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  #261  
Old 11-13-2021, 03:47 AM
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SPOCK: Fascinating. You have an efficient intellect, superior physical skills and no emotional impediments. There are Vulcans who aspire all their lives to achieve what you've been given by design.

I can't help but be skeptical of this. True, Vulcans try to suppress emotion, but that doesn't mean that they don't have drives and desires that Data lacks. Or at least Data hasn't mastered yet.

DATA: Ambassador Spock, may I ask a personal question?
SPOCK: Please.
DATA: As you examine your life, do you find you have missed your humanity?
SPOCK: I have no regrets.
DATA: No regrets. That is a human expression.
SPOCK: Yes. Fascinating.

Missed his humanity? One of the fundamental principles behind Spock's character arc is his need to integrate his humanity with his Vulcaness to create something better than either. That's the whole point of the IDIC!

WORF: Do you know any Klingon opera?
AMARIE: I don't get a lot of requests for it.
WORF: Surely, you must know at least one theme from Aktuh and Maylota.
AMARIE: I may be a little rusty.

Aktuh and Maylota made an appearance in one of the IKS Gorkon novels. I'm surprised that it hasn't made more appearances, it seems like something that would've gotten a namedrop in DS9.

OMAG: What is that dreadful noise? It sounds like a Bardakian pronghorn moose.

One of the RPG sourcebooks has more on the Bardakian pronghorn moose. It has webbed feet and a paddle tail. Barkadians use their skin for clothing and other body parts for medicines and talismans.

WORF [OC]: Has just entered the establishment.
RIKER: Is that Melor Famagal I hear?
WORF [OC]: It is.

I would expect Riker to know about the Rules of Acquisition and more common aspects of the Ferengi culture, but not the music. Then again, the expanded universe makes it clear that Ferengi do appreciate music.

You may argue that as a musician he would be interested in alien songs, but we've never seen him play anything but Earth music. Perhaps the trombone isn't conducive to alien music.

OMAG: At Galorndon Core. Near the Neutral Zone.

One of the Enterprise novels says that during the Earth-Romulan War a Romulan ship smacked into the planet at high speed, rendering it practically uninhabitable. The planet makes several appearances in Star Trek Online. (STO says that the planet became uninhabitable when a dead Doomsday Machine smashed into it).

SPOCK: The time the Proconsul set for the subspace announcement of our peace initiative is fourteen hundred hours tomorrow. One four zero zero.

Why would the Romulan clock be the same as the Federation's?

SELA: And this is the android I have come to respect in battle.

Data had no idea he was fighting you back in "Redemption." There really should've been another Sela episode between that episode and this one.

SELA: Do not be distressed. Your dream of reunification is not dead. It will simply take a different form. The Romulan conquest of Vulcan.

I fail to see how the Romulans expect to succeed at conquering Vulcan. Perhaps they could've succeeded at one kamikaze run with this stunt, but nothing more.

RIKER: Maintain position at Galorndon Core. Diplomatic initiative appears to be succeeding. Will advise.
WORF: The message did employ the proper coded sequence.
RIKER: Yeah. I'm sure it did.

How do the Romulans know the proper coded sequence again?

SELA: Excuse me, I'm just finishing up a speech. For you, Mister Spock. I rather enjoy writing. I don't get to do it often in this job.
DATA: Perhaps you would be happier in another job.

A classic Data moment.

LAFORGE: That would put them on a course to Vulcan. They don't seem to be in any hurry. They're only moving at warp one, Commander.

They intend to cross half of the Federation at Warp One? That'll take days!

CRUSHER: We've just received a priority one distress call from the colony on Dulisian Four. A massive failure of the environmental support systems. They're going to require evacuation.
RIKER: Mister Worf, any other ships in the vicinity of Dulisian Four?
WORF: One, sir. A Rutian archaeological vessel.
CRUSHER: I'm sure it's not equipped to handle something of this scale, Will.

Rutians were last seen in "The High Ground." Don't ask me what one of their ships is doing so far out. Incidentally, in the Star Wars universe "rutian" is a blue skin tone exhibited by some Twi'leks.

Memory Alpha

* Final appearance of Sela. I'll cover her further adventures in the Memory Beta section.
* Some thought that three ships were inadequate to invade Vulcan. I would argue that there wouldn't be very many tactical targets on Vulcan as opposed to Earth. One shot for a government building, another for the main armory, another for the spaceport, etc. Plus the Romulans were counting on the element of surprise.

Memory Beta

* Sela made further appearances in the novels, becoming lovers with Tom Riker at one point, and taking part in the post-Shinzon Romulan government. Later she became chairman of the Tal Shiar and indirectly caused the destruction of Deep Space Nine.
* Her Star Trek Online history is quite different. She became Empress in 2408, but not for long as she disappeared through an Iconian Gateway. She ended up in the Delta Quadrant, but made it back home.

Nitpicker's Guide

* In "The Defector" it was made clear that the Romulan science community would love to take Data apart. Why didn't Sela separate Data from the others?
* Why did Data do such a bad job reproducing Riker? Doesn't he have a photographic memory?
* Phil wonders if Spock is meant to be impersonating a Romulan since he doesn't have the Romulan forehead. I'd argue that the forehead is more or less pronounced in different Romulans, just like Klingon forehead ridges.
* Why didn't the Romulans create a counterpart of Starfleet's tachyon detection grid to find cloaked Klingon ships? I'm still confused as to how the tachyon detection grid can still exist this long after the Klingon Civil War. Is Starfleet really telling a dozen ships to stay near the Neutral Zone just to search for cloaked Romulan ships full time?
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  #262  
Old 11-18-2021, 12:40 AM
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It's a day early, but whatever...

November 18th, 1991, "A Matter of Time"

Fiver by Kira

The Episode

Captain's log, stardate 45349.1. The Enterprise is on its way to Penthara Four, where a type C asteroid has struck an unpopulated continent. The resulting dust cloud could very well create a phenomenon not unlike the nuclear winters of twenty first century Earth.

So this is a reference to World War III. It lasted from 2026-2053. I'm sorry, but I'm surprised that a world war could last that long in the age of nuclear weapons.

PICARD: The Lieutenant's sensors detected a temporal distortion almost in our current course. There's a small object back there that wasn't there a few moments ago.

They almost treat this as routine. I'd mock this, but in retrospect they weren't too amazed at the Guardian of Forever, either.

RASMUSSEN: Late twenty sixth century Earth, to be exact. I've travelled back nearly three hundred years just to find you.

Did the writers forget that it's the late twenty-FOURTH century? That's two hundred years, not three hundred.

PICARD: Exactly what kind of historian are you?
RASMUSSEN: My focus is on the twenty second through the twenty fourth centuries. Early interstellar history.

If you want early Earth interstellar history, you need to include the twenty-first century as well. Idiot.

LAFORGE: The hull is made of some kind of plasticised tritanium mesh. We've nothing like it on record, at least not till now.

"Plasticized" means to either make something moldable like plastic or coat it with plastic. I don't see why you'd do either to a ship's hull.

PICARD: Bring his vessel into the shuttlebay. Place it under guard.

"The" shuttlebay? You do know that there are three shuttlebays on this ship, right?

PICARD: I realise that this visit is going to be difficult for some of us, but I've examined his credentials, and everything seems to be in order.

One of the biggest headscratchers in this episode. How would you know a set of credentials from the future is in order? How could you even check it?

RASMUSSEN: This is really a thrill, Data, like running across a Redstone missile or a Gutenberg bible. To think, the Model T of androids.

The PGM-11 Redstone was the first large American ballistic missile, in service from 1958-1964. I wonder if the viewers of the early '90s would even know what that is. The term "Model T of androids" also makes me scratch my head. The Model T was a revolution in mass production, something that doesn't apply to Data.

I'm getting conflicting numbers for how many Gutenberg Bibles are left. Apparently different people have different requirements for how complete a copy has to be to be a "complete copy."

RIKER: Why is there no record of other future historians travelling back to witness important events?
RASMUSSEN: We're obviously very careful. As a matter of fact, a colleague and I recently paid a call on a twenty second century vessel.

Must resist urge to insult Enterprise, must resist urge to insult Enterprise...

RASMUSSEN: What do you see as the most important example of progress in the last two hundred years?
RIKER: I suppose the warp coil. Before there was warp drive, humans were confined to a single sector of the galaxy.

Single sector? Try single system. A sector is twenty lightyears across. Sector 001 has Alpha Centauri and the Wolf system in addition to Earth.

WORF: There were no phasers in the 22nd century.

How the phase pistols of Enterprise compare to the phasers of later eras is a discussion for another time. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that a major difference is the discharge crystal.

RIKER: All he wanted to know about was previous starships. What I thought was innovative about the last Enterprise, the one before that. He said he wanted to see if we had a grasp of the fundamentals.

I wonder what was innovative about the Enterprise-C. The Ambassador class was designed to be between the Excelsior and Galaxy and nothing more.

LAFORGE [OC]: We're okay, but those were pretty big, sir. If this was Earth, I'd say around an eight or an eight five on the Richter Scale.

The Richter scale is logarithmic, so there's a big difference between 8.0 and 8.5. 8.5 has six times the energy of 8.0, in fact. Geordi should be more precise.

RASMUSSEN: What in God's name is that?
DATA: Music, Professor.
RASMUSSEN: Music?
DATA: Yes, sir. Mozart's Jupiter symphony in C major, Bach's Brandenburg Concerto number three, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, second movement, molto vivace and La Donna e Mobile from Verdi's Rigoletto.

Listen to Mozart here. Listen to Bach here. Listen to Beethoven here. Listen to Verdi here, or the EMH version "Tuvok You Are a Vulcan Man" here.

I wouldn't recommend opening all of these links at once.

RASMUSSEN: How the hell can you listen to four pieces of music at the same time?
DATA: Actually, I am capable of distinguishing over one hundred and fifty simultaneous compositions, but in order to analyse the aesthetics, I try to keep it to ten or less.

This seems odd. You'd think Data could play them all in his head anyway.

PICARD: Unless we do something about it, I'm told that in a matter of weeks thousands, maybe tens of thousands, will die.
RASMUSSEN: That'd be a shame.
PICARD: Yes, it would. It would be quite a shame.

I'm trying to think of a bigger understatement in Trek, but nothing's coming to mind.

PICARD: Oh no, I'm not. Everything that Starfleet stands for, everything that I have ever believed in, tells me I cannot ask you that. But at the same time, there are twenty million lives down there, and you know what happened to them. What will happen to them.

This seems more like a Kirk sentiment, frankly.

WORF: Warp power has being rerouted to the main deflector dish, Commander.

I wonder if they reenforced the power conduits after the Borg invasion to make this easier to do.

(tricorder, the neural stimulator, a hypospray, one of Geordi's visors, a PADD, a Klingon knife)

How many spare VISORs does Geordi have? Of course they'd want one spare around, but how did Rasmussen find it?

RASMUSSEN: I was quite content with the notion of returning with those trinkets. I'd invent about one a year. But now, look what fortune has graced me with. You will take a little longer to figure out than a tricorder, but it should be well worth the effort.

I'll buy that Rasmussen could figure out a tricorder faster than the Sigma Iotians could figure out a communicator, but I don't think he could reverse-engineer Data. Maddox can't do it with a team of engineers and full Starfleet support, so how could this con man?

(the time ship shuts its door and vanishes)
RASMUSSEN: No!
PICARD: I'm sure there are more than a few legitimate historians at Starfleet who will be quite eager to meet a human from your era. Oh, Professor. Welcome to the twenty fourth century.

We'll cover Rasmussen's future in the Memory Beta section

The Fiver

Worf: Captain, I have detected a temporal distortion.
Picard: But this is a "save the planet" episode, not a "time travel" episode.
Worf: Perhaps it is both.
Picard: Nonsense, that's ridiculous.

No more ridiculous than a time travel episode also being a romantic drama episode, Captain...

Riker: What exactly are you here to witness?
Rasmussen: Does it really matter? Unless I've stumbled on a Holodeck episode, something's bound to happen.

Not really, the Enterprise spends a lot of its time as a taxi, and that's not very interesting...

Rasmussen: What if you manipulate the timeline and people die?
Picard: Nonsense. I would never do anything that stupid and irresponsible.

This one's funny because you can't pin down which episode Picard is talking about.

Picard: Guards, put this man in the brig.
Rasmussen: The brig? What for?
Picard: To do time, of course.

That's a weak pun.

Memory Alpha

* The creators were thinking of Robin Williams for the role. I can't see it.
* First reference to the Enterprise-B. I doubt it, the ship's been on the observation lounge mural for ages.

Memory Beta

* I forgot that Rasmussen took place in Quark's poker tournament in "The Big Game." That's a fun novel.
* A Strange New Worlds story tells us that he went back in time and inspired Roddenberry to make Star Trek.
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  #263  
Old 11-18-2021, 01:26 AM
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"A Matter of Time"-Nitpicker's Guide


* Rasmussen refuses to answer Data's question about whether he's still alive in the 26th century, but Data should be able to figure out that he's not, because if he's alive why would Rasmussen be so interested in him? In the novels he comes back in a couple different ways (I prefer the Immortal Coil version, of course).

* Riker asks when historians start using time travel for research. Um, the TOS crew did that in "Assignment, Earth"!
* If Rasmussen his human, how can he shield himself from Troi?
* Even if Rasmussen somehow figures out how isolinear circuitry works, he would have no way of knowing how to mass-produce it.
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  #264  
Old 12-13-2021, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
November 4th, "Unification Part 1"

Fiver by IJD GAF (Hey Zeke, why didn't he write a fiver for Part 2 at the same time?)
[...]

For that matter, where are these intelligence reports coming from? Does Starfleet maintain a network of spies on Romulus?
They'd be nuts not to.

Quote:
PERRIN: Between Spock and his father. They had argued for years. That was family. But when the debates over the Cardassian war began, he attacked Sarek's position publicly. He showed no loyalty to his father.

