Epis­ode Num­ber: 2×07

Writ­ten by: Ian Lemke

Dir­ec­ted by: Jon Crew

Trans­mis­sion: 11th Feb­ru­ary 2023

Guest Stars:

  • Sub-Com­mand­er Rath­ar: Lead­er of the Romu­lan land­ing party.
  • Sub-Uhlans Bar­rath and Rajoth: Romu­lan soldiers.
  • Ero Dral­len: Lead­er of the out­cast settlement.
  • Com­mand­er Kridahl: Exec­ut­ive officer of the IKS Mup­wI’.

I hate being stuck in port! 

It’s been nearly four weeks since we dis­covered the rem­nants of the Rl’lo­wo and the Us… and only just sur­vived their dooms­day weapons. Lex­ing­ton is still laid up in dry­dock and Lt Selvek tells me that repairs are pro­gress­ing well, but the dam­age to the super­struc­ture was so severe that large parts of her frame­work are being replaced. It’s remark­ably pain­ful to see a ves­sel I’ve only known for two months gut­ted like a Klin­gon targ…

Admir­al Hebert has reques­ted that I assign some of my crew to loc­ate a run­about which has gone miss­ing in the Carina Neb­ula, deep with­in the Expanse. The Susque­hanna was invest­ig­at­ing an unusu­al ali­en sig­nal ori­gin­at­ing from the neb­ula when all con­tact was lost. Orders are to enter the neb­ula, find the run­about, and determ­ine the ori­gin and cause of the ali­en sig­nal. I’ve assigned Zepht, Con­ners and Quinn to the mis­sion, aboard the Zam­bezi. It should be an inter­est­ing test of Quin­n’s com­mand cap­ab­il­it­ies as the rank­ing line officer, although Chief Boone will be along to advise and provide secur­ity, and the doc­tor will of course have mis­sion over­sight. They’ll be tak­ing a small group of med­ic­al and secur­ity staff with them.

Wor­ry­ingly, Intel­li­gence has advised that Romu­lan and Fer­engi ships have been sighted in the region, so the team should exer­cise cau­tion since they likely detec­ted the ali­en sig­nal as well. Neither Bellero­phon nor Thun­der­child were avail­able for this mis­sion, but it’s rumoured that Mup­wI’ is in the area: hope­fully Cap­tain Akul will be will­ing to assist if they get into trouble…

Cap­tain’s Log: Stard­ate, 48390.1

Plot: A search and recov­ery oper­a­tion in the Carina Neb­ula reveals an unex­pec­ted cache of ancient technology.

The ‘A’ Plot: The Zam­bezi arrives in the Carina Neb­ula and begins her search. Scans for the miss­ing run­about are unable to detect any trace, but they do pick up the sub­space sig­nal the Susque­hanna was invest­ig­at­ing. The crew decide this would be as good a place to start as any. They trace it to Seku VI, a bar­ren class‑M world, where their scans pick up track­ing sig­nals from two com­badges, but no sign of a run­about, wrecked or oth­er­wise. The uniden­ti­fied sig­nal appears to be eman­at­ing from a moun­tain range nearby.

Since the Zam­bez­i’s sensors are quite lim­ited, Quinn opts to land near the moun­tains, but as they enter the atmo­sphere, the run­about is caught in an unex­pec­ted field of ion­ised air, and the vivid dis­charge across the hull over­loads the phaser banks. Quinn man­ages to regain con­trol as they des­cend below the ion­isa­tion lay­er, and heads towards the signal.

Zepht, sit­ting at the oper­a­tions sta­tion, spots anoth­er vehicle head­ing towards them, identi­fy­ing it as a Romu­lan Char­on-class warpshuttle. Attempts to con­tact its pilot fail, and then they are rocked by a near miss from a dis­ruptor blast. With their primary weapons out of action, it would be fool­ish to stand and fight, so they flee towards the moun­tains, Quinn intend­ing to turn the tables on them there. Zepht and Boone work on mak­ing them harder to tar­get, vent­ing warp plasma to cre­ate a cloud of charged gas that should hide them from sensors. This seems to work, as the Romu­lans race right past them, when sud­denly, both craft are hit by a power­ful energy beam from the surface.

