Abyss Station, Part I

Epis­ode Num­ber: 1×02

Writ­ten by: Jac­ob Ross

Dir­ec­ted by: Jon Crew

Trans­mis­sion: 9th April 2022

Guest Stars:

  • 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?