What would you get if you combined two adversaries from the second season of Classic Trek: Nomad from “The Changeling” with Redjac from “Wolf in the Fold?”
You’d wind up with an alien computer that threatens to eliminate not one, but two starship crews in the second Star Trek: Eagle independent production, entitled “The Bismark.”
The episode begins with First Officer Michelle Tyler (Kathryn Maukenberg) noting that the Eagle had received a Federation distress call from the planet Gamma Ceti, and a landing party led by Captain Zach Banner (Elijah Morrissey) had beamed down to the surface to investigate.
While searching the snowy and windy terrain, Clause Elberg (Michael Stutelberg) tells the captain that “I think we found what we’re looking for, Sir,” and he points to a shuttle that has crash landed on the surface.
Banner states that the vessel is from the U.S.S. Bismark, a Dreadnought Class starship he served on for four years as the vessel’s first officer.
When he enters the shuttlecraft, Banner finds an old Andorian friend, Commodore Shrelic (Coleen Hughes), at the controls.
Barely conscious, Shrelic tells the captain weakly: “We had to abandon ship.” Banner asks why, and the Andorian is only able to say “that thing” before going to the big starship in the sky.
After returning to the Eagle, Captain Banner orders the crew to find the Bismark, which is drifting near the seventh planet in a nearby system.
The first officer scans the vessel and finds no life forms aboard, with all the shuttles gone as the crew tried to escape from a radiation leak.
After determining that the radiation on the Bismark had returned to normal levels, Banner assembles a landing party “for old time’s sake” composed of himself, Tyler, Chief Medical Officer Charlie Christianson (Tanner Schaaf) and Security Officer Rich Smith (Tristan Corrigan).
The party beams onto the other ship’s bridge, which is another emotional moment for Banner. The captain states that “it’s been a long time” since he’d been there.
Christianson suggests that Tyler check the captain’s log for any clues as to what happened, and the Andorian’s final message noted that they’d found “a strange alien computer adrift in space,” and he’d given his science officer permission to bring it aboard.
While stating that the Eagle will tow the Bismark to the nearest starbase, Banner sits at the helm station and again feels nostalgic since he’d been at that post for the four years he served as first officer.
But things turn deadly when the captain finds that the controls won’t respond.
“I have you all,” the alien computer (Lloyd Penney) says with a maniacal voice. “You are all going to die, just like the last crew did! Die, die, die! Everyone will die!”
Banner then states it’s “time to pull the plug” on the alien intelligence. He and Smith go to the science lab, since that’s where Shrelic said the computer was, while Tyler and Christianson go to the auxiliary power control so they can “shut this thing down manually.”
But when Banner and Smith enter the turbolift, the chamber starts dropping at incredible speed, forcing the captain to halt the descent manually and the two officers begin climbing the stairs to their destination.
When Tyler and Christianson arrive in the auxiliary power chamber, they too receive a threat as they attempt to shut down the ship’s power.
“Oh no, you don’t!” the computer barks at Tyler, who orders Christianson to stand back as the control console shorts out.
The doctor contacts Banner to tell him about the attack and says that the first officer is unconscious and severely burned.
“Just make sure she doesn’t die on me,” the captain states. “I’ve lost too many people today.”
Back on the Eagle, the bridge crew debates what to do about the Bismark, which has raised its shields. Elberg and the others decide to wear down the other vessel by hitting it with low-intensity phaser fire.
However, the alien intelligence in control of the Bismark unexpectedly returns fire and takes the Eagle’s weapons offline.
Banner and Smith aren’t doing much better as the computer erects force fields in front of them and behind them just as they’re about to reach the science lab.
The captain learns that the computer fired on the Eagle and then trapped himself and Smith in the force field. After a moment in thought, he orders “Clause” to get a group of shuttles filled with anti-matter charges and put them on auto-pilot toward the Bismark.
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.
As the shuttles approach, the alien computer lowers the vessel’s force fields keeping Banner and Smith trapped so it can fire on the approaching vessels.
When the captain and the security officer arrive at the science lab, Banner states that the “game’s over,” and the alien computer shouts “Nooooo” and decides that if it’s going down, it’ll take everyone else with it.
At that moment, the countdown to auto-destruct starts with the voice of Gina Hernandez, and Banner and Smith combine their phaser fire to take out the alien computer, which howls repeatedly as it’s vaporized.
Banner and Smith return to the Bismark bridge quickly, and the captain gives the proper code to halt the countdown to destruction.
Once things settle down, Banner tells the bridge crew that he noticed the computer could only do one thing at a time, and the shuttle attack at the same moment it was holding himself and Smith captive forced it to become vulnerable.
But then the Eagle receives a sad message from Admiral Bill Dollard (played by George Kayaian), who tells Banner that the Bismark is being decommissioned.
“Well, I’m sure we’ll have many more adventures together,” Elberg states.
The final scene takes place “many years later” on a Federation starbase, where Admiral Banner receives two guests: Captain Tyler and “old Claus.” The trio (dressed in the red jackets and black pants from Star Trek II to VI) shares a drink with a toast to “old friends” before a refit Eagle returns to the final frontier.
With that, it’s time to Die! Die! Everyone will die! Sorry. That was some kind of computer glitch. On to our Clint Eastwood style review.
The Good: “Bismark” is a tremendous leap forward for Eagle and its first episode “Into the Mirror.” This time around, the story includes outdoor filming on what looked like the ice planet Hoth from Star Wars but was actually the scene in a snowy winter in Minnesota, where the Eagle episode was filmed.
The episode also contained a number of nice touches. Those included the Andorian’s antennae drooping when he died, the use of the self-destruct sequence from “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield,” and excellent special effects from the team that produces them for Star Trek: The Romulan Wars.
The Bad: While I enjoyed the outdoor filming, the crew ran into a problem that other fan films have encountered: the gusts of wind that became loud enough to make some words almost unintelligible.
The Ugly: One concern I had about the episode was the odd proportions of the film, which looked like it had been squeezed in a bit in from both the left and the right. That was a bit annoying at first, but I got used to it in a minute or so.
Finally, the scene of the starship officers’ future concerns me that this might be the final adventure from the Eagle folks, and with the great improvements in “Bismark,” I’d enjoy seeing a further adventure of the young crew!
If you want to watch “The Bismark” for yourself, point your Web browser to this site and follow the directions to catch the rest of the episode. And for further information on the Star Trek: Eagle team, check out this Website.