What’s the best way for a fan film group to celebrate an anniversary? Produce a brand new episode, of course!
That’s what the folks at Star Trek: Phase II did on October 8, the seventh anniversary of the release of the group’s first official episode, “In Harm’s Way.”
Erik Korngold wrote “No Win Scenario,” and work on the nine-minute vignette got underway in 2004. However, the project became a “lost” episode until John Carrigan (who plays Kargh, Captain Kirk’s Klingon nemesis) re-discovered the original material and helped the Phase II crew complete the effort.
“Scenario” begins on a planet in the Klingon Empire, where several warriors have gathered around a campfire to prepare for an attack on the Federation.
Le’ak (Anne Carrigan) explains that the Emperor’s Sword starship will lead the assault, if the information from their spies is correct.
“It is,” a Tellarite named Grolst (Larry Nemecek) asserts.
“Sector 47 is of the greatest importance to the Federation,” Le’ak continues. “Starbases along that border are designed for nothing but research. They will have no chance.”
“Your flank is exposed,” a hooded Klingon declares. “Coming in from those coordinates will leave Captain Koloth completely defenseless on his left side.”
“That is where you come in,” Le’ak replies. Pointing to a map of the sector, the female Klingon states: “Your ship will be waiting behind these asteroids. As soon as Emperor’s Sword goes past, you’ll swing around and block his rear.”
“I will not be kept to the rear,” the mysterious figure growls through his Fu Manchu-style chin hair. “This is a foolish plan devised by a foolish woman. I will not be—!”
Suddenly, the operative finds himself with a knife at his throat.
“Ah, but you see, it is not my plan,” Le’ak states. “This was devised by my commanding officer, Captain Kargh.”
At that point, the Klingon captain steps into the light and asks the hooded Klingon: “You were voicing an opinion about tomorrow’s battle plan?”
“Only that it won’t work,” the Klingon states, because Starbase 33 is a mining colony, and a convoy of starships is due to protect the next shipment of dilithium.”They will arrive at the same time you will.”
Kargh releases the operative and states that the convoy “will be delayed. Planet Marcum VI will find itself the target of several … terrorist attacks.”
“Millions will be killed,” he continues. “The starships will have no choice but to divert from convoy duty.”
“I’m impressed,” the hooded figure states.
“You should be,” Le’ak says. “Captain Kargh is one of our greatest strategists. He is the only man to survive the final simulation exam at the Klingon Training Compound.”
“Is this true, Captain?” the mysterious Klingon asks. “Surely there must be some story to tell.”
“It is called the ‘Test of Victors,’” the captain states, “and what a test it was!”
The simulation pitted Klingon Battle Cruisers led by Kor, Koloth, Kang and Kargh against the U.S.S. Enterprise in a battle that seemed to last “for an eternity.”
“So you blasted a defenseless ship,” the hooded figure says. “What happened?”
After a particularly punishing attack, the Klingon Ops officer (Paul Sieber) told Kargh that the Federation starship and its crew were “dying.”
The captain told his officer to open a channel to the Enterprise, and he told Kirk that the Starfleet captain had “fought well. Stand by to be destroyed.”
“At least give me a moment to prepare my crew,” a dejected Kirk said, and the Klingon agreed because the Starfleet officer had been “a worthy adversary.”
Suddenly, the Enterprise engines began building up toward an overload, and Kargh called for the Klingon vessels to escape. “Get us out of here, now!”
While Kargh’s ship escaped the blast, the other vessels were destroyed in the simulation.
The Ops officer told the commander that he’d “always been one of my finest students, but even I didn’t think you could beat the Test of Victors.” As a result, Kargh was immediately promoted to captain
With the story told, Le’ak told the captain that in the simulation, Kor, Kang and Koloth “all died honorably in combat, but you … .”
“He ran,” the mysterious Klingon growled. “You dishonored yourself.”
“Perhaps,” Kargh responded, “but the High Command regards one captain’s loss of personal honor preferable to the loss of an entire ship and a highly trained crew.”
“The simulation is not about how you die or even if you die,” he continues.
“It’s about facing death,” the hooded figure states.
“Outsmarting death,” Kargh responds.
“I agree. Qapla,” the figure says before leaving the group.
The next thing we see is a Klingon bound and gagged on the ground, and the person who took his place removes his hood and is revealed to be Captain Kirk made up to look like a Klingon.
Using his communicator, Kirk calls the Enterprise and asks if they received all the information they sought.
“Indeed we did, Captain,” Lieutenant Uhura (Julienne Irons) states. “Every word.”
“And Starfleet should have no problem averting the trouble at Marcum VI,” Mister Spock (Jeff Quinn) adds.
But before beaming back to the Enterprise, Kirk has one final task to perform: He tosses his captive a Tribble to keep him company.
It’s time to put on my Clint Eastwood hat—and a Fu Manchu goatee—and get reviewing.
The Good: Like all Phase II projects, “No Win Scenario” was a pleasure to watch. Clever writing, excellent costumes and spectacular starship battles (and you all know how much I love those) add up to make the vignette an enjoyable anniversary treat.
I expected to be able to tell which segments were shot in 2004 and which were new additions, but it looked great from start to finish and maintained the high standards Phase II is known for.
The Bad: I don’t like to admit that I had no idea what the big reveal was until it was shown near the end of the episode. During my first viewing, I kept wondering who the mysterious Klingon could be. I kept wondering who was playing that character since his name wasn’t in the credits.
It fooled me totally, and I had to go back through “Scenario” to see the hints that had been scattered throughout the story. Well done!
The Ugly: Seeing Jeff Quinn back in his role as the first Spock in Phase II reminded me of the “good old days.” I remember that at first, I thought Quinn was too young to play our favorite Vulcan, but after seeing him portray the first officer in several episodes, I came to enjoy what he brought to the part.
On the other hand, “No Win Scenario” shows the really mean side of the Klingons. I mean, four ships against the Enterprise in a version of the Kobayashi Maru test of character? The turtle-heads must really be afraid of Captain Kirk and his starship to consider this a fair battle. And Kargh was the first to survive? No wonder Jim Kirk can take out a dozen turtle-heads before breakfast!