Star Trek: Phase II: ‘The Child’

For Fan Film Friday, it’s Christmas in April since the excellent independent production group Star Trek: Phase II has released a new adventure, this one entitled “The Child.”

The 52-minute episode begins during the “night shift” on the Enterprise Bridge, with Sulu (J. T. Tepnapta) in the center seat.

Manning the helm is Lieutenant Jansen (Brian Holloway), who states that he’s detected something directly ahead. In response, Sulu calls for a sensor scan from Lieutenant Bernstein (Deniz Cordell), who determines that the object is not a nebula but is emitting “radiation readings of a kind I’ve never seen before.”

Burnside then suggests informing Captain Kirk (James Cawley) of the phenomenon, but Sulu says that’s not necessary because the radiation and electromagnetic readings are all within tolerance limits.

As a result, the Enterprise enters the unusual blue field, and a ball of energy from it passes through the starship’s hull and goes from one crew member’s quarters to the next until it locates Ensign Isel (Anna Schnaitter), a female Deltan. After entering her body briefly, the entity leaves her quarters and the ship.

Soon after, the ensign hurries to Sickbay, where she tells Doctor McCoy (John Kelley) that she is somehow suddenly pregnant.

Three days later, Bones notes in his log that instead of undergoing the normal Deltan 10-month gestation period, the ensign is ready to give birth.

Most members of the crew are delighted at the prospect of having an infant onboard, but not the captain, who’s suspicious of an unknown baby put inside a woman’s body for an unknown reason. As a result, Kirk tells Chief of Security Pavel Chekov (Jonathan Zungre) to monitor the child as an intruder around the clock.

The birth goes well for Isel, who as a Deltan feels more pleasure than pain during the procedure. The ensign then names the child (Zoe Staubitz) “Irska” after her “father” since the word means “pure light” in the Deltan language.

McCoy then tells Kirk that the child is aging a year per day, even though it’s fully human. But there’s bad news as well, since the infant’s abnormally high white blood cell count means she won’t survive the week.

Suddenly, a large cylindrical object approaches the ship, and Spock (Brandon Stacy) states that the entity has no machinery, but it does contain “dark light,” the same kind of energy the sensors detected the night Isel was impregnated.

The cylinder follows the Enterprise for a week, during which Irska (now played by Ayla Cordelll) not only survives, but grows into the body of a 10-year-old child.

By then, Isel is healthy enough to resume her duties, and the alien entity then transports a bit of dark light into the ship, enough to kill everyone in the next six hours.

McCoy’s efforts to find a cure are unsuccessful until Spock suggests the doctor examine the child, who is apparently immune to the toxin. Bones is then quickly able to use Irska’s unusually adaptive blood cells to neutralize the energy’s fatal effects on the crew.

However, just as that danger passes, the alien cylinder fires an energy beam at the starship’s impulse engines, causing a deadly plasma leak. The attack suddenly stops, but the damage to a coolant coil must be repaired in 89 minutes or the radiation will cause the impulse engine to explode.

Even though he’s wearing protective gear, the radiation subdues Scotty (Charles Root) before he can make the necessary repairs. That leads Kirk to suggest that Bones determine if Irska’s blood can adapt to reverse the radiation’s effects.

Over Isel’s objection, Irska volunteers to fix the coolant leak since her blood will protect her. Kirk states that if the child can’t repair the damage, the ship will explode, killing everyone aboard.

Ensign Peter Kirk (Bobby Quinn Rice) and the child don protective gear, and Irska is able to fix the problem just in time.

Before that happens, Spock theorizes that according to the recent pattern of events, a new crisis will swiftly follow the current one, and the child will resolve that danger while not being injured.

Sure enough, once the impulse engine has been repaired, the integrity of the hulls of both the Enterprise and the alien cylinder begin to deteriorate and will dissipate in less than 14 minutes.

