The Survivors

Epis­ode Num­ber: 3×05

Writ­ten by: Jon Crew, based on a story by Tony Pi

Dir­ec­ted by: Jon Crew

Trans­mis­sion: 3rd March 2024

On return­ing past the anom­aly where we recovered the wreck of the Sonak, we have detec­ted faint traces of an ion trail lead­ing away from the area. Giv­en that Sonak’s sup­port vehicle, a small warp-cap­able craft car­ried by many Vul­can ships, was not present when we dis­covered the wreck­age, we can­not ignore the chance that there may be survivors.

Cap­tain’s Log: Stard­ate, 9966.7

Plot: Vale, Valik and James deal with assor­ted per­son­al issues as Lyo­n­esse traces pos­sible sur­viv­ors from the Sonak disaster.

The ‘A’ Plot: While en route to Oreis­on, Lock detects traces of an ion trail near the site of the Sonak dis­aster. Ana­lys­is shows that it is over a dec­ade old, appears to be from an annu­lar warp drive, and leads to the BC-07 star sys­tem about a light year away. The cap­tain decides to invest­ig­ate, in case someone sur­vived the wreck, and they divert to fol­low it. Dur­ing the trip, James ana­lyses the warp trail, dis­cov­er­ing that it appears to be lead­ing away from the plan­et, rather than to it, but they press on regardless.

The trail seems to fade out as they enter the sys­tem, but sensors pick up an arti­fi­cial struc­ture just below the sur­face of a class M water world, des­ig­nated BC-07b. The plan­et’s con­stant storms make the use of trans­port­ers dif­fi­cult, so James is detailed to pilot the aquashuttle Isolde down to invest­ig­ate. His pas­sen­gers include Vale, Valik and Astan, along with a couple of med­ic­al and engin­eer­ing personnel.

Des­pite need­ing to dodge the high winds, he suc­cess­fully puts Isolde down quite close to the struc­ture, which is float­ing at a dis­tinct angle about 50 meters below the waves. Sub­mer­ging, the shuttle approaches the struc­ture, which appears to be a large durani­um plat­form con­tain­ing pres­sur­ised cham­bers, and they loc­ate a Fed­er­a­tion stand­ard dock­ing port on the upper sur­face. James docks dir­ectly to the port, mak­ing access to the install­a­tion fairly easy. With­in, they dis­cov­er that standby power is being gen­er­ated, but that no-one has been home for some time. Valik checks the com­puters, loc­at­ing research notes and logs indic­at­ing that all 34 of the plat­form’s staff evac­u­ated on Sonak’s sup­port ship when they lost con­tact with their par­ent ship.

They return to the ship with the down­loaded data, then Lyo­n­esse heads in the oppos­ite dir­ec­tion, fol­low­ing anoth­er faint ion trail back towards, and bey­ond, the anom­aly. After about a day’s travel into the pas­sage back towards New Vahar, sensors detect what appears to be a bubble of anti-pro­tons embed­ded in a fold of the “wall” of the pas­sage. Sev­er­al kilo­met­ers across, it is sur­roun­ded by what appears to be a simple elec­tro­mag­net­ic force field, keep­ing the anti­mat­ter from the nor­mal mat­ter sur­round­ing it. Scans show that there are sev­er­al met­al objects with­in the bubble, includ­ing pieces of what appears to be a Vahari ark, and what could very well be a Vul­can sup­port ship.

Although the sensors are unable to reveal any details about the wreck­age, such as life or power read­ings, the cap­tain is determ­ined to retrieve it. Lock notes that it appears that anti-pro­ton beams are slowly carving up the Vahari remains, although the Vul­can ship appears to be intact so far. The sci­ence depart­ment hypo­thes­ises that the anti­mat­ter is actu­ally part of an unusu­al cos­mo­zo­an, made entirely of anti­mat­ter. This makes extract­ing the wreck­age much more com­plcated, as Star­fleet pro­to­cols would for­bid injur­ing such a creature without hard evid­ence that there is someone to be rescued.

The ship edges closer to the anti­mat­ter cloud, con­stantly scan­ning for more detail, but the sensors prove incap­able of pen­et­rat­ing the force field. Lock launches a probe, but while it pen­et­rates the screen eas­ily, it is anni­hil­ated as it encoun­ters the anti-pro­tons with­in. The explo­sion seems to cause pain to the creature, and pseudo­pods begin to extend towards the ship. James works quickly to pull it out of reach.

The­or­ising that it would be pos­sible to modi­fy the shields to pro­duce the same sep­ar­a­tion effect as the creature’s force field, they opt to try this on Lyo­n­esse. How­ever, an exper­i­ment­al push against the creature’s own screen res­ults in it push­ing back and try­ing to envel­op the ship again. Vale sug­gests anoth­er approach, using a sim­il­arly-mod­i­fied shuttle­craft to sneak in, in a sim­il­ar fash­ion to a needle extract­ing organ­elles from a cell.

Once Valik’s team have upgraded the shields on the scout shuttle Nim­uë, James pilots the mis­sion to try and reach the Vul­can wreck­age, again accom­pan­ied by Vale and Valik. As pre­dicted, it appears the creature does not notice them, but about half-way to the wreck­age, the James’s cyber­net­ic limb begins to mal­func­tion again, mak­ing bizarre move­ments at awk­ward moments and for­cing the shuttle onto an errat­ic path. Valik detaches the limb and begins repairs, while James tries to main­tain con­trol of Nim­uë one-handed.

