The Rescue at Shirkassa

Epis­ode Num­ber: 2×12

Writ­ten by: The authors of the Star Trek Adven­tures Core Rulebook.

Dir­ec­ted by: Jon Crew

Trans­mis­sion: 24th Septem­ber 2023


  • Lieu­ten­ant (juni­or grade) Hamilton James: Seni­or helms­man on U.S.S. Lyo­n­esse.

Guest Stars:

  • Doc­tor Schiappa: Vahari botanist.
  • Jas­parr: Vahari botanist.

While the cap­tain and dip­lo­mat­ic staff con­tin­ue to work towards a peace­ful res­ol­u­tion between the Vahari and their invol­un­tary hosts, the sci­ence teams have been giv­en per­mis­sion to explore this diverse world.

I and a small team of exo­bi­o­lo­gists have taken the shuttle Mor­gana to sur­vey a remote region of the plan­et. Known as Shir­kassa, this moun­tain­ous region seems to have a rich eco­logy with the poten­tial for many inter­est­ing dis­cov­er­ies. It’s also rumoured to be home to prim­it­ive peoples who still act­ively wor­ship the dark gods of the neb­ula. While I’m curi­ous, I’m hop­ing we don’t encounter them!

Chief Med­ic­al Officer­’s Log: Stard­ate, 9941.7

Plot: Dr Vale-of-Winds leads an away team into a remote part of New Vahar, but finds anoth­er exped­i­tion in dire straits.

The ‘A’ Plot: Dr Vale, four exo­bi­o­lo­gists and a pair of secur­ity guards, are in the shuttle­craft Mor­gana, piloted by Lt(jg) James. They are head­ing into a remote moun­tain­ous region of New Vahar, where they will con­duct a sur­vey of the loc­al veget­a­tion and anim­als. The moun­tain range in ques­tion is quite large, and there seems to be a major storm occur­ring in the high valleys.

Vale, sit­ting at ops, picks up a radio dis­tress sig­nal, appar­ently from a Vahari sci­entif­ic exped­i­tion. James imme­di­ately changs course for the ori­gin point, stay­ing below the clouds as much as pos­sible, since vis­ib­il­ity would be min­im­al. Even­tu­ally, he’s forced into the cloud lay­er and is reduced to fly­ing by instru­ments. There is an odd form of radi­ation with­in the cloud, how­ever, and the sensors start to give bad readings.

Sud­denly, Mor­gana is struck by light­ning and the power sys­tems fail. James wrestles the shuttle into a forced land­ing, avoid­ing an out­right crash, but Mor­gana is dam­aged as it scrapes along a large moun­tain-side plat­eau, com­ing to a halt just before a sheer drop-off.

They sit shocked for a moment, then take stock of their situ­ation. The pas­sen­gers have assor­ted cuts and bruises, with one of the sci­ence team suf­fer­ing a head injury. The shuttle can fly again, if they can find some replace­ment parts, but the sub­space com­mu­nic­a­tions sys­tem is wrecked. Their per­son­al com­mu­nic­at­ors appear to be unable to pen­et­rate the storm, which means they have no way to call for help from Lyo­n­esse.

As they climb out of the shuttle, a group of four humanoid fig­ures launch them­selves out of the sur­round­ing trees, wield­ing clubs, rocks, and in one case, a Vahari dis­ruptor. As they attack in a mind­less rage, the team are forced to defend them­selves, stun­ning the attack­er with the dis­ruptor first. The remainder are des­patched quickly, although Vale takes some dam­age from one that gets too close. Now that they can study them closely, they see that the uncon­scious fig­ures share a num­ber of fea­tures with the Vahari, but appear to have ran­dom deform­it­ies, and are wear­ing the remains of Vahari civil­ian clothing.

Hop­ing to find out what’s going on at the Vahari exped­i­tion’s camp, which sensors showed was a few kilo­met­ers away, they secure the attack­ers, and leave them with one guard and the injured sci­ence spe­cial­ist. Then the rest of the team head out into the forest, watch­ful for more attackers.

With the storm worsen­ing above them, they make decent time. Com­ing to a rav­ine a little too wide to jump, they look around for a way across that does­n’t involve wast­ing time des­cend­ing to the bot­tom and climb­ing back up the oth­er side. James spots a log on the far side of the rav­ine that would make a decent bridge. He uses a smal­ler branch to pole-vault across the rav­ine, then pushes the log back across for the oth­ers. Unfor­tu­nately, he injures his leg when he lands, and Dr Vale has to treat it when she arrives.

