Episode Number: 1×06
Written by: Shawn Merwin
Directed by: Jon Crew
Transmission: 4th June 2022
- Commodore Banna Stoker: Starfleet troubleshooter with a murky past.
- Captain Parahk: Commander of the IKS Ya’leth.
- Sergeant K’Tah: Leader of the Klingon landing party.
- Largh, Keth: Klingon warriors.
- Lieutenant Janna Frye, Ensign Kamila Chara: The shuttlecraft thieves.
- Bareen, Senator Xeton, Kaj, Mehr, D’lok, Brutog: Victims of the alien influence.
- Lieutenant, junior grade Patrick O’Keefe: Lexington’s psychology officer and amateur parasychologist.
We will arrive at the Bacchus system within the hour. Starfleet Command has ordered us there for three reasons. First, we are to track down two Starfleet officers who stole a shuttle and were last detected heading in this direction. No one is sure why they did it, but two people were killed, and so they must answer for their crimes. Next, reports from passing ships and nearby outposts speak of signs that a Klingon bird-of-prey has violated the Neutral Zone and is heading toward the Bacchus system. We are to investigate to see if there is any truth to these reports. Finally, strange, indecipherable signals have been emanating from the Bacchus system for the past several weeks. The Lexington is to search for the source of these signals and try to determine their meaning, if any.Captain’s Log: Stardate, 5582.2
Plot: Lexington pursues a pair of shuttlecraft thieves to Bacchus IV, where she is trapped by alien technology. When Pryce and some of his crew are abducted to the planet’s surface, an ancient mystery unfolds.
The ‘A’ Plot: Lexington arrives in the Bacchus system, in pursuit of two Starfleet science officers who have stolen a shuttle from Starbase 12. Their mission also includes seeking a Klingon bird-of-prey which has covertly crossed the border, and investigating strong subspace radio signals which have been emitted from this system in recent weeks.
Noting subspace radio activity around Bacchus IV, they head there, but as they drop out of warp, they are struck by a beam of orange energy. The ship crashes to a halt instantly, and power breakers trip in main engineering, causing a loss of power across the vessel. Emergency lights come on, but the main viewer is down, and life support appears to have shut down. The rapid restoration of power is vital.
A’Mathi, currently on the bridge avoiding Lt O’Keefe’s activities, heads for the turbolift, realising just in time that the door will not open without power. He diverts to the hatch just forward of the bridge, leading to the Jefferies tube network. Diving headfirst down the ladder (taking advantage of his Caitian agility), he reaches the main deck and bounds aft, pausing briefly to inspire some panicking crewmen into getting back to work. Once he reaches engineering, he begins restoring power, prioritising life support, bridge services and propulsion.
On the bridge, the returning power triggers a flurry of activity: the ship is not in a stable orbit, so Adred is forced to make some quick adjustments to prevent them hitting the atmosphere. Meanwhile, Strauss is investigating the source of the beam. He realises that it may be possible to moderate the beam’s effects by sending a signal back down to the source. His work results in the viewscreen, currently dominated by a strong orange glow, begin to clear, revealing the planet below, which is criss-crossed by prominent artifical structures, visible even from orbit.
The Captain attempts to start working out a plan of action, but he is interrupted when he is enveloped in an orange light and disappears from the bridge. Adred, A’Mathi and Nossaag also disappear.
They find themselves standing on grassy hill, next to a huge stone building. It towers into the sky and appears to be many kilometers across, and is certainly big enough to be one of the structures they saw from the ship. They look closer and note that it appears to be a single piece of rock – indicative of advanced technology.
Taking stock of their situation, they realise they have no weapons and no means of contacting the ship – they’re on their own for now. Nossaag investigates a herd of local lifeforms but decides they are harmless. Adred points out that another building a few kilometers away appears to be the source of the orange energy beam. They decide to investigate.
As they approach, they find a metal canister about the size of a wardrobe partially buried in the grass. Nossaag recognises Klingon markings and they discover that it is full of emergency supplies, including water, food and a solitary disruptor pistol. Pryce hands it to Nossaag.
Adred hears voices from the far side of this bulding, which is also where the beams seem to be being emitted. Rounding the building they find an oddly disparate group of individuals: two Humans (in Starfleet uniform), two Trill, a Romulan senator, a Vulcan scientist and two Klingon soldiers. They seem to be having a spirited, but quite friendly discussion about something. Pryce walks forward and tries to introduce himself; the Romulan sees him and points him out to the others, then they resume their discussion. Nossaag wanders over to see what they’re discussing, then to everyone’s surprise, joins the debate.
Pryce observes the group as they study and argue over a group of symbols on the wall for a few minutes, then offers his assistance in finding a way in. He takes the opportunity to learn who the individuals are, discovering that all of them had discovered the existence of the planet separately and been drawn to investigate it. The Humans are the science officers that stole the shuttle, although they had no idea someone had died. Adred notes that they seem to be in pairs of the same species (Klingon, Human, Trill, Vulcanoid) and tries to figure out its significance. He and A’Mathi also try throwing rocks at some of the higher symbols but this does not achieve anything.
