Tug of War, Part II

Epis­ode Num­ber: 2×06

Writ­ten by: Aaron Pollyea

Dir­ec­ted by: Jon Crew

Trans­mis­sion: 28th Janu­ary 2023

Guest Stars:

  • Lieu­ten­ant Edward Smith: Xeno­anthro­po­lo­gist on Lex­ing­ton.

Lex­ing­ton is under attack!

We were pre­par­ing to leave the twin worlds of HIP 73513, fol­low­ing the depress­ing con­clu­sion to our explor­a­tion, when we were hit by two power­ful blasts.

With our shields down as we retrieved the last away teams, the dam­age has been devastating…

Cap­tain’s Log: Stard­ate, 48322.1

Plot: Pum­melled by a pair of power­ful tract­or beams, the Lex­ing­ton crew struggle to effect repairs and escape their grip.

The ‘A’ Plot: Alarms blare as the bridge lurches, throw­ing crew mem­bers in all dir­ec­tions, before the lights go out and the emer­gency light­ing comes on. Both Zepht and D’g­hov have minor injur­ies, but Kon­in has every­one get to work restor­ing power to the con­soles, so that they can find out what happened and defend them­selves. Con­cerned that they may need weapons in a hurry, he goes to help D’g­hov at the tac­tic­al con­sole, but she burns her hand on the EPS con­nec­tion, swear­ing in Klin­gon. He wisely backs off.

In the mean­time, Zohir takes the stairs down to main engin­eer­ing to find Selvek and his team work­ing to restore power to essen­tial sys­tems. The chief engin­eer reports that he has dis­covered that Lex­ing­ton’s struc­tur­al integ­rity sys­tem has been com­prom­ised; sev­er­al parts of the sys­tem have failed, and the remainder is draw­ing excess­ive power to hold the ship together.

Zepht restores power to the ops sta­tion and begins scan­ning for their attack­ers. He quickly estab­lishes that there are no hos­tile ves­sels in the sys­tem, and that the Lady Lex is being held by two tract­or beams eman­at­ing from the twin plan­ets, pre­sum­ably parts of the same sys­tems that des­troyed the Us and the Rl’lo­wo Shal. Each beam appears to be try­ing to force the ship into the oth­er plan­et, but they are evenly matched: unfor­tu­nately, she is being crushed as a res­ult. Mean­while, dam­age reports are arriv­ing from across the ship: one of the warp nacelles is badly dam­aged, there are mul­tiple hull breaches, the shields are inop­er­at­ive, and there is no weapons control.

Boone arrives on the bridge and D’g­hov assigns him to coordin­ate the res­cue mis­sions into breached parts of the ship.

Kon­in con­venes a con­fer­ence to dis­cuss the situ­ation. It’s gen­er­ally agreed that they will need to deac­tiv­ate the beam gen­er­at­ors and sev­er­al pro­pos­als are made, involving the use of the sensors, the nav­ig­a­tion­al deflect­ors and the weapons, but Selvek points out that there is not enough power avail­able to achieve the kind of fine con­trol neces­sary. This power is cur­rently required by the struc­tur­al integ­rity sys­tem to res­ist the dam­age being done by the beams. He and Zepht are tasked to pri­or­it­ise repairs to that system.

With the emer­gency repairs com­plete, Boone pro­poses using the nav­ig­a­tion­al deflect­or to manip­u­late the har­mon­ic res­on­ances between the two beams. The res­ult­ing pres­sures would then push the ship into a nat­ur­al zone of destruct­ive inter­fer­ence, redu­cing the pres­sures on and dam­age to the ship. This proves suc­cess­ful, but the ship is unable to leave this zone without sus­tain­ing more dam­age, or worse, being grabbed by one of the beams and slammed into the oth­er planet.

Zepht points out that the pin­point accur­acy required to des­troy the emit­ters from space is not really pos­sible with the ship in its cur­rent con­di­tion and sug­gests that the emit­ters should be dis­abled by teams on the ground. Selvek notes that this will requite pre­cise tim­ing: if one is shut down before the oth­er, even by a frac­tion of a second, then the inter­fer­ence pat­tern will dis­sip­ate, allow­ing the ship to be grabbed and, with only one beam act­ive, used as ammunition.

