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A distress call from Lt. Noonien-Singh compels Spock to disobey orders and take the USS Enterprise and its crew into disputed space, risking renewed hostilities with the Klingons in a bid to aid their shipmate. (Season premiere)

Summary[]

Teaser[]

"Captain's log, stardate 2369.2. Enterprise is in spacedock at Starbase 1. The crew is taking some well-deserved leave while Chief Fleet Inspector Commander Pelia and her team from Operational Support Services are running comprehensive inspections, systems checks and upgrades. I've had my hands full on Enterprise getting everything ready. But even from afar, I sense a tension here among the brass that I can't pin down. The feeling that something is in the air. But right now, I have a crisis closer to home to deal with."

While the USS Enterprise is undergoing routine maintenance and inspection at Starbase 1, Captain Pike speaks with Una, who is in custody following the revelation that she is Illyrian, in violation of Starfleet's regulations about genetic engineering. They have both attempted to reach out to someone they know who could help Una's case, but have been ignored. Pike suggests going public, as they couldn't ignore her service record, but Una refuses to allow Pike to be brought down for her mistake. Una thinks she will able to get a plea deal, but Pike is adamant that she cannot resign, considering the loss to the Enterprise, and to him personally, to be "unimaginable". Una reminds him that he had taught her not to start a fight she couldn't win, but Pike retorts that she didn't start the fight, and they would find a way to win it because it was what was right. He intends to reach out to their contact, which would involve a trip of three days to the other side of the quadrant (two-and-a-half in one of the newer shuttles, Pike adds) that might just result in having a door slammed in his face. Una thinks Pike is being ridiculous, but if it was Una's only chance to fight the charges, he was determined to try.

In his quarters, Pike meets with Spock, who is less than enthused about being made acting captain for the next three days while Pike is on his "personal leave", pointing out they were still short a chief engineer and a chief of security, as well as Una's loss. It was for Una, Pike points out, that he was leaving, and tells Spock to take it easy; he wouldn't even have to leave spacedock. Spock points out the Human expression about "famous last words", but Pike expresses his faith in him. After Pike leaves, Spock goes to sickbay, where Dr. M'Benga's scans show an elevated heart rate and pain in the neck, jaw and lower back – all indicators of stress, something Spock calls "atypical". M'Benga knows that Vulcans suppress their much stronger emotions through cognitive blocks, but since the encounter with the Gorn on Valeo Beta V, Spock had removed those blocks. Offering a Human therapy of sorts, M'Benga hands Spock a Vulcan lute, saying that Humans used music to channel their emotions. As Spock begins to play, his heart rate drops – and then immediately spikes when Nurse Chapel reports for duty. Spock quickly excuses himself. "Fascinating," M'Benga sums up, which Chapel points out was Spock's line. He mentions how his levels elevated when she entered, but she shuts that line down, before explaining she was considering accepting an archaeological medical fellowship. M'Benga worries he will have to replace her, but she cheerfully assures him it was just two months on Vulcan – he wouldn't be rid of her that easily.

On the bridge, Ortegas and Mitchell observe the inspectors at work, Mitchell in particular lamenting how there were more inspectors than crew aboard. One inspector criticizes the "highly irregular" layout of the helm, pointing out that the pitch and yaw were reversed from standard. Ortegas replies that the standard controls weren't quick enough, and she didn't like getting shot at, so she reversed them. Another inspector approaches Uhura's communications station, and she fends him off; he wants to install a secure comms patch, but it requires a system reboot, which would disable their comms, even the emergency ones. The inspector nonchalantly points out that they were in spacedock, wondering how many hails they would be getting. As if to answer, Uhura's board goes off, and she tells the inspector off as she attends to the call. Her expression soon makes it clear it is not a routine call.

