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Old 09-13-2017, 05:32 PM
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Default 30th Anniversary TNG Episode Discussion Marathon

The actual episode discussions don't start until the 28th, but I thought I'd start the thread and discuss the production history in advance.

A scan of the original series bible

Pertinent quotes:

Ship's Mission: To expand the body of human knowledge. To provide assistance as required to Earth/Federation colonies, commerce and travelers. To provide for Earth/Federation security. To seek out new life, new civilizations. To provide further understanding of the universe and humanity's place in it. "Who are we? Where have we come from? What are we about? And where are we going?"

Commerce? I thought money didn't exist! Don't you just love Gene's optimism?

Humanity's place? Don't you mean sentient life or humanoid life?

A large part of the success of the original Star Trek series is attributable to the fact that it was not a star and co-star series, but a family ensemble in which the continuing characters felt great affection for each other, allowing the audience to identify with and share that same feeling of affection.

Ha ha. Tell that to Shatner and Nimoy's agents. The bit about this is "not a star and co-star series" makes me want to make a jab at Discovery, but I will refrain.

[Picard] has an unspoken but deep father-son relationship with [Riker].

Ha ha ha. Boy did THAT change!

Data is an ideal Starfleet officer.

Another hilarious joke. There's no such thing as the "ideal Starfleet officer", and the journey is the point of his character.

While [Jack Crusher's] death wasn't Picard's fault, it was his orders that sent [Beverly's] husband there and she has found it difficult to forgive Picard, although further stories will see the two developing a strong mutual attraction.

Did Beverly ever show resentment or anger toward Picard on this point?

Believability is everything. It is the most essential element of any Star Trek story.

Ha ha ha! Oh, man, that's a good one. Did Brannon and Braga ever read this before working on Voyager?

The people must be believable.

Insert mutiny-against-Janeway joke here.

Too often, script ideas show characters bouncing from solar system to solar system, planet to planet, without the slightest comprehension of the distances involved or the technologies required to support such travel.

Insert "writers can't do math" joke here.

[What doesn't work are] stories in which our characters must do something stupid or dangerous, or in which our technology breaks down in order to create a jeopardy. Our people are the best and the brightest, and our technology is tried and proven. Likewise, our characters are very committed to their mission. Please do not have them abandoning or betraying same because they have fallen in love with a beautiful pirate princess.

Oh, the list we could write of episodes that violate these rules...

Log entries are ALWAYS introduced with a stardate.


I guess the concept of "supplemental" hasn't been thought up yet.

A transporter effect reverse angle will sometimes be used, which will be the optical effect as seen from the perspective of a person actually being beamed somewhere.

Did they do this before Reg had transporter psychosis?

[Costumes will be] much less "military" looking than in the recent Star Trek films, since 24th century technology centers on enhancing quality of life, clothing will be comfortable as well as attractive.

If anything, I thought that the early TNG pajamas were less comfortable than the Monster Maroons! As for "attractive", I beg to differ.

It is possible that one wall of the personal quarters may be a "holographic window" much like the holodecks.

That would be awesome! Too bad the budget wouldn't support it. I'd love to have a "window" with a holographic forest and stream past it, how about you guys?

In discussions with friends, [Picard] pretends to believe that France represents "the only true civilization" to appear on Earth; and it delights him when a witty companion wants to prove the same for England, Italy, or China.

This sounds more like Chekov and Russia, 'cause I only saw genuine belief in French superiority from Picard. "Mister Data, for centuries on Earth the French language represented civilization!"

[Riker] is called "Number One" by Captain and crew alike.

Did anyone other than Picard ever call him "Number One"?

Female friends seem to enjoy saying Bill.

Troi called him Bill twice, and it's a shame it wasn't used more often. It would've been interesting to have him run across an old girlfriend every so often who would make him uncomfortable by using Bill.

[Riker] regards Captain Picard with a mixture of awe and affection.

Awe? No, Wesley regards Picard with awe.

Riker also has some difficulty in accepting Lt. Commander Data as a crewman equal.

Was this present beyond "Encounter at Farpoint?"

Data (rhymes with "that-a")...

Ha ha ha. When Pulaski tried that he corrected her.

[Riker and Troi's] relationship remains unconsummated.

Interesting. Was this Gene's idea: if they haven't slept with each other yet it makes it more okay for them to sleep with other people without destroying all possibility of a reconciliation? I'm not going to comment on the morality of this one; I'd get hurt either way by this two-edged sword.

Tasha has a beau ideal too, which happens to be fifteen year old Wes Crusher. Deprived of her own childhood by the harsh life of her "hell planet" home, she treats this person like the most wonderful person imaginable. Wes is the childhood friend that Tasha never had.

Um, ew. And incidentally, I had to look up "beau ideal", it means the embodiment of perfection in something. Wes is the ideal Federation teenager? Ha ha ha.

Geordi's aboard specialty is the starship school for children.

Hmm, there are certainly narrative possibilities here that were never realized, aren't there?

[Beverly's] wit and intelligence (and VERY female form) have not escaped the Captain's eye either.

I thought Gene didn't want them to get together.

[Wesley] most definitely is NOT a nerd.

Ha ha ha, that's a good one, Gene. Tell me another.

Wes considers his mother as being impossibly "ancient."

We never saw this. Had this been the case, I wonder how he'd react to the birth of his half-brother Rene Picard fifteen years in the future.

Quite recently, for example, Klingon (there should either be an "Empire" or "homeworld" in there) joined the Federation and we have begun to see Klingon officers in Starfleet.

How many good stories would we have lost had Worf not been the only Klingon in Starfleet?

There are only two possible exceptions to the Prime Directive: when the safety of the starship is jeopardized or when it is absolutely vital to the interests of the Federation.

Odd. We're told several times that every Starfleet officer and Federation scientist will sacrifice their lives before violating the Directive and that we don't put Federation interests above it. There's a whole thread waiting to happen here discussing the implications, but I won't be starting it. I will say, however, that if a ship is going somewhere where lives may be lost in the name of the Prime Directive, there shouldn't be children on board. They're not mature enough to make this decision.

