‘Psi-Shift’ Part One

Epis­ode Num­ber: 202

Writ­ten by: ELH

Dir­ec­ted by: Jon Crew

Trans­mis­sion: 20th March 2022

Guest Stars:

  • 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?