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Recap / Star Trek Discovery Short Treks E07 "Ask Not"

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A surprise attack on Starbase 28 leaves Cadet Thira Sidhu in charge of an unusual prisoner, and the decisions she makes while carrying out this duty may jeopardize her future in Starfleet.


  • Blindfolded Trip: A hooded Pike is brought to Sidhu by two security guards. They tell her to take charge of him because they cannot reach the brig, then remove the hood with an electronic device. The hood is because they want as few people as possible to know that Captain Pike has been arrested for mutiny.
  • Continuity Nod: Among the directives and regulations cited were:
    • Directive 010, which states that combat with an alien species must be a last resort at all times;
    • Regulation 191, which states that, in a combat situation and with no higher ranking officer present, the ship with tactical superiority is in command; and
    • The infamous "little-known, seldom-used" Reserve Activation Clause, whereby any active member of Starfleet may recall a retired or discharged officer to active duty in an emergency.
  • Distress Call: Pike states that the Enterprise was responding to a distress call from the U.S.S. Bouman, only to find that it was a Tholian trap, and that the Tholians are now attacking Starbase 28.
  • Ensign Newbie: Cadet Sidhu is essentially this, though she isn't even a commissioned ensign yet.
  • Explosive Instrumentation: Sidhu goes down when a console behind her explodes. It takes a minute for her to get back on her feet, but she's not seriously injured.
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  • False Flag Operation: "The Admiral" sent an encoded message to the Enterprise that the Tholians have seized the Bouman and are using the distress call to lure the Enterprise into a trap so they can seize it as well.
  • Foreshadowing: We all know Pike is a brilliant commander with a steel-trap mind and excellent memory (remembering the names and positions of Discovery's bridge crew after only hearing them once, right before warping into a hazardous situation), but it seems rather odd that he knows this one cadet and is familiar with her personnel file, including her childhood trauma. Because this is all part of a test, and Pike is specifically interested in her joining the crew of Enterprise.
  • Friend or Idol Decision: Sidhu is forced to choose between her orders to keep Pike prisoner, or the chance to save her husband's life. She chooses to follow her orders, and Pike reveals that her husband was never in danger.
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  • It Works Better with Bullets: At the end of the episode, Sidhu asks Pike if the phaser she was using to hold him at gunpoint was active or not. Pike grins and leaves without answering.
  • The Mutiny: Pike states that when the Admiral aborted the rescue mission and tried to relieve him of duty, he refused to let the Bouman's crew die and "it didn't go so well".
  • My Rule-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: Pike and Sidhu quote regulations at each other, with Pike eventually invoking a regulation that he claims overrides her orders. She fires back that that regulation only applies when invoked by active captains, which Pike is not while under arrest.
  • Necessary Evil: Pike admits that the conditions of the test Sidhu was put under were downright inhumane, but that the situations they were training for were no less so.
  • Pet the Dog: After the test is over, the very first thing Pike does is assure Sidhu that her husband is just fine, and Pike has in fact arranged a leave for him and he's on his way to spend some time with Sidhu.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica:
    • Sidhu and her husband both applied for postings on the Enterprise, but were rejected. Her husband got assigned to the Bouman and she was shunted to an inventory officer post on Starbase 28.
    • Pike threatens Sidhu with this as part of the Secret Test of Character, stating that he won't forget her actions and will personally ensure her Starfleet career will stall and never see her aboard a starship.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Subverted. Pike keeps trying to get Sidhu to disregard her orders and let him go so he can try to draw the Tholians away and rescue the Bouman, but she refuses to break protocol. This was all a test to make sure she would follow her orders even in a life-or-death situation.
  • Secret Test of Character: A fascinatingly multi-layered one. Cadet Sidhu is given orders, in the middle of an apparent Tholian attack on the Starbase, to watch the arrested Captain Pike until the situation is secure and he can be moved to the brig. Pike has a sympathetic story: he argued with an admiral who ordered him to cease rescue operations for the Bouman once the admiral was safe, Pike's refusal to do so resulted in his arrest. Even worse, the ship Pike was trying to save is where Sidhu's husband is stationed, so she has a personal interest in seeing that ship and its crew rescued. When this is not enough to sway her to free Pike (so he can take command of the situation, stop the Tholian attack, and rescue the Bouman), Pike begins quoting several regulations which would, in theory, justify releasing Pike to take command, but Sidhu responds with relevant regulations that undermine Pike's arguments. Finally, Pike outright threatens to destroy Sidhu's career before it even really starts, and looks prepared to leave the room anyway, banking on Sidhu not having the guts to stop him. The test is for one's ability to adhere to orders, in the face of (in order): a Living Legend with sympathetic motives, personal interest and emotional compromise, loopholes in regulations that would let you do something you know is wrong but claim you thought it was okay, and threats to personal well-being. Sidhu sticks to her orders on every count, greatly impressing Christopher Pike.
  • Slipped the Ropes: When Sidhu passes the test, Pike casually congratulates her and reveals his restraints were never locked.
  • Sole Survivor: Sidhu and her husband were both the only survivors of a Tholian attack a couple years earlier.
  • That's an Order!: Pike orders Sidhu to let him go, but she refuses to break protocol.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: At the end of the episode, with the test concluded and Sidhu's place on the Enterprise all but assured, Pike personally leads her to the ship's engine room, where she can only gaze in awe.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: At the end of the test, Pike simply makes to leave the room, forcing Sidhu to arm and aim her phaser at him, prepared to stun him if he doesn't cooperate. Pike stares her down until he's satisfied she really would pull the trigger if pushed any farther, then relents, revealing the test.

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