‘Planet of the Ebon Pearl’ Part Three

Episode Num­ber: 116

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

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?