Episode Number: 116
Written by: Michael Dismuke
Directed by: Jon Crew
Transmission: 26th September 2021
- Science Specialist, 1st Class, Ara: Auran anthropologist
- Klygon: an Ichthyasan priest
Captain’s Log: Stardate, 9861.8
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.
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?