108 "Decline and Fall"
Maximus, now demoted to Crewman, is sent on a mission to his home planet (8-92-4, from the TOS episode "Bread and Circuses"), accompanied by Stadi, Veltr'a, Petersen, and M'Kress (who spends the episode out of sight on sensors). The Starfleet Anthropological Survey of 8-92-4, based at the U.S.S. Cuchulain, has discovered
cultural contamination and
a suspected Romulan cloaking device at a site on the planet's south pole.
Lt. Cmdr. Strep, Betazed Commander of the survey, lead Maximus, Stadi, Veltr'a, and Petersen on an investigation of the site. A firefight with
a group from the Romulan-armed century guarding the area ensues. Maximus surrenders, but then (rather
foolishly) changes his mind and tries to run for cover, and is disintegrated
at point blank range. The away team win the initial skirmish, but then the
cloaking field expands to include them and the full century attack. The team
barely escape, with a local prisoner.
The prisoner and the tricorder scans together describe a Romulan base that
feeds minor technological advances to the planetary government. Starfleet Command is informed, and the Romulans are forced to act before they are ready. Their web of intrigue unravels.
Starfleet Command complains to the Romulan Star Empire. The Romulan Empire tells the planetary base that it is discovered. The planetary base tells the local government to launch its primitive warp-capable vessel as soon as possible. It does so - in the direction of Romulus. The Cuchulain detects the launch, and makes first contact with the surprised crew - who were
unaware of the intrigue around them. The primitive starship returns home,
to be relaunched at Romulus. The Emperor proclaims an alliance with the Romulans (who know that Prime Directive considerations now prevent, rather
than oblige, Starfleet stopping such an alliance). The rebelling lunar
colonies reveal that the Romulans had been helping them (to force the
Emperor's hand, presume Starfleet), and 8-92-4 distances itself from the
© Ian McDonald 2001