Memory Alpha
Memory Alpha
Real world article
(written from a Production point of view)

While on a routine supply mission to a colony planet, the USS Enterprise comes under an attack from an unknown malevolent force. Pike brings all his heart and experience to bear in facing the crisis, but the security officer warns him that the enemy cannot be dealt with by conventional Starfleet means.



"Security officer's log, stardate 3177.3. The Enterprise is currently en route to deliver an atmospheric processor upgrade to Finibus III. Without our assistance, the air on this remote colony will become unbreathable in a matter of weeks. As we prepare for our arrival, we pause to remember Starfleet Remembrance Day."

In her quarters, La'an looks down at a pin commemorating the loss of the SS Puget Sound, the colony ship she had grown up on. Throughout the ship, the other members of the crew are wearing similar pins, including Captain Pike, who addresses the entire ship. Many of them knew someone who had made the ultimate sacrifice: officers, scientists, and civilians who had given their lives for the hope of galactic peace. Exploration could exact a heavy toll, and there was nothing more devastating to a captain than losing a member of the crew. For those left behind, they would wear the insignia of past ships they had served on. "As we honor the lives that have been given, let us also be grateful to be still on the journey," he concludes.

Walking through the ship, Hemmer quizzes Uhura about the essential purpose of the AP 350 device. Uhura replies simply it was an air filter, earning a contemptuous reply from the chief engineer about how cadets never read the assignment material in advance. Uhura proves him wrong by stating it had been invented by Zigwel Orgon in 2234 and first used after the Crestbrock mining collapse on Titan, and that it used charged positron rods to stabilize the ion matrix, which then filtered the air. Hemmer gives her points for that, remarking on how most cadets labored through their rotation to engineering while dreaming of command. Uhura, however, is enjoying the work, saying that linguistics and engineering were very similar, in that they were dependent on how seemingly unrelated systems communicated. Hemmer is not impressed, saying that if she truly wanted to impress him, she would do a lot better than theorize. "Challenge accepted," is Uhura's answer.

La'an arrives on the bridge, where Una notes she is not wearing her commemoration pin. La'an waves it off as "no big deal", and that the past was the past. Una thinks closure had its reasons, and Starfleet had resources, but La'an cuts her off, saying she was not going to allow a doctor inside her head to try and "fix" her; she was not broken, she was fine. As she takes her station, Ortegas reports from the helm that they were in orbit. Pike wonders where the "welcome wagon" is, and Christina at communications reports no signals coming from the surface, with the colony logs indicating the last transmission being two days earlier. Spock speculates the nearby brown dwarf might be disrupting communications, but soon finds the true cause: the colony's communications satellite has been destroyed. Pike asks if it was accidental, but Spock is unable to say. The captain orders him to report it to Starfleet, while telling the crew that protocol dictated they investigate on the ground, and make no assumptions until they gathered intelligence. Una goes to prep a landing party, and orders La'an to join her.

Beaming to the surface, the colony is deserted; there were supposed to be several hundred people there. Ensign Todd can detect no Human life signs. Una wonders if it was a rushed evacuation, and La'an recognizes blast marks, meaning if they did rush, they did so while under fire. Una spreads the team out, leading one half; the other sees a room with cracked glass, only to be given a slight jump scare by a barking dog. La'an then finds something, and calls Una and the others over. It was the site of a massacre, not an evacuation, with blood trails showing the victims being dragged to that location… but there was no sign of their bodies.

In orbit, the Enterprise detects an unidentified ship. Pike informs the landing party and has them beamed back aboard. Ortegas sees it has no Federation badges, and that its shields were up, while Spock detects multiple life forms he was unable to identify. Pike orders hailing frequencies on all channels, but Christina reports no response. Just as Pike orders yellow alert and shields raised, Christina reports they were being hailed. The channel opens to reveal a bloodied but otherwise unharmed Human woman, who identifies herself as Professor Thandie, and who is glad to see it was a Starfleet ship, apologizing for not answering earlier, as they needed to be sure. Most of the people onboard their ship were injured, and life support was overextended; in addition, it was a cargo ship used to transport radioactive ore, so their hull was resistant to transporters. Pike orders Zuniga at the security station to prepare a deep space transport tube, and asks Thandie what happened. The professor explains that a blast from the sky took out the main colony structure, and they all heard a loud ringing sound, but it was a blur after that. Pike glances at Spock, who reports no sign of any other ships or residual warp signatures. Pike reassures Thandie that everything would be alright.

