|S02 Ep10 The Saviors of Zahara|
|Colin Byrne stepping in front of the dragon Hope|
|Season 02, Episode 10|
|Air date||August 19, 2013|
|Written by||Star Trek Eternity|
|Directed by||Gabriel Logan, Dan Thompson|
|S02Ep09 The Red King||S02Ep11 Broken City|
"..., a storm approaches"
S02Ep10 The Saviors of Zahara is the tenth episode in Star Trek Eternity's Season 2. It was created on August 19, 2013 and saw the crew of Hope venture to the Ha'Dara system, the last known location of the Hirogens. It is followed by S02Ep11 Broken City and is preceded by S02Ep09 The Red King.
The episode opens with Grand Master Prathandor standing aloft the Kingdom of Undine in Zahara in the white gold tower of the floating isle. He looks upon the world that is on the grip of war, the conqueror King Calmest and his army of Fairfax blame Prathandor and his people's use of magicka as the cause of the Blight that strictness the land. However Prathandor's vision tells of a scar in the land, a wound that festers far into the lands of the Scourge. As he tries to focus on the image, tries to see beyond to the wound's location, he falters to the floor. He is comforted by a young apprentice Pan that King Calmest rides to the gates of Undine Draldurge, in the wishes of talk. Prathandor, not wanting further bloodshed, agrees and meets Calmest at the great gates of Draldurge along with the rest of the Council of Mages. At the meeting Calmest and Prathandor speak of the approaching Scourge from the East, Calmest relaying that which he spoke of at the Land's Meet. It is a danger that threatens Fairfax, Calmest's kingdom and although a common threat, Calmest's desperation fuels him to murder Prathandor, sighting that magicka is why they come, where the Scourge was born from and what caused the Blight. At his last breath, Prathandor issues the warning that a storm approaches.
Hope departs the Crimson City, having received the navigational data from Gerrick the Red King. Captain Rick Barlow presents the avenue of which he hopes will lead to the destruction of the Eternity, a virus composed and whose purpose is the complete shutdown of any and all levels of Borg nanotechnology. He charges Commander Talla Vreenak and Lieutenant Marisol Hocevar with the task of creating a delivery system before his mention of their next destination of Ha'Dara, the last known location of the Hirogen people. It is with hope that they will be able to make an alliance with them.
As the meeting concludes, Lt. Hocevar is engaged by a shadowy Commander Colin Byrne who, in talk provides Hocevar with another better delivery system, one they already had, himself. Marisol shuffles that thought aside, the nagging conclusions coming to fold that Colin Byrne was a man of very little to lose. She ponders for the next 18 hours while Hope's crew venture to other areas of duties before the ship drops near the planet.
Ha'Dara appearance is that of a lifeless planet, its orbit surrounded by decaying facilities that, upon inspection, looks as though they were abandoned. However, in close to scan, Hope's sensors pick up signs of life, though week. Captain Barlow, curious, leads the away from of Commander Vreenak, Dr. Brett Reese, and Counselor Janelle James, beaming over and leaving Commander Byrne to take the conn to the incredulity of Ensign Anam Farqooi.
On the station, Barlow leads the away team to a central chamber, a crude space forcible hollowed out to contain a Borg designed central power/control spire that glows centrally among a ring of surrounding stasis containers. Further investigations reveal the occupants to be Hirogen, some long dead, while others seem to be unconscious, but alive. Commander Gabriel "Matrix" Logan's own Borg enhancements enable him to bypass control lockouts and bring the station's overall system grids back online, much to the quiet consternation of Commander Vreenak. Analysis begins, indicating the occupants to be engaged in an artificial reality construct, the construct appearing to be decaying which makes reading the data difficult to nearly impossible. In proposition that Hope's systems might be better suited, Logan begins to stream the data to the ship in an effort to gain further understanding. As the transference, a syphon program engages, pulling power from a new resource, Hope, lowering the reserves of the starship to dangerously lower levels.
