The Needs of the Few, Part III

Epis­ode Num­ber: 4×03

Writ­ten by: Derek Tyler Attico

Dir­ec­ted by: Jon Crew

Trans­mis­sion: 9th March 2024

Guest Stars:

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

A career in space can be weird. One day we’re map­ping secret routes to keep car­goes safe from our former allies. The next, we’re sneak­ing into a hos­tile star sys­tem to retrieve our warp core and res­cue some giant sea slugs from power-hungry pir­ates fly­ing space-going sail­ing ships!

Anoth­er day in Star­fleet – copacetic!

Com­mand­er Zohir’s Per­son­al Log: Stard­ate, 50110.7

Plot: The Lex­ing­ton crew and their Ar-Ka-Se allies sneak into the Vin­Shari sys­tem to try and retrieve their warp core and lib­er­ate the ha’kiv.

The ‘A’ Plot: As Lex­ing­ton and Lib­er­at­or silently enter the sys­tem, their sensor sig­na­tures masked by Zeph­t’s drone net­work hack, the two crews plan their raid on the sys­tem’s gas giant. After determ­in­ing who will attack what, there is a brief dis­cus­sion of how they will reach their tar­gets. Both the barge car­ry­ing the warp core and the Vin­Shari research sta­tion are bur­ied deep with­in the atmo­sphere of the plan­et. Atmo­spher­ic con­di­tions ensure that unaided trans­port­ers will be too dan­ger­ous, but a shuttle­craft would be spot­ted if it gets close enough to dock. Even­tu­ally, it’s decided that the ini­tial assault on the barge will be under­taken by a small team, which can set up pat­tern enhan­cers to allow dir­ect transport.

The land­ing party enters the upper clouds by shuttle­craft, diving to with­in a few thou­sand meters of the barge, before exit­ing and sky-diving the remain­ing dis­tance. Des­pite its dar­ing nature, the jump is largely routine, although Azon­an has to tan­dem-jump with the cap­tain. They are accom­pan­ied by four of the Ar-Ka-Se, includ­ing Thacinn and J’Lara, although one of the oth­er Vin­Shari misses the barge and is lost.

Azon­an swifly loc­ates an entry hatch and Zepht scans for the loc­a­tions of the barge’s crew. There are three near the hold con­tain­ing Lex­ing­ton’s warp core, and anoth­er three on the bridge. Drop­ping through the entry hatch, the intruders coordin­ate a sim­ul­tan­eous attack on both groups, with wide-angle phaser fire stun­ning both sets of Vin­Shari before they can react. While the Ar-Ka-Se go to check on the ha’kiv, Azon­an and Zepht arrange pat­tern enhan­cers around the warp core, then the engin­eer beams back to the ship with it, to super­vise rein­stalling it in its prop­er place. 

The remainder of the board­ing party stays on the barge as it reaches its des­tin­a­tion. They are dis­covered by a secur­ity team as the barge docks, but a brief fire­fight res­ults in a vic­tory for the intruders. Zepht and Kon­in loc­ate their tar­gets by tri­cord­er and tele­pathy respect­ively, and the teams split up. The Ar-Ka-Se head for the ha’kiv power­ing the research sta­tion, while the Star­fleet team and Thacinn head for the con­trol centre, where the Assessor is being studied.

The con­tol centre is defen­ded by an unusu­al group of Vin­Shari, lack­ing the usu­al neck spines, who Thacinn iden­ti­fies as Mida­jah-Ka, mem­bers of an order of guard­i­ans of the Vin­Shari way. Although he has been warned of their fan­at­icism, Kon­in attempts a dip­lo­mat­ic solu­tion, ask­ing them to stand down and avoid viol­ence. The Vin­Shari pro­duce bat­on-like weapons, and viol­ence does indeed break out. The assault team is some­what con­fused when the room sud­denly trans­forms into a forest, with the oppos­i­tion attack­ing from cov­er with­in the trees. It takes them a little while to real­ise that the forest is holo­graph­ic, as are many of the com­batants with which they are engaged. Pos­sess­ing a sim­il­ar level of soph­ist­ic­a­tion to a star­ship holo­deck, the imagery seems to be gen­er­ated by the bat­ons of the Mida­jah-Ka.

Even­tu­ally, they force the Vin­Shari to retreat, but it seems to be too late, their cap­tive is dying. As they debate their next move, the dis­play screens around the room all begin dis­play­ing the same video image, one of the Vin­Shari Queen Moth­ers. Address­ing them all by name, she warns them that an entire star sys­tem is arrayed against them and they can­not pos­sibly escape. Her forces are already enga­ging their ship.

But then the dying Assessor offers them assist­ance, and trans­ports them back to the ship, where Azon­an is just fin­ish­ing bring­ing the core online. Sim­ul­tan­eously, they con­tact the ha’kiv, encour­aging them to take the oppor­tun­ity to escape. Unfor­tu­nately, the ha’kiv con­nec­ted to the sta­tion is also dying, and elects to move on to the next stage of its life cycle instead.

As Lex­ing­ton and Liberty dodge the incom­ing Vin­Shari ves­sels to escape the sys­tem, their crews look back to see the two lib­er­ated ha’kiv jump to warp. The gas giant hold­ing the research facil­ity is shrink­ing rap­idly, before a bright flash her­alds the appear­ance of a new star, throw­ing the Vin­Shari forces into disarray.

A day or so later, as they part com­pany with their new friends in the Ar-Ka-Se, they pick up a sub­space broad­cast by the Vin­Shari gov­ern­ment, brand­ing Kon­in and his crew as “agents of evil” for caus­ing the cre­ation of a demon­ic 4th sun…

The Arc: It appears that the Vin­Shari are becom­ing a major threat in their region of the Expanse, espe­cially if they suc­ceed in gain­ing access to Tilikaal technology.

Obser­va­tions: The centrepiece of the board­ing action is the orbit­al sky­dive. While Raynor and Quinn had form­al Academy train­ing in the tech­nique, and Kon­in took it as an elect­ive, neither Azon­an nor Zepht did. The Andori­an has no exper­i­ence, and the Den­ob­u­lan has only used sim­u­lat­ors. Zeph­t’s land­ing, how­ever, shows an unex­pec­ted nat­ur­al talent.

The Mida­jah-ka appear to be a mon­ast­ic reli­gious order ded­ic­at­ing to exem­pli­fy­ing and pro­tect­ing the Vin­Shari way of life. Mem­bers give up their neck spines as a sign of their ded­ic­a­tion, and under­go extens­ive com­bat train­ing. They also learn to mas­ter some level of holo­graph­ic tech­no­logy, although its exact cap­ab­il­it­ies are unclear.

Ref­er­ences: Orbit­al sky­diving has been seen in both Star Trek: Voy­ager’s “Extreme Risk, and in Star Trek. It was appar­ently a favour­ite pas­time of James T. Kirk.