‘Star Trek: Short Treks’ Reviews: “Q&A” and “The Trouble With Edward”

Between season one of Star Trek: Discovery and season two, the production crew behind Discovery made four Short Treks, each clocking in at about 10-15 minutes. The idea behind Short Treks is both to keep the appetite for Star Trek strong between seasons, and to let them do some focused, lighter character pieces for a show that can be awfully serious.

The same philosophy animates the latest batch of Short Treks, aimed at bridging the gap between Discovery season two and the launch of Star Trek: Picard in January 2020. The first two Short Treks are now live on CBS All Access, with more set to drop about one a month until Picard debuts.

After the enormous popularity of Discovery’s take on Captain Pike, Spock, Number One, and the USS Enterprise, it’s perhaps no surprise that the first two shorts make use of characters and sets from those episodes.


Written by Michael Chabon

Directed by Mark Pellington

The first episode of the new season of shorts is written by Picard showrunner Michael Chabon and directed by Mark Pellington, best known for directing 1999’s Arlington Road and 2002’s The Mothman Prophecies, but whose only other Star Trek credit was providing the voice-over for the Ba’ul in the Discovery episode, “The Sound of Thunder.” Pellington directs his actors with a sure hand and maintains visual interest in a short that is largely made up of scenes of two people stuck in an elevator. That those two people have interesting things to say to each other is credit to writer Chabon. That we never get bored watching them say those things is mostly Pellington’s doing, though the fact that those two people are Ethan Peck’s Spock and Rebecca Romijn’s Number One doesn’t hurt, either.

Star Trek has had its share of “two people stuck in a situation they didn’t choose, giving them a chance to bond” episodes. From Enterprise’s “Shuttlepod One” to DS9’s “Armageddon Game” and “The Forsaken,” these “two-handers” can offer a great opportunity to explore characters in depth, and generate sparks between dissimilar people. They can also spectacularly misfire, as was the case in ENT: “Precious Cargo,” one of the worst episodes of Star Trek, ever. Thankfully, “Q&A” works on almost all counts.

The plot is simple: We witness Spock’s first moments aboard the Enterprise, as he beams over from Starbase 40 (which features a truly strange transporter facility) to begin his assignment under Captain Pike. Number One, whose name is here firmly established as “Una” in print and in dialogue, meets Spock in the Enterprise’s transporter room and begins to introduce him to his new ship. But the turbolift malfunctions on their way to the bridge, and while they are stuck there together, they learn about each other through an extensive question-and-answer session in which Spock asks the questions, and Una (mostly) gives the answers.

Spock and Number One awkwardly await rescue.

A lot of the joy of this episode is found in those exchanges, and I won’t spoil them here. Suffice it to say that I found the conversation delightful, well-paced, and very much in keeping with where these two characters are in their timeline—before the events of TOS: “The Cage” and Discovery season 2. We get to experience a Spock who has not yet fully learned to conceal his emotions, an Una who is burying her feelings for her Captain, and a relationship that we can see will have tremendous impact on both people.

In addition to a great script and strong direction, this episode boasts a fun score overseen by Michael Giacchino and composed by Israeli/Dutch composer Nami Melumad, the first woman to score an episode in the Star Trek franchise. The score features callbacks to Giacchino’s Kelvinverse Star Trek scores and to Alexander Courage’s famous fanfare.

What didn’t I like? Two things: first, the scenes showing the turbolift racing along roller coaster-like tracks criss-crossing in a large, dark space, make no sense in the interior geography of a starship. This was also an issue for me in the second season of Discovery. For all its goofiness, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier at least gave us a reasonably plausible (if mis-numbered) view of the interior of a turboshaft, as did TNG’s “Disaster.” Interestingly, “Disaster” gave us scenes of characters stuck in a turbolift who had to exit through the turboshaft, and a character (Geordi) rather reluctantly singing “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General,” two things that feature heavily in “Q&A,” as well.

The second thing that really bugged me were the uniforms. I don’t hate the DSC versions of the TOS uniforms, but in DSC: “Brother,” Pike clearly calls these uniforms “the new uniforms,” and Michael Burnham comments appreciatively about them—apparently the first time she had seen them. But “Q&A” takes place about three years prior to “Brother,” and the entire Enterprise crew already wears the 2257-style uniforms, as does Spock, who is coming from Starbase 40. This makes no canonical sense, even though it’s obvious why the choice was made—to clearly indicate that we are not on the USS Discovery, but on the USS Enterprise. But Trek fans love continuity, and this violates continuity in a big way. You could argue that they didn’t want to make new uniforms just for a 15-minute short, but the very next Short Treks features a brand-new style of uniform, so that doesn’t make sense. It’s a continuity error, plain and simple. Otherwise, I loved the short.

Brief Bits:

  • Okay, what was with Starbase 40’s transporter -room? -strip? -hallway? That was bizarre!
  • Rebecca Romijn really nails not only her singing but her character in this episode.
  • Romijn’s face when answering Spock’s question about the triple-mode high-amplitude Delta Scuti star was worth ten thousand words. One thing that the Discovery-era Treks have done exceptionally well is to convey the joy of space exploration, and this is a parade example.
  • Lieutenant Amin, played by Samora Smallwood, also appeared on the Enterprise in the Discovery season 2 finale, “Such Sweet Sorrow,” where she wore Command gold. In this episode, set three years earlier, she wears Operations red. The character also appears in the Discovery tie-in novel, “The Enterprise War,” by John Jackson Miller, where her first name is given as “Jamila.”
  • Fascinatingly, Spock toys with the idea of the intelligent design of the universe in one of his questions.

Lt. Amin rappels in and saves the day.

“The Trouble with Edward”

Written by Graham Wagner

Directed by Daniel Gray Longino

The title of the second Short Treks episode of season two intentionally hearkens back to the classic TOS episode “The Trouble with Tribbles.” In this new short, we discover that the menace that is the tribble only became menacing when a human scientist started messing with them.

The story follows the first (and only) two weeks of former Enterprise science officer and newly-minted Captain Lynne Lucero’s command of the USS Cabot, a small science vessel assigned to clandestinely solve a starvation crisis on Pragine 63, a world on the edge of Klingon space. Lucero’s “troubles” center around Lt. Edward Larkin, a socially awkward protein specialist who has made the study of tribbles the center of his work. Larkin sees tribbles as exactly the solution to the crisis that the native Calations need. Underneath that fur, Larkin argues, tribbles are “all meat.” When Captain Lucero decides to pursue other solutions and reassigns him, Larkin becomes hurt and angry, and experiments on the fur-balls against her direct orders. In the process, Larkin genetically modifies the tribbles to have an astonishing birth rate, and their explosive population growth quickly threatens the Cabot’s very existence.

Lt. Larkin, portrayed by H. Jon Benjamin of Bob’s Burgers fame, presents an unusual thing in the Star Trek universe: a maladjusted Starfleet officer. Fans online have likened him to TNG’s Reginald Barclay, but Larkin out-weirds Barclay at every turn. Captain Lucero (Rosa Salazar) marvels that someone with Larkin’s amorality and character deficiencies has made it as far in his career as he has, though she notes that he is known to be a brilliant scientist. Later, of course, she remembers him as an “idiot.” Because this episode is designed to be pure comedy, I think that whether or not you like “The Trouble with Edward” will probably boil down to whether you find the title character amusing or not. Beyond the laughs, there is very little “there” there.

