Story: To Boldly Go, Part I
Written By: Robert J. Sawyer
Series: Star Trek Continues
Year: 2017

STC begins it's journey towards its ultimate end, and it is a doozy. I've often felt interesting stories for Trek, particularly of the TOS crew, would be follow-ups to the second pilot ("Where No Man Has Gone Before") as well as a follow-up to the Motion Picture, because I've always been a bit curious as to where the lifeform that was created when Decker merged with V'Ger went in it's existence, what kind of being it became.  But STC seems to have a bit of my same curiosity, at least in terms of the former...they have decided their epic two-part finale would focus in on the Kirk pilot, and give a nice bookend to the Original Series by creating a finale that follows up on some of the plot and themes of that episode, and expands on them in a new exciting way. 
The Enterprise crew is due to head back to Earth and complete it's Five Year Mission, but before they can, they are diverted to investigate a possible Romulan attack on an outpost.  When they get there they find a woman with a high ESP rating who has, much like Gary Mitchell, gone through the Galactic Barrier and become something of a Godlike being.  She claims, however, to be more in line with Elizabeth Dehner, not being totally corrupted by power, and living life as a pacifist.  A romulan straggler soon appears and attempts to overload his weapon, and though they are able to stop him, Kirk decides to beam the Romulan and Lana the ESPer (as she is known), aboard the Enterprise before they are all blown up.  

Lana's tale of a group of ESPers taken by the Romulans leads Starfleet to order Kirk into the Neutral Zone in order to get the ESPers back, and avoid the Romluans gaining powerful weapons. Spock makes a decision to contact the Romluan commander from the episode "The Enterprise Incident," hoping to maybe prevent War or attack from unknown Romulans...when she shows up, Kirk is understandably frustrated with Spock, but it actually turns out to work in their favor.  Her presence is able to out the Romulan prisoner as not Romulan at all...which in turn helps them discover he is not only Vulcan, but actually Lana's husband...meaning she is not to be trusted at all.  

Lana, it turns out, was a villain all along, and the Romulans never attacked in the first place.  It was all a ruse to distract Starfleet while the rest of the ESPers try and get through the Galactic Barrier.  In order to try and beat them there, the Enterprise and Romulan Bird-of-Prey connect via Tractor Beams, which can connect their warp fields and make them go faster (just go with it!)...but as our cliffhanger reveals, they are still too late.  The other ship on their trail was not only too late...but they have been completely overtaken as well...the ESPers have gone through the Barrier, and they are all powerful godlike beings...and Lana has escaped her cell in the brig and killed off STC's recurring character of Security officer Drake.  The Enterprise seems doomed! How will they get out of this one!? 

Obviously they will, but it's a solid cliffhanger and a lovely episode, packed with not only a great well put together plot, but lots of nice continuity nuggets. And it never bogs down the actual story, which is always a tough trick to pull off, but it is especially hard in fan films it seems. But there is the obvious connections to both "Where No Man Has Gone Before" and "The Enterprise Incident," but there is also the added little touch that Kipleigh Brown's STC character of Lt. Smith is actually the same character as a one off Yeoman from the pilot, which I never would've guessed in a million years, because those little details aren't my bread and butter. But the connection was a nice little moment when I went looked up with Gary Mitchell was holding someone's hand when it all went down!  Go figure! 

There are nice character moments, like the budding relationship between Spock and McKennah which has been somewhat hinted at in previous episodes, but never truly explored in this sense until now. I think it's a well executed touch to this series, especially since the introduction of McKennah, had early on given us a couple hints that something might bud between her and Kirk, giving us the bait and switch with Spock is nice, as it doesn't feel as predictable.  And if things go sour in the final hour, you could easily see how Spock decides to head back to Vulcan and purge all emotions. While that set-up does lead down a somewhat easily spotted path...I am like the journey anyhow.  

All and all, a great little episode, in my opinion one of their finest efforts.  I am excited to see where it all leads and concludes, but even if the final episode doesn't end perfectly, this first half is packed and well paced, and delivers. 

NEXT TIME: Where No Fans Went Before