Earth to Spock
At the Ankeshtan K’Til Vulcan Criminal Rehabilitation Center on the third moon of Omicron Lyrae, T’Pring (Gia Sandhu) records a personal log (Stardate 1997.9). T’Pring says the few weeks she has spent at Ankeshtan K’Til have been constructive. She moves on to personal matters: her relationship with Spock.
T’Pring senses in Spock a desire to explore his human side. As such, she has been researching human sex by reading books. These include Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller, Fear of Flying by Erica Jong, and The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson. But Spock has not read any of those books. Spock tells T’Pring she has been thoughtful, but there is no substitute for spending time together in person.
Afterward, Nurse Chapel (Jess Bush) and Spock head to the transporter room to meet Doctor Aspen (Jesse James Keitel). Spock is distracted by his relationship problems with T’Pring. Chapel is reluctant to give him advice after the events of “Spock Amok.” Spock insists.
Spock explains that T’Pring’s fervor for diving into his human sexuality gives him pause. He says that reconciling his divergent heritage is “complex.” Chapel tells Spock not to try and be smarter than the truth.
Wild Wild Space
Aspen has joined Chapel, Spock, Doctor M’Benga (Babs Olusanmokun), Una (Rebecca Romijn), and Captain Pike (Anson Mount) at the Captain’s Table. Colonist ships have been stranded at the edge of non-Federation space for twenty days. The Enterprise is on a rescue mission.
Aspen tells Pike they see why he has a reputation as the Federation’s “Boy Scout.” Pike says they don’t call him that. Una points out it is actually in his file. Aspen says they’ve had a hard time getting Federation ships “out here,” and Pike notes that this sector is the Quadrant’s version of the “Wild Wild West.” Una notes there are unconfirmed reports of a ship called The Serene Squall carrying out raids on the border.
Pike reveals Aspen used to be a counselor on Starbase 12. He asks why they left, and Aspen says their experience on the border taught them not everyone who needs help is lucky enough to be in the Federation. So they went rogue. Pike says Starfleet could use more people with their perspective.
La’An (Christina Chong) announces over the comm that they’ve arrived at the location of the colonial ships. On the bridge, La’An reveals two of three colonial ships have been destroyed. A warp signature suggests the pirates have absconded with the third ship and the survivors. With no supplies, this suggests they want the colonists themselves.
To leave Federation space requires Starfleet approval. Such a request will take two days to be filled. “If we head in, we would be on our own,” Spock says. Pike instructs Spock to send the message and Ortegas (Melissa Navia) to set a course into non-Federation space. He says they’ll leave buoys to maintain comms.
Pirates (But in Space)
Later, Aspen is listening to bass-heavy music in their quarters when Spock informs them that their presence is requested on the bridge. Aspen tells Spock that they used to club-hop during their Academy days for stress release. Spock notes the stress of the current situation.
Aspen brings up Kolinahr. This is the Vulcan ritual that purges all emotion. Spock says he looks forward to Kolinahr (but see: Star Trek: The Motion Picture).
Pike says they’ve picked up a distress signal in a nearby asteroid field. He asks if the colonists could send it. Aspen says it’s possible, but notes pirates may set ambushes by cloning ship signals. Pike notes Federation regulation compels them to investigate either way.
Ortegas pilots them closer. Spock says the signal is getting stronger, but no vessel has been detected. A net made of lasers forms around the Enterprise. Spock says if they cross the beam, it will “at best” shut down the ship. And at worse? “Kaboom,” summarizes Ortegas.
La’An asks about weapons, and Spock says that could cause “a cascade of escalating detonations.” Una suggests pushing apart the asteroids to make a space large enough to pass through, and Spock predicts that would cause the same detonation. Worse: the net is growing smaller.
Aspen suggests the asteroid with the strongest signal could be the net’s source. Destroying it could offer a way out. However, a second asteroid has an equally strong signal. It’s impossible to determine with any certainty which of the two is the true source.
Encouraged by Aspen, Spock follows a hunch. The correct asteroid is destroyed. However, a ship begins to pursue the Enterprise.
Between Two Planets
Later Aspen approaches Spock as he is working in his quarters. They say Spock looked horrified when he was asked to act on a hunch. Aspen begins to probe Spock’s half-human, half-Vulcan heritage.
“You know, all species put things into boxes,” they say. They say allowing others to put you into a defined box can be limited. Spock asks if they are suggesting he balance his human and Vulcan natures. They clarify: maybe he is neither. But if he’s not human or Vulcan, what is he? Aspen says that’s not their question to answer.
Citing boundaries, Aspen leaves. But first, they say if the trap had been set by The Serene Squall, they’d be dead already.
Elsewhere, Ortegas is steering by mapping relays. She says she enjoys flying manually; it’s like a third date. The Enterprise locates the third ship. It would appear the colonists are being held hostage.
Pike leads the away mission to the ship, and La’An and several other crew members accompany him. But there are no colonists. Una moves to beam him back, but suddenly, comms are jammed.
