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.
- 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?