|Star Trek: Black Hawk episode|
|Original post date:||1997-03-29|
|Next episode:||"Mission to Dosiania"|
In March 26, 1997, after major storms hit the Shiloh National Military Park & Cemetery (spawning tornadoes in the area), Park Ranger Brian McCutchen, and a visitor who is actually Jeff Higdon, inspects the damage to the Indian Mounds near the cemetery. While they walk, Higdon kicks at something and finds what looks like a small handle of unknown origin. McCutchen picks it up and turns it over to reveal a label bearing: PH Mark II Serial Number 74683-0201-09ZP DH Shiloh Starfleet UFP. They muse over it then McCutchen places it in storage with the following note:
March 27, 1997. Shiloh has almost lost two of its most important sites to the storms that raged the area yesterday - the Indian Mound and the landing. This is devastating coming at a time of big budget cuts to all national monuments.
An old friend of mine, Jeff Higdon, and I inspected the damaged mound. While walking around it we stumbled across something that seemed to be buried there but looked so new it could not be an original part of the mound, a handle of some kind. I confiscated it and turned it over to the superintendent.
The USS Shiloh (NCC-74683) is assigned by the Temporal Investigations Historical Department to go back in time, using the "slingshot method" around the sun, in order to observe the American Civil War Battle of Shiloh. The discovery of a type II phaser in a storage unit, not opened since 1997, is revealed to Higdon prior to the mission.
Joining the crew of the Shiloh on the mission are newly posted Ship's Counselor, Lieutenant Commander Peggy Ridgeway, Park Ranger and Historical Coordinator at Shiloh National Park, Ranger Mike McCutchen (a descendant of the above Ranger McCutchen), Temporal Service Special Agents Calvin Harrison, Stonak of Vulcan and Latos of Borillia, along with Lieutenant Commander Sondra Palamus of Starfleet Scientifco (Science Division).
It is also revealed that Commander Ridgeway's 400-year-old DNA is found on the handle.
The slingshot effect lands the Shiloh a few days before April 6, 1862. Placing the ship in a stationary orbit directly above the battlefield, the crew starts observations of movements of both the Union and Confederate armies. Later, at a dinner hosted by the Captain, Henderson boasts that he is a direct descendant of General Nathan Bedford Forrest, who at the time of the battle was Cavalry Colonel under the command of Confederate General Johnston, overall commander of the expedition to surprise the Union Army, who thinks they are in Corinth, Mississippi.
Prior to the arrival of the Union forces, several advance scouts set up sensor positions in order to observe the battle better. When the scouts are beamed up, Henderson is not among them. An observation sensor observes Union general U.S. Grant going forward without his guard to see the battle from the Indian Mounds.
Higdon and Palamus rush and transport down where they find Grant shot and Forrest leaning over him with a sword, ready to give the defenseless Grant the death blow with his cavalry saber, Henderson nearby encouraging him. Higdon stuns Forrest before he can deliver the blow then stuns Henderson. Higdon goes to Grant and cradles his head. Grant opens his eyes and with a surprised look on his face says, "Jeff?" and falls unconscious. Higdon beams the general, Forrest, Henderson, Palamus and himself back to the Shiloh.
With Henderson in the brig, Forrest kept under sedation and the ship's Chief Medical Officer saving Grant, Higdon has to deal with a new problem. Another Intrepid-class starship appears before the Shiloh. The ship makes contact and instructs Higdon to make a slingshot around the sun to go back in time. Higdon interprets it correctly and has the Shiloh move away as the other Shiloh takes its place.
Higdon returns to sickbay to see how Grant is doing. The CMO reports that Grant will recover but he has discovered that the general bears early symptoms of throat cancer. After learning that Grant will die of cancer within two years, Higdon directs the CMO to administer the cure, noting he did not die until 1882.
After the treatment Higdon briefs the crew on what they are to do concerning the slingshot, to go back a day. He returns to sickbay where Grant is awake. He recognizes Higdon as an old friend from the Mexican-American War. Higdon acknowledges Grant as "Sam".
Higdon reveals that during an accident while he was on his fourth year Academy cruise, the ship he was on was accidentally slung to 1848 where he was sent to procure a special mineral only found in Mexico. He ran into Mexicans and mistaken for a "gringo invader" was captured. His team was not in the area. The Mexicans were ambushed by an American unit led by Lieutenant Sam Grant, US Army. Mistaken for a deserter, Higdon was being taken to HQ when a band of commentaries intercepted and Higdon saved Grant in the process. As Higdon made it back to the beamout site he was forced to take the wounded Grant with him. When he got there he found a medical kit and was able to tend Grant's wounds. Grant volunteered to sit with Higdon after Higdon explained who he actually was. The last parting words from Grant: "If you ever get that there command, I'd like to see it some day."
Higdon shows Grant around the Shiloh in amazement, ending the brief tour on the bridge. Grant asks Higdon if he knows what will happen and the captain says he does but it would not be right to reveal what happens, which Grant agrees with.
The Shiloh is ready for the slingshot and proceeds. After returning to Earth orbit Higdon contacts himself and the Shiloh moves into position and returns Grant and Forrest to their respective armies. During the return of General Grant, Ridgeway, part of the away team, trips and falls, breaking part of the handle of her phaser before beaming back. The Shiloh then returns to the 24th century.
The storm described actually happened on March 25, 1997. The Indian Mounds were reported as damaged along with the landing nearby. It was reported in the March 26, 1997 issue of the Jackson Sun, and confirmed by USNPS Ranger Brian McCutchen (a real person).
Ranger McCutchen knew of his inclusion in this story and "End of the Shakedown". He said he was honored and gave his permission to use his name in the stories.