The Enterprise deploys the transport tube, connecting to the cargo vessel, and brings the survivors onboard for examination in sickbay. Thandie expresses gratitude for the rescue, and Una tells her they were still trying to figure out who attacked them, asking if anyone saw anything. The professor recalls a farmer saw streaks in the sky, like "rain on fire". There were about a hundred survivors, La'an notes, asking what happened to the rest of them. Thandie does not know, only waking up to find everyone gone – no bodies, just blood. As the professor joins the others heading to sickbay, Una and La'an reveal what they know. The "ringing" could have been caused by an ultrasonic cannon, while the "rain on fire" could have been sub-orbital plasma bombardment. Suddenly, a young girl named Fig runs through the corridors, screaming that "the monsters are coming". Her mother tries to assure her monsters aren't real, but La'an asks what "monsters" she is afraid of. Fig says the "monsters" took her father, and that she didn't see them, but heard them making a strange clicking sound. La'an is very familiar with that sound, as she calls to the bridge to scan for polarized EM signatures. Spock runs the scans, and detects a faint optical distortion near the second moon – a hologram. La'an shouts for shields to be raised, and Pike orders red alert. But Ortegas points out they can't raise the shields with the transport tube still attached.

Inside the tube, La'an looks outside one of the viewports, seeing a ship approaching them, and realizes the colony's attackers are the Gorn. As Una pulls La'an away, the Gorn hunter opens fire, destroying the cargo ship and the transport tube.

Act One[]

Briefly seeing an image of her brother Manu in her mind's eye, La'an regains consciousness as Nurse Chapel runs scans over her, then tells her to sit tight. Several members of the crew have been seriously injured, and La'an is distressed to see Fig's mother lying in the corridor. Una, leaning against the wall, somberly tells her the woman didn't make it. La'an asks about the girl, but the first officer can only shake her head; she doesn't know. La'an sees Una is bleeding, but Una assures her she will be fine. Seeing the Gorn ship, La'an had "locked up", but Una had reported the situation to the captain, and tells her to report to the bridge; if she was right, they would need her up there.

Pike calls down to Hemmer that warp drive is offline; Hemmer is in the main cargo bay attempting to secure the processor, as it was unsafe while under fire. Pike orders him to work fast so he can restore warp power. Zuniga reports no response to hails. Pike asks Ortegas how fast they could go at impulse; with damage to the starboard nacelle, she reports half speed. He orders an evasive pattern just as La'an enters, saying that they had to retreat, as they could not fight them. She emphasizes that it was the Gorn, setting them up to be vulnerable; the surviving colonists had been bait. The Enterprise was too damaged to stand and fight now, so they had to regroup and level the playing field. She again sees Manu, standing near the console across the bridge, then a second later he is gone. She pleads with Pike to trust her. Pike recalls the brown dwarf Spock detected earlier, and asks how far away it was. Spock detects it being two hundred million kilometers away, but it was also tethered around a black hole. Ortegas worriedly asks how big a black hole, to which Pike tells her to focus on one problem at a time. Spock lays out the bottom line: the brown dwarf's central mass would crush the ship, but surrounding it was a volatile gas cloud. If they were to hide inside it, they would have to reduce all electrical output – the sensors, the communications, and most importantly the shields. Pike knows that if they had to, so would any pursuer. He turns to La'an, who is "acting Number One" again, and asks if she concurs. Without hesitation, she does. Pike orders full impulse to Spock's mark. The Gorn ship continues to fire on them as they maneuver into the cloud, and Spock reports that sickbay and its cargo stores just took a direct hit… as did the main cargo bay.

Inside the cargo bay, Uhura regains consciousness, and calls out for Hemmer. The chief engineer's right arm is crushed under a cargo container, and he asks her to help get it off . She is able to lift it just enough for him to get free. He can feel his hand is broken, and Uhura moves to escort him to sickbay. But as they stop, he knowingly asks if the door is blocked, and Uhura confirms it is. Just then, a new alarm begins going off – the coolant systems on the AP 350 are in critical failure.