Edward roams the halls in his Starfleet PJ top and “tighty whities.”

If this episode has a theme, it may be that the first casualty for a new Captain is usually their optimistic view of humanity. Before Lucero beams to the Cabot, her mentor Captain Pike praises Lucero for her undaunted optimism. But he warns her that though she is a brilliant scientist, not everyone in her crew will match her high standard. By the end of the short, Pike’s warning has been amply justified. And while this may be a realistic theme, it seems uncharacteristic for Star Trek, which has traditionally been as utopian in its view of humanity as Lucero is at the beginning of the episode. Is this show intended as a critique of Star Trek’s naive view of human beings? More likely, it’s just an excuse to have some fun.

Graham Wagner’s script has some strong moments, including Pike’s sendoff of Lucero, the initial staff briefing aboard the Cabot, and the final exchange between Larkin and Lucero. Some scenes are too extended, stretching humorous into awkward and uncomfortable, like the scene in which Lucero confronts Larkin about his behavior. It is not clear if this is due to the script or to director Daniel Gray Longino’s handling of these scenes.

Rosa Salazar puts in a good performance here, holding her own in scenes with Benjamin, who is also quite strong. If the episode has a weakness, it is thematic, and the fact that comedy is difficult to do well. I rate the comedy in “The Trouble with Edward” as hit-and-miss, but just enough more “hit” than “miss” to give the show a passing grade.

Brief Bits:

  • Larkin complains that the unmodified tribbles breed very slowly, but it is questionable whether his assessment is accurate. In ENT: “The Breach,” set before these events, Dr. Phlox comments that tribbles “breed quite prodigiously.” This episode seems to argue that it is Larkin’s genetic modifications which cause the tribbles to breed quickly, but it is possible that Larkin’s complaint is due to his impatience, not due to a true picture of the tribbles’ fecundity.
  • In any event, the tribbles in this episode breed far, far quicker than any previous Trek episode has depicted. One also wonders where the tribbles obtain sufficient mass to accomplish the sort of fertility that they display here.
  • I like the mandarin collars on the uniforms aboard the Cabot. Why didn’t Lucero change into a Cabot-style uniform once she boarded?
  • Episode scribe Graham Wagner is primarily a comedy writer, having written for The Office, Portlandia, and Silicon Valley, among others.
  • Perhaps most controversially, this episode features a post-credits sequence that is a tongue-in-cheek commercial for a Tribbles breakfast cereal. The commercial is the oddest thing I’ve ever seen in an official Trek production, but I liked it a lot better than many fans did, judging by the comments I’ve read about it online.

The faux-1990s breakfast cereal commercial for Tribbles.

Star Trek: Short Treks are available in the USA on CBS All Access. Season 2 is available in Canada via CTV Sci-Fi Channel (formerly known as Space) and Crave. Availability for the second season in other regions has not be announced.

Keep up with all the Short Treks news and reviews at TrekMovie.

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I loved both episodes. And frankly, “Trouble With Edward” is hysterical.

Star Trek is always talking about community and family. In reality the whole world besides US and Canada are kept out of actual Trek. This is not the spirit of Star Trek. So, who ever is responsible for that, please change it and make star trek available in the rest of the world. Thx.

Don’t worry, you’ll get it. You just won’t get it at the same time……

Says you. lol! PLENTY of ways to get it at the same time.

Not legally, and don’t advocate illegal activity here.

If you think illegal activity is bad you should see the crap that’s legal

Not advocating anything,didn’t even mention anything about illegal activity in my post.

You’re able to password share. Get a free VPN buy a month of CBS and you can view the Short Treks

It has been my experience that streaming services don’t like VPNs. So they might block you if they see you’re using a VPN. I don’t know about CBS All Access, though.

I’m in UK wasn’t very difficult to get them.

I’m very curious what they’re going to do with the Picard-related short trek. Will they give that one to Amazon, and the others to Netflix? Sounds messy, but I’m sure they’ll figure it out. We’ll get to see them eventually, and I look forward to that. The big disadvantage, of course, is that we can’t be part of the conversation, which is frustrating in today’s globally connected world. It feels like the 90s all over again. At least we don’t have to buy every episode on VHS anymore, though.

It is really stupid that they wouldn’t make all this Trek content available globally

Totally agree on that,of course.

They are making all of it available globally. However, it is distributed by different companies who are not making it available at the same time. What I don’t know is whether it was Netflix’s decision to wait releasing the previous Short Treks or whether this was dictated by CBS. People have argued that the monthly schedule just didn’t fit Netflix’s usual release model which would suggest that Netflix held back the episodes. So blame Netflix if you want to blame someone.
At least, we are getting the main episodes with just 1 day delay now. It used to be much worse.

DIGINON I agree that Netflix should be getting the criticism not CBS.

Kurtzman and CBSAA are leading edge innovators in this context in putting out content in a new, experiment and non routine format.

By refusing to release the shorts at the same time as in North America, and then burying them with the trailers when they do post them, Netflix management are showing that Netflix is no longer the bleeding edge in distribution of visual media. It sounds as though future global distribution of new Trek content will be better served by Amazon.

BellMedia has been, by contrast, very flexible for Canadian dissemination : the shorts are available on line the same day for crave and CTV Sci-fi channel subscribers, and are even being broadcast on premium cable on CTV Sci-fi channel.

Netflix does have other short films on their platform so it’s a little strange how they treated the Short Treks. I mean I could understand releasing them in bulk (because that’s what Netflix likes to do) but burying them with the trailers is strange. I have the Netflix desktop app which does not have the trailers section (or Short treks for that matter) at all. If I want to see the Short Treks I have to use another device or watch them in a web browser.
I haven’t used Amazon Prime. From what I’ve read I wouldn’t be able to enjoy surround sound on Amazon Prime with my setup just because they limit it to certain devices. So from that perspective Amazon is not a better option for me.

And yet you can watch it at the same time as the US. Dennycraniums comment above is a good suggestion,of several others. Over here it came out at the same time as the US,but because of the time difference it was real early in the morning,lol!

I think those who criticize TTWE fail to recognize that this is a purely absurdist comedy. The commercial at the end should make that perfectly clear (why would a moneyless society need to advertise anything?)

Exactly. Some fans, decide to take Trek seriously when it’s good for them and then want to change the tone in other instances. As a short, I liked it, a lot actually.

Why did you type a comma after “Some fans”?

PEB was addressing me with a fair criticism. I’ll try to relax more.

LOL I was just pretending to be Shatner. I, do it, oft,en.

Oh, I have no problem with absurd comedy in my Trek, as long as it is plausibly consistent with the “serious” rest of the show. For example, “I, Mudd”: it’s obviously a comedy, but it also fits in the world.
TTWE, not so much. We have a captain who not only isn’t fit for command, but who also blames her ineptness on her subordinates. We have a crewmember who has no business being on a starship; Starfleet is still military, and he would never get through Academy, period. We have pseudo-scientific nonsense like making an animal breed faster by splicing human genes into it (because if humans are known for anything, it’s breeding like tribbles). And last but not least, we have tribbles being genetically experimented on, despite the fact they aren’t even officially discovered yet.

