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  #241  
Old 09-06-2021, 08:00 PM
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Intriguing takes on a lot of the content. Finally caught up.
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  #242  
Old 09-08-2021, 06:53 PM
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June 3rd, 1991, "In Theory"

Fiver by Wowbagger

Far too many episodes of TNG rely on the one-episode romance subplot, have any of you noticed that?

The Episode

Captain's log, stardate 44932.3 The Enterprise is preparing to enter the Mar Oscura, an unexplored dark matter nebula. Commander Data is modifying several new photon torpedoes for an experiment designed to elicit more information about this unusual phenomenon.

Why are they modifying photon torpedoes instead of probes? Are antimatter explosions part of this experiment?

JENNA: I bumped into Jeff again in the turbolift this morning. He asked me to dinner.
DATA: What was your response?
JENNA: I told him I'd think about it.
DATA: As you requested, I will now remind you of the reasons you decided to end your relationship with Jeff.
JENNA: I guess I asked for this. Go ahead.
DATA: You objected to the fact that he seemed unwilling to set aside sufficient time for you. You said he was unresponsive, that he never did the little things. You disliked the sound he made when he ate his soup.
JENNA: Okay, okay. I remember.
DATA: This is the third time I have refreshed your memory. Do you wish to rescind our agreement?
JENNA: No. No, it's for my own good. It's just so easy to forget.

On the one hand, Data is an ideal candidate to perform this kind of service. On the other hand, it does seem a little dehumanizing to ask Data to act as a talking parrot.

DATA: Throughout history, many lovers have suffered the same difficulty. Anne Boleyn was quite distressed that Henry the Eighth preferred the company of his huntsmen over that of his wife.

I've read a bit about the wives of Henry VIII over the years, and I don't know where this huntsman came from. This isn't the place to talk about the complicated history of Henry VIII, I just think that if they wanted an historical example of romantic complications they could cite someone a bit more recent and well-known. JFK comes to mind immediately.

(a quintet is playing. Data on oboe, Jenna on flute, Keiko on clarinet, an alien on bassoon, and a man in casual clothes on French horn)
O'BRIEN: That was wonderful.
KEIKO: Thank you.
(Miles and Keiko embrace)

Did Keiko ever play again? You'd think DS9 is big enough to have an unofficial band, and it would certainly give her something to do. Furthermore, it would be another facet for Bashir or Sisko (I could certainly imagine Sisko playing a saxophone or something).

Furthermore, why is the alien playing a bassoon? Wouldn't his race have an equivalent instrument to insert here? It would be a nice little bit of worldbuilding.

KEIKO: Every night, Miles leaves his socks on the floor. When we got married, I made the mistake of picking them up a few times. Then I realised, if I kept it up I'd be doing it the rest of my life. So I stopped, figuring he'd get the point and do it himself. One night goes by, two, a week, ten days. By now there's a pile of socks half a metre high.
O'BRIEN: Come on, it wasn't half a metre.
KEIKO: After two weeks I couldn't stand it any more. I bundled them up and put them in the cleaning processor. And I'm still doing it.

While it's nice to see the lighter sides of life in the Federation, leaving socks on the floor seems rather primitive when you can shove them into the wall. As for a "cleaning processor", what is it and is it more energy-efficient than just feeding stuff into a replicator to be broken down and reused?

JENNA: Keiko, you sound just like Data. He came over to my quarters the other day to give me a music lesson, and he said the funniest thing. How did you put it, about the mess?
DATA: I believe I observed that you seem to have an aversion to orderliness. But it was not intended as a humourous remark.

Are we supposed to like Jenna? Because I don't. Plus I thought Data had more tact than to make observations like that.

DATA: I am nearly finished compiling readings from our most recent illuminatory burst. Dark matter density is nearly one order of magnitude higher than in similar nebulae. Life forms here may have developed in ways never before observed.
RIKER: Interesting hypothesis. Are there any M-class planets we could check out?

Let's assume that not all matter in here is dark matter. Even so, any life-forms around here should be sufficiently different to not exist under M-class conditions. I don't like how the writers seem to think that lifeforms can only exist under M-class conditions. There are other habitable classes, you know!

JENNA: Sometimes in the summer we'd go on cookouts. Just my little brother and me, and mother. She was hopeless without a replicator. We didn't care.
DATA: Children often do not develop discerning palettes until well beyond adolescence.

Let's accept that replicators are too big to take outside. I'd think that a portable stasis unit should be possible to make to keep food at the required temperature.

Sorry, I just hate it when Star Trek people keep going into unfamiliar environments for recreation when they don't have to. If you can't rough it don't plan activities where you have to!

As for children and discerning palettes, that's a whole other screed that could easily get me into trouble. I don't have children and probably never will, but I have observed nieces and nephews.

JENNA: That what I love about you, Data. You make me laugh. I don't know why I keep falling for the wrong man. Why can't I fall for somebody like you. You're perfect.
DATA: That is not true. I have no human feelings.

Exactly. Even if you compensate for his lack of emotions, Data still couldn't be described as perfect. Another screed.

GUINAN: Hello, Data. Would you like to try something new? It's a concoction I heard about on Prakal Two. I think it's wonderful but I need a second opinion.

Why is Guinan asking Data's opinion on this? I thought she was supposed to be the expert in dealing with everyone on their own terms (which means understanding everybody's own terms).

GUINAN: Don't look at me. No, no, Data, I simply mean that I can't give you any advice here. It's not good to advise people about their first love affairs. That's kind of something they have to figure out for themselves.

So what was she doing with Wesley and Salia?

LAFORGE: Data. Missing someone? I found Spot wandering through the corridor two sections away.
DATA: Thank you.
LAFORGE: Forget to secure the door when you left?
DATA: The door sensor is programmed to recognise only humanoid forms for entry and egress. Spot could not have triggered the mechanism.

I've had cats, I know they can squeeze through the oddest openings. However, there shouldn't be any such openings on a starship. Or are you telling me that Spot somehow opened an access hatch to a Jefferie's Tube?

LAFORGE: Listen, my advice is ask somebody else for advice. At least someone who's got more experience at giving advice.

This would've been a good time to bring up Geordi's failures with women.

DATA: I have studied much human literature on the subject of love and romantic liaisons. There are many role models for me to emulate.
TROI: Ultimately, Jenna will care for you for what you are, not what you imitate out of a book.

Exactly. I think Data fell back on the "fake it until you make it" plot far too often, including this episode.

WORF: Klingons do not pursue relationships. They conquer that which they desire. However, Lieutenant D'Sora serves under my command. If she were mistreated, I would be very displeased, sir.
DATA: I understand.

Is he using "conquer" as a euphemism for sex? I hope not. The protective big brother thing is another cliché that I don't think fits here. Could Worf hurt Data anyway?

RIKER: I think you should pursue it. First of all, she's a beautiful woman.

I'm disturbed by Will treating beauty as the most important factor. He should've matured past the playboy phase by now.

If you've read Imzadi you should know that his initial interest in Deanna was simply "she's hot" combined with "she'll be a challenge."
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  #243  
Old 09-08-2021, 06:54 PM
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DATA: Jenna has clearly demonstrated how she feels about me, but I am not capable of returning those feelings.
RIKER: Data, when you get involved with another person, there are always risks of disappointment, of getting hurt.

Uh, Will, you didn't address Data's concern. In fact, you completely misinterpreted Data's statement in order to make a more general observation.

DATA: I cannot be hurt. But she can.
RIKER: Jenna knows that and she has obviously decided to take the chance.

No, she's hasn't. She's desperate and misinterpreting Data's actions.

RIKER: Data, when it really works between two people, it's not like anything you've ever experienced. The rewards are far beyond simple friendship.
DATA: How far, sir?
RIKER: That's what I'm hoping you're going to find out.
DATA: Thank you, Commander.

Will does know that Data doesn't have emotions, right? Plus, if this is a subtle reference to sex, he knows about Data and Tasha by now, doesn't he?

DATA: Captain, I am seeking advice in how
PICARD: Yes, I've heard, Data, and I would be delighted to offer any advice I can on understanding women. When as I have some, I'll let you know.

This is a good gag, Data's been talking to everyone on the senior staff (although I do wonder what Beverly's advice would've been), and word gets around.

(Meaningless aside alert! In the novel "Guises of the Mind" a pair of nuns comes aboard to help set up an orphanage on a planet. Data takes an interest in the subject of religion, and so of course asks his friends their opinions on the subject. Picard describes the church in his hometown and seems to treat the subject as a source of comfort whether or not there is a God. Worf refers to his family's gods (a clear discontinuity) and says he'll talk about the rituals as long as Data keeps it a secret. Guinan describes god as a singular idea that can be one person or several, a changeable approach. It's also mentioned that there are Jews and ritualistic Native Americans onboard that Data consults.)

JENNA: They're lovely. Come in. What are they?
DATA: A variety of crystilia. Their fragrance is an evolutionary response to the acrid nature of the atmosphere on Telemarius Four.

Acrid means it has an unpleasant taste or smell. I'm dubious as to whether a good smell is really chemically opposite to a bad smell.

Only mention of Telemarius IV.

JENNA: You didn't talk to the entire ship about us.
DATA: No. In actuality, less than one percent of the Enterprise crew was involved. It was necessary to balance theory with experiential referents.