In the co-pilot’s seat, Vale is able to scan the derel­ict ves­sel in more detail as they get closer, con­firm­ing that it is indeed Vul­can, and detect­ing around thirty coffin-sized con­tain­ers draw­ing power in its main cargo hold. Des­pite his han­di­cap, James is able to per­form an elab­or­ate man­ou­vre to dock to the Vul­can ship. The away team ven­tures inside, using breath­ing masks and mag­net­ic boots, and they quickly find occu­pied cryo­gen­ic cap­sules, con­tain­ing what appear to be Vul­cans. While Vale ensures the sur­viv­ab­il­ity of the refugees, James and Valik set things up so that Nim­uë can tow the craft out of the cloud, to be assisted by Lyo­n­esse’s tract­or beam as soon as they are in range. The creature pur­sues them, but they are able to get out of its reach in plenty of time.

Vale reports that the occu­pants of the cap­sules appear to be alive, but that it will take a couple of weeks to bring them out of sus­pen­ded anim­a­tion safely.

The ‘B’ Plots: James wakes up to major prob­lems with his pros­thet­ic arm. From the start, it’s behav­ing errat­ic­ally, then it crushes a cof­fee cup, and hits him in the face as he tries to clean up the mess. He debates wheth­er to talk to med­ic­al or engin­eer­ing staff, and finally heads for sick­bay. On the way, he encoun­ters Lock, and the arm hits the oth­er conn officer in the face, for­cing James to apo­lo­gise profusely.

Arriv­ing at the med­ic­al centre, he finds Vale is in a meet­ing with Astan. The secur­ity chief has dis­covered that some of the lower decks crew have formed a secret­ive “club”, and have taken over a dis­used stor­age bay, warn­ing oth­ers away. Invest­ig­at­ing, he found that they had locked out the intern­al sur­veil­lance sys­tems and dec­or­ated the cham­ber with odd-look­ing sym­bols, candles and oth­er odd props. He won­ders if Vale has ever encountered any­thing like this? Vale opines that it sounds reli­gious in nature, and won­ders if this has developed as a way of cop­ing with the isol­a­tion of the mis­sion. She offers to assist with his invest­ig­a­tion, and also sug­gests that maybe there’s a lower-deck­er who could help him?

Once Astan has left, James speaks to Vale and explains his prob­lem. She checks his neur­al and mus­cu­lar health, and estab­lishes that there is no prob­lem with the organ­ic side of his pros­thet­ic inter­face. She advises that he talk to the engin­eer­ing depart­ment about the cyber­net­ic sys­tems themselves.

Valik, mean­while, has been exper­i­en­cing intrus­ive thoughts about his uncle, and about the pos­sib­il­ity of the exped­i­tion fail­ing with the loss of all aboard Lyo­n­esse. Unable to sup­press these thoughts through his Vul­can tech­niques, he also goes to Vale for assist­ance, encoun­ter­ing James as he arrives.

James waits as the engin­eer goes in to meet with the doc­tor. Vale points out that it has been 50 Vul­can years since the Sonak was lost, so it is under­stand­able that this would come up, espe­cially when his mind is still pro­cessing the trauma from find­ing his uncle at BC-02. She also points that this is not unusu­al: many crew­mem­bers are exper­i­en­cing stress due to the pro­longed dur­a­tion of the mis­sion. She believes sup­press­ing these thoughts with med­ic­a­tion will not help, and sug­gests focus­sing his med­it­a­tions on the top­ic of his uncle, rather than shy­ing away from it.

Back in engin­eer­ing, Valik exam­ines James’s limb and finds some broken con­nec­tions. It’s the work of a few minutes to fix them, but, unfor­tu­nately, it would appear the repairs were not effective…

The Arc: This epis­ode takes place before first con­tact with the Oreis­on and the K’si, and Lyo­n­esse has finally dis­covered sur­viv­ors from the Sonak.

Obser­va­tions: Hamilton James has a cyber­net­ic limb res­ult­ing from an academy injury. It appears that it has gone too long without maintenance.

It has been 50 Vul­can years since Sonak depar­ted on her mis­sion, which equates to 36 stand­ard years.

BC-07b is a stormy water­world with no land masses, orbit­ing a small red star. The Vul­can plat­form is 200 metres across, made of durani­um, and appears to have been deployed to research the plan­et’s oceans and biology.

Lar­ger Vul­can ships often carry a siz­able sup­port ves­sel, com­par­able in func­tion to a Star­fleet cap­tain’s yacht, but much big­ger. This one is about 150 metres long.

The creature is made of anti­mat­ter, pro­tect­ing itself from sur­round­ing nor­mal mat­ter with a power­ful elec­tro­mag­net­ic force field. It seems to engulf mater­i­al objects, sur­round them with force fields of their own, then cut them up using anti-pro­ton beams. What it does with the remains is unclear, but the sci­ence depart­ment the­or­ises that it mixes con­trolled amounts with its own anti­mat­ter to gen­er­ate energy and fab­ric­ate new mater­i­als for its own use.

Dia­logue: Valik to Vale: “Doc­tor, I have observed that on occa­sion you have allowed emo­tions to cloud your judgment.”