When I first saw the blip I thought that it was the Vulcan vessel from the episode beforehand. It was interesting to see the web of consequences grow from the Federation’s decision to harness the power of the Doomsday Machine.
To me, Barrett came off as aloof, similar to Picard is some respects. She seemed to take some grievances personally like Kirk. Her humor at the expense of her crew bothered me, as her dismissiveness about the blip. I was actually surprised that the sensors were not checked for malfunctioning. Calhoun stoked a few fires and embellished at least once. But it was too bad that a blip, a potential threat, was completely ignored. The one time Calhoun was being completely forward and doing his job, without evidence, unfortunately, he was ignored. If he was incompetent he could have been replaced but he was kept on duty so that informed me that he had some level of competence or that no one was competent in performing that duty. Duties on a starship are highly specialized and require training. It would have been nice to see Calhoun, who I think was incinerated in the nacelle explosion, survive and see any consequences for ignoring the blip. That would have made the story a bit more complex and multi-dimensional for me.
I found her comment about “Slow on the Uptake” a bit ironic in the sense that while her crew had a certain level of camaraderie, not a goal in her book, she seemed challenged in remembering or asking crew their names.
But thank you for this series Mr. Farinas, and Happy 50th Star Trek-Thank you for everything you have given to the fans.
I was saddened to see that the XO not make it out at the end, as she seemed in a way to fit the Riker style, someone that interacts with the other officers and crewman, while Barrett made more of the command decisions and sorted data from all her chiefs. Still, she and the XO did seem to have a good repertoire with each other, and would wonder if the Captain would be able to find that again, or if she’d be kicked up to Fleet officer status if the ruling comes down positive for her. I really did enjoy this whole story, and wish it could be followed up someday. Cheers!
Frankly, I blame Captain Barrett for this debacle at least as much as I blame Calhoun.
It’s true that there’s a chain of command and Calhoun should have followed it. But at the same time, Barrett is not a very good leader. She has a bad attitude towards her “underlings” and was needlessly dismissive of their concerns and contributions. If she’d shown that she was seriously considering Calhoun’s suggestions and concerns he wouldn’t have felt so backed into a corner about it and the others would have been far less motivated to follow him over Barrett.
Also, things would have turned out much better if Starfleet had the technology to *record* the blips that appear on their sensor screens. 🙂
This was a really challenging read, a strangely… I’m not sure if the word I’m reaching for is ‘realistic’ or ‘pessimistic’… response to some of the more fantastic elements of Trek and adventure fiction in general. We’re all familiar with wild tales that are ultimately vindicated, so when one of the first things mentioned is Calhoun seeing the deceased Captain here and there on the ship, it’s easy to recall stories like the Tholian Web and not dismiss him out of hand. We’re primed to believe that something strange is lurking in that flaky wedge of the sensor sweep. While the Prime Directive or chain of command might be conscientiously bypassed in canon stories, here it’s a dangerous mistake.
The sensor blip is my one frustration. I don’t know anything about military culture, really, so I can’t comment on Captain Barrett’s attitude toward the rank and file. But considering how much of Calhoun’s behavior was based on that momentary blip (which he may have even imagined), it seemed an obvious Chekhov’s gun. Without any resolution, and that note on the timeline that suggests the blip’s nature was never really nailed down, it’s an unusual loose end… but as others noted, it definitely leaves room for him to return later. There’d certainly be some irony value there.
An interesting story. It definitely had me guessing every step of the way. 🙂
A plot element introduced early in the story for use later. For instance, noting a gun mounted on the wall.
Up to a point I agree the blip is a loose end, but not due to the lack of a direct explanation. Once we have the radiation as the source of all problems we have the explanation for the blip. The real lack of explanation has more to do with chain of command, recording, and other stuff which comes down to methods.
Instead of a Chekhov’s Gun we are left with the blip as a Red Herring. It is really Calhoon’s superstitious thinking which is the Chekhov’s Gun, as his irrationality is repeatedly confirmed. It’s easy to get carried away with his interpretation in part because it is easy to dismiss his opening scene, and because we as the audience know his one piece of evidence does exist. It is also the one piece of evidence no one bothers to check, which makes it even easier to go along with him despite Captain Barrett’s excellent points against his assumptions.
Very good points! The thought of it as a red herring didn’t even cross my mind, and I guess I’m used to those being addressed and debunked too.
Regardless, it was definitely an interesting, entertaining story.
Either Calhoun is dead and a block of ice, or he was picked up by the other ship he saw on screen. I imagine that the crewmembers who went along with him are going to get a Court Martial. The ship’s engineering section can probably be used to build a -A version, barring unseen damage. Just needs a saucer and warp engines.
All in all, an interesting storyline.
They still have the saucer section, actually. It would not have exploded and it looked like it had a really good amount of inertia imparted to it by the explosive bolts in the near opposite direction of the warp nacelles, so it likely wasn’t caught in the explosion.
I’m certain the saucer would be in the blast zone. The reason they couldn’t just separate was because the velocity imparted by the explosive bolts was insufficient on its own to clear the blast zone. Even though the saucer on its own would have less mass, and more speed from the separation, it suffers from nominally moving in the same direction as the nacelles, rather than opposite to them. It also seems to have no more than a few meters per second of separation speed, where as the engineering section had a hell of a lot more thanks to the mighty little shuttles acting as tugs.
The rest of Calhoun’s story could be interesting. This one definitely was.
“your”, not “you’re”.
I like the ending. Would be interesting to see further adventures of Capt Barrett. You’ve taken a stab at formulating her character as having contempt of the enlisted ranks. Not an unreasonable portrait, given that this can and does exist in modern times. Perhaps a developmental arc through several stories?
RE: “having contempt of the enlisted ranks”
Remember the scene in ENT where Travis is trying to educate his brother and quotes their father?
“If you want to be an effective captain, you have to set your personal feelings aside.”
Sooooo…where’s Crewman Strawman Calhoun and his shuttlecraft?
Considering we haven’t seen him freeze and/or starve to death. I get the sneaking suspicion that we’ll be hearing from him again someday. But, as the saying goes, That’s another story.
Goddammit, not the Exec.
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