Okay, here's a question. Of the 1,012 people on board, how many are "crew?" If Data is to be believed, he only talked with four crew (Guinan doesn't count). So that means at least 400 crew.

JENNA: This is all part of a programme?
DATA: Yes. One which I have just created for romantic relationships.
JENNA: So I'm just a small variable in one of your new computational environments?
DATA: You are much more than that, Jenna. I have written a subroutine specifically for you. A programme within the programme. I have devoted a considerable share of my internal resources to its development.
JENNA: Data, that's the nicest thing anybody's ever said to me.

You could argue that "real" people also create such personas, but I won't go into detail for fear of being lynched.

DATA: You have often expressed dissatisfaction with the spartan nature of my quarters. Is this an attempt at embellishment?
JENNA: The cat's out of the bag.
DATA: Spot?

How incomplete is the dictionary in Data's head? Did they pawn off the job to the lowest bidder who turned out to be a particularly inept Pakled?

COMPUTER: Warning. Atmospheric decompression in Bridge Observation Lounge.

As opposed to the Sickbay Observation Lounge?

DATA: The transparent aluminum alloy of this window is exhibiting a pattern of transient electrical currents.
PICARD: Explanation?
DATA: I have none. The rate is characteristic of a subspace distortion, but I am picking up no evidence of a subspace field.

I'm not sure how many of you know about piezoelectricity, but the notion of a subspace equivalent is intriguing.

DATA: Honey? I'm home.

This is always worth a laugh.

JENNA: I'll have a Calaman Sherry.

Only mention, but it did make it into the Star Trek Cookbook. Mix strawberry, kiwi, and sparkling apple cider as an equivalent. An Okudagram in Quark's presents this as a possible drink.

DATA: Darling, you remain as aesthetically pleasing as the first day we met. I believe I am the most fortunate sentient in this sector of the galaxy. Now, you relax. Put your feet up and I will take care of everything.

This is funny because it combines the cliched script with Data's need to insert more complicated vocabulary.

JENNA: Kiss me.
(they kiss)
JENNA: What were you just thinking?
DATA: In that particular moment, I was reconfiguring the warp field parameters, analysing the collected works of Charles Dickens, calculating the maximum pressure I could safely apply to your lips, considering a new food supplement for Spot--
JENNA: I'm glad I was in there somewhere.

It makes you wonder how many other things Data was thinking about. And given that Data never sleeps (at least, not yet), how much does he think about on a given day?

And when he routes key computer functions through his brain, how many fewer things does he think about?

PICARD: I'm going to pilot the shuttle.
RIKER: Captain, it's my duty as First Officer to safeguard the lives on this ship, including yours. The Enterprise can't afford to lose you, sir. Certainly not in this situation.

In this situation you could argue that the shuttle is safer than the ship. Of course in real life Picard is separated because Stewart is directing and it's useful to keep him off the set as much as possible.

JENNA: You were so kind and attentive. I thought that would be enough.
DATA: It is not?
JENNA: No, it's not. Because as close as we are, I don't really matter to you. Not really. Nothing I can say or do will ever make you happy or sad, or touch you in any way.

I wish they could've resolved this in more than one scene, as it is it smacks too much of the scriptwriter getting bored of the topic and getting rid of it ASAP.

The Fiver

Data: I will now draw on various romantic figures to create a satisfactory evening, such as Ward Cleaver, Bob Hartly, Commander Riker, and The Famous Mister Ed.
D'Sora: Why don't you spare me the trouble of calling you a weirdo and get out now?

I don't think I ever watched Leave it to Beaver or Mister Ed as a child. I've watched my share of old shows in my time (stuff like Addams Family and Beverly Hillbillies comes to mind immediately), not those. Bob Hartly is from the series Newhart. The joke is that none of these, even Riker, is really a romantic figure.

Data: Dinner is served.
D'Sora: Sorry, Data, but I can't stay. I just came to tell you that it's over between us. (leaves)
Data: Maybe it was the fact that dinner was my silicon suspension....
(Data puzzles his puzzler until his puzzler is puzzled at Ludicrous Speed)

A good joke.

Memory Alpha

* This story is inspired by all those fans who were obsessed with Spock romantically in the TOS days. At least that makes sense because Spock does have emotions, he just suppresses them.
* They didn't like having to insert the dark matter stuff, but felt like they had to. They say that people would ask what the ship is doing, but my response is that they did it clumsily with forced peril.
* First episode directed by Stewart.
* I'm annoyed at the revelation that directors were randomly assigned to stories. Directors should be assigned to stories that suit them.
* The site attempts to explain Data's multiple contractions by saying that these statements were more or less him playing soundbytes, not actually speaking. Yeah, good luck with that.
* Ronald Moore thinks that people don't recognize this episode enough. I disagree. When half the episode is a forced technobabble that only exists to break up talky scenes, you don't have a class-A episode.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Why does Data have opinions on closet organization when he wears the same thing 99% of the time? He probably keeps his Sherlock Holmes costume on one side, and that's it.
* Phil also noted the "Dauphin" thing.
* If there wasn't decompression in the observation lounge, how did the furniture get shoved to one side?
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  #244  
Old 09-23-2021, 02:22 AM
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June 17th, 1991, "Redemption Part One"

Up front, I understand how this story was bumped by a year by "The Best of Both Worlds." However, that doesn't mean that they shouldn't have used the intervening time well. In particular, saying that it took a year for Gowron to officially take over is ridiculous. That should've happened earlier, along with a proper Duras Sisters introduction, to make room in this episode for the actual civil war.

Fiver by Zeke

The Episode

Captain's log, stardate 44995.3. We're en route to the Klingon home world, where I will participate in the installation ceremony of Gowron, the next designated Leader of the High Council.

I'm confused about Picard's role here. Aren't his Arbiter of Succession duties done? I'd rather this was a more general reaffirm-the-treaty-show-the-flag thing.

WORF: It is not time yet.
PICARD: That doesn't sound like the man who came to me a year ago fiercely determined to return home and to clear his father's name or die trying. Isn't it time to confront the Council? To regain your family name? Let the truth be known?

I'd rather ask Worf what time he thinks IS right.

PICARD: And who speaks for his family now?
GOWRON: Lursa and B'Etor, the sisters of Duras.
PICARD: And they would claim the leadership of the Council?
GOWRON: Women may not serve on the Council.

But Gowron offered K'ehlyr a seat a year ago! Furthermore, Gowron didn't answer Picard's question. Picard was asking about leading the Council, Gowron is talking about being on the council.

It's not fair to talk about Azetbur, she hasn't been invented yet, but I'm still going to do it. In Star Trek VI they were treating the top spot like a monarchy, which I have problems with. In the TNG era it makes much more sense, intended for the most worthy warrior.

For that matter, shouldn't the best warrior get the top job? Gowron doesn't seem like a better warrior than average. At least Duras seems like a guy who actually trains himself. But then again, does K'mpec seem like he was ever that good of a warrior? Why would you need to poison this guy, just challenge him to a fight and stab him!

I'm meandering, I'm sorry.

WORF: I practice at level fourteen.
GUINAN: Guess I could come down to that level for a while. Begin programme.

GUINAN: Good game. Don't feel bad. I was doing this long before you were born. So how is he? Your son.

I get that they needed an interaction between Guinan and Worf here, but I'm not sure that target shooting was the right choice here. Sure, you can't have Whoopi Goldberg tussling with holographic monsters, but there must've been another choice.

KURN: Gowron will not live to see the day he leads the Council.
WORF: What do you mean?
KURN: He stands alone, surrounded by his enemies. Lursa and B'Etor will have him killed. And if they don't, I will.
WORF: You will?
KURN: Gowron is weak. The family of Duras must never be allowed to lead the Council. Our leaders have failed us. They no longer deserve our loyalty. It is time to sweep away the old Council and put a new one in its place.

Kurn seems a little mixed up. Even should his faction manage to kill Gowron and Duras, that still leaves other problems. Furthermore, Martok later said that cowardice was the only real reason to remove Gowron, and just like during the war Gowron is not a coward even if he's not the best warrior.

K'TAL: naDev ghoS!
(Picard walks forward)
K'TAL: Have you reached a decision regarding the succession of power?
PICARD: Qaja plu d'itch jung. La woq you ghir klas qimha. Gowron. Doj hon. Doj hon.

"Come here!" Picard's line hasn't been translated. Trust me, I've looked.

K'TAL: Gowron, son of M'Rel, hakt'em. The Arbiter confirms that you have completed the Rite of Succession. Your enemies have been destroyed. You stand alone. Do you wish to claim leadership of the Council?
GOWRON: I wish it.
K'TAL: Are there no other challengers?

I have a problem with this bit. If Gowron has had to answer challengers during this entire transitionary period, why was there a transitory period? Seriously, Gowron should've been assumed to have taken over after "Reunion" and the Klingons should be having a problem with his pro-Federation methods.

GOWRON: The illegitimate son of Duras cannot rule the High Council.
K'TAL: The Arbiter will consider his validity. Len'mat.

Again, the Klingon Empire is not a hereditary monarchy. You have to prove yourself in battle to even be eligible! Why is this kid here?

KURN [on monitor]: I have met with the other squadron commanders here. Three will join us, one will not. That gives us enough strength to control seven key sectors.

