The Supreme Mandate, Part I

Epis­ode Num­ber: 3×03

Writ­ten by: Michael Dismuke

Dir­ec­ted by: Jon Crew

Trans­mis­sion: 29th Decem­ber 2023

Guest Stars:

  • Jak D’Jak: Sov­er­eign Vice­roy of the K’si Host Car­ri­er Light of Heaven

We have detec­ted an arti­fi­cial struc­ture in an oth­er­wise unin­hab­ited sys­tem. We hope this may be con­nec­ted to the K’si, as we want to learn more about this mys­ter­i­ous cul­ture, which has yet to make an actu­al appear­ance. I’m also hop­ing the land­ing party will be able to avoid trouble, after the near-dis­aster on Oreison.

Cap­tain’s Log: Stard­ate, 9971.2

Plot: Lyo­n­esse’s crew invest­ig­ates a mys­ter­i­ous struc­ture on an unin­hab­ited world.

The ‘A’ Plot: Hop­era, Vale, Tim­mons and Valik plunge through the stormy atmo­sphere of BC-11d in a shuttle­craft. Lt James pilots the shuttle in a com­plex route through the patches of clear air between black clouds, dodging light­ning forks. Ulti­mately, he brings it to a dra­mat­ic halt about 200 metres down the hill from a huge block­house-like struc­ture, dom­in­ated by a flat bronze disc.

As they step out of the shuttle, they notice that the sur­round­ing ter­rain is very bleak, with the raging storm provid­ing a dra­mat­ic back­drop. The build­ing is about 150 m high and 100 m square, and con­struc­ted of blocks of a con­crete-like sub­stance, which appears to block scan­ning. There is a large door­way below the disc, around 6 m high, lead­ing to spec­u­la­tion that the K’si may be very large. While this was reflec­ted in the reli­gious art on Ich­tharys and Oreis­on, Vale notes that Spe­cial­ist Ara has indic­ated that exag­ger­at­ing the size of gods is com­mon in reli­gious depictions.

Tim­mons approaches the door, but it does not respond to his pres­ence, and he can­not find any sign of a con­trol. He reaches out to touch it, noti­cing that it is cold even through his gloves, much more so than the sur­round­ing envir­on­ment. Then the door rap­idly rises, clear­ing the way.

Bey­ond lies a very mod­ern-look­ing con­trol centre, although it is unmanned and very badly lit. There are a large num­ber of con­soles and screens mon­it­or­ing data of some kind, but all the sym­bols, includ­ing those on the screens, appear to be in shades of very dark grey against a dark­er back­ground. They have to use their tri­cord­ers to trans­late the data into a form they can read.

The con­soles seem to be linked to sensors attached to a large met­al sphere at the centre of the build­ing. Tri­cord­er scans indic­ate that the sphere con­tains a globe of dark mat­ter sim­il­ar to those seen else­where, and that the sensors appear to be mon­it­or­ing for fluc­tu­ations in its sur­face caused by minute grav­it­a­tion­al dis­turb­ances. They dis­cov­er that those dis­turb­ances are due to sub­space anom­alies, tak­ing the form of nar­row streams of energy car­ry­ing sig­nals from ten dif­fer­ent dir­ec­tions, two of which cor­res­pond to Ich­tharys and Oreison.

It appears that the data is being col­lated and pack­aged for for­ward­ing on to anoth­er loc­a­tion, via the bronze dish on top of the build­ing. BC-11d rotates on its axis in such a way that this dish always points in the same dir­ec­tion. They sur­mise that this cor­res­ponds to the K’si home­world, or at least a major colony.

Valik has been work­ing to gain bet­ter access to the sta­tion’s sys­tems and has found an archive of stored data. It looks like the sys­tem is keep­ing backup cop­ies of the sig­nals for about a month, and his ini­tial attempts at decod­ing indic­ate that they con­sist of indi­vidu­al pray­ers. Inter­spersed amongst them are pack­ets of strongly-encryp­ted plan­et­ary status inform­a­tion, such as weath­er data and crop yields. He also finds an unen­cryp­ted doc­u­ment in a sys­tem folder, describ­ing some­thing sim­il­ar to Star­fleet’s Prime Dir­ect­ive, the “Supreme Mandate”.