At the cusp of this report from Byrne, Janelle James attacks Captain Barlow, striving to connect with the stasis Hirogen, having to lower her empathic barriers. She is subdued and the away team is beamed back aboard just as the energy reserves dip even further. Out of concern from Ensign Farqooi and Lieutenant Harold Ambrose Commander Byrne orders the Hope for landing on the dead world before all energy onboard becomes dry. It is realized that all of their power is sought by a greedy entity within the lifeless planet, giving Byrne a location to land. However, a smooth descent suddenly shifts to shock of atmospheric burn in; the planet Ha'Dara is alive and lush in oxygen, vegetation, and intelligent life of a Feudal evolution. Hope bursts through the cloud covering to find a floating castle, spires and towers immediately to the bow.
Farqooi screams the Hope into a maneuver, clipping the structure before quickly determining a suitable landing sight among a grassy plain. Engineering shuts down the warp core as the ship touches down and the computer cores are deactivated preventing any further power drain. The ship goes dark keeping Hocevar and her Engineering team busy while Captain Barlow and Commander Vreenak's arrival on the bridge is met with a briefing by Commander Byrne. Without eyes outside, Hocevar's effort to bring basic power, Barlow orders a scouting party of two, Vreenak and Farqooi, to take stock of the surrounding area.
Sword and Sorcery Edit
"YOu Play GAmes Magi!?"
- -Ozman to Commander Vreenak, S02Ep10 The Saviors of Zahara
Leading the Away Team, Commander Vreenak and the others are surprised as they exit the ship, discovering that the world outside runs under the blanket of a sophisticated holographic program that, upon their introductions, changes their outward appearances drastically into the measure suiting the program's environment; wands instead of phasers, books instead of tricorders, robes instead of Starfleet standard uniforms. What is even a bit more unsettling is that the outside look of Hope reflects that of a slumbering dragon and that, outside the ship, the entrance isn't visually apparent. They make due and venture off to scout around the area. Their efforts are closely monitored as Barlow orders lookouts atop Hope, Commander Byrne in lead of that effort, ventures outside the ship, their appearance changed by the program's project as smaller baby dragons climbing upon their mother's hide. Hocevar manages to restore some power to lightning and relatively smaller internal systems while Moore and Harold Ambrose try to pinpoint the source behind Hope's sudden power drain as their hypothesis turn more and more towards this source being the power plant responsible for keeping this reality alive.
Meanwhile, at the heart of the Fairfax Kingdom, King Calmest marshals a force great enough to take on whatever deviant magical creature that may have come. His forces line up and head to march while a smaller scouting team, headed by Captain Branthack, Guardsman from the Kingdom of Fairfax, already in relative close distances from Hope's landing zone, waylay Vreenak and his team; their mission in constant sedition of all magicak practitioners. In the interception, Vreenak regals in negotiations, trying means of which open violence can be avoided. But Branthack and his guardsmen scouts, already in mind of stamping out those that practice the dark arts refuse any attempts at peaceful resolutions, resorting to aims of more physical policing.
The lookouts spot the moves of Branthack's men, archers and more soldiers moving about to surround Hope. Reporting this, Commander Byrne makes his report to the Bridge, finding the effort not of traditional easement on account that his hands are claws and his speech garbled grunts from a dragon's maw. Elsewhere aboard, having secured Janelle James, Dr. Brett Reese finds recourse and, eventual, will to exit Hope, needing to find additional herbal remedies should the situation, "go sideways," and they had to resort to archaic measures. She quickly discovers herself changed as she steps outside, and, somehow through the mobilized confusion of Branthack's forces, slips by them and heads to a source of water, never knowing that she was being followed by a curious elven rogue, Thelon Dekinder.
