Episode Number: 201
Written by: Darren Watts
Directed by: Jon Crew
Transmission: 27th November 2021
Three days ago astrometrics reported a new supernova, only about twenty years old, on long range sensors. I’ve ordered us into a distant orbit around the neutron star it created and fired off several probes to measure the size and extent of the supernova’s impact on surrounding space. It seems the shockwave has been traveling at about thirteen kilometers per second since the supernova, which means that the shock wave itself has traveled slightly less than a light-year at this point. The crew are busy analysing the data, and I should have an update soon.Captain’s Log: Stardate, 9871.7
Plot: Lyonesse encounters an apparently-abandoned alien vessel in the vicinity of a recent supernova. The boarding party encounters ghostly lights and hostile vegetation and plants, while something stalks them in the shadows as they try to solve the mystery.
The ‘A’ Plot: Continuing corewards in the hope of finding another exit from the nebula, Lyonesse and her crew enter a void with an unexpected feature for this region: the bright blue light of a young neutron star. Captain Masuda immediately orders an investigation and the ship enters a distant orbit to study the phenomenon.
Three days later, their data collection is complete, and they head towards the exit from the void. Sensors now detect a metallic object moving away from the neutron star. It does not appear to be under any kind of control and is headed directly towards the lethal energies of the void wall.
The captain decides to investigate further and the ship moves closer to what now appears to be a large vessel, a saucer about 2500m across and several hundred thick. The vessel is giving off radiation that makes scanning difficult, but there do appear to be diffuse life signs within the vessel. It appears to be drifting, and is presumably out of control, as it is on a dangerous course.
Given that the vessel appears to be in distress, the captain calls a senior officers’ meeting to discuss intervening. The vessel does not appear to be capable of warp speed, but is clearly interstellar in nature due to its location, triggering a discussion about the Prime Directive. Eventually, the captain decides that the risk of being censured for rescuing a primitive crew does not override the humanitarian requirement to offer aid, and a boarding party is prepared.
The vessel’s radiation will make transporting difficult, so a small team, led by Masuda, and including Dr Vale-of-Winds, Lt Astan, Crewman Ewendi and a pair of security personnel, suitably protected against the radiation, takes a shuttlecraft to one of the large docking ports visible on the outside of the station. Unfortunately, the radiation triggers a surge in the thrusters and despite Masuda’s best efforts, the shuttle rams the port. This leaves the craft wedged in the door, but Astan is able to venture out in an environment suit and use sealant foam to prevent furher atmosphere loss.
Entering the vessel, they discover a large passage that seems to encircle the saucer. It’s dark, but they have lights on their suits. Picking a direction, they begin to explore. A large door on the inner side of the passage opens into a huge pressurised room that appears to contain an aboretum. It’s dark, the vegetation appears to prefer the low light levels common within the nebula, but it’s the most direct route to the central hub of the vessel. They venture inside, trying to find a route through to the far side of the room.
Vale carries out some tests and informs them that the atmosphere is breathable and that radiation levels are much lower than might be expected, giving them the opportunity to take off their helmets as they explore the room. Several of the team, including Vale, are immediately overwhelmed by the strength of the smells and rendered a little light-headed. They press on through the vegetation, which is highly varied in size and appearance. Tricorder scans indicate the presence of electrical sources ahead, but there does not appear to be any large animal life.
The atmosphere, along with the subdued lighting, heightens the sense of tension in the room and several characters begin hearing and occasionally seeing movement, although tricorders continue to deny the existence of anything that could move. Suddenly, one of the security guards is knocked down as he is grabbed by a vine that wraps around his ankle. Freeing him is the work of moments, but they are now aware that some of the plants are hostile.
They manage to dodge other floral attacks and follow a stream to a clearing, where they encounter what appears to be a small life form similar to a tribble. As they watch, a new one emerges from a small mound in the grass, and when Vale investigates further, she discovers an artificial “womb” beneath the mound. Evidently, the environment is being actively maintained.
Following the stream further, they come to a small hill that appears to contain both the source for the stream and the centre of the electrical readings. As they move in to explore, they become aware of movement: robotic figures are approaching from several directions. Masuda and Astan find themselves leading a defence as security robots attack, while Vale and Ewendi attempt to locate the power source. They find an entrance to what appears to be a control room, where they encounter a somewhat obsessive AI. After some argument, they are able to get it to shut down the robots.
Further investigations show that the ship is one of a number of arks built by a people calling themselves the Vahari, to evacuate their world before the supernova. The Grif Valata was damaged and its crew killed.
Masuda decides to repair the engines and AI and send the vessel on its way. If this is done carefully, its owners won’t even know they were there.
Observations: The Vahari were native to a planet that once orbitted the now-neutron star, and set out to evacuate their entire population via sublight ark to another star. This particular vehicle, Grif Valata, was carrying samples of plant and animal life, but became damaged due to the ion storms of the region. The crew had died and the artificial intelligence governing the vessel had failed to adapt to the damage, becoming fixated on maintaining the environment to the exclusion of all else.
Questions: Where are the Vahari now? Did they make it to their destination? While they are obviously too primitive to be the K’si, are they related to them in some way?