Stardate not given: A new science officer beams aboard the Enterprise to begin a life-changing tour of duty. Ensign Spock, a young half-Vulcan, proves to be surprising to Number One as she escorts him to the turbolift that will take him for his first visit to the Enterprise‘s bridge. A turbolift malfunction strands the two in an almost inaccessible space within the ship, and this gives Spock time to ask his new superior questions – lots of them. And every question he asks gives Number One more answers about the Enterprise‘s newest officer.
written by Michael Chabon
directed by Mark Pellington
music by Nami Melumad
Cast: Rebecca Romijn (Number One), Ethan Peck (Spock), Anson Mount (Captain Pike), Samora Smallwood (Lt. Amin), Sarah Evans (Upjohn), Jenette Goldstein (Enterprise Computer)
Notes: This episode is set an unspecified number of years prior to The Cage, and even longer before the second season of Star Trek: Discovery. Other senior officers sitting on Spock’s shoulders will have similarly bad luck tampering with the Enterprise‘s wiring (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier). Spock’s shouting is a callback to Leonard Nimoy’s atypical first performance as the character in The Cage. Number One’s name is acknowledged here to be Una, a name first established in the 50th anniversary trilogy of novels published under the banner Star Trek: Legacies; the name was picked both as a tribute to occasional Trek novelist Dr. Una McCormack. The episode is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Robert Chabon, the late father of writer Michael Chabon, and was premiered with no prior warning during the weekend of 2019’s New York City Comic Con, which featured a heavy Star Trek presence. It’s also the first Star Trek episode title featuring the letter Q by itself which does not feature John de Lancie’s character from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Voyager, and the first Star Trek television story in 53 years whose music was composed by a woman.
LogBook entry by Earl Green
Stardate: breakfast: Former Enterprise science officer Lynne Locero is promoted to Captain and given her own command – the science vessel U.S.S. Cabot. Her pre-departure pep talk from Captain Pike, however, barely begins to cover the realities of command – in particular, a problematic science officer aboard the Cabot, one Edward Larkin. The ship’s crew has been tasked with finding a solution to a planetary food shortage, and Larkin obsessively fixates upon a defenseless species called tribbles as a means to ending the famine. Larkin proposes genetically manipulating the creatures so they reproduce rapidly, but Captain Locero wants to explore options that don’t involve killing and cooking the tribbles, or otherwise violating their rights to exist. Unbowed, Larkin proceeds with the experiment anyway, adding his own DNA to the tribbles…and creating a species that, far from solving a food shortage, now threatens to devour everything in sight, including the Cabot itself.
written by Graham Wagner
directed by Daniel Gray Longino
music by Sahil Jindal
Cast: Anson Mount (Captain Pike), Rosa Salazar (Captain Locero), H. Jon Benjamin (Edward Larkin), Lisa Michelle Cornelius (Sarah), Matthew Gouveia (Noel), Krista Jang (Rob), John Jarvis (Admiral Quinn), Loretta Shenosky (Cabot Computer)
Notes: This episode significantly rewrites the DNA – quite literally – of one of Star Trek’s most beloved alien species. As they originally evolved, Tribbles were harmless and largely helpless (Edward notes that one died simply by falling from his desk to the floor). It was only with the addition of Edward’s own human DNA and some other genetic engineering on his part that led to Tribbles that are born ravenously hungry and pregnant, as first seen in 1967’s The Trouble With Tribbles. (This also explains why Captain Lorca had a tribble in Star Trek: Discovery‘s first season which wasn’t chowing down on everything in sight.) H. Jon Benjamin may be more of a familiar voice than a familiar face; he’s the voice of Sterling Archer in the FX animated series Archer, and his voice has been a mainstay of numerous series in Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block. Stick around after the end credits for a fourth-wall-busting Star Trek first, a “commercial” for Tribbles cereal!
LogBook entry by Earl Green