A few weeks after their confrontation with the Diviner, and following the rescue of a sea creature in a way that attempts to avoid violating the Prime Directive, the young crew of the Protostar discover a Federation outpost — CR-721, the most remote station in the Delta Quadrant — and its sole occupant, Lt. Barniss Frex. (Why would Starfleet send this guy to be out here all by himself? Seems like a recipe for disaster.)
It marks the crew's first official contact with the Federation, which knows a little something about all of them. The episode allows for some reasonably interesting discoveries, with bio-scans that reveal what species each of them is — except for Gwyn, who registers as "unknown," and Dal, who is mysteriously flagged as "Report to Starfleet Command." Meanwhile, Gwyn attempts to regain the memories she lost when Zero revealed himself to defeat the Diviner — including the crucial piece of information that she keeps hearing the Diviner tell her in her subconscious: "It is a weapon."
Before she's able to regain these memories, however, Frex attempts to download the Protostar's logs. This unleashes the Trojan-horse virus upon the space station, causing it to start tearing itself apart. All the systems go haywire, including the phasers, which fire upon the station itself. Frex escapes in the station's only escape pod, leaving the others with nothing but their desperate ingenuity to escape. (I must say, it's not very Starfleet of Frex to just leave them all behind to die. Hopefully our young crew don't behave likewise, or Frex is going to be floating alone in space for a long time, or until his air runs out.)
As a straightforward mini-adventure, this episode is decent enough, advancing the story and weaving in various character threads throughout. The continued focus on Rok's pursuit of science is welcome. She uses it here to calculate the timing of the jump from the station back to the Protostar. But the Trojan-horse virus already strikes me as hopelessly DOA as a plan to attack the Federation. How could this possibly work when all it will take is a warning to stop it?
There's also a new ongoing subplot here with Janeway — that is, the real Admiral Janeway — embarking on a mission to find the missing Protostar and Captain Chakotay, who was the only occupant when it left the Alpha Quadrant. (Why in the world is Starfleet sending people to the Delta Quadrant alone?) The ship has not returned as scheduled, so Janeway goes looking for her missing friend. This eventually brings her to the site of the Diviner's ship, where they find the Diviner still alive (although I must ask how they got here so fast).
What's not clear is the timeline around all this. The Protostar was buried in the Diviner's mine for something like 20 years, but it clearly has not been 20 years since Chakotay left. (Janeway has not significantly aged from the holodeck recording documenting Chakotay's departure.) Is there some time travel involved here? Did I miss something? Hopefully this has been thought through and is not a massive plot hole.
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