Three squadrons can control seven sectors? I do wish they could've told us how many ships to a squadron. Furthermore, in naval tradition a squadron is merely one part of a fleet or task force. I sorta get that in Trek they tend to use the term "fleet" to refer to ALL ships in a certain government's military, but "task force" or "flotilla" would've worked better.

PICARD: Mister Worf, you're using our files on the Khitomer massacre as evidence against Duras' father?
WORF: Yes, sir.
PICARD: Do you not see an inherent conflict of interest here?
WORF: Sir, those Federation records will help me prove that my father was falsely accused of treason.
PICARD: You are using your position as a Starfleet officer to affect political change on your planet. There could not be a worse compromise of our fundamental principles.

I'm with SF Debris here, this seems iffy. Truth is truth, after all. Frankly all of the Starfleet records on the Khitomer massacre should've been turned over back in "Reunion" after Duras and K'ehlyr were killed.

GOWRON: You come to me and demand the restoration of your family honour and now you hide behind human excuses? What are you, Worf? Do you tremble and quake with fear at the approach of combat, hoping to talk your way out of a fight like a human? Or do you hear the cry of the warrior calling you to battle, calling you to glory like a Klingon?

You can't say that they didn't write Gowron consistently. It's amazing how much of an arc they got out of this character.

WOMAN: Celebrate later, Toral. We should not discount Jean Luc Picard yet. He is human, and humans have a way of showing up when you least expect them.

A good line, often overlooked.

The Fiver

Captain's Log: We're on our way to Qo'noS so I can officially install Gowron as Chancellor. I tried this once before, but had to stop when Worf performed an illegal operation.

Ah, the early days of Windows humor.

Gowron: (over the comm) Greetings, Federation scum. FEAR MY CREEPY EYES.

Lots of people talk about how Gowron stares. I don't take it that seriously, but I see where they're coming from.

Picard: Gowron, I simply cannot choose sides in a Klingon civil war, no matter how cool my first officer thinks it would be.
Gowron: Look into my eyes and say that.
Picard: All right, but -- whoa. Creepy. Still no, though.
Worf: Captain, we must do something to help Gowron!
Picard: We could provide him with contact lenses.
Worf: That's it, I quit.

I would've used sunglasses here, but whatever...

Picard: If you must go, Worf, at least share a nostalgia trip with me. (sigh) I remember the day you first came aboard....
Worf: Sir, I really wouldn't enter the quarters.
Picard: ...you were so young and red-shir--
(WO-PANG)
Worf: Ouch. You're lucky that bounced off your artificial heart.

Definite Avengers flashbacks here. "Usually this works..."

Memory Alpha

* Major continuity error here about Guinan making Worf laugh. She did that back in "Yesterday's Enterprise."

Nitpicker's Guide

* Worf forgot to pack the family bat'leth. Oops.
* The Great Hall is way bigger here than in "Sins of the Fathers." There's been plenty of time for a remodel, and for all we know there are two Great Halls.
* Phil points out Worf's red blood and its conflict with The Undiscovered Country. I'd rather chalk that up to "the blood really was red" just like "the Klingons always had ridges, there was no need for Augment virus nonsense."
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  #245  
Old 09-26-2021, 05:34 PM
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September 23rd, 1991, "Redemption Part Two"

It feels good to be caught up again.

The Episode

[Kurn's Bridge]

They really tried to squeeze too much into this episode. Why is Worf with Kurn instead of Gowron?

PICARD: The Romulans have been attempting to destroy the Klingon-Federation Alliance for the past twenty years.

Really? I thought the Romulans were in an isolationist period until a couple years ago. I think they're referring to the Khitomer Massacre in 2346 that orphaned Worf, but that raises further questions. It was previously believed that the Romulans entered the isolationist period after the Tomed Incident in 2311. But then again, the Romulans attacked Narendra III in 2344, the act that directly led to the Alliance.

For the sake of argument let's retcon out of existence the isolationist period (which is hard, since the Tomed Incident will be referenced a few more times in canon). In this case it seems silly to specify "twenty years" at all since the alliance has only existed for twenty years! Picard could just say "since it was created"!

SHANTHI: But how would you overcome the Romulan cloaking device?
PICARD: My Chief Engineer has developed a system that should nullify that advantage. Each ship will send out an active tachyon beam to the other blockading ships. Now, in theory, any cloaked vessel that attempts to pass between our ships must cross that beam and be detected.

Space is big, really big. This tachyon detection grid just doesn't work. Even if we argue that Romulan cloaking fields extend hundreds of times farther than their ships (dubious at best, but IF), you'd still need thousands of ships to cover the entire Romulan/Klingon border. And then of course, you'd need to extend the grid across the Romulan/Federation border too, plus whoever is on the far side of Romulan/Klingon space (the Breen?).

Plus I'm dubious that a starship can be equipped to receive the tachyon beams from other ships.

Now let's turn to "Face of the Enemy" that implies that Starfleet maintained the grid for at least a year after the war. Even if you somehow buy that Starfleet eventually implemented an automated planetside equivalent of the starships (again, dubious, but at least it evokes the asteroid outposts from "Balance of Terror") would the Klingons agree to it?

RIKER: Starfleet is stretched pretty thin across the quadrant. There are only about twelve ships within a day's travel of this position.

We're given every reason to believe that the Civil War has been going on for a long time now (stardates indicate nine days, yeah right). Frankly Starfleet has had plenty of time to get half of the fleet to the Klingon/Romulan border whether or not they were anticipating the tachyon detection grid.

LAFORGE: The only other ships available are either in spacedock for repairs or still under construction. Most of them don't even have full crews yet.

I wonder if any are still repairing damage from Wolf 359. I'm confused at Geordi bringing up the crew thing. So what? Transfer staff from the starbases to the ships! I think you can run the starbases on a skeleton crew for a little bit, nobody's attacking them.

Furthermore, tachyon detection grid or not, every remotely-operational starship should've been staffed by now.

PICARD: Mister La Forge, can you implement your tachyon detection grid with twenty ships?
LAFORGE: It's possible, but the more ships, the bigger the net we can throw.

Facepalm. I'm dubious that twenty ships could cover a sector, much less the whole border.

PICARD: Will, I want you to command the Excalibur. Her crew was reassigned when she put in for repairs.

Let me wring my fists again about no other Constitution-class ship getting the -A, -B, etc. designations for their namesakes.

Memory Alpha designates this Excelsior as NCC-26517, Ambassador-class. This is the same ship later to be commanded by Captain Calhoun in the New Frontier novels.

DATA: I am confused. Why have I not been assigned to command a ship in the fleet, sir?

Well, Data, first of all you're not in the Command division, you're in the Operations division. Unless you go back to the Academy and change divisions you'll never captain a ship unless it's in the Starfleet Corps of Engineers. Second of all, this episode doesn't have the runtime to do the story of your first command properly (and it doesn't). Third of all, now is not time time to be thinking of your career, just like we really didn't have time for Riker's against back in "The Best of Both Worlds." Fourth of all, you should be spending your time figuring out how to get the most out of the tachyon detection grid. Need I go on?

WORF: You drink with our enemies?
KURN: How many are Gowron's men? How many are Duras? Does it matter? When we meet in battle, we will fight to the death, but here, here we're all warriors, all Klingons.

I get the sentiment, but once again, we don't have time for this kind of nonsense in an episode that's already stuffed with too many plotlines!

HOBSON: Frankly, sir, I don't believe in your ability to command this ship. You're a fellow officer and I respect that, but no one would suggest that a Klingon would make a good ship's counsellor or that a Berellian could be an engineer. They're just not suited for those positions. By the same token, I don't think an android is a good choice to be captain.

Now's not the time Hobson! This is the first time you've met Data and you're already biased against him. That's called racism, Hobson.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, we don't have time for this subplot! Shove it to another episode! And it's weird that Sela will refer to this in "Unification" without clarifying that she was commanding forces against him in the coming battle.

Only mention of the Berellians. And although the Klingon/counselor thing is pure racism (against an ally, no less), you have to admit it has some merit. K'Ehleyr (I'm annoyed that I still have to look up how to spell that every time) is one of the more mellow Klingons we've seen, and even she didn't seem like counselor material.

O'BRIEN: We're crossing into Klingon territory, Captain.
PICARD: Signal the fleet to maintain yellow alert until further notice.
O'BRIEN: Aye, sir.

How long can a ship maintain Yellow Alert without the crew falling apart, I wonder.

DATA: Why are the backups not functioning?
HOBSON: There wasn't enough time to test all the backups before we left the yard.

So...test them en route? There's no time for this, etc. etc.

PICARD: On screen. Tasha?
SELA [on viewscreen]: No, Captain. I am Commander Sela. The woman you knew as Tasha Yar was my mother.

Odd phrasing. You know this woman as Tasha Yar, but on Risa she's known as X, among Klingons she's known as Y, she was really born Z, etc.

And really, Sela's backstory should've been an earlier episode. We don't have time for this.

TROI: Sela could have been cloned.
CRUSHER: Or had her appearance surgically altered.
PICARD: But why? What possible advantage could there be to the Romulans?

Insert Nemesis joke here. If this was truly a Romulan plot, it seems like rather a short-sighted one. A clone would be detected fairly quickly. Why spend all those resources for a plan that would be foiled in a matter of hours?
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Old 09-26-2021, 05:39 PM
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GUINAN: No. There were survivors. And Tasha Yar was one of them.
PICARD: Guinan, that was twenty three years ago. Tasha Yar was only a child.
GUINAN: I know that. But I also know she was aboard that ship and she was not a child. And I think you sent her there.
PICARD: How can that be?
GUINAN: I don't know. I just know that you did.