You gotta wonder what they were fighting about. I can't help but wonder what positions they took on the Occupation.
Could be Sarek wanted a calm, careful, 100% diplomatic approach from the entire Diplomatic Corps while Spock wanted cowboy diplomacy. Could be they had different ideas of Cardassian psychology and how to deal with it. Could be they were being stubborn Vulcans who agreed on 99.9% of the approach but went to war over whether decaf raktajino should be served at the peace negotiations.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the Great View Post
Sarek: ?"pardeK" ekil ,sdrow esnesnon emos tuoba woH .sdrawkcab gniklat fo tibah eht pu nekat ev'I ,snacluV enasni tsom htiw sA

"As with most insane Vulcans, I've taken up the habit of talking backwards. How about some nonsense words, like Kedrar?"

Is there another fiver with a backwards talking insane Vulcan?
Endgame.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the Great View Post
November 11th, 1991, "Unification Part Two"

[...]

PICARD: I was with him before coming here. He expressed his pride in you. His love.
SPOCK: Emotional disarray was a symptom of the illness from which he suffered.
PICARD: No, those feelings came from his heart, Spock. He shared them with me. I know.
SPOCK: Sarek would no more approve my coming here than you do, Picard.

Spock seems to be confusing Sarek's general opinion of him with his specific opinion of this one mission. The two aren't remotely the same.
Considering that Sarek's expressed opinion of Spock was tied in with his opinion of Spock joining Starfleet, and then their public difference over Cardassia was enough to constitute a personal betrayal, and the old trope of a father withholding love from his son over his son's choices in life, the two doubtless seem the same to Spock.

Quote:
Actually, it was Pardek himself that informed Spock of this, at Khitomer. Which is weird, because even though everything is chess with the Romulans, do they really routinely start plans that will take decades to reach fruition?
They presumably live long enough that they might.
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Old 12-20-2021, 09:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the Great View Post
* Her Star Trek Online history is quite different. She became Empress in 2408, but not for long as she disappeared through an Iconian Gateway. She ended up in the Delta Quadrant, but made it back home.
In STO, thanks to Denise Crosby being a frequent voiceover actress for the game, Sela tried to invade Vulcan again (or destroy it, considering she was in a thaleron-equipped ship and her motives were never truly clear), worked with some very bad people, got kidnapped by different bad people, ended up being directly responsible for the destruction of Romulus and the murder of billions because of petty revenge and time travel shenanigans, and finally laid Tasha Yar to rest. Her current status in game is in a secure penal colony for her crimes against sentients... and whoo boy are there a lot.

Also, she gets a "This is Sparta!" moment with Taris, the Romulan whom commanded the warbird in the first mention of the Iconians.
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  #266  
Old 01-10-2022, 12:12 AM
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January 6th, 1992, "New Ground"

No fiver (has anyone claimed this one?)

Major Treknology ranting ahead, you have been warned.

The Episode

Captain's log, stardate 45376.3. We are approaching the planet Bilana Three, where a new method of propulsion known as the Soliton Wave is being developed. The Enterprise has been asked to participate in one of the first tests of this new technology.

This soliton wave thing always bugged me. I understand that the notion of a ship going FTL without an internal engine being valuable as a scientific curiosity, but as a practical method of travel it's a complete bust. A ship can only travel between locations with the appropriate equipment. If something goes wrong there's no way to stop or start independently. The slightest mistake in setting course means the ship is trapped going FTL with no way to stop until a ship receives their distress call.

For that matter, who's to say that you wouldn't have to use a different form of subspace transmission when using the soliton wave? Would civilian craft be monitoring the right frequency?

In other words, you'd need a warp ship nearby to make sure the soliton wave ship was okay. So why not just use the warp ship?

LAFORGE: Data! Data, isn't this exciting? We are going to witness a moment in history.
DATA: Every nanosecond in this continuum is a moment in history, once it has elapsed.

Sometimes Data's pedantry annoys me.

LAFORGE: This is going to be like being there to watch Chuck Yeager break the sound barrier, or Zephram Cochrane engage the first warp drive.

Of course this is funny in retrospect. Yeager himself won't be mentioned again until Enterprise. Of course there's the Yeager Loop in "The First Duty", but I don't see why it would be named after Chuck Yeager. Maybe Yeager had a descendent who was a famous pilot in the early warp era.

HELENA [on monitor]: I hope you don't mind us dropping in on you like this, but when I heard the Enterprise was to be in this sector, we took the first transport and here we are.

This doesn't seem like a top-secret mission, but you have to wonder why civilians would have access to a detailed itinerary of the flagship's movements. Did Sergei use his contacts in Starfleet?

HELENA: Worf. Worf. It's so good to see you. You look wonderful. Is that a touch of grey in your beard?

I know that this is simple teasing, but it does make one wonder. It looks like Klingons stay vital a lot longer than humans do (the centenarian humans we've seen are pretty decrepit and Klingons aren't), but does this mean that their hair starts going gray later?

Meaningless aside, but the gray/grey thing has long irked me. I use "gray" because that's what I was taught, and "grey" seems...pretentious, somehow.
Historically the "gray" spelling is more recent.

HELENA: Lapsang suchong tea, please.

Lapsang suchong is a variant on black tea. The leaves are smoke-dried over a pinewood fire. The plant originally came from China. There is a tea variant called Russian Caravan that is a blend of oolong, keemun, and lapsang souchong. In the 18th century there were camel caravans that took tea from China to Europe via Russia. Folk tales say that the tea took on the smoky taste of the campfires. Maybe Helena meant Russian Caravan.

And that's your dose of useless knowledge for the day. I don't even know anything about tea, I don't drink it.

HELENA: Alexander needs to be with his father.
WORF: Mother, that is not possible. We must find another option.

How is it not possible? The entire point of the Galaxy-class is that there be families and children on board. I still don't think that it's a good idea for a ship that's going to be battling Borg and Romulans, but that's what Starfleet wanted.

As much as I like Worf, I think that his relationship with Alexander was never written well. The whole "Worf wants Alexander to be a traditional Klingon, Alexander doesn't want to" thing was extended far too long. At a certain point, no matter how good the writing, it turned into wheel-spinning. And wheel-spinning isn't entertaining!

Frankly Worf should've sent Alexander to Kurn at this point. Kurn has children at this point, it probably would've worked better. And by the way, doesn't K'Ehleyr (I hate having to copy and paste that name from Memory Alpha, I always want to put an "e" between the "h" and the "l") have relatives? In "The Emissary" she certainly spoke of her parents in the present tense.

WORF: Good. I understand you lived in my old room.

Elsewhere in fiction we see parents who maintain their children's old rooms as shrines. I doubt that this happened in Worf's case, he probably didn't keep anything except his father's bat'leth with him (Meaningless aside, but how did he get that, anyway? Did Kahlest mail it to him after the Khitomer Massacre?). And I don't think that Nikolai would maintain a childhood shrine either.

KYLE: It doesn't matter. I think I can figure it out. Date of birth?
(Worf doesn't know)
ALEXANDER: The forty third day of Maktag, stardate 43205.

Mixing Klingon and Starfleet dates seems odd. Only mention of the month of Maktag. Stardate 43205 is just prior to "Booby Trap". "The Emissary" is Stardate 42901.3. That's not even four months of pregnancy. "Reunion" is 44246.3, Alexander is barely a year old. Repeat wonderment on why Paramount said "1000 stardates=1 year" in the first place.

PICARD: Come. Mister Worf, I thought our meeting was scheduled for eleven hundred hours.
WORF: I apologise for being late, Captain. I was detained in school. I was enrolling my son in class.

You can tell this was made before the age of email and personal messages, when written communication is only possible via PADD. Grumble grumble.

KYLE [OC]: Kyle to Lieutenant Worf.

Civilians should not be able to communicate with officers on duty unless it's an emergency, period. Shouldn't Worf have a secretary in the security department that can handle this stuff?

CRUSHER [OC]: I need to schedule a physical examination for Alexander. I also need his complete medical records from Earth and the medical records of his--

Okay, maybe Miss Kyle doesn't have access to Worf's duty hours. Dr. Crusher DOES. I hate the logic behind this scene, even if it leads to a nice bit of characterization from Picard.

PICARD: Warp without warp drive.
RIKER: They're going to put you out of a job, Geordi.
LAFORGE: I hope so, Commander.

NO, IT WON'T! I wish that the writers had put a bit more thought into this plot. Even IF the Federation had comprehensive soliton wave support, the engineering team has to cover more than just the warp drive. Impulse, life support, sensors, etc.

JA'DAR: The soliton emits a great deal of subspace radio interference. You'll need to remain within twenty kilometres in order to receive telemetry.

Twenty kilometers? The writers do know that the Enterprise itself is a kilometer long, right? 20k is paint-scrapingly close.

KYLE: Now, I'd like to show you a pair of animals we're trying to save from extinction. Would you follow me? They're from Corvan Two, where their homes in the rainforests are being threatened by industrial pollutants.

Industrial pollution seems unusual for the 24th century. Is Corvan II not part of the Federation? Did they barely invent warp drive?

The planet reappears in Online and Discovery.

Lieutenant Worf, personal log, stardate 45376.8. Alexander has acted shamefully, and as his father I must now deal with him. But I find that I would gladly fight ten armed Baldur warriors rather than face one small child.

Memory Alpha says that the species is actually called "Balduk". They make a few appearances in the novels. They look sort of like wolves.

Like I said, Worf doesn't seem ready to be a father at this point.

ALEXANDER: Kahless?
WORF: And his brother, Morath. They fought for twelve days and twelve nights because Morath had broken his word and brought shame to his family.

I refer you to the novel Kahless which fleshes out their relationship. Furthermore the blood that Kahless's clone came from is actually Morath's blood (so he's actually Morath's clone).

DATA: The prototype has been towed into position, Captain.
RIKER: Initiate a radio link to the ship.

Radio? They do know that radio would be useless in this situation, right?

DATA: The test ship is maintaining at warp two point three five, sir.
LAFORGE: That's a little faster than they anticipated, but still well within mission parameters.

For that matter, all other factors aside, can soliton wave ships even reach Warp Nine? Even IF we retrofitted the entire Federation to support such ships, do we really want to be limited to TOS speeds, if not ENT speeds?

PICARD: Mister Data, is the wave affecting our warp drive?
DATA: No, sir. The effect has been localised to within two kilometres of the wavefront.

This seems like a question to ask BEFORE the test. Was the audience really asking this question?
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Old 01-10-2022, 12:13 AM
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PICARD: What happened to the test ship?
DATA: Our last readings indicate the craft exploded due to extreme shearing stress.
...
PICARD: We sustained some minor damage. Do you know what happened?
JA'DAR [on viewscreen]: The preliminary data we received indicate a transient power imbalance.
LAFORGE: That would be consistent with our telemetry readings from the ship. We detected a sudden drop in transfer efficiency just before the explosion.

So all of a sudden the soliton wave started being less efficient, leading to a less consistent force profile on the ship. How is that supposed to make any sort of sense? What caused it? Did the ship start flexing, leading to a nonuniform force distribution from the wave, leading to more flexing? What caused the initial flexing? For that matter, wouldn't they deliberately design the inertial dampeners and structural integrity fields to be more robust than a normal ship?

ALEXANDER: I have not lied!
WORF: Alexander, do not continue to
ALEXANDER: She's lying! She hates me, that's why she makes up stories about me!

While this might make sense as a plotline because of Worf's sense of honor, it doesn't make sense from Alexander's perspective. K'Ehleyr was very honest and so are the Roshenkos. Furthermore, this lying thing will never come up again.

In retrospect it would've made more sense for Alexander to be racist against non-Klingons. There are dramatic possibilities there.

DATA: Sir, the energy level of the wave has increased by a factor of twelve. At this rate, it will have increased by a factor of two hundred by the time it reaches Lemma Two.

HOW? This thing is going through subspace, where is the extra energy coming from?

WORF: I will be pleased that he is receiving the guidance he requires.
TROI: Is that how you felt when he left to live with your parents?
WORF: That was different. At the time, I felt he needed a home, a family. Things I could not provide for him.

How have things changed in the last 14 months since "Reunion"? Nothing, Worf is just saying that he doesn't want the trouble of a child. This is why I think Alexander should've been sent to live with Kurn's family.

WORF: He was no burden. I simply knew that a Klingon child required more attention than I could provide.
TROI: I see.

An interesting notion. Klingons believe in children having two parents if possible. Odd, because it stands to reason that most families have fathers that are always serving on a ship somewhere, meaning essentially the mothers are single parents anyway.

LAFORGE: Well, there are two possibilities. We could attempt to use our own warp engines to generate an inverse-resonance wave. If we could match the exact frequency and amplitude of the soliton, we should be able to neutralise it.

Given that warp drive and the soliton wave are completely different, I fail to see how this is possible.

RIKER: Why can't we go around it?
DATA: The wave has been growing in size as well as power. There is insufficient time remaining for us to circumvent it before it reaches Lemma Two.

So the wave is going at about Warp 7 at this point. This thing will hit the planet in a couple of hours. Three hours at Warp 7 is 0.224 lightyears. Lets say that they would attempt to go around it at Warp 9 (about 2.5 times the speed of the wave). I'll skip the geometry, but this indicates that this wave is THREE times wider than the distance between it and the planet!

TLDR: Writers Cannot Do Math!

PICARD: Ensign, after we've passed through the wave, I want you to take us at a relative position twenty three kilometres in front of it.

Compared to the size of the wave this distance is the equivalent of "I'm not touching you!"

RIKER: Alert sickbay to prepare for possible casualties.

Possible casualties? Your shields aren't even at half strength and you're about to be smacked by something moving seven hundred times faster than light!

RIKER: Red Alert. Load torpedo bays. Set warhead yields to level sixteen.

They take the time to adjust the amount of antimatter in a torpedo before firing it? Wouldn't there be different "classes" of torpedo with a range of preset yields available?

RIKER: We have some gaps in the aft shields, Captain. When the torpedoes explode, these areas will be contaminated with ion radiation. We need to evacuate sections twenty four to forty seven, decks thirty five through thirty eight.

