Episode Number: 3×01
Written by: Scott Pearson
Directed by: Jon Crew
Transmission: 17th June 2023
- Ash’tamalia: Leader of the Tilikaal “Displaced”
- Captain Lord Cochrane: Commanding officer of H.M.S. Speedy of the Royal Navy
- Captain Lojeea Konin: The first Betazoid captain in Starfleet and Atani Konin’s mother-in-law
- Lieutenant Albert Durand: Lexington’s senior cosmologist
We have responded to a request for help from the mysterious Ash’tamalia and followed them into what the science team tell me is a pocket dimension. It is… odd – nothing on sensors makes sense, and crew members are reporting all kinds of odd events.
Somewhere out there are the Tilikaal, who we’ve promised to help, and hopefully, the way home.Captain’s Log: Stardate, 48966.9
Plot: Stranded in a strange void, Lexington’s crew attempts to discover more about the mysterious Tilikaal while finding a way home.
The ‘A’ Plot: With the planetary system collapsing around her, Lexington is pulled forward into the vortex by what appears to be a giant, spectral hand. For those on the ship, time seems to pause, as a wormhole opens before them, then they feel “stretched” as they are sucked into it. The hand vanishes, and after another pause, the ship tumbles to a stop in a blue-grey void dotted with bright star-like objects.
Alarms immediately go off around the ship, as various automated systems begin reporting damage across the vessel. The damage control teams, already busy carrying out repairs required by the vast amount of energy channeled through the ship before the transition, find themselves stretched thin as they try to keep up. Azonan begins redirecting engineering teams to repair duties.
On the bridge, Konin finds himself barraged by telepathic signals, although it feels more like the babble of a large crowd than anyone trying to talk to him. In engineering, Selvek is similarly stricken and heads for sickbay to get help. Quinn, having been thrown from his seat during the transition, also takes a turbolift to get medical assistance.
The duty operations officer is trying to get sensor data about their surroundings but is finding the equipment to be unhelpful. Even the exact locations of the “stars” are difficult to calculate: the locations appear to be constantly changing, although no movement is actually detected. Attempts to move closer to the “stars” using the ship’s engines are unsuccessful: neither impulse nor warp drives are functioning. Azonan believes this is because there is something different about the structure of subspace here, and they have nothing to act against.
Repair crews are responding to potential catastrophes across the ship, including random plasma fires apparently resulting from the EPS network modifications, and the sudden depressurisation of the main shuttlebay, although there are no casulaties. It’s becoming apparent that some issues may not be real: the computer reports an imminent warp core breach, and Azonan responds by ordering an immediate evacuation as he tries to resolve the problem, only to find that there is no sign of a breach in the core.
All of this is accompanied by weirder events. Quinn, in the turbolift, finds himself in freefall for 20 seconds, apparently falling far beyond the height of the vessel, before coming to a halt unharmed on deck 9. Some crewmen are reporting that they can feel something dark and oppressive around the starboard edge of the main saucer. Others are complaining that some corridors are leading to the wrong places.
As the repair work continues, a blue glow appears near the main viewscreen and quickly resolves into the figure of Ash’tamalia. The Tilikaal talks to them, expressing their relief that they are still alive and gratitude for their help, but does not respond to their questions. Then they disappear suddenly. Internal sensors show they were definitely present, but somehow out of phase with the rest of the ship.
Azonan is working under the horizontal intermix chamber when he is interrupted by the appearance of a man in 19th century Royal Navy uniform, who takes a great interest in what he’s doing. Azonan quickly identifies him as Lord Cochrane, a famous naval commander from the Napoleonic era, and tries to answer his questions without getting distracted. On the bridge, Konin finds himself and his actions being judged by his mother-in-law. Other crew members are also seeing old friends, rivals or members of their family, and there are reports of Romulan soldiers in some parts of the ships. Ghostly groups of beings similar to Ash’tamalia are wandering through the corridors, although they don’t react to anyone.
Summoned to the conference room for a briefing, Azonan and his new friend find the corridors carpeted in grass, although the Andorian is more disturbed by Cochrane’s persistent questioning. In the meeting, the science team reports that they have come to the conclusion that the “stars” outside are either minds or communities of minds – possibly the Tilikaal themselves, although how that relates to the ghostly forms on the ship is unclear. The officers decide they should try to communicate with the one of the Tilikaal groups. Initial attempts to just talk to them fail, but tricorder scans are picking up brainwave patterns from some of them, though not all. Modifying a tricorder to broadcast a signal on the same frequency does get a reaction from one of a group of three Tilikaal, although it seems to be more confusion and annoyance. The other two do not react at all. Following this event, the team return to the bridge finding it apparently open to space, with a wooden rail where the captain’s seat usually resides and a vertical wheel in front of the viewscreen. Quinn takes the wheel with no comment, but the scene blurs and returns to normal a few minutes later.