As they press on, the build­ing storm and oth­er unusu­al con­di­tions begin to make every­one uneasy. Vale is forced to use her coun­selling skills to keep the team calm.

Even­tu­ally, the team arrives at the site of the exped­i­tion camp. There are sev­er­al build­ings, for accom­mod­a­tion and stor­age, but they all appear to be wrecked. In the middle of the site is a Vahari fly­er, but it has been battered into a pile of met­al parts. The main labor­at­ory build­ing is more intact than the rest, but the equip­ment inside has been smashed bey­ond repair, much to James’s dis­ap­point­ment as he was hop­ing to find a work­ing (or fix­able) radio.

Then James hears a voice com­ing from behind a locked door. It proves simple to open, and they ready their weapons in case of ambush. In the room bey­ond is a Vahari woman in sci­entif­ic over­alls, cradling an injured man, dressed very sim­il­arly. He, how­ever, is dis­play­ing signs of the deform­it­ies seen on the indi­vidu­als that attacked the shuttle.

The Vahari woman intro­duces her­self as Dr Schiappa, a Vahari bot­an­ist, lead­ing a study of loc­al life­forms for their medi­cin­al prop­er­ties. Her team suc­cumbed to some kind of mutat­ive dis­ease, cre­at­ing phys­ic­al deform­it­ies and reduct­ing their men­tal capa­city, with her lov­er Jas­parr and her­self the last hol­d­outs. Jas­parr was attacked and injured by his former com­rades, then star­ted to show symp­toms him­self. She does­n’t know what is caus­ing the con­di­tion, but sus­pects it has some­thing to do with the storm, which has been raging for a week.

Vale explains that the Star­fleet team can evac­u­ate the pair of them, but Schiappa refuses to leave without a cure for Jas­parr, and the remain­ing data she still had to col­lect on the loc­al flora, which she believes can help with a genet­ic issue affect­ing the Vahari. Giv­en that James needs time to repair the shuttle, Vale reas­ons that the away team can help with the sample col­lec­tion, while she looks for a cure to the ill­ness. There is a time lim­it, how­ever: imposed by Schiap­pa’s own symp­toms and by signs that the Star­fleet team is also being affected.

James can­ni­bal­ises the Vahari fly­er for spare parts and returns to the shuttle with the secur­ity guard to begin repairs. On the way, they are fol­lowed by some kind of pred­at­or, but make it back safely. In the mean­time, Vale begins her research and her team gath­ers samples as required by Schiappa.

By the time James returns with the shuttle, the rest of the away team and the pris­on­ers, the samples have been col­lec­ted, and Vale has estab­lished that the ill­ness is actu­ally a res­ult of those plants being mutated by the unusu­al radi­ation of the storm. The plants are, in turn, accel­er­at­ing the genet­ic degrad­a­tion which the Vahari are already experiencing.

While she is try­ing to con­vince Schiappa that this is enough to put togeth­er a cure, using the facil­it­ies on Lyo­n­esse, James real­ises they will need more sup­port. He decides to try to get the atten­tion of Lyo­n­esse by using his per­son­al com­mu­nic­at­or from above the storm. It takes some fancy-fly­ing to get Mor­gana up through the storm, but he is suc­cess­ful, and the cap­tain agrees to his requests. Soon, more per­son­nel arrive to retrieve more samples, round up the infec­ted sci­ent­ists and recov­er Schiap­pa’s exist­ing med­ic­al data.

Over the next few weeks, Vale is able to pro­duce a cure for the muta­tion, and puts Schiappa well on the way to find­ing a solu­tion to her own research problem.

Obser­va­tions: We meet Lieu­ten­ant (juni­or grade) Hamilton James, seni­or helms­man and shuttle pilot. Primar­ily work­ing on the beta shift, he’s a bit of a dare­dev­il, des­pite his pros­thet­ic arm.

The Vahari exped­i­tion of 13 sci­ent­ists has been in place for a year, study­ing loc­al flora and fauna, with the spe­cifica aim of find­ing a drug that will help arrest the genet­ic deteri­or­a­tion of the cloned Vahari col­on­ists. The storm hit about a week ago, and some of the Vahari imme­di­ately began show­ing signs of muta­tion, and a reduc­tion in their intel­li­gence. Since then, the rest have all suc­cumbed and run off into the forest.

Ques­tions: What was the unusu­al radi­ation com­ing form the storm? Does it have any­thing to do with the “gods” in the nebula?