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Old 05-03-2023, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Nate the Great View Post
Jake: Why weren't you in school this morning? Vulcans steal your homework again?
Nog: Take your human witticism and bury it.

I know this is a reference to something, but I forget where in Trek.
Vulcan cynicism, as said by Archer. There's another bit I think in an Enterprise fiver, someone calls it "hulking mysticism".
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Old 05-07-2023, 10:44 PM
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Nate the Great Nate the Great is offline
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April 19th, "Vortex"

I get that they had to lay the groundwork for Odo's Gamma Quadrant origins, but this wasn't the way to do it. Helping a known murderer is something that Odo would never do.

No fiver

The Episode

QUARK: The usual, Odo?
ODO: Nothing.
QUARK: The usual.

This seems like a rather weak attempt at humor. After all this time Quark should have better material.

QUARK: Paranoia must run in your species, Odo. Maybe that's why no one has ever seen another shape-shifter. They're all hiding.

I don't like this statement. Other shapeshifters exist, we've seen them. I was going to do a breakdown of all of the appearances of shapeshifters prior to this, but let's sum up:
Category 1: Surface-only shapeshifters. Like Garth, they can rearrange their surface tissue and maybe adjust their skelecature to appear like another person, but this isn't really meant to fool tricorders. Garth, Suliban, Salt vampires, etc.
Category 2: Advanced aliens who can project images of humanoids that can fool tricorders, but nobody is saying that their actual bodies are morphing all that much. Q, Travelers, Dowd, etc. On a lower level we also have the Rigelian hypnoids from "Mudd's Passion", the Ornithoids from "Catspaw", and Vendorians ("Carter Winston" from "The Survivor").
Category 3: True shapeshifters like Changelings. They can be anything they want and fool sensors, but this is still strict biology, not external power sources or extraordinary physics or chemistry manipulations. Silver Blood, Coalescents ("Aquiel"), probably Species 8472, etc.

So at this point the only true shapeshifter other than Odo that was known about, it was probably the Coalsecents. But even they were relatively obscure and it didn't seem like they had the full range of species as available targets.

(Quark goes upstairs, Croden leaves, Rom puts four glasses on a tray then goes to get a bottle. When he returns, the tray has five glasses on it.)

It's been a longstanding debate whether or not Odo's mass changes when he changes form. I'd say that it has to, there are too many contradictions to allow for it to say the same.

QUARK: A question has been raised about the origin of this bauble. A similar one was taken during a raid on a Vanoben transport just two light years from here.

Ugh, they really need a scientific advisor on staff. Two light years won't even get you to the next star system. Unless you're going to tell me that the transport was in the Badlands literally next door. Couldn't they have said twenty light years?

(The broken glass reforms into Odo)

I could've sworn that if any part of a Changeling was separated from the whole that it defaults to protoplasm. Something like this should've been established better earlier.

AH-KEL: Have you known any twinned Miradorn, Commander?
SISKO: I haven't met any before now.
AH-KEL: In my species, we are not just twin brothers. Together we are a single self, two halves of one being. I am incomplete now.

There was something here that could've been developed in future episodes, but the Miradorn only got a mention in "Call to Arms".

AH-KEL: My brother and I purchased it from a passing Altoran trader.

Only mention of Altorans. Makes you wonder why a better-known species wasn't used.

ODO: You know what else is curious? It's curious that Croden had a Ferengi phaser.
QUARK: Available in many a port.

Yeah, that's pretty circumstantial evidence. Although if I was Odo I'd have secretly tagged every phaser owned by the Ferengi in hopes of using it as evidence in a future case. Even that disassembled one that Quark got as ship's cook. I wonder if Rom ever fixed that thing, and if Quark ever hit him over the head with the box...

CRODEN: Don't you feed your prisoners?
ODO: The fact that you just killed a man doesn't affect your appetite?

I'm pretty sure that the Federation would insist on Odo giving regular meals to prisoners...

DAX: It won't be hard to find Rakhar. According to the logs, Croden was found in a damaged shuttlecraft about three light years from the wormhole. There aren't many M class planets in that area.

You haven't identified and made contact with all M class planets within three years of the wormhole? What have you been doing all this time? At least make it thirty light-years!

ODO: That's because your favorite charity is your own pocket. Speaking of odious motives, I hear you've been making inquiries about finding a small ship to go through the wormhole.
QUARK: That had nothing to do with any of this.
ODO: I think it does. I think you were trying to secure passage back to the Gamma Quadrant for Croden in exchange for staging this tragic little robbery of yours.

This will always be a problem on the show. Each and every ship approaching the wormhole would have to log their flight plan with DS9, or else Sisko would send a runabout after them. You can't just sneak into the wormhole, even cloaked ships must decloak to enter (which is a screed by itself, trust me).

AH-KEL: Understand me, shape-shifter. He killed the part of me that made existence bearable. I cannot stop until I kill him.
ODO: You're not going to kill anyone. Get back to your ship and stay there. If I find you here again, I'll lock you up too.

Why not lock him up? He's publicly declared his intent to commit murder!

CRODEN: (holding out a locket) From the colony of the changelings.
(Croden opens the locket and a stone morphs into a key, then back to a stone.)

Just because the people are shapeshifters doesn't mean that their technology would be as well.

Oh, the screed I could write about how the Founders never could've invented warp drive. Or learned how to assume humanoid form, for that matter.

SISKO: On our space station. Perhaps I should explain where we come from.
HADRAN [on monitor]: We are well aware of the traffic through the newly discovered passage. We simply have no interest in contact with anyone from your quadrant.

Which is their right, but they could've done more with this. You'd think fear of the Dominion would make everyone want to gain powerful allies as soon as possible. Unless you're going to tell me that the Dominion doesn't know about the wormhole yet, a dubious claim at best.

BASHIR: It's an amalgam of organic material and some sort of crystal.
ODO: You mean it's alive?
BASHIR: More or less. It's almost like a transitional stage between organic and inorganic matter. I've only seen one life form that even remotely resembles it.
ODO: Me.

Yeah, that's not how Odo works in the slightest. Nothing about him is crystalline.

CRODEN: Well, that's too bad. I was hoping you'd feel sorry for me, seeing as we're the only two here from the other side of the passage.

Really? There's regular bus service to and from the Gamma Quadrant and there aren't any other visitors here at the moment?

This is one place where "wormhole" is really the wrong word to use, the Universal Translator must be having trouble with the more obscure technical terms with all these new species. I'm not saying that "passage" is much better, but at least it's a simpler word to translate.

CRODEN: In my sector, there is a nebula called the Chamra Vortex.

How is this helpful, the locals don't seem inclined to give Sisko that kind of information.

SISKO: Constable, I want you to escort the prisoner back to his home planet.

Why Odo? Any Bajoran deputy who can fly a runabout could handle this mission.

CRODEN: How do you stand it, changeling, living where you don't belong. Are you happy?
ODO: I'm as much a part of the place as anyone else.
CRODEN: I doubt it. They tolerate you, but you're not one of them.

I'm not sure that Odo is capable of "happy" this early. Even so, the Bajorans have shown respect and admiration of him on many occasions.

CRODEN: Your computer's not going to outsmart him.
ODO: I'm a security chief, not a combat pilot.

And there aren't any combat pilots among the Bajoran deputies?