Any Captain who does find it necessary to violate the Prime Directive had better be ready to present a sound defense of his actions.

Who else wants front-row seats at Janeway's court martial?

STARFLEET IS NOT A MILITARY ORGANIZATION.

I'll just refer you to SFDebris' review of "Peak Performance" here. Suffice to say, this is a stupid statement to make.

Because the ship's computer is constantly monitoring the daily routines of our people, there will be many times when it will know exactly where to deliver the turbolift's passengers without their even having to say.

We never saw this, and for good reason. It'd be a logistical nightmare.

The phaser rifle is rarely seen, rarely used. It is powerful enough to kick Los Angeles into the ocean.

Wow. I wonder where they keep the warp coils to prevent the phaser wielder from being kicked the other way into the Atlantic!

[The ship's phasers] are quite capable of disintegrating another Constitution class vessel-or even a small moon, if necessary.

Wow. Too bad the Enterprise left before they could be installed; they would've been really useful against the Borg!
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Last edited by Nate the Great; 09-13-2017 at 09:04 PM.
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Old 09-15-2017, 03:26 PM
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You can definitely tell Gene thought highly of himself from how much he loved Wesley (Gene's middle name), though I also found it curious that early versions of TNG had Wesley as a girl named Leslie...
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Old 09-20-2017, 07:37 PM
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Quote:
Riker also has some difficulty in accepting Lt. Commander Data as a crewman equal.

Was this present beyond "Encounter at Farpoint?"
It was a character arc in TNG novel #1, Ghost Ship.
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Old 09-20-2017, 08:16 PM
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Well, I haven't read that one in years, although I still own it, so I'll take your word for it. Just out of curiosity, does Deanna use "Bill" in that one as well?
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Old 09-20-2017, 11:09 PM
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I haven't touched it for years either. There was a ghost ship to investigate and Riker had it in for Data at the beginning but not at the end, that's about all I remember.
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Old 09-28-2017, 02:34 PM
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September 28th, 1987, "Encounter at Farpoint"

This one is so long it'll have to be two posts

Fiver (by Zeke)
Memory Alpha
Transcript

Introduction

First are a few quotes from The Nitpicker's Guide, for a soon-to-be-obvious reason...

In the original The Nitpicker's Guide Phil says "My fellow nitpicker Cliff Cerce suggested I treat this episode lightly. He said that the pilot is always different from the actual series. His point is well taken. A lot of time can elapse between the completion of the pilot and the production of the series. Things change. That's understandable."

In Volume II he follows up "While I usually try to treat premieres gently, many members of the Nitpicker's Guild saw no reason for such a practice. I will leave it up to you to decide which of the following nits should be considered legitimate and which should fall into the "give them a little grace because it's their first time around the block" category.

Postscript: At the time only a few of the TNG staffers were TOS veterans. Even if none of the staff in today's productions are veterans *cough hire the Okudas cough*, Memory Alpha and the Star Trek Encylopedia exist now, you can't get away with that anymore.

The Episode:

PICARD: Our destination is planet Deneb Four, beyond which lies the great unexplored mass of the galaxy.

Too bad we're hardly ever going to explore previously unknown space. And in fact too bad we're hardly ever going to leave the known Federation.

TROI: Farpoint Station. Even the name sounds mysterious.

Yeah, who named it Farpoint anyway? *cough Deep Space Nine cough*

DATA: Inquiry. The word snoop?
PICARD: Data, how can you be programmed as a virtual encyclopedia of human information without knowing a simple word like snoop?
DATA: Possibility, a kind of human behaviour I was not designed to emulate.

I'm not going to beat this dead horse, but seriously Data should have every encyclopedia, cultural guide, etc. from every known world memorized, especially everything about Earth culture! I will try not to bring this point up again, but I had to mention it once.

Q: Knowing humans as thou dost, Captain, wouldst thou be captured helpless by them?

Yeah, I doubt the phaser has been invented that could hurt Q. Furthermore, even if pretending to be vulnerable to a phaser was part of his mind game: why? If you want to portray yourself as a supreme being worthy of passing judgement on these guys, don't say anything that would suggest that they can hurt you!

Q: But you can't deny that you're still a dangerous, savage child race.

One of the most infamous Q lines. You could argue that at least for spacefaring cultures "dangerous" is pointless, as anyone who can harness warp drive could be dangerous under the right circumstances even if all they do is use their ships in kamikaze runs. "Savage" is more complicated. According to Wiktionary there are two main categories of savage: barbaric/uncivilized and vicious/merciless/ferocious. The first one is probably true relative to the Q (at least according to Q arrogance), if a little meaningless since it would be just as applicable to all spacefaring races under the "dangerous" argument I just made. Vicious is where we could get into some interesting discussions. The two main categories are violent and immoral. Both of these are too complicated to discuss at the moment, so I'll move on...

PICARD: Records search, Data. Results of detaching saucer section at high warp velocity.
DATA: Inadvisable at any warp speed, sir.
PICARD: Search theoretical.
DATA: It is possible, sir. But absolutely no margin for error.

Either the saucer has warp sustainer engines similar to the torpedos that allow for it to coast to a stop or it doesn't. If it does I don't see a problem, if it doesn't the saucer will be destroyed as it leaves the stardrive's warp field. This is a binary question, "margin for error" really doesn't exist.

TROI: It it felt like something beyond what we'd consider a life form.
PICARD: Beyond?
TROI: Very, very advanced, sir, or certainly very, very different.

This is funny looking back at the development of the Q throughout episodes and series to come. We'll find that the Q have hobbies, mates, children, wars, differing philosopies, incarceration, etc.

PICARD: Can we assume you mean this will be a fair trial?
Q: Yes, absolutely equitable.

Join me in a laugh at Q's hypocrisy, then we'll move on.

TASHA: I grew up on a world that allowed things like this court. And it was people like these that saved me from it. This so-called court should get down on its knees to what Starfleet is, what it represents.

