Star Trek: Thine Own Self
S02 E02 Breaking Out
Stardate: 57930.0 – Sat Dec 06 2380 0931 UTC
Starfleet Dramatis Personae
- Lt. Cmdr. Kodar Tamat, Cardassian First Officer and mission commander
- Lt. Leahman Barclay, Human conn officer
- Dr. Thomas Crane, Human medical officer
- Ensign Sparik, Vulcan conn officer – shuttle pilot
- Lt. Annete Metaxis, Human bridge conn officer – B shift
- Dr. Marjukka Suuronen, Human chief medical officer
- Dr. Arnaaluk, Human medical officer
- Chief Inés Ortega, Human transporter chief
- Captain Vosgal Toor, Zaranite commanding officer of the USS Sienkiewicz
Captain’s Log. Stardate 57319.68. The USS Sienkiewicz has been dispatched to the New Kamchatka colony. With us is Mr. Lionel Morikawa, a Federation diplomat who will be mediating a dispute between the Federation colony base and the native species of the planet, the Zrasu. Although the mission is predicted to be a uneventful, my crew and I will be prepared for anything that might jeopardise our task.
And now the continuation:
The Source of the Attack is Unknown
The Federation Starship USS Sienkiewicz was busy scanning the surface of Porticullis III (known to the local Zrasu species as Zraa) for Lt. Cmdr. Kodar Tamat, Lt. Leahman Barclay, Ensign Sparik and Mr. Lionel Morikawa who disappeared when transporting onto the planet. At the conn station of the Sienkiewicz‘s bridge, Lt. Metaxis barked, “I am unable to track them. They never materialised at the mustering point. The Colony director is asking us what’s going on. There appears to have been some sort of attack at the outskirts of the colony. The source of the attack is unknown.”
Captain Toor said, “Send down two security teams and two medical teams to assist the colonists and the Zrasu.”
Dr. Crane, You’re Up
Meanwhile in Sickbay, the Chief Medical Officer Dr. Marjukka Suuronen is getting her staff to prep for an immediate beam down. She says, “Team One and Team Two. Head to Transporter Room One and beam down to the Colony. You, you there, new guy. What’s your name again?”
“Lt. Crane, sir,” said Dr. Thomas Crane. He was a junior medical officer who was trained in infectious diseases and xenobiology, recently posted aboard the ship.
“Lt. Crane, you’re the seventh man in Medical Team two,” said Dr. Suuronen. “Don’t forget to bring a phaser. You might need it.”
As Crane entered the transporter room, he saw the first medical team dematerialise off the pad. At her station, Transporter chief Inés Ortega reported, “Team one is at the beam down site. All seem well.”
Team two’s leader Dr. Arnaaluk said, “Second team, go.” There were only six pads in the transport chamber. There were seven of them. Dr. Arnaaluk ordered six of them get aboard the pad. Chief Ortega worked her magic and the first six of Team Two were transported to the New Kamchatka mustering point. She gazed at a readout and said, “Confirmed. Team Two is boots-on-the-ground safe.”
Ortega signalled to Crane, “Dr. Crane. You’re up.”
Crane gave his medical tricorder and phaser a once over and stepped on the pad alone. The seventh member of Team Two told Ortega, “Ready, sir.” He felt the transporter beam wash over him…
… and then materialised in a rocky chamber. This was not the colony’s mustering point. There were no medical teams nor any Federation colonists in the chamber.
Standing before him was the started figure of a Cardassian: Lt. Cmdr. Kodar Tamat, the First Officer of the Sienkiewicz. Lying down asleep at the near wall was Lt. Barclay and sitting beside him was Ensign Sparik. The Vulcan raised an eyebrow at Crane’s sudden appearance and said, “Fascinating.”
Before Tamat could speak, the door at the far wall opened. A single male alien walked in. Immediately standing up, Sparik told Dr. Crane, “Stand down, sir. There is a force field between us and the alien.”
The alien studied everyone, one at a time. As this was happening, Sparik briefed Crane, “They have taken Lionel Morikawa for some reason. We believe this species wishes to retake this planet from the Zrasu. who apparently stole it from them, if I understand this correctly.”
