From The Divine To The Squidiculous (Darwin-A)
|Season 2, Episode 2|
|After a short shore leave at Deep Space 6, the crew of the Darwin are ready to launch on its next mission. The crew is faced with some departures, and some new arrivals. Ensign Ian Patrick Connory, Lieutenant JG Cadfael Peters, and Ensign Ilyazi Malon transfer off the ship, while some new transfers are accepted onto the Darwin:
During shore leave, Commander Renos is named director for the regional Starfleet Multispecies Initiative, and is tasked with mentoring an influx of temporary assignments from under-represented worlds. He shares this information with the departmental heads, and the ship is readied to accommodate these new crewmembers.Michael Jellico is promoted to Chief Petty Officer, Maxwell Traenor is promoted to Lieutenant, and John Valdivia is promoted to Lieutenant JG. As well, since the rift encountered by the Darwin in the last mission was determined to be related to the Prometheus Incident, all crew present on the Darwin during that time are awarded the Prometheus Ribbon. It is also revealed that Lieutenant Commander Kael Thomas will be reassigned as the Darwin's First Officer.
After these announcements are made, Cmdr Renos informs the senior staff that their next mission will be to the planet Asav, a world visited twice before by Starfleet, including most recently by the Darwin itself a year prior. The Asavii are interested in fostering improved relations with the Federation, and have asked for Starfleet's assistance with an archaeological expedition on their homeworld.
|Lieutenant Commander Nicu Icavoc, Lt Traenor, Lt Valdivia, Ens Lexicon, Lieutenant JG Ashley Deneve Yael, Ens Lyldra, Ensign Graham Block, Ensign Todd Manius, CPO Jellico, and Iy to accompany him on the Away mission to the planet. Beaming down to the biodome Gasceka (The Second Coming), they are greeted by Patriarch Aheran Phlendorp, science minister Saladin Veilta, and their retinue. After introductions are made, the Away team is split into two groups. Renos, Yael, Lyldra, Jellico, and Iy will accompany Patriarch Phlendorp for a cultural tour of the biodomes, while Thomas, Icavoc, Traenor, Valdivia, Lexicon, Block, and Manius will accompany science minister Veilta to the docking bay where they will commence with the exploration of the mysterious cavern structures called Skarlozent (Unbelievers Folly).
Prior to the Away team mission, Ens Manius confides to Ens Alekos that he would rather not be back at Asav, due to his previous experiences with the planet, but dutifully brushes off his concerns. Iy, still acclimating to life on a Starfleet vessel, is surprised to find ne is invited to the planet.
Cmdr Renos asks Patriarch Phlendorp to explain the meaning of the biodome's name Gasceka, and he obliges. Phlendorp leads the cultural team through the reception hall of Gasceka to a large room where refreshments are laid out, and leads a toast to the Asavii god of the seas, Zolrak. CPO Jellico is discomfited by the diplomatic proceedings and the layout of the feast. Iy, unfamiliar with Starfleet doctrine, asks discreet questions of protocol to Lyldra and Jellico.
Science Minister Veilta leads the scientific team to the docking ring, and enroute Manius asks him about the exploration vessels' similarities to their attack ships. It is revealed that both Manius and Thomas piloted Asavii attack ships on the Darwin's previous visit to the planet. Valdivia asks about the geological history of Asav. Arriving at the docking bay, Thomas divides the scientific team onto two ships, with himself, Alekos, Manius, and Valdivia on one, and Traenor, Icavoc, Lexicon, and Block on another. Traenor assigns duties to the crewmen on his exploration vessel.
On their exploration craft, Ens Lexicon liaises with their Asavii pilot Korig Tamit on integrating Starfleet sensors with their ship. Launching behind the first watercraft, Ens Block assists pilot Tamit with navigation. Lexicon also implements a buoy marking system, and assures pilot Tamit as to their inert status. Approaching Skarlozent, they encounter an unknown life form, and take readings of the creature to forward to the Asavii researchers. After the creature passes, Cmdr Icavoc identifies a plant sample that he would like to capture.