Memory Alpha

* First time Morn's name is used.
* First time Odo smiles.
* First appearance of "Changeling".
* Odo is knocked unconscious and retains humanoid form. Oops.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Even if Ferengi phasers are available in many ports, Croden is from the Gamma Quadrant. The only place he could get one is from Quark.
* How some Odo let Croden keep a piece of jewelry? Wouldn't prisoners only be left with the clothes on their back?
* Phil wonders when Odo learned how to pilot a runabout? I don't have a problem with this one, it's not a stretch to think that Sisko would want all the senior officers to know how to fly one. It also stands to reason that the Cardassians would give him some basic piloting lessons.
* For that matter, how can Croden fly a runabout?
* Why would Odo let Croden escape to Vulcan, he's still a criminal!
* Bashir just said a few episodes ago that tricorders aren't good at declaring someone dead, yet he uses one for that purpose in this episode.
* For some reason Odo uses Cardassian handcuffs on Croden. Wouldn't the Bajorans have rid the station of all unnecessary Cardassian stuff?
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 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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Old 05-15-2023, 02:22 AM
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Nate the Great Nate the Great is offline
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April 25th, 1993, "Battle Lines"

Let's get this out of the way up front: Killing Opaka this soon was a mistake. I understand the creator's feelings later that having a Kai who opposed our heroes would present more dramatic opportunities, but even so, it was too soon to kill her.

On the other hand, I never really liked Opaka in the first place. "Wise" people who seem to only exist to recite fortune cookie aphorisms have always rubbed me the wrong way. We needed an interim episode to get to know her as something beyond "female Pope" or "reciter of fortune cookie aphorisms."

Fiver by Wowbagger

SISKO: Well, there's nothing of strategic value here, just personal logs and some files on Bajoran terrorists. But it is a glimpse into the Cardassian mind.
O'BRIEN: You might want to warn Kira before she sees her file.
KIRA: (entering) Warn me? About what?
SISKO: Oh, er, Dax and Mister O'Brien discovered some of the last Prefect's personal files. There's a file on you. You may find it disappointing.
KIRA: I'm a big girl, Commander.
KIRA: A minor operative whose activities are limited to running errands for the terrorist leaders?
SISKO: Major, when you're through feeling underappreciated...

A good gag, but not indicative of what Dukat would say about her. I wonder why it had to be a file written by Dukat.

SISKO: Kai Opaka. Why would she be here?
BASHIR [OC]: She says you once offered her a tour of the station.

When did that happen? And why did she have to make this trip a secret? I have to assume that she didn't want to hide a visit to the station, she wanted to hide a trip through the wormhole.

KIRA: Just a long stream of statistical data followed by a request for reply. I'm not reading any response.
SISKO: Launch a class two probe. We'll follow it up later.

The only other mention of a class two probe is when the Enterprise used one to deliver the hytritium back in "The Most Toys". The TNG Tech Manual says that it's an upgraded Class 1 probe, too bad a Class 1 can only go at half the speed of light. Are they going to wait a few years to get any telemetry? If you want warp speed you need a Class 8 probe, which is clearly too big to fit on a runabout.

ODO: Opaka's people are on subspace to me every five minutes.

Come to think of it, who's in command of the station right now? Is Dax really the senior officer present? What is Odo's rank in the Bajoran Militia, anyway?

ODO: That's not going to satisfy them on Bajor. You have no idea what the Kai means to them.

After "Caretaker" I would think that Sisko would brief the others on this subject.

KIRA: It's all so senseless. Opaka's always been a symbol of hope to me. Her words gave our struggle meaning. And now she's dead. Her life ends on some unknown moon, and for what?

Don't blame yourself, Kira. Opaka insisted on coming her, she knew what she was doing.

BASHIR: Although she appears to be normal, her physiology has been radically altered.
BASHIR: I'm not sure. The tricorder indicates some kind of bio-mechanical presence at a cellular level.
SISKO: Bio-mechanical? You mean something artificial?
BASHIR: I wish I could tell you. Whatever it is, it seems to be directly controlling her metabolic processes.

We needed a better explanation here.

DAX: There's still no sign of them on any of the long range scanners.
O'BRIEN: Not even a transponder signal.

Hold on a second here. Sisko, Bashir, Kira, Dax AND O'Brien are off the station at once? Who's in charge, Quark? Actually, where is Primmin this week?

BASHIR: His reading's are the same as Opaka's. Virtually every cell in his body shows signs of this bio-mechanical presence. Now somehow it has literally brought him back to life.

Once again, a better explanation. If this was just advanced nanites that can repair all damage, Bashir should just say that and collect a sample to be twisted into a Borg weapon.

SHEL-LA: The Ennis and the Nol-Ennis are ancient enemies. For generation after generation we fought the same war. The leaders of our planet were unable to mediate a peace. Finally, they sent us all here and told us that we would serve as an example for the rest of civilisation.
OPAKA: How did your fight begin?
SHEL-LA: Some say it was water, some say it was land. It's not really very relevant now.

I despise it when people have forgotten why they're fighting. It sort of worked back in "A Taste of Armageddon", but it's been thirty years and hamfisted standins don't really fly anymore.

SHEL-LA: Zlangco, the leader of the Nol would never agree to a cease-fire.
SISKO: Ask him.
SHEL-LA: You don't know them. All they care about is--

I hate this nonsense as well. When our heroes encounter two factions at war, they should never accept only one faction's version of events.

DAX: We'll have to survey each planet, one at a time.
O'BRIEN: Not to mention two dozen or so moons and an asteroid belt. Bloody needle in a haystack.

I always have a problem with people saying that it'll take forever to scan one star system. Especially for something as big as a runabout. At best I'll forgive "there's this one asteroid that's generating a weird field that's messing with sensors, we'll have to take a closer look."

O'BRIEN: Runabout hulls are made out of metallic composites that interact with magnetic fields. We could send out a few probes to scan the system for those specific magnetic resonance patterns. If Sisko's runabout is in the system, we might pick up a fluctuation in the hysteresis curve.

Why would you design starship hulls that allow for eddy currents from unknown magnetic fields?

The hysteresis curve shows the relationship between a force and the effects caused by the force. It takes time for changes in the force to be reflected in the the object and so forth.

DAX: The magnetic deflection of a runabout's hull is extremely weak. The probes will never be able to detect it.
O'BRIEN: They will, if I can outfit them with a differential magnetomer.
DAX: A differential magnetomer. I've never heard of a differential magnetomer. How does it work?
O'BRIEN: I'll let you know as soon as I've finished making one.

Okay, we're going past Scotty territory into MacGyver territory. And a magetometer measures changes in a magnetic field, don't ask me what a "differential" magnetomer is.

KIRA: Me? No, not at all, I. They're content to die. I've always fought to stay alive. I don't want you to have the wrong impression of me, Opaka.
OPAKA: Jus what impression do you think I have?
KIRA: That I enjoy any of this. I don't enjoy fighting. Yes, I've fought my entire life, but for a good cause, for our freedom, our independence. And it was brutal and ugly and I. But that's over for me now. That's not who I am. I don't want you to think that I am this violent person without a soul, without a conscience. That is not who I am.

A bit hamfisted, but a nice sentiment.
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 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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Old 05-15-2023, 02:23 AM
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Nate the Great Nate the Great is offline
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OPAKA: Don't deny the violence inside of you, Kira. Only when you accept it can you move beyond it.
KIRA: I've known nothing but violence since I was child.
OPAKA: In the eyes of the Prophets, we are all children. Bajor has much to learn from peace.
KIRA: I'm afraid the Prophets won't forgive me.
OPAKA: They're just waiting for you to forgive yourself.

There's a lot to unpack here.

O'BRIEN: It's the third planet.
DAX: No, look, it isn't. We're picking up something from its moon.
O'BRIEN: Laying in a new course, full impulse.

I don't like it when they imply that all intrasystem trips can be done on impulse. It'll still take some time at a quarter of the speed of light to get anywhere.