Of course TTWE is about as relevant as Captain Proton adventures. The problem is, there will be people who *will* take it as a serious part of the Star Trek world, not as an Idiocracy sequel. ;)

Yes, they aren’t discovered yet, despite being in Enterprise, and being sold by humans in TOS, but nope, nobody ever heard of them before Kirk and Co stumbled upon them on K7.

What, exactly, did the captain do that was wrong in this instance?

“absurd” and “plausible” are kind of mutually exclusive terms. There will always be people who will take comedy serious. That doesn’t mean that you don’t do comedy anymore.

I wish this were absurd comedy, that Archer would wake from this dream and get back to nailing Lana. Regretfully, we’re left with a story that appears ‘real’ but simply won’t fit with other ‘real’ Trek.

“it seems uncharacteristic for Star Trek, which has traditionally been as utopian in its view of humanity as Lucero is at the beginning of the episode.”

Well, no. That’s TNG you’re thinking of, not Star Trek as a whole. TOS gave us a pimp and con man in Harry Mudd, a bigoted Starfleet officer in Stiles, incompetent ambassadors, a burned out starship captain about ready to give up his commission (Pike in The Cage), and many more flawed people. In TOS, the optimism comes in showing us 23rd century humans who are working and struggling toward a better future. (“We may be killers, but we’re not going to kill today.”) TNG gives us 24th century humans who’ve magically become perfect. Discovery, unsurprisingly, is being consistent with TOS.

Well said!

Yeah, I was about to say the same thing. The writer should really have done more homework, because TOS is FILLED with non-utopian characters.

Especially captains – Decker, Tracy or Merik fo example.

There is a huge difference between TOS and Discovery. Your argument is specious. Yes, TOS did present flawed characters, with even some not so great guys thrown in. But just because TOS did this does not make it anything even close to Discovery. Many, many TOS episodes had a moral message where Kirk & Co. turn away from violence or demonizing and fighting the enemy.
Arena? Devil in the Dark? Corbomite Maneuver? Spectre of the Gun? Shall I go on?
Roddenberry made TOS to make a series about humanity being more evolved in the future. This is not my opinion, this is well documented.
Discovery is frequently about The Evil Mirror Universe, etc. In fact I was sickened in the last episode of Season 1 when the most moral message the show had was “We are Starfleet (So we don’t do genocide).
Yes, TNG is more utopian than TOS. But comparing TOS to Discovery is like saying a Sunny day with a few clouds in it is similar to a hurricane. No, they are not alike at all.

I really liked both these Short Treks, but agree that Q & A is the stronger of the two.

Something in the pacing of TTWE seemed off at times – in the performances, the editing and the music. In many ways, the trailer was more deftly cut than the short itself.

As well, having now seen Rosa Salazar’s performance in Undone, I’m thinking that the direction might have allowed her a bit more weight or space in the comedic timing.

Responding to a couple of the observations about Q & A, the roller coaster turbo lift makes total sense to me.

At a regional CreationCon I was at in the early 90s, Rick Sternbach responded to a question about internal views of ships by saying that the designers’ vision was not really like an office tower with stacked floors.

Instead, they thought that the space frame of the Enterprise was mainly an empty structure into which modules could be inserted. This would enable modules for different kinds of environments for different species, and different kinds of science labs etc. It also meant that the Enterprise could be reconfigured, or shut down sections without resort to space dock.

So, an turbo lift navigating a track in that significantly empty interior is consistent with that concept, regardless of the ship plans published by others. How that could work with a tube such as the one in the TNG episode Disaster seemed to be a bit of an anomaly.

When I saw this turbo-lift track appear in Discovery my first thought was that someone in the design team was paying close attention to the 90s designers and bringing the concept to screen.

Last note, I believe this modular concept is referenced in the fine print by Steinbach in the TNG technical manual and the Okuda’s book – however our own copies have been lost and I need to track down replacements.

At any rate, it would be a great question for the Archives or an interview with the 90s team.

The ‘modules within a big empty saucer’ concept actually dates back way before Sternbach, even before his work on TMP, to early 1977 with PLANET OF THE TITANS in Ken Adam’s charcoals of the Enterprise interior, which comes off a bit like a habitrail stuck inside a primary hull. Perhaps inspired by a French airport seen in AIRPORT 79, because there are some aspects of the TITANS design that seem similar in MOONRAKER from 1979.

I still think it seems massively wasteful of space, and that to custmomize you’d just add a module on the outside or stick it in a hangar bay, unless that somehow screwed you up for warp drive.

Wow, cool background kmart.

Sternbach didn’t claim it was his own idea, rather just gently asserted that the filled-in diagrams with stacked deck charts was not the concept that the TNG production people were working from – and laid out the module vision instead. I believe he even said that it would be interesting to show the inside sometime but it’s up to writers to create the reason.

I kind of took away that the external chassis/hull was a defensive construct as a lot of different shapes seem to be usable within a warp field. I didn’t hear or see any background on that.

Bottom line though is that the ‘habitrail’ concept is deeply rooted in canonical Trek on screen.

I find it fun, and in many ways more consistent with Trek flexible design ideas, but I can understand that others may find it darn odd.

One way to look at it is to consider it a physical manifestation of TNG officers ability to configure their touch screens to their own preferences. It’s what we all do with our devices now, but in the late 1980s the Okudas’ explanation of individual choice in touch screens seemed very out there to some fans.

The TNG manual does talk about the module concept, and according to that book “approximately 35% of the internal volume was not yet filled with room modules and remained as empty spaceframe for future expansion and mission-specific applications.”

But that does not support the rollercoaster turbolift system in any way. There is no logical connection between “modular spaceframe” and “over-complicated rollercoaster-style tracks through all the empty space.”

In fact, a modular spaceframe would require the turbolift system to take up as little space as possible and with as little intrusion into the empty spaces as possible (otherwise, modules couldn’t fit).

The TNG manual also describes the turbolift system: “The turboshaft network consists of two parallel main vertical arteries, which provide service to hubs in horizontal networks located on each deck. Redundant horizontal links on Decks 8,10,25, and 31 connect the discontinuous vertical segments.”

So even within the TNG modular-spaceframe concept, the turbolift system was clearly *not* a habitrail/rollercoaster.

But the TNG Technical Manual is *not* canon, and none of the TNG empty-spaceframe concept ever made it to screen, so none of this is canonical at all.

There is no canonical, practical, or functional logic behind this insane turbolift system.

Thanks for looking it up for us PaulB!

That Steinbach presentation (mainly of design concepts for DS9) was a long time ago, but the ‘habitrail’ modular design exchanges with the audience were such a ‘Wait! What?’ moment for me that they really stuck in memory.

A couple of thoughts:

– While I agree the tech manuals aren’t precisely canon, they were done by the actual production designers of the show, which makes them part as credible as the series writers bibles as support for canon, and in a completely different class than the ship specs and deck charts published by people with no involvement in production.

– The turbo lift shaft as shown in TNG ‘Disaster’ seems to have retconned the concept from what Sternbach said during that audience question session. Sternbach made some response about how the writers came up with that. The description of a scaffold of lift shafts in the TNG tech manual would have been written after Disaster.

