The Needs of the Few, Part II

Epis­ode Num­ber: 4×02

Writ­ten by: Derek Tyler Attico

Dir­ec­ted by: Jon Crew

Trans­mis­sion: 24th Feb­ru­ary 2024

Guest Stars:

  • Cap­tain J’Lara: Vin­Shari com­mand­ing officer of the Ar-Ka-Se ship Lib­er­at­or.
  • Thacinn: Tilikaal sci­ence officer on the Lib­er­at­or.

While study­ing a new life-form known as the ha’kiv, we encountered the Vin­Shari. They attacked us without pro­voca­tion, and now sev­er­al mem­bers of my crew are dead or wounded. They took our warp core, down­loaded over eighty per­cent of our data­base, and abduc­ted the ha’kiv. We’re too far from Fed­er­a­tion space for assist­ance, so we’re on our own. We’ve got to retrieve our warp core before reserve power is depleted.

Cap­tain’s Log: Stard­ate, 50108.1

Plot: Stran­ded in space as a res­ult of the Vin­Shari theft of their warp core, the crew of the Lex­ing­ton is forced to seek new allies.

The ‘A’ Plot: Azon­an and Zepht get to work assess­ing the dam­age and plan­ning repairs. The biggest prob­lem is obvi­ously that the warp core is miss­ing, but the ship also has holes in the hull, and the power sys­tem is suf­fer­ing loc­al­ised over­loads. The power reserves are run­ning down rap­idly. They begin shut­ting down non-essen­tial sys­tems, rerout­ing their power to life sup­port and oth­er more import­ant equip­ment, while the dam­age con­trol crews repair the hull breaches.

Kon­in con­tacts the sur­viv­ing ship from the pair that inter­vened in the raid, and Cap­tain J’Lara of the Ar-Ka-Se ves­sel Lib­er­at­or answers. She explains that while her people are also Vin­Shari, they are opposed to their gov­ern­ment, who she claims car­ried out the attack. Her ship is also badly-dam­aged, and incap­able of warp travel, but she thinks the two crews could cooper­ate to over­come the prob­lem. She invites Kon­in over to dis­cuss the options for an alli­ance, and he agrees.

Quinn pilots a shuttle­craft across to Lib­er­at­or, car­ry­ing Kon­in, Con­ners and Rogon. The oddly-con­figured ali­en ship has a broad upper deck with plenty of space, pro­tec­ted by an atmo­sphere-con­tain­ing force­field, so Quinn lands there.

J’Lara is dis­cuss­ing the ves­sel’s ongo­ing dam­age con­trol with her chief engin­eer and her sci­ence officer, but she breaks off when she real­ises her guests have arrived. She intro­duces her­self, and her sci­ence officer, Thacinn, who appears to be a Tilikaal, the first they’ve encountered in their own dimen­sion. She then goes on to explain the back­ground of the Ar-Ka-Se, as a rebel­lion against the aggress­ive rulers of the Vin­Shari, and their use of the ha’kiv as an energy source to power their society.

Not­ing that her ves­sel has a power source (derived from a ha’kiv), but no warp cap­ab­il­ity, and that Lex­ing­ton has warp drive, but no power, she pro­poses an alli­ance. Thacinn believes the two ves­sels can be linked so that Lib­er­at­or is sup­ply­ing power to Lex­ing­ton’s nacelles. This would then enable them to pur­sue the raid­ers, and have a chance to recov­er the miss­ing warp core and free the ha’kiv. Thacinn men­tions that the Vin­Shari also have an Assessor under their control.

Kon­in agrees to the plan. Recov­er­ing the warp core is vital if they are to com­plete their mis­sion and return home, and it would allow them to learn more about a new hos­tile power in the region. Although he does not wish to get involved in the rebel­lion (a pos­i­tion under­stood by J’Lara), he also sees an oppor­tun­ity for a peace­ful con­tact with the Ar-Ka-Se, which could reap rewards in the future.

Azon­an and Raynor, accom­pan­ied by an engin­eer­ing team, travel over to assess the pos­sib­il­it­ies for link­ing the ves­sels. Once the chief engin­eer has approved the plan, the two ships are man­oeuvred togeth­er, the Ar-Ka-Se force­field is exten­ded to encom­pass Lex­ing­ton, and their crews begin to con­nect cables. Azon­an finds him­self spend­ing a lot of time hanging from cables between the two ves­sels, without need­ing a space­suit – which he finds very odd.