BASHIR: Isn't that a bit like assisting a jailbreak?
SISKO: I don't need you to interpret the prime directive for me, Doctor.
BASHIR: Yes, of course. I only meant
SISKO: Whatever crimes they've committed they've paid for a hundred times over. They've been altered somehow and been abandoned by their world. I believe the Federation would recognise them as separate and unique.

Thank goodness we're skipping the ethical dilemma. Picard would've wasted hours agonizing over this one.

SISKO: The Federation is made up of over a hundred planets who have allied themselves for mutual scientific, cultural and defensive benefits. The mission that my people and I are on is to explore the galaxy.

Over a hundred and fifty planetary governments, you mean. It has to be well over five hundred actual planets by now.

And to be perfectly frank, YOUR mission isn't to explore, it's to do everything short of breaking the Prime Directive getting Bajor into the Federation. Including protecting them from the Cardassians if necessary. And futhermore, there should've been a dedicated starship exploring out here in the Gamma Quadrant by now.

BASHIR: The analysis is very clear. Once the microbes have restored a body after death, that body becomes permanently dependent on them for all cellular functions.
SISKO: Permanently?
BASHIR: It gets worse. The designers made them environment specific. If the microbes are removed from this ecosystem, they'll stop functioning.

Are these things microbes or nanites? Organic or technology? You seem to have skipped some exposition.

OPAKA: I didn't know how or why, but when we came through the wormhole, I knew I wouldn't be returning. You must tell our people, Kira, that I have answered the call of the Prophets.

Imagine the situation from the Bajoran perspective. Had this been Winn I'd suspect assassination, but not Opaka.

BASHIR: Anything that can be programmed can be reprogrammed. If I could disable the mechanism in these microbes, they should no longer function when someone is killed, and these people would finally be able to die.

And yet he won't find a solution, just like he never actually turned the Blight innoculation into an actual cure.

SISKO: Opaka, if we can ever find a way
OPAKA: My work is here now, Commander. But your pagh and mine will cross again.

No, they won't, at least in the series. Her return was in the novels.

The Fiver

Opaka: Very, very, very prettyful. Now why don't we all chill in dis here hood, yo?
Sisko, Bashir, and Kira: ...?
Opaka: Look, some joker sent the Prophets an OCD of gangsta rap. Just ignore it.

I have to assume that "OCD" is a typo.

Bashir: She's dead, Ben.
Kira: By Grapthar's Hammer, You Shall Be Avenged!

Have I mentioned lately how much I don't like Galaxy Quest? Because I REALLY don't like Galaxy Quest!

Also, it's GraBthar.

Shel-la: Note the hair.
Sisko: Wow. Any man who can look worse than Picard and Ted Koppel combined is a man to be respected.

Ted Koppel was the anchor for Nightline. Wowwy must be a fan.

Shel-la: Ennis good. Nol-Ennis bad.
Sisko: But you're exactly the same.
Shel-la: No! Don't you see? I'm bald on the left and hairy on the right; their leader is bald on the right and hairy on the left!

Let That Be Your Last Battlefield did this premise way better than this.

Memory Alpha

* I forgot the similarity with Day of the Dove, which also did the premise better.
* First destroyed runabout. The production staff cheated by using a Type 6 shuttlecraft nacelle for the debris. You'll remember that the Type 6 uses the boxy nacelles with the hexagonal cross-section, completely unlike a runabout's. They didn't have any Enterprise-D debris around to use instead? The nacelles are more similar!
* The necklace that Opaka gave to Molly only appears in a novel. I wish that they'd done more with that.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Bashir says that Opaka's back is broken, yet does chest compressions. Oops.
* Even though She-La says that they don't use directed energy weapons, their props sure ACT like directed energy weapons!
* Phil points out many ways that these guys can kill each other in ways that the nanites can't possibly heal.
* Phil is quick to point out that despite the advice of "The Passenger" Bashir uses a tricorder to declare Opaka dead!
* Phil brings up the nacelle thing as well and lists some episodes that made use of the Type 6 shuttle debris.
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 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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Old 06-02-2023, 01:16 AM
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Nate the Great Nate the Great is offline
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I apologize for being away so long. My computer got very sick very quickly and I had to get a new one. I'm still in the process of moving everything over. Please stand by.

PS: There are times when being limited to an iPhone screen is REALLY annoying.
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 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.
Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2023, 04:55 PM
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Nate the Great Nate the Great is offline
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May 2nd, 1993, "The Storyteller"

Fiver by Nic

The Episode

Station log, Stardate 46729.1. The Bajoran government has asked me to mediate a dispute between two rival factions, the Paqu and the Navot. At issue is a land dispute which could trigger a civil war.

Given the whole Emissary situation, you'd think Starfleet wouldn't want Sisko himself to handle this one. Furthermore, if the Provisional Government can't handle something this simple then the whole thing should be restructured.

BASHIR: You know, Chief, in a way I'm really looking forward to this mission.
O'BRIEN: Why's that?
BASHIR: I see it as a wonderful opportunity for us to get to know each other.

Bashir was really insufferable in the early days. Which is weird, because elsewhere in Trek the writers were a lot better at showing eagerness without inspiring annoyance.

I'm also annoyed at people who are so ignorant that they think "more proximity" equals "friendship." It's not that simple.

SISKO: Relax, Major. This is not my first time up at the plate.
KIRA: Sir?

Ugh, humancentrism again. Cue Azetbur quote.

BASHIR: Do I annoy you?
O'BRIEN: Annoy me? What sort of a question's that?
BASHIR: Well, the thing is, we've just spent two hours alone together in this runabout and you hardly said a word to me the whole time.

Two hours? It's THREE hours to Bajor by runabout! When the writers can't be bothered to read the series bible I have serious concerns about their capacity to write about said series.

BASHIR: I don't think it's really necessary to call me sir.
O'BRIEN: What should I call you? You're my superior officer.
BASHIR: How about Julian?
O'BRIEN: Is that an order?

And this is where O'Brien loses my sympathy. "Orders" should only come from the commanding officer, and Bashir doesn't count. Miles just crossed the line into passive aggressive.

BASHIR: No sign of any airborne infections. The soil appears to be free of pollutants, and the ground water clear of bacterial contamination.

Why is this line here?

WOBAN: I'll say this for the Cardassians. Their replicators make a fine larish pie.

Only appearance of larish pie. Of course someone made a real recipe out of it.

SISKO: Then let's talk. The official negotiations don't begin until tonight, but I thought it might be a good idea that we meet informally to see where we all stand. According to the treaty that has existed between you for the past ninety years, the border separating the Paqu and the Navot shall forever be the river Glyrhond.
WOBAN: That's correct.
KIRA: Well, at least we all agree on something.
SISKO: Now, as I understand it, during the occupation the Cardassians diverted the river for use in their mining operations. As a result the Glyrhond now flows twenty kilometres west of its former position.
WOBAN: Twenty kilometres into Navot territory.
VARIS: That's Paqu territory now. You read the treaty, Commander. The river is our common border.

This has happened in the real world. The general consensus is if the river moves on its own via natural forces (erosion on one side, sedimentation deposits on the other side) the border follows it, but if the river is restructured by human intervention the border stays at the original location.

In any case, this isn't a job for the Federation. If the Provisional Government is really so toothless that nobody listens to them, then a new government is in order. I'm especially reminded of how the Articles of Confederation failed and nothing happened until the Constitution was introduced.

JAKE: Nog, we've been sitting here over an hour. Let's go play some ball in the holosuite.
NOG: No.
JAKE: Why not?
NOG: Because baseball is slow and boring.
JAKE: And you can't hit my curve ball.
NOG: It's a stupid game that even humans stopped playing hundreds of years ago.

