We Came Forth to Contemplate the Stars, Part I

Epis­ode Num­ber: 1×08

Writ­ten by: Ian Lemke

Dir­ec­ted by: Jon Crew

Trans­mis­sion: 2nd July 2022

Guest Stars:

  • 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.