Chapel is walking through a hallway when she sees phaser fire. Multiple lifeforms beamed aboard the Enterprise as they beamed the away team over. The Enterprise is being invaded!
Pike and company are taken hostage aboard the colonist ship. Meanwhile, pirates reach the bridge of the Enterprise. Una initiates security measure Omega-Beta-IX, completely locking down the ship’s controls. The crew defends the bridge with phasers and neck pinches. Aspen is hit by phaser fire.
Remy (Michael Hough) sizes up Pike and La’An and says, “Welcome to The Serene Squall.”
The Serene Squall
Una has been taken hostage. Spock and Aspen remain uncaptured.
Remy is trying to beat the Enterprise codes out of Pike. He throws gruel in Pike’s face. Pike offers to cook a meal for the pirate crew. Remy threatens to start airlocking his crew. But one of the other pirates suggests the crew might like a good meal.
Chapel is trying to send a distress signal but having no luck. She’s confronted by a pair of pirates and incapacitates them using a hypospray.
The pirates are impressed with Pike’s cooking. Pike says it seems like the Orion pirate is too smart to take so much lip from his crew. The pirate says the crew knows who is in charge.
Aspen receives some emergency medical treatment from Spock. They tell Spock they left Starfleet because their Vulcan husband was killed resisting The Serene Squall. Aspen says logic probably told him to fight back.
Why hadn’t their husband allowed himself to be scared? They say it is necessary to abandon ship. Instead, Spock arms them both with phasers.
Pike is thrown into a cage with most of the bridge crew. He and Una exchange looks, and she says, “Not Alpha Braga IV.” But yeah, Alpha Braga IV: they’re starting a mutiny.
Chapel, Spock, and Aspen reunite in engineering. Spock overrides lockdown and transfers command systems to engineering. He takes control and begins issuing orders. Aspen pulls a pair of phasers on the Enterprise crew members. “Captain Angel,” they introduce themself. The Serene Squall is their ship.
Captain Angel reveals they dumped the real Doctor Aspen on an uninhabited planet. The colonists? Fictional. Angel sits in the captain’s chair and tries out the phasers. Angel says they came for Spock, not the Enterprise. What would Angel need with a starship?
At Ankeshtan K’Til, T’Pring receives a message from Angel. They announce they have Spock captive. They will release Spock if T’Pring releases “Zavarius,” a Vulcan who is incarcerated in Ankeshtan K’Til.
T’Pring notes losing a prisoner would result in negative consequences. Angel counters that Spock is her responsibility. She would also endure consequences of losing him. They transmit the location for the exchange regardless.
Chapel says T’Pring won’t come. Spock says Vulcans aren’t swayed by emotion, but Angel counters they have been using emotion to sway Spock all day. After trading verbal barbs, Angel says they were honest about who they were. Although they lost the man they loved to prison, not pirates.
Chapel questions love as a motivation. Angel says they can tell Chapel knows how much love means.
Pike, Una, M’Benga, and Ortegas are inciting a mutiny on The Serene Squall.
T’Pring arrives with the prisoner for the exchange. Spock says he believes he has deduced the identity of the prisoner. Spock tells T’Pring to destroy the Enterprise. “You cannot give them a starship!” Angel then stuns him in response. They give T’Pring a time limit.
Angel promises safe delivery of Spock if T’Pring complies. Spock preemptively apologizes to Chapel. He then tells T’Pring that he has been giving in to his human side. He claims he has been engaging in an affair with Chapel. She catches on and joins in. The pair kiss to convince everyone they’re having an affair.
T’Pring and Spock sever their bond with one another over the viewscreen. Angel is incredulous. They order the crew to destroy T’Pring’s ship, but the weapons are immobilized.
The Final Frontier
The Serene Squall appears on the viewscreen and fires upon the Enterprise. Aboard the pirate ship, Pike and crew have seized control. Pike tells Angel to get the hell out of his chair while Una reports their backdoor codes have disabled weapons and impulse thrusters. Pike orders Ortegas to “fire gently” upon the Enterprise to fully disable it.
Angel surrenders the Enterprise. Before leaving, they suggest that Spock’s choice between Vulcan and human is illusory. It is not what he is. It’s who he is. They beam away and escape.
Later, the Enterprise is re-crewed. Pike records a Captain’s log. The Serene Squall and her crew have been taken into custody by Starfleet. Angel has escaped. Pike makes a bad pirate impression.
T’Pring and Spock make amends. She was aware it was subterfuge. Spock isn’t really attracted to Chapel. Right? T’Pring notes Spock’s human side was useful. It informed the passion of the “fake” kiss. They renew their bond.
Later, Chapel and Spock reaffirm their friendship. Chapel asks about the identity of the Vulcan prisoner. Spock says that his father, Ambassador Sarek had a child out of wedlock. Although full Vulcan, he rejected the teachings of logic.
Spock believes the Vulcan that Angel was trying to free was his half-brother: Sybok!
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