Episode Number: 202
Written by: ELH
Directed by: Jon Crew
Transmission: 20th March 2022
- Subcommander T’lan: executive officer on the Sonak
- Sublieutenant Seval: junior transporter technician on the Sonak
- Lieutenant Jovan: engineer on the Sonak
- Ensign Saurik: Vulcan officer in Stellar Cartography
- Dr Peladra Voral: El-Aurian chaplain and psychiatrist aboard Lyonesse
- Senior Chief Master-at-Arms Edgar Anderson: Lyonesse’s Chief of the Boat (senior petty officer)
As we reach the six month mark in our expedition, we are continuing our exploration of the Black Cluster, while trying to find a safe route out of this gloomy, unending maze. I understand that our chaplain, Dr Voral, and Senior Chief Anderson have been working on a little celebration to be held in the mess hall.Captain’s Log: Stardate, 9884.4
Plot: In the midst of celebrating the 183rd day of the mission, Lyonesse receives a distress call from what seams to be the missing Vulcan research cruiser, VES Sonak. Finding the vessel apparently wrecked and lifeless, the away team are surprised when they find the crew very much alive.
The ‘A’ Plot: Halfway through the celebrations, the bridge intercepts what appears to be a distress call. Noting that the call appears to be Vulcan and that the individual making it appears to be suffering an unpleasant fate, Valik orders the ship to maximum speed and calls the Captain to the bridge.
Communications establishes that the call appears to have been from the Sonak and came from a short distance away, in the next void. Akari confirms Valik’s decision and orders the ship to red alert. An hour later, Lyonesse emerges from warp next to a drifting wreck. It does indeed look like Sonak, but the vessel is completely powerless, with no lights. Sensor scans indicate no life, but there are odd flickers in the readings.
Akari orders Astan to put together a boarding party to establish what they are dealing with, and he chooses Dr Vale, Valik, Ensign Saurik and two members of the security department. Astan opts for environmental suits and phaser II’s and the group beam aboard the wreck.
Except that it no longer appears to be a wreck: they materialise in a fully-functioning transporter room, to the mild astonishment of a young Vulcan male, Sublieutenant Seval. A stern-looking woman joins them and introduces herself as Subcommander T’lan of the VES Sonak. After confirming a breathable atmosphere, Vale and Valik take their helmets off and introduce the party, saying that they responded to a distress call. Astan remains suspicious that something is going on and retains his helmet.
T’lan indicates confusion: no distress call has been sent out and all is well, as can be seen. Valik reiterates their evidence, and Seval admits that they have been having issues with their communications array. Valik asks to see the array as they might be able to fix it, and T’lan asks Seval to show them the way. Arriving at the array, they are introduced to the engineer, Lieutenant Jovan, who explains that it has not been a priority for repairs as they are out of touch with the worlds outside the nebula anyway. Jovan has other things to attend to, but with his permission, Valik removes a couple of panels to take a closer look.
Seval is called away and then Valik discovers that the fault is a simple cable misconnection – any engineer could have fixed this in minutes. Astan contacts Lyonesse, and is told that Masuda is concerned since they have not heard anything from the away team for some time. He informs them that they are all well, but are still investigating the situation.
Seval returns and Valik explains the situation regarding the array. He is concerned at their implication that their engineer is not doing his job and takes them to the bridge. When asked where T’lan is, he expresses mild confusion and informs them that she is deceased. During the walk, Valik points out that Seval appears to be several decades older and that he is now wearing a subcommander’s pin, typically only seen on executive officers. The group hang back to discuss possible explanations for the situation, including the possibility of a temporal anomaly (although T’lan had given an answer approximating the present day when asked the stardate earlier), and of some kind of faked situation or trap. Astan now admits that he is worried as he cannot detect any emotions from Seval, Jovan or T’lan at all; although a much-reduced intensity would be expected from Vulcans, he would still expect to pick up something.
They catch up with Seval as the door to the bridge slides open, and Astan briefly catches a glimpse of the room as a dark space, with unpowered consoles manned by animated skeletons in uniforms, going about their everyday tasks. He blinks and the scene is as they would expect, a calm, well-lit room containing several Vulcans…
The ‘B’ Plot: Worried about crew morale after six months in the gloomy nebula, the ship’s chaplain proposes a party to celebrate a significant marker and lighten the mood. The duty rotas are adjusted, the room is decorated, and the majority of the crew and their 22nd century guests gather in the mess hall to hear the captain’s address and party. Valik takes the centre seat on the bridge, allowing his crew to join the fun.
Once everyone is gathered, Masuda gives a little speech, giving them permission to let their hair down and enjoy themselves. Unfortunately, the climax of this event is overshadowed somewhat as the banner strung across the ceiling comes loose, settling across her shoulders like a cloak.
Astan, unsure of exactly what such an event involves, does some research and discovers the concept of the sausage roll. Unfortunately, he doesn’t quite get the scale and brings a single large example. Masuda takes this in her stride and sets out to carve it like a side of roast beef.
Vale dresses up for the occasion and carefully arrives fifteen minutes late, rapidly immersing herself in the more sophisticated end of the party. Astan, meanwhile, finds his empathic defences overwhelmed when members of the engineering department, emboldened by the absence of their department head, break out their illicitly-distilled alcohol. The security chief is intoxicated simply by proximity.
With Lock prowling the dance floor, Kheled finds the celebrations somewhat tame compared to the clan rituals of his homeworld. Comparing notes with a Tellarite crewman, he is taken aback when someone taps him on the shoulder and he turns to find that no-one is there.
The Arc: Finally, we see the Sonak! Although it’s unclear exactly what condition the Vulcan explorer is in – is it a wreck or is it fully-functioning?
Observations: The executive officer aboard a Vulcan vessel would usually possess the rank of subcommander.
Sonak is an older Vulcan Suurok-class cruiser, brick red, over 300 metres long and dominated by a vast ring-shaped warp nacelle. She has a crew of around 50, all Vulcan. These vessels have been in service for over 150 years.
References: Suurok-class vessels were first seen in Star Trek: Enterprise.
Questions: What happened to T’lan? And to the rest of the Sonak’s crew for that matter?
Are the odder events in the celebration connected to this in some way?