Only in the most general sense did Picard "send" her. Tasha volunteered.

PICARD: Tasha died, a year before you came on the Enterprise. You never met her.
GUINAN: I know that.

"Skin of Evil" is Stardate 41602.1. Guinan came to the Enterprise before "The Child", Stardate 42073.1. That's six months, not a year.

Seriously, the creators never should've said a thousand stardates equals a year. They invite us to Do The Math.

GUINAN: If I'm right, then you are responsible for this whole situation.

No, he's not! Tasha volunteered to go to the Enterprise-C because GUINAN told her that she died a meaningless death in the original timeline. If anything GUINAN is responsible for this whole situation!

KURN: So now Gowron no longer suits you. Perhaps you mean to challenge him for the leadership of the Council?
WORF: No.

"Not for at least seven years!" Hehe.

SELA: Yes, she was on that ship twenty four years ago. She was sent there by you from the future.

I wonder why Tasha would lie about this point. What does it accomplish besides making Sela anti-Starfleet, something Tasha would want to avoid?

SELA: A Romulan general saw her and became enamoured with her.

The novel "Vulcan's Heart" gives his name as Volskiar.

WORF: Your family has never valued honour.
B'ETOR: You knew only our brother. We are not like him.

Yeah, you're stupider. You actually thought that an illegitimate underage (and idotic) son could actually make a valid claim to the proverbial throne. And you have a habit of trusting the most untrustworthy people.

PICARD: When Gowron begins his attack, then we will make our move. Excalibur will fall back with engine problems. You will take the Akagi and the Hornet to this position, which will open a small gap in our detection net.

Frankly the Romulans should've started the long trip AROUND the net by now. Whatever.

DATA [OC]: The net is no longer effective in a radius of ten million kilometres around the Sutherland.
PICARD: Send a signal to the fleet. All ships to fall back and rendezvous at Gamma Eridon. We'll re-establish the net there.

So instead of a hole in the net there will be no net for several hours. Brilliant strategy, Patton!

Memory Alpha

* The only episode where Sela's name is used. They didn't use it at all in "Unification"?
* Final appearance of Kurn until his "death" in "Sons of Mogh."

Nitpicker's Guide

* How does a woman as young as Sela command a fleet anyway? Some say it's because of her father's authority, I have doubts. The Romulans don't seem the type to engage in nepotism.
* Phil seems to think that Sela used her sensors to detect which ship Data was on. Putting aside the fact that I don't think long-range sensors can detect Data, why would she even check? It seems more reasonable that the Romulans have spies within Starfleet.
* Why would the Romulans kill Tasha so quickly? Wouldn't they interrogate her about future Starfleet tech? My immediate rejoinder is that technology in the "real" timeline won't be identical to tech in the altered timeline. And while Tasha knows how to operate her console and probably knows how to reprogram a torpedo on the fly, the real inner workings are beyond her purview.
* Why doesn't Worf respond to seeing Sela?
* Worf's resignation was treated like a big deal in Part I, so why is his return so casual in Part II?
* Much nitpicking of the technology behind the detection grid.
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Old 09-27-2021, 02:20 AM
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Until now I've been against doing entries before the official anniversary, but my schedule is really weird right now, so I said to heck with it.

September 30th, 1991, "Darmok"

Fiver by Kristina

Let's get this out of the way, I get what this episode is supposed to do, but it just doesn't work. When the Universal Translator can translate energy impulses from a sentient cloud that has no humanoid reference points, it should be able to translate metaphors. Furthermore, a species can't operate with a language that operates on metaphor. There's a short story that says that the Tamarians have a second language for the technical stuff that's a bit more literal. There's also a later Voyager novel that features a Tamarian named Sharak that served as a doctor. He had to learn Federation Standard to do the job.

(Meaningless aside, the Memory Beta page for Federation Standard indicates that it really is just another word for English)

The Episode

Captain's log, stardate 45047.2. The Enterprise is en route to the uninhabited El-Adrel system, its location is near the territory occupied by an enigmatic race known as The Children of Tama.

So how do you know they're called the Children of Tama? And why introduce this formal designation when "Tamarian" will be used all over the place?

DATA: The Children of Tama were called incomprehensible by Captain Silvestri of the Shiku Maru.

Amazingly the extended universe never assigned a class to the Shiku Maru, but it does have the registry of NBT-30894. Don't ask me what the NBT- prefix stands for (Incidentally we have been told that NCC means Naval Construction Contract number, akin to current hull numbers, and when Franz Joseph makes something I call it canon).

The Shiku Maru attempted contact on Stardate 35056.4, which is 2358. So we're probably not talking about the Galaxy class or its derivatives. Perhaps it was Ambassador or Excelsior class.

DATHON [on viewscreen]: Rai and Jiri at Lungha. Rai of Lowani. Lowani under two moons. Jiri of Ubaya. Ubaya of crossed roads at Lungha. Lungha, her sky grey. Rai and Jiri at Lungha.

You run into a problem when you start to invent a language from the standpoint of "individual words have to be comprehensible, but the sentences have to make no sense."

DATA: The starboard nacelle has been rendered inoperable.
...
WORF: Starboard thrusters destroyed.

I get that there are thrusters on the nacelles, but destroying one should not disable the other. So other Data and Worf are being obtuse, or one of them is lying.

WORF: I do not believe so. I have confidence in his ability as a warrior. He will be victorious.

The creators keep implying that for the 24th century Picard is still in the prime of life, I get that. That doesn't translate to Picard being a good fighter, movie nonsense aside. Then again, Worf appointed him cha'DIch, so perhaps Worf is a bad judge of a person's ability as a warrior.

TROI: Stop search. Computer, how many entries are there for Darmok?
COMPUTER: Forty seven.

I'm not a fan of 47 references this blatant. It's supposed to be an injoke, not a NOTICE THIS kind of thing.

TROI: All our technology and experience, our universal translator, our years in space, contacts with more alien cultures than I can even remember.
DATA: I have encountered one thousand, seven hundred fifty four non-human races during my tenure with Starfleet.

There may be 754 races among all Federation worlds, but I'm dubious that all of them mingle all that much throughout Federation space.

RIKER: Greek, sir?
PICARD: Oh, the Homeric Hymns. One of the root metaphors of our own culture.

The Homeric Hymns are from Ancient Greece. Homer didn't write them, but the structure resembles the Illiad and the Odyssey, so they're "Homeric."

Meaningless aside, but I had to read The Odyssey back in school. Even with footnotes it's a real mess, worse than Shakespeare. I do recommend the Hallmark miniseries, though. You can watch it here. And for today's random Trek connection, in this miniseries Aeolus (god of winds) is played by Michael J. Pollard, best known to Trekkies as Jahn from "Miri". Or perhaps you saw him as Mr. Mxyzptlk in the Superboy TV series. (I didn't, I started with live-action televised Superman with Lois and Clark).

The Fiver

Troi: I sense emptiness.
Riker: You ought to. The two captains were beamed off the bridges.
Data: Oh no, not another "Arena" rerun.
Worf: Grunt.... I want front row seats at the showdown!

I wonder if Picard could've figured out the cannon thing. Would Dathon had even made progress with the Gorn captain?

Dathon: "This is the air-drawn dagger...."
Picard: I'll try the old Earth dialect: "Oochie-woochie-coochie-coo?"
Dathon: "A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight."

Two Macbeth references.

La Forge: Punching through that beam will take at least a day.
Riker: You wouldn't be multiplying your repair estimate by a factor of four, would you?
La Forge: Nah, I haven't met Scotty yet.

Hehe.

Dathon: "Out, out, damned spot!"
Picard: Data's cat? This is getting too weird even for an ex-member of the RSC.
Dathon: "It is a tale told by an idiot."

Macbeth again. Stewart was with the RSC from 1966 to 1982. He returned in 2006, 2008, and 2011.

Dathon: Now listen, you "rump-fed ronyon...."
Picard: Ah, I get it: Macbeth!
Dathon: "All our yesterdays have lighted fools...."

Why only Macbeth, Kristina?

Dathon: "Thy story quickly."
Picard: Once upon a time, there was a man called Gilgamesh....
Dathon: GAK!

And again.

Picard: Dathon "should have died hereafter."
Tamarian First Officer: "There would have been a time for such a word."
Picard: "Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow...." In other words -- catch you later.

And AGAIN. You really overdid the Macbeth, Kristina.

Memory Alpha

* First appearance of Picard's suede-like jacket. I never did like that thing. Not to the extend of Kirk's green wrap-around, but close.
* First appearance of Robin Lefler.

Nitpickers Guide

* I'm not the only fan who has troubles with how this language is supposed to work.
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Adam Savage: I reject your reality and substitute my own!

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  #248  
Old 09-29-2021, 04:19 PM
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October 7th, 1991, "Ensign Ro"

No fiver

Let's get this out of the way, there's plenty of good character work, but they tried to establish too much in this episode. It should've been spread out over at least three episodes.

The Episode

MAN [OC]: This is the Bajora. We claim responsibility for the destruction of the Federation colony on Solarion Four. As long as we are without our homeland, no one will be safe in this sector.

