Prayers of Suppression, Part I

Epis­ode Num­ber: 3×01

Writ­ten by: Michael Dismuke

Dir­ec­ted by: Jon Crew

Trans­mis­sion: 29th Octo­ber 2023


  • Lieu­ten­ant Com­mand­er Blake Hop­era: Lyo­n­esse’s new exec­ut­ive officer.
  • Pro­vi­sion­al Lieu­ten­ant Will Tim­mons: First con­tact and dip­lomacy spe­cial­ist, ori­gin­ally serving aboard S.S. Atlantis NX-05.

Guest Stars:

  • Com­pas­sion­ate Bene­dic­tion (“Bene”): Friendly Oreis­on citizen.

Fol­low­ing a nearly six month break while attempt­ing to unite the war­ring fac­tions of New Vahar, we are once again under way, resum­ing our mis­sion to explore the Black Cluster and find a way home.

We have been stead­ily fol­low­ing the pas­sage bey­ond BC-07, the site of the unfor­tu­nate Sonak’s demise, and have reached a new bubble. It con­tains a plan­et­ary sys­tem, des­ig­nated by our mis­sion spe­cial­ists, with their usu­al cre­ativ­ity, as BC-10.

We are now in orbit around the first plan­et of the sys­tem, a Class M world orbit­ing a K‑type star. Pre­lim­in­ary scans indic­ate that there is a bust­ling civil­iz­a­tion on the plan­et. Much like Ich­tharys, there are no signs of war, pol­lu­tion, or dis­asters on the plan­et. The civil­iz­a­tion is def­in­itely pre-warp. There are thirty-sev­en major con­tin­ents, which we estim­ate have a com­bined total of nearly two hun­dred mil­lion inhabitants.

What is most inter­est­ing is that there are thirty-sev­en orbs of dark mat­ter in orbit around the plan­et. Each orb emits its own thread of energy which con­nects it to one of thirty-sev­en huge zig­gur­ats on the sur­face. Our pale­on­to­lo­gists and cul­ture spe­cial­ists sus­pect these to be temples that serve a reli­gious pur­pose, and it has been deemed that more invest­ig­a­tion is war­ran­ted. As such, I am assign­ing an away team to beam down and invest­ig­ate. We are com­pelled to learn more about these mys­ter­i­ous dark mat­ter orbs, and their poten­tial con­nec­tion to the mys­ter­i­ous K’si.

The Prime Dir­ect­ive is in full force so I am only assign­ing my best officers to this poten­tially per­il­ous assignment.

Cap­tain’s Log: Stard­ate, 9970.1

Plot: A land­ing party from Lyo­n­esse goes under­cov­er on a world under the sway of the mys­ter­i­ous K’si.

The ‘A’ Plot: Return­ing to her mis­sion after a six month lay­over at New Vahar, Lyo­n­esse enters orbit around a class‑M world circ­ling an orange dwarf star. The sur­face is broken up into many small archipela­goes sup­port­ing a pop­u­la­tion of a couple of hun­dred mil­lion humanoids, mostly clustered into large cities.

Detailed scans show that the cul­ture is roughly equi­val­ent to Renais­sance Europe, with a thriv­ing trade net­work oper­ated by soph­ist­ic­ated sail­ing ves­sels. The bust­ling cit­ies con­tain vast zig­gur­ats which are impen­et­rable to the ship’s sensors, but appear to have some form of energy beam con­nect­ing them to orbit­ing globes of dark mat­ter. Sci­ence Spe­cial­ist Ara sus­pects these are temples, and notes that although each con­tin­ent seems to be home to a dis­tinct cul­ture, there are no signs of for­ti­fic­a­tions or oth­er mil­it­ary structures.

Cap­tain Mas­uda decides that they need to take a closer look at the zig­gur­ats, giv­en the con­nec­tion to the dark mat­ter orbs, and pos­sibly the K’si, and orders the newly-appoin­ted exec­ut­ive officer, Blake Hop­era, to organ­ise a land­ing party. Since the cul­ture is pre-warp, the Prime Dir­ect­ive will apply, so their invest­ig­a­tion will require work­ing under­cov­er, prob­ably with pros­thet­ics. Probes are sent to the sur­face to observe the inhab­it­ants’ appear­ance and language.