Inside the conference room, Pike, La'an, Spock, and Ortegas are joined on the screen by Hemmer, Uhura, and Dr. M'Benga. Pike asks how long before the atmospheric processor explodes; Hemmer, while fully aware that the AP 350's explosion would vaporize the entire ship, is confident he has enough time to repair it. With transporters offline, Pike is sending people to clear the way to the cargo bay. Until then, Hemmer reports he will be working on repairs, and closes the channel. Pike notices that the temperature has risen, and Spock reports that the ionic gas surrounding the ship is affecting the ship's climate controls, while other systems were offline. M'Benga adds that this includes sickbay; with no medical systems, they had essentially been reduced to triage. They also had nine confirmed casualties. Sickbay's supplies had been almost completely destroyed by the attack, and without the matter synthesizers, they couldn't make more once they ran out. Una has told him she was fine, but he has not been able to properly check up on her, as he was still playing catch-up; he had activated all of the backup medical personnel, but what he really needed was supplies. He is then called away by Chapel to check on a patient, and closes the channel as well.

Una enters sickbay, but almost immediately collapses to the deck. M'Benga points out she had said she was fine, and she admits she was mistaken; she had taken several deep puncture wounds from shrapnel, and they couldn't power up the surgical bays to remove them. M'Benga recalls that Chapel was interested in "archaeological medicine", and asks how good she was at sewing. "Aces," is Chapel's reply.

Back in the conference room, La'an goes over their options: they could not use their phasers, and when Pike asks about the photon torpedoes, which could be self-guided, she reports that the torpedo bay had been hit, and they were down to only one torpedo. Spock adds the number of torpedoes was inconsequential, because if they fired one off in the brown dwarf, it would cause the internal guidance systems to fail, and it would not go in the intended direction. Ortegas is incredulous, asking what they did if they had no shields or weapons, and is also dismissive about it being the Gorn, calling them the "boogeyman", as no one had ever seen one. La'an, however, has seen the Gorn before, and while they were not supernatural, she did consider them to be monsters. She condemns the Federation's belief that empathizing with enemies would one day make them friends, saying that some things in the universe were simply evil. She asks if they have ever seen eyes that are both dead and hungry at the same time, emphasizing that Humans were just prey to the Gorn, just "walking feedbags". She corrects Ortegas' assumption, saying that plenty of people have seen the Gorn… they just don't live to tell about it. Pike ends the meeting by telling them all to be vigilant, and "get creative", calling them the best of Starfleet, and that they would survive by working together.

As the others leave, Pike asks La'an to stay a moment, and asks how she is holding up. La'an says simply that the enemy doesn't care about her feelings, so she doesn't waste her time having any. Pike concedes that may be true, but it doesn't seem that way to the crew. La'an has made clear that she does not care what the crew thinks about her, and that she has always been blunt, but Pike points out that right now, her job was not just about orders, it was about hope. He considers belief to be the difference between victory and defeat, and if one got a crew to believe in miracles, they might just deliver one. La'an accepts she has to make an adjustment, but makes clear she will not lie to the crew. "The best miracles are born from truth," Pike assures her. Since there was not much on the official record pertaining to the Gorn, he asks if there was anything she could recall that might help. She stammers that her memories were inhibited by trauma, as she again sees Manu, standing behind Pike. The captain simply asks her to tell if anything came to mind.

In the cargo bay, Hemmer laments that an engineer's most important tools were his hands and his mind, but he was unable to use the fingers on one hand. Uhura sits him down, as the alarms on the AP 350 continue to blare. She suggests that Hemmer talk her through the process, working as a team, but he thinks it was not that simple, as there was data only he could assess. Uhura points out that she was the only one with a working set of fingers. Hemmer is not particularly fond of teamwork, to which Uhura retorts that he should "get fond". He grudgingly agrees that he has to, and tells her to use the control panel to shut down the safety overrides, while also adjusting the cooling system. She only uses one set of controls, and he points out that the other hand is used to adjust the cooling system at the same time, warning her not to allow the core temperature to exceed 110 degrees.