Meanwhile, Patriarch Phlendorp entertains inquiries by the attendant Starfleet personnel. Iy asks questions about the religious tolerance of the Asavii, and a question by Ens Lyldra about biodome interaction leads to a long monologue by Phlendorp. A social faux pas causes CPO Jellico to beat a hasty retreat. After this, the feast concludes and they continue their short tour of Gasceka. Iy and Lyldra converse about similarities between Asav and Bolarus. Lyldra and Renos make an offer to the Asavii for collaboration on aquatic technologies.
|On the first watercraft to launch, Lt Valdivia muses about the intricacies of underwater travel, until he spots an interesting site. A perfectly flat surface with a technological relic centered on it presents itself. As Cmdr Rennyn illuminates the area, Ens Alekos uses a robotic arm to try and scour the sediment from the structure. Writing becomes visible, and Science Minister Veilta is able to discern that the device was manufactured by Chitern, a pre-cataclysmic corporation. An off-the-cuff remark by Rennyn annoys Science Minister Veilta. Cmdr Thomas orders Alekos and Valdivia to retrieve the object and bring it aboard, and Alekos finds the foreign task nerve-inducing. Valdivia assures Alekos during the delicate procedure, while sharing details of his past. Rennyn discovers that the sonar can't penetrate behind the flat surface, and Thomas orders a closer look.|
On the final watercraft, the decision is made to exit the craft and continue through the restricted corridor ahead in their EV suits. CPO Jellico hooks a tether onto the watercraft as a guide back. The group traverses the tunnel, and finds a fork in the path. Lyldra reads a large number of life forms down the path that leads to a lower chamber, and some artificial signs down the path that leads to a chamber above. While they consider their options, Iy notices an indigenous life form, which Phlendorp identifies as a tremuro. The crab-like creatures are an Asav delicacy, and upon examining them further, Iy also notes an unnaturally straight bore-hole that the tremuro have retreated into. While the group examines the new find, Cmdr Renos receives a hail from the Darwin, advising of the imminent arrival of two new officers. While Renos is away, the others discuss the origin and meaning of the long man-made tunnel.
Cmdr Icavoc and Lt Traenor are patched into the conversation between Cmdr Renos and the Darwin, and Renos requests Icavoc to return to the ship in order to receive the new officers. Icavoc concurs, and shortly beams back up to the ship. As Block rechecks the integrity of their connection to the Asav mainframe, Ens Lexicon is sent back to the Darwin as well. Moving over to the rear wall of the cavern they are in, they discover etched hieroglyphs. Block is able to deduce that the glyphs predate the biodome era of Asav's past.
When Cmdr Renos returns to the rest of nir group, ne advises Phlendorp that two new officers would be reporting to the planet. As the group discuss which path to take, Phlendorp advises that it is safe for their watercraft to bore through the tunnel to their current location.
|In orbit around Asav, the shuttlecraft Coriolis docks with the Darwin. Cmdr Icavoc, sent ahead to be aboard to receive the new officers, arrives on the bridge and notes a weather disturbance that has little consequence to the mission. Cmdr Walker and Ens Logan report to the bridge, where they are surprised when Icavoc advises them that they will be immediately assigned to one of the Away teams on Asav. Logan has some concerns, but Icavoc addresses them and the two new arrivals prepare for their descent to Asav. Logan visits the ship's armory prior to reporting to the transporter room, and stocks up on some heavy weaponry. Rejoining in the transporter room, Walker and Logan discuss their underwater experience, and Walker is unsure about the amount of ordinance that Logan has brought along. After their departure, Icavoc checks in with the Away teams led by Cmdr Renos and Cmdr Thomas.
After retrieving the mysterious technological device, the Away team led by Cmdr Thomas discuss the void on sonar, and the possibility that the flat surface hides a sealed room. An idea to breach the area is brought forward, though there is concerns about maintaining the integrity of the void if it is flooded. Despite initial misgivings, Science Minister Veilta and Cmdr Rennyn convince Thomas to try a watertight connection to the flat surface before cutting their way in. Rennyn asks Ens Manius for advice on dealing with panic attacks, and Manius tries to talk him through his discomfort. To ease both curiosity and discomfort, Rennyn discusses farming techniques with Science Minister Veilta.
Deciding to avoid the life sign readings in the lower chamber for now, the Away team headed by Cmdr Renos and Patriarch Phlendorp decide to explore the upper chamber. Iy suggests that the exploration craft be brought to their current location for convenience, and Patriarch Phlendorp sends an attache to fetch the vehicle. CPO Jellico produces a micro welder to widen the opening to the pipe, and is tasked to lead the procession up the pipe. During their ascent, the noise and reverberations of the advancing exploration craft cause momentary consternation among members of the party. Lyldra continues her scanning of the environs, though she finds their location is making the readings difficult to identify. Iy and Jellico note that an exit to the pipe is not as obvious as the entrance was, but are able to infer a few possible locations for cutting themselves out. Making a decision, Renos orders Jellico to cut an exit to the pipe, and the party leads out into a decrepit industrial complex.