I haven't read the TNG Technical Manual in awhile, but I do know that the stardrive section only has about a dozen sections (the saucer has 36).

For that matter, why is the biolab so close to Engineering?

WORF: Klingon schools are designed to be difficult. The physical and mental hardships faced by the students are meant to build character and strength. However, if you wish to face a greater challenge, you may stay here with me. It will not be easy, for either one of us, but perhaps we can face the challenge together.
ALEXANDER: I accept your challenge, Father. I will stay.
WORF: I believe your mother would be pleased.

This is too pat of an ending. What was really resolved? If Worf's paternal instinct was triggered, couldn't we have had a conversation with Troi about this.

Memory Alpha

* Corvan gilvos will later appear in "The Nagus." One hopes they built better puppets.
* Dr. Ja'Dar's actor would reappear as Reg's boss Pete on Voyager. I never would've guessed.
* On DS9 soliton pulses would reappear as a carrier wave for signals through the wormhole.
* One of the TOS-era Section 31 novels reveals that soliton wave propulsion was proposed at that time.

Nitpicker's Guide

* At one point Troi accidentally said "Mrs. Kyle" instead of "Miss Kyle." You'd think this would've justified another take.
* Supposedly the Enterprise can't fly around the wave, but it doesn't look that big on the screen. Even external shots show the thing to be only a few times bigger than the ship. Does it create that much subspace interference?
* Phil wonders why Alexander uses the last name Roshenko when Worf doesn't. I think it's pretty clear why. Worf was an older child and had an identity as a son of the House of Mogh. It would be understandable that Worf would consider taking the Roshenko name to be the same as abandoning his father's name. My question is why Alexander would feel the need for any last name. K'Ehleyr has no last name, presumably because her Klingon father didn't feel the need for one. (As an aside, why would B'Elanna want to use the name of Torres if she resents her father so much?)
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Adam Savage: I reject your reality and substitute my own!

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  #268  
Old 01-26-2022, 01:25 AM
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I'm a little early on this one, but I don't care...

January 27th, 1992, "Hero Worship"

No fiver

The Episode

Captain's log, stardate 45397.3. Two days ago, Starbase five one four lost contact with the research vessel Vico, which was sent to explore the interior of a Black Cluster. We are en route to investigate.

Only mention of black clusters in canon. The expanded universe says that a black cluster is the result of multiple protostars collapsing in proximity to each other.

RIKER: What a sight.
PICARD: One of the most ancient formations in the galaxy.

I don't like it when Trek declares that a stellar phenomenon has to be really old to be impressive.

DATA: Outer and inner hulls have been breached.

I have to wonder what the purpose of separate outer and inner hulls would be. Any weapon that can penetrate one would penetrate the other as well.

RIKER: Set up a translink to their computer core.

I thought that "translink" would be an outdated computer networking term, but no. In the real world the word describes certain rail lines.

DATA: I cannot, sir. The emergency bulkheads on that deck are in place. Our linkup signal cannot penetrate them.

You'd think there'd be a dedicated external transmitter for translinks, something that can't be blocked by emergency bulkheads.

Captain's log, supplemental. A young boy, shielded from our initial sensor scans, has been discovered pinned beneath a fallen beam.

We'll be told later that "victrium alloy" in the bulkhead is blocking the transporter signal, but I'd think they could design Starfleet ships to be transparent to Starfleet sensors.

HUTCHINSON: The lock is holding. I just can't resolve the matter stream, not with all that victurium alloy in the way.

Resolve the matter stream? The sensors signals are being blocked and scattered, they shouldn't be able to engage the transporter at all!

TIMOTHY: Are you're going to lift that?
DATA: Yes. Then I will take you to the corridor. We will transport back to the Enterprise from there. Do you understand?
TIMOTHY: How come you can pick up something so heavy?
DATA: I am an android. My strength is many times that of a human.

Are they implying that Data is stronger than any humanoid species on record? I find that to be a dubious claim.

TIMOTHY: We were in the Black Cluster. I don't know where they came from. They had a big ship and they kept shooting at us. Then they beamed over. They had purple helmets on and phaser rifles.

Breen helmets are bronze colored. Do Federation children know that?

LAFORGE: This is not good. Whatever hit the Vico must have set up an EM pulse that flashed through their computer banks.
DATA: Nearly eighty three percent of their records have been lost.

We can't make electronics EMP proof in the 24th century?

TEACHER: Dara and her brother found themselves in the land of Tagas where the ruler, Elamos the Magnificent, had proclaimed as law. 'No children will be tolerated within the Great Kingdom'. When Dara saw the proclamation, she just laughed, and said, 'How magnificent a ruler, to be frightened by the likes of us.'

Only mention of any of this. You gotta wonder why they couldn't have used Earth names in this story.

DATA: Fracture points indicate that the energy burst came from a range of less than three thousand metres.
PICARD: But that's a strategy consistent with a cloaked vessel. Romulan. Or Klingon. But we're quite a distance from either of their territories.

I find it odd that no other major power has cloaking devices. The Suliban haven't been invented yet. Something that I find interesting is that we haven't seen Klingon subgroups, ones that would be more aggressive than the others. It would be an interesting plotline to pursue.

LAFORGE: There was absolutely no evidence of anybody coming on board the Vico. We would have found a transporter field trace. Or if somebody had used the entry ports, we would have found an electrostatic differential in the docking latches, and we didn't.

When's the last time an attacking ship physically docked with their victim? I find the idea of an "electrostatic differential" dubious as well, surely by now all docking latches would be grounded to prevent such things.

TROI: If he's lying, I haven't been able to sense it. Perhaps his emotional trauma level is too high.

I don't like this idea. It weakens Troi and only exists to extend the plot to fill an hour.

DATA: Ah. You are attempting to recreate the Dokkaran temple of Kural Hanesh?
TIMOTHY: Isn't it great?!

Only appearance of Dokkarans. One wonders why they didn't use ancient Vulcans or Andorians or whatever.

DATA: The Black Cluster was formed almost nine billion years ago.

The galaxy is almost fourteen billion years old. How can the Black Cluster be one of the most ancient formations then?

TROI: So, what would you like?
TIMOTHY: Androids do not need to eat or drink. (spots a dessert being carried by a waiter) However, sometimes we like to taste things. A Tamarin frost, please.

Cute moment. Only appearance of Tamarin frosts, or Tamarins at all. However, an RPG module has the planet Tamarind. In the real world Tamarins are a classification of small monkey in Latin America. I hope these frost things aren't made out of monkey blood or anything.

PICARD: An android?
TROI: I know it sounds unusual, but it is understandable. Technically, it's called enantiodromia. Conversion into the opposite.

Enantiodromia was formalized by Carl Jung, but its history goes back to Ancient Greece. Taoism has a similar principle. Homeopathy also follows this sort of thinking.

DATA: Timothy, your head movements are counterproductive. Can you be still?
TIMOTHY: But you do it.
DATA: The servo mechanisms in my neck are designed to approximate human movements. I did not realize the effect was so distracting.

Data does tilt his head a bit too much. However, the idea that he doesn't have conscious control of his head to this degree is a little disturbing.

TIMOTHY: I like it. Data, are there any other androids in Starfleet?

Wouldn't Timothy have looked up Data's service record hours ago and know this already? Is Lore's existence classified?

TIMOTHY: How come you're not Captain?
DATA: My service experience does not yet warrant such a position.

Plus he's in Operations, not Command. He doesn't have sufficient command experience.

WORF: We are approaching the perimeter. I'm picking up the gravitational wavefronts.
...
LAFORGE: Adjusting shield frequencies now, Commander. We'll have this smoothed out in just a second.

Are they insinuating that shield emissions can dampen gravitational effects? I doubt that. I would think that this problem isn't a matter of "frequencies", it's a matter of shield shape. They want to cut through the wavefronts, right?

WORF: Captain, gravitational wavefront intensity is increasing steadily. Eleven hundred standard G units and rising.

It's interesting to consider the translation of gravitational attraction to field strength. I could probably create adequate Treknobabble, but it sounds like a rather pointless endeavor.

WORF: The distortion is still in effect.
RIKER: Better jacket the scanning beam.
WORF: The secondary beam is being distorted as well.

Protecting one signal with another, another interesting exercise in Treknobabble that I won't be attempting.

PICARD: Phasers and sensors both useless? Mister Data, this reflection phenomenon, would it have the same effect on a disruptor-style weapon?
DATA: Yes, sir. Disruptors would be ineffectual.
PICARD: And a ship's cloaking field?
DATA: It would be extremely difficult to maintain.

How could a cloak work at all in here? A key principle to the cloak is making what's in front of you look like what's behind you. That can't work in here, the paths of energy wouldn't have predictable paths.

DATA: It is not possible. The onboard control systems for every starship require a user code clearance.

You have to enter a code into every console to operate it? Couldn't you have the console scan the user and check it against a list?

LAFORGE: Captain, I've transferred fusion reactors four through nine into the shield array. That should double the shield strength.

They don't devote all possible power to the shields already? You can double shield strength without the warp engines?

It occurs to me that natural phenomenon wouldn't have frequency spectrums that big, and weapons would be using varying profiles to stop frequency-specific blocking.

LAFORGE: We could run the shield grid directly off the warp drive.

This wasn't being done already? Geordi had to ask permission?

Memory Alpha

* The cast and crew learned of Gene's death during the filming of this episode.
* Second mention of the Breen, the first was in "The Loss".

Nitpicker's Guide

* Why is Timothy left alone in a set of quarters? (I would argue that this is probably standard operating procedure, TNG kids are mature enough to earn independence early. Consider the cast of Jeremy Aster. I'm not sure how much of this is a joke.)
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Adam Savage: I reject your reality and substitute my own!

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  #269  
Old 02-04-2022, 07:00 PM
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February 3rd, 1992, "Violations"

Fiver by Derek

The episode

Captain's log, stardate 45429.3. While on a mapping survey, we are conveying a delegation of Ullians to Kaldra Four. These telepathic historians conduct their research by retrieving long-forgotten memories.

I get the usefulness of this particular brand of telepathy, but not for historians. This seems more like cultural research.

LAFORGE: How about you, Commander? Got any memories you feel like digging up?
RIKER: None that I'd care to share with an audience.

This is an interesting thing to think about. No doubt some people would want to remember rather intimate memories, stuff not suitable for a public setting. Do these guys have the equivalent of doctor-patient confidentiality?

DATA: It is perplexing to me that the Ullians' ability to retrieve memory is so highly prized. If an event were important enough to be recovered, why would it have been forgotten?
...
LAFORGE: Sometimes there are memories we just can't access at the spur of the moment. For instance, I have no recollection of how I spent my last birthday. Birthdays are important occasions, and you would think that I'd remember how I spent the day, but right now I can't even remember where I was.

Boy, do I sympathize. My memory recall is absolutely atrocious, but the memories are still there. While I can't access them in the usual way, I can be reminded of them by trigger sensations. Seeing a souvenir, hearing a song, a taste, a smell, things like that. This is why I enjoy Jeopardy and Antiques Roadshow.

TARMIN: You, Mister Worf? I would love to explore Klingon memories.
WORF: Klingons do not allow themselves to be probed.

As SF Debris would say, Klingons structure their memories into stories to convey certain messages and feelings. I have no doubt that their minds have a different sort of filing system for memories.

TARMIN: Once Jev spent two days with a contingent of elderly Gentons. He couldn't get anything from them. I spent only one hour with them and retrieved a fragment from the Gentonian trade wars.

Only mention of Gentons. Memory Beta doesn't even have an entry for them. One wonders why they didn't use another race. Perhaps the Ferengi can be read by these guys, or use one of the familiar yet obscure races like Tellarites or Rigellians.

TROI: Imzadi, we can't. Not when we're serving on the same ship.
"RIKER": Have you stopped thinking about us? Just answer that. I can't stop thinking about you.
TROI: Will, don't.

An interesting idea considering later events. Between the events of Insurrection and their posting on the Titan, I never thought that there was a blanket ban on relationships between senior officers. An unwise idea, but not banned.

Furthermore, I'm reminded of the events of the novel Immortal Coil. During the period when Worf was on DS9 Data has a relationship with the new security chief of the Enterprise-E (a long story by itself, but moving on...). Geordi doesn't think it's a good idea, but Data brings up Troi/Riker and Picard/Crusher.

An interesting idea to consider is that (at least in the early years) Riker put his desire for command above a possible relationship with Troi. There's a whole screed to be had here, but I will desist. To sum up, at this point Riker and Troi have a romantic ceasefire in place, and even an illusionary Riker would be unacceptable to Troi.

RIKER: Deanna, I don't know if you can hear me. I've heard doctors say that even when someone's in a coma, they may be able to hear when people talk to them. That it might help stimulate the brain, speed the healing. In fact, I think you did that for me once, when I was in pretty bad shape.

They're actually bringing up "Shades of Grey"? Wow.

COMPUTER: Antimatter injection breach. Evacuate immediately.

How is the ship still here if there's been an antimatter breach?

CRUSHER: I found the same pattern. If I didn't know better, I'd say they both had Iresine syndrome. That's the only medical condition that would produce that pattern.
WORF: What is Iresine syndrome?
CRUSHER: A very rare neurological disorder first diagnosed in the twenty third century. It's characterised by an identical electropathic residue.

Only mention of Iresine Syndrome. I want to say that there would be a TOS episode that could be referenced here instead, but I can't think of an appropriate one.

PICARD: In the meantime, we must consider restricting them to their quarters, as a precautionary measure.
LAFORGE: If one of them is behind this, will keeping telepaths in their quarters prevent it from happening again?
PICARD: What else can we do?

It's already been established that they haven't invented telepathy-proof shielding yet. This would be a great place to establish that this species requires close proximity to use their telepathy; it would make sense given their abilities.

TROI: How long have I been here?
MARTIN: Three days.

And yet she's not hooked up to tubes and wires. Can the sensor cluster arc do that sort of thing? Can food and water be injected via hypospray? Is waste automatically beamed out?