I do wish that Tasha hadn't left, she represented the rare human who didn't grow up with the freedom of the Federation. Compare her to Neelix (there's a rare sentence) as they fit the "complete outside" role. In both cases there was a lot more that could've been done with them, plotwise.

Q: Soldiers, you will press those triggers if this criminal answers with any word other than guilty. Criminal, how plead you?

I refer you to SF Debris's reply to this line. Ugh.

O'BRIEN: Know anything about Farpoint Station, sir? Sounds like a fairly dull place.
PICARD: We've heard that we may find it rather interesting.

Ah yes, the fan-made transcript. O'Brien didn't exist at this point as a named character, just as "Conn".

CRUSHER: Thank you. I'll take the entire bolt. Send it to our starship when it arrives. Charge to Doctor Crusher.

Can you imagine Beverly working at a sewing machine? It does make one wonder if there are properties of "real" cloth that can't be replicated perfectly, just like food and drink.

PICARD: I'm not a family man, Riker, and yet, Starfleet has given me a ship with children aboard.
RIKER: Yes, sir.
PICARD: And I don't feel comfortable with children.

And this is supposed to be a multiyear mission outside the Federation, right? I think Gene didn't think this through. If Picard accepts command of a ship full of children, I expect him to deal with children. Otherwise I'd have him reject the post in favor of someone who can deal with children.

CRUSHER: You've been blind all your life?
LAFORGE: I was born this way.
CRUSHER: And you've felt pain all the years that you've used this?

Couldn't they have had the infodump be with someone other than the ship's doctor? Beverly should already know all of this stuff! Have a scene where Wesley gushes over the things the VISOR can do, and Geordi responds that the price to pay is constant pain. Characterization for Wesley and no one looks like an idiot!

RIKER: Why a shuttlecraft? Why wouldn't he just beam over?
WORF: I suppose he could, sir, but the Admiral's a rather remarkable man.

Indeed he is, Worf. Indeed he is. I'll be covering the McCoy scene in the YouTube clips, let's move on.


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Sa'ar Chasm on the 5M.net forum: Sit back, relax, and revel in the insanity.

Adam Savage: I reject your reality and substitute my own!

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Old 09-28-2017, 02:34 PM
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PART TWO

WORF: I will learn to do better, sir.
PICARD: Of course you will. We've a long voyage ahead of us.

Ha ha, future ambassador talking. Worf's character arc is one of the most interesting in the entire franchise if you ask me. Imagine throwing this Worf into the plot of "Parallels"!

TROI: A pleasure, Commander.
RIKER: Likewise, Counselor.
PICARD: Have the two of you met before?
RIKER: We have, sir.

The Troi/Riker thing was one of the more complicated relationships in the series, but I do feel that it was mishandled at times. I'll wait until Haven to go into depth on this.

ZORN: Captain, the Ferengi would be very interested in a base like this.
PICARD: Fine.

Given how much they wanted to push the Ferengi as enemies in the first season, I wonder why they didn't infodump a bit more concerning their culture. I can certainly think of other scenes that could've been tossed to make room for such a thing.

ENSIGN: And as you see, sir, it's pointing you that way.
RIKER: Thank you
ENSIGN: You're welcome, sir.
(She appreciates the sight as he walks away)

Yeah, Riker is our new Kirk. Too bad there was a reason he never hit on Rand, it's called a command structure. Riker can have relationships with aliens but no one on board, at least no officer.

DATA: No, sir. Starfleet class of '78. Honours in probability mechanics and exobiology.

Ugh. Given that we're going to cover Data's origin in depth later in this very season that '78 should never have gotten past the continuity people.

WESLEY: Mom, could you get me a look at the Bridge?
CRUSHER: That's against the Captain's standing orders.

First, Wesley visiting the Bridge shouldn't have been the first episode, save it for a later one. Second, you shouldn't need "standing orders" to cover "no civilians on the bridge unless they're needed for the mission at hand"; that's called a regulation.

PICARD: They're forcing a difficult decision on me, Counsellor.
TROI: But I doubt protecting the Bandi would violate the Prime Directive. True, they are not actual allies, but
PICARD: We are in the midst of diplomatic discussions with them.

What does Federation status have to do with the Prime Directive, and what does the Prime Directive have to do with these guys? Don't tell me that the Bandi don't have warp drive, but can make stations ideal for those who do.

RIKER: Just hoping this isn't the usual way our missions will go, sir.
PICARD: Oh no, Number One. I'm sure most will be much more interesting. Let's see what's out there.

Oh, indeed they will, but you'll have to wait a few years. Hehe.

The fiver:

Picard: Any thoughts on the upcoming mission, folks?
Troi: None of my own, but I can tell you yours.
Data: I'm not much of a thinker at this point. But if you need any synonyms, I'm your man.
Yar: I don't waste time thinking. Life is short. Really, really short.
Worf: No thoughts! Only violence!
Picard: It seems I've found myself on the voyage of the damned.

Ah yes, the pain of watching Season One.

Q: You left spacedock without a first officer?
Picard: Doesn't arrive until Tuesday.

Haha, obligatory Generations joke, moving on...

Picard: Welcome aboard, Riker. Your first duty is--
Riker: --to the truth.
Picard: Well, yes, but that's not what I meant. Your first assignment--
Riker: --was on the Pegasus.
Picard: Cut that out!

Gotta love callbacks. Or would that be callforwards?

Zorn: Whew! Saved by the belle.

Bad pun, but a good show.

Wesley: Wow, the bridge is so cool! Can I fly the ship? Pleeeeease?
Picard: What the--! Who is responsible for this atrocity?
Crusher: Um....
Picard: You! Beverly, I don't care if it takes me a year -- I'm getting you off this ship!
Crusher: Way to go, kid.

Sorry, Zeke, but this scene just doesn't work. Picard doesn't let irritation with Wesley affect his relationship with Beverly. And given how easily she came back, I imagine Picard didn't want her to leave for Season Two.

Picard: (over the comm) You'd better go get Zorn.
Riker: Gotcha. Phasers on kill.
Picard: By "get," I just meant "retrieve."
Riker: Nuts.

