‘Abyss Station’ Part Two

Epis­ode Num­ber: 103

Writ­ten by: Jac­ob Ross

Dir­ec­ted by: Jon Crew

Trans­mis­sion: 23rd April 2022

Guest Stars:

  • Com­mand­er T’lah: com­mand­ing officer of the Star­fleet sci­ence team on Abyss Station
  • May­or Akkara: lead­er of the Ith­ik government
  • Okkor: Ith­ik cultist
  • Lieu­ten­ant Velak: act­ing lead­er of the Abyss Sta­tion land­ing party on ω Dra c
  • Sci­ence Spe­cial­ist Sekar: mem­ber of the Abyss Sta­tion land­ing party on ω Dra c
  • The Min­is­ter for Astro­nomy: mem­ber of the Ith­ik government
  • The Min­is­ter for Philo­sophy: mem­ber of the Ith­ik government
  • The Min­is­ters for Agri­cul­ture, Bio­logy and Phys­ics: mem­bers of the Ith­ik government
  • Barokk: Ith­ik cultist

Lex­ing­ton is cur­rently respond­ing to an emer­gency request from Abyss Sta­tion, a Star­fleet research facil­ity study­ing the black hole at Omega Dra­conis, along with both the lone plan­et and the mys­ter­i­ous ali­en con­struct orbit­ing it.

A sci­ence team had acci­dent­ally activ­ated what appears to be an inter­stel­lar weapons sys­tem with­in the con­struct, and although we have suc­ceeded in dis­abling it, this came at a cost. The con­struct itself was des­troyed, and the black hole is now spin­ning on a new axis – its x‑ray emis­sions now endan­ger­ing the small nat­ive pop­u­la­tion of the plan­et. I find myself faced with the risk of viol­at­ing the Prime Dir­ect­ive if I choose to save their lives.

Fur­ther­more, it appears that the activ­a­tion of the weapon sys­tem may not have been an accident…

Cap­tain’s Log: Stard­ate, 5456.8

Plot: With the ancient weapons sys­tem dis­abled, Cap­tain Pryce and his team attempt to find out why it was activ­ated in the first place, before fig­ur­ing out how to res­cue the indi­gen­ous pop­u­la­tion of ω Dra b.

The ‘A’ Plot: Dodging their way between fall­ing debris, Pryce, Strauss and AMathi make it to the land­ing bay in time for Adred to be able to pilot Iron Maid­en out into space. ω Dra c’s grav­ity is increas­ing rap­idly as its sys­tems fail, and Adred has to dodge extreme grav­it­a­tion­al shear while Pryce offers “help­ful” advice and AMathi looks after the strain­ing engines. Even­tu­ally, they make it to safety, and glide into Lex­ing­ton’s hangar deck. Nossaag takes the pris­on­ers to the brig while Pryce and the bridge crew make their way to A deck.

Once Com­mand­er Shiva has been brought up to date, the Cap­tain con­tacts T’lah aboard Abyss Sta­tion. She is con­cerned to hear about the activ­it­ies of her land­ing party, and agrees to vis­it Lex­ing­ton as soon as they are with­in trans­port­er range.

Mean­while, Nossaag is attempt­ing to inter­rog­ate the pris­on­ers. He begins with the seni­or of the two Vul­cans, Lt Velak, but when Ensign George enters his cell, he exits it again with some speed, hit­ting the cor­ridor wall hard. Nossaag is forced to stun the crazed Vul­can before he can injure the rest of those present. Strap­ping Velak into a secure chair, he calls for a spe­cial­ist from Sick­bay to come and exam­ine him, since this is not nor­mal Vul­can beha­viour. Dr Schneider arrives and, dis­miss­ing Nossaag’s con­cerns that it may be pon farr, scans the pris­on­er, dis­cov­er­ing evid­ence of brain dam­age elim­in­at­ing his abil­ity to con­trol his emo­tions. With Velak con­scious again and Pryce present, all ques­tions are answered with snarled ancient Vul­can, which the uni­ver­sal trans­lat­or refuses to trans­late (it is a fam­ily show). Schneider sends him, under sed­a­tion, to Sick­bay where they can dia­gnose and treat him more effectively.

