From Hidden Frontier
|Star Trek: Hidden Frontier episode|
Captain's log: Be afraid, be very afraid.
|Directed by||John Whiting|
|Written by||Rob Caves|
|Produced by||Rob Caves|
|Cinematography by||Rob Caves|
|Editing by||Rob Caves|
|Production Code||HF 1.05|
|Original Air Date||2000|
|Streaming Video Link||Link|
|Season 1 episodes|
|HF Season 1 Page|
Captain Knapp briefly clashes with new XO Elizabeth Shelby's attitude, before the Excelsior heads off to investigate the disappearance of the Nova-class USS Perihelion. Arriving at the ship's last known coordinates, they discover the ship in an impossibly close orbit of a quantum singularity, alongside an unknown vessel that dwarfs the Excelsior. But when an investigation reveals the strange, deleterious effects that the singularity had on the Perihelion crew and now the Excelsior crew as well, they realize what the ramifications could be for the entire galaxy.
Rendezvous and the Arrival of Commander Shelby
The episode begins with the Ambassador-class USS Excalibur delivering the Excelsior's new Executive Officer, Elizabeth Shelby. Shortly after her transfer, Shelby is found to be sparring with Knapp in his ready room that she didn't belong on Excelsior - that her next assignment should be a ship of her own. Knapp counters that he would recommend her for a freighter or a garbage scow, because without flag experience, that is the only assignment that she is likely to get. She again complained that Knapp was in her way. Knapp noted that her previous Captain, MacKenzie Calhoun had recommended her highly, but that she was also a "constant pain in his backside", and that he expected her performance to reflect her duty to the ship, first and foremost. Any more talk about career advancement would land her a position "supervising toxic waste cleanup in the Gamma Quadrant." Knapp then ordered her to acquaint herself with the crew on friendly terms, emphasizing his desire for synergy aboard ship.
Later, in Ten Forward, Shelby is seen playing poker with Henglaar, Lefler and Martinez. Lefler wins the hand with a heart flush. Henglaar complains that Counselor Elbrey had been helping her, causing Lefler to contemplate Lefler's Law #261 - "It doesn't take a telepath to see a poker face." After Henglaar expressed displeasure with Lefler's constant quoting of her laws, the game is interrupted by Knapp calling the senior staff to the bridge.
Mission Briefing and Arrival at the Singularity
Once in the conference room, Knapp informed the senior staff that Starfleet had lost contact with the USS Perihelion, a Nova-class which was cataloging planets in Sector 324 under the command of her new Captain, Matt Jillson and a crew of fresh Academy graduates. The Excelsior 's proximity to the Perilhelions last known coordinates made them the best option to investigate the disappearance, although that would cause them to miss a conference on Risa. Knapp ordered yellow alert and the Excelsior's course altered towards those coordinates. The Excelsior was subsequently able to lock onto the Perihelions transponder. Eventually, Martinez reported that he was able to detect the ship on sensors and that it was dangerously close to a quantum singularity, which Ensign Ro called by a more familiar name, a "black hole".
At the edge of the singularity, the Excelsior gathered more data. Ro reported that the black hole was "massive" and that there was a large ship in tandem with the Perihelion which appeared to be emitting a gravity field that prevented both ships from being drawn into the phenomenon. Knapp ordered the Excelsior to stay outside the singularity's gravitational pull. Ensign Barrett reported that the alien ship did not match anything in the ship's records and, according to Ensign Rawlins, no hails were being responded to and no life signs were detected, although that could owe to the gravitational effects of the singularity. Martinez indicated that the Perihelion was suffering from multiple hull breaches and primary systems failure. With transporters not an option and the Excelsior capable of escaping the singularity owing to the gravity field being generated by the alien vessel, Knapp ordered a slow approach to the two vessels.
"A Quick Nap"
Once the Excelsior was safely ensconced in the gravity field of the alien ship, Knapp ordered Shelby to form an away team to board the Perihelion and ascertain her fate. To be safe, Knapp orders the use of bio-suits and full transporter decontamination. Shelby orders Lefler and Ro to accompany her.
