Chapter 57 - Season 4: Episode 10 - Halloween Special "Now you've Gorn and done it!"
While on a layover at Starbase 364 the Potemkin is ordered to investigate a loss of signal with the Xec end of the Federation/Xec wormhole. With the nature of the signal loss being unknown Starfleet is reluctant to send a ship through the wormhole aperture, but the Potemkin is the ideal ship to send given their history with both the Xec, and with Xec wormhole technology.
Long range scans showed that the partially built gateway station was at the stage it was meant to be and was partly powered, however the garrison/construction ship was nowhere to be seen.There was no sign that anything had gone wrong but it might be possible to interface with the stations computers to access the few sensors which had been brought online so far, however; the system is rifth with interference and the computers must be accessed on site rather than from a long range communication.
The flight to the system was uneventful and the Potemkin dropped to normal space on the edge of the planet’s gravity well. A closer scan of the station and the wormhole aperture showed no signs that anything had gone wrong. There was no debris or signs of weapons fire. The away team beamed over to the station in EVA suits as the life support systems had yet to be installed. The curricular command deck as a little smaller than the Potemkin’s bridge and was limited to emergency power, even so Elli and Huzzi was able to bring the sensor logs up and discovered that there had been a lot of transporter activity from the garrison ship to the planet below up until a short time before the loss of signal; at which point the Xec garrison plunged into the atmosphere of the planet burning up and crashing on the surface. The stations sensors also picked up a set of four combadge signals on the planet, being amplified somehow the away team advised Captain Pax to beam them up into isolation, with any luck they will have some answers as to what has happened.
In medical, Basan and Johnny 5 armed to the teeth and with a containment field surrounding the individual isolation cells. As the transporter room routed the signals to sickbay three sets of remains and one living arrived. A quick scan of the remains confirmed that each had been killed when something had ruptured out through the ribcage, blood and organ remains showing the graphic nature of their deaths. SOmething had been inside and wanted to be outside!
Armed with this knowledge the Doctor immediately scanned the fourth body, the survivor. While nothing seemed out of the ordinary at first, closer inspection showed that the Xec’s internal organs were being pushed outwards by something, a void in the data. Quick thinking and the use of the Protectorate enhanced surgical bed allowed the Doctor to get a better look at the void in the scans, like a photo negative they could get an idea of the shape; turns out it isn’t one mass but three and they were… as a nurse pointed out shaped a lot like a small dinosaur and they were getting ready to ‘hatch’. IT was suggested that they lock onto the Xec with the transporters and beam him away leaving the unscannable mass behind, reasoning that if they couldn’t see it on sensors then the transporters wouldn’t be able to see it either. It worked! They left the writhing mass of goo-covered creatures behind while the Xec was safely beamed away.
Visual observations of the creatures, inputted into the computers suggested a few possibilities; as they continued the data input they found the species. It wasn’t a native Expanse race as they had thought. It was in fact the young of a species the Federation had made first contact with over a hundred years before; The Gorn. Or at least one of the several races that are collectively known as the Gorn. The ‘fun’ wasn;t over though, for the four young creatures awoke and attempted to break through the containment field. For their size the moved very fast, blindingly fast and warning runes flashed across the nurses station, showing a rapid failure of said containment field. Johnny 5 reinforced the containment field with a level 10 security field and they lowered the temperature and reduced the air pressure in the room to try and render them unconscious. Once they were, the Doctor found a compound that would sedate the young Gorn for a while.
With that dealt with, for the time being at any rate, the bridge crew turned to locating the garrison ship on the surface and seeing if they could find any survivors. Turning the power sensor array of the Potemkin they were able to cut through the interference and locate the downed ship. Moreover they were able to locate and contact a dozen survivors who had holed themselves up in a shielded cargo hold. Transporters couldn’t penetrate the hold’s shielding but with the right equipment they would be able to cut through the door and once the survivors were outside the hold they could be beamed out. The transporters were tuned and with Elli at the controls the away team beamed down to a cat-walked area just outside the shielded hold, which turned out to be in the back section of the garrison ship. A distraction in the form of a shuttle had drawn away many of the sensor voids, which they assumed to be young Gorn; they and a pair of Marines made their way to the cargo hold.
Johnny first tried to hack their way into the hold, they succeeded but the door had been contacted wielded shut, but a flashing red light started to blink, bright enough that the pitch black cargo deck is lit by a red strobe effect! Movement is heard and Huzzi starts to cut through the door, it is slow going and loud, it is going to draw attention to them.
The next few minutes are filled with explosions, screams and weapons fire! Two Gorn are captured, another is killed but ultimately the away team is able to break into the hold and drag the now unconscious Xec survivors out ready to be transported up. LEarning from the past the Doctor ensures they are beamed into isolation, the transporter catches a forgin substance in their bodies, with some choices made they are able to extract the substance and destroy it before the Xec are materialized in isolation rooms.
A Xec relief ship arrives a few hours later, it is to continue the work on the station and have been ordered not to go down to the planet, a full scale landing force will be sent in with Starfleets help. The survivors are able to tell the crew what happened, the original colony had discovered Gorn artifacts in a base a dozen or so years after they had established the colony. Several members of the colony had been infected, those had hatched and infected more and so on until the entire colony had fallen victim. The Xec government at the time had cleansed the colony from orbit. A thousand years had passed and the Xec returned, finding remains and, unfortunately, a sample held in status infected a member of the garrison ship’s crew. The cycle started again aboard the garrison, the ship’s captain plunging his vessel into the planet’s atmosphere in an attempt to destroy the infection!