On the bridge, a lengthy transporter beam-in appears to take place, clearing to reveal Zepht, last seen on Candidate Three III’s surface. He immediately collapses, and the doctor rushes over to check him with her tricorder. He tries to relate what he has experienced, but finds it difficult to explain the sequence of events. Additionally, he appears to be blurry and occasionally flickers as if he’s not really present. Tricorder scans show an energy field of some sort around him, and that it is similar to one around the ship. Lt Durand, the ship’s cosmologist, theorises that these fields may be creating bubbles of “real” space in which to exist, but that they are not synchronised. Zepht is trying to explain how his arrival was triggered when he really tried to just will himself there, when he suddenly disappears.
Assuming he’s out in the void somewhere, Konin orders his crew to find him and beam him back. Sensors soon pick up a signal that matches Zepht’s brainwaves, but can’t get a lock on his location, which is constantly changing. Durand points out that “location” may actually be a meaningless concept in this environment. The operations team also picks up a single “star” that is brighter and more powerful than the others: could this be Ash’tamalia?
Someone remembers that Zepht said something about willpower bringing him to the ship. After some discussion, Konin orders the crew to start imagining that the attempt to transport the officer aboard will be successful. This works, and Zepht is soon in the transporter room, with Dr Conners checking him for injuries and after-effects, while the process is repeated for the other missing crew members. Conners takes the captain aside and expresses some concern about the effect of the strange radiations here: she believes they are triggering the halucinations, possibly aided unconsciously by those in the crew with a high psionic rating. She is also concerned they will be doing long-term damage.
With Zepht able to contribute his experiences, the team next focusses on contacting Ash’tamalia. The initial, broadcast attempt fails, but then Zepht realises that the occasional flashes of light between the “stars” are a form of communication. By firing a pulse from the navigation deflector that matches their brainwave readings of Ash’tamalia, they are able to contact them. Moments later, their consciousness surges back through the ship’s systems and they appear bodily on the bridge.
Though initially confused, they are fully aware of them this time, and immediately thank them for their aid. Konin replies that he is willing to help, in line with Starfleet policy, but needs to know where they are and what is going on. In response, the Tilikaal transports the bridge crew to a vast, stone plain, covered in tall towers and other buildings resembling those on Candidate Three III. Blue lightning streaks across the darkened skies and translucent Tilikaal walk around the cityscape in groups, animatedly debating with each other. They still seem oblivious to the visitors, with several even walking through them as if they are not there.
Ash’tamalia explains that this is an idealised created realm in which the “Displaced” Tilikaal can live a semblance of their old lives. Their aderi, or spirits, have been confined to this place for thousands of years, separated from their bodies by others of their race, who had succumbed to madness and turned on them. They have been trying to escape ever since, occasionally breaking through to touch minds in the galaxy at large, but their contacts were dismissed as hallucinations and mental illness. They are very well aware that the energies of this dimension are slowly sapping their faculties and that their time is limited, but are also concerned that their compatriots are a danger to the galaxy.
While the conversation continues, the other Tilikaal begin to gather around them, finally aware of the Starfleet presence. While many of the aderi just watch blankly, some seem more animated and the crew is soon inundated with questions about their technology and capabilities. Ash’tamalia explains that they are attempting to determine if the Lexington crew can actually help them. Sadly, they also admit that they can neither help the Starfleet officers leave the dimension, nor accompany them, as their powers are restricted. Their hope is that Lexington will be able to help free them once they are back in their own universe.
The ‘B’ Plot: Zepht and the other members of the away team each take the hand of Ash’tamalia and are pulled through the doorway in front of them. Like those on the ship, they feel the sensation of a pause, and then falling into a blue void, but are separated in the process.
Zepht drifts through the void, but then is apparently transported into scenes from his past, and others he does not recognise. He has conversations with Tilikaal on the nature of reality, and relives memories of events he never experience. He loses track of the passage of time: sometimes it seems like events have just happened, others as if they happened millennia ago. By the time Zepht figures out how to will himself back to the ship, an eternity has passed – or maybe it was seconds.
The Arc: Stranded in this strange world, the Lexington crew finally meet Ash’tamalia and the Tilikaal in person.
Observations: Captain Lojeea Konin was the first Betazoid starship captain in Starfleet, a highly-competent but stern commanding officer. She was also the mother of Atani Konin’s wife and an inspiration to all her family.
The Tilikaal are a humanoid species, with blue, crystalline eyes and vestigial wings. Those trapped in the pocket universe call themselves the Displaced, and are present in spirit only, a state they call aderi. They were separated from their physical bodies and imprisoned by others of their species, who had apparently become infected by some kind of madness. Although very powerful, the Displaced have become damaged by their long imprisonment in their hostile environment.
Dialogue: Ash’tamalia: “Our saviors! You slipped through my fingers. I thought I’d lost you. I waited for years!”
References: Lord Thomas Cochrane was a Scottish captain in the British Royal Navy in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He established a reputation as a bold and unconventional commanding officer during the Napoleonic Wars, but was later forced to resign in disgrace. He went on to command fleets in several foreign navies before returning to Britain to take up his inheritance as the 10th Earl of Dundonald and enter politics. His career was the inspiration for both Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey, as well as one James Tiberius Kirk.
Questions: Where are the other Tilikaal and why did they turn on the Displaced?
How will the crew of Lexington get home?