On the bridge, Spock offers an idea to Pike, remembering how he'd challenged them to "get creative", and brings a tactical projection on screen. Though they had no primary sensors, the navigation systems constantly updated with atmospheric data to maintain stability. Ortegas jokingly protests that she still does most of the work. The ship's movement in the gas cloud created oscillation in the atmosphere, converted into rotational motions by Coriolis forces, detected automatically by the nav-com. They could track the Gorn ship by marking the Coriolis force readings to triangulate their position. Pike recognizes it as essentially turning a compass into radar, and orders him to proceed. Sure enough, they detect a signal consistent with the attacking ship – and it was coming right at them. Ortegas anxiously asks if she should make evasive maneuvers, but Pike orders her to hold it steady. As it gets closer, Ortegas is about to spring into action to engage the enemy, but both Pike and La'an again tell her to hold steady. The Gorn ship goes right by; they can't see the Enterprise, but La'an warns they will not stop hunting. Pike orders Zuniga to arm the remaining torpedo. When Spock points out the guidance would not work, Pike assures him he was not going to fire it – he was going to drop it manually right on top of them. He orders Ortegas to set a pursuit course, "quick but quiet". Ortegas brings the ship directly over the Gorn vessel, and Pike orders the torpedo deployed. A slight shaking of the ship heralds the torpedo's detonation, and Spock reports the signal is gone – the Gorn ship has been destroyed. Just then, however, three more signals are detected approaching them, and Pike realizes that this was the Gorn's intention: sacrificing one ship to find their quarry. One of the incoming signals is a Gorn destroyer, much larger than the others.

Act Two[]

With the odds now three-on-one, La'an suggests retreat. Spock concurs, but points out that if they leave the gas cloud, they would be seen, and going closer to the brown dwarf's center mass would destroy the ship. Pike goes for the latter option, telling Ortegas to take them as close as possible to the center mass. Ortegas points out what Spock had just said about the density fields near the center crushing the ship, but Pike knows what would happen to them would also happen to the Gorn, and that he had faith in the Enterprise. La'an reports that the lower decks would be the first to take damage, and Pike orders all decks below 20 to be evacuated. He didn't like the idea any more than they did, but they had to do it, and orders Ortegas to take them down.

In sickbay, M'Benga and Chapel are left working with needle and thread to close Una's wounds, as the hull begins to noticeably creak from the pressure. It is also noticeable in the cargo bay, where Hemmer continues to guide Uhura in stabilizing the AP 350. Uhura has never heard a ship's hull make that sound before, but Hemmer tells her to keep her focus. Some of the positron rods are broken, but without diagnostics, she cannot tell which. Hemmer tells her the malfunctioning rods would be cool, and tells her to make sure before she pulls any out. She finds out, and is ecstatic when she is able to remove it. Before replacing it, she had to reconfigure the host platform, and she appears to be successful, but looks questioningly at the chief engineer when he says they could "get started".

On the bridge, Pike listens to the ominous creaking of the hull, and Spock reports the lower decks have begun to buckle. The evacuations are not complete, but Spock warns if it was not contained, the failure of the hull could end up decompressing the entire ship. Pike reluctantly orders the bulkheads sealed. Chief Kyle tries to help a wounded science officer through, but as the bulkheads begin to close, the other pushes Kyle through just as the hull collapses, leaving Kyle staring in shock at the sealed bulkhead and the fate of the crewman on the other side. La'an reports the reading to Pike, and Spock assures his captain he made the logical choice. It didn't feel that way to Pike, but Spock reminds him that he made the choice because he valued life. The hull collapse has begun to extend, and if it breached the antimatter containment, there wouldn't be a ship left to save. Pike becomes determined, remembering how La'an had told him about the Gorn wanting to take them prisoner, and promising "a hell of a fight" if they planned to take the Enterprise. He calls for battle stations, and orders the crew to prepare for close quarters, before having Ortegas bring the ship to a full stop. One of the Gorn ships closes in, but as it approaches the Enterprise, it implodes from the atmospheric pressure. La'an had told Pike that the Gorn were relentless hunters, and he used that against them. He asks La'an for a damage report, before telling Spock to watch for the other two ships.

