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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Star Trek: Crossed Signals "Crossed Signals"
Star Trek: Starfleet Academy #1
Written by: Mike Johnson and Ryan Parrot
Art by: Derek Charm
Letters by: Neil Uyetake
Cover by: Derek Charm
December 2015


Cadet Uhura picks up a strange signal she can't identify in the long-range sensor lab.


Story Summary


In 2258, as an instructor at the Academy, Spock makes the decision he must temporarily end relations with Cadet Uhura until she graduates to avoid the appearance of impropriety. Slightly bitterly, she accepts the break up. Meanwhile, she has been detecting a strange signal she can't identify in the long-range sensor lab and engages Cadet Chekov's scientific skills to help pinpoint the source of the signal, which he does, to the Wagner-219 system. When Uhura tries to look up information about the system in Starfleet archives, the data request comes up ACCESS DENIED.


In 2261, Vulcan Cadet T'Laan asks to transfer out of the Academy to join her fellow Vulcans on New Vulcan. Her counselor, Professor Trumble, convinces her to participate in the Inter-Academy Exploratory Competition first, hoping that it will help her find her place at the Academy and stay.




Notes from the Star Trek chronology


This issue takes place in two different time periods, the year 2258, during Uhura's fourth year in Starfleet Academy and in 2261 with a previously unseen crop of cadets.


Characters appearing in this issue


Commander Spock

Cadet Uhura

Unnamed Lurian

Unnamed Caitian

Selia (mentioned only)


Cadet Kirk

Cadet T'Laan

Professor Trumble

Cadet Chekov

Cadet Lucia Gonzales

Cadet Shev Akria

Cadet Vel K'Bentayr

Cadet Grace Chen



Didja Know?


Star Trek: Starfleet Academy was a 5-issue mini-series published by IDW. It relates some incidents of Uhura, Spock, Kirk, and Chekov in 2258 during their time at at Starfleet Academy before their initial mission aboard the Enterprise in "The Vengeance of Nero" and a related adventure of a later crop of cadets in 2261.


The issues of this series did not have individual issue titles. I assigned "Crossed Signals" as the issue title simply based on aspects of relationships and science in the story.


Didja Notice?


On page 1, Uhura is discussing with Spock a faint long-range signal she picked up in the lab and says she would like to gain access to the Columbia Hills antenna array since Mars has far less distortion. Columbia Hills are a range of seven hills inside Gusev crater on Mars, explored by the Spirit rover in 2004-2010. The seven hills are named for each of the seven astronauts who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster of 2003. Apparently, in the 23rd Century, there is a Federation antenna array there.


On pages 1-4, notice that the famous neon sign of the Port of San Francisco is visible through the window of the Starfleet Academy cafeteria where Spock and Uhura are meeting.


As Spock and Uhura discuss the possible impropriety of their romantic relationship on page 2, Uhura states that Spock was only ever her instructor for one class when he was just a grad student and they didn't even start seeing each other until the class was over. 


One of the patrons at the cafeteria in the background of page 2, panel 1 is a Lurian, the same species as Morn on ST:DS9. He looks to be touching hands with a Caitian, the same felinoid species as Lt. M'Ress in ST: The Animated Series; the timeline is about right, so it may actually be M'Ress herself! Lurian and Caitian


Kirk is seen to be having girl trouble with a woman of unrevealed species named Jackie.


On page 4, Kirk asks Uhura if she's still mad at him about the bar fight a while back, a reference to Kirk's bar fight at the Shipyard Bar in the 2009 Star Trek film (see "Parallels"). That would have been about 4 years ago, a long time for a girl to hold a grudge! Not to mention that we know the two of them have interacted since then, e.g. in The Gemini Agent.


Holographic signs seen throughout the Starfleet Academy campus in the 2261 portions of the story indicate the Academy is celebrating 100 years. The Academy was established in 2161 according to the ST:TNG episode "The First Duty".


Professor Trumble remarks that Vulcans do not "dance around the delbat" when they speak. Delbat is an unknown term, possibly a Tellarite word since the professor is a Tellarite himself. From the context, the phrase "dance around the delbat" would seem to be similar to the English colloquialism "beat around the bush".


Professor Trumble tells T'Laan that he joined the school's Parrises squares team when he was a cadet and had a natural proficiency with the game's ion mallet. Parrises squares is an athletic game in the ST universe, mentioned in a number of episodes of the various TV series. Trumble reveals his team was called the Fighting Phoenixes.


On page 8, notice that the Fighting Phoenixes logo is set in the "Star Trek" font of the original TV series, as are the words of the Inter-Academy Exploratory Competition display Trumble shows T'Laan on page 9.


On page 9, Trumble tells T'Laan that a member of the Academy's team for the Inter-Academy Exploratory Competition has come down with lungworm and he would like her to replace them. It seems odd that a cadet would have lungworm, as it is a nematode parasite only known to infect animals, not people; possibly an alien species of nematode-like parasite has infected the cadet. Lt. McKenna is also said to have contracted lungworm in "The Vengeance of Nero", necessitating Cadet Sulu taking the helm for him on the Enterprise's mission there.


Apparently, Professor Trumble is also a Commander, as Cadet T'Laan addresses him as such on page 9.


Page 16 introduces Cadet Vel K'Bentayr. He is a Monchezkin. A Monchezkin served as a security officer on the USS Kelvin in the 2009 Star Trek film (see "Rebirth"). According to Memory Alpha, the officer was Alnschloss K'Bentayr, likely a relation.


On page 16 Cadet Chen says, "Ni men hao." This is Chinese for "How are you?"


In panel 4 of page 16, the Andorian symbol is seen in the background among the team symbols of the Inter-Academy Exploratory Competition. The Vulcan IDIC symbol is seen in the background of page 18, panel 4.


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