Episode Number: 1×02
Written by: Jacob Ross
Directed by: Jon Crew
Transmission: 9th April 2022
- Commander T’lah: commanding officer of the Starfleet science team on Abyss Station.
- Ensign Velak: acting leader of the Abyss Station landing party on Omega Draconis c.
- Okkor: Ithik cultist.
- Barokk: Ithik cultist.
We are approaching the Omega Draconis system. The primary star went supernova several millennia ago and has since condensed into a mid-sized black hole. What is weird is that one of its planets appears to have survived the blast and still harbours sentient life, of a primitive sort. Added to that, there is a classic alien BDO (or as we like to say, Big Dumb Object) orbiting close to the black hole itself, an artificial neutronium sphere the size of Earth’s moon.
You can understand why Starfleet has posted a permanent science team here!
We’re about to pay a visit to Abyss Station…Captain’s Log: Stardate, 5456.6
Plot: Captain Pryce and his team explore a huge alien space station, looking for a lost science expedition. The discovery that a powerful weapons system has been activated triggers a race to save millions of lives.
The ‘A’ Plot: Lexington arrives in the Omega Draconis system, where a Starfleet scientific expedition is studying the central black hole (ω Dra A*), the lone world (ω Dra b) still orbiting it and a mysterious artificial structure (ω Dra c). They are hailed by Commander T’lah, commander of the science team, who tells them she is pleased they have arrived, as they need help with a developing situation: a landing party has disappeared on ω Dra c, while the alien structure itself has started to come to life, generating gravitational fluctuations which have begun to tilt the black hole, endangering the survivors on ω Dra b. Unfortunately, Abyss Station has lost both of its shuttlecraft, and both ω Dra b and ω Dra c are out of transporter range.
Captain Pryce agrees to help, deciding to try and locate the landing party first. T’lah explains that the research team have been making use of gravimetric dampeners to shield landing parties from the high surface gravity of the alien structure, but until recently had discovered little. It was only a few weeks ago that they discovered what appeared to be a computer terminal on the surface. After some trial and error, the latest team succeeded in getting access to the system and opened a portal to the interior. Systems within the structure appeared to activate, and contact was lost with the team as glowing green lines appeared across its surface.
Carefully avoiding the gravity distortions around the black hole, Lexington enters orbit around the artifical world. Pryce, accompanied by A’Mathi, Adred, Strauss, Midax, Nossaag and a science specialist, take the shuttlecraft Iron Maiden, suitably modified with T’lah’s gravimetric dampeners, to the surface. Apart from the glowing lines, the surface is almost completely featureless, but then a kilometer-wide portal opens, admitting them to a subterranean landing bay. They exit in environmental suits, again equipped with the gravimetric systems, and pass the remains of Abyss Station’s shuttlecraft, a paper-thin reminder of what will happen if their power systems fail.
A door gives them access to the structure’s interior, where they find a breathable atmosphere and a much lower gravity, around one and a half times Earth normal. Regularly attempting to contact the science team, they follow the largest corridor.
Encountering a door that does not respond to their presence, they attempt to figure out how to open it. Nossaag steps forward and, without waiting for orders, attemtps to open it with a phaser blast. Unfortunately, he fails to take into account neutronium’s reaction to phaser fire, and they are forced to take cover as the energy bolt ricochets down the corridor. A’Mathi takes a closer look and discovers a recessed button by the side of the door, and is able to use this to open the entrance to what may be a storeroom or gallery of some kind. Panels bearing strange synbols line the walls, and long benches are covered with odd-looking devices made of spheres and connecting struts. Nothing appears to be powered, and they are unable to figure out what they are. Pryce decides that finding the scientists needs to be the priority and they move on.
Nearby, they find a small chamber with what appears to be a display screen. It is powered, and A’Mathi and Strauss are able to bring up a complete corridor map for the whole structure. Realising this may be essential to finding the missing team, they record the map into a tricorder but are unable to get any other information from this terminal.