In confusion and still in the dark about most areas due to inefficient reporting, Captain Barlow insights a general message on all coms that all crew are to remain aboard until they find some means or measure to circumvent the holographic projection outside the ship. Ambrose and Moore continue on course, but, despite notions of previous orders, and knowing that the waining power of Hope would be inefficient at determining the power source of the illusion, Amelia Moore takes things into her own hands, using a shuttlecraft and it's onboard systems as a means to isolate the power source of the illusion.
Outside, Branthack and his men see the shuttle, now a flying Wyvern made by the illusion of the enviroment, and openly engage the dragon Hope and begin detaining Vreenak and his people. Arrows scream from concealed archers, the points injecting into the crew standing upon the ship's hull while those that impact the dragon bounce off.
Attack on the Dragon Hope Edit
"Leave this place! Or I will invoke a hurricane such has never been seen."
- -Ensign Anam Farooqi to Captain Branthack. S02Ep10 The Saviors of Zahara
The battle wages between Hope and the men under Captain Branthack's rule. Byrne, injured, tries desperately to get word to the Bridge, his gasps echoing their assault. Barlow rushes to action, taking Marsiol and Commander Logan outside the ship to help bring back in the lookout team still scattered upon the hull of the Intrepid Class. As assumed before, their physical apperances change drastically. Barlow, whose phaser turns into an unwieldy warhammer, stammers to find footing in large thick boots while Marisol, denude of her clothing, sports wild hair and wiccan demeanor. Logan assumes an even darker form as horns expel from his head, the long coat he normal is wearing turning to a shroud of smoke and malice while his eyes burn hellish red and the sword generally used, turns into a gnarled thing of bone and spines. In seein gthis, Branthack's men cry out, noting Logan's apperance as a Demon and that which is Blighted. Logan uses this fear as a means of routing Branthack's men and leading them away from Hope. In this effort, Barlow and Hocevar are able to move Byrne and the wounded men back into Hope. With the illusion dashed, work to field the injured was taken, though Ensign Harris was lost.
At the Away Team front, Vreenak is held in magical binds by Branthack. While the other men of his immediate guard move forward to detain the rest of the team, Anam Farqooi embraces the illusion, manipulating his wand to send a shocking bolt towards Ozman, knocking him off his horse. Another Away Team member manages to activate her tricorder, manipulated into the illusion of being a spell book, to insight chaos and throw off the balance of the attack. However, even after all that, and the threats that the Demon Logan was under Anam's beck and call, Branthack trumps the Ensign's ultimatum to release Vreenak of his binds. He doesn't get far as another bolt of power shoots from Anam's wand, this time with enough energy to engulf Branthack in pain and death.
Now, within the outlying woods, Gabriel "Matrix" Logan leads the remnants of Branthack's scouts into chaos, using the thicket of the wood. He takes out a few here and there, keeping the measure of fear and unknowing in a game of cat and mouse before his efforts are interrupted as he spots Moore's Wyvern crash land in the distance. He shuffles his tactics a bit to lose the soldiers before trying to find his way back to Hope.
Helped by Thelon, Doctor Reese finds her way to the river, their talk taken outside safe from the battle against the Dragon Hope. The Elven rogue asks questions of Reese, noting that, though she looks like a hunter, she does not act like one; nor did she illustrate any fear of the dragon from which she was so close to. Reese employs a story that hints on the truth of her and Hope's crew origin, maintaining that she comes from a far away land. Further conversation is halted however as Logan appears, dropping down from the treeline next to the riverbed. Thelon draws his swords, swearing to protect Reese from this demon though Logan, knowing even despite the illusion projected, that Reese was Reese, he explains the situation to her and maintains distance. However, the Elf thinks these things the Demon spouts are lies and bewitchment, rushes, he's taken off his feet and rendered unconscious by a Vulcan Neck Pinch.
Free from her supposive bodyguard, Reese returns with Logan to Hope, the battle wavering in the crew's favor as all the Away Team return to the ship.
