Short Trek ‘Ask Not’ Teaser Breakdown

The trailer for the third and final Enterprise themed Star Trek: Short Trek has finally arrived. While Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) has featured minimally in both ‘Q&A’ and ‘The Trouble With Edward’, ‘Ask Not’ looks set to deliver heavy on the action. 

Potential SPOILER WARNINGS for those outside the US & Canada!

“When an attack on Starbase 28 leaves a surprise prisoner under Cadet Thira Sidhu’s (Amrit Kaur) watch, she is faced with making a decision that may threaten her standing in Starfleet.”

The first trailer for the Enterprise shorts dropped at San Diego Comic-Con back in July. It gave the suggestion that Pike might be in serious trouble, as he’s led handcuffed into the middle of a dangerous-looking situation. The Captain appears to be the prisoner of an unknown force, and CBS’s latest tweet teases this further: 

“Stripped of command, one cadet will decide Captain Pike’s fate”.

So who is this young cadet? Who stripped Pike of his command, and more importantly, why?

The cadet in question is Amrit Kaur’s ‘Cadet Sidhu’. Throughout the new ‘Ask Not’ teaser we see her push back against an angry, authoritative, and uncharacteristically threatening Pike. Despite the circumstances, refusing the orders and by extension help of a more experienced superior officer seems like an odd decision for a young cadet alone in the middle of a crisis. What reason could she have for mistrusting him? 

PIKE: “A Few hours ago the Enterprise picked up a distress call from the USS Bowman”

The actions open moments shortly before an explosion, showing Cadet Sidhu working at a station (dressed in a red uniform), before being thrown to the ground as the displays explode behind her. The event takes place presumably on Starbase 28, as we see a familiar-looking starbase design on the display just prior to its destruction.

There also appears to be a couple of Constitution-class starships – the same as Pike’s Enterprise – docked with the starbase. The USS Bowman’s name hasn’t appeared in the Trek universe before, but we know there are at least 12 other Constitution-class vessels out there. Could the Bowman be one of those docked?

PIKE: “I need you to let me out of here”

Pike’s first request for release is a gentle though firm one, from what appears to be a prison cell. Even in a Red Alert situation, the Captain maintains his cool, and of course, manages to have his pristine hairdo! This is possibly the first time Pike asks the cadet to release him, hence his gentler tone. Could the Captain have been in a cell aboard the starbase when disaster struck?

CADET SIDHU: “You’re a prisoner, your orders carry no weight any more.”

Pike is being escorted by two security officers, potentially from one of the constitution class ships due to their style of red-shirted uniform. The teaser doesn’t reveal yet if Pike finds the cadet or the cadet finds the Captain, though their first meeting appears to find Pike locked up and in need of release. As a note, one of the security personnel escorting Pike looks very much like a bridge officer shown previously on Enterprise (seen in Star Trek: Discovery’s second season finale).

Could this be the same character? And if so, are we seeing Pike as a prisoner on Enterprise or on Starbase 28? Note that Pike has some sort of hood over his head as well as being hand-cuffed, which is a little extreme. Do they believe he is dangerous?

What could answer the question of who finds who is the next scene, as it appears that young cadet Sidhu removes the futuristic ‘hood’ from Pike. Though both characters are not shown clearly it’s safe to assume that as he asked to be let out of a cell, that the cadet was the one to find Pike, possibly restrained and blinded as well as imprisoned. 

This hood is interesting, could it be the holo tech we see Phillipa Georgiou use whilst on Qo’Nos in Season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery, when she disguised herself whilst infiltrating the Klingon Chancellors home? Is someone setting Pike up as the person responsible for the attack? And if this is the case, could the cadet continuing to hold Pike as a prisoner be in the right? At least from her point of view, she might be, or maybe just following protocol.

PIKE: “Cadet! I am giving you a direct order to release me!”

Obviously Captain Pike is furious that his request has not been followed and has switched to more forceful methods. This will probably be the main focus of the episode’s action, the battle of wills and the power dynamic between the pair. Do they keep distrusting one another, or do they work together to solve the crisis?

SIDHU: “That only applies to an active Captain!”

Cadet Sidhu explains her reluctance to release Pike, as his prisoner status would remove his authority. She has her phaser in hand suggesting an imminent threat, but is that Pike or an ‘outside force’? Could the captain actually be in real danger here? The cadet also uses her phaser to lower Pike’s restraints with a very ‘I’m in charge’ attitude.

Perhaps Sidhu is the only survivor of the attack? Pike’s log did say that they picked up a distress call, but does this action take place on a ship or the starbase? 

PIKE: “When this is all done, you will never see the inside of a Starship again…”

This line by Captain Pike is uncharacteristically forceful and threatening. Promising to end a young cadets’ Starfleet career if she does not release him is odd. There might just be a bigger issue at stake here. Pike can be unflinchingly commanding at times but rarely resorts to threats except with those he distrusts (as seen with his treatment of Ash Tyler).

Could something else be motivating Pike’s behavior? Could the cadet continue to refuse his authority to be getting in the way of a vital mission? Or is the Captain’s behavior to serve a different purpose, perhaps to push and test the cadet’s responses?

Many of the elements do suggest there’s a lot more going on than immediately meets the eye. Promos do tend to put a spin on the story’s action, and the Trek writers are very talented at challenging our expectations and leading us down one path, only to switch everything up and reveal something entirely different is going on.

The Trek Shorts are also, to this point, all lighter in tone than ‘Ask Not’ appears to be, so theory-wise, it’s a strong possibility that this could be a training situation being played out, with cadet Sidhu either unaware she is being tested or playing ‘in character’ as part of what could be something like an early ‘Kobayashi Maru’ style exam.

The second theory is that Captain Pike is actually being framed for the attack on Starbase 28. This would match with the darker, more intense tone of the teaser trailer. However, 15 minutes would be quite a challenge to fit something thematically more action-packed into. It is entirely possible though, and the shorts are designed to be experimental and to showcase key elements of the central characters.

‘Ask Not’ could be the final time we get to see Anson Mount’s Captain Pike on screen in the Star Trek Universe – though we strongly suspect that’s not the case – so an action-packed Short Trek would have to pack a serious punch to deliver a satisfying send-off.

Star Trek Short Trek: ‘Ask Not’ airs November 14th on CBS All Access in the US, and on CTV’s Sci-fi Channel and on-demand service CRAVE in Canada. Unfortunately, there is no international release information available at this time.
Check out our review for the previous Short Trek, “The Trouble with Edward”, right here.

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