In sickbay, Chapel attends to some of the other patients, who appear to be doing well (all things considered), before returning to Una. One fragment remains in her body, close to her abdominal aorta. Chapel warns her that she will have to be sedated, as she would likely bleed a lot. They had just enough blood plasma, but they would have to introduce it intravenously. Una asks if she had a choice, and M'Benga tells her she could decline and wait for the sickbay systems to come back online, while Chapel adds she could also wait for septic shock, which she describes as "giving birth through your mouth". Una incredulously asks who talked like that, and Chapel replies that she did; M'Benga just gives her an amused glance as Una asks for the sedation. As the anesthesia is being introduced, one of the backup techs warns Chapel that Christina needed plasma. Una hears this and tells Chapel to give the plasma intended for her. M'Benga reminds her they only had that one bag left, and she was about to lose a massive amount of blood, but Una makes it an order.

"Captain's log, supplemental. Enterprise is currently in the center of a gas giant, hiding from an enemy we've never faced before. So far, three civilians and seven of my crew have lost their lives. The battle is far from over, but I am determined to keep everyone else alive. My newest obstacle is the presence of a nearby black hole."

Spock reports that the atmospheric density was decreasing, and the singularity is advancing its accumulation of substellar material. When La'an asks if he ever spoke in "plain English", Spock does so, saying that the brown dwarf they were hiding in was being sucked into the black hole. Pike sees the problem: if they stay, they would be taken with it. They could not leave the brown dwarf without being spotted by the Gorn, and they had no long-range communications, so they couldn't even send out a probe. In addition, within one hour, thirty-two minutes and forty-eight seconds, they would not be able to escape the black hole's gravity. La'an suggests sending out a shuttle, small enough to travel undetected and minimizing the risk to the rest of the crew. Pike thinks it a suicide mission, but La'an believes it was their only shot, and volunteers to pilot it. Spock agrees, and decides to join her, saying (in plain English) she would need backup. Pike reluctantly gives the go-ahead and tells them to take the Galileo, ordering them to be back within thirty minutes, no matter what.

Act Three[]

Aboard the Galileo, Spock and La'an observe what appears to be the two remaining Gorn ships scanning each other. La'an, from her experience on the Puget Sound, knows it was not a scan. While her memory is fragmented, she is certain she has seen the lights before. Spock notes the complexity of the mind, and how it built up defenses after being affected by trauma. La'an thinks there was something to it that she should know, a thought Spock finds understandable given the nature of their foe. La'an, aware of what Vulcans could do, suggests a mind meld. Spock reminds her that a meld was not a shortcut for dealing with mental trauma, and warns that resurfacing hidden memories could be painful, even dangerous. But if there was something in La'an's memory that could save the Enterprise, she felt she had to take the risk. Spock moves from his seat and kneels in front of her, placing one hand against her face, and initiates the meld.

As La'an's memories surface, she finds herself on a Gorn breeding planet, where the crew of the Puget Sound had been brought to feed the hatchlings and were hunted day and night. Spock can feel her mind resisting, because of La'an's fear. He asks if she wanted to stop, but La'an refuses, choosing to move forward. The memory of her younger self, running through the caverns with her brother Manu, resurfaces. The younger La'an apologizes, saying she had tried to be quiet, but Manu reassures her. He hands her his journal; he had observed the lights, knowing it was how the Gorn communicated, and believes it would help her hide, and tells her to take it and run. Becoming her current self in the memory, La'an pleads with her brother to come with her, but he knows he can't, and again tells her to run. She sees the journal, recognizing that Manu had begun to decipher their language and visual communication. She runs, finding herself back in the central cavern. Spock recognizes it was her subconscious setting up a boundary. She explains what she learned about the lights from her brother's journal. Just then, she hears Spock's voice speaking in Vulcan, followed by another voice saying she loved him as well. La'an can see he had lost someone as well, a sister, but Starfleet records didn't show him having a sibling. Spock curtly confirms they did not. La'an realizes his sister had sacrificed herself for him, to which Spock's only answer was that they should end the meld. She sees Manu's face one last time as the meld ends, tears running down her face… and then tells Spock she has an idea.