Spock continues to pick at the lute in his quarters when Uhura approaches him; internal communications were down. She has picked up what appears to be a distress call from the Cajitar system, located on the edge of Klingon space – and the signal is coming from La'an. Spock goes to Admiral April, who denies his request to answer it. La'an's message indicated an "anti-Federation threat" on Cajitar IV. April points out that Cajitar was a planet rich in dilithium, and was governed by a painstakingly-negotiated treaty after the Klingon War; the Federation and the Klingon Empire alternated shifts on the world each month, and it was the Klingons' turn at the moment. A Federation starship arriving at this time would be an act of war, and he is not about to risk it for a former member of Starfleet.

Spock meets with the senior officers and explains the situation. Uhura is confident the message is genuine, but M'Benga worries it could be a trap; Mitchell adds that April's orders were clear. Spock asks for their help to get the inspectors off the ship, but does not wish them to be involved in anything they think is wrong; if they wanted to leave, or even report the plan, they were welcome to do so. When Chapel asks what the plan is, Spock replies he thought it obvious: he intends to steal the Enterprise.

Act One[]

In engineering, Mitchell simulates a coolant leak in the intermix chamber to evacuate the crew and the inspectors. But one remains onboard: the chief inspector, Commander Pelia, who goes to the bridge to continue her work. She finds it suspicious that the intermix chamber that she and her team have spent three days inspecting is suddenly having problems. As an engineering specialist, she is familiar with the signs of a warp core breach, teaching on that topic at Starfleet Academy, and a look at the computer allows her to spot Mitchell's simulation. It is clear to her that they intend to steal the Enterprise, and Spock's expression confirms it, as she knows Vulcans are usually incapable of lying. She also knows they do not act without good reason, and asks why he would want to steal the ship. Spock admits he is acting on a hunch. Pelia is amused at the idea of a Vulcan playing a hunch, even more so given that it's the son of Amanda Grayson. Spock is surprised to hear that Pelia knows his mother, but before he can find out more, Pelia tells them if they wanted to steal a starship, they should do it correctly, before asking Ortegas if she could vent plasma from the nacelles. Ortegas, wrong-footed, replies she could, but wonders if she should. Spock asks why Pelia would help them, but she says they could either keep talking or simply go. Spock orders Ortegas to vent the nacelles.

Alarms on Starbase 1 indicate the Enterprise's "trouble", and Starbase 1 control releases the docking clamps, ordering the ship to clear away from the station. Pelia offers her services as chief engineer for the mission, remarking that it had been a hundred years since she had had engines of her own. Ortegas is incredulous at that, but Pelia simply says it would be a "very long story". Uhura is able to peg Pelia's accent, identifying her as a Lanthanite. "Guilty as charged," Pelia replies cheerfully, as she steps into the turbolift.

Starbase 1 tries to hail them, but Spock replies they would have to wait, ordering Ortegas to set course for the Cajitar system. Usually there is a phrase used before they go to warp, like Pike's "hit it". Spock thinks for a moment, before saying simply, "I would like the ship to go. Now." The crew is amused as Ortegas acknowledges the order, taking the Enterprise to warp.

Act Two[]

In the main settlement on Cajitar IV, La'an is engaged in a drinking game with a Klingon named Kr'Dogh. Though revolted by the bloodwine she is chugging, she manages not to show it. Kr'Dogh, however, appears to have trouble holding his liquor, and La'an wins the game. Another Klingon takes Kr'Dogh's seat, and La'an tosses a few credit chips to her, telling her what she really wanted. The Klingon agrees to arrange a meeting with Greynax, but warns he may not want to meet with a Human. La'an asks for the meeting to be arranged that night. As the Klingon leaves, La'an looks up and sees M'Benga.