Kasidy Yates would argue otherwise. And it occurs to me, how fun can baseball be if most of the players are holograms? Surely they could play Parisses Squares or something.

ODO: Mister Sisko, Nog, I thought I told you no dangling over the Promenade.

Why? Are their shoes likely to fall off?

BASHIR: You saw how he greeted you when we arrived. It was as if he were expecting you. I'll tell you this, Chief. I'm glad you came along on this mission, because if it wasn't for you, I'd have done what I could for the Sirah and left. And look at what I would have missed.

Ugh. You will of course remember Yoda's quote about how a Jedi shouldn't seek excitement or adventure.

HOVATH: Three nights ago, the Sirah allowed me to tell the story. But when the Dal'Rok appeared I was unable to control it. Several people were injured.
O'BRIEN: Control it? How?
(Hovath picks up a bracelet)
HOVATH: With this. The stone is said to be a fragment of an orb from the Celestial Temple.

Where did this fragment come from? All known Orbs are intact! And even if we're going to believe that Orbs are simply crystal hourglasses that the Prophets can infuse energy into, how could their energy be in a fragment that has no symmetry (in the physical world or in the higher dimensions)?

The Fiver

Navot Diplomat: It is ours! The treaty clearly says the river Moppy is the border.
Varis: It is not! It's the river Meow Meow. And on the east it's the river Moo.
Sisko: Um... do all your rivers start with Ms?
Varis: Yes. North Bajor has too many M & Ms.

This joke seems a little weak.

Jake: Why are we just sitting here all day? Let's play baseball!
Nog: Stop pestering me with that! Baseball is boring.
Jake: Okay, then... how about water polo?
Nog: AAAAA! Baseball's great! Let's play baseball!

Water polo is supposed to be more boring than baseball? Or is Nog saying that he can't swim?

O'Brien: It's no good! I can't repel the Dal'Rok because the village refuses to unite about anything!
Villager: Village! Repeat after me! O'Brien sucks! He tells stupid stories!
Village: O'Brien sucks! He tells stupid stories!

Well, whatever works...

Memory Alpha

* The creators were exciting about planting the seeds of the O'Brien/Bashir friendship here.
* First appearance of Odo's bucket.
* First direct mention of Buck Bokai.

Memory Beta

* In the novels the Orb fragment is called the paghvaram. The Vedek Assembly pointed out that the Orbs were intact so they were doubtful of the thing's power.
* Iliana Ghemor's Mirror Universe counterpart eventually received the paghvaram.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Phil does the math about the distance between the wormhole and Bajor and says that it should only take 36 minutes at full impulse to get to Bajor. My immediate rejoinder is that Bajor moves in its orbit changing the distance, plus you don't know how much the Denorios Belt slows things down.
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 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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Old 09-04-2023, 07:04 PM
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May 10th, 1993, "Progress"

No fiver

The Episode

QUARK: (coming down the stairs with a waiter) I thought I told you to cancel that order. Now what am I supposed to do with five thousand wrappages of Cardassian yamok sauce. They're the only ones who could stomach that swill.

Actually our heroes use yamok sauce as a condiment quite a few times in the series. My question is what a "wrappage" is in this context.

Incidentally, if you want to know the ketchup/mustard counterpart to yamok sauce, it's kamoy syrup. It makes an appearance in one of the novels where Quark tries to unload it by feeding it to some Horta. It doesn't end well.

TORAN: Forgive my bureaucratic nitpicking, Major, but we're counting on Jeraddo's energy to heat a few hundred thousand Bajoran homes this winter.

I'm confused about how they intend to get the energy from a moon back to Bajor in an economical fashion.

Furthermore, "winter" is meaningless in a planetary context without more clarification. After all, winter in the northern hemisphere is summer in the south and vice-versa.

(After the titles, we meet an older man in his doorway - played by Brian Keith, great actor)

Yes, he is. I of course know him best from his role in The Parent Trap, but he did a lot of other stuff as well. And the Amazing Thing That I Learned Today is that he also voiced Uncle Ben in Spider-Man TAS.

KIRA: Mullibok, they begin tapping the core of this moon in seven days.
KIRA: You are only three people. This project is going to benefit thousands, hundreds of thousands.

Oh boy, is this a loaded issue. Personal autonomy versus the needs of the state and all that. I don't care to write a screed on this topic, given how depressing it is. My biggest problem with this particular situation is similar to my problem with the Maquis-this is not land that's belonged to your people for generations. It's been a couple decades, and the big bad government is willing to relocate you at no cost to a living situation that will be better than what you have now.

MULLIBOK: No. I told you, my life's here. If I leave, I'll die. So I'd rather die here.

Why is your life here? This needed more clarification.

MULLIBOK: I stowed away on a Cardassian survey vessel which was making stops all through the Bajoran system. They were looking for possible mining sites. Anyway, when we got here to Jeraddo, I overpowered the crew and I stole whatever I'd need to start building my life here.

So you admit to being a criminal who committed trespassing, assault, and theft. And you don't even have the excuse that you were with the Resistance and the supplies would be used to fight back against your oppressors. Why am I supposed to like you?

MULLIBOK: Well, it was mind over matter. Every twenty-six hours I'd just tightened up my waist-belt another notch, and that way my belly didn't know that it was shrinking.

I don't like this reference. I always got the impression that a Bajoran day was 26 Earth hours long. People actually on Bajor should still be using their own time measurement system unless they do business with the station.

MULLIBOK: Obviously I was going to have to plant and harvest a crop. So I did what any person would do who had to build an entire world for himself. First I rolled back and forth on the ground til it surrendered. Then I went down on my hands and knees and I started to plow using nothing but my fingernails, mind you. I plowed every last furrow in that field straight as a plumb line.

You didn't even bother to tie a rock to a stick to do the plowing for you? What an idiot.

MULLIBOK: If I came across a deposit of mineralised clay, what I'd do is just grind it up in my teeth.

Or you could smash it between two rocks and save your teeth, you senile geezer.

KIRA: You know what the Cardassians were like, what weapons they had. We didn't stand a chance against them.
MULLIBOK: How'd you beat them, then?
KIRA: We beat them because, because we hung on like fanatics.

Technically you didn't "beat" the Cardassians. At best you were one of three major factors that made the Cardassian Empire decide to give you up. The other two being the losses from the war with the Federation that left them without the ability to hold onto Bajoran space and the fact that the planet had already been bled dry and there wasn't enough left to make further losses viable. And personally I'd put the Resistance firmly in third place.

MULLIBOK: The Cardassians probably told you you didn't stand a chance, either. Did you surrender?
MULLIBOK: Why would you expect me to act any different than you?

The scenarios aren't parallel, Mullibok! It's been made abundantly clear that in a matter of days the planet will be rendered uninhabitable and you will die. Period. There isn't enough time for a resistance to do any good, and frankly you don't have the weaponry or technology to put up much of a fight anyway. The Resistance had a chance, you don't!

(Nog is inspecting their merchandise, a small device that springs out two rods when pressed.)
JAKE: So that's a stem bolt.
NOG: A self-sealing stem bolt. There's a difference.
JAKE: You're sure about that?

I don't think anyone was ever really sure about that. All we know about these things is that you can use them to make reverse-ratcheting routing planers.

NOG: What's important is that it's top grade merchandise. You can't get a better stem bolt in this sector.
JAKE: And we have a hundred gross of them.
NOG: That's a lot of stem bolts.

Why would anyone measure anything in gross (a dozen dozen i.e. 144) this far away from Earth? For that matter, I'd assume everyone on Earth uses the metric system by the 24th century except the hardcore traditional freaks.