The oth­er Vul­can, Spe­cial­ist Sekar, is dis­tinctly calmer and appears to be med­it­at­ing. When Nossaag moves him to the inter­rog­a­tion room, he makes no protest. While Schneider scans him, the secur­ity chief attempts to find out why they activ­ated the weapon. Sekar seems quite lit­er­ally happy to explain, wear­ing an unnerv­ing grin as he tells them that they were fol­low­ing sealed orders from Star­fleet Com­mand, which were vital to the secur­ity of the Fed­er­a­tion. Pryce demands to know where the orders came from, but Sekar will only say that they were con­veyed via Lt Stahk, the land­ing party lead­er – now deceased. He does let them know that the orders were relayed to the party once they had encountered the two ali­en humanoids. While Schneider points out that Sekar, though out­wardly calm, has suffered the same kind of brain dam­age as Velak, Nossaag begins to enter­tain the notion that they may have been mind-con­trolled by the aliens.

The appar­ent seni­or of the two humanoids, Orrok, is now brought in. He seems happy to talk, but it rap­idly becomes clear that he has a slightly odd world view. It turns out that both he and his col­league, who are Ith­ik from ω Dra b, are fol­low­ers of a reli­gion ven­er­at­ing a being called the Archi­tect, who has cre­ated a plan that neces­sit­ates the destruc­tion of the uni­verse. Attempts to explain the absurdity of this to the pris­on­er get nowhere, and he seems amused that they think this is an odd idea.

Schneider, mean­while, has had the chance to exam­ine both Vul­can pris­on­ers, and the injured indi­vidu­al recovered from ω Dra c. He’s not con­vinced on the mind con­trol hypo­thes­is, but all three had suffered the same kind of brain dam­age, which looked like it had been caused by the radi­ation per­vad­ing the sys­tem. He the­or­ises that this may have both weakened their Vul­can self-con­trol and made them more sus­cept­ible to sug­ges­tion. Nossaag starts wor­ry­ing about Lt Strauss’s Vul­can her­it­age and requests that he be restric­ted to quar­ters until fur­ther notice.

Com­mand­er T’lah beams across from Abyss Sta­tion, and is rather sur­prised to be met by a secur­ity detail. Cap­tain Pryce explains that this is just a pre­cau­tion and details the situ­ation. T’lah com­ments that such loss of con­trol has been caused by radi­ation in the past, and asks to see the sur­viv­ors. Once in Sick­bay, she sug­gests that she might per­form a mind-meld, and that Nossaag might want to be ready in case she is influ­enced as a res­ult. Once she is fin­ished, she con­curs with Schneider­’s dia­gnos­is: brain dam­age as a res­ult of radi­ation had weakened their will­power and made them sus­cept­ible to simple sug­ges­tions. The Ith­ik had eas­ily con­vinced Stahk that he had sealed orders to test the weapon, and the oth­ers read­ily fol­lowed his orders.

The ‘B’ Plot: With the imme­di­ate mys­tery resolved, Pryce, T’lah and the seni­or officers turned their atten­tion to the inhab­it­ants of ω Dra b. T’lah repor­ted that they had yet to carry out a detailed study on their cul­ture, but that ini­tial probes had shown that they were a rel­at­ively prim­it­ive pas­tor­al people liv­ing in a large cav­ern a kilo­met­er or so below the sur­face of the plan­et. There are no dir­ect accesses to the air­less sur­face, so they will have to beam in.

Pryce opts to put togeth­er a land­ing party with AMathi, Nossaag, a xeno­anthro­po­lo­gist named Lt Har­rid and a couple of secur­ity per­son­nel. They arrive inside a huge, tem­per­ate cav­ern sev­er­al kilo­met­ers across, and illu­min­ated by bright sol­ar lamps in the roof. A num­ber of crop fields and white stone build­ings sur­round an arti­fi­cial hill sur­moun­ted by a struc­ture very like the Acro­pol­is on Earth. As they approach the com­munity, the Ith­ik acknow­ledge their pres­ence but don’t seem alarmed to see them.