As Valik works to copy the data, they dis­cuss its implic­a­tions, with some won­der­ing if the K’si derive some kind of nour­ish­ment from the pray­ers. They also debate if the Supreme Man­date, com­bined with the nature of the data, implies a bene­vol­ent over­sight, or some­thing more sin­is­ter and controlling.

Their com­mu­nic­at­ors alert them to a sig­nal from Lyo­n­esse, order­ing them to return imme­di­ately, as com­pany has arrived.

By they time they get back to orbit, Lyo­n­esse has her shields up and appears to be at red alert. Care­ful tim­ing and dar­ing pilot­ing on James’s part gets them back aboard through a moment­ary open­ing in the shields, and they head to their sta­tions. On screen, a huge black ship is approach­ing, hav­ing entered the sys­tem at warp 2. The cap­tain believes this is a K’si ves­sel, but it is not return­ing stand­ard hails. Pre­lim­in­ary scans are show­ing heavy arma­ments and shield­ing, but it’s not clear how the ves­sel is powered.

After a dis­cus­sion with Tim­mons and Hop­era, Mas­uda makes anoth­er attempt to estab­lish con­tact, this time emphas­ising an appeal to a power­ful poten­tial ally, for help get­ting out of their ter­rit­ory. After this has been repeated a few times, they finally get a response, as a dark image of a fig­ure appears on screen, defy­ing the com­puter­’s attempts to light­en the scene. After nearly a minute study­ing the image on its own screen, the fig­ure finally speaks, and the uni­ver­sal trans­lat­or does its work in record time.

Sov­er­eign Vice­roy Jak D’Jak intro­duces him­self as com­mand­er of the K’si Host Car­ri­er Light of Heav­en, then asks who they are and why they are present. Mas­uda repeats her request, and he responds that the K’si are always happy to bring more cul­tures under the pro­tec­tion of the Supreme Man­date. They get the impres­sion that this is not just an offer to help.

After some dis­cus­sion between the two com­mand­ers, the Supreme Vice­roy accepts an invit­a­tion to vis­it Lyo­n­esse for dir­ect talks.

The Arc: The crew has finally made first con­tact with the mys­ter­i­ous K’si.

Obser­va­tions: The K’si ves­sel, the Light of Heav­en, is a kilo­met­er long, dwarf­ing Lyo­n­esse. It has 500 life-forms aboard, all K’si. While it has iden­ti­fi­able equip­ment, such as weapons, propul­sion and shields, it is unclear how these work or how they are powered. What seem to be identi­fy­ing mark­ings appear to be in shades of black – the crew con­cludes that the K’si may see in the ultra­vi­olet range.

The K’si them­selves pos­sess oily-black skin, eyes and hair, but oth­er­wise appear very Human. Astan notes that they appear to be invis­ible to his empath­ic senses. Once the uni­ver­sal trans­lat­or has deciphered his lan­guage, Sov­er­eign Vice­roy Jak D’Jak appears to be con­vinced of his cul­ture’s place at the pin­nacle of creation.

BC-11d is class M, but pos­sesses only prim­it­ive life in its seas, with noth­ing more com­plex than large inver­teb­rates. The land sur­face is covered in a form of lichen. The amo­sphere is breath­able, and grav­ity a bit below stand­ard. The world’s day is the same as its year, ensur­ing that it always main­tains the same ori­ent­a­tion with respect to the nebula.

BC-11d’s dark mat­ter globe is con­nec­ted to 10 worlds: Ictharys, Oreis­on, Zippa, Unch, Graladakak, J’Dud, Popd, Dis­mu, Raga, and Kin-dolo Prime.

Dia­logue: The Supreme Man­date: “Space: our divine des­tiny. We, the K’si, will peace­fully observe all worlds under our star-born pur­view, sus­tain and sup­port all life and all ali­en civil­iz­a­tions, and respect­fully help all spe­cies achieve para­dise and peace so as to achieve galactic har­mony without dir­ect inter­fer­ence or manip­u­la­tion so that all can find their own way.”