Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

Newly-minted Captain Lynne Lucero is excited to take command of the USS Cabot. That is, until she meets Edward Larkin, an ornery scientist who believes he has found a revolutionary new use for tribbles.

Summary

Act One

"Captain's log, stardate 1421.9. It's not often that losing a crewmember is cause for celebration. But our young science officer Lynne Lucero has been promoted. She's taken command of the research vessel Cabot above Pragine 63. They're lucky to have her."

Aboard the USS Enterprise, Captain Christopher Pike laments losing a good officer to promotion, wishing Lynne Lucero luck in her new command aboard the USS Cabot, offering aid to Pragine 63 – a planet on the edge of Klingon space facing a starvation crisis.

Lucero's briefing with the department heads

Aboard the Cabot, Lucero holds a briefing with the sciences division department heads, asking for status updates on projects, resources and collaboration. At Lieutenant Edward Larkin's turn to report, he has trouble accessing his PADD, before reporting on his work with Tribleustes ventricosus, or "tribbles." When he displays images of them, the others find them cute, but Larkin is enthusiastic only because once the fur is removed, "underneath, it's all meat", so they could be a food source for the Calations. He has eaten one or two during his research and talks about the taste. The only problem, he says, is the species breeds very slowly, but he has a plan to correct that via genetic manipulation.

As the others are clearly uncomfortable with Larkin's plan, Lucero asks if tribbles are intelligent. Larkin assumes she wants to know how easily they could escape when being "hunted". He assures her that they could not. When she says her concern was a moral one, he suggests he could also manipulate them to be brain-damaged. Lucero now orders him to suspend his project and join the climatology team instead.

In the mess hall, after getting off on the wrong foot with the captain, Larkin vents to Noel, who suggests the rest of the crew seems to like her.

At his station, Larkin sees Lucero and another member of the science team, Sarah, getting along, before he is called to the captain's office.

Captain Lucero tells Larkin that her commanding officer at Starfleet had received "anonymous" complaints about her and her work, and other crew members say it's the sort of thing he would do. She tells him he is going to be transferred off the ship, and dismisses him, but for some time he argues and refuses to leave.

Act Two

Larkin steps out of his quarters in his pajama top and underpants to find the crew is rushing to address a lab breach, which is immediately traced to his work with tribbles and his violation of a direct order from Captain Lucero. All Larkin says is, "But it worked." The crew attempt to clear the ship of tribbles, but the exponentially multiplying population is too much for them. Even their oxygen supply is threatened. They learn that the tribbles are "born pregnant", which Larkin explains by saying he infused them with Human DNA – his own.

Edward refusing to leave as a wave of tribbles approach

Eventually, Lucero orders the crew to abandon ship, but Larkin argues with her, saying that he is "not dumb" and that his work has been a triumph. As the others board an escape craft, Larkin stubbornly remains and is engulfed in a wave of tribbles.

At a board of inquiry at Starfleet Headquarters, Admiral Quinn inquires how her command went so badly in just two weeks: the ship destroyed, one crew member tragically lost, and a genetically modified species released onto Pragine 63. Quinn asks how she can blame the calamity on the actions of one crew member, but she simply replies, "He was an idiot."

Post-credits scene

"...Tribbles."

A "Tracking" message as from a 1980s style VCR is shown. This is followed by a scene shot in the style of a breakfast cereal commercial of the same period. In the mess hall of the USS Ravenous, a female officer collects a box of Tribbles cereal to feed a pair of twin girls in Starfleet uniforms while a voice-over narration describes the cereal's benefits. As she pours, the woman discovers the box contains an unending supply of tribbles that pile up in the girls' bowls. A picture of Edward Larkin appears inset on the screen as the narration relates the substantial amount of "Edward" the cereal contains. The girls begin to happily eat, while a quick cut shows tribbles beginning to infiltrate the mess hall computer system.

During all this, warnings appear on-screen in small print. The "Edward™ macronutrient" is not approved by the "Federation Food and Drug Administration".

"Fur may present choking hazard" and so customers are advised to shave the cereal with a "Tribble Razor," sold in a separate kit. Finally, the company is "not responsible if tribbles survive and replicate in digestive tract."

The cereal is available in three flavors, "Original, Hairy Berry, and new Spicy Ranch." The commercial closes with an animated tribble mascot riding on a skateboard, announcing "We're pregnant... with flavor!" as two more tribbles pop out of its body.