Meeting with the crew outside the settlement, La'an is surprised that they stole the Enterprise, thinking she would have lost a number of bets on that. Chapel agrees that Vulcans can surprise them. Spock points out her message had been urgent. La'an had left the ship after the Gorn incident on Valeo Beta V to find the parents of Oriana, the girl they had found in the wreckage of the USS Peregrine, and had tracked them to Cajitar. Before the Klingon War, both the Federation and the Empire had used the planet's dilithium much as they did now, but during the war, both sides' need for dilithium to replace their losses made Cajitar's dilithium a highly lucrative commodity. Then peace came, and the Broken Circle, a syndicate made up of former soldiers from both sides, thought this bad for business. They intended to restart the war, and were collecting Federation technology; a few days earlier, an explosion at the dilithium mine caused half the town to become ill from ion exposure, including Oriana's parents. M'Benga knows ion radiation does not occur naturally from dilithium, but is a byproduct of a photon torpedo. He is appalled at the idea of someone wanting to resume the "theater of horror" for profit. Oriana and her parents are in a medical tent. Spock has M'Benga and Chapel go to them, while he and Uhura accompany La'an to meet her prospective buyers for Federation tech.

M'Benga and Chapel take in the grim conditions in the medical tent when they are greeted by Oriana. As they treat Oriana's parents, a Klingon and two Humans enter the tent and spot them. The Klingon notes their technology, and asks if they were medical. M'Benga replies that they were from off-world seeking to trade at market. The Klingon tells them to accompany her and her associates, as they were in need of their services; as if to emphasize what choice they had, the Humans raise their weapons.

Three Klingons approach the rendezvous with La'an, speaking a dialect of Klingonese that Uhura identifies as Kach-Ugh. La'an asks Greynax, the largest of the three, if he was followed. He replies he was, but cut the throats of those following him so they wouldn't anymore. La'an thinks it unwise to leave a body trail, but Greynax points out that it was the Klingons' turn on that "miserable world", and bodies piled up all the time. He asks if she had what was promised, and she opens a case with several Starfleet phasers. She had thought Klingons hated Federation technology, asking why he wanted them; he replies it was not her concern, and points out she had promised two dozen, only seeing about half that. La'an tells him that was all she had. He offers her a third of the agreed-on price, but La'an demands double. He is incensed that she would demand double the price for half the weapons, and asks why he shouldn't just take it from a "tiny woman" like her. In response, La'an pulls a device from her belt and warns him to back off, or she would release the "anti-matter detonation switch" and kill him on the spot. Greynax wonders if she had some Klingon blood in her, and agrees to her price, but asks for more weapons.

Meeting with Spock and Uhura, La'an admits that the "detonation switch" was a ruse. Uhura was able to parse out some of what the Klingons were saying, and whatever they had planned was scheduled for the next day. She asks if they should call Starfleet, but Spock thinks they need solid proof first, not relishing another call with April without it. He suggests returning to the ship to see what M'Benga and Chapel have found, and calls up to transporter chief Jay. They report a lock on the three of them, but they had lost M'Benga and Chapel's signal an hour earlier.

M'Benga and Chapel are brought into a massive cave, which Chapel thinks the biggest she's ever seen. They both see something that brings them up short: a Federation starship. When Chapel wonders how they got it inside, M'Benga thinks they may have built it. The Klingon who captured them shoves them roughly inside.

Act Three[]

M'Benga and Chapel are brought aboard the ship. He begins treating one of the Klingons in sickbay, recognizing that the level of scarring from ion burns would be normally too deep to treat, but the Klingons' genetic redundancies made it easier. Recognizing that he has treated Klingons before, M'Benga's patient, Ror'Queg, demands to know where, or he would cut out the doctor's tongue so he would "spread no more lies". M'Benga replies that years before, he had been stationed on the moon of J'Gal, which Ror'Queg believes is surety he was lying, as he would be dead otherwise. M'Benga remembers that after the Battle of ChaKana, there was so much blood in the air that the rain turned red. Ror'Queg is silent as M'Benga finishes his treatment. After the Klingon returns to duty, Chapel approaches M'Benga, concerned. While he admits it was bringing back memories from the Klingon War, he assures her he was in control. Chapel has discovered that the severity of the burns indicates the torpedoes were on the ship. Both realize that the ship could be used as a false flag to attack the Klingons, restarting the war; they had to relay the information to the Enterprise. M'Benga produces a vial of Protocol 12 from his medkit; Chapel worriedly asks if he wanted to go through that again, and M'Benga admits he didn't, but didn't see an option.