Memory Alpha treats "Bajora" as just another name for the Bajorans. Memory Beta says that the Bajora are a particular ethnicity of Bajorans. In context it seems more like these are proto-Maquis. This inconsistency is irksome to me. It's clear that this episode was supposed to be the start of a major storyline featuring the Bajorans and Cardassians, but they still didn't have everything established yet.

Furthermore, this episode does a lousy job establishing the Bajorans. Later they'll say the Bajorans were driven from their homeworld and are now nothing but refugees on random planets, which isn't true in the slightest.

KENNELLY: It's the same old story for the Cardassians. They've had terrorist problems ever since they annexed the Bajoran home world forty years ago.

Annexed? Ha ha. And now they're implying that the Bajora are just members of the Resistance, but that introduces other problems.

KENNELLY: Listen, Jean-Luc, I'm the first to say that the Bajora deserve attention. Chased off their own planet by the Cardassians, forced to wander the galaxy, settling wherever they can find room. It's tragic.

And now the Bajora are the Bajorans who were exiled during the Occupation. make up your mind! These are contradictory statements!

PICARD: Admiral, they've endured generations of sympathy and promises. How can I believe this Orta will be satisfied with more of the same?

In DS9 we'll be told that the Federation didn't interfere with the Occupation because it was an internal matter that didn't affect the Federation. Picard can make the claim that it isn't an internal matter now that the Cardassians have promised to leave Bajoran space. Things have changed. Oh look, another instance of someone not thinking this through!

PICARD: After what happened on Garon Two, she has no business serving on any starship, let alone the flagship, my ship.

She disobeyed direct orders leading to the deaths of eight officers. You can't say that Picard doesn't have a point. Incidentally, in "The Next Phase" Picard says Garon Four, not Garon Two. I hate it when nobody cares about the little details. They couldn't have ADRed one word?

PICARD: Yes, Ensign Laren, please have a seat.
RO: Ensign Ro, sir.
PICARD: I beg your pardon?
RO: The Bajoran custom has the family name first, the individual's second. I am properly addressed as Ensign Ro.

I get it that this has to be established for the viewer, but Picard isn't the one to do it. He spent an extended period of time near Cardassian space on the Stargazer. Furthermore, with the peace treaty there would be reports that explain the name order thing that Picard would have to read. It should've been Riker who made this mistake.

RIKER: Then why did you accept this assignment?
RO: If I may be equally candid? It's better than prison.
RIKER: Better than prison? There are officers who wait years to serve on this ship.

This seems like two completely different situations. Ro isn't a regular crew member, she's a mission specialist. Riker shouldn't be holding her to the same standards as the regular crew, just like they didn't expect Commander Kurn to know everything about how Starfleet works.

Captain's log, supplemental. I read about the achievements of the ancient Bajoran civilisation in my fifth grade reader. They were architects and artists, builders and philosophers when humans were not yet standing erect. Now I see how history has rewarded them.

So why didn't they develop a lot farther than the Federation? They never did explain this. With later DS9 knowledge one could argue that the Prophets advised them to take things slow, but even that is dubious.

KEEVE: Because you are innocent bystanders. You were innocent bystanders for decades as the Cardassians took our homes, as they violated and tortured our people in the most hideous ways imaginable, as we were forced to flee.
PICARD: We were saddened by those events but they occurred within the designated borders of the Cardassian Empire.
KEEVE: And the Federation is pledged not to interfere in the internal affairs of others. How convenient that must be for you, to turn a deaf ear to those who suffer behind a line on a map.

The slavery and stealing of resources isn't even mentioned. You get the feeling that this plotline wasn't quite fully "cooked" before it was shoved onto the screen. As for the Federation ignoring suffering, what else are they to do? If the Federation truly had a Manifest Destiny mentality, that would only introduce more problems, if not continual war. Forget Homo Sapiens Only Club, we're getting into supreme arrogance territory, the stuff Eddington will later accuse the Federation of.

PICARD: Well, I'm not here to debate Federation policy with you, but I can offer you assistance.
KEEVE: Simply because of one terrorist attack? Perhaps I should have known that. We should have attacked the Federation long ago.

It's not because of one terrorist attack, it's because of the new peace treaty with the Cardassians that says that they will eventually leave Bajoran space. Try to keep up, Keeve!

PICARD: Your people have been forced to resettle all over the quadrant.

Really? We won't get evidence of that. The Bajoran refugees will be pretty solidly established to be in the DMZ only. You can even argue that this very planet will later be placed in the DMZ.

PICARD: In an age when their technology should be able to clothe and feed all of them, that they should have to live like this.

Technology is one thing, resources is another. Just because the Bajorans know how to build a replicator doesn't mean that they can build one for every twenty people or whatever.

LAFORGE: (at the bar) I'll tell you one thing. If I find myself on an away team with Ensign Ro, I won't turn my back on her.

I have a problem with Geordi being this prejudiced. From Riker and Worf, sure. But Geordi is supposed to be more understanding than this and more willing to admit that he doesn't have all the facts to make an informed decision.

WORF: Check the transport log.
COLLINS: She beamed down almost six hours ago, sir.

We get the feeling that Ro doesn't have full officer rights, so how could she order a beamdown without an order from a senior officer? The way she talks later she hasn't told anyone about her authorization from Admiral Kennelly yet.

DATA: I am picking up molecular displacement traces. That suggests movement through this area during the last ten hours.

This just introduces further questions! He couldn't say that the dirt was disturbed recently?

ORTA: Your mission was to seek out the Bajoran terrorists who destroyed the Federation settlement on Solarion Four.
PICARD: Yes.
ORTA: As I have informed Ro Laren, it was not the Bajora.

This exchange indicates that Bajora is a subset of Bajoran, but they could explain this better.

GUINAN: You know, a very long time ago, I got into some serious trouble too. And I mean serious. And I'd probably still be there if I hadn't trusted one man.

This is clearly not a prediction of "Time's Arrow", but you wonder how Guinan's "initial" interactions with Picard really went. Furthermore, after "The Best of Both Worlds" we really deserve more exposition on this topic.

PICARD: Guinan is very selective about whom she calls a friend.

I have trouble with this line, but I can't explain why.

RO: Orta was to end the terrorism against the Federation and return with his people to the camps. In exchange he would get weapons, ships, things that would really make a difference against the Cardassians in the future.

Wouldn't the Cardassians wonder where they got Federation ships? Wouldn't this start another war?

RIKER: Ensign Ro, what's the closest we come to the Cardassian border on our current heading to Valo Three?
RO: Thirteen thousand, four hundred kilometres, sir.

Like SF Debris says, this is practically dancing on the line.
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Old 09-29-2021, 04:20 PM
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Memory Alpha

* The creators claimed that this episode was written before Deep Space Nine was even thought of, but I have my doubts. If this was just "get a story out this week" mode, they could've gotten another episode out of introducing the Cardassians.
* Given the contradictions between Ro's earring and Worf's baldric it is suggested that Riker chose to be petty. It's established that there are other Bajorans in Starfleet, so the uniform code should've been altered by now. Unless you go by the horrifying thought that the other Bajorans voluntarily gave up their earrings to avoid making waves. If so, I hope the uniform code will be updated by the time of Deep Space Nine.
* Only episode with "Bajora."
* In this episode the Occupation is stated to have lasted for forty years, but DS9 will imply a longer period. If you really want to make it fit you could argue that it took awhile for Cardassia to solidify its hold on the planet. The Bajora left in the period before forty years ago, when Cardassia hadn't fully built Terok Nor yet.
* Ro implies that some Bajorans have flipped their names to better fit into the Federation. We never see evidence of this after this episode.
* The Stargazer novel Oblivion covers Guinan and Picard's "first" meeting as summarized in this episode. Memory Alpha also suggests that they could be referring to "Time's Arrow", which REALLY doesn't fit.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Phil wonders why Ro wears her earring on her left ear when all other Bajorans use their right ear. The expanded universe has actually explained this. Vedeks check a persons pagh by grabbing the left ear. This annoyed Ro, so she chose to put her earring there so they couldn't do this.
* Why didn't the transporter filter out Kennelly's Cardassian virus? My response is that we won't have full scientific exchanges until the treaty is finalized prior to DS9. So Starfleet Medical has to figure out how to filter each new virus. You can't build a "Universal Virus Filter." Universal Translators, on the other hand, are perfectly reasonable.
* The away team beams aboard, but for some reason Picard and Troi change uniforms offscreen on their way to the bridge. Oops.
* In this episode the creators went out of their way to imply futuristic fasteners on Ro's jacket, but in other episode we clearly see zippers on Starfleet uniforms. Oops.
* Why are the Cardassians worried about Orta if he doesn't have any warp ships?
* Picard makes his aunt's cure for the common cold for Kennelly. I guess the creators forgot that they already established that the common cold doesn't exist anymore.
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Old 10-16-2021, 02:35 PM
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October 14th, 1991, "Silicon Avatar"

Fiver by Derek

The Episode

CARMEN: If you want to share camp rations in my tent, I'd be delighted.
RIKER: Haven't we gotten you a replicator yet?
CARMEN: No, we haven't, but I've been saving my ration of dried chicken curry.

Really? You'd think a replicator would be a necessary first step. You just can't live on dried food long-term. Furthermore, why are we still reconstituting dried food in the future? You'd think by the 24th century we could make packets of wet food with built-in heating elements.