Ha ha ha. I think I used that "get" joke somewhere in one of my fivers, I wonder if I subconsciously remembered it from this fiver.

Troi: There they go. It's so romantic! They're intertwined for eternity like...like...like Chakotay and Seven.
Picard: Ewwwwww! Never say that again!

Doesn't fit the timeline, but I gotta agree with Picard.

Memory Alpha

* There was a lot of discussion about how long the episode would be: 60, 90, or 120 minutes. While I think that just the Farpoint Station stuff could've been one episode, it would've been a mistake. There wouldn't have been adequate time to introduce all of the characters.
* From early on Q was recognized as a Trelane clone, and the staff wanted to convince Gene to ditch him. I'll agree that there are similarities and eventually they managed to make Q sufficiently different. The big problem is how much Q fools around with the costumes and plays with the crew instead of doing what he came to do.
* Robert Justman says that the plot drags at times because there wasn't enough happening. Yeah, here are some additional things to do that would tie into the plot without feeling like filler (like the Wes-on-the-bridge) stuff:
** More interaction with the Bandi on Farpoint Station. Do they favor the Federation or the Ferengi? Do they respect Groppler Zorn? Has Zorn been acting strangely ever since the station was built?
** Toss out the extended saucer disconnect and reconnect in favor of more character material. Is Worf the first Klingon in Starfleet? How does he feel about this new era of peace? How do these people feel about the projected 20 year mission? How much more polishing does Riker think he needs before accepting his own command?
** Shuffle the scenes as follows: First quarter on Farpoint. Get the full crew on board. There's a mystery, Zorn is lying. Build up Picard as a legendary captain. They get beamed up for some emergency elsewhere, which turns out to be a ruse by Q to get them away from the station (second quarter). The third quarter is the trial, which includes Riker. The fourth quarter is the ending as presented.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Why did Starfleet ship McCoy out to the edge of nowhere for this inspection?
* Why is Data put on trial? He's not human, does the fact that he was made by a human enough?
* Multiple expressions of emotion and contractions by Data.

YouTube

* McCoy and Data.
* Manual docking. What a snore, talk about manufactured drama, not only do we know that the ship won't be damaged in the pilot, but we also know that Riker can't be allowed to fail, lest he lose credibililty in the eyes of the audience. The only impressive thing is that somehow Riker knows the needed angles, speeds, and distances without consulting his console. Can you really judge these things that exactly based solely on the viewscreen?
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Old 09-28-2017, 06:59 PM
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I can forgive a lot about this episode, as it was the pilot, etc.

The saucer separation and re-docking... that was invocation of Rule of Cool.
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Old 09-28-2017, 08:06 PM
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Rule of Cool? Half of the given screentime could accomplish that. And upon giving it further thought, Riker should've shown off his knowledge of the ship by doing the piloting himself only using the sensors for position and velocity information. You know, "manual docking"?
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Old 10-05-2017, 02:22 PM
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October 5th, 1987, "The Naked Now"

Oh boy, here we go. I confess that there will be snarking ahead, but I did attempt to rein it down to a minimum. Suffice to say, TOS did this better, and if TNG was going to attempt it they should've moved it down the line a bit to establish the characters before mocking them.

Fiver (by Marc)
Transcript
Memory Alpha

The Episode

Note, I'm going to be using "Big T" instead of Tsiolkovsky because I would misspell it every time that I don't copy and paste, and that would make this process more painful. No disrespect to the man, really!

Furthermore, why was Riker unaffected? I know that out-of universe the creators wanted him to look good. However, I think having Crusher scan him and saying "oh, he has antibodies from his childhood bout with Alien Chicken Pox, I can modify that to save the crew" would've been better.

Captain's log, Stardate 41209.2. We are running at warp seven to rendezvous with the science vessel SS Tsiolkovsky, which has been routinely monitoring the collapse of a red super giant star into a white dwarf.

Doesn't that sound boring? A ship drops by this collapsing star, takes readings for a few days, and leaves with only the science division caring about it? At least nebulae are pretty to look at, right?

RIKER: You were right. Somebody blew the hatch. They were all sucked out into space.
DATA: Correction, sir, that's blown out.
RIKER: Thank you, Data.
DATA: A common mistake, sir.

Ugh, thanks for wasting time that could be spent on useful character development, guys. Then again, if the creators wanted useful character development they wouldn't have made this episode in the first place. I won't harp on this for every scene, but it deserved to be mentioned once.

Captain's log, supplemental. We are downloading the research information gathered on the collapsing star nearby. I am concerned at being in such close orbit, but the Tsiolkovsky's research records will no doubt predict the time of the star's final collapse.

The time of final collapse should've been known because of the Big T's prior transmissions, stars don't suddenly age or de-age unless someone like Q is hanging around, and we have no evidence of that.

CRUSHER [OC]: He doesn't have his communicator. It is very important that we find him.
TASHA: Security team alert, pick up Lieutenant La Forge. He just left Sickbay moments ago. Captain, anything further?
PICARD: Affirmative. Make it a ship-wide search, Lieutenant.

Ugh. I hate the "no commbadge=invisible to sensors" thing. It has to stop. Furthermore, the computer should have a few biometric markers (height, weight, general thermal spectrum, pressure distribution of footsteps to indicate leg length/weight distribution/etc.) on file for the Starfleet officers and Federation scientists. Furthermore, the uniform should have some counterpart of the commbadge (24th-century version of the magnetic backing plate), that will trigger when the commbadge is removed. That is, the computer notices that the commbadge is removed, notes that the officer isn't in their quarters, and uses this as a signal to focus more sensor attention on the officer.

LAFORGE: It's the Captain's voice.
WESLEY: It's pieced together from words he's used on the intercom.

Yeah, this is identity theft and some form of fraud. Wesley should be disciplined harshly for this. First duty to the truth and all that.

CRUSHER: According to our medical readouts, there's still nothing wrong with him. He looks like he's running a temperature but every instrument we have says he's not.

No, the line should be "his fever doesn't have a medical cause that I understand yet." Ugh...