Discussing an option on how to clear sediment for exploration purposes, Pilot Tamit suggests using the exploration craft's thrusters. Lt Traenor receives notice from Cmdr Icavoc that the newest Darwin officers will be joining his expedition. Once they arrive aboard the submersible led by Traenor, Cmdr Walker defers to the scientist's leadership on the mission. Noticing the amount of firepower brought with Ens Logan, Traenor asks him to stow it for the time being. While briefing the two new officers, Traenor is interrupted by the cryptic transmission that had been transmitted by Attendant Pernod. Pilot Tamit responds to the transmission in kind, then describes a similar story to that given to Cmdr Renos' expedition by Attendant Pernod. Ens Block questions Pilot Tamit, but the Asavii man is resolute in his story. It is discovered by Walker that they no longer have the ability to communicate with the Darwin.
With discussions underway about docking with the un-scannable void, Cmdr Thomas has Ens Alekos and Lt Valdivia inspect the unknown device that they brought aboard their submersible. Initial scans are inconclusive, but that changes after the cryptic transmission is received from Attendant Pernod. Science Minister Veilta explains what he knows about the earth god Balzog. Valdivia discovers that the device has been activated by the transmission. Alekos finds that the device is also now interfering with their scanning devices. At a loss, and with no answers in sight, Thomas contacts Cmdr Renos and advises nem of their current situation.
|Arriving on the Darwin, newly assigned Ensign Mpeba takes a quick trip to visit Engineering, before hurriedly reporting to Cmdr Icavoc on the bridge. Icavoc clears the administrative aspects of Mpeba's arrival, and advises jhea that jhe will be reporting shortly to an Away team. Mpeba takes an opportunity to orient jheaself about the mission parameters.
After demanding answers, Cmdr Renos suggests to both Patriarch Phlendorp and Attendant Pernod that they move their discussions to the Darwin, where ne can mediate their differences in a neutral setting. CPO Jellico muses if they should return to the biodomes, which Patriarch Phlendorp disagrees with. Renos shares the information that was given to him by Cmdr Thomas about the ancient Asavii device being activated by the cryptic code uttered by Attendant Pernod. Garnering a promise of a temporary truce by Patriarch Phlendorp, Attendant Pernod utters another cryptic transmission which he says will deactivate any defenses erected by the first command. The two Asavii agree to Renos' offer to beam up to the Darwin with nem and Ens Lyldra, but not before Attendant Pernod issues a word of caution about Skarlozent to Renos. Sharing the advisement with the rest of the Away teams, Renos requests Cmdr Rennyn to transport over to take nir place in nir expedition, before transporting nir small party back up to the Darwin.
With the receipt of Attendant Pernod's second cryptic transmission, Cmdr Rennyn and Lt Valdivia discover that the device they had transported aboard was no longer active. Valdivia posits that the device was meant to transmit a signal into the void over which they had retrieved it from. After receiving Cmdr Renos' updated instructions, Cmdr Thomas orders the jettison of the device they had taken aboard, and preparations for docking to the air-filled void behind the slab where the device originally rested.
An admittance by Pilot Tamit that he is indeed the source of the blocked communications angers and frustrates Lt Traenor. With Ens Logan considering the use of force, Ens Block, Cmdr Walker, and Traenor discuss how to reestablish communication with the Darwin and the other expeditions. When Attendant Pernod's second cryptic transmission is received, Pilot Tamit reinstates the comms. Receiving a subsequent message from Cmdr Renos to continue with their assigned mission, Logan is still convinced that their expedition is at increased risk and suggests returning to the Darwin. While understanding his concerns, Walker doesn't agree with Logan's arguments, and Traenor insists on following the captain's orders.
After the departure of Cmdr Renos, Ens Lyldra, and the two Asavii, Iy and CPO Jellico are left to explore the industrial complex where they were located while they await the arrival of Cmdr Rennyn. Deciding to explore a side room, Jellico cuts the lock with his micro welder.
|Upon returning to the Darwin, Cmdr Renos and Ens Lyldra lead Patriarch Phlendorp and Attendant Pernod to the bridge, where Cmdr Icavoc requests audience with the captain. Asking Lyldra to escort the two Asavii to the observation lounge, Renos gets the opportunity to meet Ens Mpeba. After a quick discussion, Renos instructs Mpeba to report for a physical in sickbay prior to jheas transport to Asav. Before Renos can head to the observation lounge, ne is advised by sickbay of a medical emergency involving Ens Block's adopted son. Renos orders Icavoc to recall Ens Manius, Ens Alekos, and Block from Asav to cope with the event. Arriving at the sickbay, Manius and Alekos are briefed by Nurse Aegis, while Block tries to comfort his son. In the controlled chaos of the sickbay, Mpeba receives a quick medical from Manius before proceeding to the transporter room, while Alekos attends directly to Block's son.