Xon (Patrick Bell) then suggests that he perform a mind meld with Irska, noting that since he is a full Vulcan, the danger to him is less than that to Spock, who is half human.

Nevertheless, once he connects his mind to that of the child, Xon is overwhelmed and collapses to the floor.

Spoiler Alert: If you’d rather watch the fan film’s ending yourself, skip down to the link at the end of this article. If not, just continue reading.

To learn what information the Vulcan acquired, Spock volunteers to meld with the unconscious Xon, stating that since neither are in mental contact with the child, the first officer can hopefully access whatever information his crewmate gained.

While the science officer is also affected by the meld, he is able to extract one mysterious word: “cryontha.”

Kirk decides it’s finally time to attack the cylinder, but when the phaser fire strikes the alien entity, Irska is also affected, proving the connection between them.

Spock discovers that the word is from an alien race that abandoned their planet 100 million years ago, and he determines that it means “unnecessary shell.”

The captain decides that he must attack the cylinder again, but when Peter Kirk prepares to fire, Isel pushes him aside and destroys the weapons console before Spock can stop her with a nerve pinch.

Xon regains consciousness and explains that each of the attacks on the ship was meant to teach Irska something about life, death and emotions.

The child realizes that the “unnecessary shell” is her body, and Isel takes her to the Transporter Room, where she beams her daughter into the cylinder, which then disappears as the Enterprise hull returns to normal.

After stating that she was the child’s first womb and the starship was her second, Isel states that her daughter had to learn what it was like to have a body before advancing into a state of pure energy.

Just then, a glowing ball appears and establishes contact with the Deltan before leaving the ship to explore the universe on her own.

And with that,it’s time to put on my pure energy Clint Eastwood hat and get reviewing.

The Good: It’s interesting to see what Jon Povill (who wrote the episode for the proposed Star Trek: Phase II TV series in the 1970s and directed this episode) intended, even though the Next Generation adapted the script for its second-season opener.

As always, the story was interesting and the effects were fantastic, as well as the usual sets and props. Consider this another “win” for the most prominent Star Trek fan film series out there.

The Bad: Still, there were some technical problems along the way. I could hear the boots landing hard on the Bridge’s wooden floor, a problem earlier episodes corrected in their final audio. Also, they’ve got to start paying their electric bill so the ship isn’t always so dark, though I understand that YouTube exacerbated this problem.

I was also a little baffled by the white protective gear that’s supposed to protect against radiation, but it leaves the neck exposed, and that’s asking for trouble.

The Ugly: Of course, those of us who’ve watched Star Trek: The Motion Picture saw another Deltan, Ilia, who baldly went where no woman had gone before. That’s a big contrast to Isel, who boasts a full head of hair. Still, it’s possible that there are several races of Deltans, or the hairstyle variety could be traditions of various people from their home world.

If you want to learn more about the Star Trek: Phase II series, point your Web browser here. And if you want to watch “The Child” yourself, check it out below.

  • Actually, Ensign Isel (and probably Irksa as well) ARE bald… in the scene when she gets impregnated by the Alien Lifeform, you can see a bust with a blond wigg behind her bed….

    I personally would have liked it if Isel would have had a different hair colour for one or two scenes to imply she just swapped wiggs from time to time…

    As I was told by Exec. Producer James Cawley when we screened the episode for it`s European Premiere at FedCon (with Mr. Cawley present), some Deltans just prefer to blend in with other species and wear wiggs… appearantly, Isel is one of them; Illia was rather proud to be bald! 🙂

  • Thanks for the comment, Stephan. I’ve looked over both the sequence of the ensign in bed in the film and in a still of that, and she appears to have hair when she’s in bed. I’ve only known a few people who wear wigs, and they told me that they take their wigs off before bedtime since that would add wear and tear on their hair. Still, I’m sure the actress would have been unhappy to get a mop chop for the entire film, much less one scene. It probably could have been made clearer for us viewers, but this is just one point in an excellent production.

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