Episode Number: 2×02
Written by: Ian Lemke
Directed by: Jon Crew
Transmission: 22nd October 2022
- Dr Emmet Sherman: Astrophysicist and leader of the missing science team.
- Dr Norma Grange: Physicist in the missing science team.
- Dr Orimu Faz: Joined Trill chemist and xenobiologist in the science team.
- Dr Scia Lort: Biologist in the science team.
- Chief Minister Toorel: Head of the Lormean government.
- Captain Theema: Leader of the Lormean law enforcement detachment.
- Vice Admiral Hebert: Head of Starfleet operations in the Shackleton Expanse and commander of the 10th Fleet.
- General Kargan: Commander of Starbase 312 and Klingon operations.
- Lieutenant Commander Okundu: Starbase 312’s Judge Advocate.
- Commander Murphy: Hebert’s adjutant.
Our mission to rescue the crew of the Tesla, was complicated by the fact that they had already been rescued by the pre-warp inhabitants of Orgun II. Rather than a covert recovery operation, we’re faced with first contact and a potential Prime Directive violation, especially since the scientists making up the crew have already volunteered Starfleet to help rescue the locals from the impending break-up of their planet. Meanwhile, there’s something about the subterranean power source north of the city that’s triggering a memory from one of my previous hosts.Captain’s Log: Stardate, 48127.5
Plot: Lexington has found the missing vessel, but her crew are actively helping a pre-warp society avoid a cataclysm. The Prime Directive may not apply to civilians, but it does put a Starfleet crew in an awkward position.
The ‘A’ Plot: As the quake subsides, Dr Conners rushes over to attend to Zepht’s injury. Looking out from the broken amber window, it is clear that the tremor has demolished several of the Lormeans’ tree-buildings, and cries of pain can be heard from the other side of the door. D’ghov goes out to do what she can to help extract those trapped in the rubble.
About an hour later, recovery operations are well underway and Zepht is sufficiently well to contact the ship. They are informed that sensors have pinpointed the exact location of the exotic energy source, deep beneath a low range of hills north of the city, and are asked to investigate, as there was a peak in energy production shortly before the quake occurred.
They ask the Lormeans if there is anything of religious or cultural significance in the region, wondering if there might be some kind of sacred ancestral site, but their hosts seem somewhat confused at the concept. It becomes clear that their religion emphasises their connection to the natural world around them, rather than ties to significant locations, but eventually they learn that there are no ruins of any sort in that area.
Explaining their suspicions, the landing party organises an expedition with the willing help of the Lormean authorities, who provide a skimmer. Captain Theema joins them, bringing one of her troopers, who is familiar with the area. Flying out across the vast forest, they soon spot the range of forestedhills above the energy source.
Landing, they quickly identify a cave entrance, with Zepht’s tricorder readings indicating that it connects to large caverns hundred of metres down, and possibly beyond. Gathering up suitable equipment, they enter and begin the descent. The caves turn out to be quite dangerous, beyond the usual tight passageways, low ceilings and uneven floors. D’ghov takes the lead, and is able to pick up signs of an unstable tunnel before it collapses on them, finding an alternative route. Later, they find their way blocked by an fissure in the rock, requiring teamwotk to negotiate.
About a thousand metres down, they clamber over a pile of rubble into what is certainly an artificial tunnel, which looks like it was carved by something akin to a phaser. While it is blocked in one direction, it continues for several hundred metres in the other, ending in what appear to be a pair of metal doors. While D’ghov is studying it, Zepht walks past her, looking for a switch, and it simply opens, revealing a small square chamber. D’ghov walks in without hesitation and checks it for weapons and other dangers. When nothing happens, the others join her, which appears to trigger the closing of the door. Moments later it opens again, revealing a large chamber full of machinery. Zepht’s tricorder indicates they’ve descended over 4 km in a matter of seconds, without any sense of movement.
In orbit, worried by a lack of contact, Adred has a probe sent to the cave entrance, in the hopes of re-establishing communication. Once it has descended far enough, Zepht is able to relay images of the machinery they have discovered, allowing the captain to confirmthat this matches what he’s seen before.
The machinery is obviously broken, with visible damage, leaking pipes and the occasional sparking connection. Data screens intermittently flash as they relay incomprehensible text and numbers, presumably about the state of the system. Tricorder scans indicate that the damage appears to be causing the quakes and other disasters experienced by the Lormeans.
Assessing the damage and the apparent purpose of the machines, Zepht comes to the conclusion that if they can fix it, they might be able to save the planet. Given the number of lives involved, Adred gives him the approval.
The away team goes to work, attempting to decipher the computer terminals, then use them to guide the repairs. It becomes clear that a full repair is not practical at this time, as it would take longer to fully understand the system that they have, but ultimately they are able to extend its functioning by a few months, reducing the ongoing damage to the planet. At one point during the process, Theema’s assistant is injured by a falling rock; D’ghov exerts considerable effort in freeing him, earning the gratitude of the smaller being.
Once they return to the capital, Chief Minister Toorel expresses his gratitude for their actions in ensuring that they have more time to evacuate, but officially requests that they consider offering more help to the process, as they still have no way to evacuate the entire population. The captain takes this into consideration, and agrees to put in a request to Vice Admiral Hebert. The scientists insist on staying to help the locals, but they do agree to the recovery of their shipwreck.
Back at Narendra Station, Hebert convenes an impromptu hearing to decide whether there has been a violation of the Prime Directive, the captain having to defend his decision. The landing party, including Sub-Lieutenant D’ghov attend, and the hearing is overseen by Hebert, General Kargan and Lt Commander Okundu, the station’s Judge Advocate. After some representations by the crew, during which an obviously inebriated Kargan falls asleep, Hebert decides that the situation is sufficiently borderline that she will only issue a reprimand. Furthermore, she authorises Starfleet assistance for the evacuation, including the dispatch of a team from the Starfleet Corps of Engineers, on the basis that the relocation to Orgun II is temporary, pending the location of a new homeworld for the Lormeans.
Following the hearing, Adred requests a private meeting with Hebert, and reveals that he knows about previous appearances of this technology from a previous host, mentioning the original USS Lexington. The admiral is confused: apparently she has no idea what he is talking about.
The Arc: The mysterious machinery is back! Presumably it’s connected to the artefacts discovered in the first season, but how and what is its purpose?
Observations: The Lormeans do not have an organised religion with a mythology in the usual sense. Instead, they view the ecosystem as their mother, with spirituality being a simple part of life for individual Lormeans.
It seems that D’ghov has a low opinion of Starfleet’s priorities, judging from her comments at the hearing.
Questions: How did Adred and his colleagues get to safety after the original Lexington’s destruction?