Later, in his ready room, Knapp begins to hear strange voices. He goes to the bridge and asks if Martinez if he had heard anything - he hadn't. After inquiring on the status of the away team, Knapp decided to turn in for "a quick nap." Back in his quarters, Knapp settles in for that nap, but is interrupted by those strange voices again. This is followed by a brief "visit" by a Borg drone.
Upon the away team's return, Ensign Ro reported that they were able to retrieve most of the Perihelion 's logs, but that there were no bodies on board (although he noted that they could have been vented into space). Lefler indicated that the logs were being reconstructed but that there was no sign of battle damage to the ship - anything that happened must have come from the inside. Knapp relayed the incident in his quarters, which Counselor Elbrey indicated had been reported by other members of the crew. Shelby noted that some members of the Perihelion 's crew had beamed over to the alien vessel four days prior. Elbrey added that the Perihelion 's crew had reported the same occurrence of hallucinations and strange voices before then, ruling out disease as a potential factor.
"A Closer Look"
The assembled staff then viewed the logs of the Perihelion 's captain, Matt Jillson, outlining the eventual deterioration of his ship, his crew and himself. The logs played out as follows:
- Jillson reported that they were investigating "an alien vessel in an impossibly close orbit of a black hole" - at the behest of his Science Officer, they were moving in for "a closer look."
- An away team proved fruitless in explaining the alien vessel's power or propulsion systems. Reports of crew hallucinations were discounted by Jillson's first officer as simply being stress during a long-term space voyage.
- Jillson reported system failures that forced the Perihelion to attempt repairs before trying to escape from the singularity.
- Morale was reported to have deteriorated, along with the ship's systems and the appearance of the captain, under visible strain. Jillson became convinced of a link between the alien ship, the singularity and the effects they were encountering, but he could not piece the puzzle together.
- Two repair teams were lost when someone blew out a docking port. The emergency force fields were not responding. Jillson, obviously in some distress, ordered his First Officer and the majority of the crew over to the alien vessel until repairs could be effected or help arrives.
- Jillson, pale and finding it difficult to breathe, indicated that he had sent a distress call, but he was not sure if the transmitters were still working. If help didn't arrive soon, he wouldn't know what they were going to do.
- The captain, appearing obviously imbalanced, reported that he had lost contact with his crew on the alien ship. The First Officer reported a mutiny among the engineering staff. Replicators were off-line and rations were beginning to run low. Jillson then indicated that he would have to kill his chief engineer.
Based on this display, Knapp became convinced that the Excelsior needed to get underway. Ro suggested that the alien ship be searched for any survivors. Knapp noted his concern about the lack of evidence and his desire that the Perihelion's fate not befall Excelsior. Shelby concurred in this opinion. Ro volunteered for an away team. Knapp relented and gave the team 15 minutes, after which, they would leave.
Quantum of Answers
An away team, comprised of Shelby, Elbrey and Ro, beamed over to the alien ship. Elbrey indicated that she sensed nothing, but suggested that the crew had killed each other, noting that there had been a study done recently on the effects of hallucinations on people in close quarters. In almost all cases, she noted that they reverted to animalistic behavior and, eventually, collective homicide. Shelby, undeterred, wanted to discover what was causing the effects experienced by the Excelsior's crew. With that in mind, the away team headed for the alien ship's engine room.
Back on the Excelsior, the ship began to experience a series of systems failures, prompting Knapp to order the recall of the away team. Without transporters however, that would be difficult to accomplish. Knapp ordered a shuttlecraft launched to retrieve them.
The away team then located the alien ship's engine room. Shelby noted that the engine appeared to be a "quantum singularity drive", a theoretical engine that would use the energy of a black hole to fold space. Elbrey questioned whether the black hole outside the ship was artificial. Ro indicated that might be possible, but that there was a combination of molecules flowing through the reactor, a phenomenon that would not be possible in the known universe.
Once the away team returned to Excelsior, Ro continued his explanation. The alien ship was neither from our dimension nor our universe. It used a quantum singularity to fold space on itself and, instead of traveling between two points, traveled to the same point in another universe, tearing the fabric of space-time and crossing the dimensional barrier in the process. Each dimension and universe having separate laws of physics, the atomic structure of items in our universe are slightly out of phase with theirs, causing them to deteriorate (along with the hallucinations and systems failures being experienced). The alien ship, still existing partially in the other universe, is not as badly affected.
