Episode Number: 1×05
Written by: Jacob Ross
Directed by: Jon Crew
Transmission: 21st May 2022
- Deputy Administrator Elyse Russell: Current leader of the Coriolanus IV station.
- Dr Akio Naruhita: Lead xenobiologist of the Coriolanus IV station.
- The Queen of the squid hive.
It would appear that the attack by the hivelike structure outside the nebula and the distress call from Coriolanus IV are linked. The structure appears to have been a home and vessel for the squid-like creatures that are scattered in a dormant state across the surface of Coriolanus IV. The Federation research station is mostly rubble, and the survivors in the shelter to the north have stated the squid are responsible. We need to find a way to stop the attacks.Captain’s Log: Stardate, 5494.7
Plot: Having located the survivors from the research station, the landing party devises a plan to try and establish communication with the squid creatures.
The ‘A’ Plot: Captain Pryce talks to Dr Naruhita and Deputy Administrator Russell to get the full story of the emergency.
It seems the squid arrived in the system without warning and immediately attacked the dilithium extraction operation and the community itself. Numerous people were killed and injured in the first few minutes, and although some were able to get to weapons, they had little effect on the attackers. Buildings, including the main power generator, were demolished rapidly. Administrator Nurn was able to get off a distress call and order an evacuation to the shelter, before he has killed.
The shelter, which was also the main dilithium mine, possessed a pair of phaser ground emplacements for defence from raiders, but the squid targetted these early in the raid, breaking their powerlines. The survivors were able to get to safety in the shelter but were unable to escape.
Russell wants Lexington to destroy the creatures, but Naruhita believes they are a rare, possibly intelligent, species and should be preserved. The scientist points to their attack on the phaser turrets as an example of their intelligence. Pryce lets them argue, deciding that he needs more information before he can make any decisions or recommenations.
Noting that the squid seem to be coordinated, Strauss begins researching how they might do this. He starts scanning for subspace radio signals and, noting a large number of such signals across the area, analyses them for common patterns.
Adred proposes luring the squid away with a small sample of dilithiun, and suggests it might be possible to capture one in a suitably large “cage”. An alternative would be to dissect a dead example, if they can find one. Pryce orders preparations for both plans, the creation of a suitable cage, and bringing a bioscience team down from Lexington.
Midax assesses the injured for transport, before she and Adred return 4 of the worst cases to the ship. Once there, she takes the casualties to sickbay, and directs Dr Scheider to return with Adred. The pilot, meanwhile, is supervising the loading of a number of duranium panels onto the heavy shuttle, Mammoth. These comprise the newly-constructed cage for Adred’s capture plan. A small bioscience team with accompanying security also assembles to study the squid.
A’Mathi sets out to repair the ground defence phaser turrets. He determines that the power cables were vulnerable due to being too close the surface and unarmoured, and buries the new cables under a layer of duracrete.
Adred drops the science team off at a suitable corpse, then lays a trail away to a good location to leave the cage as a trap. As he does so, large numbers of the squid in the area begin to wake up, and fly towards both him and the shelter.
“Gently” encouraged by the captain, Strauss begins to figure out the basics of the squid’s communication system. It seems quite basic, dealing in broad concepts like emotions and danger, and he is able to figure out how to send a danger signal. He broadcasts this signal along with one indicating the shelter, and the approaching squid begin to retreat.
Lexington reports that the squid hive ship is arriving in orbit. Pryce is kept updated as several larger creatures exit the structure, one of which is the size of a long-range shuttle, and descend towards the location of the shelter. At the same time, the squid begin to resist Strauss’s warning signal. Naruhita surmises that this is their “queen”, in much the same sense as the queen of an eusocial species like ants. He believes “she” is the source of the command signals controlling the individuals already present. Her companions may be some kind of bodyguard escort.
The science team is forced to retreat into a nearby rock cleft, when several other squid show up. They are a little surprised when they appear to start feeding on the body – A’Mathi concludes that they are recovering partially-processed dilithium from its digestive system.
A’Mathi is able to fix one turret, but is still working in the open when the queen and her escort appear overhead.
Directing A’Mathi and those with weapons to stand ready, Pryce opens the hangar door and steps out to attempt to communicate. Strauss assists by broadcasting a no-danger signal. Haltingly, as Strauss desperately tries to communicate specifics in a language of concepts, Pryce begins negotiating with the queen, explaining that the colonists are not hostile and are willing to share the dilithium. The queen for her part, wishes to ensure the survival of her people.
Eventually, they arrange a deal; half the planet for the squid, and half for the humans. Despite Russell’s protests, they also agree that the humans will uncover deeper sources of dilithium for the squid.
The ‘B’ Plot: Nossaag’s attempt to uncover the secrets of the colony come to an abrupt end as he is diverted on to protection duty as A’Mathi works on the phaser turrets.
Observations: The squid are relatively unintelligent, but led by a much more intelligent queen. She controls them by subspace signals, which convey general concepts.
Lexington’s shuttlecraft number 4 is a heavy model, named Mammoth. It can be reconfigured for medical, cargo and passenger operations.