Log entries

Memorable quotes

"Any advice from a salty old captain?"
"Don’t show any weakness or they will eat you alive. Yeah, I’m kidding. You’re gonna have a great time."
"Just one tip, you got this job because you are a brilliant scientist. But you’re gonna find that not everybody is on your level, if you know what I mean."
"You’re right, some are going to be even better than me."

- Lynne Lucero and Christopher Pike, as Lucero is preparing to beam to the Cabot


"I made one of the most important scientific discoveries of our time, I’m not the dumb one."

- Edward Larkin to Lynne Lucero, as he is being swamped by tribbles

Background information

Title

Captain Lucero inspects a tribble in her office in the trailer for this episode

  • The title of this episode was first revealed in a trailer released on 20 July 2019 at San Diego Comic-Con.
  • The title plays on "The Trouble with Tribbles", the episode originally introducing the tribbles, utilizing a reversal to suggest that not the tribbles, but the Human who unleashed them is responsible for the problems they cause. The two other episodes in which tribbles had non-cameo roles, namely "More Tribbles, More Troubles" and "Trials and Tribble-ations", also riff on the original title.

Cast and characters

Production

The after-credits scene is presented as a commercial on VHS, switching from widescreen to 4:3 aspect ratio

  • The release date was announced on 5 October 2019 at New York Comic-Con. [2]
  • The song heard as the tribbles begin to reproduce out of control is "Johnny Appleseed" by Bing Crosby.
  • This is the first Star Trek production to feature a scene after the closing credits.
  • In the post-credits commercial, the code A113 is seen on a food synthesizer. This is a common in-joke, typically inserted by alumni of California Institute of the Arts. It refers to a classroom used by animation students.

Continuity

  • While in the episode Edward claims that unmodified tribbles breed very slowly, in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "The Breach" they were already said to be prodigious breeders.
    • The tribbles in this episode are referred to as "Tribleustes ventricosus", while the scientific name for tribbles has previously been given as "Polygeminus grex", making it another possibility that the specific type of tribbles seen in "The Trouble With Edward" are a different breed than the fast-reproducing ones seen in other episodes, and that it is only the ventricosus variety that originally reproduced slowly before being modified by Larkin.
  • This is the second instance in Star Trek where manipulation with Human DNA has led to trouble for the Klingons, after the augment virus.
  • DNA tinkering by Humans had been catastrophic for them as well, as it, aside from the destruction of the USS Cabot, had in the case of the Augments also directly led to the even more catastrophic Eugenics Wars.
  • The after-credits Tribbles commercial mentions replicator safety protocols. This appears to make the commercial prochronistic to the rest of the episode, as the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Flashback" established that replicators post-date the apparent setting of this episode by at least several decades.
The commercial for "Tribbles" was presented as a post-credits scene in The Trouble with Edward. The context of the commercial from the in-universe perspective is impossible to determine, and may not have been meant to be taken literally.

Links and references

Starring

Co-starring

Uncredited co-stars

References

admiral; barf; biologist; brain damage; breeding; briefing room; Calations; Captain; chef; circuitry; climatology; cooking pot; diplomatic crisis; DNA; environmental control; experiment; exponential rate; fire hazard; foodie; genetic manipulation; Golden Gate Bridge; Iota Geminorum IV; Klingons; lab breach; Lucero's commanding officer; Nimitz-type escape pod; oceanography; oxygen; pH; phaser rifle; Pragine 63; pregnant; protein; protein specialist; salad; scallop; soil department; science vessel; scientist; structural failure; Tactical; transport; transporter; tribble (Tribleustes ventricosus); violin; vacuum collector; wheelhouse

Commercial references

advertisement; Andoria; baseball cap; blueberry; box; brand; breakfast; cartoon; Cestus; commercial; digestive tract; dinner; disclaimer; Earth; Edward macronutrient; Edward Cereals LLC; Federation Food and Drug Administration; flavor; food synthesizer; hair (fur); Hairy Berry; Izar; juice; lunch; mascot; meat; mineral; Original Flavor; prize; raspberry; Ravenous, USS; replicator safety protocols; Rigel VI; Rigel X; self-replication; skateboard; snack; Spicy Ranch; spoon; Starfleet ration; Tellar; trademark; tribble neuterator; tribble razor; Tribbles (cereal); Tribbles Cereal Super Salon Playset; vitamin; Vulcan

Meta references

apple tree; Bing Crosby; "Johnny Appleseed"; orchard; seeds

External link


Previous episode:
"Q&A"
Star Trek: Short Treks
Season 2
Next episode:
"Ask Not"
Community content is available under CC-BY-NC unless otherwise noted.