Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Tough Decisions: Short Trek's Ask Not

Would you disobey an order?

Cadet Thira Sidhu is challenged with that very question when Starbase 28 is suddenly attacked and an in custody Captain Christopher Pike is handed to her to guard.

Clocking in at under ten minutes, Ask Not is the shortest Star Trek instalment ever but that can't take away from the more than welcome return of Anson Mount alongside Amrit Kaur's green cadet. Also, for those of you wondering, it's a clip from a John F Kennedy quote; "Ask not what your country can do for you ask what you can do for your country." which was part of his inauguration of 21 January 1961.

The premise is simple - does she release Pike from his restraints so he can "help" combat the attack or does she stand firm because he's been charged with mutiny and as such holds no power of rank? 

Kaur holds her own valiantly here with the moral decision that could ultimately decide her career in Starfleet. For anyone with a modicum of sense you'll spot something close to a Kobayashi Maru scenario right away.

Ask Not beautifully plays these two characters in a tight, confined space with each trading regulation and right  - Pike citing that he needs to regain command because the Enterprise has tactical superiority (a point "later" made by Janeway in regards to the USS Equinox's position versus Voyager) or that he can be reinstated by an active officer given circumstances.

However Sidhu remains firm, counters Pike and sticks to her guns in a very quickfire event which is almost over before it's even started. For a short story there's a lot of background, event and sparring crammed into the ten minutes of film and I also think this is one worth a second viewing just to catch all the rules and regulations plus the offence and defence of the conversation.

Ask Not isn't one of this generation of Star Trek's pinnacles but it does satisfy fans' hunger to see Anson Mount turn out as Captain Christopher Pike one more time and remind us all just why there's that demand for a Pike/Spock/Number One series sooner rather than later. Plus, if we've learnt anything from Short Treks it's never underestimate how they will all link in to later series or episodes...still looking at you Calypso....

Next month - December 12th - TWO Short Treks with Ephraim and Dot and The Girl Who Made the Stars...

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