"You speak of the Source child..., it's the only magic I know that drains...,"
-The Keeper to LtCmdr. Amelia Moore. S02Ep10 The Saviors of Zahara
Returned to Hope, Logan expresses to Captain Barlow and crew that Amelia Moore and the shuttlecraft taken had crash landed a ways north of their Landing Zone, deep within the trenches of dense forests. With his right optical unit capable of scanning through the holographic illusion, the capabilities of the Resistance Leader is noted to help in the search of Amelia Moore. In debriefing, Barlow also learns of Vreenak and Anam's experiences. It is so concluded that these soldiers would not take defeat lightly and would possible come back with more numbered forces. In this, Rick forms a plan of action, the Captain would remain behind so when these new found opposing forces returned, he would garner negotiations. In the meantime help out with repairs. Vreenak, Logan, Hocevar, and Farqooi would return outside in search of Amelia Moore and her shuttlecraft. The two parties disperse.
Meanwhile, Amelia Moore awakens in a strange underground structure made deep within collective pockets of subterranean sink holes. A vast network of handcrafted buildings and walkways crossing massive streams of cavernous lakes and rivers. At first, Moore believes herself to be captured, but, under care of an Elven Maiden, Nellie Rem, learns that she is actually a guest of the people of Fi, a community of druids who believe the woodlands and the magicka that resides are precious and fragile. It isn't long until after introductions that Moore learns that her shuttle, the Wyvern, was killed during it's fall and that the Keeper would like to speak with her when she was well enough and strong enough to walk. The people of Fi had cared for her and her unborn child with an array of medicines and magicka. As she becomes well enough to travel, Amelia Moore is escorted to meet the Keeper, a blind elder female elf. She tells Moore of her search to find the Source, noting that Wyvern and the rest of the Away Team are not as they appear to be. The Keeper explains how this world of Zahara works, of notions that the Blight is there to harness the energies of magicka inborn within all to power it's Source. When further asked of this Source, the Keeper reaches far to find it in the western lands, deep underground across a vastness of Scourge lands. With this in mind, Amelia is still centered to reach the Source, concluding it to be the power source of the holographic reality. Though the way is treacherous still, more over, Moore not fit to travel such great distances, the Keeper understands that it is her fate to see the Source. Meanwhile, Thelon Dekinder, haven woken from the riverside, journeys towards Fi, needing resources and supplies. He is eventually recruited to help Amelia Moore and, as the Keeper sees, her eventual returning companions to find the Source. Thelon, knowing the lands more than any elven scout in Fi knows an easier approach and a way through the many caverns of the dwarven mines of Winterspell in order to bypass the Scourge lands. With bow and swords in hand, Thelon leads Amelia Moore back out of Fi and towards the shuttlecraft, Moore's insistence continuing to suggest her need to collect equipment from the crash.
Now enrapt by the holographic reality, Marisol Hocevar, returning to her Druid witch get up, strives to understand how to interact with her tricorder which now looks like a mesh of bobbles and amulets. Meantime the rest of the Away Team continue forward through the thicket of the woods, follow Logan to find the crashed shuttlecraft. Eventually the two narratives pool together, Amelia Moore and her escort Thelon arriving at the crash site before Vreenak and his Away Team's arrival. Understanding that the Blighted one Logan was not the enemy, Thelon accepts the new people, though, at question to how all this is possible. There is not much of salvage in regard to recover from the shuttlecraft's remains, but as the troupe stay near the campsite, they are interrupted by a passing Dwarf named Hammer, an acquaintance of Thelon and a new member of the party as they will soon cross into the Dwarven kingdoms, and no one knows those regions better than Hammer. Needing to garner clerance from the King to cross through those lands, Hammer leads them deeper north.
The Good King Edit
"O dragon, we greet you in the spirit of cooperation and peace. You have made your presence known in lands now claimed by the Kingdom of Fairfax, and we wish to know your intent. We entreat you to send to us an emissary, so as to avoid further provocation and bloodshed."