JEV: Inad and I have contacted our home planet. If you want to prosecute my father, the authorities there will support you.
PICARD: I'm not sure we have any legal basis for such a prosecution. Memory invasion is simply not a crime we've ever had to contend with.

Really? There aren't any rogue Vulcans or Medusans out there? You'd think such crimes would be put on the books as soon as telepathy was discovered.

The Fiver

Inad: We are compiling a list of races' memories to put in our Great Library in Ullandria.
Picard: How very interesting! What a noble and laudable goal you have established.
Tarmin: Would you like your sociological and anthropological distinctiveness added to our own?
Picard: Get off my ship.

Yep, that's a sore subject.

Tarmin: Mr. Worf, would you like Jev to probe your mind?
Worf: Klingons do not have their minds probed.
Tarmin: Hm, Jev can't get to the core of a resistant person's memories. I'd better do it myself as an errand of mercy.
Jev: Grrr.

An interesting idea: does the mind sifter only work on non-Klingons?

Riker: Close the blast doors!
Nameless Ensign 1: But Nameless Ensign 2 is trapped back there!
Riker: Of all the necks on this ship, Ensign, the one you should be worried about is your own.
Jev: Have I mentioned how much I dislike you?

Odd place for a Princess Bride reference.

Riker: Would you like to play poker? And of course by "play poker" --
Troi: Answer's still no.
Shinzon: Aw, come -- Wait...
Reman Viceroy: No...
Tarmin: There we go. Now -- Aw, come on.

The Reman Viceroy's name is Vkruk, incidentally. This doesn't seem like a Romulan name to me. Maybe it's the ears, but I'm reminded of the Skrulls when I see a name like "Vkruk."

Picard: And now a speech. We're human beings with the blood of a million savage years on our hands, but we can stop it. We can....

A reference to the Kirk Speech in "A Taste of Armageddon." I'm not sure that I see the parallel.

Memory Alpha

* First episode made after Gene's death.
* Only episode where we see Keiko, but not O'Brien.
* Fans were angered that the Riker/Troi romance wasn't revisited after this episode. Jeri Taylor didn't intend this to be an indication that things would heat up again.

Nitpicker's Guide

* If the brain has been charted (remember when Crusher thought that headaches didn't exist anymore?), how come the question of whether people in comas can hear people talk to them hasn't been answered yet?
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  #270  
Old 02-12-2022, 03:51 AM
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February 10th, 1992, "The Masterpiece Society"

No fiver

The Episode

Captain's log, stardate 45470.1. The Enterprise has been diverted to the Moab sector to track a stellar core fragment of a disintegrated neutron star. Our science teams have been asked to monitor the planetary disruptions it may cause.

Neutron stars themselves are the cores of supergiants expelled by supernova, themselves some of the densest stellar objects. They don't really "disintegrate", they either stick around or collapse into black holes.

Actually if a neutron star is a member of a binary system, the neutron star could accelerate the aging of their companion. At best this thing could be the remnant of the companion star after some sort of collision with something else.

A stellar core fragment also appeared in "The Naked Now", one wonders why they recycled the premise. The purpose could be achieved with a meteor shower threatening to impact with the star and creating a radiation burst.

PICARD: The fragment will have serious effects on your planet within six days.
CONOR [on viewscreen]: Yes, I know. We have been tracking it. But our biosphere has been constructed to withstand quakes of eight point seven on the Richter Scale.

The biggest earthquake on record is 9.5. Even in earthquake-intensive areas buildings are rarely built to withstand even a 7.

DATA: The fragment has a density of one hundred billion kilograms per cubic centimetre.

Neutron stars have a density of 10^17 kg/m3. Data just said 10^18 kg/m3. Shouldn't a fragment be LESS dense?

PICARD: I'm afraid we're going to have to evacuate your people.

I had a whole screed about the capacity of E-D and how many trips it would take to evacuate, but since we never got the population of Moab IV it would be rather pointless. However, we definitely got the impression that this isn't one of those sparsely-populated TOS planets, we have to be talking about millions of people at the least. Even if there was a planet close enough to evacuate two sets of people a day, that's a small fraction of the population.

PICARD: We are capable of matter-energy transport.
CONOR [on viewscreen]: Matter-energy?
PICARD: We can take you directly through the structure.
CONOR [on viewscreen]: Really? That's quite remarkable.

They'll later say that they left Earth two hundred years ago. Enterprise will say that they had transporters back then, even if it was only for cargo in the earlier days. They should be aware of the concept.

MARTIN: (an older man) This is a mistake, Aaron.
CONOR: Good Lord, Martin. What would you have me do?
MARTIN: Anything that would keep them out of here.
CONOR: We have nothing to hide.
MARTIN: We have a great deal to lose.

I've never been a fan of this "preserving our way of life is more important than preserving our actual lives" thing. It happens way too often.

CONOR: You see, this is an engineered society.
RIKER: Engineered?
CONOR: Genetically engineered. Our ancestors came from Earth to develop a perfect society. They believed that through controlled procreation, they could create people without flaws and those people would build a paradise.

Just because the people are genetically engineered doesn't make the society itself "engineered". When I see "engineered society" I think excessive socialism, which doesn't seem to be the situation here. Although I dispute the idea that your perfect career can be determined by genetics. This whole nature vs nurture debate could've been addressed.

MARTIN: Frankly, yes. No one in this society would be blind, for example.

You claim to have bred out all possible genetic factors for blindness and other handicaps? I'm dubious about that, I would find it more plausible that they have the habit of aborting handicapped fetuses, but of course they wouldn't get away with that in 1992.

CONOR: We've achieved a fully integrated existence. Not just among ourselves but with our environment. We don't just live here, we're a part of our environment. it is part of us. Every plant life, every microscopic lifeform is part of a master design. We cannot separate ourselves from it without irreparably altering who and what we are.

I find this disturbing. You can't possibly anticipate all possible interactions between species, or the affect of genetically modifying one species on the others.

CONOR: Not at all. My entire psychological makeup tells me that I was born to lead. I am exactly what I would choose to be. Think of it another way. Are there still people in your society who have not discovered who they really are, or what they were meant to do with their lives? They may be in the wrong job, they may be writing bad poetry. Or worse yet, they may be great poets working as labourers, never to be discovered. That does not happen here. It is, for us, an ideal existence. We will not give it up easily.

I'm all for educating people about the pros and cons of possible careers, but taking personal liberty out of the equation is also disturbing.

HANNAH: I've worked up a few schematics based on gravimetric potentials and deflector energy allocation.

Gravimetric potential? That just means an object's potential energy that comes from being at a higher elevation, it has nothing to do with this scenario.

HANNAH: Your ship. What kind of energy output is it capable of generating?

12.75 exawatts. That's 12.75(10^18) watts. The United States as a whole is 1.12(10^12) watts. Yikes.

LAFORGE: We can move a small moon or an asteroid, but a stellar core fragment? That's much too massive for our tractor beam.

You can move a small moon? You tried and failed back in "Deja Q", remember?

LAFORGE: A multiphase tractor beam?
HANNAH: When we first spotted the fragment approaching, I came up with the idea, but we can't generate the kind of energy we would need. You can.

I think the idea is that they're going to layer multiple tractor beams on top of each other, each with its own phase. How they are supposed to pull this off is beyond me. I wonder if the warp core is still tied directly into the deflector dish and they could use Wesley's repelling tech.

LAFORGE: It won't affect her DNA at all. There's been over a century of evidence to prove that.

Actually two hundred years if Enterprise is to be believed.

PICARD: They've managed to turn a dubious scientific endeavor into dogma.
TROI: You don't approve of genetic engineering.
PICARD: It was a bad idea whose time is long past.

We could have quite the conversation about the similarities and differences between what Khan did and what these people are doing. Frankly I have a bigger problem with the part where they imply that your entire life is set in stone and your personality is altered to like it.

PICARD: They've given away their humanity with this genetic manipulation. Many of the qualities that they breed out, the uncertainty, the self-discovery, the unknown, those are many of the qualities that make life worth living. Well, at least to me. I wouldn't want to live knowing that my future was written, that my boundaries had been already set, would you?

As Kassidy would say, our only boundaries are those we create for ourselves. And that's the real problem; these people have voluntarily placed themselves in rather narrow boxes because science says that it's a good idea. I kinda wish that they'd ditched the genetic modifications and focused solely on the "our tests can find a person's ideal mate and job" part.
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Old 02-12-2022, 03:52 AM
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HANNAH: If we increase warp power transfer by eighty percent.
LAFORGE: It's just going to blow the emitters again.

Really? They didn't replace the entire deflector dish with another one with upgraded specs after the Borg invasion? Just because the Borg are aware of one particular weak frequency doesn't mean that there weren't other possible weak frequencies that our heroes could discover.

HANNAH: It was the wish of our founders that no one had to suffer a life with disabilities.
LAFORGE: Who gave them the right to decide whether or not I should be here? Whether or not I might have something to contribute.
HANNAH: I don't know what to say.

The contributions of disabled people are a loaded issue by themselves. Let's just toss up a link to paintings by blind painters and move on.

LAFORGE: Well, the visor scans the electromagnetic spectrum between one hertz and one hundred thousand terahertz, converts it all to usable frequencies and then transmits that information directly to my brain.

One hertz is past the radio wave range. 100,000 terahertz is a bit clunky, you could just say 100 petahertz (10^17 hertz). That's in the middle of the X-ray range.

HANNAH: What about the data conversion rates? How do you avoid a sensory overload?
LAFORGE: A bank of pre-processors compresses the data stream into pulses, you see. That way, my visual cortex never--

I wish that there was a proverbial "tuner" attached to the VISOR that let's Geordi select what he sees. His standard visual range should only dip into near-infrared and near-ultraviolet, 10^-4 to 10^-7 Hz.

Presumably these pre-processors are built into the nodes in his temples. I wonder what these pre-processors are programmed to bring to his attention. Has he set it to look for the frequencies put out by different warp engine components?

LAFORGE: We should be able to send a high-energy pulse through the tractor system. If it's short enough, it shouldn't overload the emitters. The technology is right here. If we could adapt those pulse compression routines and then apply them to the warp power conduits.
HANNAH: We'd have to avoid tractor force rebounding, but that shouldn't be hard.

I think the idea is that instead of a continual beam it will stutter so the emitter isn't "on" long enough to burn out. Even so, I have no idea how the force could "rebound."

CONOR: A nursery rhyme my mother used to read to me has been running round and round my mind since this all began.
TROI: A nursery rhyme?
CONOR: Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
CONOR + TROI: All the King's horses and all the King's Men, couldn't put Humpty together again.
CONOR: Why do we tell our children such ghastly stories?

Good question, why does this society even tell fairy tales?

Captain's log, supplemental. The Enterprise has moved to a parallel course with the core fragment. We must adjust its trajectory by a minimum of one point two degrees to ensure the colony's safety.

Actually, the longer you wait the more you have to adjust the trajectory. If we assume that this fragment can't get any closer than the Moon is from the Earth, the fragment is 1500 times times the diameter of the planet away.

WORF: Why shouldn't we grant them asylum?
TROI: We can't do that.
LAFORGE: We have to do that.
TROI: Do you understand what it would do to the colony?
LAFORGE: I understand these are human beings, Counsellor, with free will. If she wants to leave, she has every right to.
RIKER: And what happens to the colony if she does? If others join her?
CRUSHER: The society is genetically integrated. Suddenly there would be gaps, missing pieces.
TROI: It would destroy them.

The entire point of democracy is that the rights of the state can never override the rights of the individual. This is a whole other discussion that needed to happen akin to the Prime Directive stuff in "Pen Pals".

PICARD: If you force them to stay, you will be suppressing their human rights.
CONOR: If even a handful leave, the damage to this society will be devastating. What about the rights of those who would stay behind? They are the ones who will inherit the social chaos that will follow for generations.

Your society is THAT structured? No redundancies? No wiggle room? I call that a dead society and I have no compassion.

PICARD: If we ever needed reminding of the importance of the Prime Directive, it is now.
RIKER: The Prime Directive doesn't apply. They're human.

What? At this point the PD covers all interactions between the Federation and non-Federation worlds. It definitely DOES apply!
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Adam Savage: I reject your reality and substitute my own!

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  #272  
Old 02-23-2022, 02:18 PM
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February 17th, 1992, "Conundrum"

Fiver by Marc

The Episode

Captain's log, stardate 45494.2. We're investigating a series of subspace signals that may indicate intelligent life in the Epsilon Silar System. We are within sensor range.

You'd think by now they'd have automated tests on subspace signals that separate "intelligent life" versus "random fluctuations."

Furthermore, I'm starting to dislike the use of "intelligent life" as a synonym for "humanoid life". We've seen plenty of nonhumanoid sentient lifeforms.

ATA: The characteristic response to the Kriskov Gambit is to counter with the el-Mitra Exchange, particularly since I have already taken both your rooks. By missing that opportunity, you have left your king vulnerable.
TROI: We'll see.
DATA: As you wish, Counsellor. Check.
(Troi makes her move)
DATA: Intriguing. You have devised a completely unanticipated response to a classic attack. You will checkmate my king in seven moves.

Why anyone would play chess with Data is beyond me. Furthermore, I refuse to believe that anything seven moves away is set in stone. And seriously, Troi playing 3D chess?

TROI: You owe me one Samarian Sunset made in the traditional style, as only you can make it, Data.

The only other mention of Samarian Sunsets in canon is in "Profit and Loss" over on DS9. However, in Online Scotty says that they're sour and weak.

The weirdest mention in the expanded universe is the Star Trek Cookbook where Neelix made one for Tuvok. I know that Spock indulged on occasion, but I don't see Tuvok ever drinking like that. True Vulcans would never want their inhibitions lowered for even a second if possible.

RUSHER: If I remember correctly, the last time you graced my Sickbay, you were diving off the Cliffs of Heaven on Sumiko Four. Holodeck programme 47C.
KRISTIN: Same thing. Only that time, I flattened out when I should have tucked.
CRUSHER: Well, as your Doctor, I would like to recommend the Emerald Wading Pool on Cirrus Four. It's a lot safer.