The shuttle takes position near the smaller of the two Gorn ships, and Spock has modulated the shuttle's phasers per La'an's instruction. She is surprised he agreed to the idea; he replies that it was a good plan, and the meld reminded him of the risks taken and their value to those that survive. She transmits a signal telling them that Humans have boarded the smaller ship and taken control, knowing that the Gorn would cull the weak, believing in survival of the fittest. Sure enough, the larger ship opens fire, destroying the smaller one, and evening the odds.

Back aboard the Enterprise, Uhura has finished rebooting the system for the AP 350, and sees that Hemmer is starting to fade from the pain and the shock of his injury. She tries to keep him talking, asking how an Aenar ended up in Starfleet, as she had thought they were all pacifists. Hemmer admits he had wanted to be a botanist, as he had a love for plants. He says that he will not fight for Starfleet, but would defend its ideals. To him, pacifism was not passivity, but the active protection of all living things in the natural universe. Uhura sees it as a matter of perspective, comparing it by using touch instead of sight, to which Hemmer replies he wouldn't know. Then a new alarm begins to sound from the processor: the ion matrix exceeded critical limits before they finished repairs. The only thing they could do now was vent the bay into space, and everything in it. Uhura points out that they were in there as well. "Unfortunately, that is also true," Hemmer agrees.

Act Four[]

On the bridge, Pike listens as Hemmer reports that the AP 350 would explode within twenty minutes, maybe less. Spock and La'an return from their mission, and assume their stations. Just then, the shift shakes violently, and Ortegas reports it was caused by the black hole. The brown dwarf was dissolving too fast, and if they did not escape, they would be caught with it – but any effort at escape would bring the last Gorn ship right on top of them. Ortegas comments on how space wanted them dead, which gives Pike an idea: What if they let space win? He asks Spock if it was possible to use the black hole's gravity to slingshot their way to safety, and Spock concurs that it was mathematically possible, but points out that the Gorn would see them and pursue them. Pike thinks that a "maybe", and has Spock explain about gravitational redshift – an optical illusion caused by an object falling into a black hole, and the object falls faster than the frequency of light it emits, essentially making the object appear to stop just outside the black hole. Pike has one last question: What do snakes, ducks, and opossums have in common? La'an answers that when hunted, they play dead. Pike orders Ortegas to plot a course close to the black hole's event horizon, and asks Hemmer if he and Uhura had access to EV suits. Hemmer confirms they do, though hesitates to ask why. La'an sees the plan: Pike wanted to slingshot the ship off the black hole, and use the AP 350 to decoy the Gorn. Spock reminds his captain that the plan involved flying close to one of the most turbulent phenomena in space, and Ortegas adds that the hull was already compromised. Pike is confident the ship will hold, and La'an – thinking back to her prior discussion with Pike – agrees. The captain is also confident that if anyone could "surf a wave" on a black hole, it would be Ortegas, who replies that he almost made it sound fun. He orders Hemmer and Uhura to suit up and strap in; they would vent the cargo bay on his signal.

In the cargo bay, Hemmer commits the AP 350 to the cosmos, while Uhura holds the strap that will secure them with a shaking hand. He grasps her arm with his good hand, and commends her; she had managed to impress him after all, and he would give her high marks on the assessment. Uhura thanks him, assuming that it would still matter. Hemmer notes how Humans worried so much about death, while the Aenar believe the end only comes when they have fulfilled their purpose. Uhura asks what his purpose was, and he replies simply "to fix what is broken". Uhura thinks he could add teaching, maybe being inspiring, to that as well, earning a chuckle from the chief engineer. He asks what she felt the purpose of her life's path was. Uhura admits she doesn't know, asking if that meant she wouldn't die. Hemmer's answer was that there was only one way to find out, as they secure themselves to the deck.