PICARD: Doctor, every person on that ship over there died. Is there any chance that whatever did it is loose on my ship?
CRUSHER: If you mean a disease, sir, I'd say there's no chance of it. We used full decontamination, we examined every team member very carefully.

Ugh. You would never see McCoy claim that all possible diseases have been discovered. And if there are always going to be unknown forms of disease, the transporter filters will never be 100% foolproof unless you argue that an officer beaming back is having a new body "cloned" from their beamdown trace, with the memories updated from the person who is beaming "up" (really being killed).

RIKER: Similar conditions. They were monitoring a planet that was breaking up, not a collapsing star as in this case. But there were the same huge shifts in gravity,
PICARD: Which somehow resulted in complex strings of water molecules which acquired carbon from the body and acted on the brain like alcohol. Data, download this information to Medical immediately.
DATA: Aye, sir. Downloading.

Ugh. Data can't hold everything in his head, but all Starfleet mission logs should be among them. And if he's going to get pedantic about "blown out" and "sucked out", I'm going to call him on using "downloading" instead of "uploading" (even though "transferring" would be even more accurate).

PICARD: Thank you, Counsellor. Number One, it seems our Security Chief has the equivalent of a snootful.
DATA: Inquiry, sir. Snootful?
PICARD: Forget it.


This joke got old fast. If Data can't hold all Starfleet mission logs or a complete dictionary/thesaurus/slang vocabulary list in his head, what's he using all of that space for? Catfood recipes?

DATA: Captain, another forty-one minutes will see the information from the Tsiolkovsky downloaded to us.
PICARD: Why so slow?
DATA: Slow, sir? The Tsiolkovsky has been eight months in accumulating it.

Eight months? Eight months looking at a star? An automated sensor drone could do that! I'm surprised the crew of the Big T needed this polywater junk, just cabin fever would make them go bonkers. And the silliest thing is, we don't need to imply massive amounts of data to prolong the episode, just say "interference from the star is slowing down the transmission and much of it must be repeated to fill in holes"!

DATA: If you prick me, do I not leak?

According to First Contact, no you don't, Data.

TASHA: Data. I'm only going to tell you this just once. It never happened.

How did Picard find out about this, anyway?

The Fiver

La Forge: (sobbing) Oh, Tasha! I wish I could be Chief Engineer!
Yar: But Geordi, we already have a Chief Engineer.
La Forge: Really? Who?
Yar: Well, this week it's...uh...gee, let me think here for a second....

Why wasn't a Chief Engineer part of the main cast from Day One?

Worf: Captain, there are reports of hanky-panky all over the ship.
Picard: That's strange. When this happened on the old Enterprise, the crew was much less...er, enterprising.
Worf: Perhaps their log entries were made under different censorship standards than ours.
Picard: What? You mean that all this is being recorded?

Yeah, Picard. And I look forward to the hearing where you defend making Wesley an Acting Ensign after he toyed around with the ship.

YouTube

* Crusher hits on Picard. Wait for the end when Worf watches them leave the ready room with Crusher's uniform not zipped up all the way.
* A promo clip that makes the episode sound way better than it is.
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Old 10-11-2017, 03:27 PM
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I'm having computer problems at the moment (I'm typing this on my iPad), so if someone else could take over the entries for this week I'd be grateful. Lengthy posts with hyperlinks aren't easy to do on a tablet. Thanks and Qa'pla!
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Old 10-12-2017, 10:58 PM
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October 12th, 1987, "Code of Honor"

No Fiver
Transcript
Memory Alpha

Okay, let's just get this out of the way up front: I usually don't link to the SFDebris reviews in the interests of saving time, but this time I'll make an exception. There's good stuff there.

The episode:

* Many, many nits and sarcastic remarks that I had to delete, again. To summarize:
** If the rug had to be there, beam these guys to a large conference room instead of a cargo bay.
** A horse statue from the Sung Dynasty only has meaning for Earth history buffs. At least declare that these guys are descended from colonists from Earth!
** So the Lagonians know what a holodeck is, but haven't mastered the concept of "a hologram is just a complicated puppet"?
** There are lives at stake, lives that have not sworn to uphold Federation law regarding bullying weaker civilizations. That means we should either take the "vaccine" (which should really be a serum or antidote) by force or beam Tasha back by force and go find an alternate source!
** This was totally not the episode to take Wesley on a tour of the bridge. Wait for a relatively peaceful mission for that! And Beverly, shouldn't you be worrying about the people dying of that plague even as we speak?
** Lutan intends to marry Tasha whether she wants him or not. Human rights violation there, extreme measures are needed!
** How Yareena can claim that every woman wants Lutan with a straight face is beyond me.
** Combat won't be interrupted, unless Lutan says so. Is this the first time one of the combatants has lost their spiky glove? Isn't that a sign that they've lost?
* Good stuff:
** I will admit that I like the kiddillies joke, but it feels like it doesn't fit with the A plot.
** Um, was that it? Okay, fine, revealing that Tasha (in her right mind anyway, stupid Naked Now) has more tender emotions was nice, even though this was neither the time nor the place.

Memory Alpha:

* Much bashing of the episode by production personnel, and I don't blame them.
* The writer of this one also wrote a similar episode for Stargate SG-1, which was better than this, although just barely.

Nitpicker's Guide:

* Why does marriage end at death, but not possession? I know that SF Debris brought this up as well, but still!
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  #13  
Old 10-17-2017, 02:09 AM
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Some replies re: "Encounter at Farpoint". 5MV history fans, don't tune out before the end!

Quote:
A scan of the original series bible
Not quite the original! Larry Nemecek's TNG Companion covers the creation of the series in great detail and includes some tidbits from earlier versions. Gremlin mentioned the Leslie thing, and Riker was going to be spelled "Ryker".

Quote:
Quote:
[Picard] has an unspoken but deep father-son relationship with [Riker].
Ha ha ha. Boy did THAT change!
Did it? I always saw a bit of a parental side to their relationship. I think of scenes like the end of "Tapestry".

