Review – Shell Shock

Shell Shock is a story with strong themes.

NOTE: If rape is a trigger for you, you may want to stop reading right now.

Shell Shock Background

In response to a prompt about crimes, I decided to forego murder and instead concentrate on the equally nasty crime of rape.

Plot

Hence, at the conclusion of the Earth-Romulan War, Star Trek: Enterprise canon character Malcolm and the remainder of the crew of the NX-01 are back on Earth. While seeking to forget a horrible incident with a dying crewman, Reed seeks solace by going to the 602 Club. While there, he sees the waitress-turned-proprietress, Ruby Brannagh.

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Brigid Brannagh as Ruby Brannagh | Shell Shock
Brigid Brannagh as Ruby Brannagh

Malcolm leaves early, but not before he sees some fellow crew members, plus an unfamiliar military fellow (this turns out to be Jay Hayes‘s replacement, Bud Dawson) and some protesters from Earth.

However, the next day, he is woken up by a knock on the door of his temporary quarters at Starfleet Headquarters. There’s been a crime committed. And he and other men are to report to the mess hall.

Slowly, suspects are ruled out, as male crew members from the Enterprise and the Columbia present adequate alibis. Or the forensic evidence rules them out.

Shell Shock
Franz Kafka’s The Trial

Frank Todd presents proof that he was at a gay bar.  And others are eventually eliminated. However, one of the last persons to stand accused is Malcolm, although Dan Chang is also in the final list. And so is a Columbia crewman, Josef Kastle. Kastle is a direct reference to the author Franz Kafka, who wrote The Trial.

Malcolm’s lawyer, Dash Nolan, works hard to get him off the suspect list. And Malcolm is humiliated and forced to dredge up embarrassing personal details, including about his relationship with Pamela Hudson. The story also sets up Saturn Rise as a way for him to heal from not only this experience, but also the experience of seeing a crewman suffer and die during the war.

But of course it’s the gravely injured Ruby who’s got it far worse.

Music

While there isn’t really a theme song for this story, I thought of New Orders’s Shell Shock quite a bit as I was writing it.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated T/M.

Upshot

So beyond covering Malcolm and Ruby’s very different species of distress, the story also serves to convey the horrors of an accusation of rape. And even the innocent don’t come out of the experience unscathed.

18 thoughts on “Review – Shell Shock”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *