Episode Number: 1×08
Written by: Ian Lemke
Directed by: Jon Crew
Transmission: 2nd July 2022
- High Curate Meheron: Leader of the Covenant Curate.
- Balaq: Rebellious member of the Covenant Functionary.
- Lieutenant Garren Harrid: Centauran xenoanthropologist.
- Lieutenant T’rhyn: Vulcan astrophysicist.
- Dr Hans Schneider: Human medical officer.
- Crewmen Haverty and Sh’vaohran: Human and Andorian security personnel.
The Lexington received orders from Commodore Stoker to proceed to the fifth planet of the 51 Pegasi system based on some of the data we recovered from Bacchus IV. Upon arrival, we located a massive structure in the southern hemisphere. The structure is built into an existing mountain, and we have not been able to locate an entrance from orbit. Our science officer has detected an unusual energy source deep underground, but the geology of the mountain is interfering with our sensors. Solving this mystery is going to require beaming down to the surface to take a closer look.
I’m beaming down with a survey team to see if we can find an entrance into the structure. With any luck, we discover the purpose of these ancient structures and maybe learn about the people who created them.Captain’s Log: Stardate, 5632.4
Plot: While exploring ancient ruins on a desert world, Lexington’s landing party is transported to a distant space station, apparently located outside the galaxy, where the residents welcome them as emissaries of the gods…
The ‘A’ Plot: As the episode opens, Pryce is leading a large landing party exploring the ruins of an ancient city on the surface of 51 Pegasi V. Accompanying the captain are A’Mathi, Nossaag, Strauss, Dr Schneider, Lts T’rhyn and Harrid, plus several science and security personnel. While this is primarily an archaeological survey, Pryce is also interested in the presence of a large subterranean structure, with a powerful energy source.
One of the science specialists shouts that they have locate an entryway hidden in a ravine, but Pryce’s attention is suddenly distracted as Lt Harrid is attacked by an armoured creature erupting from the ground. As more of the creatures emerge from their burrows, a fierce battle breaks out as the security guards attempt to prevent them getting at the others. Schneider is injured, but quickly gets to safety, where he is able to apply first aid. Some inspired shooting by A’Mathi and Nossaag succeeds in stunning some of the creatures long enough for the rest of the team to get to the entry, although Nossaag damages his phaser in the process.
The creatures, a kind of armour-plated slug, follow them into the tunnel beyond the entryway, and a chase ensues as the landing party scrambles down a steep staircase, the security team continuing to fend off attacks. At the bottom of the stairs, they arrive in a large octagonal chamber, decorated with the same kind of illuminated runes and symbols they saw on Bacchus IV. The creatures seem reluctant to enter, and as the landing party comes to a halt, they find themselves held by a mysterious force.
Moments later, the room vanishes as they are transported to another location entirely…
They materialise in a large room, much like the one they left, but this one is dominated by a large window with a view out on to what appears to be a galaxy. Lt T’rhyn, an astrophysicist by specialty, is able to confirm that this is the Milky Way – and that they must be at least 200,000 light years from home. As they stare at the sight, a door opens and a hooded figure approaches.
She welcomes them to the Habitation, and introduces herself as High Curate Meheron of the Covenant, the people running the Habitation on behalf of the Gods. She asks if they are the Messengers of the Gods, come to bring them home. This puts the captain in a bit of a quandary: saying yes would put them on a good standing with these people, but would definitely be a violation of the Prime Directive. He refuses to answer one way or the other for the moment.
Still smiling, Meheron announces that a reception has been prepared for them, and waving off their questions, escorts them out of the room. As they leave, the lights flicker and dim noticeably. There are many more of the locals waiting for them at the reception, where the visitors are the guests of honour. Food and entertainment is provided, but Meheron continues to refuse to answer the party’s questions, although she keeps asking if they are the Messengers of the Gods.
T’rhyn notices that the view of the galaxy, also presented in this room, is actually a projection. She figures out how to control the display, zooming in to a closeup of Earth, which appears to be instantaneous and realtime, as they watch starships departing Spacedock. The technology appears to be highly advanced.
Mingling among the other attendees, they learn more about the society of the Covenant and the roles played by its castes. They also learn of their beliefs, especially about the aquatic paradise of their homeworld and the Gods who brought them there to perform a great task. Talking to a Functionary named Balaq proves informative; a skeptic, she indicates that despite having long forgotten the nature of the task, they still believe that the Gods will return them to their home if they have performed it well. The Curate maintain their power on the strength of this promise, and Meheron will not be happy if the visitors are not the Messengers. She also tells them that the Functionary have no idea what most of the buttons and levers they operate actually do, but she has learnt enough to know that the core that powers the Habitation is failing. Everyone will die if it is allowed to do so.
When Pryce tries to get some leeway out of being the “Scouts of the Messengers”, Meheron is not impressed and orders them taken to their quarters to “rest”. They are not surprised to be locked into the suite by a force field and immediately begin planning an escape.
After Meheron visits to again ask if they are truly the Messengers, Balaq visits and helps fill in a few gaps. She reiterates the danger of the power core failing, and is convinced they would be able to fix it. She tells them where the power core is and that, thanks to her grandfather, she knows how to get there. She also warns of the dangers of that portion of the Habitation, including the mysterious Apostate, ancient enemies of the Covenant. Pryce agrees that since their arrival seems to have accelerated the decline, they should attempt to help.
A’Mathi’s initial plan to hack the control panel on the wall opposite with a tricorder turns out to be impractical, but he realises it only covers the door and that they still have their phasers. Setting his phaser to high-power, he begins to blast a hole in the wall. This attracts the attention of the guards, and one switches off the force field, allowing the other to enter, gun drawn. Nossaag fires first, but his phaser just sparks, before he becomes aware of a rising tone – the phaser is overloading! He throws it into the corridor and the resulting blast destroys the control panel and knocks out the guards.
Escaping, they again encounter Balaq, who shows them to the tunnels to the power core and distracts the guards, so they can enter. The trek takes several hours and involves negotiating several obstacles, including rickety bridges, a broken ladder (which nearly kills Schneider) and a broken pipe venting steam, which nearly scalds Nossaag.
Eventually, they arrive at a large chamber that appears to contain the power core. A’Mathi is unable to recognise what the power source is, but he can see where a number of jury-rigged repairs are failing.
Pryce notices misshapen figures lurking behind the machinery and tries to attract their attention. Two hunched humanoids emerge, armed but apparently mute, as they only appear to communicate by gestures. He manages to convince them that the landing party is friendly and that they can help repair the systems. After some discussion, the Apostate agree, and A’Mathi leads a team working on fixing the system, a project that will take several hours.
The ‘B’ Plot: Becoming suspicious of Commodore Stoker’s motives, Pryce asks A’Mathi if he can recover the Bacchus IV data, which was deleted at her request. Unfortunately, the engineer has to admit he was too good at his job. Nossaag later confidentially informs Pryce that he has backup copies of the data and logs.
Observations: The Habitation is a structure built in to an asteroid in a system 300,000 light years from the edge of the Milky Way galaxy.
The Covenant are tall pale humanoids from an aquatic world, brought to the Habitation centuries ago. They are divided into three castes: the Curate, the priesthood that controls the society; the Functionary, who perform the ritual actions that operate the Habitation; and the Blessed, who do everything else. The Apostate are descendants of the Covenant, mutated by their proximity to the power core.