Obvious 47 is obvious. Only mention of the Cliffs of Heaven or the Emerald Wading Pool (okay, an Okudagram in First Contact had the pool on the holoprogram list, but that doesn't really count).

Recreational swimming doesn't come up all that often in Trek. Skinny dipping seems to be a thing on Risa and Pacifica, but those are exceptions.

Oh, and while Worf seems to be anti-swimming, this isn't a general Klingon opinion. Kurn's house on Qo'noS has a swimming lake.

RIKER: Navigators on this ship have been doing flight handling assessments the same way for years, Ensign.
RO: And I've found a better way.
RIKER: Bridge. Do you mind if we discuss changes in procedure before you make them?
RO: If I had come to you in advance and asked you to do it my way
RIKER: I might have said
RO: No.
RIKER: Yes, maybe. The point is, I didn't get the chance.
RO: The point is, with all due respect Commander, you're trying to turn me into your idea of the model officer.
RIKER: The rules on this ship do not change just because Ro Laren decides they do.

I never did like the Riker/Ro animosity or the underlying sexual tension. Furthermore, I HATE the "if I had asked permission, you would have said no" thing.

It does make you wonder if "Conn" is in fact a complete department with its own head, or just a title for whoever is sitting at the helm at that moment. Is Ro just a pilot, or does she have other duties? It seems to me that Ro's job should've been like Worf's back in Season One; learning the different bridge stations before picking a specialty. We saw that Ro and Geordi had an interesting dynamic that could've been built upon. And did Ro and Data have any real interactions?

WORF: Sir, the scans are now matching the frequency of our optical data network. It could be an attempt to access our computer system.

It's not often you see "optical data network" instead of "ODN". I think the implication is that at this point the creators thought that the future of computer networking was strictly fiberoptics. Remember that these are still the days of dialup Internet, and even then it was only between large organizations. The World Wide Web was still in its infancy. HTML had barely been invented.

(Data puts a glass of clear liquid in front of Deanna, then taps it with his fingernail. A yellow glow diffuses into orange in the glass)

This won't be the first or last beverage on Trek that is this unstable, but of course the most memorable one is the Tsartak Apertif in "Time's Arrow". One wrong move and the whole thing will fizzle away.

(the Bridge is briefly flooded with bright green light)
PICARD: What happened?
LAFORGE: What the hell?
RIKER: I don't know who any of you are.
PICARD: Nor do I. I don't even remember who I am.

Lets get this out of the way: in no reasonable universe could an "amnesia ray" affect so many different species plus DATA in exactly the same way. To be frank, during the downtime Data should've been stunned and taken away. Plus, y'know, wouldn't the aliens want Data at his post to complete the mission?

PICARD: Clearly, we still possess certain skills. It would seem we know how to operate this ship. But our identities have somehow been erased or suppressed.
RIKER: We are on the Bridge. There's a good chance this is our ship. Looks like you're the leader.
WORF: Perhaps we should not jump to conclusions. I am decorated as well.

While a good gag, this doesn't make sense. While the aliens wouldn't care about the baldric, something as simple as rank insignia should be part of the general ship's knowledge that they'd want the crew to retain.

RO: That rules out a distress signal.
RIKER: If we even knew where to send it.

Isn't the whole point of a distress signal that you don't care who gets it? You just need help! And distress signals have always been omnidirectional.

MACDUFF: We've heard from all decks. There are over a thousand people on board. Everyone's had their memories affected in the same way we have.

And here we have another episode that neatly ignores the fact that there are children on board. Children who don't know who they are would be hysteric! Civilians without formal training would be hysteric! There should be chaos belowdecks!

LAFORGE: I'll go with you. I want to get my hands on the computer core. See if we can re-establish control from there.

THE computer core? You do realize that there are three computer cores on the ship, right? There are days that I wonder why the tech manual was written if nobodies actually going to use it as reference material.

RIKER: Well, with that holodeck we just saw. I think I could conjure up an interesting programme or two.
RO: Now that's disappointing.
RIKER: Why?
RO: You don't strike me as a man who needs a holodeck to have a good time.

I'm reminded of Riker's declarations in 11001001 (or whatever) that he can find his own fun. However, the idea that only a loser needs to use a holodeck is insulting to be honest with you. The weirdest part is that Gene's dead and they're still applying sexual innuendo to the holodeck. What's up with that?

RIKER: Your memories are gone as well?
DATA: The databanks that identify who I am are not functioning.

I refuse to believe that the Satarrans have the expertise to modify Data that much. He should be disassembled in a weapons lab by now.

TROI: No. Just for a moment, you seemed familiar.
RIKER: You remember me?
TROI: Not exactly. I mean, I don't know who you are, but there's something about you.

So their empathic bond has a unique telepathic fingerprint. Fair enough, and I expect the Satarrans can't block it. However, you'd think Troi would be off to be dissected and weaponized along with Data by now.

LAFORGE: Computer give me a biographical listing of all personnel responsible for primary operation of the ship.
COMPUTER: A full biographical listing is not available.
LAFORGE: Is there any list of the ship's senior officers?
COMPUTER: The crew manifest is available.

Insert typical technobabble rant here.

PICARD: What do we know about this weapon?
DATA: Our scientists theorise the Lysians are using an energy wave, either plasma-based or a subspace interference pattern.

Those aren't remotely similar technologies. It's like saying that the only two options for the power source of the A-Bomb are uranium and corbomite.

RO: I just didn't like the way my quarters were decorated. Besides, I have this funny feeling that maybe I spend most of my off hours here.
RIKER: Really?
RO: For all we know, you and I could be married.
RIKER: For all we know, you and I could hate each other.
RO: Sort of exciting, isn't it? We just don't know.

Like I said, this pairing never made sense to me. SF Debris says that it does because all of the baggage that otherwise would've held them back has been hidden. I disagree. Maybe a first-season Riker who was still chasing tail would be interested in Ro as a challenge, but it's the fifth season, he's "seasoned" (a horrible thing to say to a man) and would want someone who was a true companion, not just a lover.

Furthermore, Ro must've had her share of one-night stands as well, but without the baggage she should want to be more conventional. Bajorans know how to be warriors when they have to be, and lately they've certainly had to be, but in their natural state they're farmers and artists. They must have the same "nesting instinct" mentioned by Carmen back in "Silicon Avatar."
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  #273  
Old 02-23-2022, 02:21 PM
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RO: Maybe we should stay right here and see what happens.
RIKER: What if I snore in my sleep?
RO: What makes you think you're going to get any sleep?

At this point in Trek this is postively R rated.

One thing I find odd is that Picard will later say that his conscience is bugging him. Shouldn't the same thing be nagging these two that sex right now is a bad idea?

DATA: The destroyer has minimal shields. Their disruptor capacity appears to be only two point one megajoules.
RIKER: They're no match for the Enterprise.

A fan site calculates the Enterprise's phasers at 22.5 million megajoules.

Yeah, I'd say a factor of ten million qualifies as "no match".

RO: I recommend a randomly vectored approach to our target. It would be our best chance of avoiding sort of any pursuit.

Randomly vectored approach? You mean zig-zagging, Ro. And I think a fleet can track one ship no matter what it's doing.

TROI: So what else has your research uncovered about William Riker?
RIKER: He's athletically inclined, loves to climb mountain. He's from somewhere called Alaska. He enjoys exotic food, and takes his vacations on a planet called Risa.

Exotic food? You know I have to link to "A Matter of Honor" now...

Riker: These are the more palatable choices.

PICARD: I feel as though I've been handed a weapon, sent into a room and told to shoot a stranger. Well, I need some moral context to justify that action, and I don't have it. I'm not content simply to obey orders. I need to know that what I am doing is right.

It's a shame that this wasn't developed more.

RIKER: How can our mortal enemy be over a hundred years behind us in weapons technology?

One hundred years? Try two hundred! Archer could take these suckers out, and when I'm referencing Enterprise you know things are serious.

RO: (deadpan) Commander, don't worry about it. As far as I'm concerned, you and I have shared something that we will treasure forever.
(Ro leaves)
RIKER: Well, I'm a little confused.
TROI: Well, if you're still confused tomorrow, you know where my office is.

With an issue like this, shouldn't Troi have an assistant for Riker to talk to?

The Fiver

Worf: Who are all you people?
Ro: Beats me. I can't even recall who I am.
Picard: Neither can I. Remembrance is futile.

That pun hurts.

La Forge: Our mission is to enter Lysian space and obliterate their weapons of mass destruction.
Picard: Who issued that order?
Data: Ambassador Krajensky.
MacDuff: An unimpeachable source. Let's go.

Krejensky was replaced by a Changeling in "The Adversary". This is a reference even I had to look up.

MacDuff: Here's a printout of the latest intelligence on the enemy's illicit weapon-production program.
Picard: (reading) "The Lysians have nearly completed the Death Star, a space station with enough firepower to destroy an entire...."
MacDuff: It says "planet."
Picard: Yes, but why are there eraser marks under that word?
MacDuff: Uh -- maybe the report was recently updated.
Picard: (squinting at paper) It looks to me like it originally read "cream puff."
MacDuff: You're imagining things.

I get the joke, but I would've put "Tribble" in there. And then Worf would say that it sounds like a formidable weapon.

Troi: Interesting -- a statue from Risa and a love note from me to you. What do you think it adds up to?
Ro's voice: (from outside the door) Are you home, sweetie?
Riker: Boy, do I ever hate multiple-choice questions.

Even with amnesia, I can't see Ro using the term "sweetie." Heck, I can't see KIRA using the term "sweetie."

MacDuff: Then this strike shall be led by me, MacDuff! And damned be him who first cries, "Hold, enough!"
Picard: Fine pentameters cut no ice around here, thou miscreant rogue.

Of course this is a reference to Shakespeare's MacBeth. While Shakespeare used "miscreant" and "rogue", he never used both together.

Riker: I'm glad we've recovered our memories and that we managed to stop him. He could easily have triggered a war.
Troi: (over the comm) Commander Riker, could Ensign Ro and I have a word with you in Ten-Forward?
Picard: Hmm. Perhaps he didn't entirely fail after all.
(Riker leaves for Ten-Forward at Opprobrious Speed)

"Opprobrious" means "overly disgraceful or shameful." Did anyone other than Marc ever get this joke?

Memory Alpha

* Riker has a horga'hn in his quarters. Of course he does, but you have to wonder why he'd need one with his demonstrated animal magnetism.
* The personnel files of the senior staff contain several previously unknown facts. Highlights:
** Beverly was born on the Moon
** Wesley's middle name is R
** Data majored in Probability Mechanics (whatever THAT is)
** Lal and Ian are in Data and Troi's files as offspring
** MacDuff's birthplace is Gamma Canaris N (AKA the planet where Cochrane and the Companion ended up)
** Ro's parents were named Talia and Gale

Nitpicker's Guide

* With everything MacDuff was able to do, Phil is very skeptical that he'd need the Enterprise in the first place.
* Dialogue states that the Enterprise has ten phaser banks. This is incorrect, there are actually eleven (twelve if you count the one on the head of the stardrive that is usually covered by the saucer).
* Phil wonders why MacDuff didn't make himself Captain. I have the obvious answer: he doesn't know everything about the Enterprise and general Federation stuff, and the captain would be expected to know all of that.
* Why didn't MacDuff replace the whole crew? See the previous entry.
* If the Enterprise is supposedly on a secret war mission, why doesn't anyone question why there are families on board?
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mudshark: I don't expect Nate to make sense, really -- it's just a bad idea.

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

Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

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  #274  
Old 03-04-2022, 01:30 AM
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February 24th, 1992, "Power Play"

Fiver by Kira

The Episode

DATA: I will verify it. Just as I thought. It is a Starfleet subspace distress signal, standard to Daedalus-class starships.
RIKER: There hasn't been a Daedalus class in service for what?
DATA: One hundred seventy two years, sir.

I wish the Daedalus class came up more often in canon. And of course the novel Starfleet: Year One focused on them before Enterprise destroyed the previous 22nd-century canon. You can read more about it at Ex Astris Scientia here. The only ship in TOS that could've been of this class is the Archon from "Return of the Archons."

Sisko had a model of this class on his desk and Keiko borrowed it for a lesson, but we have no idea what the name of this ship was. One wonders why he has it in the first place. Sure, he worked at Utopia Planitia for awhile and no doubt learned more about the history of starship design than the average person, but even so, what is this ship? I don't think the Siskos had a long legacy of starship service like some other families I could name.

PICARD: Are there any records of missing ships in this vicinity?
DATA: The USS Essex under the command of Captain Bryce Shumar disappeared in this sector over two centuries ago.

I wonder why Data wouldn't be precise here. The ship was lost in 2167. That's 201 years.

PICARD: Mute it, Mister Data. With that storm activity down there, it isn't worth the risk to check on a ghost ship. Advise Starfleet that we have solved the mystery of Captain Shumar and the Essex.
TROI: I'm not sure we have. Someone's down there. Alive.

Is there any correlation between energy storm activity and Troi's abillities? Furthermore, what is the practical range of her powers? I'll buy that if she's familiar with a person's mental fingerprint (aka Riker) she can sense stuff from orbit, but through an energy storm? I call bull.

First officer's log, supplemental. The electromagnetic interference on the surface has been judged too dangerous for anyone to transport down, so we have taken a shuttle to investigate.

Why are they using a shuttlepod here? (Of course it's for budgetary reasons, but I mean in-universe). I know that runabouts don't exist yet, but there are beefier shuttles available. Shuttlepods should be restricted to ship-to-ship or ship-to-station use only.

DATA: It is unlikely that we will be able to establish communication with the ship, given the electromagnetic interference.

I'm reminded of "The Enemy". "Good thing we didn't bring Data. We'd be unscrambling his circuits for a week." Why is he down here?

LAFORGE: We can't get a pattern lock on their communicators because of the EM bursts, Captain.

Why weren't these guys wearing transporter armbands? You'd think in situations like this there would be a standard "beefier" communicator that can cut through the interference and allow communications and a transporter lock.

