Chapter 3 - Season 1: Episode 3, Forests of the Night
Saturday 27 March 2021 – 1800hrs ~ 2100hrs GMT
Commander Kenneth Mikhael – Executive Officer
Lieutenant Commander Ezekiel “Zeke” Pride – Flight Controller
Lieutenant Elli-Navine – Chief Engineer
Lieutenant Alexander Artopolis – Chief Medical Officer
Podcast: To Boldly Roll The (Mis)Adventures of the USS Potemkin
A week after their encounter with the Romulan war Era Atlantis the crew of the Potemkin had been speeding their way to unexplored space. Nothing beyond standard duty had happened during the week. Their sensors detect the 60-year-old shock front of a super nova. Even more interesting is a clear metallic object, 2.5km across and drifting through space at 29,979,245.8 meters a second…
For those who do not want to do the maths that’s a 10th the speed of light… bleeding quick!
This alone should be a reason to investigate, however the ship/object is also on a course that would put it into a very low orbit around a giant red star, an old star that has expanded millions of kilometres. What’s worse is that the object’s orbit is unlikely to be stable and will probably result in it falling to the surface.
Dropping back to normal space the USS Potemkin is forced to push their engines to maximum to catch up with the object, which they now confirm is a ship, albeit one without warp drive. Scans show that there are many life sign readings, but nothing as distinct enough to pin down any individuals. The ship has taken damage from one of the many unusual Ion storms that frequent the area leaving the surface of the hull ionized.
A debate arises to the amount of help they can render and not be in breach of General Order 1, the Prime Directive. The ship clearly does not have warp engines, meaning, from this evidence this species doesn’t check any of the boxes for first contact, however the ship is on a course that would destroy it and everything/one aboard.
The Captain make the choice, they will board the alien ship with hide protocol, meaning the crew will wear the cloaking suits that are used to observe pre-warp cultures. It is a sound plan and a shuttle is chosen as the means of transport given the unknown nature of the ship and the proximity to the star and the hull ionization making transport very difficult.
The Type 11 shuttlecraft finds a pair of massive doors, with a large void or room beyond these are clearly shuttle doors. But they are closed and unpowered, that’s fine coz Lieutenant Elli-Navine uses the shuttles main deflector to start a power transfer which powers the doors. An automated process aboard the alien ship opened the doors and Lieutenant Commander Ezekiel “Zeke” Pride glides the big shuttle in through the airlock with grace, touching down so gently his passengers didn’t even feel it.
Navigating only by their HUD’s the away team found themselves in the centre of the ship, a massive forest bathed in a gentle blue light. They were detecting a power source at the centre, but their tricorders were still unable to pinpoint a crew, if there was one. They made their way through the woodland, all was goin well until Doctor Artopolis felt something grab at his leg, with the reactions that would make a pilot jealous the good doctor jumped back out of reach, just in time! On the ground a long vine like appendage darted back into the ground. Oh the scans, all the scans were conducted at this point, many many scans. It was discovered that the vine belonged to a plant, that seemed to connected in a massive root network with hundreds of other plants.
It would seem that this forest was guarded, but they moved on, keeping an eye on and out for anything else that might try and eat them. No one wanted to go down in history as being eaten by a plant after all!
Before long they find themselves near the centre, a waterfall covers the entrance of cave, in which, their scans show is the source of the power they are detecting. They waste no time in getting in there, after all if they can end their away mission quickly there is less chance of being eaten!
‘Someone sighs’ They manage to trip something, a sensor maybe but they are quickly set upon but some decidedly ‘60s looking guard robots, some flying, one walking all humanoid and all not appearing to appreciate the intrusion of the away team… “But wait” I hear you cry “The away team is cloaked. How can they be seen?” Well this is a good question, and one that the away team is bound to ask at some point… I guess!
With the fight over the intrepid crew make a beeline for the small room at the back of the waterfall. Even from afar it is clearly advanced technology. Well, more so than they had witnessed so far! Elli did her thing, and they were soon able to tell that the rudimentary artificial intelligence that ran this sleeper ship had been damaged decades ago when the ship had been struck by an Ion storm. What was, at the time, a small computing error had led the ship off course, a simple reboot of the computer systems reset that error and the A.I quickly took the ship into a tight orbit around the Red Giant star, increasing speed from the gravity turn and boosting out on a course that would take it, in 80 years, to its destination. Their job done the away team beat feet back to their shuttle and headed back to the Potemkin safe in the knowledge that the Prime Directive hadn’t been breached and that they had saved the thousands of people who would sleep away another 80 years.
The Slipstream tunnel that the very capable Commander Alexandria Pride was expertly navigating twisted and bent as the Fortune Class USS Potemkin – C headed to the New Vahar to see the end of a mission that began 80 years. The Potemkin had been selected as her ancestor had been the vessel to make first contact with the sleeper ship that would soon be entering Orbit around the Vaharians new home world. Indeed, at the helm was the Grand daughter of the Potemkin’s own Helm officer. There were a few others who drew their heritage back to crew aboard that fateful ship.
The Potemkin – C returned to normal space with a bright flash and made its way in system, they would catch the sleeper ship, the Grif Balata, and escort them the last few minutes. The Vaharians had joined the Federation 30 years before and were, at that point, given data about their lost ship. It had been decided that they would allow it to continue its journey alone. Only monitored but never contacted.
The party that followed was somewhat bittersweet for those who awoke almost 100 years later than they had expected, the leaps in technology and knowledge, even the laws and culture they had known were so quite different. Only time would tell how they would influence their people.