Dr. Crane scanned the room with his tricorder but was unable to get any readings (Reason + Science, 3 Difficulty, failure – only 2 Successes). The alien addressed Tamat, “You may tell your physician to stop scanning, Commander. This area is blocked by an anti-scanning field. You cannot use your tricorders. Neither can your ship detect your location.”
My Name is Too-Mek
When the alien called for Crane and Sparik to follow him, Tamat argued with him and asked for his name (Presence + Command, 2 Difficulty, success). He said, “My name is Too-Mek. We Dasai have been living on this planet which we call Kal-Tormak for thousands of years. The Zrasu came 300 years ago and exiled us into the caves under the planet. We need you and your ship to retake our planet. By force from the Zrasu if necessary.”
There had been no mention of the Dasai in the mission briefing. Were the Dasai lying? Or did the Zrasu not inform the Federation of the true situation on the planet?
Tamat, ever the diplomat, said, “We cannot do that, but we can help you negotiate.”
Too-Mek spat, “Do you think we have not tried to negotiate with those thieves? They would rather we be dead than share the planet. In any case, Mr. Morikawa has had a bad fall on the way to the Centruum. He claims that his terminal polium node was shunted and is in great pain. The physician will mend him.” Crane knew that terminal polium node was not a real medical term.
“Nevertheless,” said Tamat, “our captain will never give you our ship. You must let us attempt to negotiate with the Zrasu.” (Presence + Command, 3 Difficulty, failure.)
The Dasai gestured them to stand aside and asked Crane to step forward. He hit a control box in the palm of his right hand and the shield dropped. After Sparik and Crane stepped out, the shield reactivated.
Sai-Mok, What is it?
That was when the door opened again and another Dasai entered. He brandished something that looked like a hand weapon. Looking bewildered, Too-Mek asked, “Sai-Mok, what is it?” Sai-Mok was stationary for several heartbeats. “Sai-Mok. Are you okay?”
Suddenly he seemed to be fighting the words from coming out of his own mouth,”F–field… jamming… stops at… Kom-Rhanok Forest. Kom-Rhanok. Go… there.” He was addressing the Sienkiewicz crew! Too-Mek was aghast. “Sai-Mok. Stop!”
“G-go there. The C-central Tree…”
Then, Sai-Mok discharged his weapon. A purple beam struck Too-mek’s chest and he fell unconscious. What was going on? Then Sai-Mok began screaming in pain for a couple of seconds, then he too collapsed onto the smooth, shiny black rock floor.
Some Kind of Insect
Sparik deactivated the shield while Crane scans Too-Mek and Sai-Mok. They were both still very much alive. Then, he immediately spotted it. A small six-legged insect had clamped down onto the back of his next with its mandibles and claws. It was about 6 cm long. it looked like a beetle, but shiny dark green. He reported to Tamat, “There’s something here, Commander. On its neck. Some kind of insect.”
Crane scanned it with his tricorder (Insight+Science, 2 Difficulty, Success) and then reported that both Dasai were still alive. The insect was also still alive, but was clamped deep onto his spinal cord. Its mandibles were biting Sai-Mok’s spine. What was this alien beetle? Was it mind-controlling Sai-Mok? Who was behind it?
Meanwhile, Sparik tried to wake Barclay up. Instead, he swatted the Vuican pilot’s hand away, while mumbling in his sleep, “Mom. I… I need to get up at 4… tomorrow morning.”
Phasers on Stun
Sparik asked, “What do we do? Should we rescue Mr. Morikawa or should we get out of this jamming field at this Kom-Rhanok forest?”
Tamat nodded. “No tricorders beyond the wall, and no comms,” he said, tapping his badge.
“Morikawa’s supposed injuries were medical nonsense. Someone was lying about his condition,” Crane muttered.
“Definitely,” Tamat agreed. “I’m an engineer, but even I could see that.”
“Phasers on stun, sir?” asked Sparik.