(And given that the French invented the metric system I'd image that even Robert Picard uses metric!)

TORAN: I don't understand. There were forty-seven other people living on that moon. They all left willingly.

I'm not fond of straight, unmodified 47s at this point. You gotta reverse it to 74 or extend it to 447 or whatever to be clever.
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 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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Old 09-04-2023, 07:05 PM
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TORAN: We can't postpone. And if he stays, he'll be committing suicide. We'll have to beam him off the surface.
KIRA: If we take him like that, we'll be killing him.

How? I don't think Mullibok is the type to commit direct suicide, he prefers the romanticism of being killed for a cause, to make a point. As soon as that opportunity has passed he should snap out of it.

TORAN: I thought we'd agreed phased energy retrieval would take too long. It would mean waiting a full year before we can extract any meaningful amount of energy. I wish we had the time to be more delicate, but we don't.
KIRA: So instead we'll act like Cardassians.
SISKO: Easy, Major.

This isn't like being a Cardassian! The Cardassians would've done it by now. Maybe they'd give the Bajorans one chance to be evacuated (they always need slaves on Terok Nor), but it would only be one.

Personally I don't find the ethics of evacuating three people who couldn't survive here long-term that complicated.

NOG: We're, the Nog and, er the Noh-Jay Consortium, and we have a hundred gross of self-sealing stem bolts.

Only appearance of the Noh-Jay Consortium in canon, but it did make an appearance in a novel when Jake and Nog told someone about the events of this episode. Personally I would've liked it if the Consortium made a few more cameos in DS9. Nog using it as a cover during "Treachery, Faith and the Great River" comes to mind immediately.

NOG: We'll let you have them for five bars of gold-pressed latinum.
CH'ANO [OC]: Five bars!
NOG: Four bars.
CH'ANO [OC]: I don't think I
NOG: Three bars.
CH'ANO [OC]: If I had any latinum, I'd already have the bolts.

Yikes, Nog really doesn't have the lobes for business. Dropping the price forty percent at the least resistance?

Then again, we have #109: Dignity and an empty sack are worth the sack. And maybe you could apply a rule with an unknown number, "time, like latinum, is a highly limited commodity."

CH'ANO [OC]: I can't hear you. Can I interest you in a piece of land?
JAKE: Land is good.
NOG: For what? It's nothing but dirt.

Now that's a bit shortsighted, Nog. Where is this land? Is it possible that someone would want it?

I can't help but think of the Land Deeds in Majora's Mask that the Business Scrubs use to set up shop in various locations.

CH'ANO [OC]: I can let you have seven tessipates.
JAKE: Seven sounds good.

Tessipates only appear again in "Children of Time." One of the novels reveals that Sisko's land on Bajor encompasses several tessipates. This implies that a tessipate is roughly equivalent to an acre. Seven of those is nothing to sneeze at.

BASHIR: Just rest easy. You took a phaser blast which punctured your peritoneum.

The peritoneum is the "bag" of tissue that holds your abdominal organs. I wonder why Bashir would mention the puncture wound without also mentioning the phaser burns.

BASHIR: He's got to be cared for. I'm going to take him without his permission.
KIRA: No, you're not.

Now that's another screed to be had, the ethics of leaving someone who is passively suicidal unattended by a doctor. I'm not interested in this one either.

BASHIR: She didn't offer a word of explanation, sir. She simply removed her uniform tunic and started building.
SISKO: Well Doctor, right now she stands a pretty good chance of being out of uniform permanently.

That seems harsh. This could be a court-martialable offense by all means, but a dischargable offense? I don't think so.

KIRA: I don't really know. When I was very small, I remember there was this tree right outside my window. It was the ugliest, most gnarled and battered old tree I've ever seen. Even the birds stayed away from it.
MULLIBOK: But you loved it.
KIRA: I hated it. Because it'd grown so huge that its branches blotted out the sun for kellipates. And its roots buried themselves so deep in the soil nothing else could grow there. It was a big, selfish, annoying
KIRA: Nasty, nasty old tree.
MULLIBOK: Sounds to me like it had a lot of character.
KIRA: A lot.
MULLIBOK: So what happened? Did you cut it down?
KIRA: I don't know yet.

The metaphor sort of fell apart on this one.

SISKO: You and I have a material subsistence report to finish by the end of the week.
KIRA: I don't think I'm going to be able to help you with that.
SISKO: It's part of the liaison officer's job.
KIRA: I know.
SISKO: I don't like the prospect of having to break in a new one.

There's a time and a place for this kind of gallows humor, and this isn't it.

ODO: I was contacted by a government official this morning. They want to build a reclamation facility on a strip of land owned by four different people. Three of them have agreed to sell, but the government doesn't know how to reach the fourth, this Noh-Jay Consortium.

This doesn't seem like Odo's job. It really seems more like Kira's job. Of course she's occupied, but like I keep saying, all of the senior officers should have an assistant who can be in charge (and the captain should have a yeooman/secretary).

For that matter, are you really allowed to do business in the Bajoran sector without registering as a corporation with a ton of paperwork?

MULLIBOK: So you chose your uniform over me after all.
KIRA: That's not true. The time I've spent with you here has meant so much to me, but it's over. It's time we went on with our lives. Mine and yours.
MULLIBOK: You say you're my friend. Prove it. Use that weapon on me.
KIRA: I can't.
MULLIBOK: If I leave here I'll die.
KIRA: No, you won't. I won't let you. Two to beam up.

This has to be one of the top five "the major drama of the episode wasn't actually resolved, they just stop the story" episode endings in all of Trek. Yikes is this not satisfying.

Memory Alpha

* The wiki compares this episode's resolution to that of "The Ensigns of Command." There's a screed to be had on the simularities and differences, but I won't write one.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Phil brings up the point that Bajor has a lack of decent farmland and that the Federation could provide more energy supplies.
* "The Wire" proves that Quark still has contacts in the Cardassian Empire, so why can't he unload this stuff to ANYONE?
* The Bajorans had solar sailing ships hundreds of years ago and they didn't manage to colonize this planet until a few decades ago?
* How did Bashir get to this moon so fast when it takes six hours by runabout to reach Bajor?
* In "The Nagus" Nog clearly states that Bajor has three moons, yet this episode features the FIFTH moon. Oops.
* Why didn't Jake and Nog ask the computer what you can use self-sealing stembolts for?
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 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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Old 09-05-2023, 12:18 AM
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May 16th, 1993, "If Wishes Were Horses"

No Fiver

The Episode

ODO: I have no time for fantasies.
QUARK: Ah. No imagination, huh?
ODO: Waste of time. Too many people dream of places they'll never go, wish for things they'll never have, instead of paying adequate attention to their real lives.

I get where Odo is coming from, but I think he's being overly simplistic.

QUARK: I could create a shape-shifter playmate for you. The two of you could intermingle.
ODO: You're disgusting.

I question what Odo would get from such an experience. Since he's the only changeling anyone's ever seen, knowledge of his physiology is limited at this point. Any duplicate would be a "shapeshifter" in the loosest sense. The computer doesn't know how to make it move properly, apply the correct pressure, etc. Plus pushing holographic bits of fake protoplasm into Odo's body couldn't feel very good for him.

(Jake comes through with his baseball bat and glove.)
ODO: You're not allowing young Mister Sisko in your holosuites, I hope.
QUARK: It's not what you think.
ODO: It better not be.

For goodness sake, holosuite programs cover an entire spectrum beyond sex, and Odo knows that!

On a completely different topic, why do the Siskos have physical baseball gear? Jake could ask for a bat and glove once he's in the holosuite! They can't possibly play often enough that personalized equipment would be worth it.