Pryce manages to persuade several of them that they may be able to find an entrance elsewhere along the wall, and leads them away to do so. As they round the corner, they are surprised by the arrival of another trio of Klingons, officers this time. After an initial confrontation, in which the Klingon leader (Sergeant K’tah) accuses Pryce of being responsible for trapping them, he is able to calm things down and negotiate a truce, promising the Klingons that he will help him locate a pair of Klingon deserters who stole a bird-of-prey and fled in this direction. (This pair are actually the Klingons they’ve already met, although they’re with the group that did not accompany Pryce.)
At this point, the Vulcan Bareen finds a way in, identifying a glyph indicating a door, then placing himself in the light beam that is generated when he touches it. A change comes over the group as a whole, including Nossaag, as they begin fighting to be the first to get through the door this creates. The Romulan, Xeton, is the first in, and sprints down the corridor inside, where she runs straight into a trap that disentegrates her. Bareen nearly follows her into oblivion, but A’Mathi tackles him, saving his life. Nossaag takes a close look at the trap, figuring out how it works, and obscuring the sensor that triggers it. He tests the result himself, and takes a glancing hit from the disintegration beam – he had missed a second sensor.
With the trap now fully disarmed, they enter what appears to be a control room. After several attempts, one of the civilians manages to activate the controls, and holographic displays show images of the whole apparatus being belt, and its capabilities. They also show that the two ships are on the verge of being destroyed.
A’Mathi figures out how to disable the tractor beams, but this triggers a new problem, as an automated voice announces that their medddling has initiated a self-destruct sequence – and that the system will be destroyed. The ancients do, however, provide an escape hatch: a transporter device that will return them to their ships. Adred and the Klingons immediately take advantage, but Nossaag and the civilians do not, so Pryce and A’Mathi are forced to push them into the beam.
Rather to their surprise, they appear on the bridge of the Ya’leth. After an initial confrontation, K’tah explains the situation to Captain Parahk, indicating that the Starfleet officers have proved honourable. Unfortunately, the Klingons are unable to get out of the system: their warp core has become unstable, and their engineer is dead, leaving them unable to fix the problem. Pryce glances at his engineer and immediately volunteers him to fix the problem.
A’Mathi realises there is nothing they can do about the core: it needs to be ejected. Unfortunately, the ejection systems have failed, and further investigation indicates it is a mechanical problem in the clamps themselves. As they can only be accessed from outside the ship, someone will need to spacewalk to do this.
The Klingons have two spacesuits available, so A’Mathi and Adred take them to go out on to the hull. They make their way to the clamps and lever them open, allowing the core to be ejected. With limited time until it explodes, Pryce takes the controls to get the vessel to a safe distance under impulse power, before the spacewalkers can get back inside.
Meanwhile, the machines on Bacchus IV have started to fire huge energy bolts at the other bodies in the system, hinting at the dangers to come. Lexington approaches and takes the Ya’leth under tow, leaving the system at warp before beaming the captain and his companions aboard, along with the civilians from the planet.
Reporting in to Stoker, they are ordered to rendezvous with her ship, the USS Astrad, to report in person. Pryce says that because of damage sustained, this will take around 4 days. After signing off, he offers to tow the bird-of-prey to the Klingon border, where they can call for assistance from their own people, and Parahk grudgingly accepts. As they part ways, he informs Pryce that he considers him a comrade-in-arms.
When they meet with Stoker, she orders them to turn over all records of the mission, then delete their own copies. She also takes custody of the civilians for “further study”, and finally orders them to never speak of the mission to anyone. They obey, but no-one is very happy about it.
The ‘B’ Plot: Lt O’Keefe requests permission to conduct a parapsychological study of Main Engineering. He sets up equipment around the facility overnight, as is traditional, although he fails to take into account that Engineering is almost as busy then as during the day shifts.
The Arc: Another set of ancient ruins that shows some similarities to the artificial world in the Omega Draconis system. There are hints of more to be found in a region beyond the Klingon Empire, although how they would ever get to these is unclear.
It is clear that Commodore Stoker has an agenda, though whether it’s her own or connected in some way to Federation security has yet to be seen.
Observations: IKS Ya’leth is a Cha’par-class bird-of-prey, predecessor to the well-known B’rel-class first seen in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
Commodore Stoker flies her flag from the USS Astrad (NCC-1833). The Astrad is a Callisto-class light cruiser, a predecessor to the Miranda-class.
Lexington has a ghost! Or at least, there are rumours of paranormal activity centered on Main Engineering. There have been disembodied voices reported emanating from the intermix ducts, tools falling from upper levels when no-one is there, and unexplained “presences” in the Jefferies tubes. Speculation from the believes is that this is linked to the loss of life during the M5 incident.
Dialogue: Nossaag, after investigating a flock of sheep-like animals: “Captain, I’ve assessed the situation – they pose no threat.”
Questions: What lies beyond the Klingon Empire? Are the ancients still there?
Why does Stoker want to keep these events secret?