As Many as Six Impossible Things, Part I

Epis­ode Num­ber: 3×01

Writ­ten by: Scott Pearson

Dir­ec­ted by: Jon Crew

Trans­mis­sion: 17th June 2023

Guest Stars:

  • 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?