Once again the creators of Star Trek Discovery are filling the gaps between seasons with a series of 15-minute Short Treks. Two have been released so far and whilst they have their own stand alone stories, they both add quite nicely to Star Trek canon, if you are willing to accept it!
Spoilers Below….be warned!
Short Trek 01- Q&A
Q&A tells the story of Ensign Spock’s first day on board the Enterprise.
The episode begins with a very stiff Ensign Spock (Ethan Peck) being greeted in the Transporter Room by Number One (Rebecca Romjin). Number One berates Spock for not bombarding her with questions about his new posting- it is something she expects from every crewmember. Spock quickly remedies this!
They enter a turbolift and head to the bridge. Unfortunately, a problem occurs and the turbolift stops and refuses to budge. Engineering are on the problem but its not looking good!
Spock continues the questioning until Number One snaps; she then attempts to get the ‘lift going again but ends up making the situation worse.
Spock and Number One talk and Number One gives Spock some advice- hide your ‘freaky’ as it can be off-putting to people. Spock asks her what her freaky is and after a moment she begins to sing ‘Modern Major General’ by Gilbert & Sullivan. Spock joins in at the end and they both end up laughing- Spock then swears to keep her secret.
Eventually they are rescued by Lt. Amin, who is an expert climber and rappels down the lift shaft to rescue them. I’m really hoping that when (I say when ‘coz I’m convinced it’s coming) the Captain Pike series begins, Lt. Amin is developed into a bad-ass, multi-skilled, Lara Croft type character who gets everyone out of sticky situations! Please….’Make it so!’
Number One and Spock make their way to the bridge where Spock meets Captain Pike and takes his position at the science station.
Number One gives Spock a sly grin, thinking of the secret between them.
For me this was a fun episode. Ever since the original series episode ‘The Menagerie’ and ‘The Cage’ aired, fans have questioned two things- The first is Spock’s grin when they examine the flora on Talos IV. The second is something a lot of people wondered- did Spock base his demeanour on Number One? I know the Spock character was supposed to have elements of her but in-universe it got people talking.
We all know that Vulcan’s have emotions, they just suppress them. Spock, being half-Vulcan finds it hard and occasionally slips; this is his freaky….his human emotions.
This episode I believe answers both questions- Spock learns to hide his freaky and models himself on Number One-he now only lets his freaky show around certain people. By the time the Enterprise goes to Talos IV, Spock is now comfortable around Pike and Number One.
Short Trek 02~ The Trouble With Edward
This episode had me in absolute stitches!
It tells the origins of how the Tribbles became able to breed so quickly.
Newly promoted Captain Lucero, a former science officer on the Enterprise, is getting some last minute tips from Captain Pike before beaming to her new command- the USS Cabot, a science-vessel.
The Cabot is dealing with a planet that is suffering from planet-wide famine and are looking at various ways of helping the situation. During a briefing on the problem, Lucero meets Lt. Edward Larkin- a protein specialist. Larkin tells Lucero that he has a solution to the food crisis: he wants to introduce a new species to the planet.
According to Larkin, once you remove the fur it’s all meat and that Tribbles taste like scallops. The only problem is that Tribbles currently breed too slowly to be of use but he can manipulate their DNA to compensate. Lucero questions the morality behind this as they may be intelligent creatures- another ‘problem’ that Larkin can deal with via genetics.
Lucero forbids him to continue his research and moves him to a different department, which Larkin protests to.
Later on, Larkin takes matters into his own hands and sprays something on some captive Tribbles. He then has an argument with Captain Lucero who tells him he is being trasferred. He doesn’t take it well!
A short while later, an alert is being sounded. Larkin exits his quarters (in just his underwear) to find out what’s going on. Only to find out that the Tribbles are now multiplying rapidly and its getting out of control.
Lucero wants to know what happened. They quickly find out about the genetic manipulation by Larkin and that he combined Tribble DNA with Human- his own.
The crew also discover that Tribbles are now born pregnant and produce rapidly! They are breeding so fast that they are taking over the ship and that the oxygen supply is at risk.
Eventually the crew have to abandon ship but not before Larkin is crushed to death by his creation. The ship eventually crashes into a planet near Klingon space.
Captain Lynne Lucero eventually returns to Earth to face an inquiry regarding the incident…..
Once again, this episode adds to canon. We now know how the Tribbles came to be able to breed so fast and also learn about the Tribble invasion of Klingon space.
It was an absolutely hilarious episode, with one scene in particular involving a vacuum cleaner making me roar!
Two minor continuity problems:-
In Enterprise, Tribbles are mentioned as being prodigious breeders but in this Short Trek Larkin says they are slow. Pretty sure it could be fixed by saying they are too slow to solve the problem at hand, nothing more.
In this episode the taxonomic nomenclature for Tribbles is ‘Tribleustes ventricosus’ but in the original series it was ‘Polygeminus grex’. Again, not a major thing but could be explained by saying the change in name was due to the introduction of foreign DNA.
At the end of the episode a post-credits awaits. Its a 90s style TV commercial for Tribbles ‘n’ Bits breakfast cereal. A must watch!
Two great short treks and I can’t wait for the next ones!
Below are two promo images in the style of 90s style Trek novel covers, both produced by CBS.