Given enhanced reaction time from the stimulant, both fight their way through the decks of the ship, cornering one of the Klingons in the turbolift. M'Benga demands to know what the syndicate was planning, how many there were, and what defenses they had. The Klingon is unimpressed at first, even as M'Benga attempts to beat the information out of him, as he knows the Federation's rules against torture. But M'Benga begins throttling him, forcing Chapel to step in to stop him. The Klingon finally admits there were thirty of them onboard, armed with Federation phasers, pulse rifles, and Klingon disruptors. M'Benga demands to know where the transponder is. The Klingon again prepares to refuse, but seeing the doctor's cold stare, fearfully reveals it was on deck 13. M'Benga punches him into unconsciousness, before he and Chapel leave the lift. Just then, they hear the ship's engines warming up.

Finding the transponder, M'Benga is able to reprogram it to send a simple message, but needs time – as the extremists begin to close on them. Chapel gives him the time he needs, fighting them off long enough for him to send the message. They head into a lower deck through an access panel, seeking a way off the ship. But the stimulant is beginning to wear off, as Chapel is subdued by two Klingons. M'Benga, however, is able to fight his way through by sheer willpower, and Chapel soon breaks free as well. They retreat into the airlock, but as they move to get out, the ship begins to rise.

Act Four[]

A Klingon D7-class battle cruiser arrives in system, and Spock orders red alert. Uhura reports no indication that the cruiser has spotted them, all signs pointing to a standard arrival in orbit. Ortegas is confident, having had to hide from Klingons a time or two, that the ship running in low-power mode in a field of interstellar ice and rocks with high iron levels would make them appear to be space debris. La'an hails from the surface on a secure channel, having found no sign of M'Benga or Chapel, and having no further leads from her contacts in the Broken Circle. Just then, the ship rises up and heads into orbit. Mitchell identifies it as possibly a Crossfield-class ship, which would be no match for a Klingon battle cruiser. She also picks up the modified transponder signal, putting out a message in Morse code: "Enterprise, destroy this ship."

Aboard the ship, Chapel asks if the Enterprise picked up their transponder signal, and wonders how long before the extremists breached the airlock. M'Benga estimates five minutes with a laser torch, and less with a grenade. Chapel didn't think they would be so stupid to use a grenade while the ship was in space, but then thinks perhaps they might be. They search the lockers, hoping to find an environmental suit, but only find a helmet and a jetpack. M'Benga intends to use the beacon in the helmet to send a signal, and the attitude thrusters on the pack to get them clear of the ship. Chapel wonders what the point would be, as they would be dead, but M'Benga thinks they would have one minute before freezing to death, and would pass out after fifteen seconds.

Ortegas nimbly pilots the Enterprise through the asteroid field as the rogue ship fires at them. Spock is holding fire as long as possible, believing that M'Benga and Chapel were captured by the extremists and sent the signal, and may possibly still be on the ship. They are soon spotted by the D7, which moves to intercept. Chapel remarks it was a "terrible way to die", and M'Benga tries to say it could be worse, but then thinks not. Spock finally gives the order to fire torpedoes. As he does, M'Benga triggers the airlock, and he and Chapel are vented out into space. Spock looks anguished as the ship is destroyed, but then Uhura picks up the beacon from the EV suit helmet. Spock has them beamed aboard immediately and rushes to the transporter room. M'Benga is conscious, but Chapel is not breathing. Spock administers CPR, begging with Chapel not to die. She awakens, gasping for breath, wiping a tear from Spock's face as she asked why he had to be so "rough". As medics come in to take M'Benga and Chapel to sickbay, Uhura calls from the bridge: the Klingons are hailing them.

Captain D'Chok demands an explanation as to why a Federation starship was hiding in their system. Spock tells him about the rogue ship, a claim D'Chok considers "absurd". He accuses them of destroying the rogue ship to cover their own failure in the face of the Klingons' "superior might". Spock points out that the Klingons' sensors didn't detect them until they fired on the false Federation ship, adding that he could have easily fired on the Klingons instead. D'Chok demands to know why he should trust Spock, who replies that he was a Vulcan and could not lie. D'Chok dismisses the "legend", saying he would know a man's truth when he looked into his eyes, face-to-face. Spock accepts the implicit challenge, offering to settle the matter over a barrel of bloodwine. D'Chok is surprised that he drinks bloodwine, and thinks he was no "typical" Vulcan. "No, it would seem I am not," Spock agrees.

