Episode Number: 2×07
Written by: Ian Lemke
Directed by: Jon Crew
Transmission: 11th February 2023
- 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?