Zuniga reports the inertial dampeners were at maximum, and calls to brace for heavy gravity. Ortegas half-jokingly says if they pulled it off, it would officially be called the "Pike Maneuver". Pike orders a ship-wide channel. As he addresses the crew, Chapel and the sickbay techs set up force fields to contain the injured crew, while Hemmer and Uhura take up their helmets and prepare for the maneuver. Pike reminds them of what was said earlier about the cost of exploration, and believes that there will always be something to challenge them, but they would not back down nor give in to fear. He is confident that this would not be their last mission, but their finest hour, and calls for the crew to brace for impact. The Gorn ship changes course as the Enterprise approaches the accretion disk of the black hole. As the ship "rides the wave", Pike gives the order to vent the cargo bay. Weighed down by the increased gravity, Spock strains to reach the controls, but manages to do so. In the cargo bay, Hemmer and Uhura are lifted up so violently that the plate securing Uhura to the deck begins to tear up. Hemmer grabs Uhura's arm, and they hold on for dear life. Outside the reach of the black hole's gravity, the Gorn detect the explosion of the AP 350. Thinking it to be the Enterprise, they fall back. A moment later, the Enterprise slingshots free of the black hole's gravity, battered and singed, but intact.

As the lights come back up, Pike asks for a report. La'an reports no sign of the Gorn ship. He then asks to see the main cargo bay, which only comes up with static. He hails them, anxiously waiting to hear from Hemmer or Uhura. After a long moment of silence, Pike concludes both are dead, and is about to order La'an to send a recovery team when Uhura's voice finally comes up, reporting they were both alright, much to the relief of the captain and the bridge crew; even Spock smiles a little to himself as he looks back to his console. La'an, however, looks grim, as Pike approaches her, thinking that was "quite a miracle". La'an wonders about "next time", knowing the Gorn had never come that far inside Federation space before. Pike is confident that next time, they would not be caught by surprise.

In sickbay, Una regains consciousness, finding herself connected intravenously to M'Benga; the doctor had given her his blood so she could live. In her quarters, La'an puts on the pin commemorating the Puget Sound and joins Pike, who is honoring his seven lost crewmen, their caskets draped with the flag of the Federation.

"Personal log, stardate 3177.9. Today, the Enterprise encountered the Gorn. Seven of the crew gave their lives. But… we survived."

Memorable quotes[]

"Oh, no…"

- Pike, realizing the Enterprise is about to be ambushed with its shields down

"The Federation teaches that if we can find a way to empathize with an enemy, then they can one day become our friends. They're wrong. Some things in this universe are just plain evil. Have you ever seen eyes that are both dead and hungry at the same time? To them, Humans are just walking feed bags of flesh, bone, and jelly. The Gorn trigger a primitive, ancient terror in warm-blooded species. We are prey. And when they hunt, they're unrelenting. The truth is, plenty of people have seen the Gorn. They just don't live long enough to talk about it."

- La'an Noonien-Singh

"You made the logical choice."
"Why doesn't it feel that way?"
"For the same reason you made it: because you value life."

- Spock and Pike, after the latter is forced to sacrifice a crewmember to save the rest of the ship

Log entries[]

Background information[]



  • This episode begins the arc of Hemmer taking Uhura under his wing, which will culminate in SNW: "All Those Who Wander", and result in Uhura's decision to remain in Starfleet.
  • This episode is the first since ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II" to prominently feature the Gorn, although no Gorn are physically seen (except for their ships, and as shadows seen in La'an's memories).
  • La'an complains Spock never talks "in plain English" although "in plain Federation standard" should be the proper term.
  • Although Spock claimed to have never used the mind meld on Humans prior to the events of "Dagger of the Mind", in this episode he is shown doing just that with La'an Noonien-Singh.
  • During their mind meld, La'an learned that Spock had a sister (Michael Burnham) and hears her voice, which confused her since Spock's personnel files made no mention of a sister. This references the fact that all information about the USS Discovery, its crew, and the events leading up to and during the Battle near Xahea had been classified by Starfleet.

