|Star Trek: Banshee Squadron episode|
- The USS Eternity embarks on a simple shakedown cruise from Earth to the Briar Patch Sector, but her maiden voyage turns into a desperate fight for survival when the most wanted criminal in the Alpha Quadrant threatens the extinction of an entire sentient species! Now Captain Nathan Cross and the crew of the Eternity must save a dying race without violating the Prime Directive!
Captain Nathan Cross is summoned to the office of Admiral Jeffrey Pike, head of Starfleet Research and Development. Expecting to be grounded for losing his previous command, the Norway-class USS Elsinore, Cross is instead given command of a new science ship, the USS Eternity, and assigned to the Trans-Briar Patch area. He is joined by his new Yeoman, Ensign Jamie Piper for the trip over to the Eternity.
Cross and Piper shuttle to the Eternity. The captain officially accepts his assignment and greets his crew.
After a boisterous welcome party, Cross goes to his cabin. He reads his official order packet, and falls asleep. He has his recurring nightmare about the destruction of the Elsinore, but this time the nightmare changes. He finds himself standing on a windswept plain before a monolithic stone. He feels calm reassurance communicated from the stone, and drops into a peaceful sleep.
Ten days later, the sensors discover a rogue comet halfway between two solar systems, and on a direct course from one to the other. Cross orders a course change to investigate. A runabout is detected on the comet, identified as the USS Bonaparte, reported stolen from Elba II by Vincent Kelly. At hearing that name, Doctor Beckett screams and faints.
Beckett explains her past experiences with Kelly and the Mind Rippers. Cross takes Chief of Security M'Rowan, Beckett, and security men in runabouts to retrieve Kelly. As they approach the comet, they see that it is covered in fantastic 100-mile tall trees.
Vincent Kelly, tormented by the specters of those he has killed, tries to escape in the runabout. M'Rowan shoots him down, and Kelly crashes in the giant comet tree forest. A deadly game of hide and seek commences among the foliage. Kelly is apprehended at the same instant a large alien creature erupts from the trees and attacks everyone. Kelly is severely injured, and the security guards are forced to stun it, severely injuring it too.
All return to the Eternity along with Kelly and the creature. Doctor Beckett treats Kelly. The alien creature wakes up and begins terrorizing its guards. The creature telepathically communicates with Cross, proving it is intelligent.
Cross calls a conference. He explains what he learned from the creature. The crew comes up with a brilliant plan to save both the creature, its entire race below on the comet, all the while maintaining the Prime Directive.
Two weeks later, the Eternity arrives at Serenity and delivers Vincent Kelly to the authorities. Beckett is glad to be rid of her personal demon. Down on the planet, Josephine Schmidt says goodbye to her room at Banshee HQ. She and Lee Carter beam up to the Eternity.
- "You have sacrificed much to help my people," the alien Caretaker said.
"The Prime Directive is the highest law of Starfleet," said Cross, "but there are higher laws still that transcend the laws of man. It was the right thing to do. It was also the only decision that would allow me to keep my humanity. I'll deal with the consequences, if any, later."
- "Today we've learned yet again just how fragile life truly is. Your people learned that 40,000 years ago when they destroyed their own planet through their carelessness and apathy, and we learned it again today when, through our carelessness and ignorance, we almost destroyed your only hope for finding a new home."
- This is the premier episode of the Banshee Squadron spin-off series, "Eon & Eternity".