Quote:
Did Beverly ever show resentment or anger toward Picard on this point?
Good question. I don't remember any off the top of my head. The lack of progress on this is probably connected to McFadden's departure -- I wonder which was a contributing factor to the other.

Quote:
Ha ha ha! Oh, man, that's a good one. Did Brannon and Braga ever read this before working on Voyager?
Quote:
Brannon and Braga
Quote:
Brannon and Braga
Heh.

Quote:
Quote:
It is possible that one wall of the personal quarters may be a "holographic window" much like the holodecks.
That would be awesome! Too bad the budget wouldn't support it. I'd love to have a "window" with a holographic forest and stream past it, how about you guys?
Yeah, that's such a good idea I'm surprised they never returned to it. Maybe they thought the holodeck made that sort of "2.5D" hologram unnecessary. It's much more realistic, though, so let's hope it gets invented in real life!

Quote:
Interesting. Was this Gene's idea: if they haven't slept with each other yet it makes it more okay for them to sleep with other people without destroying all possibility of a reconciliation?
Everything I know about Gene suggests otherwise. Peter David, of course, went the exact opposite way in [Imzadi] -- not only had they slept together, but him being her first is what "imzadi" actually meant. I always thought that was really tacky.

Quote:
Quote:
Tasha has a beau ideal too, which happens to be fifteen year old Wes Crusher. Deprived of her own childhood by the harsh life of her "hell planet" home, she treats this person like the most wonderful person imaginable. Wes is the childhood friend that Tasha never had.
Um, ew.
What's "ew" about any of that? As long as it's strictly a friendly/big-sister thing, it seems wholesome to me.

Quote:
Quote:
Geordi's aboard specialty is the starship school for children.
Hmm, there are certainly narrative possibilities here that were never realized, aren't there?
I'm not complaining. Geordi and the rotating Chief Engineer spot were a perfect match, and we had too many kid-centred episodes anyway.

Quote:
How many good stories would we have lost had Worf not been the only Klingon in Starfleet?
Would we have? As long as Worf wasn't around those other Klingons, he'd still have been isolated, just as Spock was special even though Starfleet had enough Vulcans to man at least one whole ship. (Which seems inconsistent with the fanon that he was the first Vulcan in Starfleet until you remember how long he was Pike's first officer.)

Quote:
I will say, however, that if a ship is going somewhere where lives may be lost in the name of the Prime Directive, there shouldn't be children on board. They're not mature enough to make this decision.
A good point -- obvious, in fact, and likely the reason this idea was quietly dropped in the TNG movie era (we certainly don't see any children on the Ent-E). Gene was a man of big ideas and not so much thinking through. When he lost creative control of the TOS movies, he gained early TNG as his playground -- a good trade, but one whose consequences did eventually need dealing with.

Quote:
Quote:
Any Captain who does find it necessary to violate the Prime Directive had better be ready to present a sound defense of his actions.
Who else wants front-row seats at Janeway's court martial?
Picard broke the Prime Directive five times by "The Drumhead". FIVE TIMES.

Quote:
Quote:
The phaser rifle is rarely seen, rarely used. It is powerful enough to kick Los Angeles into the ocean.
Wow. I wonder where they keep the warp coils to prevent the phaser wielder from being kicked the other way into the Atlantic!
Nah, they just have inertial dampeners. There's nothing those things can't do!

Quote:
You can definitely tell Gene thought highly of himself from how much he loved Wesley (Gene's middle name)
Which came full circle on VOY with Thomas Eugene Paris!

Quote:
I do wish that Tasha hadn't left, she represented the rare human who didn't grow up with the freedom of the Federation. Compare her to Neelix (there's a rare sentence) as they fit the "complete outside" role. In both cases there was a lot more that could've been done with them, plotwise.
Very true. I'm surprised Tasha's backstory was permitted in Gene's universe of perfect humans. When you remember how bad her planet was, it's easier to swallow later developments like the Maquis.

Quote:
Ah yes, the fan-made transcript. O'Brien didn't exist at this point as a named character, just as "Conn".
And he was even wearing red (as were Worf and Geordi this season). I made a little nod to that near the end of the "Way of the Warrior" fiver.

Quote:
Can you imagine Beverly working at a sewing machine?
I can, actually. It seems like something she'd be interested in. She always had an old-fashioned side -- making breakfast for Picard, taking both her husbands' last names, etc. "Sub Rosa" is a terrible episode, but it does put that side of her character in context.

Quote:
Couldn't they have had the infodump be with someone other than the ship's doctor? Beverly should already know all of this stuff! Have a scene where Wesley gushes over the things the VISOR can do, and Geordi responds that the price to pay is constant pain. Characterization for Wesley and no one looks like an idiot!
That's some solid editing. Pity no one suggested it.

Quote:
Ha ha, future ambassador talking. Worf's character arc is one of the most interesting in the entire franchise if you ask me.
Yep, and it's a pity we didn't see how that last step actually worked out. I always wondered if, after living his whole life among humans, Worf would really be happy on Qo'noS.

Quote:
Yeah, Riker is our new Kirk. Too bad there was a reason he never hit on Rand, it's called a command structure. Riker can have relationships with aliens but no one on board, at least no officer.
I've wondered if there are rules about that. It's interesting that both times two major characters have gotten married, they've been of equal rank.

Quote:
Quote:
Troi: There they go. It's so romantic! They're intertwined for eternity like...like...like Chakotay and Seven.
Picard: Ewwwwww! Never say that again!
Doesn't fit the timeline, but I gotta agree with Picard.
I have been waiting SO LONG to be asked about this! What a weird reference to make, right? That's because it was a private joke between me and monkee, a reviewer, fic author, and friend of mine. She was a strong J/Cer (hence her sort-of-cameo here). When the plot of "Endgame" leaked, we both hoped that the C/7 part wasn't true, but she said she was preparing for the worst. Here's what I said:

Exactly what I'd have suggested. Just go in expecting the infamous couple to marry, have lots of kids (naming them all after Janeway's bitter enemies), be elected co-presidents of the Federation, and finally evolve to a higher form of life, forever entwined like those happy jellyfish in "Encounter at Farpoint." Then you can't possibly be disappointed with what's there. <g>

She had a good laugh about that. Not long afterwards, I wound up fiving the episode in question, and I couldn't resist using the same gag in reverse. Yep -- this was a reference only she and I actually got! But it wasn't completely out of nowhere for other readers at the time, since C/7 was still fresh. It seems much more random now.

