Episode Number: 1×04
Written by: Jacob Ross
Directed by: Jon Crew
Transmission: 7th May 2022
- Commodore Banna Stoker: Starfleet troubleshooter with a murky past.
- Administator Kartaav blasch Nurn: head of the research station on Coriolanus IV.
After the excitement of Omega Draconis, we have been able to relax for a few days while we delivered the Ithik to Starbase 12 for resettlement. We are now heading out for a month of patrolling systems near the Klingon border.Captain’s Log: Stardate, 5494.2
Plot: When Commodore Stoker sends Lexington to investigate the loss of contact with an isolated research facility, the crew encounter a swarm of squid-like cosmozoans and find things at the facility are not what they appear.
The ‘A’ Plot: Captain Pryce receives a coded communication from Commodore Stoker, a local representative of Starfleet Command. Taking the call in his ready room, he learns that a covert Starfleet facility on Coriolanis IV has stopped responding to communications. Lexington has been ordered to investigate.
The Coriolanus system is embedded in a colourful gas nebula and is riddled with electromagnetic anomalies, creating an effect similar to that of an ion storm. Adred recommends dropping out of warp at the edge of the system in order to survey the anomalies before entering.
As they come to a halt, they detect what appears to be an alien structure floating nearby. Strauss scans the object and, with Midax’s help determines it to be part organic. They move closer, whereupon it discharges a burst of ionised plama in their direction, draining a significant amount of power. Pryce orders Nossaag to return fire with the phasers, but the security chief suggests half-power, in order to indicate their ability to defend themselves without causing harm and starting a serious fight. The captain agrees, but the phasers still cause noticeable damage as the structure does not appear to have any shields.
Several squidlike creatures, each the size of a large shuttlecraft, emerge from the structure as it moves away at speed and head towards the ship, each firing its own energy-draining plasma bursts. Lexington fires a photon torpodo at the retreating structure, causing more damage and agitating the creatures further. Nossaag suggests that maybe playing dead would prompt the creatures to leave them alone. The captain agrees and the ship goes into “silent running” mode. The creatures act confused and then head back to their “craft”. Lexington enters the nebula, leaving the squid behind.
Several hours of Adred carefully negotiating the anomalies later, they arrive in orbit around Coriolanus IV. Scans for life signs show a lot of examples of the squid life-form just sitting on the surface. There are no humanoid life signs at the recorded location of the colony, but the communications officer reports receiving a repeated distress call, heavily distorted, but requesting evacuation.
Since transporters would be dangerous in an environment with heavy ionic radiation, Pryce orders the shuttlecraft Brutus prepared for a landing mission. He leads the mission, taking Adred, Midax, Nossaag, A’Mathi and Strauss with him. The shuttle lands in the main square of the sizable community, and it’s immediately obvious that something is wrong: most of the buildings are damaged and there are signs of weapons fire. Limbs can be seen sticking out of piles of rubble.
Sending Midax and Nossaag off to look for survivors and check the power generator, Pryce decides to investigate the main administration building first and force their way through a broken door. Inside, the equipment is silent, except for a subspace radio station, with a dead Tellarite slumped over it: it would appear that this was Director Nurn. The console is still broadcasting the distress call, and they are able to hear it undistorted. In it, Nurn describes how the colony was attacked by a horde of spaceborne creatures, apparently drawn to their technology, and that he has ordered the survivors to evacuate to a designated shelter about 20 km north of the community.
Nossaag and Midax return having found no survivors and discovered that the power station was completely destroyed – looking as if it had been crushed by repeated blows. They return to the shuttle and Adred heads north towards the shelter.
En route, they become aware of a number of the squid-like creatures lying on the ground. They appear to be dormant, as if asleep, but soon detect a couple of the more active ones moving towards Brutus. Adred takes the craft lower in an effort to avoid notice, but one of them comes close enough to see. It’s about twice the size of the shuttle, and it fires a burst of plasma towards them. It misses, but Adred reacts quickly, dropping the craft to the ground and shutting down its systems. As this looks less appetising to the creature, it starts to drift off.
Resuming their journey, they reach the shelter, located in a box canyon in the hills. More squid are approaching as they enter the valley, flying just above the ground, but the huge doors to the shelter are open wide. People within gesture for them to enter and Adred brings the shuttle through the doors at speed, landing just short of the far wall.
The ‘B’ Plot: Although the captain does not inform the rest of the crew, Stoker informs him that there is more to the Coriolanus station’s mission. The planet is rich in dilithium and the colony is extracting it for Starfleet use. Its covert nature is necessary as otherwise, it would be raided by either the Klingons or the Orions (or both).
Although not privy to this information, Nossaag is suspicious that something is going on. He takes the opportunity on the planet’s surface to look around the ruined town, noting that it is significantly larger than would be needed for a simple research station.
Once they reach the shelter, he also notes the inactive ground-defence phaser turrets outside, the heavy security doors and the mining equipment in the hangar, confirming his suspicions.
The Arc: Commodore Stoker, listed in initial publicity as a recurring character, is introduced. She appears to be comfortable with keeping secrets.
Observations: Coriolanus IV hosts a Starfleet research station, apparently kept secret to avoid the attentions of the Klingons across the nearby border. In reality, it is also a secret dilithium mine.
Nossaag reacts noticeably when Stoker’s call arrives, indicating that he may know her.
In keeping with Iron Maiden, Lexington’s second shuttle is named Brutus.
Dialogue: Pryce, as Adred steers Lexington through the electromagnetic anomalies littering the system: “See if you can do this without spilling my coffee!” When Adred has to react swiftly to an unexpected near-collision, the captain’s coffee goes straight into his lap…
Questions: What do the squid creatures actually want?
What past experience does Nossaag have with Stoker?