– So, in the TOS era and intervening, it could be possible to have turbo-lift tracks rather than a TNG style shaft.

– One of the audience questions back at the CreationCon was about how the turbo-lift connected from Engineering in the secondary hull to the main hull. Sternbach wasn’t clear but said it wasn’t just a vertical lift. I definitely took from that a vision of a snakey rollercoaster like pathway for the lifts running between the hulls. In any event, since the main line of turbo-lifts need to go both vertically and horizontally to avoid having to change lifts (which we don’t ever see), my head canon has always had the lifts as being more like a capsule-car.

Frankly, my biggest objection to the open frame tracks in Discovery and this Short Trek is that with modular design the open space would not likely have a fully pressurized atmosphere for humans.

So, Amin should have been rappelling down in an environmental suit or at least with a breathing mask, and the lift should have had some emergency masks.

TNG Jeffries tubes and Turbo-lift shafts in empty space would logically be their own pressurized spaces with environmental controls.

I have to agree. And — cool as the “empty space frame” concept may be — there’s nothing to support the idea on the Enterprise cutaway diagram featured in Main Engineering and other parts of the ship.

“Sternbach […] asserted that the filled-in diagrams with stacked deck charts was not the concept that the TNG production people were working from”

It’s ironic then that the “Star Trek: The Next Generation – USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D Blueprints” (1996) product, with Sternbach’s name on the cover, shows none of this (which was a big disappointment to me at the time). The interior is packed solid with compartments on a fixed corridor-grid, as though he were allergic to whitespace, with no sign of internal spaceframe members.

(FWIW, I own two copies of the blueprints. I cut out one set, mounted to cardstock, cut holes for multi-deck compartments such as cargo bays, and then affixed to a profile of the ship — actually, I never got around to that last step, nor my ambition to punch holes for the vertical turboshafs.)

This question really seems to warrant some interviews and archival searches.

We have the 1991 TNG Technical Manual that Sternbach authored while the series was in production which is clear on the modular concept, and later Declan that came out during the movies.

I know a lot of folks love the blueprints, including one of our middle-graders who is a fan of the DK cross-section books.

However attached some of us might be, these are not a basis to assert that Discovery and Short Treks using the longstanding habitrail modular concept are in any way offside with canon.

The amount of space inside the ships should have been settled since the publication of Star Trek Blueprints in 1976. The STD space seems to be purely for the sake of SFX. Certainly nobody would be complaining had they used less space — there could always be unseen areas. While the blueprints may not have been “canonized” completely, they were used on bridge monitors in both STI and STIII.

Kev-1 – we’ve seen other bridge monitor ‘errors’ over the series and movies.

Not to mention that a modular configuration is just that – a configuration that could be adapted and changed as needed over time.

All to say that the configuration on the bridge monitors may have been relevant at the time, but not a permanent installation.

While I try not to nit-pick – I also really hate the “roller coaster” turbolift shots. It makes absolutely no sense and deviates from previously seen and detailed concepts. They really need to stop using those shots.

Seemed very weird to me as well. There appears to be a lot of unused space inside the ship. I don’t get that design choice at all.

I suspect the void is necessary to give the camera elbow room. If a realistic fraction of the space was occupied (with compartments, corridors, and high-capacity conduits) the view would be too cluttered to satisfactorily frame the action. So, as a photographic fiction, it’s similar to opposing ships being nose-to-nose despite dialogue that says thousands of kilometers.

Using the benchmark from Sternbach’s TNG tech manual, it’s not too far off depending on the angle.

One third empty interior volume could look pretty significant if the occupied modules were packed together.

As a sidebar, all that empty interior space could be a great place to rack spare equipment for long missions, and even all the shuttles that Number One had upgraded during the refit.

Yes. I really wish they would just stop showing that.

Lt. Amin rappels in… from TRON Legacy apparently. ;-)

Your comment gave me a chuckle. It really does look like something from Tron up there behind Amin.

Just loved “Q & A,” which was entirely expected. As to “The Trouble With Edward,” while I was indeed amused at times (and thought the actress who played the captain was especially good), it left a sour aftertaste. Unlike Barclay, Larkin was a thoroughly unlikable and repellent character, yet I found the episode’s evident satisfaction in his fate to be weird and offputting for Trek. My guess is that David Goodman (or Gerrold) would have done a more consistent job with the same material.

“I like the mandarin collars on the uniforms aboard the USS Cabot” – And those uniform styles should have been shown on the Enterprise during this time period and last week’s Short Trek w/ Spock and Number One.

Loved them both. When I heard Pike saying: “Captain’s Log, Stardate…” I got that shiver up my spine again.
@boborci! Talk to Alex Kurtzman! a Captain Pike series, NOW!
I volunteer to work with you in the writer’s room…

Fans also have to remember, every ship isn’t the Enterprise or the brand new USS Voyager on her first voyage. What I mean is that for as vast as Starfleet is, think about the many, many, many research ships that you never hear about or are throw away ships and crews who succumb to a disaster. She may have been promoted to captain, but it’s captain of a tiny research science vessel. What do you do with a brilliant but…not so well adjusted science officer? You put him on that ship. That explains Lt. Larkin. If Reg can make it onto the Enterprise D, imagine how many people are like him and never ever get close to being on the flagship of the fleet or one of the new experimental ships.

People keep pointing out Barclay as the example of a maladjusted Starfleet officer, but there were certainly others. The Voyager episode “Good Shepherd” gave us three of them. I believe Janeway mentioned something about how they’d have been weeded out in their first year, if they hadn’t been stranded. Since Barclay hadn’t been, I’d say it just depends on how tolerant the people around them are, and how many excuses are made for these people. So there will be some less than stellar officers/crewmen that end up sticking around.

Nobody have mentioned Lt. Paris.

heh The man who went from serving time to being brought aboard a new Starship as helmsman and then being given his rank back, demoted, and promoted again faster than poor Ensign babyface Kim.

Everybody moved up in the ranks faster than Harry. When Voyager visited DS9 in the pilot, Nog was still a civilian. By the time they returned home, Nog outranked Harry.

I thought the writing and comedic timing was excellent in “Edward”. It was done for laughs and succeeded. It may even be my favorite Short Trek with the addition of some lovely ship visual effects shots.

I agree. TTWE was like an episode of “The Office”.

And for all those protesting this guy’s presence in Starfleet, he was a little out there, but remember. We usually see the people who finished at the top of their Academy class on the bridge. Clearly Edward was in the bottom of his class. Maybe aced his Science courses, but not ethics or leadership.

What an absolutely great send-up of that tiresome “This conversation is over” dialogue trope! I laughed out loud.

I also loved TTWE, and I don’t really understand the complaints about inconsistency (other than the uniforms). If this is being criticized as not true to the spirit of Star Trek, I can only imagine what will happen when Star Trek: Lower Decks (which IS canon) comes out… (…and that one I’m even more eager for than Section 31.)

And not for nothing, but re: the tribbles as being originally slow breeders, I’ve read several reviews which have said that goes contrary to Phlox’s description as “prodigious.” UNless I’m mistaken, “prodigious” describes QUANTITY, so there’s nothing to say that the tribbles WEREN’T both slow AND prodigious breeders in the 2150s… They may have had huge numbers of offspring, just not very quickly.