The two crews meet on the planet below, jovial in spite of the close call. After having a round with D'Chok and his crew, Spock approaches Pelia at the bar nearby. She admits her Klingonese was rusty, but asks if they had said "let your blood scream" – a Klingon toast Spock was beginning to learn the meaning of. She thanks him for getting her out of the Academy. Spock, curious, asks if she is really a Lanthanite, and after joking about a few drinks leading to "personal questions", she confirms she is. Spock admits he has always found her people fascinating, living among Humans on Earth undetected until the 22nd century. Pelia explains that Amanda was the first person she came out to, but says that was a tale for another time. Now, he goes on, she teaches engineering at the Academy. Pelia corrects this to "taught", and finally answers his question of why she went with them: she was bored, and the Enterprise seemed to have a "shortage" of boredom. She might even plan to stay around, and she walks off, laughing. D'Chok brings him back to the table, toasting "the Vulcan who acts nothing like a Vulcan". Oriana reunites with La'an, who tells her to stay out of trouble; Oriana jokes that she will if La'an does. She asks where La'an will go now. Seeing Spock with the Klingons, La'an seems to have made her choice.

Back aboard the Enterprise, April berates Spock for acting against his explicit orders and nearly causing a war. Spock quietly asks the admiral to lower the volume of his voice. April realizes Spock is suffering from a hangover, the result of the peace agreement made with the Klingons, but points out it could easily have gone the other way. Spock did what he thought right, "followed his gut" as the Humans might put it, but will accept what punishment Starfleet deems appropriate. April decides the Klingon hangover is punishment enough, but warns that next time ("and there had better not be a next time," he adds), it would be Spock's commission, and orders him to bring Enterprise home.

Spock checks in on Chapel in sickbay. M'Benga approaches, not having heard Spock come in, and assures him she will be fine. The look on Spock's face shows his inner turmoil, and he admits he has no words to describe how he feels. He spends most of the rest of the voyage in his quarters, playing the lute the doctor gave him.

On Starbase 1, Commodore Tafune thinks April let Spock off too easy, but April points out he may have just helped prevent the Federation from having to defend two fronts at the same time, whether he knows it or not. He considers Spock one of their best, and if "this war" happens, they would need all the people they could get. As he speaks, he looks to his map display, showing a possible object identification near the Galdonterre system: a Gorn attack ship.

Memorable quotes[]

"I lied about my species on an application to Starfleet. Let's just say this is not a plum case."

- Una


"You cannot resign. The loss to Enterprise would be unimaginable. To me."
"Don't start a fight you can't win. You taught me that."

- Pike and Una


"Take it easy, Mr. Spock. You'll never even have to leave spacedock."
"What is the Human expression? Famous last words."
"Hey, I have faith in you. See you in three days."

- Pike, leaving Spock in command of the Enterprise


"If you wish to leave or report this plan, I will not stand in your way."
"What plan?"
"I would have thought it obvious. We must steal the Enterprise."

- Spock and Chapel


"Commander Pelia, I am not sure what you are implying."
"I'm not implying anything. I'm flat-out saying someone violated about seventeen Starfleet regulations."
"Well, perhaps while you're theorizing, you might explain why anyone would engage in such subterfuge."
"Mmm, I can think of one reason – to steal the Enterprise. Or do you want to tell me that's not what's happening here?"

- Spock and Pelia


"Do you have a good reason to steal the ship?"
"I am having what you Humans call a hunch."
"A Vulcan with a hunch? That's a new one!"

- Pelia and Spock


"Stay on that ship, Ms. Ortegas."
"Pedal to the metal, sir."