QUARK: Every afternoon, the boy goes up to play. His father brought a programme with famous players. You ever hear of Tris Speaker or Ted Williams or Buck Bokai?
ODO: Afraid not.
QUARK: Neither had I until I made it my business to find out. With all these humans coming now, the true entrepreneur knows how to sniff the wind.

Chakoteya is nice enough to provide links to the baseball wiki for Speaker and Williams. Speaker was a centerfielder for the Red Sox in the teens and twenties. Williams was a leftfielder for the Red Sox in the forties and fifties. Buck Bokai, of course, played for the London Kings in the 2020s.

QUARK: Family entertainment. That's the future, Odo. There's a fortune to be made. Little holo-creatures running around, rides and games for the kiddies, Ferengis in every doorway selling useless souvenirs.

It's a little overwhelming to think about how future technology will advance the theme park rides that we have today. The mention of "holo-creatures" brings my mind to perennial Arrowverse wiki toyetic character Beebo.

QUARK: I'm expanding. I'm negotiating to lease the space next door so I can use the same holo-generators.

Yeah, holodecks don't work like that. And it suddenly occurs to me that it would behoove Quark to open a family-friendly facility on the other side of the Promenade. It would certainly be more encouraging for the new Bajoran and Federation families on board. A no-alcohol bar, a proper sit-down restaurant, a real arcade, and family-friendly holosuites.

BASHIR: You are constantly in my thoughts. I can't even
WAITER: That was two raktajinos, extra strong.
BASHIR: I can't even concentrate.
DAX: You seemed to be concentrating just fine on the junior Lieutenant at the reception for Captain Stadius.
BASHIR: She was a poor substitute for you.

Yeah, this doesn't work. Either Bashir is obsessed with Dax to the point of eschewing all other women, or else he's a womanizer who just sees Dax as a challenge. Of course, the problem is that neither interpretation puts Julian in a very good light. So they should've dropped the whole thing or done it properly. As in, the attraction is gradual and they actually try dating before realizing that it doesn't work.

O'BRIEN: Rumpelstiltskin. And at the sound of his own name, the old man was so furious that he stamped his foot, shaking the entire kingdom, and he broke in two and disappeared.

If you're not watching Phelous already, you should be. Here's his review of a third-rate Rumpelstiltskin cartoon, featuring a cameo by Pat Morita.

O'BRIEN: Sweetheart, that was just make-believe. Rumpelstiltskin isn't real, okay? All right, I'll come in and check, but then it's bedtime. Why do we tell her stories about evil dwarfs that want to steal children?

Because the original fairy tales were meant to teach simple morals. In this case, "don't say you can do things that you can't, and don't depend on miracles to get you out of trouble."

(There is the lovely Michael John Anderson)

Chakoteya must be a fan of X-Files and/or Twin Peaks.

(Security enter)
RUMPELSTILTSKIN: Ah, the local constabularies.

"Constabulary" just means a police force that consists of constables. "Constable" is a particular rank of police officer, once found in most of medieval Europe but these days it mostly only used in former British realms and Scandinavia.

I'm still not sure of why Sisko would use the term in reference to Odo, his duties seem to go beyond that of a simple police officer.

KIRA: A hologram with an appetite?
BUCK: Hologram?
BASHIR: On the contrary, Major, he's quite real. They all seem to be.

Yes, they're real, but a real one? Are their life signs human or Trill or whatever Rumpelstiltskin is? Or does Julian just mean generic humanoid?

SISKO: You. You're not actually Buck Bokai.
BUCK: So how come I'm wearing his uniform?


BASHIR: Not necessarily. Well, maybe. How could this sort of thing possibly happen?
DAX: A subspace disruption. Maybe some kind of dimensional shift.

A dimensional shift from where? Maybe I'll buy that Jadzia2 and Bokai somehow jumped over from a parallel universe, but if you're going to try telling me that all of the Grimm fairy tales happened in a parallel universe and somehow inspired the Grimm Brothers to write them down I'm going to need more exposition on that.
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 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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Old 09-05-2023, 12:19 AM
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ODO: Are the environmental controls broken down? It's snowing on the Promenade.
SISKO [OC]: Snowing?
ODO: We're looking at five or six centimetres down here.

You let the snow get two inches deep before reporting it? I thought Odo was more on the ball than that.

ODO: Disappeared but now there's a Gunji jackdaw running loose down here.
(Looks more like an emu to me)

Of course the birds were actually emus. Jackdaws are actually related to crows and ravens. Don't ask me why the name was applied to emus.

BASHIR: Jadzia, I find this difficult to say, but I want you to know, I would
DAX: Julian, there's really no need to apologise. In a way, I feel as if we've invaded your privacy. We all have fantasies and dreams we keep to ourselves, thoughts that should remain private.
BASHIR: I'm glad you understand.
DAX: Of course I do. I was a young man, once.

Thank goodness they brought this up. It doesn't exactly match the prankster image of Dax, but that's another issue.

DAX: She really is submissive, isn't she? Is that how you want me to be, Julian? So submissive?
DAX 2: I am not submissive. Am I?
BASHIR: No, er, well, I don't think so.
DAX 2: I'm just not the cold fish you are.
DAX: Cold fish?
BASHIR: Now, I never said that.

Calling Jadzia a "cold fish" is absolutely hilarious. I think the big problem is that Jadzia was having so much fun toying with Julian that she wasn't taking his feelings into consideration. After a month or two she should've given him a real date and then decide whether to continue dating him or tell him to stop because the date didn't work.

DAX 2: Come on, Lieutenant. Stop denying all those yearnings you feel.
DAX: Yearnings?
DAX 2: If you don't, you'll never know what you missed.

Jadzia won't really yearn for anyone until Lenara Khan. And Ezri reveals that if Worf hadn't come along she would've given Julian a chance. The real problem is that Jadzia planned on toying with Julian for FIVE YEARS before going on a date with him. I call that pretty monstrous.

RUMPELSTILTSKIN: A farmer from Derry once tried to chase me off until I saved his crops from locusts
(I'm trying to imagine the level of global warming required for locusts in Derry....)

Derry is the second-largest city in Northern Ireland. I think the implication is that Northern Ireland is too cold for the bugs.

BUCK: Hey, Ben. It really meant a lot to me, how much you cared. That day we won that world series, there were only three hundred people in the stands.
SISKO: Three hundred and one in my version.

I think the idea that baseball was more boring than football and was inevitably doomed is a remnant of the Nineties that I'm glad we left there.

Look, I don't watch professional sports, but I don't begrudge those who do enjoy watching them. I'll refer you guys to Field of Dreams and A League of Their Own for more on this subject.

SISKO: Can we gain any time by moving the station?
DAX: If the rift collapses, the implosion would overtake us almost immediately.

It occurs to me that after the events of The Emissary something more powerful than the existing thrusters should've been installed. Of course you don't want the station bouncing between Bajor and the wormhole on a daily basis, but it would sure be useful in situations like this.

DAX: All available power's been transferred. Reading shield strength at one hundred fifty eight percent above normal.

158% above normal is 258%. I don't think the shield generations could handle that much extra power. This "you can always throw more power at it" thing that Trek keeps doing is frankly annoying. Even something as simple as the anti-Borg deflector dish trick in "Best of Both Worlds" would've required a lengthy stay in spacedock to get it done.

BUCK: We're on an extended mission exploring the galaxy. Awhile back, we followed one of your ships through that hole in space out there. We've been watching you, trying to figure out the rules of your game.
SISKO: Why didn't you just talk to us like this?
BUCK: We've learned you never can tell how someone will treat the visiting team.
SISKO: I understand.

Oh boy, is this a screed waiting to happen.