RIKER: It left nothing.
MARR: Except witnesses, for the first time in eleven recorded attacks.

Eleven! Why hasn't Starfleet destroyed this thing by now?

PICARD: Doctor, there is no one on this ship with more knowledge of the Crystalline Entity than Commander Data.

What? Everything Data experienced was experienced by the rest of the crew! He doesn't have memories of the Omicron Theta attack.

MARR: I am aware of his origins. I'm very much aware that his brother, Lore, worked with the Crystalline Entity, led it to Omicron Theta where it killed every living thing. I don't think it's unreasonable that I should prefer to make another choice.

What? Holding Data responsible for Lore's crimes? How does that make any sense?

MARR: Its needs are to slaughter people by the thousands. It is nothing but a giant killing machine.
PICARD: Doctor, the sperm whale on Earth devours millions of cuttlefish as it roams the oceans. It is not evil. It is feeding. The same may be true of the Crystalline Entity.

This analogy doesn't work. Cuttlefish aren't sentient. Furthermore, we're not given any indication that the Entity is more sentient than we are, if that.

PICARD: Starfleet will be notifying Carmen Davila's family of her death and returning her personal effects.

What personal effects? The entire colony was destroyed!

MARR: What can you tell me about Renny? What were those thoughts? Was he was he happy at all, on Omicron Theta?
DATA: I have some vivid memories of sporting events. He played parrises squares with a group of his schoolmates.
MARR: Renny started parrises squares when he was young. Too young, really. But the older children kept asking him to play, and I couldn't keep him away. He had this natural gift.

The danger level of Parrises Squares fluctuate throughout the canon. I have trouble with this "Data has the colonists memories" thing. I'll buy that he has access to personal logs that were otherwise destroyed, but that's not the same thing. Then again, Soong was able to copy Juliana's memories. However, I'm skeptical that the colonists would let their brains be scanned by this crackpot.

The Fiver

Marr: I've never trusted the Crystalline Entity, and I never will. I can never forgive it for the death of my boy.
Picard: Um, that's nice. Why don't you work with Data?
Marr: I've never trusted Data, and I never will. I can never --
Picard: Geez, leave already!

Kirk's hatred of Klingons for the death of David seems dubious. Kruge didn't know David was Kirk's son, it wasn't personal. Furthermore, Kirk has enough other reasons to hate Klingons.

Captain's Log: Counselor Troi's professional opinion of Dr. Marr is that she's nuts.

I'll be sure to include that in my log...

Marr: Grrr. How do I know you're not in cahoots with it?
Data: Because everyone loves me.
Marr: Don't make me do my Pulaski impression.

Pulaski was a better-written character than this nutjob, and that's saying something!

Marr: It invades our space and we fall back. It eats entire worlds, and we fall back. Not again. The line must be drawn here! This far, no further! And I will make it pay for what it has done!
Picard: Issues much?
Marr: You're one to talk.

I get the Picard/Ahab comparison (I really should watch the Stewart version of Moby Dick one of these day...), but I don't like comparisons to First Contact. I know a lot of people like that movie, but I don't. It seemed like a blatant attempt to cater to a more casual audience with mindless violence. I also don't like the version of Cochrane presented there.

Data: I think we can communicate with the entity using pulses.
Marr: Why don't we just hail it like Lore did in "Datalore"?
Data: Oh, sure, if you want to be unoriginal.

I'm pretty sure Lore wasn't using a standard hailing frequency. He probably knew how to program the Universal Translator to communicate with it.

Worf: Snowflake incoming.
Enterprise: Bebop.
Picard: Is the rock steady?
La Forge: Yep. And it's sending something back to us.
Crystalline Entity: Cowabunga, dudes.

Could someone explain what TMNT references are doing here?

Memory Alpha

* "At the time, the writing staff were trying to avoid sequels." What? The Worf/Duras/Gowron thing don't count as sequels? BOBW doesn't count as a sequel?

Nitpicker's Guide

* Why couldn't Data or Geordi turn off the graviton beam?
* Marr uses the tricorder while it's upside-down at one point. Oops.
* If the Entity attacks this quickly, how come the kids on Omicron Theta had time to draw art of the thing before they were killed?
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Old 10-24-2021, 04:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the Great View Post
January 7, 1991, "Data's Day"

Data is not capable of love himself, so how could he act as matchmaker?
The same way Worf could act as a midwife.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the Great View Post
February 4th, 1991, "Devil's Due"

TROI: This situation is deteriorating, Captain. The people are approaching levels of anxiety that could lead to suicide.

They're not anxious enough YET? I shudder to think what Troi thinks is a justifiable level of anxiety for suicide.
Don't remember the title but there's a novel about a doomed planet that actually brings up that the population is starting to commit suicide. Pretty dark for TNG. Anyway Troi ends up stuck at the North Pole while the ship surprise-teleports the entire planet through a wormhole and part of the planet near her gets sheared off so I think she learned about anxiety then.

Quote:
The Fiver

Sorry, this one is competent but not exactly quotable.
Oh, I don't know, I remembered
Quote:
Picard: GASP! A -- a petticoat! (whispers) My one weakness...a properly dressed woman!
and the chains of (FLASH!) (BIGGER FLASH!)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the Great View Post
February 18th, 1991, "First Contact"

NILREM: I can't find his cardial organ.

I appreciate the alien medical terms, but you can go too far. "Cardial organ" instead of "heart" is just stupid.
You'd think so, wouldn't you. But "heart" is a specific organ whereas "cardial organ" describes the function, so if their version of a heart does certain things that ours don't -- maybe it has different chambers or reacts well to certain chemicals -- then the unspoken assumptions about ways that our heart matches theirs could be fatal.

Quote:
MIRASTA: He's an android, Chancellor. A constructed being.
DURKEN: A machine?
DATA: In a manner of speaking. The term artificial lifeform would be more accurate.

How is Data not a machine?
In ways that mattered during "Measure of a Man".

Quote:
RIKER: Now, will you help me?
LANEL: If you make love to me.
RIKER: What?
LANEL: I've always wanted to make love with an alien.

If the Universal Translator is so sophisticated that it can translate an idiom as complicated as "make love", our heroes shouldn't have the problems that it keeps having with the thing. It should've just said "have sex."
The UT is exactly as sophisticated as it needs to be to keep network censors happy.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the Great View Post
The Fiver
Picard: Nanoo, nanoo!
Troi: Phone Home!
Mirasta: Hmm... you appear to be new around here.
Picard: Perhaps, but we can reverse the situation, right O'Brien?
O'Brien: (over the comm) Yub! Yub!

I get the Mork and Mindy and E.T. references, but what's with the yub yub thing?
Ewoks.

Quote:
And is Independence Day still the cultural touchstone that it was twenty years ago?
Probably not.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the Great View Post
March 18th, 1991, "Night Terrors"

Fiver by Standback (I've never heard of this guy, does anyone know anything about him/her?)
Early forumgoer. I think he's the one who was from Israel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by "Galaxy's Child" fiver
Picard: We have to startle it into letting us go, but without harming it. Set phasers on "wedgie" and fire!
Worf: Direct hit. The creature is dead, sir.
Picard: Dead? How is that possible?
Riker: Have you ever experienced a Klingon wedgie, sir?
This is a good bit.
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Old 10-24-2021, 05:08 AM
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COMPUTER: Warning. Atmospheric decompression in Bridge Observation Lounge.

As opposed to the Sickbay Observation Lounge?
That would be a good thing to have, actually, as a waiting room for relatives of patients.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the Great View Post
May 13th, 1991, "The Host"

CRUSHER: You know, Deanna, the first man I ever loved unconditionally was named Stefan.

Maybe it's just cause I've never been in love, but the idea of loving "unconditionally" is a little unsettling to me. Forgiving absolutely everything seems like something a doormat or victim of abuse would say.
When you know and trust a person enough, unconditional love is a wonderful thing. I know KJ and I are on each other's sides completely and anything she might do to hurt or inconvenience me is a mistake, not malice.
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  #253  
Old 10-24-2021, 12:30 PM
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You and Data seem to think that "machine" is itself a biased term only meant for robots of lower sophistication. It's not. I'm a machine, you're a machine, everybody that you know, you know they are machines...
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  #254  
Old 10-31-2021, 05:15 PM
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October 21st, 1991, "Disaster"

Fiver by Marc

The Episode

Captain's log, stardate 45156.1. Our mission to Mudor Five has been completed and since our next assignment will not begin for several days, we are enjoying a welcome respite from our duties.

So as a change of pace from "the next assignment is boring, so just wait for something interesting" we're on "nothing is happening for awhile, so of course something will happen." At least say that you're en route for the next mission and it will take a couple days to get there!

Furthermore, if you've got nothing to do for several days, try visiting a planet that hasn't been studied thoroughly yet! You know, "boldly going where no one has gone before?"

(Keiko O'Brien is a good eight months pregnant)

We haven't seen Keiko since "In Theory", Stardate 44932.3. It's now 45156.1, three months later. Gotta love how the creators don't seem to care in the slightest how much time passes between episodes. Makes you wonder why they bothered with declaring 1000 stardates=1 year in the first place.

Just for curiosities sake, I looked it up. Keiko's second pregnancy was announced in "Accession", Stardate unknown, but using surrounding episodes let's say 49615. Kirayoshi was born in "The Begotten", Stardate also unknown, but let's estimate again at 50450. 10 months, oops.