The Zam­bezi loses all engine power, but Quinn is able to bring her in for a pass­able land­ing, while the Romu­lan craft goes down nearby, its land­ing marked by a nasty-look­ing explo­sion. They clam­ber out and inspect the run­about for dam­age: she’s com­pletely intact but for the dilith­i­um crys­tal cracked by the beam, so they’re stuck on the plan­et for now.

Using tri­cord­ers to scan the region, it seems the com­badge sig­nals are quite close by. Tak­ing the med­ic­al team, and leav­ing the secur­ity per­son­nel to look after the run­about, they head in that dir­ec­tion. Sadly, they find the remains of two Star­fleet officers, par­tially merged into the side of a rock out­crop, obvi­ously the res­ult of a trans­port­er accident.

They now head on to the ori­gin of the sub­space sig­nal, in the hopes of find­ing some­thing that might help them get home. Quinn suf­fers a minor injury as they climb a cliff in their path, then Boone spots two Romu­lan sol­diers head­ing in their dir­ec­tion. Dis­reg­ard­ing his col­leagues’ doubts, Quinn attempts to nego­ti­ate with them. They react by demand­ing his sur­render, so intend­ing to use this as the basis for nego­ti­ation, he agrees, still try­ing to talk to them. When they won’t respond to his requests, he asks Boone to shoot at the ground at their feet as a show of strength. This leads to an armed stan­doff, while Quinn con­tin­ues to try to get them to nego­ti­ate. Even­tu­ally, Zepht and Boone decide the Romu­lans are not going to back down and open fire without orders, stun­ning both of them. The Romu­lans still refuse to nego­ti­ate once they recov­er, so Quinn has them tied up and brought along for the trip.

They arrive at a ridge over­look­ing a make­shift set­tle­ment com­posed of pre­fab­ric­ated build­ings, mine entrances and a land­ing pad with two aging shuttle­craft, all covered in sensor-block­ing cam­ou­flage sheets. Greet­ing them with a phaser blast at their feet, a hid­den shoot­er warns them to drop their weapons and enter the com­munity peace­fully. They are quickly brought before the lead­er, a Bajor­an named Ero Dral­len, who asks them why he should­n’t just take their equip­ment and turn them out into the desert. Quinn responds by offer­ing them Star­fleet med­ic­al assist­ance and oth­er tech­no­logy, but Ero turns that down: they came here to get away from Star­fleet and its tech­no­lo­gic­al uto­pia. The colony is try­ing to become self-suf­fi­cient, trad­ing the world’s min­er­al wealth for needed supplies.

When Quinn explains why the Zam­bezi crew is there, the Bajor­an is more inter­ested: while they haven’t seen any­thing of the Susque­hanna or her crew, they do know where the sig­nal is com­ing from. And that it’s linked to the energy beam that brought down the Zam­bezi, and had already groun­ded their own shuttles. He tells them of an arti­fi­cial cham­ber deep under­ground, where they found ancient devices, and acci­dent­ally triggered both effects, but had no idea how how to stop them. Quinn seizes the oppor­tun­ity, offer­ing to try to deac­tiv­ate the device in return for some dilith­i­um. Ero agrees.

Des­cend­ing deep into the mines, they are taken to a five-sided cham­ber, con­tain­ing con­soles covered in unknown sym­bols, and a float­ing obelisk about 3 metres high, dec­or­ated with lines of blue light. Tri­cord­er scans show an energy field of an unknown nature sur­round­ing it and con­nect­ing it to a power­ful energy source below the room. Boone real­ises that this sight matches descrip­tions he’s seen in the clas­si­fied logs of the 23rd cen­tury U.S.S. Lex­ing­ton. Zepht looks over the con­sole and, with Boone’s assist­ance, quickly fig­ures out how to shut it down.

