Back before the lawsuit that changed Star Trek fan film making – April 2016 to be exact – Axanar was an ambitious project that was
Strange New World
Encountering their first “Minshara” class planet, an Enterprise landing party spends the night. But they seek refuge inside a cave and all is not as it may seem…
The Trekzone Review
Well we all knew this episode was bound to come up… the unspoilt planet, the “somethings not quite right here” dialogue and the untrustworthy Vulcan. Thankfully, having watched the series, I know that this obsession with T’Pol does fade. I don’t feel the mystery was built up enough, and I was let down… it turned into just another ep of Star Trek for me.
The Trekzone Recap
In the mess hall, Crewman Elizabeth Cutler is studying a xenobiology text book when Crewman Ethan Novakovich sits down with her. As they begin to eat, the sunlight from a star nearby illuminates their faces. Intrigued, they move to a window where they find the ship approaching an Earth-like planet. They discuss the arrival with other crewmembers who thought they were heading for a nebula.
On the bridge, T’Pol identifies the planet as Minshara class, capable of supporting life – although there is a rich ecology, there are no signs of humanoid life. Unlike her fellow officers she is not excited by this discovery and suggests sending probes to collect data before an away team lands on the planet. Archer, having none of it, orders a shuttlepod be prepped for departure.
In the launch bay, Crewman Cutler attempts small talk with an uninterested T’Pol – explaining to her that she enjoyed her plomek soup. Trip tells Cutler that she’d have better luck making friends with a house fly. On board the shuttle, Archer, Trip, Mayweather, Novakovich and Cutler are excited for their descent to the planet.
Once they land, Porthos sprints for a nearby tree while the crew disembarks. After posing for a photo, T’Pol orders her scientific team to begin their studies. A few hours later, after exploring the planet T’Pol requests to stay overnight to study some nocturnal animals along with Cutler and Novakovich. Trip asks if he and Mayweather can stay too to sleep under the stars, Archer agrees.
At night, around a campfire, Mayweather tells a ghost story of a distress call sent from a long-since retired Y-500 class lifepod. It was Mayweather’s uncle’s father who opened the pod eventually to find no body and a few days later the friend started acting strange, locking himself in engineering and overloaded the impulse reactors, almost destroying the ship. Afterwards he sealed himself in a lifepod and ejected and was never seen again. The story is unbelievable to T’Pol who points out the plot holes in Travis’ story.
A short time later a storm front closes in on our camping team. They attempt to ride out the storm in their tents but the weather grows more severe by the minute and Trip and T’Pol realise that they need proper shelter, so they head for a cave system she surveyed earlier.
Inside the cave, Novakovich seems uneasy about the new environment as Travis heads back to the campsite to recover the food supplies. Once there, he sees humanoid figures in the distant who don’t respond to his calls. Trip confirms back in the cave that there was no one else out there, but Travis is adamant. T’Pol scans the area and finds that there is no one else out there.
Novakovich is convinced though that there is someone in cave and races back out into the storm, forcing Trip and Travis to go after him. T’Pol decides to go further into the cave to try and find if there is someone hiding – leaving Cutler alone. Out in the storm, Mayweather and Trip have trouble finding the crewman, but the engineer is startled to find a humanoid figure emerge from a rock – Mayweather surmises that’s why they’re not being picked up by the scanners.
In the cave, Cutler spots T’Pol talking to some creatures, but when they leave and Cutler confronts her about them, T’Pol denies talking to anyone. On the bridge, Archer receives information from Trip that Novakovich is lost and they believe they’re not alone. The Captain decides to head down in a shuttlepod to pick up the team. Meanwhile, Trip and Mayweather learn from Cutler that she saw T’Pol talking to the rock creatures which the science officer once again denies. Now paranoid, Cutler presses T’Pol for information but gets no response.
On the shuttlepod, Archer makes contact with Novakovich and tries to order him to return to the cavern but the Crewman abruptly cuts the transmission ending with ‘go to hell.’ In the cavern the situation is getting tense as T’Pol refuses to give the answers the others want to hear. Trip tells T’Pol that he’d like to believe her – that nothing is going on – but the Vulcans don’t have a spotless record when it comes to being honest.