O'BRIEN: Sir, let me beam down with a pattern enhancer.
LAFORGE: Chief, there's no guarantee you won't rematerialise in a million pieces if your signal gets caught up in that electromagnetic whirlwind.
O'BRIEN: I can boost the confinement beam. One person might be able to make it.

Which brings to mind another question. We know that cargo transporters are "cruder" than regular pads to handle larger loads. Would it be possible to beam down the enhancers first to allow for a stronger lock for the people going down after?

And is O'Brien saying that you can only do one super-confinement beam at a time? Of course the confinement beam isn't the problem in the first place, it's getting a proper sensor lock of the destination. I apologize for the excess Treknology this week.

LAFORGE [OC]: His chances of getting down there safely are no better than fifty-fifty, in my opinion.
WORF: Captain, a major storm front is moving in on the away team's coordinates.
PICARD: You're aware of the risks, Mister O'Brien?
O'BRIEN [OC]: Yes sir.

Fifty-fifty? I call that an unacceptable risk.

O'BRIEN: Nice spot for a picnic, sir. We need to distribute these enhancer rods at seven metre lengths. That should do it.

First of all, the sides of the triangle should be as short as possible for these things to have the strongest combined signal. Second, seven meters? That's 23 feet, and way larger than the actual distance of these things. Look at this screencap, that's not 23 feet, more like twelve or fifteen. Do we chalk this mistake up to the screenwriter or the director?

WORF: Aye, sir. They have been stopped at deck thirteen.
PICARD: Mister Worf.

[Deck 13]

(But when Worf and Patricia Tallman and another security guard get there, the turbolift is empty except for three comm. badges on the floor)

Data is a proven security risk, the crew should've trained the sensors to keep a lock on his actual body and not his commbadge by now. Furthermore, I'm always annoyed by the implication that the only way the ship keeps track of people is their commbadges. If tricorders can keep track of people on a planet's surface, the ship's sensors should be able to keep track of people on board ship.

PICARD: Mister La Forge, shut down all computer access to Ten Forward.
LAFORGE: (at ops) I can't, Captain. They've already set up a remote security lock out. We'd have to shut down all computer function in the saucer section.

So? What's the problem here? It would slow down our crew, but you'd think preventing access by the hijackers would be priority one.

CREWMAN: Bridge, the entire transporter array has been taken off line and placed into diagnostic mode.

Sickbay should have an independent array, and the shuttles have transporters too. Even if you say that the shuttle transporter range is shorter than the ship's, I assume it still covers the entire ship.

TROI: What are you doing now?
DATA: I can reverse the polarity of their forcefields to isolate this room.
TROI: Good.

What? I know that "reverse the polarity" is a running gag in Trek, but this is one case where it makes no sense at all. Just say that you're blasting interference at the forcefields to stop anyone outside from scanning anything inside!

RIKER: What about flooding their air vents with anaesthezine gas?
LAFORGE: That won't affect Data. No rescue plan will work unless we can knock out all three of them.

I have doubts about this. Have the invaders demonstrated an "every man for himself" mentality? They don't seem to squabble like the space pirates of "Gambit" do. Besides, neutralizing one target with security is easier than three.

TROI: Welcome, Captain. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Captain Bryce Shumar, of the Federation Starship Essex.

We'll later learn that these aren't really Essex, survivors, but of course the expanded universe gave them backstories anyway. Shumar participated in war games against other ships including the NX-01. He made official first contact with the planet Sauria.

TROI: This is my First Officer Commander Steven Mullen (Data), and my Security Chief, Lieutenant Morgan Kelly. (Miles)

Mullen was affected by Deltan pheromones during a trip to Delta, but was able to resist since he had a girlfriend (the ship's chef).

Morgan Kelly was a trans man. She was the one who shortened "phase cannon" to "phaser".

TROI: Spirits? Ghosts? But you're a man who would never believe in ghosts, Picard. Isn't that true? You see, Troi knows you. And so I do as well.

This is actually an interesting idea. Given the events of "Where No Man Has Gone Before" and Picard's acceptance of the general tenants of religion (I've recommended the novel "Guises of the Mind" before and I do it again), you'd think Picard would be the most accepting of ghosts, or at least the idea that humans have a soul of some kind.

PICARD: Under whose command in this sector?
TROI: Admiral Uttan Narsu, Starbase Twelve. You will find all this in Starfleet records.

Narsu was part of the war games I mentioned earlier. He appeared in several Enterprise novels. Like I've said before, it's depressing when the fans care more about this stuff than the creators.

LAFORGE: Section two B, A, section one.

Section one of the saucer is indeed the slice pointing forward. Yeah, for some reason the sections of the saucer are like pizza slices. You'd think there would at least be separation into inner, middle, and outer sections of each slice.

PICARD: Impressions, Mister Worf?
WORF: Spiritual possessions of this sort have been reported throughout Klingon history. It is called jat'yIn, the taking of the living by the dead.

In the novels Vulcan katras are also known to possess the living. In the novel The Lost Years we learn of Zakal. He was an enemy of Surak and a proto-Romulan, but not just that. He was a mind-lord (one who didn't discipline his telepathy like most Vulcans), and could kill with his mind. Even so, Surak arranged for his katra to be placed in the Hall of Ancient Thought. During the Lost Years (the period between TOS and STTMP) he returned. A friend-turned-enemy of Spock named Sekar took Zakar's katra into his own body hoping to conquer Vulcan, but, well, you'll just have to read the novel. It's a good one!
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Old 03-04-2022, 01:30 AM
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O'BRIEN: I gave you that. In a place called McKinley Park. Green grass. Tall trees.
KEIKO: Please don't.
O'BRIEN: I hid the bracelet in your pocket. You were surprised.

How long did Miles and Keiko date, anyway? All we know is that Data introduced them to each other, which indicates that it was onboard the ship. Taking a vacation back to Earth seems like a big deal, probably they met each other's families at the same time.

DATA: Pick one to die, Captain, or I kill them both.

"This is why only fools are heroes. Because you never know when some lunatic will come along with a sadistic choice..."

TROI: We were brought to this moon over five centuries ago from a star system called Ux-Mal. We were separated from our bodies and left to drift in the storms. Once we almost escaped, on board the Essex, but that ship was incapable of eluding this moon's electromagnetic storms.

Uxmal was a city of the Mayan empire. I don't know if this is intentional or not.

PICARD: If you each know the officers you inhabit, then you know they're equally ready to give their lives for this ship. Free them now and I will return you to the moon's surface.
TROI: I advise you, Picard, not to pass our way again.

Like he would, anyway. They have to know that Picard will designate this planet as a no-fly zone and nobody will ever come here again. There isn't even anything the Romulans would want, this place is less hospitable than even Galordan Core.

The Fiver

Data: The signal appears to be a subspace distress call from the USS Essex, sir. It was lost with all hands one hundred and seventy years ago.
Riker: Why Captain, that must have been about when you were going through the Academy.

One hundred seventy? Where'd that come from? Like I said before, it's been 201 years!

Worf: We've lost contact with the away team, sir.
Picard: What we need here are some recurring characters to the rescue. Ensign Ro?
Ensign Ro: Yes, Captain?
Picard: Get me Chief O'Brien.

Burn!

Lightning: CRACK!
Away Team: OW!
Troi: Hey, floating light things!
Riker: Shh! We're supposed to be unconscious!
O'Brien: Data too? That doesn't make sense....
Riker: Unconscious!

Since when do fivers make sense?

Crusher: Will has a broken arm. Chief O'Brien and Data are fine... only they keep muttering "werc esirpretne eht llik" in their sleep.
Troi: I'm sure it's nothing.

"Kill the Enterprise crew." I thought backward talk was for crazy people only.

Troi: Ye scurvy dogs, ye be ruinin' the plan! What be we to do now?
Data: Arrr! Leave it to me, me hearties; this robot be takin' over the ship before. 'Tis easy!
O'Brien: But they be knowin' how to stop yar, seein' ye've done it before?
Data: Ye'd think so, but nar.

Does the "no contractions" thing just apply to when Data's mind is in charge, or does the programming extend to his actual mouth?

Troi: Avast, ye scurvy dogs! Down on the floor, or ye be keelhauled by the scuppers!
Keiko: Miles? What's going on?
O'Brien: This be a mutiny! Now face to the deck before we make ye walk the plank!
Keiko: Oh, you are so sleeping on the couch tonight.

"Keelhauled" means looping a rope under the ship, tying it to a person, and dragging them under the ship from one side to the other as punishment. "Scuppers" are holes along the rails of the deck to allow water to drain out. This is a nonsense statement.

Troi: Yarrr! Move yer ship to th' southern polar region, or we be killin' Jack.
Picard: (over the comm) Actually, my name is Jean-Luc.
Data: Not you! We named the monkey Jack.
Worf: What did you call me?

This is a Pirates of the Caribbean reference. Curse of the Black Pearl came out in 2003 and the fiver was written in 2004.

Of course, my mind goes to Indiana Jones. We called the DOG Indiana!

Picard: Ensign, move the ship to the southern polar region. Very, very slowly.
Ro: Aye, sir. Activating Star Trek: The Motion Picture super slow motion.

Well, that's just inhuman! Good thing Ro is doing it. Someone actually compiled all of the extended exterior shots from STTMP into one video. Twenty-five minutes! Talk about the Slow-Motion Picture. At least the music is good...

Crusher: I've detected unusual synaptic activity in Troi, O'Brien, and Data --
Picard: Since when does Data have synapses?
Crusher: Don't interrupt my exposition.

It's a good point. How could these things even know how to move around a positronic brain?

O'Brien: Yarr... this wench and little 'un be familiar.
Keiko: Wench?

You should see Rosalind Chao in action in the movie White Ghost (or just watch Spoony's review). She stabs people in the crotch with scissors and everything!

Picard: Oh, and Commander, don't forget the blue penguin flies at midnight. Picard out.
Ro: Do you know what his plan is, Commander?
Riker: I have no idea what he's talking about: everybody knows penguins can't fly.

Unless you're in a horrible Don Bluth movie, that is.

Picard: I know you're not really Captain Shumar.
Troi: Yarr, we be exiled criminals, marooned on this moon for ages. What be givin' us away?
Picard: Captain Shumar drank tea, chamomile, lukewarm, not rum.

The only known chamomile tea drinker in Trek is T'Pol.

Troi: It was very strange. I could sense things, but I didn't really know what was going on and I had no power to do anything.
Picard: You're talking about your possession, right?
Troi: Yes, I -- hey!

Burn!

Data: I am sorry I compared you to a primate, Lieutenant.
Worf: bortaS bIr jablu'DI'reH QaQqu'nay!
Data: "Revenge is a dish best served cold"? It appears I will have to ask Geordi to repair my translation matrix.

This is accurate, now watch Sheldon on Big Bang Theory say it!

Keiko: Well, you should be sorry. How would you like it if I were possessed by some evil being that made you do all sorts of horrible things?
O'Brien: You mean made you do all sorts of horrible things.
Keiko: Whatever.

"The Assignment" is not an episode of DS9 that I revisit. Like I've said, I don't like "O'Brien Must Suffer" episodes.

Memory Alpha

* The creators gave the unofficial names Slash, Buzz, and Slugger to the entities in Troi, Data, and O'Brien, respectively.
* Sirtis broke her tailbone doing the stunt where they were thrown backward by the storm. I remember this bit from the special "Journey's End: The Saga of STTNG".
* First appearance of the pattern enhancers.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Picard threatens to kill the entities by blowing the cargo bay hatch. Does it seem likely that these things need oxygen to survive?
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  #276  
Old 03-09-2022, 05:34 PM
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March 2nd, 1992, "Ethics"

Oh boy, is this one a beartrap waiting to be stepped in...

No fiver

The Episode

LAFORGE: I'm still reading some chlorinide leakage, but I can't pin it down.

Only mention of chlorinide. -ide means a binary compound that doesn't have any metallic elements. There's a Reddit post that posits that "chloride" (i.e. a chlorine ion attached to a molecule) should really be "chlorinide". Chloride salts are found in saltwater and also exists in all body fluids. They corrode metal and have other negative environmental effects. They can also be used to preserve food or as a general dessicant. As for what this stuff is doing on a starship, I have to assume that it's being used as a conductor. Perhaps this is a precursor to the bio-neural gelpaks.

WORF: How did you know what I had?
LAFORGE: Let's just say I had a special insight into the cards. Maybe next time you should bring a deck that's not transparent to infrared light. Not to worry, Worf. I only peek after the hand is over.

I fail to see how seeing infrared allows you to see through playing cards. My best (if outlandish) guess is that the ink on a card has a different heat conductivity than the cardstock. Therefore Geordi see the heat distribution across the card and the inked portions are a little "cooler" than the surrounding portion. Although you'd think you could replicate the cards to include a layer of foil within them to prevent this.

LAFORGE: Still nothing. I'll get a dynoscan. We'll try again.

The only other appearance of a dynoscanner is TWOK. Apparently these things are useful for scanning low-level molecular activity, stuff too subtle for standard tricorders.

(Worf carries on scanning with the tricorder, as a barrel stacked on top of the leaking one starts to topple forward until)

Let's get this out of the way right now: the entire premise of this episode is stupid. It's been proven over and over again that the inertial dampeners aren't infallible. Why aren't these barrels secured? A secondary question is how you're supposed to get stuff on and off these shelves. Forklifts don't exist in Star Trek. We know that hover units exist in this universe, but how do crewmen get up there to begin with?

TLDR: There's no reason for multilevel cargo bays in the first place; there should be a mezzanine level with an elevator.

(Worf tries to sit up, but cannot)
WORF: Doctor, I will not attempt to leave Sickbay without your approval. The restraining field is not necessary.

This is just dumb. I'm pretty sure that restraining fields would have some sort of static charge feedback to tell you that they're there.

RUSSELL: Before we get down to business, I just wanted to say that I had the pleasure of reading your paper on cybernetic regeneration recently.
CRUSHER: Really? You're the first person to mention it.

This is a reference to "11001001", back in the pre-Borg days when cybernetics wasn't a boogeyman.