Believe it or not, this isn't even the most confusing private gag I've snuck into a fiver. That honour probably goes to the start of "Future's End", where VOY characters bring up Kira out of nowhere. No points for guessing who that one was aimed at!
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  #14  
Old 10-17-2017, 02:34 AM
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Ah, the TNG Companion. I might have to dig that one out.

Picard and Riker may have had a older mentor-younger protegee thing going on, but I would never categorize it as father-son. Riker's relationship with his father was such that I'd think he'd avoid placing any other man in a similar position in his mind.

The Imzadi/first thing is kinda stupid if you ask me. I can totally buy that Troi lost her virginity to Riker, but this whole "two people can mutually decide that they are soulmates in a short amount of time" business is just silly.

The way the bible was going, it sounded like Tasha was going to have a crush on Wesley, a kid ten years younger than her. That goes beyond cougar into extremely uncomfortable territory.

Look, the children never should've been on the ship in the first place, but if they have to be there, it would've been nice to see our crew interact with them on something approaching a regular basis. You don't need them to be the same kids every time, officers are apparently getting transferred on an off the ship all the time (insert rant about twenty-year missions here), but there were possibilities that could've been exploited. One of the crew has a sibling that's onboard as a civilian specialist with their family. A B-plot once or twice a season focuses on that, like what was done with the O'Briens or Jake.

I don't agree. If there were multiple other Klingons in Starfleet, it would've taken away from Worf's character arc. Maybe you could make a distinction between Worf as a guy who spent most of his life among humans and the Klingon who's first exposure is at the Academy, but even so. Another part of Worf's character arc was demanding respect from both sides and forging his own path. If other Klingons had done this before, he wouldn't be trailblazing anymore.
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Old 10-18-2017, 12:25 PM
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I thought I had a copy of the TNG Companion, but I guess not. I'm still sorting through my other Trek reference books to see if there's anything worth adding to this thread that aren't covered elsewhere.
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Old 10-19-2017, 01:56 AM
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Have I posted the TNG Episode Guide song yet?
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Old 10-19-2017, 12:02 PM
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October 19th, 1987, "The Last Outpost"

No fiver
Memory Alpha
Transcript

The Episode

DATA: A comparison modern scholars have drawn from Earth history likens the Ferengi to the ocean-going Yankee traders of eighteenth and nineteenth century America, sir.
RIKER: From the history of my forebears. Yankee traders.
DATA: Who in this case sail the galaxy in search of mercantile and territorial opportunity.
RIKER: And are those scholars saying the Ferengi may not unlike us?
DATA: Hardly, sir. I believe this analogy refers to the worst quality of capitalists. The Ferengi are believed to conduct their affairs of commerce on the ancient principle caveat emptor. Let the buyer beware.

I know that Gene was anti-money at this time, but this desperately needed a rewrite. As SF Debris has pointed out several times, having a currency system is not inherently evil, abusing it is. Besides, the Ferengi are hardly the most anti-Federation government we've ever seen. I'd argue that the Orions and Sheliak fit that title better.

WORF: I say fight, sir. There's nothing shameful in falling before a superior enemy.

The Ferengi a "superior enemy"? I'm glad I wasn't drinking anything when I read that. And I thought that it was established earlier that the two ships were roughly the same, the balance tipping one way or the other for specific technologies, but not overall.

RIKER: Matthew! Pola! You know this area is off limits. Come on, come on. (they scurry out as Picard enters) Boys will be boys, Captain.

Why were kids allowed in the observation lounge in the first place? I thought that the turbolifts were programmed not to let unauthorized civilians up here!

PICARD: Trillions? I've never heard the word Tkon before.
DATA: Understandable.

Oh, couldn't they have had Geordi or Tasha be the one ignorant of the Tkon? Picard is the history buff; he should know about all previous galactic powers!

TARR [on viewscreen]: We seek only what is equitable. What do you seek? Why did you begin by attacking us?
PICARD: We did not attack you. We gave chase in order to recover a Federation-owned energy device which
TARR [on viewscreen]: Which we know is ours. Your barbarous Federation placed it on one of our planets!

Let's be generous and say that Gamma Tauri Four had no evidence of Ferengi technology on it when the Federation expanded in that direction. I'm confused as to why the Federation didn't ask the Ferengi "where do you think the boundary between our governments is" and work from there. I know that the implication is supposed to be that the Federation is relatively new to this area of space, but they've had some reports about the Ferengi by this point. This is a sign to send a factfinding mission to track down Ferenginar and talk directly to the government, right?

LAFORGE: I'm resting, sir. My foot's stuck. Up there. I materialized upside down above the planet surface.

Ugh. Okay, so we've got energy surges between crystals down here. That should mean that if the transporter beam was reflected and refracted, Geordi should've materialized in a puddle like Lori Ciana and Commander Sonak back in STTMP.

TROI: It's getting much, much colder, sir. How far down is it likely to go?
PICARD: A lot. Even in orbital space it'll get below minus two hundred degrees.

I'll try not to harp about this in episodes to come, but I need one rant. The Enterprise-D is a big ship. Cluster everyone in large rooms far away from the hull and turn off life support everywhere else! They should be using the Battle Bridge by now!

LETEK: It looks like gold. Tastes like gold.
RIKER: It is gold.

Ah, the inconsistencies of galactic currencies and the worth of gold in early TNG. Gold is worthless, remember when Quark was trapped in a storage pod full of it? The weird thing is, I still ask why the commbadges have gold in them even in a society without money: it could be put to better use in industrial processes.