LAFORGE: I cannot sing in front of people.
CRUSHER: You were terrific! You were a little off pitch, but I think I can take care of that.

Or autotune can. Let's just toss up a link to "In Your Imagination" by Pogo.

PATTERSON: Can we see the battle bridge and torpedo bay?
PICARD: No, I'm afraid not. But we will be visiting the hydroponics and astrophysics laboratories.

"The" torpedo bay? Only on the 1701 is there only one torpedo bay. The 1701-D has three; forward stardrive, aft stardrive, and the saucer section one that's normally blocked by the stardrive.

I do wonder why they couldn't visit the battle bridge (beyond the fact that the set no longer exists, of course). In docked mode none of the consoles would be active, after all.

O'BRIEN: The computer's down. It looks like we still have impulse power but not much else.

Even if you forgive something as stupid as "the computer's down", which I don't (even if the quantum filament took out all three cores I expect there to be emergency backups able to do the basics), I fail to see how you can do ANYTHING if the computer is down. How would your commands get to the impulse engines?

PICARD: Bridge, this is Picard. This is the Captain. Can anyone hear me?
PATTERSON: Why don't they answer?
PICARD: I don't know.

Neither do I. I get that when you're on the ship your commbadges are routed through the comm system, but if the comm system is out I fully expect the commbadges to be able to independently link to each other just like if they were on a planet. Plus, it's not like the quantum filament is still around jamming signals, it's GONE. The damage is done.

O'BRIEN: If the computer senses a hull breach, it automatically closes emergency bulkheads to isolate the breach. Until we can clear those bulkheads, we'll be cut off from the rest of the ship.

I do wish that they could've tossed in a line about how the bulkhead subprocessor couldn't tell where the breach is without the main computer so it closed all of the bulkheads just in case. In ordinary circumstances I expect the ship to know where the breach is so it can just close the emergency bulkheads in that location.

MANDEL: I have partial sensors back online. I'm picking up sporadic life signs throughout the saucer section. There are definitely survivors.

Are you telling me that an ordinary tricorder couldn't have found that out way before now? And don't tell me that a tricorder can't detect all lifesigns within a kilometer, because that's absurd. I hope they're not implying that the emergency bulkheads block all communications and sensor sweeps, because that's ridiculous.

RO: Could the sensors be malfunctioning?
MANDEL: There's no way to know. Without the main computer, I can't run a full diagnostic.

The bridge should have a dedicated backup computer core for exactly this kind of situation. Enough for basic sensors, navigation, etc. Keep it manually disconnected until you need it, of course.

O'BRIEN: Lieutenant Monroe was in command, but she's dead. I believe Counsellor Troi is the senior officer on the deck.
RO: Counsellor Troi?
O'BRIEN: She carries the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

This has been stated elsewhere, but this is ridiculous. Troi may have the rank, but not the training in Command duties. O'Brien should have command in this case. In situations like this, Command officers should be in command, that's what they were trained for. If no Command officers (redshirts) are present, go to Operations officers (goldshirts), then Medical/Sciences (blueshirts)! Remember that Crusher has Command training, Spock has Command training, even O'Brien has Command training!

DATA: I have surveyed all the turbolifts and service crawlways on this deck. Access to the Bridge has been completely severed by emergency bulkheads.

I expect Data to be more thorough than this. Riker has to ask later if they can reach Engineering. Data should've anticipated this and presented the option earlier.

Furthermore, I wonder what the options are for retracting the emergency bulkheads. You can't design these things to only allow commands from the main computer, that's asking for trouble!

CRUSHER: This wall is hot.
LAFORGE: Where?

Like SF Debris said, this is stupid. LaForge should be able to detect changes in temperature WAY before a person feels it. His VISOR can detect infrared, right?

LAFORGE: I'm all right, but I think we've got a new problem. One of the energy conduits must've ruptured and ignited the polyduranide inside the bulkhead. That's a plasma fire.

This seems like a problem that could've been solved at the design stage.

LAFORGE: We've got a bigger problem than that. The quaratum in these containers is used in emergency thruster packs. It's normally pretty stable stuff but when you expose quaratum to radiation, it has a way of exploding.

Only mention of quaratum. I do wonder how these emergency thruster packs work without putting out radiation.

MARISSA: Number One?
PICARD: That's what I always called my first officer. So, here.
(He puts two of his rank pins on her top)

I've brought up the pip thing before. Either these things have hooks, or all Federation clothing has a corresponding mesh for a magnetic grip.

"Number One" for the first officer goes back to the sailing days. The First Lieutenant was second in command.

Meaningless aside, but I found out that Pike's Number One has now been given the name Una in Discovery. I'm so used to knowing her as Morgan Primus. I also refer you to John Byrne's Star Trek comic called "Crew", which went through all sorts of hoops to avoid pinning a name on this woman.

CRUSHER: We can withstand this level of radiation for another three or four hours without any permanent damage. We'll need a few days of hyronalin treatments.

Hydronalin has popped up here and there in Trek as an anti-radiation drug, going all the way back to "The Deadly Years." In "Real Life" the Doctor even gave it to Paris before he was exposed to radiation as a protectant.

RO: Nothing. Field strength's at forty percent and falling. We've got a problem. The quantum resonance of the filament caused a polarity shift in the antimatter containment field.
O'BRIEN: When the filament hit us, the ship was momentarily charged, as if it had come into contact with a live electrical wire.
RO: That weakened the containment field surrounding the antimatter pods. The field strength is at forty percent and it is still falling.

I fail to see how O'Brien's line has anything to do with what Ro is saying. If it was supposed to be a metaphor to help the audience understand, I don't think it worked.

O'BRIEN: If it falls to fifteen percent the field will collapse and we'll have a containment breach.
TROI: Which means?
RO: Which means the ship will explode.

Why did they make Troi look like an idiot here? I expect something as simple as "containment breach"="exploding ship" to be something covered in the basic engineering course that all cadets had to take.
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  #255  
Old 10-31-2021, 05:16 PM
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RIKER: Let me get this straight. You want me to take off your head?
DATA: Yes, sir. Is something wrong, sir?
RIKER: Well, Data, would you be all right?

I'm glad that Riker was uncomfortable here. That's friendship.

PICARD: Now, there is a ladder along the wall of the shaft. You can climb up that until you come to an open doorway.

Open doorway? Since when are there open doorways anywhere on the ship, much less in a turbolift shaft? Couldn't they just say that a Jefferies Tube branches in a few decks up?

KEIKO: No, I mean contractions. I'm going into labour.
WORF: You cannot. This this is not a good time, Keiko.

Gotta love Worf. Is he expecting her to cross her legs and hold Molly in?

PICARD: The lift's falling! Hang on!

The writers do realize that the gravity plating is in the floor of the turbolift, not the bottom of the shaft, right? Why wouldn't you want the turbolift cars to slide freely up and down the track? Maybe I'd buy the car drifting slowly towards the nearest deck's gravity plating, but this is ridiculous. You'd still want to climb up the shaft to the nearest deck, but the crash was ridiculous.

Furthermore, wouldn't there be other turbolift cars between here and the bottom anyway? Under normal circumstances the cars could get out of each other's way using the horizontal tracks, but these aren't normal circumstances.

PICARD: What we need is a climbing song. Marissa, is there a song you sing at school?
MARISSA: The Laughing Vulcan and His Dog?
PICARD: I'm afraid I don't know that one.

I've posted this before, but why not again?

PICARD: I know. Frere Jacques. That's a song I used to sing when I was at school. Patterson, do you know that one? Good. It goes like this. Frere Jacques, Frere Jacques, dormez vous? Dormez vous?
ALL: Sonnez les matines, sonnez les matines, ding ding dong, ding ding dong.

Literally:

Brother Jacques, Brother Jacques,
Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping?
Ring [the bells for] matins! Ring [the bells for] matins!
Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong.

Official English translation

Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping?
Brother John, Brother John,
Morning bells are ringing! Morning bells are ringing!
Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong.

"Matins" was originally a specific morning prayer at 6 AM. It's a bit more generic nowadays in certain Orthodox faiths for any morning prayer.

As a child I sang the official English translation as a round a few times. Of course I never knew about its French origins.

The Fiver

Crusher: I need you for my next Gilbert and Sullivan production.
La Forge: Can't you ask Worf or Data or the Captain instead?
Crusher: Oh, come on. Can you picture those three singing operetta together?

You already know where this link goes...

Patterson: Hi! I grew weird radishes in special dirt!
Troi: Wasn't that a clever and useful project, sir?
Picard: More so than anything you've ever done around here.

Well, that's harsh...

O'Brien: If we lose containment, our antimatter pods will explode.
Troi: Would that do bad things to the ship?
Ro: Counselor, are you planning to take the Bridge Officer Exam someday?
Troi: I was thinking of it. Why do you ask?

"No reason. On an unrelated subject, may I recommend you read this technical journal. It was written by Captain Scott himself. It's called All I Need to Know about Engineering I Learned by Using Technobabble."