After debating the fate of the ship's builders momentarily, with Shelby suggesting that they either abandoned the technology or died trying, Knapp again suggested that Excelsior depart. Ro warned against this. As the laws of their universe aren't compatible with ours, departing without sealing the tear would cause both universes to become unstable, an effect that was expanding. Shelby suggested shutting down the quantum singularity, to which Knapp was incredulous. Shelby and Ro continued that since the black hole was artificial and feeding off the quantum singularity drive of the alien ship, the destruction of the alien ship coupled with a large enough explosion on the other side of the rift could cause it to collapse. They suggested that the Perihelion be sent over to the other side (by projecting the singularity on it) and then have it overload its warp core. Knapp approved of this approach. Shelby warned that the Excelsior needed to be within two million kilometers to detonate the alien ship, after which immediate warp speed would be required.
With all the pieces in place, the Perihelion was sent towards the event horizon of the black hole and then across to the other side of the rift, using the alien ship's drive. Once in place, her warp engines were set to overload. The Excelsior then set the alien ship to self-destruct, escaping just in the nick of time. The explosion of the alien ship coupled with that of the Perihelion on the other side of the phenomenon successfully caused it to collapse. Lefler reported that the black hole had collapsed and Ro reported that the laws of physics were returning to normal. The crisis having been resolved, Knapp ordered the ship back on course for Risa.
Later, in his quarters, Knapp said that he couldn't decide if he was thrilled or appalled that Commander Shelby was staying. He then asked her why she agreed to the assignment, to which she responded that she was ordered to by Starfleet Command and that she felt a sense of duty. Knapp then asked her if she had walked out of the Pirates of Penzance, singing a few bars of "He Is An English Man". Shelby reminded Knapp that "He Is An English Man" is from HMS Pinafore. After a brief debate about the musicals of Gilbert and Sullivan, Knapp indicated that he felt he could not believe Shelby did not have a secret agenda or was sent to spy for Starfleet, but that he would give her the benefit of the doubt. After a botched attempt to ask Knapp for his assistance on her assignment, he suggested she not speak in iambic pentameter. He then welcomed her aboard more warmly than at their first meeting.
- This episode features the first appearance of Risha Denney as Elizabeth Shelby. She was initially written virtually unchanged from her encounters with then-Commander William T. Riker aboard the Enterprise-D during the Borg Crisis (TNG 3.26 and 4.01 - "Best of Both Worlds").
- This episode features Gabriel Köerner, star of Trekkies, and recurring guest star on The Drew Carey Show.
- The alien vessel is a CG model of Darth Vader's Super Star Destroyer. This episode is not, however, a Star Wars crossover. The model was the only one large enough to meet the demands of the story.
- The script for this episode featured a glaring technical error involving the quantum singularity drive on the alien ship. This resulted in a third technical adviser position being created. The position was filled by Jonathan Foertsch.
- This episode is the first to feature the use of a boom microphone on set. Previously, lapel microphones were used under uniform shirts.
- This episode was remastered into high-resolution format.
- Shelby: "You're in my way."
- Knapp: "I bet you say that to all your commanding officers."
- Captain Jillson: "I think I'm going to have to kill my chief engineer...."
- Knapp: "Our first mission into another dimension, and we blow the place up."
- Knapp: "Don't tell me about Gilbert and Sullivan...one of the ones about duty."
- Shelby: "They're all about duty."
- Shelby: "Captain, I'd like to do well on this assignment, so any advice you could give me that might point me the way to success would be, by me, appreciated."
- Knapp: "Well not speaking in iambic pentameter might be a good start."
- This episode of Star Trek: Hidden Frontier was originally written as an episode of the Voyages of the USS Angeles. Aside from the portions at the beginning and end introducing the character of Commander Shelby and the substitution of the Excelsior for the Angeles, the episode plays out as it was originally written.
|Hidden Frontier Universe Chronology|
|First Assistant Director||Jennifer Cole|
|Microphone Boom||Anthony Diaz|
|Associate Producers||Jennifer Cole|
|Line Producers||Barbara Clifford|
|Technical Consultants||Jon Carroll|
|CGI Artist||Rob Caves|
with Lightwave 3D®
|CGI Model Makers||Rob Caves|
and various others
|Craft Services||Betty Bainton|