116 "Words and Deeds, Part I"
Stadi plans an aquashuttle mission to study the Deepwhales, specifically to determine if they have psi abilities. The mission includes Dr. Hillback, Stadi ... and Rasa and one of her counsellors. M'Kress goes to Stadi's office to discuss her choice of personnel, but discovers her unconscious, slumped over her desk. She summons medical assistance.
M'Kress and Merif then conduct a survey of the nearby Taran system. They discover a dome-shaped Tholian minefield over a collection of buildings. They accidently open a gap in the minefield, which they exploit to scout the buildings. At least one of the buildings contains a score of aliens in stasis pods. One (called Kamol) of these aliens (called Varex) had succeeded in setting his pod to resucitate him, and do so just as our heroes had to leave before the gap closes again. When they return to orbit, he contacts them claiming to be a resistor and political prisoner of the Tholians.
The Dominion launch a diplomatic mission to the Tholians, going via New Lhasa. Starfleet assembles a countermission, and assigns the Darwin to co-operate with the New Lhasan authorities. Concerned about the effects on interstellar diplomacy, M'Kress suggests resettling the Varex (an agrarian centauroid race) to a neighbouring class-M planet. The Brunel makes haste to Taran II with mining equipment to tunnel under the minefield. Kamol reacts with derision to M'Kress' suggestion, claiming that one prison has been substituted for another.
Dr. Hillback discovers that Stadi is infected with the Bacterium correlated with the New Lhasa Syndrome, and that the telepathic centres of her brain, and some formerly supressed memory engrams are unsually active.
© Ian McDonald 2001