Memory Alpha

* The first appearance of the Main Engineering "pool table", but it still hasn't assumed its final form yet.
* The last chronological main Ferengi episode "The Dogs of War" features the words "the last outpost" in reference to this episode.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Phil points out the inconsistencies to come regarding whether telepaths can read Ferengi minds. It's a shame that more couldn't have been done with this. A cool plot device that I think would've been cool is that Ferengi aren't inherently telepath-proof, but that it's a skill that they can learn and that must be achieved before a Ferengi can be named Daimon (or the nonmilitary equivalent). Have Deanna be able to read the junior officers but get confused because none of them have the complete story.



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Old 10-20-2017, 05:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the Great View Post
Have I posted the TNG Episode Guide song yet?
Some years ago, I spent a summer trying to memorize this.

I mean, that wasn't the only thing I did all summer, but I really worked on it.

I got the first five seasons down cold, but season six just flew by too fast for me to ever manage to keep it straight in my head.

You'd be surprised by how often this comes in handy.

(Well, in my life, anyway. Probably less useful for people with more non-Star Trek things in their life. I just finished watching The Orville while sorting my Star Trek CCG cards (trekcc.org!) to check on a Star Trek parody site while listening to a Star Trek TNG episode song for fun. So I'm non-representative.)
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Old 10-26-2017, 09:17 AM
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October 26th, 1987, "Where No One Has Gone Before"

Oh boy, here we go...

First of all, if this episode has to exist to justify having Wesley on the bridge, it should've been the second episode and "The Naked Now" never should've existed (at least in the presented form, and at least not in the first season)

I had a lot of boring text and references to established warp speeds, but I cut it out. It's enough to say that none of the dialogue is consistent about where the Enterprise went, how fast they went, how long it would take to get back to the Federation, how fast subspace communication is, etc.

No fiver
Transcript
Memory Alpha

The Episode

PICARD: I don't understand your concern, Number One. They're not authorised to make any alterations in our engines, and according to Starfleet's report, they will simply test different ways of entering warp speed and different intermix formulas. What's the harm in that?

First of all, there is one and only one intermix formula: 1:1. Anything else means that spare matter or antimatter is going to be clogging up the warp core.

Different ways of entering warp speed; now that's a more interesting question. "Different warp field settings" would be clearer and less stupid, however.

DATA: Sir, we put Mister Kosinski's specs into the computer and ran a controlled test on them. There was no improvement in engine performance.
PICARD: Then how do you explain Starfleet's report that the same tests on the USS Ajax and on the Fearless over there, resulted in a measurable increase in propulsion.
RIKER: Our engines are new, sir. Top condition. The tests on those older ships may have simply been to straighten out some engine inefficiency.


Yes! We were told several times that the Galaxy-class was top of the line and the latest in technology when it came out. If there was an improvement to be made, Leah Brahms would've known about it. This plot really should've waited until a later season.

TRAVELLER: My actual name is unpronounceable by humans.

So choose a nickname that we can pronounce, dude! It doesn't have to make sense, declare that you want to be called Pajama Man and that's what the crew will call you!

KOSINSKI: Inform the Bridge I shall begin the first test in precisely fifteen minutes.

Don't you have a commbadge? Tell the Bridge yourself!

KOSINSKI: What do you mean, let he him try it? Don't talk about me in the third person like I'm not standing right here!

Yes, that's rude! The creators couldn't have had Kosinski spouting his technobabble and then fade to the conference room where Riker and Argyle are talking to Picard about this?

PICARD: Reverse engines.
DATA: Captain, no one has ever reversed engines at this velocity.
PICARD: Because no one has gone this fast. Reverse engines.

Is simply "turn off the warp coils" not an option?

PICARD: This can't be. You've been
MAMAN: Dead? But I'm always with you, you know that.
PICARD: Yes, I've felt that.

Okay, let's take a break from the nitpicking to remark on how touching this scene is.

Captain's log, supplemental. Our position is unknown...

So you made up that 50 billion light-year figure mentioned earlier? Just sticking with "unknown" and not "Galaxy M33" or "Triangulum" (which is 3 million light-years away and not 50 billion, FYI)? Was the editor asleep on the job this week?

PICARD: Then what is the purpose of your journey?
TRAVELLER: Curiosity.
PICARD: That's not an answer.

Um, Captain? "Curiosity" is a major factor in why you're out here, right? To seek out new life and new civilizations, remember? I call it a perfectly valid answer, even if it could've been worded better.

PICARD: Any commissioned rank? Even ensign?
RIKER: That would give him authorised access to the Bridge.


Let's put aside the known noncoms with access to the bridge (O'Brien and so forth), the lowest commissioned rank is not Ensign, it's Cadet or Midshipman.

Memory Alpha

* The article claims that the script is based on the TOS novel The Wounded Sky. Yeah, no. Beyond the "accidentally sent to a distant galaxy" premise there is no similarity. I've read the book, and I own it. Maybe Diane Duane used his novel as a foundation, but the stories go in completely different directions.
* First episode filmed with the Engineering pool table, although "The Last Outpost" aired first.

YouTube

* Picard chats with MarMar.
* Wesley thinks that time, space, and thought are connected, a dangerous idea.

Nitpickers Guide

* Phil wonders if the cycling speed of the warp core has anything to do with velocity, as there doesn't seem to be any consistency. I'm actually willing to cut them some slack with this one. Perhaps as the Traveller concentrates more he doesn't need the power of the ship itself as much, and if he gets distracted or is in pain he draws upon the ship more. To paraphrase Rule of Acquisition #76, "
Every once in a while, declare peace. It confuses the heck out of your enemies."



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Old 10-26-2017, 05:36 PM
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Flying Gremlin Flying Gremlin is offline
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Just a quick thing before I have to go to work: the fifty billion light-years thing is actually a good estimation on how little we know about the Universe. The Universe is only 13.8 billion years old, which means light has only had 13.8 billion years to reach us. This means fifty billion light-years of distance puts them well outside of observable space. The odometer may have changed, but knowing exactly where they are would be well beyond the realm of possibility, unless extreme distance telescopes have changed technology significantly past light - and I doubt subspace could pick up on that either.
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