I laughed my butt off the whole way through TTWE.

Really liked both of them. Obviously The Trouble with Edward is more memorable and fun but what I like about Short Treks is that there can be a more light-hearted spirit overall.

Also liked that these were both ‘origin stories’ in a way. In Q&A was Spock’s first day on the Enterprise and obviously TTWE was the introduction of the tribbles in a way. Yes timeline wise they were introduced first on Enterprise but this really laid the story out. Yes it conflicts with the other stories somewhat, but who cares? Its just a fun and light story.

I think Short Treks really works for stuff like this. I don’t like prequels generally BECAUSE it usually deals with this kind of minutiae that I just don’t care about. But with small stories like this, it works. And you can do it for any show in theory.But its great because you can do completely separate stuff that is more isolated or you can tie them into bigger story lines like what we saw with Saru’s story.

Can’t wait to see what the next one is about!

I’m feeling spoiled with two in one week, but instantly wanting that to be the new normal.

Or two in one month.

Or just more.

Can we all say that Kurtzman has done something brilliant in creating the Short Trek concept and selling it to CBS?

>>Can we all say that Kurtzman has done something brilliant in creating the Short Trek concept and selling it to CBS?<<


Well, you’d be wrong. It’s a great idea.

“Can we all say that Kurtzman has done something brilliant in creating the Short Trek concept and selling it to CBS?”

Yes we can! Originally I wasn’t sure what to make of it and it was obvious it was just to keep us on the All Access hook longer. But yeah I have to say they are really fun and creative. And I’m happy they aren’t just about Discovery but can be different stories and characters. This season is really doing that with Pike and Picard related stories. And we know they have the animated ones, which I’m shocked they haven’t shown at all yet.

But it can be wide open. We can eventually get stories from other crews like TNG, VOY, ENT, etc. I know the stories are mostly dependent on the sets they have lying around but also now being animated just opens to future crews and stories. Imagine a Seven of Nine animated story when she first comes to Earth or an Archer story at the start of the Romulan war. They can do literally anything they want, jump to any time period, from the 22nd to the 32nd century. Pretty exciting.

Really great idea about an Archer Short Treks episode. Considering how bad the finale was and the apparent cast anger towards that episode, I wonder if Bakula and the crew would consider coming back to make a more appropriate and proper sendoff for Enterprise – perhaps a two part Short Treks.

After they managed to get Stewart back to do a full on show I believe anything is possible. ;)

Actually, I just found out a few days ago they originally just wanted Patrick Stewart to do a Short Trek in the first season but he turned them down. And I guess someone decided to up the game and tried to get him to return for a show and it fortunately worked. But its clear that the Short Treks are open for anyone if they were trying to get Stewart to do one. I’m not holding my breath Bakula would do one but you can’t say never anymore considering everything now.

Bakula is the lead for a CBS show in it’s 5th season. It’d be much easier contract-wise to bring him than if he worked for another network

I don’t think a 2 part short trek would be sufficient for an Enterprise reunion, if anything it would make the statement that ENT really isn’t worthy of a full on revisit. But a TV movie of the ENT cast, that I would dig. I think they’re way too old now though

This is just a guess but doing a live-action ENT reunion would probably be too expensive. The Short Treks have mainly used existing sets which are not available for ENT. And for a (TV) movie, I just don’t think ENT would pull in enough of an audience. Animation might be cheaper – although it depends on the type of animation, I guess. It might also solve your “problem” with the actors’ ages. However, the Short Treks are designed as a holdover between seasons. If you put all your resources into a one-off TV movie instead of a bunch of short films it may not have the desired effect.

They can do wonders these days with recreating sets digitally. It wouldn’t fly for a series, but would more than likely work just fine for a short.

@ Michael: If I remember correctly, Battlestar Galactica had their sets 3D scanned in great detail before tearing them down at the end of the show to allow them to recreate them digitally if they ever wanted to re-use them. I don’t think something similar was done for ENT. So the question is: Did CBS keep enough reference material to faithfully rebuild the sets with all their details? Or would they even redesign it like they did with the TOS Enterprise?

@ Diginon: Yes, the GALACTICA sets were digitized for use in the BLOOD AND CHROME prequel TV movie. The movie wasn’t very good, but the depiction of the Galactica in her youth was definitely one of the better things about it, at least to my eyes. Tommy Kraft was able to pull off a convincing digital recreation of the NX-01 bridge for his HORIZON fan film on a limited budget, so I’m guessing CBS could do just fine in that respect if they cared to.

Sadly, I agree. There isn’t going to be an Enterprise reunion.

It’s hard to give Kurtzman credit for something that to me just seems baked into the concept of the streaming service. Streaming is a way for content to break out of the tiny box normal television is constrained to play in, and changing the timing of the format to be shorter is just a really easy way to make a lot of stories that are easy to produce. Anyone could see the potential in that

Well you have to give him some credit for actually doing it though. I would’ve never considered it, I always thought of Trek of being an hour long drama (or 40 minutes ;)) and thats it. But yes, this is the great thing about streaming, the fact that they can even do something like this in the first place.

I know a lot of people are (still) angry about putting this show on a streaming service nobody seems to particularly want, but we all know its no way we would be getting this much Trek this soon (and with so much variety) if Discovery was airing on CBS. If I’m being honest I’m not even sure if Discovery would’ve even made it to a season 3 on that network given the costs and the competition in prime time. And the only reason why they can be so creative now is because streaming is closer to cable mentality of experimentation and less of the network thinking of more of the same.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about Star Trek landing on a streaming service but honestly I’m really happy now. The franchise can thrive in ways it can’t on network TV and thanks to all the competition out there, Star Trek is going to be the forefront to AA for years to come.

Short Treks is really one extension of that.

Once again Tiger2, you’ve said it for me.

Yes, streaming (as a web service) is not tied to fixed formats, but I don’t think that we’ve seen another major television franchise experimenting with shorts like this. So, Kurtzman and CBS deserve credit for the innovation.

By contrast, we do see a fair amount of short short stories and novellas from genre fiction series that are published in e-format only.

Some of the fiction series eventually compile the shorts into print volumes. It hope CBS will eventually allow the Short Treks to be bundled like this for both broadcast and DVD distribution.

There is NO WAY that CBS would air Short Treks on their broadcast network.

I hope we continue to get Short Treks on a regular basis,I really enjoy them.

I liked TTWE more than Q&A, which is surprising. I just thought it was weird that Spock and Number One weren’t trying to troubleshoot the lift more than they did. Dialogue could have happened during their attempts to fix it. I did like the characterizations, but something just seemed a bit “off” and I can’t put a finger on it.

And wow, I really do dislike the roller coaster turbolift concept :^P

No1, Spock & Pike onscreen chemistry is pure magic they are going to make a fantastic well received Trek its such a shame they are not making this their no1 priority right now!

Yes absolutely. Wouldn’t most of us want to see them instead of the Discovery crew? They caught lightning by accident.

So yes, people like us do our research. Just because it doesn’t fit your preconceived notions, it doesn’t mean it is completely wrong.