-King Calmest's to the dragon Hope. S02Ep10 The Saviors of Zahara
Calmest's army reaches line of sight with the dragon Hope and intercepts Ozman and his shattered scouting party. Talk is brought forth, Ozman detailing their encounter with Hope and those seemingly within it. Despite the dangers that the dragon might control the Blighted, Calmest leads an arm of his assembled troops forward while the rest establish camp, noteable within sight of the dragon. Eventually, Calmest alone stands before the dragon, arms wide and proclaiming that he wishes peace. Within the dragon, Captain Barlow, Commander Byrne, and Counselor Janelle James, converse about their next move. It was apparent that some of these holographic representations were, like them and this Calmest, real people shrouded in illusion. The thought of warring with those that they wished to request help from seemed irrational. Peace would have to be given a chance and to that, Captain Barlow orders that the three venture outside to speak with the Good King, the equipment taken would be taken and left on in the hopes that, despite the effort of the holographic program's recomposition of their outward appearance, that the tricorders and communicators would remain locked open.
Meanwhile, in the ever pressing cold with the mountains of Winterspell looming over like frozen sovereigns, Hammer leads the Away Team towards the mouth of the Deeper Roads, a construct of caverns and tunnels that would lead them through to the western lands. Nearing what would be a long journey without areas to stop and collect food and water, Thelon takes leave of the party, noting that he could cross to the Mammoth River at the edge of Winterspell and back to them with supplies for the journey for the roads before they reach deeper into the Dwarven Mines.
As they exit Hope, again the holographic reality reconstructs their outward appearance to the composition of the world. Now, as they venture towards Calmest and the rest of his encampment, Barlow, James, and Byrne look very much like monks. Their dress in long red wool robes while most of their equipment had transformed into orbs of glowing light that, due to their size, they had to hold in both hands. Both Barlow and James appeared human under their hooded cloaks but Colin Byrne remained as reptilian as he had while crawling on the topsides of Hope, his words escaping as evil hisses. Despite this, Barlow meets with Calmest, agreeing that peace needed to be an action taken. Calmest again agrees, noting that they should return to his camp. There is a breath of hesitation as Barlow tries to compile a lie, negotiating that he is but a vessel for the dragon to communicate, that if he wished to speak to their true leaders, that Calmest would need to follow them back. Calmest denies, feigning another reasonable avenue of communication. Barlow steps back momentarily between the Janelle and Colin and orders Byrne to return to the ship, have Ambrose get a transporter lock on the tricorder and anything within a 4 meter radius and get Sickbay and Security ready for the beam in. After, Barlow steps forward with Janelle in tow agreeing to meet with Calmest at his camp. However, despite the prelude of peaceful negotiations, at the tent, Calmest incites his and Branthack's previous stance on magical arts and the craft of controlling those of the Blighted. The Good King proposes that Barlow confesses to how they are able to control the Blighted before his men march to assault the dragon in the morning. The conversation quickly devolves into open threats as Calmest men, despite previous orders, venture into encircling Colin, his roar of conflict echoing across the encampment before he flees at provoking and attacks of Calmest men.
As dawn comes to surfacing, Rick Barlow remains behind, hostage, while Janelle James leads King Calmest towards the dragon Hope, to delivery Calmest's treaty of surrender. Thinking that all was within his grasp, the future looked until the illusion of Calmest is shattered as the King crossed into Hope, the holographic construct of the Good King desolving to reveal a human male in tattered remains of an aged Starfleet uniform. This unknown male's eyes roll into the back of his head, and, as he falls, so too does the construct of Zahara. With one of it's main elements to the composition of the fantasy reality now gone from it's database, the program works to compensate, the effort causing the actual world and the fantasy one to glitch into one another.