Unfor­tu­nately, moments later, an omin­ous hum betrays the begin­ning of a dan­ger­ous energy build-up. They real­ise that the energy source below the room is over­load­ing, and that they have about 6 minutes until it explodes. They con­sider flee­ing, but Boone points out that there are inno­cent civil­ians above who may get caught in the blast. Zepht goes back to work, this time try­ing to stop the over­load with the assist­ance of Quinn. Boone helps inter­pret the con­trol pan­els, but is then dis­trac­ted by the sound of boots hur­ry­ing towards the cham­ber. Look­ing out, he sees half-a-dozen Romu­lans, led by a sub-com­mand­er. Rather than start a fire­fight, Boone chooses to warn them of the immin­ent explo­sion. Believ­ing him, the Romu­lans choose to with­draw. Soon after, Zepht suc­ceeds in ter­min­at­ing the over­load, with about a minute to spare.

Return­ing to the sur­face, they find that they were suc­cess­ful in end­ing the sig­nal. Ero is pleased and hands over a dilith­i­um crys­tal as they agreed. Head­ing back to the Zam­bezi, with their Romu­lan pris­on­ers in tow, the away team is ambushed by a large group of Romu­lan sol­diers, led by Sub-Com­mand­er Rath­ar. Again Quinn tries to nego­ti­ate, play­ing on the idea that both groups are stran­ded without a means of escape, but Rath­ar claims he has a work­ing ship. He wants the data they obtained in the under­ground cham­ber, and he intends to take them pris­on­er to get it.

Frus­trated by the nego­ti­ations, Rath­ar orders the exe­cu­tion of one of the med­ic­al techs, but is inter­rup­ted by a near-miss from a dis­ruptor blast. The Romu­lan troops imme­di­ately go on the defens­ive as a num­ber of Klin­gon war­ri­ors appear around them. Com­mand­er Kridahl makes him­self known, ask­ing if Quin­n’s team need assist­ance. As his crew dis­arms the Romu­lans, he informs the land­ing party that the Mup­wI’ had found a dis­abled run­about nearby, her crew on the verge of death. Would Star­fleet like them back?

Her warp power restored, the Zam­bezi heads back towards Nar­en­dra Sta­tion, with the Susque­hanna under tow and her sur­viv­ing crew under the care of her med­ic­al team.

The Arc: Anoth­er appear­ance of the tech­no­logy of the unknown civil­isa­tion, this time in the form of a float­ing obelisk of mys­ter­i­ous pur­pose deep under­ground. Once again, its dis­cov­ery seems to trig­ger its destruc­tion, although this time they are able to thwart the pro­cess. It seems Chief Boone has access to highly-clas­si­fied inform­a­tion, and has been briefed on some of the records from the ori­gin­al Lex­ing­ton.

Obser­va­tions: U.S.S. Susque­hanna (NCC-72458) and U.S.S. Zam­bezi (NCC-72464) are Danube-class run­abouts, both based at Nar­en­dra Station.

The Romu­lans arrive on a Char­on-class warpshuttle, an armed ves­sel roughly equi­val­ent to the Danube, although it has a cloak­ing device.

Com­mand­er Kridahl is exec­ut­ive officer on the I.K.S. Mup­wI’, a Klin­gon cruis­er that has been men­tioned a couple of times, but still has not been seen. She has been assigned to Nar­en­dra Sta­tion as the Klin­gon con­tri­bu­tion to Vice Admir­al Heber­t’s oper­a­tion, under Cap­tain Akul.

The Seku VI com­munity is made up of a mix of Humans, Ori­ons, Romu­lans and some oth­er races, look­ing for a life out­side any of the big gov­ern­ments. They’re min­ing a vari­ety of use­ful min­er­als and trad­ing it for sup­plies. They’ve been stran­ded for the last month though, due to the ali­en defence system.

Ref­er­ences: The remains of the unfor­tu­nate Susque­hanna crew­men are found under a famil­i­ar-look­ing rock out­crop.

Ques­tions: What was the pur­pose of the tech­no­logy cache? And was Rath­ar’s star­ship real?