Someone once told me that the “ideal” Star Trek show is essentially a filmed Wikipedia page. No drama, no tension – fanbois just want two hour barrage of facts, figures and bullet points dashed with occasional meta-trivia to make them feel better about their amassed Star Trek knowledge. That also broadly defines the majority of pedestrian, uninteresting but “canonically correct” fanworks.

“Neophytes watch Discovery, real fans watch TOS for the 47,000th time.”

Oh dear… Us contemplative uber-fans like the obvious thought and care put into “canon”. It’s also a point that’s been raised before, though infrequently as lengthily as that. The main thing, however, is that technology isn’t what drives the prime-era of Star Trek. They tried to be consistent; when they said X component did a thing, they tried to make sure it always did that thing, even decades later. However, that wasn’t the real focus of the franchise. The real focus were the stories, and the people. Using the fantastic to tell common stories. Using the weird and alien to tell very human stories. It’s not a bad thing to say that “it doesn’t actually work like that”, but technology has always taken a back seat to the story, and that’s what got most of their attention and focus.

When Michael Okuda was asked how the transporter’s Heisenberg Compensator worked, his answer was very telling: “It works very well, thank you.”

“One thing that the Discovery-era Treks have done exceptionally well is to convey the joy of space exploration, and this is a parade example.”

Yes! The first moment Discovery won me over was the reveal of the spore drive with Lorca’s accompanying speech. It conveyed a sense of wonder and awe about the technology and its potential which was breathtaking – something Trek hadn’t done for me in a long time.

“Some scenes are too extended, stretching humorous into awkward and uncomfortable, like the scene in which Lucero confronts Larkin about his behavior.”

Loved the episode, but that bit was Austin Powers-like in stretching out a joke.

It drew out the joke with the natural humor that arises from discomfort. I was not surprised to see that the writer had worked on “The Office,” because the humor was similar. Great, human humor.

I LOVED that part of the short.

important news-
UK tv channel 4 has gained the rights to Disc season 1.
this will be free to air in the UK just as it with ‘the good fight’.

Curious is anyone able to get the closed caption to work on cbs all access for Q & A short trek? On Apple TV, iPhone, and xbox one it does not come up at all.

Works for me but I’m on a desktop.

I really liked Q&A and have already posted several previous comments why. As for the tribbles episode, not exactly my cup of Earl Grey but I do appreciate the light-hearted episode for what it was, kind of a tribute to other tribbles franchise episodes and not something to take too seriously – especially the cereal commercial. Okay looking forward to the Picard and Discovery episodes before the big show on January 23rd.

I liked these new Short Treks, but I did not love them. But hearing Pike’s Captain Log and watching him sit on the captain;s chair on the bridge makes me want that Pike show so much more.

Gotta disagree with your assessment of “The Trouble with Edward.” It was hilarious and the confrontation scene went on just the right length to make it awkward/funny. Even my wife, who isn’t a big Trek fan, was cracking up the whole time. Honestly, it was even funnier the second time. “Q&A” was a great sort of BTS moment into the real lives of characters but “Edward” was the perfect version of Star Trek comedy.

Also, the roller coaster style turbo lifts make zero sense.

Awkward leads to some great humor! I loved it too.

Ah, Short Treks. They’re really the best thing that’s come out of Discovery.

They conveniently forget about transporters in both episodes. Number One and Spock could’ve been transported to their destinations from the broken turbolift. And the Tribbles could’ve been dealt with quickly by having the transporters lock on them and beaming them out to space.

Intraship transportation was considered incredibly dangerous in TOS, so Spock and Una probably figured they were better off waiting. As for the Tribbles, it probably seemed unethical without a convenient Klingon ship to beam them on to. By the time they realized how desperate they really were, there were probably too many Tribbles to make beaming practical.

The transporters were one of the first systems to go offline in TTWE – although the list of problems went by quickly.

As well, transporters were large and cumbersome. The shuttle wouldn’t have had one in the TOS era. ( I had to check myself when I started to wonder why they didn’t just beam Larkin off the Cabot involuntarily.)

I found Q&A to be a lovely little episode, one you might find on any Star Trek show but without a B story or filler. It was quite the little glimpse into who these characters were at this point in their lives and careers. I just love Ethan Peck’s Spock, probably only second to Nimoy himself. The Trouble with Edward made me smile from star to finnish and I genuinely laughed at the punch line at the end. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the comedy episode but I guess I shouldn’t be because I also loved the Harry Mudd Short Trek.

How many 15 minutes short that you have seen also contain B stories?
15 minutes and your looking for subplots?

Not at all what I was saying…

That wasn’t a complaint.

“Q&A” reminded me how much fun the Pike Enterprise is. Let’s get it done, Mr. Kurtzman.

The big open spaces the lift moves through in the Enterprise is ridiculous. Doubly so than the Disco because we know the layout of the Enterprise, and there is no room like that within the superstructure of the ship. Dumb dumb dumb.

See the discussion further along the thread please Heyberto.

We really DON’T ‘KNOW’ the internal layout of the Enterprise.

Non-canon books and charts are just that: not canon.

Some screens on a bridge in a movie may be compelling for some, but we’ve had other ‘errors’ on bridge graphics over the series and movies.

There seems to be a long history of production designers working off a ‘habitrail’ or modular concept for Starfleet shipsthat goes back to at least TMP.

It’s not a new concept. Rather modern CGI has made it affordable to visualize.

So, it’s a cool question for the Trek archives and for former production designers to know how deeply rooted the ‘habitrail’ concept was.

What we see in these rollercoaster-ride turbolift scenes is NOT the same as the modular concept at all!!! Modular does not mean huge empty spaces larger in volume than the hull would allow and with tracks running all through them. Perhaps you simply misunderstand the concept of modules in such a spaceframe.

I thought this was settled in the discussion further down the thread. There is no canonical or logical basis for the DSC/Short Treks style turbolift open-space system.

Yes, we *do* know the internal layout of the Enterprise well enough to rule out these huge-space lift tracks. From turbolift diagrams to other cutaways to onscreen discussion, and including the onscreen diagrams you tried to dismiss, we have ample evidence of decks with lifts in shafts like normal elevators but NOTHING remotely like the DSC open spaces.

You’re simply pushing something that isn’t logical, practical, or canonical at all. Period. You can like the imagery if you like, but it’s utter nonsense from any engineering or design perspective.

Hi PaulB,

I agree that modular need not mean big empty spaces, but it need not mean evenly distributed gaps either.

If 1/3 of the space is unused, and the modules are placed adjacent to one another, there could remain a fairly large unused volume.

The biggest illogical thing that I saw from an engineering point of view was that a vacant space like that would not be fully pressurized or otherwise be kept at humanoid environmental norms.

As I and another poster said, how ‘big’ the empty shaft-like space seems, might depend on the angle one looks from.

Or, it might be nothing more than artistic license with scaling as we see with the distances between ships.

My own thought is that it would logically be in a region of the ship – particularly the neck between the secondary hull and the saucer. This would align well with the transporters being located close to engineering in the TOS era.

Again, you are welcome to like the visuals, but you are wrong about the rest. You seem to have this idea that a modular spaceframe would just be a cavernous, empty, hangar-like space. That’s nonsensical.

You seem to think it’s like stacking boxes in an empty room. That might be how an empty cargo hold would work, but not how a modular spaceframe would work.