The Source Edit
"The Hirogens tried to end their holographic reality, this Zahara program, but the Borg AI they implanted into controlling and maintaining did not want to die."
-Gabriel "Matrix" Logan to Talla Vreenak. S02Ep10 The Saviors of Zahara
Dawn continues to eek through the trees as forest turns to snow, and grass to rock. Nearly at behest of their approach, the Away Team is waylaid by a horde of dwarves, weapons drawn and their movements presenting attack. They assault the Team, an endless number presenting as the Vreenak, Hocevar, Hammer, Moore, Farqooi, and Logan are pressed into a fight. It's hypothesised as they combat with the opposing forces, that, with consideration to any open prelude to the dwarves approach, the Zahara program knows of them and their intentions concluding that they are indeed close.
Meanwhile, on the Mammoth River, Thelon Dekinder is startled by the arrival of a winged reptilian beast, Colin Byrne still wrapped in the cocoon of the holographic illusion. A pause of note that, as the elven rogue understood now, that these beast were not all malice. He tries to talk with Byrne, not understanding or issuing anything of connection. It is then that the sky overhead flickers, storms moments before following by quick brillances of flashing white light; the Zahara program's need to compensate spreading outward to rewrite. As the program flickers, so too does Colin, his actual representation funneling through. Thelon fears this, as he fears his own form flickering. He doesn't understand and is suddenly gone leaving only Colin Byrne by the river.
In the battle between the Away Team and the dwarven warriors, the rewrite cataclysm takes much of the illusion offline, allowing the Away Team to see through the curtain. The dwarves disappear, the environment as well save for the mouth of a cave that had obviously been man made. Hammer, as he was, was no longer. Like Calmest, the illusion of the drunken flatulent dwarf melts away revealing yet another male human. They press on despite the new member's interjection and confusion, entering the cave, eventually entering a large presentable opening.
Within the massive space of the cave resided a spire, much like that they had found on the Ha'Dara station, though, grander in scale. As that one, this spire held hundreds if not thousands of capsules containing persons within equally wired and connected into one another, a central feed emptying into multiple connections with the central construction of the large pillar of light and machinery. In investigation, the Away Team conclude that this spire had been the source of the holographic construct originally intended for the Hirogens, a mesh of their engineering technology and that of the Borg Collective. When under threat, the Zahara program, infused with a Borg AI, whose only purpose was that of maintaining itself and the illusion, used whatever means it required to sustain itself and Zahara. As traditional power cells, undermanned and not maintenanced, the AI began to use the Hirogens as a means of power, using their bodies natural electrolytes as fuel to feed it's cells. When that was spent, the AI constructed satalite facilities and launched probes to establish and intercept new sources of power. So, much to the respect of the Borg and it's ability to adapt, the Zahara AI also adapted, forming a consciousness in of itself almost in parallel to that of the Collective's C-Consciouness. With that compatability, the AI began to converse with the C-Consciouness much in the same manner as the Legacy, a kindred spirit searching through the vastness of the universe.
The Away Team disconnects the AI from it's power sources, Logan and his katana slicing the cabling that held the AI and it's connection. With this effort, the cavern and the program's reality construct begin to break apart. The thousands still within the program breaking from the reality, returning to their former Hirogen states. The castles, the buildings, the Kingdoms dissolve into Hirogen ships and colony establishments.
"I was not real. My family, the Blight, my existence was not real. I am a lie."
-Thelon Dekinder last words. S02Ep10 The Saviors of Zahara
Revelations and prophet mandating assaults Anam Farqooi as his body is taken from his self perception as a cable carrying millions of data connects with him. In that instant, his spiritual mind interprets what could only be a vision in an event that seemed to last longer than actually three minutes. In recovery, Anam and the Away Team return to the surface vastly changed now that the illusion of the former reality has been disconnected.
Now, standing in the middle of a field, surrounded by Hirogens that are, to put lightly, confused by all this, Captain Rick Barlow introduces himself.