BUCK: We've got to go.
SISKO: But you haven't told us anything about your species.
BUCK: I'd like to. Maybe next year.

Yeah, he won't be back. And before we end the episode, where was the scene between Dax and Bashir where we resolved everything that happened there?

Memory Alpha

* I find it hilarious when Meany objected to a leprechaun instead of Rumpelstiltskin like the original plan was, only to play a leprechaun himself in "The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns."
* Of course this episode is the source of the baseball that Sisko will keep on his desk and will play an important part in many future episodes.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Phil wonders how Bokai's baseball maintained its reality after he left. My immediate rejoinder is that we haven't a clue whether or not this species can manifest real stuff like Q can.
* Phil has problems with Jadzia referring to Dax as having been a young man once, when we know that there were three male hosts before her. I think Phil is being overly pedantic. Being a young man three times does not mean that referring to a singular instance is a lie.
* How did O'Brien modify torpedoes by tapping away at a console? Phil thinks this would require Undiscovered Country-style "surgery."
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 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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Old Yesterday, 06:36 PM
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May 23rd, 1993, "The Forsaken"

Fiver by Nic

Let me get this out of the way up front. Lwaxana should've never appeared on DS9. At all. She's overbearing and oblivious to the point of madness, but in conjunction with Deanna and Picard she had some interesting plots. On DS9 she had no such counterpoint, and no, Odo doesn't count. Furthermore that whole escapade with her failed marriage and son was just a bad episode of television.

The Episode

Station Log, stardate 46925.1. We have been honoured with a visit by a delegation of Federation ambassadors on a fact-finding mission to the wormhole. Fortunately I have just the officer to take them off my hands.

Yeah, no. Sisko is a commander, he shouldn't be dealing with ambassadors. And like I said before, Sisko's diplomatic mission to the Bajorans seems to have been dropped, so there should be a dedicated ambassador offscreen who can handle this.

Furthermore, Bashir is even less qualified than Sisko to deal with ambassadors. I would think Dax would be the ideal candidate given the options.

BASHIR: I only wish there was something I could do, Ambassador.
TAXCO: (alien red-head) Madam Ambassador.
BASHIR: Madam Ambassador. But all the guest quarters on the station are roughly the same size.
TAXCO: Then move me to the crew level.
BASHIR: All the quarters on the crew level are currently occupied.
TAXCO: Then someone can move. You, for example.

Ugh. Every Federation starbase should have dedicated VIP suites. Period. Furthermore, the Cardassians would've had such things already. And even if there weren't and O'Brien couldn't make some, there should be a dedicated starship in the sector by now, and THEY would have VIP suites.

BASHIR: Commander Sisko is extremely busy.
VADOSIA: With what?
BASHIR: With the recalibration sweep.
LOJAL: (Vulcan) What are you recalibrating?
BASHIR: Everything. It's a sweeping recalibration of all systems.

Yeah, it doesn't work like that. I'll skip the Treknobabble screed, but believe me when I say that it would be a long one.

BASHIR: You would? After your long trip, I thought you might enjoy stopping by a holosuite?
TAXCO: Are you actually suggesting we indulge in one of those disgusting Ferengi sex programmes?
BASHIR: No. I, the holosuites are capable of many different--

Can we drop the idea that "the default holosuite program is sex" now? Gene is dead, you don't need to be puerile anymore.

TAXCO: A first-year officer assigned as our liaison. Starfleet command will hear of this.

As well they should. Sisko isn't doing his job.

So Bashir just started his career and he's a Lieutenant? It's an interesting idea: If you just do the standard four years you graduate as an Ensign, but if you go additional schooling for a specialty you graduate as a Lieutenant. That would explain Saavik in TWOK, come to think of it. Maybe she went to some special Command school to get her rank. It would also explain Ro Laren's situation, for that matter.

LWAXANA: I had just made a third straight cross. I was leaning across the table to pick up the dice again...

Quark lets Betazoids gamble in his bar? Just because they can't read Ferengi doesn't mean that they couldn't read the minds of the Bajoran dabo girls and his other staff! Furthermore, gamblers and criminals across the quadrant would prioritize telepathy dampeners by now in order to ply their trades.

LWAXANA: You are dealing with a daughter of the Fifth House, Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx, Heir to the holy Rings of Betazed.

It's been quite long enough for proper explanation of these items. We know that the Sacred Chalice is a moldy clay pot, but what are the Holy Rings? In the novel Imzadi Will Riker found them in a box in the back of Lwaxana's closet.

It's been suggested that Lwaxana is the only one who takes these things seriously anymore, but I wish that had been made clearer.

LWAXANA: That's it. That's my brooch. But how did you know?
ODO: Dopterians are distant relatives of the Ferengi. It made sense that if you couldn't read Quark, you might not be able to read this charming fellow either.

The most famous Dopterian (to us) is probably Gorta from "Firstborn", the guy SF Debris hailed as having more personality than all of the criminals from "Gambit" combined.

O'BRIEN: Computer, is the diagnostic on the fusion power plant finished yet?
COMPUTER: Affirmative. The fusion power plant is operating within normal parameters.
O'BRIEN: What are you talking about? It's thirteen percent below normal.
COMPUTER: Cardassian specifications accept operating efficiency within twenty percent.

Oh boy, another screed is hiding here, this time about Cardassian standards, perhaps even speculation on whether their arrogance and god complexes overpower any desire for efficiency.

In any case, O'Brien should've reprogrammed this by now, this scene is for Episode 2 or 3, not 16.

O'BRIEN: Well, I don't. Anara.
(A Bajoran woman comes over)
ANARA: Yes, sir.

Oh, boy, Anara. She was supposed to be more important in future episodes, including "In the Hands of the Prophets", but this was dropped. I think I recall from somewhere that Keiko was going to become jealous of her at one point, but any possible infidelity plotline was dropped.

O'BRIEN: How much do you know about the carbon reaction chambers?
ANARA: I've learned a little about laser-induced fusion. Not much more than the basics.
O'BRIEN: It's a bloody inefficient system, and I'd trade it in for a Federation model tomorrow if I could. But it's all we've got.

This episode is just full of possible tangents for ranting, isn't it?

O'BRIEN: Fine? With all due respect, Commander, as an engineer, I couldn't look at myself in the mirror if I allowed this computer to perform as it is now. I'll have to do a root canal.
SISKO: Root canal?
O'BRIEN: It's engineering shorthand, sir. I'll have to get into its guts and rebuild her from the ground up.
SISKO: How long will that take?
O'BRIEN: Well, I'm still not that familiar with Cardassian technology but I'd guess no more than two, three years.

I have to think that just replacing the core with a Federation model and reprogramming it to do DS9-specific tasks would take less time.

LWAXANA: Is Odo your first or last name?
ODO: Yes.

No, Odo is his "family name", Ital is his "personal name". Even Memory Alpha lists his full name as Odo Ital, Cardassian for "Unknown Sample."

LWAXANA: I'm understand you're a shape-shifter.
ODO: That's correct.
LWAXANA: I've never been with a shape-shifter.

Really? There are any number of shapeshifting species in Trek, if you decide to separate "shapeshifters" (can change between humanoid forms only, like salt vampires, or Garth or Marta) from "changelings" (can assume any form). She's never been with a changeling before.

LWAXANA: All the men I've known have needed to be shaped and molded and manipulated. Finally I've met a man who knows how to do it himself.

Well, that's disturbing, and quite inconsistent with Lwaxana's prior relationships. She might've remolded Ian a bit, but after that she seems to prefer me with strong wills who can stand up to her: Picard, Timicin, Odo.

