This is part three of the story. To see part 1 go back two posts.
The away team is surrounded by a bunch of angry aliens after Worf’s rendition of “My Heart Will Go On” falls flat
The Enterprise is on a new mission, having abandoned efforts to locate the missing shuttlecraft Einstein and her crew. Instead, they are at the planet Lanatos to aid in evacuations as the world hurls toward a rogue comet.
The Lanatosians are water-breathing but spacefaring. They just lack the ships for such a large-scale evacuation. The planet’s governor points the Enterprise to an uninhabited part of the planet. They are to secure ancient, sacred monuments. Not people.
The shuttlecraft Einstein approaches the strange heap of Starships that they had discovered on sensors. The rig isn’t answering any hails despite being fully populated.
As they debate whether or not to continue their approach and board, the decision is made for them as they are locked in a tractor beam.
They reverse engines but the beam is too powerful to break free from. Worf orders phasers to be distributed among the crew. If they are to be captured, it won’t be without a fight.
A second tractor beam locks on to the shuttle; this one from the other end of the structure. Now the shuttlecraft is locked in the middle of a tractor beam tug-of-war.
On Lanatos, Data supervises the dismantling of the stone structures. Geordi calls down to check on progress and thank him for the help. La Forge would be there, himself, but he’s got his hands full on the Enterprise preparing marine environment tanks. And without Wesley there to help.
The tractor beams seem equally matched as they fight over the Einstein until the first beam finally starts to lose power and shuts off.
The second beam pulls the shuttlecraft toward its end of the structure, and an opening appears for them to dock in. The atmosphere is scanned to be safe for them to breathe, so with phasers in hand, Worf orders them to open the shuttle door.
On the Enterprise, Counselor Troi visits Picard in his ready room to talk about the mission. Or more specifically, the Lanatosians themselves.
While she can’t read them as well as other races, she senses they are hiding something from them and it may have something to do with the monuments.
Troi would like to visit the site firsthand and see if she can get an idea for what it may be that the Lanatosians are hiding. Picard agrees and states she should drop the counselor title for this mission so they don’t get too suspicious.
Before she leaves, Commander Troi reminds the Captain that he needs to replace Riker and Worf’s positions. Picard states he’s aware, he just hasn’t been able to bring himself to do it yet. Nonetheless, he plans to promote Data to XO upon his return from the surface, and place a Mister Burke as acting security chief until a suitable replacement can be made.
The Einstein crew step out of the shuttle to meet with a Betazoid man named Darios Appolene. He assures the crew that they are safe and among friends. Worf asks why, then, did they bring the shuttle here against their will? Darios states there was no other way and asks them to follow him so he can explain. And to bring along Riker to get him to the medical facility.
Deanna swims alongside a Lanatosian as they view the monuments. Ezrech thanks her for being there but she senses the same duplicity from him as she did from Governor Imlach. As he shows her around, she senses something and excuses herself to rush off and investigate.
Ezrech is immediately suspicious since Deanna makes a beeline to whatever it is (not exactly a stealthy spy lady) and he sends people after her to keep an eye on what she’s doing.
She sneaks behind some rocks and kelp thinking she’s being sneaky but Section 31 material she is not. The Lanatosians follow her a far ways from the initial site.
Riker lays in a sickbay being tended to by Selar and a couple of the inhabitants of the giant rig. Worf demands that explanation now and Darios obliges.
Clearly, the Einstein wasn’t the only ship to get yanked through the vortex. Many ships over the course of unknown years have found themselves stuck here. Darios is the oldest inhabitant but even he doesn’t know when they first started melding the ships together or why.
But there are two factions at play on this structure. Those who are friendly to the Federation and those who are not. Those who are not include Romulans, Ferengi, and Klingons. The Klingons here came before there ever was a treaty. In fact it took some convincing for Darios to allow Worf to board on their end but being a Betazoid he knew Worf was not an enemy. The other side would not have been so forgiving.
Wesley asks why either side even wanted the shuttle. It’s busted surely it’s of no value.
Darios explains that it is. Very much so. Because theres another craft floating out there out of reach of the tractor beams. And that vessel appears to have a working warp drive. The shuttle is the only way to reach it.
Deanna follows whatever it is she’s been sensing to what looks like a wall. A wall with a single hole in it conveniently sized for her to squeeze through. And what she finds on the other side is remarkable.
The creature communicates telepathically to Deanna. It’s not a threat, but it is trapped. It asks for her help to escape.
The Lanatosians who were following her now poke their heads in the hole. They tell Troi that she knows too much now and use some kind of weapons or welding devices to seal the hole shut with her and her new friend inside.
Troi tries to call up to the Enterprise but her signal isn’t getting through. And this planet is a ticking time bomb!
I’m so glad to see Deanna being utilized again. Although she could learn a thing or two from Garak about how to be sneakier, her skills as an empath are having a real effect on the plot and that’s always welcome.
It’s also been good to see Worf in command. His style is rough and suspicious, always prepared for a fight, but that isn’t a bad thing. No more than a Vulcan captain and his cold logic ruling the day. It’s nice to see some command variety.
I hope Data gets promoted quickly in the next comic so we get to see a bit more of his style as well.
In the letters to the editor, someone at least called out that silliness about the water supply getting contaminated although their gripe was from a different angle: what water supply? Isn’t it all replicated? Shouldn’t the biofilters have caught it?