The pros­thet­ics experts dis­guise the mem­bers of the land­ing party, con­sist­ing of Hop­era, Ara, Lt James, Lt Tim­mons and Dr Vale, and they are beamed down to a beach near one of the more remote cit­ies. Walk­ing around the coast in the warm humid air, they are stunned by the elab­or­ately-carved archi­tec­ture of the build­ings, which resemble those of Earth’s Khmer cul­ture. The zig­gur­at is easy to spot at the centre of the com­munity. Large sail­ing ves­sels are unload­ing cargo onto small barges in the harbour.

The party is spot­ted almost imme­di­ately, but nobody seems upset at the appear­ance of an unan­nounced group of strangers. Instead, they are wel­comed by every­one they meet, and a food vendor offers them a plat­ter of his goods, in hon­our of the gods. As they cau­tiously con­sume the gifts, a woman approaches and offers to guide them around the city of Beseech­ing Glory. She tells them her name is Com­pas­sion­ate Bene­dic­tion, or Bene for short.

As she leads them through the city, Tim­mons takes the oppor­tun­ity to learn more about the cul­ture, man­aging a dif­fi­cult bal­an­cing act as he tries to avoid reveal­ing that they are from fur­ther afield than they seem. They arrive at the plaza encirc­ling the zig­gur­at to see huge crowds of people pray­ing indi­vidu­ally and in groups led by robed priests. Tim­mons is sur­prised to see that the pray­ers are exclus­ively those of grat­it­ude, rather than requests for bless­ings as is more com­mon in oth­er religions.

James asks Bene if they can enter the struc­ture, and she takes them through the main doors, trav­el­ing through intric­ately dec­or­ated cham­bers until they arrive at a bal­cony over­look­ing a cent­ral hall. A large black sphere hangs above a cir­cu­lar dais at the centre of the room, appear­ing to be sus­pen­ded by a nar­row black thread that reaches up through a cir­cu­lar open­ing in the roof. Priests and wor­ship­pers con­tinu­ously enter the room and offer up pray­ers from dir­ectly beneath the globe.

While the oth­ers provide dis­trac­tions and cov­er, Hop­era sur­repti­tiously scans the room with their tri­cord­er, detect­ing com­plex, highly-advanced machinery in the dais. The scan also con­firms that the sphere is dark mat­ter, and that the thread is a sub­space fil­a­ment. They con­clude that the whole struc­ture is a faster-than-light com­mu­nic­a­tions sys­tem, powered and reg­u­lated by a microsin­gu­lar­ity at the heart of the sys­tem. The tech­no­logy is far in advance of any­thing out­side the temple, and is bey­ond that of Star­fleet itself – and it is poten­tially very unstable.

The Arc: The K’si are con­sidered gods by the Oreis­on, and are appar­ently bene­vol­ent, pos­sibly main­tain­ing com­mu­nic­a­tion via the dark mat­ter spheres.

Obser­va­tions: The Oreis­on are humanoid, around the same size and build as Humans, but have red­dish skin covered in black marks sim­il­ar to freckles, and horn-like struc­tures grow­ing close to their skulls. They are a very open cul­ture, believ­ing in wel­com­ing strangers with great hos­pit­al­ity. Each con­tin­ent hosts its own dis­tinct cul­ture, but the cent­ral temples are all ded­ic­ated to the K’si. There are no indic­a­tions of any kind of con­flict between them.

While the relief carvings on the build­ings depict the Oreis­on in great detail, their gods, the K’si, appear to be depic­ted as fea­ture­less sil­hou­ettes. It is unclear wheth­er this is an accur­ate rep­res­ent­a­tion or some kind of reli­gious short­hand or taboo. Tim­mons notes a resemb­lance to Earth’s legends of the Grey aliens.

Lt Tim­mons was part of the crew of Atlantis, and holds a pro­vi­sion­al com­mis­sion aboard Lyo­n­esse. Spe­cial­ising in dip­lomacy and first con­tact, he was intru­ment­al in resolv­ing the dis­pute between the Vahari and their neigh­bours. Lt Cdr Hop­era is the chief sci­ence officer on Lyo­n­esse and served as second officer and com­mand­er of the beta watch, until Cdr Shraan opted to serve as inter­im ambas­sad­or to New Vahar.

Ques­tions: What exactly is the K’si interest in the Oreison?