A long ship, déjà-vu-ing me back to 1978 and Battlestar Galactica, glides through space. On opposite catwalks, two men, going for the casual-Friday look in sweatshirts, throw a football back and forth across a cargo hold. The CGI ball moves very slowly through the air. Much slower, in fact, than the men's arms throwing it. I get it; this is supposed to be a gravity-depicting thing. The older gent grabs the ball and crows, "Hauled down in the corner of the end zone; touchdown! Haw haw!" The other, younger guy expositions, "I'd like to see you make that catch with the gravity plating at Earth sea level." "I doubt you could throw the ball ten meters on Earth," the older guy says. Is that the space way of saying he throws like a girl? "One more reason not to go!" the younger guy yells back. "Did you find out what was causing that vibration in Module Two?" the older guy asks with captain-like authority. Yeah, it was all those people jumping on the beds in Module One. The younger guy recoils from a catch with unnecessary force (considering the speed of the ball they're attempting to portray) and explains that the cargo was loaded unevenly on Jupiter. He finishes by saying, "Shawn and I, we trimmed it out." This scene and conversation shows that these astronauts and the writers have a warped understanding of the conservation of momentum law. Captain tells him to keep an eye on the vibrating module just as the ship is hit by something heavy. Someone comms from the bridge, "Bridge to Captain Keene: we're under attack sir, it's the Nausicaans!" Captain Keene orders that they drop out of warp and charge up their plasma cannon. The ship is jolted by another hit, and the younger guy drops the football. Butterfingers.
Outer space. A small, moth-shaped ship zaps the cargo ship with blue phaser blasts.
Insert song snark here.
It's dark, it's shadowy, and there's Porthos. Must be Quantum's cabin. The Captain is paged from the bridge and told that Starfleet Command has a message for him. Quantum asks to have it put through to his quarters as he pulls on a shirt. Admiral Forrest comes through kind of fuzzily on Quantum's laptop. They greet each other, and Quantum apologizes for the quality of the transmission, explaining, "We're getting ready to deploy the first subspace amplifier -- should clear up reception a bit." Adm. Forrest tells him to do whatever's necessary to "keep those reports coming, those scans of that comet were fascinating." Yeah, deadly fascinating. The reason for Adm. Forrest's call is to ask Quantum to backtrack a bit in order to check up on a distress signal sent out by a cargo freighter called the Fortunate. Quantum asks for specifics, but Forrest doesn't have any: "They're not responding to hails. I'd like you to check this out -- give them any assistance they need." Quantum accepts his assignment, and they sign off. "Think our day's gonna start a little early," Quantum comments to Porthos, who wags his cute tail from his cute cushion.
On the bridge, the crew analyzes the specs of the cargo ship. Among other insignificant details like speed (warp one-point-eight) and vessel type designation (Y-Class), T'Pol tells them that the crew complement of the Fortunate is twenty-three. Mayberry is just fidgeting with the desire to show off how much he knows about cargo freighters and says, "Not counting newborn babies." Everyone looks at him. "Ensign?" Quantum prompts. Mayberry pants with excitement, "I grew up on a J-Class. A little smaller but the same basic design. And one thing I can tell you is that at warp one-point-eight, you got a lotta time on your hands between ports. That's how my parents wound up with me." Aw, I didn't want to know that. T'Pol asks him if he actually has any useful information to impart about the cargo ship "beyond its recreational activities?" Heh. Predictably, Reed asks what kinds of weaponry the Fortunate would be likely to carry. Mayberry furrows his brow and says, "Well, typically nothing more than a low-yield plasma cannon, but most freight-haulers would have upgraded the first chance they got." Reed asks why that is. Before Mayberry answers, I want to ask why it is that Reed's even questioning why anyone would upgrade their weapon system. Reed's very character suggests that his reason for ever upgrading weaponry would be "because it's there." So I shouldn't think that he of all people needs an explanation why an inferior system would get upgraded. Mayberry decides to ignore my meanderings and answers Reed: "Think about it: you're a dozen light years from home, with twenty kilotons of dilithium ore in your hold, armed with nothing but a pop gun for shooting oncoming meteors. What would you do?"