Episode Number: 3×09
Written by: The authors of the Shackleton Expanse Campaign Guide
Directed by: Jon Crew
Transmission: 7th October 2023
- General V’Roth: Famous Klingon leader and commander of the I.K.S. Hu’Tegh
- Captain Erika Benteen: Commanding officer of U.S.S. Lakota
- Lieutenant Yeager: Security chief of U.S.S. Bellerophon
We’ve escaped captivity on the Hu’Tegh. Retaking Lexington should be relatively simple…Captain’s Log: Stardate, Supplemental
Plot: Having sabotaged V’Roth’s flagship, the senior officers return to Lexington, intent on retaking control.
The ‘A’ Plot: The two teams of senior officers materialise in one of Lexington’s cargo holds. There doesn’t appear to be anyone around as they quickly take stock of their situation. After some discussion, they decide on a two-pronged plan: to attack and take control of both main engineering and the battle bridge. With control of these locations, they can lock the Klingons out of the ship’s systems and release the crew.
Intelligence and weapons are priorities, so Raynor volunteers to recover tricorders and phasers from the nearest storage lockers. Azonan pulls the cover off of a Jefferies tube and the security officer crawls stealthily towards one of the main corridors. After opening an emergency hatch, he’s surprised by a Bolian coming the other way. It’s Chief Rogon, who was in the tubes when the Klingons boarded, and decided discretion was the better part of valour. Raynor sends him back to join the others, and heads on to his destination. Cautiously removing an access panel, he sees two pairs of Klingon boots standing just beyond. Remembering what Rogon said, he decides to try another access point, finding that corridor empty. He quickly opens the nearest weapons locker, collecting half-a-dozen type 2 phasers, then grabs a couple of tricorders and a medical kit from an emergency locker, before vanishing back into the crawlways.
Equipped with the tricorder, Zepht is able to locate the Klingon intruders and their prisoners – the latter mostly under guard in large spaces, such as the recreation hall, main hangar and some of the other holds. With this information in hand, they split into two groups to take on their objectives, while Captain Daak and a couple of his team form a reserve.
Konin leads Zepht, Quinn, Rogon and Daak’s security chief, Lieutenant Yeager, in the asssault on the battle bridge. Yeager and Konin, breaking in through the main door, catch the Klingon officer in charge of the room’s occupants in a phaser crossfire; unfortunately, he does not go down and charges them with his bat’leth, screaming a battlecry. Konin simply trips him and he goes sprawling on to the floor. The other Klingons in the room take cover and return fire with their disruptors. Rogon stuns the Klingon officer, but fumbles and clips Konin and Yeager in the process. Quinn sneaks around the side of the bridge, and tries to intimidate the two Klingons at the conn and ops positions into surrendering: unfortunately, they’re not impressed and one of them attacks him with his d’k’tahg.
Zepht, meanwhile, is attempting to break into the ship’s computer, using the maintenance consoles in the room immediately behind the battle bridge, but is only able to lock out the alarms before he is drawn into the battle. A firefight breaks out through the doorway, then Zepht advances into the room and takes cover behind a console before shooting at the Klingons. The captain continues firing from the doorway, but is hit in the shoulder, suffering a nasty burn. With Yeager also knocked out by a Klingon shot, and Quinn bleeding after a knife duel with the Klingon helmsman, it is down to Rogon and Zepht to finally take the last opponents out of the fight.
They request medical assistance from Dr Conners, but she appears to be engaged in a melee of her own. It seems her team, including Azonan and Raynor, are facing fierce opposition in main engineering. She joins the battle bridge team as soon as she’s able.
By this point, Zepht has completed locking the Klingons out of Lexington’s computers, and is locating and isolating individual bands of Klingons behind security force fields. He comments that more Klingons seem to be appearing in batches, then the proximity alert goes off. The computer’s calm voice informs them that there is a warp core breach in progress on a nearby vessel – it appears that their sabotage of the Hu’Tegh was more successful than they intended, and the crew are evacuating to Lexington. Konin is forced to raise shields to protect the ship, but worries this is condemning some of the Klingon crew to death.
They watch on the main viewer as Hu’Tegh breaks up in a series of explosions.
Moments later, there is a call from the main bridge: V’Roth announces that he will surrender to Konin personally. When the bandaged Betazoid arrives on the bridge, the general hands his bat’leth to him, deliberately evoking an old Earth tradition. He explains that his actions were his own decision, an attempt to reposition his House in the Klingon hierarchy ahead of the coming war, by providing Chancellor Gowron with a worthy prize. His gamble has failed badly, and both he and his House will pay the price.
The alerts sound again as MupwI’ decloaks in front of them, accompanied by the cruisers of Colonel Morok’s penal squadron. Akul apologises for the incident on behalf of the Empire, and informs them he has managed to rescue much of Hu’Tegh’s crew. He escorts them across the Empire to Starbase 24, where the Klingon prisoners are handed over to their government, except for V’Roth and his senior officers. That little matter is left to the diplomats.
The ‘B’ Plot: On leaving Starbase 24, Lexington resumes her journey to Sector 001. She arrives in the Sol system and is directed to the Utopia Planitia orbital yards for a complete security sweep. Starfleet Security is concerned that the Klingons may have left hidden devices and software to compromise her systems.
This leaves her crew with a few days to take some leave, so Konin calls on his eldest daughter at Starfleet Academy, and Azonan heads back to Andoria for a couple of days. Quinn returns to Britain and Raynor spends time with family, while Zepht arranges to meet up with around two dozen of his family for dinner in New Orleans.
About two days later, the entire planetary power network collapses, causing problems across Earth, and they are all recalled to active duty. Konin is put in charge of coordinating security patrols, and the others find themselves enforcing newly-introduced emergency laws. They are witness to the growing paranoia of the population regarding the possibility of Changeling saboteurs.
About a week into this, Quinn is suddenly transferred to the U.S.S. Lakota, as a conn officer under Captain Benteen. Lakota soon departs to intercept U.S.S. Defiant, leading to a battle when Lieutenant Commander Worf refuses to surrender. Quinn follows his orders but he’s not happy about it.
When Vice Admiral Leyton resigns his post to “spend more time with his family”, Quinn is interrogated alongside many of the officers, but is ultimately returned to Lexington without any marks on his record.
The ‘C’ Plot: After the failure of Leyton’s coup, Lexington returns to the Shackleton Expanse via the Triangle and the narrow band of Federation-controlled space “above” the Klingon/Romulan border, this time accompanied by Captain Daak’s new command, the Intrepid-class U.S.S. Pegasus.
Observations: As a junior officer, Quinn served on the U.S.S. Okinawa under Captain Leyton and Lieutenant Commander Sisko. Leyton regarded him as a reliable officer and transferred him to Lakota to replace an officer he moved into another position as part of his conspiracy.
U.S.S. Pegasus is another Intrepid-class ship, named for the Greek hero Bellerophon’s flying horse. She has a connection to another admiral with a flexible approach to ethics, as the successor to her Oberth-class namesake, lost under mysterious circumstances under the command of Captain Erik Pressman.
Dialogue: V’Roth surrenders: “Well played, Captain.”
Zepht’s family meet-up takes place at Sisko’s Creole Kitchen in New Orleans.