- Spock and Ortegas


"I can't believe this is how we're gonna die."
"We've gotten out of worse."
"No, not really."
"I suppose not."

- Chapel and M'Benga, just before they are ejected out of NCC-1279's airlock into open space


"Perhaps we can conclude this discussion over a barrel of bloodwine?"
"You drink bloodwine?"
"I have been known to."
"This is something I must see. You're no typical Vulcan."
"No. It would seem I am not."

- Spock and D'Chok


"After explicitly ordering you not to go, you risked hundred of lives and you risked peace in the quadrant!"
"If you could lower the volume of your voice, Admiral?"
"My God, are you hungover, Spock?"
"The result of a peace treaty with the Klingon captain."

- April, reprimanding a hungover Spock

Log entries[]

Background information[]

Title[]

Dedication[]

  • This episode was dedicated to Nichelle Nichols, who passed away during the hiatus between the first and second seasons.

Continuity[]

Links and references[]

Starring[]

And

Guest starring[]

And

Co-starring[]

Uncredited co-stars[]

Stunt doubles[]

References[]

22nd century; accent; acting captain; admiral; air; Airlock 5-E; anger; antimatter detonation switch; application; archaeological medicine; Archer, USS; Archer-type; Battle of ChaKana; beard; bloodwine; body; Bolian; boredom; Boy Scout; brak'lul; Broken Circle; Cajitar IV; Cajitar IV avian; Cajitar IV colony; Cajitar IV's moons; Cajitar system; captain's log; captain's ready room; cave; Cervantes; chief engineer; chief fleet inspector; code; cognitive blocks; colony; commander; commission; communications station; communicator; Constitution-class; controls; crew; crisis; Crossfield-class; D'Chok's battle cruiser; D7-class; day; decades; deception; dermal system; dialect; dilithium; distress signal; docking control; doctor (aka "doc"); dying; earpiece; Earth; emergency bands; emotion; ensign; Enterprise, USS; EV suit; expression; expression (art); face; face-to-face interaction; Farragut, USS; Farragut-type; Federation; Federation casualties; Federation-Klingon War; Federation starship; fellowship; fight; girl; Gorn; Grayson, Amanda; hail; hangover; head of security; hour; Human; hunch; hybrid; hypospray; ideology; intermix chamber; ion burns; ion exposure; ion radiation; Illyrian; jaw; J'Gal; judgment; Jupiter; Kach-Ugh; Ketoul, Neera; Klingon; Klingon Empire; Klingon space; Klingonese; Lanthanite; lawyer; legends; lieutenant; lower back; luck; lying; maintenance schedule; market; mathematical properties; medical; mining; minute; miss; mister; Mitchell's last captain; month; Morse 2; music; nacelle; NCC-1279; NCC-1279-type; neck; Number One; nurse; Operational Support Services; order; Orion; PADD; pain; parent; peace; person; photon torpedo; pitch; plan; plea deal; price; profit; Protocol 12; quadrant; questions; radio silence; rain; red; red alert; red jellyfish-like creature; ring system; scarring; second; ship; shore leave; shuttlecraft (unnamed); sir; Sol; soldier; son; space; spacedock; Spanish language; species; Stamets-type shuttle (unnamed); Starbase 1; Starbase 1 drone; stardate; Starfleet; Starfleet Academy; Starfleet Command; Starfleet uniform; stealing; stress; syndicate; tech; Tellarite; tension; thing; transponder; trap; tribble; type 2 phaser; universal translator; Vaultera Nebula; vial; voluntary leave; Vulcan; Vulcan (planet); Vulcan lyre; warp core; warp factor; weapon; weapons systems; wine; woman; yaw

Computer screen references[]

archive; audio waveform; blood; brain; cell rate; Cestus system; coolant leak; Deep Space 2; detection key; dialect database; energy-matter scrambler; file; Galdonterre system; Gorn attack ship; heart rate; language detection; log; lung; matter stream converter; patient; pulse; ready room; recorder; respiration; speech pattern analysis; stellar cartography; temperature; translation; transcription; Ya'Vang system

External links[]

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Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
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