SISKO: What's the problem?
ODO: The manner in which she expresses her gratitude. To be honest, Commander, she seems interested in me.
SISKO: What's wrong with that?
ODO: She's extremely aggressive.
SISKO: I see. So, she's after you.
ODO: Like a Wanoni tracehound.

Wanoni tracehounds have a couple different backstories in the expanded universe. If you take RPG supplements as more canonical than random published nonfiction, these dogs are native to Betazed and resemble our mastiff dogs.
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 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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ODO: I don't have time for romantic interludes. Frankly, in my humble opinion, most of you humanoids spend far too much time on your respective mating rituals.
SISKO: It does help the procreation of one's species.
ODO: Procreation does not require changing how you smell, or writing bad poetry, or sacrificing various plants to serve as tokens of affection. In any event, it's all irrelevant to me.
SISKO: I'm sorry to hear that.

Thank goodness they addressed this. Romance does not equal sex, and sex does not equal babies.

Odo's examples seem a little Earth-specific. I wonder why he wouldn't use Cardassian or Bajoran romantic gestures instead.

(Odo checks the coast is clear before stepping off the turbolift, but still gets caught.)

This joke was done better in "Half a Life."

ODO: You told Quark you were going into a holosuite with me?
LWAXANA: Of course. He's preparing a special picnic basket for us.
ODO: Good lord.

"Menage a Troi" established Lwaxana's fondness for picnic baskets. I'd love to have seen Quark's response to the request.

"Good lord"? Really? Odo doesn't seem one for religious expressions like this. And even if he was so inclined, "by the Prophets" would seem more fitting, given the setting.

ODO: I don't eat. This is not a real mouth, it is an approximation of one. I do not have an esophagus or a stomach or a digestive system. I am not like you. Every sixteen hours, I turn into a liquid.

And we know that he only tried to eat once. He didn't get anything out of it, and the aftermath was quite messy. Even so, he knows how to keep someone company while they eat by now.

KIRA [OC]: By the way, Cardassian turbolifts run exposed multi-phase alternating currents through their positioning mechanisms, so don't try to shape-shift your way out.

Cardassian turbolift tubes seem like OSHA nightmares. Thank goodness a quantum filament never hit the station trapping Captain Picard and some kids inside one.

SISKO: All of us have had these assignments, Doctor.
BASHIR: Have you, sir?
SISKO: As a matter of fact, Curzon Dax used to take perverse pleasure in assigning me to take care of VIP guests.

I suddenly wonder how Curzon would handle the instances in TOS that were ruined by the insufferably stupid ambassadors that Kirk kept having to deal with.

Station log, supplemental. Odo and Ambassador Troi remain trapped in turbolift four. As of yet, we have been unable to ascertain what it is that's causing the station's computer to malfunction.
(Note - previously it was turbolift seven. )

I wonder if Chakoteya read the Nitpicker's Guides.

SISKO: Do you happen to know the schedule of his regenerative cycle?
KIRA: My god, I have no idea, but if he doesn't get back to his pail in time--

Quark knows Odo's regeneration cycle, this would seem like a prime opportunity to let him show off. It would let him be smug and amused at Odo's situation, we know that Quark doesn't like Lwaxana any more than Odo does.

ANARA: Computer, access musical files in the Bajor master data banks and create a concert programme of Bajoran serenas.

A serena is a type of French poem or song where a lover anticipates the arrival of night. This is so culturally specific that I'm not sure that you can apply it to other species.

SISKO: How did you beat that thing in the computer, Chief?
O'BRIEN: I didn't.
DAX: He adopted it.
SISKO: Adopted it?
O'BRIEN: I was able to get our friend out of the main command pathways and into a subprogramme.
SISKO: You're suggesting we leave it in there?
O'BRIEN: I don't see why not. It's happy. It's not bothering us any more. It seems the humane thing to do.
DAX: It's just another new lifeform visiting the station.
O'BRIEN: I'll take care of it, make sure it gets enough attention and all.
SISKO: Keep it off the furniture.
O'BRIEN: Yes, sir.

Pup will make a few appearances in the novels, most notably in Valhalla. A Memory Alpha editor wonders if Sisko destroyed it when he made the computer self-destruct in "A Call to Arms" before the Dominion occupied the station.

The Fiver

Sisko: Old man, where is Chief O'Brien?
Dax: He's in his quarters, crying. The computer malfunctioned and then told him something mean.
Sisko: What? You're not saying the "This program has performed an illegal operation" line reduced him to tears?
Dax: You keep forgetting this is a Cardassian computer, Benjamin. It told him, "Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries."

Most people would focus on the Monty Python joke, but I am not "most people." What I found funny was the illegal operation joke, it reminds me of a story from the old Computer Stupidies site. A little old lady runs across the illegal operation error screen, then hears police sirens in the distance. She thinks she's going to be arrested, so she hides the computer then calls tech support to turn herself in.

Bashir: You ordered me to take care of the ambassadors just to inflict needless, brutal torment on me, did you? DID you?
Sisko: Yes. Bwahahahaha! And there's more where that came from!
Bashir: Um... why don't you inflict that torment on, say, Chief O'Brien instead? He always impersonates you and says that Kirk and Picard were way better Captains.
Sisko: He does? That's it, he's going down. I'll give him seven years of needless, sick torment... Cardassian tribunal, Cardassian jail, temporal anomalies...
Bashir: Don't give him any promotions either.

So that's where the O'Brien Must Suffer episodes came from. The last line doesn't work, though. He was promoted from Chief Petty Officer to Senior Chief Petty Officer sometime in the fourth season.

Constable's Log: Lwaxana invades our space, and we fall back. Lwaxana annoys entire space stations, and we fall back. Not again!

This is a good example of how hyperbole is needed to make a dated reference funny.

O'Brien: Hello? Computer? Who is in there? Do you wish to talk to me about something?
Computer: No. Now go away before I taunt you a second time.

Double-dipping Monty Python jokes rarely succeeds, and it doesn't here.

Sisko: Well, okay, but only if you'll clean it and take it out for a walk!
Entity: RUFF!
Sisko: Mmm, chili...

I know Enterprise well enough to recognize a Porthos joke.

Sisko: So, Odo, how did you survive all those hours in the turbolift with Lwaxana?
Odo: Someone once told me Lwaxana was a predator, that stalked us all our lives. But I'd rather believe Lwaxana is a companion, who goes with us on a journey, and reminds us to cherish every moment when she's not around, because she will be back!

I'm on the fence about this joke.

Memory Alpha

* First appearance of Odo in his natural state.

Nitpicker's Guide

* First appearance of Kira's one-piece catsuit uniform.
* After Lwaxana retrieves her brooch Odo hauls the Dopterian off without taking the rest of the stolen items. Oops.
* One of the ambassadors complains about the gargoyles, which we've never seen. Phil jokes that they're only in the honeymoon suite.
* He also noted the "good Lord" thing.
* I must've remembered the "Quark knows Odo's cycle" thing from the book as well.
* In this episode Odo's cycle is fixed at sixteen hours, it was longer before.
* Phil brings up the fact that the Federation was willing to give the Uxbridges a fusion powered replicator in "The Survivors", so why haven't they refitted the station? My counter-argument is that giving away standalone tech is quite different from spending the resources to retrofit the station. Remember that it would entail a dedicated starship, a fleet of workbees, etc.
* Didn't the Cardassians take everything of value? Wouldn't the computer count as being something of value?
* Phil wonders if the conflicting references to the turbolift as 4 and 7 is a hidden 47. Nah, that was just editing incompetance.
* Okay, the station transporters are down. Why not use the runabout transporters?
* Odo is so exhausted that his face and hands start to sweat. But his clothes don't even though they're a part of him as well. Oops.
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 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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