Episode Number: 3×11
Written by: Jim Johnson
Directed by: Jon Crew
Transmission: 4th November 2023
- Commander Mauti: Akaru commanding officer of the Starward.
- Akaru’Bak Chiel: Akaru provincial governor.
- Specialist Jumai: Akaru acting chief engineer of the Starward.
- Curate Kelu: Akaru ship’s surgeon of the Starward.
Our research into the plight of Ash’Tamalia and her people has led us to a remote sector within the Expanse. We’re gathering evidence to support a theory our science team has cooked up revolving around harnessing the energy from powerful bursts of EM radiation to burn a hole through subspace in order to “tunnel” to the Tilikaal pocket universe. I have the ship on yellow alert.Captain’s Log: Stardate, 49567.5
Plot: The Lexington crew comes to the assistance of a damaged starship, making first contact with a new culture.
The ‘A’ Plot: The Lexington is exploring a new sector rich in pulsars and other unusual astrographic features. The Project Diamond Hedge scientists want detailed sensor data of the area as part of their research. The telepathic voices of the Displaced are stronger in this region, and many crewmembers with latent esper talents are hearing them. Konin and Selvek are forced to take diluted theragen to prevent their own telepathic senses being overwhelmed.
After a couple of days, they begin to receive an audio-only distress signal in an unknown language. The message is short, so the universal translator has little to work with, but it appears to be a live transmission, so the captain answers directly in order to get varying responses for the system. This works and, within a few minutes, they hear a female voice expressing surprise that they are suddenly communicating in her language. She introduces herself as Commander Mauti, and explains that her ship, called Starward, is stuck in a gravitational eddy, having been damaged by asteroids also caught in its grip. She has lost 20 of her crew and others are badly injured. The remaining engineers are unable to complete repairs by themselves.
Konin follows Starfleet protocol and volunteers Lexington’s help.
The journey to the stranded vessel is a little difficult, and despite Quinn’s efforts to weave between the anomalies, the ship takes some structural damage. Azonan is forced to divert power to the structural integrity field to keep things together.
They find a compact vessel stuck in a gravitational vortex, badly damaged by gravity stresses and physical impacts. After announcing their presence, they grab the ship with a tractor beam and extend their shields around it before pulling it out of the trap. Zepht, Conners, Azonan and Raynor beam aboard with medical and engineering teams to assist, making first contact with the crew. The vulcanoid Akaru are very grateful for their help, and turn out to be welcoming and very curious.
While Conners begins assessing the injured, beaming the most serious cases back to Lexington, Azonan begins working on Starward’s damaged shields, power systems and engines. He finds that Akaru technology is roughly equivalent to that of the late 23rd century Federation, but that some items, especially power generation, are much more advanced. He’s particularly intrigued that the ship seems to have been designed as a complete system: while this is more efficient, he is concerned that the individual systems woud be difficult to upgrade.
Raynor invites Commander Mauti to come aboard Lexington, where she meets with Captain Konin. She presents him with an elaborately-decorated wooden box, containing a copy of what appears to be a religious text. They exchange information about their cultures and discuss the possibility of Lexington escorting the Starward back to Setu. Mauti is impressed by the size of the Starfleet ship and by much of the Federation technology, including the transporters and the universal translator.
When the repairs are finished, the two ships head back to the Akaru homeworld, a journey that ultimately takes them a week. Konin uses the journey time to wean himself off the theragen, so that he has his full faculties when he meets their new friends’ government.
On the way, they are attacked by pirates who appear to have tracked them via the corodum particles leaked by the Starward’s damaged engines. The raiders fire one torpedo, missing, and realise they’ve bitten off more than they can chew, when Raynor returns fire and nearly cripples them with a single shot. They leave in a hurry, much to Konin’s disappointment.
As they arrive at Setu, Mauti gives them coordinates for a landing, but asks them to wait for an hour so that she can prepare a welcome for them at the palace. Eventually, Quinn takes the senior officers to the surface in a shuttle, putting it down in a large courtyard within the palace of the Ewyn Khar in the city of Perro. The surrounding buildings are elaborately carved with what appear to be religious scenes. Mauti is waiting for them and leads them to a waiting area, where they talk over food brought by small, floating robots, accompanied by servants.
Eventually, they are joined by a tall Akaru, who is introduced as Akaru’Bak Chiel, one of the regional governors, along with two assistants. She welcomes them, and Konin offers her a specially-printed book of Federation philosophical texts. In the ensuing conversation, they learn more about the Akaru government, leading to Konin asking if it will be possible to meet the Iryax. Chiel agrees to request this, and will try to arrange meeting for the following day. As she gets up to leave, Konin realises that the Akaru’Bak is an empath.
The team takes up the offer to stay overnight in the palace, and use the opportunity to learn more about the Akaru. Examining the art on the walls, Zepht notices that one individual appears frequently, and looks nothing like the locals. This is presumably the Iryax – and he bears a striking resemblance to Assessor Tredik.
The Arc: The Akaru appear to have some hidden links to the Tilikaal. Their power systems use Tilikaal-style plasma transmission, and the Iryax appears to be of the same species as Assessor Tredik.
Observations: The Akaru are an open and welcoming people living deep within the Shackleton Expanse. They prize planning and organisation, which has enabled them to go from early rockets to warp 5 technology in less than 50 years. Their power systems are very similar to those of the Federation, but are more efficient, and there appears to be some Tilikaal influence in the way they handle the transmission of energy. They are ruled by their Iryax, Nedaon the Ageless, who although of a different species, serves as a kind of god-king, assisted by a council of 300 regional rulers called Akaru’Bak. Although basically a dictatorship, this system appears to be benevolent, and has lasted several thousand years.
They appear to be vulcanoid, and Conners, working with the casualties, is able to establish that they have a common ancestor with other vulcanoid species. While the Akaru as a whole are not telepathic, Akaru’Bak Chiel appears to have empathic gifts.
Setu is a pleasant class‑M world, orbiting the star designated FGC-694751. It has two continents, with large, well-planned cities scattered across them. Lexington does detect some unusual tetryon radiation in the upper atmosphere.
Theragen is a Klingon nerve gas, but when diluted in alcohol can reduce the sensitivity of certain types of brain function. Dr Taliaferro has discovered that it can be used to protect telepaths from overwhelming psionic input, such as that found in the Shackleton Expanse.
Questions: Who is the Iryax and what is his connection to Tredik and the Tilikaal?