost­ic fol­low­ing the final com­ple­tion of repairs to the lat­er­al sensor sys­tem. He detects a wake in the ion­ised gases that flood the sys­tem, lead­ing from orbit to the far side of this neb­ula bubble. It appears to have been made around the same time as the Lyo­n­esse arrived. Cap­tain Mas­uda decides to go to yel­low alert while the wake is researched.

Lock is only able to con­firm the pres­ence of tetry­on particles, which imply the oper­a­tion of a cloak­ing device. There’s no sign of the ship respons­ible: Lock believes it has left the bubble.

Obser­va­tions: The K’si are a warp-cap­able race, with the tech­no­logy to manip­u­late dark matter.

As noted else­where, tetry­on particles are a com­mon indic­at­or of cloaked vessels.

Ques­tions: Who are the K’si? Why are they col­lect­ing pray­ers from the Ich­tharysans? What made the ion­ised wake detec­ted by Lock?