In the observation room, after a minute to admire Asav from the viewpoint of space. Ens Lyldra and Cmdr Renos start conversations of understanding between Patriarch Phlendorp and Attendant Pernod. In discussing their divergent views of history, the two Asavii start to form an inkling of understanding between them. Slowly, Patriarch Phlendorp admits to Renos of the half-truths and deceptions he has told nem in order to secure the Federation's assistance.
Lying low after personal concerns during the previous mission, Avaris Torrin is ready to start contributing in a civilian capacity on the Darwin, and attains employment in Natural Selections, the officer's lounge. However, despondency makes him listless and distracted, to the concern and chagrin of his new coworkers.
After receiving word that Ens Block needed to return to the Darwin, and his subsequent departure, Lt Traenor requests Cmdr Walker to implement her plan to clear away sediment from the cavern. Anchoring the craft to the cavern floor using guy wires, Walker has Ens Logan fire sonar bursts down the lines to agitate the sediment. The method has the unintended effect of enhanced readings of the wall, which reveal an empty void behind walls of rock and metal.
|With the absence of Ens Manius and Ens Alekos, Cmdr Thomas tasks Science Minister Veilta and Lt Valdivia to assume the duties they previously occupied. They anchor their submersible against the rock face behind which the void is located, and discuss building a hatch to seal the void once they are finished exploring. Cmdr Icavoc contacts Thomas from the Darwin, and advises him that Ens Mpeba will be joining his expedition party. Thomas has Mpeba beam down with supplies to build a hatch for the void, and upon jheas arrival has jhea and Valdivia start the hatch construction. Perforating the wall to the void, Valdivia finds that the room's atmosphere is more in line with that of a class M planet, which leads to the deduction that the void was sealed either before or during the planet's flooding. Finally gaining access to the void, Thomas allows Science Minister Veilta the honor of being the first to enter. Once they have all entered, the void appears to be a large room containing many workstations, and one dessicated corpse. Further examination reveals a generator, which uses water as a fuel source. While retrieving water from the submersible, Valdivia notes a name for the room, Ooyetirent, which translates as 'Control Center'.
Warning Patriarch Phlendorp that the Federation's tolerance for deception is not high, Cmdr Renos offers forgiveness, while Ens Lyldra offers sage advice about religious acceptance. After discussing the reasoning for the Asavii desire for trade with the Federation, they discuss possible trade terms, and Patriarch Phlendorp mentions the true reason for exploring Skarlozent. It was not in search of Balzog artifacts, as Attendant Pernod had feared, but for a historical technology that was rumored to be able to solve their resource ails.
Discussing ways to access the newly-found void, Cmdr Walker suggests a blind transport of a probe, but is concerned that the signal would not be able to emanate from behind a passive scan block that seems to be in place. Ens Logan counsels caution, suggesting they abandon the area. After conferring with Cmdr Thomas and discovering that his team had gained access to a similar void, Traenor is resolute in his determination to find a way to enter theirs. There are no other viable options, so Lt Traenor advises Walker to initiate the transport of a probe into the void, and requests Logan to continue the sonar bursts to try and find an entrance-way.
With no luck finding a power source behind the first of three doors thanks to the composition of the walls blocking their scans, Cmdr Rennyn, CPO Jellico, and Iy decide to try a different room. Rennyn immediately suggests the room marked 'Chitern', a word he had encountered while with Cmdr Thomas's party. Jellico cuts through the latch, and with Rennyn in the lead, they cautiously enter.
|Cmdr Renos, Ens Lyldra, Patriarch Phlendorp, and Attendant Pernod are called from the conference room to the bridge by Cmdr Icavoc. A transmission has been received from Asav, from Minister Hurlich, one of the biodome's administrators. Minister Hurlich demands the return of Patriarch Phlendorp and Attendant Pernod to answer charges of turning against Asav, and threatens violence against the Darwin if they don't comply.
Lt Valdivia and Cmdr Thomas fuel the generator, while Science Minister Veilta and Ens Mpeba inspect the corpse and the adjacent console. As the generator powers up the room, the console next to the corpse erupts in sparks, and Mpeba is able to knock Science Minister Veilta out of harm's way. After this, Valdivia finds and activates a security video feed playback.