Pryce requests a meet­ing with their lead­ers, and an indi­vidu­al wear­ing elab­or­ate jew­elry appears, wel­com­ing them to Chak­tir, and announ­cing him­self as May­or Akkara. When Pryce announces the reas­on for their pres­ence, he seems unim­pressed and informs them that their soci­ety has endured great tribu­la­tions begin­ning with the explo­sion of their star and that their sur­viv­al proved they were blessed. They would sur­vive this. His con­stitu­ents seem to agree.

Pryce con­tin­ues to argue, but Akkara does­n’t seem to be inter­ested; he passes them off to his large num­ber of min­is­ters. The cap­tain con­tin­ues to try and per­suade the May­or, find­ing him­self locked in a debate between the Min­is­ter of Phys­ics, who does believe there is a risk, and the Min­is­ter of Philo­sophy, who believes they are fig­ments of the ima­gin­a­tion, made real by the Ith­ik’s super­i­or intel­lects. Har­rid talks to the Min­is­ter of Astro­nomy, who is con­vinced Chak­tir is the centre of the uni­verse, and takes the oppor­tun­ity to learn alot about their cul­ture, espe­cially their supreme egos.

It is AMathi who finally comes up with a com­pel­ling argu­ment: either the vis­it­ors are cor­rect and every­one is in danger, or they are wrong. Why not evac­u­ate? In the first case, it would save their lives; in the oth­er, they can return, secure in the know­ledge the vis­it­ors were wrong.

Nossaag had asked for a tour of the veget­able fields, and was escor­ted by the Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture. He selects a suit­able root veget­able before return­ing to the group to demon­strate exactly what the x‑ray beam will do to the plan­et by means of the root veget­able and his phaser. This demon­stra­tion leaves the May­or quite shaken, and after a quick min­is­teri­al con­sulta­tion in which the oth­er argu­ments are dis­cussed, evac­u­ation is agreed.

The entire pop­u­la­tion (about half of whom still do not believe the threat is real) are evac­u­ated to Lex­ing­ton with­in three hours. Twelve hours after that, the radi­ation beam from the black hole slices through the plan­et, leav­ing the sur­face above the cave sys­tem abso­lutely mol­ten. Even the most reluct­ant Ith­ik are convinced.

While Pryce con­siders the pro­spect of find­ing them a new home, T’lah and her team elect to remain and study ω Dra a*, request­ing only that Lex­ing­ton tows Abyss Sta­tion to a safer orbit.

Obser­va­tions: ω Dra b, known to the Ith­ik as Chak­tir, is tide-locked with one side always facing the black hole and the sur­face itself is a scorched, air­less waste­land. The Ith­ik live under the sur­face on the far side. Their cul­ture is not as prim­it­ive as it seems: they have a small, long-lived pop­u­la­tion and enough food and min­er­als to live a com­fort­able life-style with little impetus to change. Their only prob­lem is boredom.

Lt Adred really does­n’t want to use the trans­port­er. When Cap­tain Pryce con­sidered adding him to the land­ing party, he pro­tested, and Dr Mid­ax backed him up with a med­ic­al exemp­tion. Long-term fans of Star Trek will know what the Trill mem­bers of the crew are hiding.

We get to meet Dr Schneider, one of Mid­ax’s assist­ants in Sick­bay, and Lt Har­rid, a xeno­anthro­po­lo­gist. The unfor­tu­nate secur­ity Ensign George also makes his first appearance.

Dia­logue: Dr Schneider, dia­gnos­ing Velak’s injur­ies: “His brain wir­ing went nuts!” 

Ques­tions: Who con­struc­ted ω Dra c, and what happened to them?

How did Okkor and Bar­rok get to ω Dra c?