“Yes. I’ll take point,” Tamat said as he advanced towards the door from which both Dasai emerged. Sparik followed him, followed by Crane and then Barclay.
Beyond the door, two Dasai in black coveralls were guarding a well-lit rocky corridor made of shiny black stone. The corridor extended to their left and right. There was another open door on the opposite wall. Its interior was lit by purple lighting. (I roll 1d6. On 1-4: they do not notice. 5-6: they do. I roll a 2.)
Their backs to the Starfleet officers, the Dasai did not notice Tamat and Crane crouching and firing their phasers. Tamat had a Type-1 as he was attached to a diplomatic mission. Crane’s was a Type-2 as he was on an Away Team on alert. However, Crane’s beam missed its mark even as Tamat’s struck his target. Barclay quipped, “Did you need more practice before we opened the door, sonny?”
“Unnecessary banter, Barclay,” snapped Tamat, all business and no play. The one Tamat shot was still conscious. He fired at Tamat but missed. There were more shots fired, but none landed. Barclay grinned, “These potshots are not up to Starfleet standards.”
Tamat shot back, “I will be ordering more training drills.” There was a loud “Dadgumit!” as Barclay missed another shot.
How Did This Human Activate the Machine
The Cardassian XO rushed forward and barrelled into the two Dasai guards (Daring + Security, 2 Difficulty, Success, but with a Complication) and pushed both through the open door. Within were even more elaborately designed stone structures, like obelisks that grew out of the tunnel floor. There were lined patterns on the stone surface like circuitry. The mostly-parallel lines were glowing with purple light. Tamat tumbled and hit one of the stone obelisks.
As Crane reached the door first, he saw that the glowing lines on the structure Tamat and the Dasai had crashed into began to pulsate. The pulsations became brighter and brighter. (I activate the Complication.) Suddenly, Tamat and the Dasai covered their ears, their faces twisted in pain. An unbelievably loud ringing thundered in their ears. The second Dasai yelled, “How did this Human activate the machine?”
At the door threshold, Crane, Barclay and Sparik saw the effect of this mental ringing, but did not experience it. (Anyone in the room now has +2 to Difficulty.)
Sparik’s phaser beam dropped one of the Dasai. The other was still disoriented. He dropped his weapon and was now hitting at the pulsating obelisk with his fists. Barclay yelled, “Commander Tamat! Come on out of there!”
As Tamat leapt out of the room in a daze, Crane scanned the obelisks and discovered that the structures were 7000 years old.
We’re Very Near an Exit
Scanning the corridor, they found that to the left, after 100 metres, there was an opening in the wall with steps going up. To the right, the corridor opened up 200 meters away into what seems to be a cavern filled with some form of bio-luminescent alien flora. Pointing at the subterranean forest, Crane said, “Commander, it looks like we’re very near an exit.”
Sparik said, “This might be Kom-Rhanok forest that Sai-Mok mentioned.” He advanced towards it with his phaser raised.
Tamat pointed towards the cavern entryway, and said, “Let’s go.”
Meanwhile, Barclay aimed carefully and fired his phaser. The second Dasai dropped. Then he punched a button by his side blindly and a door slid down, shutting off the obelisk room from the corridor.
He smiled, saying, “Should I hang a DO NOT DISTURB sign at the door while they’re having a rest?”
“Guess that takes care of that,” shrugged Crane.
Is that the Central Tree?
They pass through the cave opening and entered an even larger cavern with bio-luminescent growth on the walls and ceiling, which illuminated everything. They saw dozens of species of mycological flora; huge giant mushrooms and fungus from two centimetres to three meters tall. The fungi were of various shapes and colours. Gazing at them with awe, Tamat asked, “Anyone recognise these?”
There was no answer. Crane said, “Careful of these things. We don’t know if anything’s poisonous or mobile.”
They spotted a tall toadstool-like fungus that rose taller than the rest of the forest. It was the colour of red blood and grew about a kilometre away from them.
Sparik asked “What Sai-Mok said: Is that the Central Tree?”
If so, then the jamming field would cease there. They knew they had to go there…