Links and references[]




Uncredited co-stars[]

Stunt doubles[]


2234; abdominal aorta; accretion disk; Aenar; air; alarm; analysis; answer; assessment; assumption; atmosphere; atmospheric density; atmospheric pressure; atmospheric processor (aka air filter); antimatter; antimatter chamber; antimatter containment; AP 350; awake (aka wakefulness); axis; battle; battle stations; belief; birth; black hole; bleed (aka hemorrhaging); blip; blood; blood plasma; Boatswain's whistle; bomb; boogeyman; botanist; bravery; breathing; breeding; breeding planet; brother; brown dwarf; bulkhead; Burnham, Michael; cadet; captain; captain's log; cargo bay; challenge; chart; choice; civilian; close quarters; code; colony; colony ship; compass; computer; computer program; course; Coriolis force; cosmos; commander-in-chief; communication; control panel; coolant; coolant system (aka cooling system); Crestbrock mining collapse; crew; crew person; crowd; damage; damage report; danger; darkness; data; day; deck; decoy; deep space transport tube (aka transport tube); degree (angle); degree (temperature); density; density field; destroy; diagnostics; die; doctor; dog; drowsiness; duck; empathy; enemy; engineering; English language; ETA (aka estimated time of arrival); evacuation; evasive maneuvers; event horizon; EV suit; expert; exploitation; exploration; explosion; failure; falling; fear; feeling; fight; finger; Finibus I; Finibus II; Finibus III; Finibus IV; Finibus V; Finibus VI; Finibus system; flora; flying; food; force; Frankenstein's monster; frequency; friend; full stop; fun; gas; gas cloud; gas giant; Gorn; gravity; gravitational redshift; guidance system; hail; hand; hatch; hatchling; heat; helm; hiding; hull; hull failure; hull integrity; Human; hunt; hunting ground; idea; ideal; idealism; implosion; inertial dampener; inspiration; ion matrix; IV; job; knowledge; landing party; lieutenant; life; lights; linguistics; location; logic; love; lower decks; malfunction; mark; mathematically (aka mathematics); mass; meaning; memory; mental trauma; mind; mind meld; minute; mission; mom; monster; motion; mouth; movement; Mr.; name; natural universe; nav-com; navigation; navigation system; night; Number One; object; observer; obstacle; officer; opossum (aka possum); opportunity; optical illusion; orbit; orbital bombardment; order; oscillation; override; Orgon, Zigwel; pacifist; pacing; pain; passivity; past; person; perspective; phaser; phenomenon; photon torpedo; Pike Maneuver; place; plan; plasma; playing dead; positron rod; possibility; pressure; prisoner; probe; Program Vinci 7; protection; public address system; Puget Sound uniform, SS; purpose; question; radar; radio wave; reading; reason; reboot; record; red alert; relaxation; repair; report; risk; rotational motion (aka rotation); running; sacrifice; safety; second; scan; science; scientist; sedative; see; sensor; septic shock; sewing; ship; shortcut; shuttle; shuttlebay; sight; signal; singularity; sister; "sitting duck"; size; skipper; slingshot; snake; sound; space; speed; star; Starfleet; Starfleet record; Starfleet Remembrance Day (aka Remembrance Day); structural collapse; structural failure; subconscious; sub-orbit; substellar material; suicide mission; supernatural; surf; surprise; survival (aka survive); Survival of the fittest; Taft; talk; teaching; thing; thought; time; Titan; torpedo; touch; trauma; truth; turbulence; ultrasonic cannon; universe; vent; vessel; viewscreen; Vulcan; Vulcan language; weakness; week; woods; work

Finibus III planetary data[]

carbon dioxide; Celsius; coordinates; hour; kilogram; M-class; mass; mean surface temperature; methane; neon; nitrogen; nitrous oxide; oxygen; revolution period; rotation period; solar year

Pike Maneuver animation references[]

electric charge; escape velocity; event horizon; gravity assist; Kerr black hole; kilometer; radius; solar mass; spin; volume

Brown dwarf screen references[]

animal; carbon monoxide; carbon-based lifeforms; helium; hemisphere; hydrogen; iron; lithium; plant; water vapor

Spacecraft references[]

Angelou, USS; Antares, USS; Cuyahoga, USS; Discovery, USS; Excalibur, USS; Farragut, USS; Federation cargo vessel; Gallant, USS; Galileo; Gorn destroyer; Gorn hunter; Kongo, USS; Palenque, USS; Puget Sound, SS; Shenzhou, USS; Yangtze, USS

External links[]

Previous episode:
"Ghosts of Illyria"
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
Season 1
Next episode:
"Spock Amok"