STA: Between a Rock and a Wet Place

Star Trek: Emergency Deep

S01E14 “Between a Rock and a Wet Place”

USS Östergötland NCC-72227

S01E09 Orbital Manouevres in the Dark title card

Dramatis Personae

  • Capt Greg Ellison (Dan)
  • Dr. Patrick Troughton (Doug)
  • Cmdr. Morpheus Drake (Ivan)
  • Lt Galinha (Ivan)
  • Lt. JG John Hippocampus (Razz)

Stardate: 58564.75 July 26 2381.

Location: Jenolan Dyson Sphere

Grace Under Pressure

The heavily modified Norway class NCC-72227 USS Östergötland is 70 meters under the surface of a lake. The lake is on the inner surface of the massive Jenolan Dyson sphere, 8 light minutes in radius. The top hull over Transporter Room 1 on Deck 1 is breached by the bright light burst from the fist-sized crystal on the transporter pad. The hole lets the lake water flood into the compartment, but is held within the transporter pad emergency forcefield. But, its energy is quickly being drained somehow.

In the room are Captain Greg Ellison, Tamarian Chief Operations Officer Lt. Galinha, the young Cetacean Chief Science Officer John Hippocampus, and engineer Ensign Lucas Garcia.

From the bridge, Chief Flight Officer (also the Executive Officer) Commander Morpheus Drake advises the crew there to evacuate the room. They all run out with Garcia leading the way. But then the forcefield fails, the invasive water splashing on Capt Ellison just before the doors closes, activating its own forcefield preventing the flooding of the hallway.

Dice roll on Roll 20

Norway-class Master System Display

The ship is being rocked by a powerful external force in the water.

The half-Deltan Ellison makes telepathic contact with an entity because skin contact with the water. It calls itself “Us” and refuse to acknowledge them as anything other than “Östergötland”. Because it looks as if Ellison is in pain, the elderly Chief Medical Officer Dr. Patrick Troughton rushes forward to give him medical assistance. Lt Galinha immediately orders Transporter Room 2 to lock onto the Captain & Doctor and transport them directly to sickbay.

Permanent Waves

Drake tells them he will surface the ship. Galinha sprints to Engineering to help increase the power. Lt Garcia & Lt Hippocampus, on his grav sled, sees that the door to Transporter Room 1 is being smashed from within. He realises that it’s the water doing this.

In Sickbay, Dr. Troughton detects that Ellison’s brainwaves is way above the red line and his BP is spiking. He would stroke out before long. Unable to break the captain out of his trance, the doctor quickly begins to synthesise a compound that acts as both an antihypertensive and a nootropic drug.

Transporter Room 1 door explodes into the hallway in a burst of water. Secondary emergency forcefields trap it in the 2-meter section before of the shattered door, but Garcia and Hippocampus are now separated by it. Is the crystal causing this? The beluga whale science officer has an idea. Lower the shield, let the water in to the bulkhead door behind him, activate the uniform rebreather then swim into the room, grab the crystal and discard it outside the ship.

At the same time, Ellison finds himself in a dark place with the presence of the entity. He starts interacting with “Us”. Swayed by his diplomacy skills, Us believes that “Östergötland” does not mean any harm. “Us” confirms that he has seen a Tosk and mentally guides him towards a blue glowing tunnel. The Tosk headed there many years ago.

At this point, the doctor injects the new drug cocktail into Ellison’s neck with a hypospray.

I like the animated gifs at the bottom

USS Östergötland starship sheet

Roll the Bones

Hippocampus implements his plan, the water sloshing all over him filling up the corridor. He hears the water, who calls him “Östergötland” telepathically. The water pulls him into the Transporter Room. He grabs with his beak the inert-looking crystal on the wreckage of the transporter pad. A second later, he’s gone extravehicular.

Drake is having trouble surfacing the ship, but with Galinha’s assist from Engineering the Östergötland breaks free of the sapient water’s grasp. The klaxons blare, indicating Hippocampus is overboard.

Suddenly, the Us-Ellison connection is broken, and he admonishes the doctor for administering the drug during a First Contact situation. Dr. Troughton is adamant that the captain’s life was worth more than the First Contact situation.

Ellison then orders Flight Officer Lt. Chanthiri Chayasit to retrieve the science officer with the shuttlecraft Mokuhonu.

At the same time, Hippocampus drops the crystal in the warm waters. Chayasit meets up with him, then after a thumbs up they both return to the hangar bay moon pool.


As the Mokuhonu parks, the beluga leaps onto the hangar deck, activating his grav sled. He turns, peers down and sees the crystal he dropped right under him. He panics for a second. How?

He scans the crystal and finds no radiation, microbe or anything dangerous on it.

Ellison calls for a briefing while DOT-7Ms repair the hull damage. He relays the information he got from Us while Hippocampus shows them the crystal that followed him back. No idea how it moved. Ellison orders Troughton to bring it to sickbay to run a more detailed scan.

"Crystal Cave" by Eru17 on DeviantArt

Based on the real life Crystal Cave in Mexico

The senior staff agree they should follow the advice given by Us. Suddenly, the crystal is in the replicator alcove. Troughton holds it and rushes to sickbay where he and Dr. Pachakutiq Ingersoll study the crystal on Biobed 1.

With repairs completed, Drake pilots the ship through the tunnel following the course etched in Ellison’s mind and they travel for some time. Then a cluster of huge milky-white crystal columns criss-cross the passage ahead, blocking them.

Hold Your Fire

Back in Sickbay, a nurse tells Troughton that the LCARS UI on Biobed 2 is broken. Then Troughton distracts Ingersoll. Suddenly, the crystal has vanished from Biobed 1.

When Ellison contacts Sickbay for a status report, Troughton says it has disappeared. Chief Security Officer Lt Libby dos Santos at the Bridge Tactical Station points under Hippocampus: the crystal is now back under the beluga. Ellison orders the beluga to mind the crystal. When he looks again, Hippocampus finds it now safe in his wetsuit pouch.

New plan: Drakes leads an away team with Galinha & Dr Troughton in shuttlecraft Kuakamoku Rock, and Hippocampus extravehicular in the water. They launch and thread the needle carefully. The science officer finds the water here much cooler than the lake. With everyone’s coordinated help, Drake safely pilots through the sharp-edged quartz columns.

On the other side, they find one of their probes and command it to pace them as they travel deeper. Using jury-rigged pattern enhancers aboard the shuttle, the Östergötland stands by to transport the crew back if there is a problem.

Test for Echo

It is then they find an ancient crashed ship wedged between tunnel walls, with clusters of bio-luminescent coral growing on it. At first, Ellison orders the shuttle to approach first. Sure enough they detect a single Tosk vital signs, but very faint. It seems to be enclosed in some organic pod with vine-like tendrils feeding it energy from an external source.

"Luminescent Planet" by Blake Rottinger at Alphacoders

Finally, the ship from the Gamma Quadrant

Hippocampus then overtakes the Kuakamoku Rock and hails the coral growth with his cetacean song. There is a response. At first the response seems confused. Then something happens.

One of the glowing coral pieces detaches from the main mass, and physically transforms into some sort of calcified life-form with arm, standing upright, and then lurches at great speed towards the undefended beluga. Its huge, milky white claws raised for the kill…

To be continued

Posted in GOKL Actual Play, Role Playing Games, RPG Actual Play, RPG Campaigns, STA: Emergency Deep and tagged , , , , , , , .

Khairul Hisham J. is a tabletop RPG artist, writer, proofreader, translator, teacher, grad student and learner-in-general.

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