Kon­in sends two land­ing parties out by shuttle: Quinn and Zepht take one to Rl’lo­wo, while Boone and Selvek travel to Five Turns in the oth­er. They quickly loc­ate the tar­get emit­ters in moun­tain­ous regions on each world.

Boone finds him­self pilot­ing through a thick cloud lay­er, and inad­vert­antly trig­gers a son­ic boom as he nar­rowly misses a moun­tain peak. He lands the shuttle on an ancient land­ing plat­form, where he and Selvek are briefly hal­ted by a locked door. Using phasers to cut their way in, they find­ing the remains of a num­ber of both Rl’lo­wo Shal and Us, who appar­ently died in battle. They loc­ate a con­trol room and find the emit­ter con­sole embed­ded with­in a block of ice, for­cing them to thaw it out. Quin­n’s arrival, mean­while, is near per­fect; he and Zepht are able to just walk into the loc­al con­trol sta­tion, but then have to wait for the sig­nal from Five Turns to actu­ally shut it down.

They coordin­ate the shut­down per­fectly, then both teams des­troy the power source for their emit­ter. Unfor­tu­nately, the sta­tion on Five Turns is then bur­ied under an ava­lanche triggered by the earli­er shock­wave. Although Boone and Selvek are able to get out, they dis­cov­er that the shuttle has been swept off the plat­form and down the moun­tain­side. They have to wait for Quinn to pick them up, although he stops to recov­er their the lost shuttle first, refus­ing to lose a second one in the space of six hours…

The tri­umphant teams return to the newly-freed Lex­ing­ton, but the ship then has to wait for a tug to help them make the igno­mini­ous trip home for repairs.

The ‘B’ Plot: Lt Cdr Quinn is pilot­ing the last Type‑6 shuttle­craft car­ry­ing xenoar­chae­olo­gists back from Rl’lo­wo, his pas­sen­gers excitedly com­par­ing notes and spec­u­la­tions. As he approaches Lex­ing­ton’s land­ing bay, the star­ship sud­denly lurches up and side­ways, for­cing him to react quickly to avoid col­lid­ing with the hull. Unfor­tu­nately, he is not quite suc­cess­ful and he loses a nacelle against the edge of the bay door. The shuttle careers across the deck at speed, and with the power out, the restrain­ing field fails to activ­ate, allow­ing the small craft to slam into the inner safety door.

A minute or so later, Quinn comes back to con­scious­ness and real­ises his pre­dic­a­ment, stran­ded in a small con­tain­er in a large space open to vacu­um, with the power sus­tain­ing life sup­port fail­ing. Some of the pas­sen­gers are injured, all are begin­ning to pan­ic. Hear­ing a high-pitched whistle, he begins a search for a pos­sible air leak, suc­cess­fully find­ing and seal­ing it.

Mean­while, Boone is in the land­ing bay con­trol gal­lery, super­vising the away team recov­ery pro­cess. When the beams hit, he is thrown off his feet along with the traffic con­trol team, and everything goes dark. As the emer­gency power comes online, he takes charge, organ­ising dam­age checks and look­ing for the emer­gency evac­u­ation equip­ment. Find­ing it, he dons an EVA suit and heads out into the bay, drag­ging a bundle of empty EVA suits and evac­u­ation balls. On the shuttle, there is enough power to main­tain an an air-retain­ing force field, so Boone is able to enter and assist the injured into pro­tect­ive equip­ment for evacuation.

On their return to the ship prop­er, Quinn and his team head to sick­bay, while Boone climbs the stairs to the bridge to report to his depart­ment head.

Obser­va­tions: The conn officer Lieu­ten­ant Com­mand­er Peter Quinn is finally intro­duced, although he’s been lurk­ing at his con­sole for a few epis­odes. He’s a bit of a hot-shot pilot, although even he can­’t react fast enough to avoid crash­ing his shuttle when Lex­ing­ton is hit by the tract­or beams.

Star­fleet emer­gency evac­u­ation sys­tems include inflat­able balls about a meter across, act­ing as a simple air­tight life­boat for a single individual.

Dia­logue: SLt D’g­hov burns her hand on the tac­tic­al con­sole: “Untrans­late­able! Untrans­late­able Untrans­late­able of Untrans­late­able!” (The uni­ver­sal trans­lat­or appears to have the fam­ily fil­ter turned on.)