After encountering a corridor blocked by heavy debris, they locate another chamber with a terminal. This one, however, is guarded by some kind of security robot. Pryce attempts to reason with it, trying to enlist its help in locating the missing scientists, but it tries to detain them as “trespassers”, opening fire with a disruptor when they resist. A’Mathi, with the assistance of Strauss, figures out how to deactivate it by remote signal, and it shuts down before causing more trouble. The terminal in this room contains extensive video recordings from what appear to be security cameras. They are able to use this in conjunction with the map they already have to work out which direction the scientists went. They note that their numbers are reduced, possibly due to security robots, and that they are accompanied by two humanoids of an unidentified species.
Moving on further, they find another blocked corridor, a gravitational anomaly creating a vortex of rubble. They also find one of the scientists, unconscious and trapped under a beam. Cautiously, they lever the beam up and pull him up. Midax pronounces that he will survive if he gets proper care aboard the ship, and Pryce decides to send Midax, the injured scientist and the science specialist back to Iron Maiden and then to Lexington.
Finally, the remaining five reach what appears to be a control room. Within are four figures, two Vulcan scientists and the two unidentified humanoids, who appear to be working at the consoles. The lead scientist of the group, Ensign Velak, turns to them and announces that it is good that they have arrived, as they are ready to test the weapon. Pryce is a little confused and asks for more information, and is told that the weapon is being aligned to target Qo’noS, the Klingon homeworld, and will shortly be ready to fired on “your orders”.
Pryce orders them to stand down, but Velak gets irritated (very un-Vulcan) and produces a phaser. His colleagues also draw weapons. Nossaag steps forward and attempts to intimidate them into obeying, mustering all his authority as a Starfleet security officer. Unfortunately, this has little effect on a determined Vulcan, and Velak shoots Pryce, who only just manages to avoid a nasty injury. A swift firefight breaks out, with Strauss and Adred providing covering fire for Nossaag and Pryce as they fire back. The scientists and their allies are quickly subdued, and Strauss is able to get a close look at the controls.
A helpful video shows the firing sequence of the weapon, including how it spins up the black hole, then transports it via wormhole to a target system. Once there, the spinning body sterilises the entire system with its x‑ray emissions while disrupting the natural gravity, then returns to Omega Draconis. The whole process takes several days.
Unfortunately, the firing sequence is already initiated and the targeting coordinates are currently set to Archanis, a heavily populated colony on the Klingon border. A’Mathi quickly determines that it cannot be shut off and the only way to stop it would be to overload the power system, which at least would prevent the formation of the wormhole. He believes they should have time to get off the structure before it is destroyed, so Pryce orders that this be done, sending the prisoners back to the hangar bay with Nossaag and Adred to summon another shuttlecraft so they can all escape.
A’Mathi triggers the overload and the trio make a desperate run for the surface…
The ‘B’ Plot: According to T’lah, there are around a thousand sentients on ω Dra b, the last remnants of a civilisation predating the supernova. An ancient but primitive society, they show little awareness of the universe around them. Although T’lah is concerned that they may be affected by the changes in ω Dra A*, Pryce decides to concentrate on rescuing the scientists and exploring the station first.
The Arc: This episode features the first appearance of the alien artefacts that will become significant in future stories.
Observations: Omega Draconis A* is mid-sized black hole, spinning and blasting jets of x‑rays and gamma rays from its poles. One world (ω Dra b) somehow survived the supernova that created ω Dra A* and is now a blasted ruin, with the remains of a civilisation clinging to life beneath the surface.
ω Dra c appears to be an alien space station, a massive structure the size of Earth’s moon, constructed of neutronium. Its surface gravity is lower than might be expected, of the order of hundreds of gs. Starfleet anthropologists hypothesize that it was built by the Preservers, Iconians, or T’Kon empire sometime before the supernova. Its true purpose as a device turning ω Dra A* into an immensely powerful weapon is revealed at the end of the episode.
Abyss Station is a small free-floating research station orbiting ω Dra A*.
(The real Omega Draconis is a binary system about 70 light years from Earth; to my knowledge no black holes or alien BDO’s have been discovered there yet…)
The shuttlecraft, NCC-1709/5, is named Iron Maiden. Either Lexington’s shuttles are named for medieval torture devices or 20th century rock groups.
Dialogue: Nossaag, once the phaser ricochet has faded: “Well that didn’t work!”
Questions: With the x‑ray jets sweeping the system, it’s only a matter of time before ω Dra b is irradiated. Will the native civilisation survive?