Modules would have to plug in to the EPS and other systems. There would be bulkheads, forcefield conduits, and all manner of built-in technology. There would NOT be cavernous empty spaces with a rollercoaster turbolift system.

I was at conventions when TNG was first announced (when it was Julian Picard and Data was pronounced “dah-tah” not “day-tah”), and I saw the first reveal of the Enterprise-D to fans, and I listened to Sternbach and others. Nobody ever spoke about an “empty hangar modular spaceframe” like you seem to envision. You fundamentally misunderstand the concepts involved.

Enjoy the visual if you like. There is no logical, canonical, rational, practical, engineering, or other reason for it, but you’re welcome to enjoy it. Just stop trying to make your illogic work.

Hey PaulB,

What I’m trying to do is keep an open mind here and do my bit to promote thoughtful discussion. And I’ve appreciated that for the most part you’ve engaged rather than joined in the gatekeeping.

I’ve noted my own fundamental issue – environmental – with the way this concept was presented in Q & A. I can’t see why an empty internal volume would be at close to full pressure and atmosphere.

What’s annoying me is the gatekeeping ‘Can’t be canon’, ‘We know what it looks like’ statements on the basis of some books of interiors printed mainly when there was no Trek on the air. I was hoping to get the OP writer Heyberto to get beyond just thinking ‘ridiculous’ and shutting down.

Yes, there have been some on-screen images of stacked decks: but these are for a specific refit of a specific ship at a specific time.

Let’s face it : after numerous visuals in the past season or so, this habitrail interior on a scaffold IS canon.

So, it’s worth some thought experiments – especially among those of us that have been thinking about Trek starship interiors for a few decades.

What I’d like to see is a few more thought experiments here about what we’re seeing on-screen.

As I’ve noted, I can imagine some areas of the ship where modules are compacted, but others with significant free volume. What we’ve seen isn’t inconsistent with a 35 by 15 meter open volume in the link between the primary and secondary hulls.

Last thought, one of the challenges we face as long time fans is that, as new shows are created, the ‘gaps’ in canon that we’ve filled in with beta or gamma canon or even ‘head canon’ are going inevitably contradicted. We need to be willing to let go a little to keep Trek a creative and vital franchise.

I have had to deal with my own regrets that the TNG post-Nemesis Relaunch novels that I’ve been reading for more than a decade have been set in some alternate, not-Prime universe. I’m enjoying David Mack’s new novel Collateral Damage, but I still feel regret that the upcoming Picard series has unequivocally overwritten that history. I am absolutely not however saying that Picard can’t be canon because we already “know how it must be”.

“What’s annoying me is the gatekeeping ‘Can’t be canon’…”

That’s not gatekeeping. Gatekeeping is nonsense about who is a “real” fan, keeping people out of fandom. “Can’t be canon” is nothing remotely like that.

“I was hoping to get the OP writer Heyberto to get beyond just thinking ‘ridiculous’ and shutting down.”

Why? It *is* ridiculous. Just as the number of decks shown in STV is ridiculous. There’s no reason Heyberto or anyone else should have to be open to discussing something patently ridiculous.

“What we’ve seen isn’t inconsistent with a 35 by 15 meter open volume in the link between the primary and secondary hulls.”

Yes, it is inconsistent with that. The dimensions of the Enterprise turbolift cars in DSC/Q&A would not allow the enormous space and rollercoaster design shown on screen. The neck is not just an enormous empty space.

You really do not seem to comprehend the modular concept. I think you are picturing huge empty spaces like the interior of a dirigible or inside an empty warehouse, but the modular spaceframe would be more like expansion bays in a PC tower, where prebuilt modules slot into specific spaces.

“…the ‘gaps’ in canon that we’ve filled in with beta or gamma canon or even ‘head canon’ are going inevitably contradicted.”

I, for one, have focused on *actual canon*, not beta/gamma/head canon, which is what you are doing. I only quoted the TNG Tech Manual because you brought it up, and I dismissed it as non-canon. My arguments are based on canon and hold up even if all talk about tech manuals and conventions were removed.

“I have had to deal with my own regrets that the TNG post-Nemesis Relaunch novels…David Mack’s new novel Collateral Damage…not however saying that Picard can’t be canon because we already ‘know how it must be’.”

You are talking about books that are NOT canon. Those post-TNG novels don’t tell us “how it must be.” To expect the new Picard show to follow non-canon books is…not logical.

You may enjoy the new turbolift aesthetic, but there is no rational, logical, functional way to fit it into canon no matter what you dream up.

I enjoy gedankenexperiments that conform to logic and rationality and that fit within canon or reasonably close to it. This is not such a situation.

You do realize there’s absolutely no reason for there to be outside gravity for the lifts themselves to struggle with or use in their movements? Are you absolutely sure the ship isn’t cavernous appearing in all possible orientations that the lift could use in traversing the ship with the floor of the lift providing gravity for its occupants independent of that artificially generated elsewhere in the ship? Are you accounting for diagonals?

(Disinvited — Not sure you were replying to me, but it appears that you are, so…)

“You do realize there’s absolutely no reason for there to be outside gravity for the lifts themselves to struggle with or use in their movements?”

Who suggested the need for outside gravity? As far as I can tell, you’re the first person to bring up gravity in this thread.

“Are you absolutely sure the ship isn’t cavernous appearing in all possible orientations that the lift could use in traversing the ship with the floor of the lift providing gravity for its occupants independent of that artificially generated elsewhere in the ship?”

Pretty much, yes. The orientations possible for a turbolift mean it can zip around quickly, up/down, side/side, diagonally, with instant stops and starts–all because of the artificial gravity in the turbolift. None of that would make sense out of the ridiculous cavernous roller-coaster-style stuff we’re seeing.

Or did I miss the point you were making?

“Are you accounting for diagonals?”



I left it open to all, so your reply is welcome, but, for the record, my aim was more towards addressing Heyberto’s apples and oranges claims to knowing how one ship with a completely different engine was constructed somehow dictates the layout for a completely different drive.

I don’t quite think I’m getting the picture either you or he are trying to paint by referencing “cavernous” areas as not being available on ship?

I’ve lived through movie theatrical depictions of the Recreational Deck, Shuttle bays and Engineering as what I’d describe as “cavernous” areas on a ship.

Secondly, I believe the M5 duotronic unit and the saucer separations have demonstrated that the Federation is far less reliant on direct physical cabling, conduit and piping than you may be attempting to rely on – not to mention the two ring discs capable of counter spinning each other?

Disney’s Space Mountain confines two separate roller coaster tracks together to an area maximally 65 feet high and 300 feet in diameter.

Discovery is 750.5 meters long and flattened more than other Federation starships. Is it really that absolutely out of the question to plot a snaky, what would be mostly lateral to the Enterprise’s turbolift tracks or tubes, turboblift track through something THAT long?

Now, if you want to question why the spore drive might necessitate so circuitous a route
over something more simple and direct, I’m all ears.

“Heyberto’s apples and oranges claims to knowing how one ship with a completely different engine was constructed somehow dictates the layout for a completely different drive.”

He mentioned the Enterprise, not Discovery, and he literally said we don’t know the layout of Discovery, so…?