Cmdr Walker arranges for the transport of a probe into the hidden void, but as expected, there are no readings received. Just then, the submersible rocks wildly as if struck, and careens on its anchors right into the rock face. When the craft settles, a previously hidden tunnel is revealed behind a hole created by their impact. Though the ship is relatively intact, the comm blocking signal is in place again, but this time not by Pilot Tamit's choice. Finally conceding defeat to fates, Lt Traenor orders Ens Logan to cast off the anchor lines so that they can leave the cavern as soon as possible.
The video playback initiated by Lt Valdivia displays three ancient security footage clips. The first shows a meeting between a scientist and a governmental minister, and describes how water technology has depleted Asav's water supply to dangerous levels. The government, in conjunction with a powerful defense contractor named Chitern, have concocted an audacious plan to mine the planet's ice moon. The plan would require the use of the scientist's fledgling warp field project to safely transport the ice to the planet surface. The second clip shows the launch of the project, where a detonation is to separate a shard of ice from the moon, and the warp field technology will alter its mass enough to bring the shard safely planetside. A malfunction causes the moon to stay intact, while the field generators remain online to alter the moon's orbit just enough to ensure its eventual fatal descent into Asav's gravity well. In the third clip, the scientist and the minister are seen two years after the failed mission. The moon was destroyed by the combined arsenals of the planet, but the ice still rained down on Asav creating unfathomable flooding. The events leading up to present-day Asav, in regards to religion and the biodomes, are discussed.
|After trying the second door, Cmdr Rennyn, Iy, and CPO Jellico are surprised to find a room containing etched glass panels that strongly resemble blueprints for the Asavii biodomes. Upon further inspection, Rennyn discovers a stack of silver disks that resemble data chips. They agree to take the disks to hand over to the Asavii government, and Jellico carefully collects them and hands them to Iy. Tongue in cheek, Jellico invokes the earth god Balzog, which has the unintended effect of powering up the room's electrical systems. Initial fears about reactivated security systems are mollified by Iy's words, as ne suggests they search for more records from the reactivated systems. However, realization dawns on Rennyn that there is a risk of electrical shorts by compromised electronics, and requests an emergency beamout by the Darwin. After a short swim to safety, the team is transported to the ship.
On the Darwin's bridge, Cmdr Renos and Ens Lyldra are faced with a reticent Minister Hurlich, whom Patriarch Phlendorp has described as a traditionalist with a penchant for amassing power and prestige. Conversations with Minister Hurlich start off fruitless, especially as Patriarch Phlendorp acts antagonistically towards the man, until Minister Hurlich's bluff is called. Patriarch Phlendorp then agrees to a trial by his peers in order to push the agenda of Asavii inclusiveness and tolerance, where the failure to successfully present his case will lead to his execution. Feeling a sense of destiny, Patriarch Phlendorp and a newly-empowered Balzog initiate Pernod are accompanied by Lyldra to the transporter room, where they return to Asav. Renos coordinates the instructions to both Cmdr Thomas and Lt Traenor to end the mission and leave Asav.
Trying to flee the cavern after their ship was rocked by an unknown force, Lt Traenor notices electromagnetic readings emanating from the hole that had been opened in the wall. Cmdr Walker notices that it coincides with a flash from the hole, and the submersible is bathed in arcing electrical bolts as the ship shudders to a stop lifeless in the water. With no comms and no power, Traenor, Walker, and Ens Logan debate whether to try swimming for safety or to wait for rescue, employing a makeshift antenna if need be. Fortuitously, the Darwin is able to break through the comm block, and the team is transported back to the ship.
After the security footage has finished its playback, Science Minister Veilta is overcome with conflicting feelings. The information is inflammatory, and has serious repercussions for Asavii society. Concerns that the Asav government might cover up these startling discoveries ignite a feeling of defensiveness and impotence in Ens Mpeba, powerless as jhe is by the terms of her commission in Starfleet. Wishing to confer with his colleague, Lt Valdivia attempts to contact Lt Traenor, and when he is met with silence, contacts the Darwin out of concern. Receiving instructions to end the mission, Cmdr Thomas orders the tagging of vital artifacts before expressing his farewells to Science Minister Veilta, and the team transports back to the Darwin.
As the Away teams freshen up and after mission debriefs, the Darwin leaves orbit from Asav, leaving the Asavii to form their own fate in the short term. Cmdr Renos receives a summon from Deep Space 6 with orders to return at full warp, thus ending the mission to Asav.
This episode completed its airing on stardate 239205.31
|REV SD 239206.03|