Finally, with Lib­er­at­or tucked in close to the Star­fleet ves­sel, they begin their jour­ney to Vin­Shari Prime, aver­aging around warp 3.5.

They emerge from warp about 18 hours later, at the edge of a field of star­ships, all of which appear to be com­pletely life­less. Bey­ond them, a screen of cyl­indric­al sensor drones, linked to each oth­er by a com­plex web of com­mu­nic­a­tions sig­nals, guards a triple star sys­tem, the home of the Vin­Shari. Sensors show the ships have been com­pletely drained of energy, but they do detect a bird-of-prey. Reas­on­ing that they might be able to make use of its warp core, and pos­sibly its cloak­ing device, Azon­an, Raynor and Zepht beam aboard with a small group of engin­eers. Unfor­tu­nately, the cloak­ing device is not power­ful enough – and the warp core has been removed in its entirety.

Beam­ing back, they real­ise the trans­port­er activ­ity has been detec­ted by one of the drones, which moves towards them to invest­ig­ate. Think­ing quickly, Zepht uses the drone screen’s com­mu­nic­a­tion net­work to hack into the drone’s con­trol com­puter. He dis­cov­ers that it has a lim­ited arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, and is inten­ded to close with ali­en ships and drain their power. He is able to con­vince its sensors that Lex­ing­ton is just anoth­er drone, so that the ship is effect­ively invis­ible to it, and the drone returns to its patrol sta­tion. Zepht is then able to access the Vin­Shar­i’s sys­tem-wide data net­work, learn­ing much about the loc­a­tion of the stolen warp core and the abduc­ted ha’kiv, and their immin­ent trans­fer to a research sta­tion loc­ated with­in the sys­tem’s largest gas giant.

Extend­ing the sensor sig­na­ture hack to the net­work at large, they are able to enter the sys­tem undetec­ted, head­ing towards the gas giant and their targets.

The Arc: The Vin­Shari have man­aged to cap­ture a loc­a­tion con­tain­ing slum­ber­ing Tilikaal and return a num­ber of them to con­scious­ness. They also have an Assessor and are inter­rog­at­ing them for Tilikaal tech­no­lo­gic­al secrets.

Obser­va­tions: The Vin­Shari are rel­at­ively new to inter­stel­lar space, but have gone from first flight to heav­ily col­on­ising their trinary home sys­tem with­in two cen­tur­ies, before expand­ing out­wards. Their tech­no­lo­gic­al pro­gress was accel­er­ated by learn­ing to draw the life-force out of the ha’kiv, but that life force is lim­ited, so they hunt more to meet their needs. The Vin­Shari are taught that they have the power and the right to take what they want, and that none can stand against them. They are ruled by three Queen Moth­ers who work togeth­er to main­tain their power.

The ship grave­yard forms a vast cloud on the edge of the Vin­Shari sys­tem and con­tains hun­dreds of ves­sels from dozens of dif­fer­ent cul­tures, many unknown to Star­fleet. All have been drained of their power and stripped of their power gen­er­a­tion sys­tems, leav­ing their crews to die as their life sup­port failed. The drones respons­ible for this form a screen around the entire sys­tem, and their con­trolling arti­fi­cial intel­li­gences are net­worked togeth­er. Their cyl­indric­al hulls are primar­ily giant bat­ter­ies to store stolen energy.

The Ar-Ka-Se are a group of Vin­Shari rebels, made up of those who oppose their gov­ern­ment’s exploit­a­tion of the ha’kiv. They have cap­tured a num­ber of older war­ships and carry out raids from hid­den loc­a­tions to try and free the cos­mo­zo­ans. The Lib­er­at­or is a typ­ic­al example of one of these ves­sels, car­ry­ing about 70 Vin­Shari and manis, and a sur­pris­ingly power­ful arm­a­ment. Her sails act in a fash­ion sim­il­ar to the “warp wings” found on Klin­gon birds-of-prey, draw­ing power from a ha’kiv-derived power cell.

Thacinn is a Tilikaal, one of a group cap­tured in their sar­co­phagi by the Vin­Shari. Although he has been revived, his aderi returned to his body, he has for­got­ten much of his pre­vi­ous lives, both in the realm of the aderi and in his pre­vi­ous phys­ic­al existence.