In Q&A we see the supposedly canon 1701, and it has roller-coaster turbolifts in a wide-open space, which doesn’t fit what we know about the Enterprise. Has nothing to do with DSC or the (ugh) spore drive.

“I don’t quite think I’m getting the picture either you or he are trying to paint by referencing ‘cavernous’ areas as not being available on ship? I’ve lived through movie theatrical depictions of the Recreational Deck, Shuttle bays and Engineering as what I’d describe as ‘cavernous’ areas on a ship.”

It’s not that there are no large, open areas. Of course there are, as you mentioned (rec deck, etc.) But those are specific-use rooms/facilities where the open space is used. But what we are shown outside the turbolift–that is, the track system in an open space (like Space Mountain) instead of in well-routed shafts (like all previous turbolifts and every logical lift/elevator design).

Also, in TMP we see the interior of the cargo deck, and we see two very enclosed turbolift shafts. They don’t ramble around like a roller-coaster, trying to fill the empty space with tracks. The lifts are in the least space-invasive possible system, enclosed tubes/shafts built between the other rooms/spaces.

What we’re seeing with these turbolifts is like having enormous open areas inside every elevator shaft we currently have. Sure, hotels have large open atriums (atria?) and large open conference rooms, but no similar open spaces appear inside the walls. Wouldn’t make sense.

“Secondly, I believe the M5 duotronic unit and the saucer separations have demonstrated that the Federation is far less reliant on direct physical cabling, conduit and piping than you may be attempting to rely on – not to mention the two ring discs capable of counter spinning each other?”

First, the counter-rotating discs of Discovery have nothing to do with a discussion of the Enterprise’s internal turbolift layout. Second, even if we ignored physical cabling and piping, those things (EPS and water flow) have to be *somewhere*, even after a saucer separation, and those systems would be built-in so that modules could slot into them. Unless you envision a starship that has no pipes, wires, or other physical connections, in which case we’re in utterly different mental places.

“Disney’s Space Mountain confines two separate roller coaster tracks together to an area maximally 65 feet high and 300 feet in diameter.”

Yes, because the purpose of Space Mountain is to get as many people through the ride in as short a time as possible, and without filling the entire park with that one ride, so they filled the interior of the “mountain” with tracks. Are you suggesting a turbolift system would exist to complicate the paths lifts have to follow instead of using straight lines? And that designers would needlessly waste empty space inside a starship instead of routing the lifts like any other rational lift/elevator system we’ve ever seen, real or fictional?

“Discovery is 750.5 meters long and flattened more than other Federation starships. Is it really that absolutely out of the question to plot a snaky, what would be mostly lateral to the Enterprise’s turbolift tracks or tubes, turboblift track through something THAT long?”

Yes, because there is neither a logical reason for such a design nor a canonical place for it to fit. It’s as ridiculous as the high-number and repeated-number decks in STV. It’s purely there for the “ooh, look at that” factor, not for rational engineering or design reasons.


Thank you very much for your patience in this. You really cleared it up for me. Don’t know how I strayed so far off the beaten path.

You’re so welcome! So very happy I could help. Any time!

One thing I have never understood about expectations about the turbolift’s movements is that the ship’s gravity is artificial and they have inertial dampening tech. Why does the turbolift have to move anything like a conventional earth-based lift/elevator that struggles against gravity to rise and uses it to lower?

“Why does the turbolift have to move anything like a conventional earth-based lift/elevator that struggles against gravity to rise and uses it to lower?”

Who says that it does so?

The turbolift is “turbo” because of speed, which is how it can zip from end to end of the ship in seconds. That’s because of what you mention, the artificial gravity and inertial-dampening systems. But the lift cars themselves still need to exist within a tube/conduit/tunnel of some kind. They’re not just whizzing around inside a huge, empty spaceframe like the TARDIS zipping every which way. They still follow horizontal, vertical, and diagonal pathways.

“The Trouble With Edward” was ill-conceived. Where was the food for the Tribbles to consume? (As the article writer noted.) And how did those organic life forms manage to survive the destruction of the U.S.S. Cabot, to make it to the surface of that planet?

That, plus the all-too-quick multiplication of the tribbles, was unsettling. Illogical.

Not a fan of that episode.

I think 2253-2254 lines up pretty well with continuity for when the Enterprise crew got the new uniforms.

Rebecca Romjin is growing her hair out. Looking great! As for the Short Treks, I can’t access them because CBS All Access is asking for a password even though I pay the 10 bucks a month! I haven’t changed my TV or Fire Stick.

That app is abysmal.

It’s improved with time, but I’ve started using the CBS channel in Amazon Prime Video.

I just switched to the Prime channel too. Mainly because my new TV doesn’t have the All Access app. I might switch back to the All Access app if more devices support it some day though.

I just sign in with Facebook. No password required.

Yup The Trouble with Edward was a hoot. The last time any Trek made me laugh so hard was Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

And for those not aware, “Una” also happens to mean the number one in Spanish


And for you, who apparently is also unaware, it means one in Italian too.

I must have misheard the captain at the end. I thought after all that criticism of how she let that happen, her answer was “I’m an idiot”. It would be so much funnier that way!

Q&A was great. It was light enough and included comedy, but was still Trek. I still hate the weird roller coaster effect visual for the elevator. It’s dumb and makes no sense from a design standpoint. I’d like to see the blue prints for the ship.

“Trouble with Edward” is a crap. Stupid, not funny, and juvenile. Barclay and others with might best be described as social anxiety issues were at least competent. Edward is just a mad scientist. If Star Fleet would ever put someone like that on a Capital ship like that, they deserve to be overrun by the Klingons. Clearly Captain Lucero was not ready for Command, is Star Fleet short of qualified people for command? This makes Pike look bad for recommending her.

It might have worked had it not been comedy and they went heavy and dramatic, about how genetic manipulation can lead to terrible outcomes or about breeding tribbles for food (are they just the cows of space now?), but this was just an incredible waste of resources and tarnishes Pikes career.

And don’t get me started with the cereal advertisement.

I enjoyed TTWH and loved Q&A. When I see folks mention “STP”, I read Star Trek: Pike instead of Star Trek: Picard.


I don’t know if anyone has noted this but ‘Una’ is ‘One’ in Spanish in femenine gender (uno would be masculine). I see some kind of Easter Egg or similar with this name. May this be a kind of joke after so many years without knowing what was Number One’s name?

I must have watched a different episode than Denes, because I thought “The Trouble With Edward” was a riot. “Q&A” was also a delightful gem, but I swear I’m gonna go holler at the VFX supervisor if I see one more turbolift roller coaster.

Well, nuts. All this rollercoaster turbo lift got me to thinking about the practical application on a starship. First, the rollercoaster visualization doesn’t bother me, I’m okay with it as a stylized visual. Why? Well, the Trek turbo lifts have always been characterised as the main means of transportation around the shop, both in the horizontal and vertical. Because of that, the lifts have to consume a lot of real estate in the ships design for them to work.

For a practical application, particularly so if ship construction is modular, there’s really only one place where there would be turbo lifts, and that would be vertical shafts to get to the primary and secondary hulls. Smaller Federation ships would not have them all all, they are just a waste of resources.

Do you know when these shorties will be available in Brazil?