RUSSELL: Only briefly. I must admit, I was a little shocked to find the state of Klingon neurological medicine to be so primitive.
CRUSHER: It's a cultural bias. When I contacted the Klingon Medical Division, they informed me that they usually let the patient die in a case like this. As a result they've done almost no research on neurological trauma.

I get the Klingon cultural bias, I really do. And we'll be covering euthanasia later, but you'd think even Klingons would want to be on the cutting edge of medical technology anyway. No doubt stuff that would've been euthanasia-worth in the TOS days can be fully treated now. If they're going to draw a line at what is and isn't worth treating, we're getting into religious belief here, which would've been an interesting discussion.

RIKER: You look pretty good for someone who's been eating sickbay food for three days.

I get the "hospital food sucks" joke, but in this case it's just dumb. In an age of replicators I imagine patients have full access to whatever they want. Maybe Crusher can tell the replicator not to give Worf stuff with too much sugar or whatever, but in general there should be no difference.

CRUSHER: The cortical spinal tract has continued to deteriorate over the last seventy two hours despite CPK enzymatic therapy.

"CPK" means "creatine phosphokinase", an enzyme (hence "enzymatic" being redundant) that regulates muscle contractility and blood pressure. Too much CPK (or rather CK in today's nomenclature) indicates too much exercise or tissue damage. In this case I think what they're trying to mitigate the damage being done by the higher blood pressure caused by Worf's body trying and failing to repair itself.

RUSSELL: What about alkysine treatment?
CRUSHER: Ineffective.

Alkysine doesn't exist. In fact this is redundant nonsense, as -ine indicates an organic base, and alkaloids are already organic.

RUSSELL: Overdesigned. Klingon anatomy. Twenty three ribs, two livers, eight-chambered heart, double-lined neural pia mater. I've never seen so many unnecessary redundancies in one body.

Humans have 24 ribs (don't pay attention to accounts from Genesis), odd numbers don't make sense. Two livers I don't understand, even if Klingons do enjoy their booze. Does bloodwine have two different forms of alcohol in it that require two livers?

Pia mater is the delicate inner membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord. I don't see why having two layers is a bad thing.

CRUSHER: Unnecessary? The Klingons refer to it as the brak'lul. Almost every vital function in their bodies has a built-in redundancy in case any primary organ or system fails.

Except for the heart. While I could understand how eight chambers could help with larger feats of strength in battle, I don't think you could injure four chambers and have the other four work like normal.

Incidentally, in "Lineage" it's revealed that Klingons have three lungs to aid in battlefield longevity. I wonder why it wasn't mentioned here. And in "Macrocosm" we learn that Klingons have two stomachs, another implausible redundancy.

Incidentally, Okudagram text in DS9 reveals that there was a Klingon officer in the Dominion war named Brak'Lul who was killed in action. Why you would name someone "Redundant" is beyond me.

RUSSELL: The early results have been very encouraging. Beverly, the genetronic replicator can create a completely new neural conduit for your Lieutenant Worf.
CRUSHER: Replace his entire spinal column?
RUSSELL: Exactly. Instead of splicing and pasting together broken connections like a couple of glorified tailors, we create a new living system.

This is a case where I agree with Russell. Trying to splice neural tissue has historically been a bad idea in Trek (I especially refer you to Bariel), this is a case where complete replacement is preferable if possible.

CRUSHER: I had no idea you were already using this on humanoids.
RUSSELL: I haven't been. This'll be the first time.
CRUSHER: First time?
RUSSELL: I've done dozens of holosimulations. The success rate is up to thirty seven percent.

I balk at the notion that a holographic recreation can predict everything that can do wrong with a neural system if altered. I do wonder why it wasn't 47 percent.

CRUSHER: You're talking about a spinal column. Even before we could replace it, we have to remove the existing one, and we don't know enough about Klingon neurological medicine to re-attach it.

This is where I don't agree with Crusher. Attaching bones, muscles, and basic nerves isn't the problem here. It's been done before in Trek. My concern is severing the existing nerves to cause minimal damage in the time between spines.

CRUSHER: I'll need to convert all three shuttlebays to emergency triage centres. I also want all civilians with medical training to report for duty.
PICARD: Make it so.

Why would she need permission to do this?

PICARD: Will, if you were dying, if you were terminally ill with an incurable disease and facing the remaining few days of your life in pain, wouldn't you come to look on death as a release?
RIKER: Worf isn't dying and he is not in pain.

I agree with Riker on this one. The whole allegory falls apart under the slightest scrutiny. We'll be returning to this issue when Picard talks to Crusher.

ALEXANDER: This is part of that Klingon stuff, isn't it. My mother always said that Klingons had a lot of dumb ideas about honour.
TROI: Alexander, that Klingon stuff is very important to your father.
ALEXANDER: Well, it isn't very important to me. I don't care about being Klingon, I just want to see my father.

This is a good point. Furthermore, this is a bad time to bring up Klingon custom, as this is exactly the sort of "nonsense" that K'Ehleyr hated. Worf is pushing this stuff on Alexander too fast, and he shouldn't be surprised if Alexander doesn't want to be a warrior later. If Klingon honor makes Worf unhappy by keeping him from the Empire AND leads to Worf's death, Alexander will never even have a positive impression of Klingons.
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  #277  
Old 03-09-2022, 05:35 PM
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CRUSHER: These are very sophisticated devices. With enough time, they will give you
WORF: Sixty percent of my mobility. No, I will not be seen lurching through corridors like some half-Klingon machine, the object of ridicule and disgust.

I doubt even Riker would let himself be seen as a shambling zombie. This whole idea was stupid.

CRUSHER: You're using the desperation of an injured man as an excuse to try a procedure that you couldn't do under normal circumstances. I checked with Starfleet Medical. They have turned down your request to test genetronics on humanoids three times already.
RUSSELL: Are you really going to hide behind the rules of some bureaucracy? Beverly, your patient's life is at stake here.

This is a place where it's good to challenge the crew's principles. Russell does have a point. She's not evil, she's just a bit misguided when it comes to medical ethics. And incidentally the triple refusal should've been part of Beverly's initial research.

RUSSELL: His injuries were so severe I don't think any conventional treatment could've saved him.
CRUSHER: The point is, you didn't even try standard treatments.

Beverly has a point here. Russell IS taking advantage of vulnerability to test her theories. At least try the standard treatment, or be prepared to explain why you didn't at least make the attempt.

RUSSELL: I make no excuses for my approach to medicine. I don't like losing a patient any more than you do. But I'm looking down a long road, Doctor. This man didn't die for nothing. The data that I gathered is invaluable. It will eventually help save thousands of lives.
CRUSHER: I doubt if that will be any comfort his family.

A good moral, and one we can't let the medical industry forget. You can't look down the "long road" of the theoretical if it lets you forget the immediate needs of the patient.

RUSSELL: Let me ask you this. If some years from now, borathium therapy were to save the life of someone you loved, would you still condemn me?
CRUSHER: I will not be drawn into a hypothetical argument, Doctor.

This issue will come up again with Crell Moset later. We can talk about it a bit more then, but for now let's move on.

PICARD: If he can't make a full recovery, Worf will to kill himself.
CRUSHER: Not in my Sickbay, he won't. I'll put him in a restraining field and post security around his door before I let him commit suicide.
PICARD: And how long will you keep him there? A week? A month? A year?
CRUSHER: If I have to. Suicide is not an option.

Doesn't stasis exist? Furthermore, this is another conflict of principles. Just because it would be unethical to imprison a patient for a year doesn't mean that it would be wrong to do it for a week if medical research is ongoing and yielding positive progress.

CRUSHER: Putting aside for a moment the fact that a paraplegic can live a very full life, there is also a conventional therapy that could restore much of his mobility.

Once again Beverly misses the point by insisting on a human perspective. Perhaps a HUMAN paraplegic can live a full life, but that doesn't necessarily apply to Klingon paraplegics.

CRUSHER: The first tenet of good medicine is never make the patient any worse. Right now, Worf is alive and functioning. If he goes into that operation, he could come out a corpse.

And again. If you lock Worf up in a cell to prevent him from committing suicide, his quality of life will be zero. And don't forget that Worf is more resourceful than most in creating weapons. Are you not going to allow him anything that could possibly be turned into a weapon? I can't think of anything you could safely give him.

RIKER: Remember Sandoval? Hit by a disruptor blast two years ago. She lived for about a week. Fang-lee? Marla Aster? Tasha Yar? How many men and women, how many friends have we watched die? I've lost count. Every one of them, every single one fought for life until the very end.

Sandoval is a Spanish name. She never appeared on screen. Neither did Fang-lee.

Marla Aster had no chance to fight for life, I don't see why Will even mentioned her in this context except for fanservice.

RIKER: You are my friend, and in spite of everything I've said, if it were my place, I would probably help you. But I've been studying Klingon ritual and Klingon law, and I've discovered that it's not my place to fill that role. According to tradition, that honour falls to a family member. Preferably the oldest son.

Why don't they at least mention Kurn here? Kurn would've gotten the job done by now. It also would've allowed Kurn to keep his family and position on the Council.

Then again, I could write a whole other screed about what would've happened in DS9 if Worf hadn't joined the crew.

RIKER: The son of a Klingon is a man the day he can first hold a blade. True?

Then what's the point of the Rite of Ascension?

WORF: If I die, he must be cared for.
TROI: I'll make sure he reaches your parents' home safely.
WORF: No. They are elderly. They cannot care for Alexander. Counsellor, I have a serious request to make of you. Would you consider?
TROI: You want me to raise Alexander?
WORF: I have come to have a great respect for you, Deanna. You have been most helpful in guiding me since Alexander's arrival. I can't imagine anyone who would be a better parent to my son. If it is too much to ask.
TROI: I'd be honoured.

This whole situation is weird. Even if Sergey and Helena are too old to handle a small boy at the moment, there's still Kurn and Nikolai. For that matter, Gowron owes Worf a favor at this point.

RUSSELL: Focus the drechtal beams on the anterior and posterior spinal roots.

Crell Moset would later use drectal beams in a novel. The symbolism does not escape me.

PICARD: Good. I understand from Mister La Forge there's a minor fluctuation in the starboard warp coil.

"The" starboard warp coil? There are eighteen in each nacelle! Seriously, where are the technical advisors this week? "One of the starboard warp coils"!

CRUSHER: Reading the initial sequences at ten to the ninth base pairs per second.

There are 3.2 billion base pairs in human DNA. Unless you're going to tell me that Klingon DNA is millions of times denser than human DNA the intial sequencing should be done before Beverly could even say it!

RUSSELL: The scanner is having trouble reading the Klingon dorsal root ganglia.

The dorsal root ganglia is between the spinal cord and the nerves going to the body. I think Russell is trying to send signals from the nerves into the spinal cord and is having trouble. This seems like something that could be resolved in simulations or by using cloned spinal tissue.

CRUSHER: All right, make a note in the log. Death occurred at twelve hundred forty hours.

Time to bring up faulty DS9 tricorders again. Death should be one of the first things you want sensors to be able to detect without making mistakes.

CRUSHER: I am delighted that Worf is going to recover. You gambled, he won. Not all of your patients are so lucky. You scare me, Doctor. You risk your patient's lives and justify it in the name of research. Genuine research takes time. Sometimes a lifetime of painstaking, detailed work in order to get any results. Not for you. You take short cuts, right through living tissue. You put your research ahead of your patient's lives, and as far as I'm concerned that's a violation of our most sacred trust.

A good moral.

Memory Alpha

* The container that fell on the stunt double was made out of styrofoam. Well, I jolly well hope so!
* It's brought up that Picard approved of ritual suicide when Odo and Sisko were so against it in "Sons of Mogh." Chalk it up to differences in Bajoran law.
* Kor will repeat "help me end my life as I have lived it" in "Once More Unto The Breach." I don't doubt that the expression is a common Klingon one.
* The creative staff wanted to make Crusher's and Russell's conflict more balanced. I say they failed. As Crusher makes clear, Russell plays games with people's lives as a shortcut and happens to get lucky sometimes.
* In one of the Enterprise-E novels Crusher and Russell meet again. Crusher points out that it was only Klingon redundancy that let Russell "succeed" and that genetronics had died in the decade since.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Phil wonders how Klingons can commit suicide so easily if they have so many redundancies. I have no doubt that Klingons have figured out exactly where to stab to get death by now.
* Why does the surgical team have their hair gathered under caps, but Worf doesn't?
* Phil also wonders about the hospital food thing.
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Adam Savage: I reject your reality and substitute my own!

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  #278  
Old 03-15-2022, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the Great View Post
DATA: Sir, the energy level of the wave has increased by a factor of twelve. At this rate, it will have increased by a factor of two hundred by the time it reaches Lemma Two.

HOW? This thing is going through subspace, where is the extra energy coming from?
*singsong* Science is scary, I don't understand it, I bet it could kill us all in millions of ways . . .


I forgot how funny the "Violations" fiver is.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Conundrum fiver
Data: I will honour our wager. What would you like?
Troi: Something at which you're an expert -- "Love on the Holodeck."
As opposed to "Sex on the Beach".


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the Great View Post
Troi: Avast, ye scurvy dogs! Down on the floor, or ye be keelhauled by the scuppers!
Keiko: Miles? What's going on?
O'Brien: This be a mutiny! Now face to the deck before we make ye walk the plank!
Keiko: Oh, you are so sleeping on the couch tonight.

"Keelhauled" means looping a rope under the ship, tying it to a person, and dragging them under the ship from one side to the other as punishment. "Scuppers" are holes along the rails of the deck to allow water to drain out. This is a nonsense statement.
Insert bit from Guards! Guards! here. I have no idea what my scuppers are, but I don't want to be keelhauled by them.

Quote:
O'Brien: Yarr... this wench and little 'un be familiar.
Keiko: Wench?
I feel like this may be a reference, slight as it may be, but I can only come up with Uhura's "Sorry, neither" and Worf's "Irving Berlin?"