On the shuttlepod, Archer and Reed attempt to make the landing but the wind shear is too great. They get blown into a cliff face and suffer damage to thruster four. Realising the landing attempt is futile, Archer ascends and informs the landing party that they’re going to have to ride out the storm.
Back in the cave, Trip and T’Pol come to loggerheads over the best way to proceed when Mayweather interrupts to inform them that are running low on water. T’Pol says she found some deeper in the cave, but Tucker believes it may be a trap, he grabs his phase pistol and aims it at T’Pol telling her to sit down.
On the ship, Archer realises they have no alternative but to use the transporter. Reed, at the controls, initiates transport – but plant matter contaminates the matter stream and Crewman Novakovich is beamed aboard with plant matter embedded in his skin.
In the cave, T’Pol continues her research but she’s found nothing of value on this planet. Trip, pacing back and forth – extremely agitated. Trip now believes that the Vulcans have set a whole series of events into motion, what better way to sabotage humanities exploration then by finding the entire crew dead on an uninhabited planet. Mayweather, now believing this theory, confronts T’Pol – saying that she found the caves and she requested an overnight stay. As Trip yells at the rock people to show themselves, T’Pol loses control of her emotions and retorts to the Commander that all she sees is a delusional engineer.
On the ship, Phlox confirms to Archer that Crewman Novakovich will make a full recovery. The Doctor also informs Archer that he’s discovered a psychotropic compound in his bloodstream, Reed surmises that the compound was blown in by the storm. He contacts T’Pol and updates her on the situation, but is shocked to learn that Trip is holding her hostage.
Archer manages to talk Trip down by reminding him that he received training on how to deal with mind altering drugs. T’Pol confirms she’s been infected too but only slightly. Later on, the situation is getting worse – Mayweather is incoherent, Trip is growing more aggressive and T’Pol has reverted to speaking Vulcan. Pacing around again, Trip starts speaking to a rock explaining how he’s just trying to protect his crew. T’Pol seizes the opportunity and grabs a phase pistol, she aims it at Trip who returns the favour, the stand off is back on.
In Sickbay, Phlox reports that Novakovich has taken a turn for the worse – the compound released a toxin into his bloodstream when it was being flushed out. The Doctor isn’t confident he’ll survive and the others have little chance as well. Phlox takes this very hard, he’s failed his captain.
Later on, Cutler and Mayweather are all but incapacitated while Trip maintains his lock on T’Pol who also has a phase pistol trained on him. Archer hails and updates T’Pol on the situation – Trip is too far gone to understand who is talking at this point. He insists that they inoculate themselves as soon as possible, once the vials are beamed down. Trip doesn’t buy it while T’Pol speaks in Vulcan… Hoshi, on the bridge, translates for the captain that T’Pol says Tucker will kill her. Archer tries to reason with the engineer, recounting their training mission where Trip was delirious during an EV suit failure, but Trip listened to him and survived.
This time is different though, as Trip imagines the rock people coming to life behind T’Pol. Archer sees hope for a peaceful resolution fading fast, so he agrees to tell Trip what’s going on – as Phlox and Reed beam down the container of inaprovaline – Starfleet sent the Enterprise to make contact with a silicone based lifeform, only T’Pol had clearance to speak to the rock people. The storm was an unexpected event which drove the team into the caves where the rock people live, they didn’t want anyone in there except for T’Pol and now they’re threatening to destroy the ship. T’Pol needs to explain, in Vulcan, why everyone is inside the cave but Trip needs to lower his weapon for her to be believed.
Archer continues that if the rock people don’t want to listen to T’Pol, he’ll order Reed to destroy the cavern… sacrificing four more crewmembers to save the ship is worth it. Trip says he understands and Archer asks Hoshi to relay the same message in Vulcan. Despite T’Pol’s protest that acting is not a Vulcan’s strong suit she agrees, and begins ‘speaking’ to the rock people.
Lowering his weapon to allow T’Pol to talk, the science officer takes the opportunity and fires at Trip, stunning him. She races to the container and injects everyone. Hours later, as dawn breaks, everyone regains consciousness and are recovered by a shuttlepod.
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