Decision point, Part II

Epis­ode Num­ber: 2×02

Writ­ten by: Ian Lemke

Dir­ec­ted by: Jon Crew

Trans­mis­sion: 22nd Octo­ber 2022

Guest Stars:

  • 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?