Quote:
Troi: It was very strange. I could sense things, but I didn't really know what was going on and I had no power to do anything.
Picard: You're talking about your possession, right?
Troi: Yes, I -- hey!

Burn!
A classic burn.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the Great View Post
March 2nd, 1992, "Ethics"

Incidentally, Okudagram text in DS9 reveals that there was a Klingon officer in the Dominion war named Brak'Lul who was killed in action. Why you would name someone "Redundant" is beyond me.
It would be like naming a redshirt Ensign Goosefood!
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Old 03-17-2022, 08:29 PM
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March 16th, 1992, "The Outcast"

Oh boy, is this one going to be painful. I don't revisit this episode. Part of it is just plain discomfort with the subject matter, part of it is how botched the writing is. Could they really not find an actor who was truly androgynous?

Phil brings this up in the Nitpicker's Guide, but I want to address this here: Riker would not be attracted to Soren. It defies everything we know about him. I would argue that Geordi should've gotten this role. In fact the only reason not to is because Geordi already gets into trouble through his girlfriends often enough.

Fiver by Wade the Sane Commodore

The Episode

Captain's log, stardate 45614.6. We have been contacted by an androgynous race called the J'naii to investigate the mysterious disappearance of one of their shuttlecraft.

This doesn't seem like a flagship-worthy mission. It would interfere with all the nebula-watching and Ubering that they do! I'm not sure how sarcastic that joke was supposed to be.

Captain's log, supplemental. The sudden disappearance of our probe suggests that we may have found the first instance of what is called null space, an anomaly which until now had been only theoretical.

Null space also appears in Voyager and Discovery, and all three appearances seem to describe different phenomena.

Commander Riker has been working around the clock with a team of J'naii specialists to formalise this hypothesis.

Why is Riker doing this? Isn't that Data's job?

SOREN: During the creation of a star system, when clouds of interstellar dust and gas coalesce, turbulent regions of magnetic and gravitational fields may develop. If certain conditions occur, these fields can condense into abnormal pockets of space.

Yeah, this is nonsense. Moving on...

RIKER: We think your system contains one of these null pockets. If we're right, the pocket would absorb electromagnetic energy from anything that entered it.
SOREN: Like a shuttlecraft.
RIKER: Or a probe. Making them powerless.

Makes you wonder if the Menthars found one of these things and turned them into the aceton emitters.

RIKER: We think so. The shuttle probably wasn't able to sustain its energy, but other than that it wouldn't be damaged.
SOREN: Since our shuttles carry plestorene based backup systems, we think life support would sustain for as long as ten days.

Only appearance of plesterene. Makes you wonder if Scotty inadvertently rediscovered this technology when jerry rigging the Jenolen's transporters.

RIKER: We can send one of our own shuttles, but its energy would also be absorbed. Our Chief Engineer is working on a way to maintain the power reserves long enough to rescue your crew.

Or, y'know, you could reconfigure the shields to prevent the power drain in the first place now that you know what you're dealing with. I apologize, I just hate plans that consist of "hope the batteries last long enough to do the job."

(shuttle 15 Magellan, with Onizuku in the foreground)

Magellan is a Type 6 shuttle, number 15. One of the ones with the ramscoops. The Voyager tech manual says the max speed is warp 3. The tech manual is also confused about the total capacity of these things.

Onizuka (Chakotea made a typo) is a Type 15 shuttlepod, numbered 5 or 7 depending on the episode. I always hated those boxy things. Clearly they were meant to be cheap sets first and a valid ship design second.

RIKER: This is it. Short-range craft, two twelve hundred fifty millicochrane warp engines.

So a separate warp core in each nacelle. 1.25 cochranes means that this thing can barely break Warp One.

SOREN: I'm not sure how we go about mapping something we can't see.
RIKER: Well, that's where the emitters come in. We shoot out a series of photon pulses into the pocket and chart where each one disappears. From that we should get a fairly complete outline.

In Voyager photon pulses were used as a weapon to drain the ship's shields. Again, using the same name for a different kind of technology. I think the idea is that the boundary absorbs sensor scans, so you have to get something that you CAN scan as close to the boundary as possible.

SOREN: Let me try it. Propulsion system, transfer conduits. Where's the schematic reactor assembly? Oh, there it is. Engine nacelles. There's nothing here that's unfamiliar. Navigational deflector, redundant graviton polarity source generators.

Graviton polarity source generators? Someone had fun with that bit of Treknobabble. This one is so obscure that Memory Alpha doesn't have a page for it, only an index entry on the Generator page.

While one might assume that this bit of tech is related to the tractor beams, it's actually part of the shields. The Tech Manual has a whole entry on it. The gravitons are emitted by the generators, where they're phase-synchronized by subspace field distortion amplifiers.

RIKER: Okay. For two days I've been trying to construct sentences without personal pronouns. Now I give up. What should I use? It? To us, that's rude.
SOREN: We use a pronoun which is neutral. I do not think there is really a translation.

Ugh. Stuff like this should be in the mission packet, or at the very least the LCARS equivalent of a wiki entry. I guess the singular "they" hadn't been invented yet.

SOREN: It's just as hard for us to understand the strange division in your species. Males and females. You are male. Tell me about males. What is it that makes you different from females?

Whoa boy, is that a loaded question. I don't envy the guy who has to write the Starfleet wiki entry on that one.

RIKER: Snips and snails and puppy dog tails?

"What Are Little Boys Made Of" dates back to about 1820. At this point I feel obligated to post [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyewWM0nueM the creation of the Rowdyruff Boys]]. As for what "snips" are, Mojo Jojo at least thinks they're hair clippings.

That's another thing you'd think Starfleet Academy would teach cadets: don't make references to obscure bits of culture from your planet to people you've barely met. Do you really think other Federation member worlds take the time to research Earth pop culture?

Captain's log, supplemental. Commander Riker and the J'naii pilot have set out to chart the null space pocket.

"The J'naii pilot"? Does Soren have an official title Picard could use in this instance? It just seems a little rude, especially for an official log.

SOREN: Our foetuses are incubated in fibrous husks, which the parents inseminate.

This seems like a cowardly way for the writers to get around the hermaphrodite problem. Such a system could never evolve in nature. You'd be better off saying that both parents can lay eggs, and it's pure luck which one the embryo is fertilized within.

TROI: All right. This hand, the game is Federation Day.
WORF: What is that?
TROI: Well, the Federation was founded in Twenty One Sixty One, so, twos, sixes, and aces are wild.

Enterprise claims that the Coalition of Planets was founded in 2161, so Memory Alpha is confused about whether the Coalition was just renamed to Federation later that year or if a new government was needed almost immediately. The specific date in 2161 has never been agreed upon:
* Star Trek Online says June 30th, but I consider STO to be beta canon at best.
* Star Trek Star Charts claims May 8th, but that's clearly a secondary sort of canon. It was written by Geoffrey Mandel, who started with Trek around 1994.
* A few novels claim August 12th, but I put the novels below STO in terms of canon (with rare exceptions, of course).
* A newspaper clipping in the Picard family album in Generations claims October 11th. Even though it was never shown on screen, I would put my money on this one. If two dates are needed I'd put the Coalition of Planets at May 8th and the Federation at October 11th.

WORF: That is a woman's game.
TROI: Oh? Why is that?
WORF: All those wild cards. They support a weak hand. A man's game has no wild cards.
CRUSHER: Let me get this straight. Are you saying it's a woman's game because women are weak and need more help?
WORF: Yes.
CRUSHER: And just this afternoon I was insisting to one of the J'naii that those attitudes were but a distant memory.

They may be a distant memory for humans, but other races will have other viewpoints, Crusher! IDIC, remember? Stop being self-righteous, that's one of the reasons why other races hate you!
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Old 03-17-2022, 08:29 PM
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SOREN: On our world these feelings are forbidden. Those who are discovered are shamed and ridiculed, and only by undergoing psychotectic therapy and having all elements of gender eliminated can they become accepted into society again. Those of us who have these urges live secret and guarded lives. We seek each other out, always hiding, always terrified of being discovered.

Like I said, this episode is a minefield and must only be approached while wearing a bomb suit and having a few redshirts on hand to use as guinea pigs. So lets step away from the message the episode is shoving at us and look at another angle. If sexual and romantic feelings are forbidden, what do these people base marriages on? They clearly couldn't take the Vulcan approach, so what else is there? The system used in The Giver?

SOREN: One of my favourites is this menellen tree. The leaves first turn pure white, and then blue, when the weather gets cold. This is called a falla bush. It produces a fragrant flower on only one day of the year.
(and finally they get down to the real purpose of the walk, with Riker trying to eat her tonsils)

Yuck, Chakoteya. Yuck.

SOREN: I am tired of lies. I am female. I was born that way. I have had those feelings, those longings, all of my life. It is not unnatural. I am not sick because I feel this way. I do not need to be helped. I do not need to be cured. What I need, and what all of those who are like me need, is your understanding and your compassion. We have not injured you in any way. And yet, we are scorned and attacked. And all because we are different. What we do is no different from what you do. We talk and laugh. We complain about work and we wonder about growing old. We talk about our families, and we worry about the future. And we cry with each other when things seem hopeless. All of the loving things that you do with each other, that is what we do. And for that we are called misfits and deviants and criminals. What right do you have to punish us? What right do you have to change us? What makes you think you can dictate how people love each other?

Part of this speech ended up in the "Inspirational Speeches of Trek" video. As with so many "message shows" I can't argue with the intent, but I do argue with the execution of the message. Voyager in particular tried to shoehorn "message speeches" into too many episodes.

As Q once said, this is sheer arrogance. One thing about TOS that only now occurs to me is that Kirk is even more tolerant than I already thought. He never made speeches to be self-righteous (I'm looking at you, Janeway), he made speeches because he honestly wanted to help, and usually because the locals forced him to take a side.

TLDR; I don't like being whacked over the head with a clue-by-four. Never have, never will.

RIKER: Did it occur to you that she might like to stay the way she is?
NOOR: You don't understand. We have a very high success rate in treating deviants like this. And without exception, they become happier people after their treatment, and grateful that we care enough to cure them. You see, Commander, on this world, everyone wants to be normal.

Oh, the arrogance. The daily pill of The Giver springs to mind. Kirk would have a field day with these people. If people are forced to be "normal", then "normal" loses all meaning.

RIKER: There has to be. My relationship with Soren is not trivial. She's very important to me. It's my fault that this happened.

Not trivial? You had sex once, if that! You've known each other a matter of weeks! And furthermore, it's not your fault because she propositioned you!

The Fiver

J'naii: So our shuttle's in a... black hole?
Riker: No no no, nothing like that... well, yes.

It's not a black hole, and Wade missed out on a better joke. At least make reference to washing machines eating socks or something.

Soren: In my species, we don't have any specialized organs like your genders do.
Riker: So you don't have a basis for comparison?
Soren: That would be correct.
Riker: Well, let me tell you....

Is Riker that insecure about the size of his manhood? Meaningless aside, but in the novel "Imzadi" when he attended a Betazoid wedding and reluctantly stripped to fit in, the woman next to him reassured him that he had nothing to be ashamed of.

Riker: Geordi, do you have a... a BEARD?

Geordi's beard was an on-and-off thing in TNG. I'm pretty sure this isn't the first time he's had one.

Riker: I remember Argyle from such episodes as "Where No Man Has Gone Before" and "Datalore." Anyways, there can only be one bearded officer on the Enterprise at a time. Regs.

This is a weak joke. Argyle was also in "Lonely Among Us" and the remastered version had a Okudagram easter egg in "Galaxy's Child". Wil Wheaton revealed that the studio asked people to write in requests for him to be a regular before Argyle had even appeared on screen. The novels revealed that he shared the role of Chief Engineer with MacDougal during the Enterprise's construction. The novels have three different accounts of how he died, and one said that his first name was Michael. The comics had a fourth death story and the first name "Terrence." Neither first name really seems to fit this guy.

Data: Sob....
Worf: What is wrong, Commander?
Data: I do not have any lines in this episode. I am useless. Useless: unneeded, ineffectual, wasted. Wasted: spoiled, shattered....
Worf: If you were any other man I would kill you where you stand!

Nice joke, but Data doesn't sob.

Picard: Maybe I can go down there and speechify on Soren's behalf.
Riker: No good. She speechified and they didn't listen.
Picard: They resisted speechifing? Those monsters!

Egads!

Riker: Well I'm going down there to do something or whatever.
Picard: But you'll be in violation of the Prime Directive.
Riker: Doesn't that just apply to pre-warp cultures?
Picard: Will, please, I think I know a little about the Prime Directive.

At this point the Prime Directive seems to cover all non-Federation worlds, so this joke doesn't work.

Memory Alpha

* By this point the creative staff had been basically forced into a corner by demands that they cover homosexuality.
* Unlike "The Masterpiece Society" or "Ethics" the staff didn't see a way to portray an alternate viewpoint. I think it would be easy: have a second J'naii character on screen who doesn't have these feelings.
* Rick Berman was against Riker kissing a male actor, even though Frakes had no problem with it.
* This episode was the first that had Geordi with a beard. The producers didn't like it. He would have one again during "Fistful of Datas" and "Quality of Life" because of his wedding.
* First appearance of a shuttle with weapons in NextGen.
* Memory Alpha has trouble reconciling Worf's statement here with the time in "Angel One" where he said Klingons like strong women. I have less trouble. You can want women to be strong while still maintaining separate and equal roles.
* The homosexual community didn't like that the word "homosexuality" wasn't even used. Others thought this was a weaselly way to get out of doing a more overt episode on the subject.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Shouldn't Picard have done more to stop Riker? He raked Worf over the coals in "Reunion" even though Worf was following Klingon custom!
* This time Phil did the stardate calculations. Twelve days have passed since "Ethics" and not only is Worf fully recovered but Geordi grew a full beard!
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mudshark: Nate's just being...Nate.
Zeke: It comes nateurally to him.

mudshark: I don't expect Nate to make sense, really -- it's just a bad idea.

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!

Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Crow T. Robot: Oh, stop pretending there's a plot. Don't cheapen yourself further.
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