Memory Alpha

* Ronald Moore knew that Troi really isn't in the chain of command, but decided to do it anyway for the sake of drama.
* Ro and O'Brien were put together as a test run for DS9. I still think that Forbes ran into the same trap as Kirstie Alley and Michael Shanks over on Stargate: thinking that they were bigger stars than they actually were. Do I wish she had taken the Kira position on DS9? Maybe. She sure would've done better than Nana Visitor in the first season.
* Last mention of saucer separation before Generations.
* Since Worf's reaction to Keiko's second pregnancy in "Accession" is mentioned, I may as well link a YouTube video.
* First appearance of a Jefferies tube junction.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Phil also noticed a few of my previous nits.
* Phil questions additional exit methods from the bridge. I also forgot about the hatch between the helm and the viewscreen going down to Deck 2.
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  #256  
Old 10-31-2021, 07:24 PM
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October 28th, 1991, "The Game"

Okay, let's get this out of the way. Some call this episode a poorly-made allegory of video game addition, and it's not. The "game" featured is poorly constructed and nothing you couldn't do on the holodeck with a modified cortical monitor as an interface. The threat is mind control, not gaming addiction.

Second of all, I like Robin Lefler. I'm not fond of what they did to her in New Frontier, but here she's okay (even if she was obviously too old for Wesley Crusher). I never did get that far into the series, but I didn't like what I saw. As much as I love Peter David's work, New Frontier was obviously fanfic from a completely different universe with a Trek coat of paint put on.

The Episode

RIKER: Etana? I know you're back there. Don't make me come after you.

I'm not fond of the idea that Riker keeps having casual affairs every time he's off ship. Furthermore, defaulting to Risa every time is boring. They couldn't have him go to Wrigley's Pleasure Planet even once? They don't have hot women on Earth that he could visit?

ETANA: Concentrate. Make the disc go into the cone.

Seriously boring, and why do we need a Virtual Boy to play it?

(the first one misses, the second is a success, and he gasps with pleasure)

So this thing directly stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain. Putting aside the fact that you'd have to put a rather sophisticated medical scanner in there to find the pleasure centers of each species, wouldn't this be the sort of thing that would already exist without requiring the facade of a game? Just put the thing on your head and you can orgasm all you want, right?

PICARD: On top of everything, there's been a change. We've been given only two weeks to complete the exploration.
RIKER: Two weeks? That's not enough time to explore a region that size. I thought we had five weeks.

Forget five weeks, two weeks is enough time that I'd think you'd assign a proper science vessel to! Doesn't the Enterprise have VIPs that they need to shuttle around in the next couple weeks?

Furthermore, why does Riker care? He'll only be reading reports from the science teams.

PICARD: Will, I'm leaving it up to you to make sure that all science departments have an equal chance of completing their research.

Isn't that Data's job?

LAFORGE: Fifteen science teams, only two weeks, and one long-range array don't make for a great combination.

Geordi is implying that the long distance sensor arrays can only scan one thing at a time, and that's ridiculous.

ROBIN: We're increasing the available bandwidth so more science teams can use the sensors at once. We figured out a way to do it by multiplexing the array.
RIKER: Can we have that done before we arrive?
ROBIN: Yes, sir. You can count on it.

Multiplexing means combining several signals into a single signal. Usually it just refers to communications signals. I fail to see how this will help in this case. Presumably the different science teams have different ideas of what needs to be scanned and how. I think multiplexing would only work if you're only scanning one thing. In which case you just do a full-spectrum sensor sweep, not this multiplexing stuff.

What should be happening here is sending out shuttles and probes to do the actual scanning, and multiplex their signals back to the Enterprise.

(she offers him a spoon)
RIKER: No, thanks. I don't like fudge.

Stupid and pointless. Deanna should know which forms of chocolate Will likes by now.

PICARD: Quomodo tua Latinitas est?
WESLEY: Praestat quam prius.
PICARD: Oppido bonum. Your Latin has improved.

"How is your Latin?" "It's better than before." "Very good."

There's a discussion over at Stack Exchange about why Starfleet officers are learning Latin.

If children are learning Calculus, I suppose they've figured out how to improve memory recall, perhaps through genetic modification (if the anti-Khan laws permit that, of course).

Then again, I can see Picard learning it for fun and Wesley wanting to do do so as well to impress him.

DATA: Have you found the Academy challenging, Wesley?
WESLEY: Yeah. I thought after being on the Enterprise, it would be a breeze, but there's a lot more to learn than just starship operations.

It takes more than memorizing technical journals to succeed in Starfleet. I kinda thought that was the point of Riker tutoring him, especially when he put Wesley in charge of that mineral survey...

WESLEY: My first week that I was there, this guy named Adam Martoni reprogrammed the sonic shower to cover me with mud.

How? The sonic shower doesn't emit anything except sound waves! A good practical joke would be to beam a blob of mud over Wesley's head just after he finishes his shower, making him shower again.

DATA: Geordi, a conflict has started between the planetary evolution team and the stellar physicists. Each wishes to be the first to use the thermal imaging array.
LAFORGE: Well, tell them to flip a coin. We've got to work together on this mission, otherwise we're never going to get it done.
DATA: A coin. Very good. I will replicate one immediately.

Sometimes Data's literalism and obtuseness really grates on my nerves. I think it really depends on how much the writer knows about subtlety...

CRUSHER: Yes, Data. I need to ask you to do something for me. I'm working on a new experiment with bioactive silicon.

What in the world is bioactive silicon? Even if you posit biological organisms that are silicon-based instead of carbon-based, the silicon itself can never be "bioactive". If this is Crusher's way of referring to the silicon equivalent of carbon compounds, it still doesn't make sense as it wouldn't be "bioactive."
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  #257  
Old 10-31-2021, 09:10 PM
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WESLEY: The first week that I was there, I went and met Boothby.
PICARD: How is old Boothby? I hope he didn't tell you a lot of stories about me.
WESLEY: He didn't remember you, sir. At first. I found an old yearbook photo and he remembered you right away.

"The First Duty" implies that Boothby remembers all of his previous protoges. One hopes that he was having fun at Wesley's expense.

"Found an old yearbook photo"? There are archives of physical yearbooks at Starfleet Academy? Wouldn't the photos be in a database accessible by every PADD on campus?

WESLEY: Sir, what do the initials A.F. stand for?
PICARD: A.F.?
WESLEY: Boothby said he caught you carving those initials into his prized elm tree.

Memory Alpha has nothing about this A.F. person. For romantic relationships they only have Lwaxana, Vash, Kamala, Nella, Anij, and Beverly. Notable omissions are Penny, Marta, and Philipa.

Even if "A.F." is a pseudonym for one of these women, he didn't know any of them besides Marta as a cadet.

ROBIN: When your parents are the only plasma specialists in the sector, you do a lot of travelling around. We went from base to base to base.

Plasma specialist doesn't seem like an on-call sort of job. You'd want one of those anywhere there is plasma.

WESLEY: Don't you think that's a little strange? Everybody playing it all the time.
ROBIN: It's just a fad. It's here this week. Next week we won't even know it existed.

That line stuck with me. I even established it as the page quote at TVTropes for the trope Flash in the Pan Fad.

WESLEY: Yeah, we could hook it up to one of the computers. The medical programs in the lab can be set up to emulate human responses.
ROBIN: I noticed it uses a visual interface. We could connect it through an optical sensor.

I'd nitpick this, but if it works on Geordi I guess The Game is more sophisticated than it looks.

ROBIN: The cuts are precise. Look how clean the edges are. Computer, increase magnification, factor four.
WESLEY: Only two people on board know enough about Data to do something like this. Commander La Forge and my mother.

I'm always skeptical about "only X people on board could do this" statements. Surely there's another engineer on board who has mucked around with Data's systems.

(Alyssa is in the lift, playing the game)

Chakoteya uses last names for everyone else, why not "Ogawa" here? How many people who aren't uberTrekkies like me even remember that her first name is Alyssa?

The Fiver

La Forge: Commander, I'm sure you know Ensign Lefler here. Her work is outstanding.
Riker: Hmm... a good-looking, intelligent young female ensign whom we've never seen before....
Lefler: I know, I know. I've got "love interest" written all over me.

No kidding.

Wesley: I can't get Data reactivated.
Lefler: Did you check the "off" button?
Wesley: Don't be ridiculous. As if Data has an "off" button.

At this point even if Data didn't have an off button, you'd imagine the crew would've found something to neutralize him.

Picard: Only Wesley stands in the way of our evil conspiracy. There's no way this can fail.
All: Mwahahahaha!
Riker: Actually, sir, Wesley usually manages to stop this kind of thing against unthinkable odds.
Picard: Don't interrupt the evil cackling!

Hehe.

Memory Alpha

* The crew went to the effort of making the suite on Risa match the Risan asthetic established in "Captain's Holiday". I'm surprised that they bothered, Risa wasn't a big deal yet.
* Data promise Beverly that he wouldn't mention the dancing lessons, but he told Wesley here. I thought Data couldn't lie...

Nitpicker's Guide

* Phil is incredulous that Will only learns of Troi's chocolate addition now.
* He's surprised that the Sadie Hawkin's Dance still exists. Don't women ever ask out men in the progressive twenty-fourth century?
* Phil only brings up the differences in Worf's brain chemistry, but I must also bring up the Vulcans on board. Wouldn't they do thorough tests on the mental interface on this thing before using it?
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Old 11-07-2021, 07:44 PM
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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?)

The Episode

BRACKETT: Three weeks ago, one of our most celebrated Ambassadors, an advisor to Federation leaders for generations, disappeared.

I never liked this bit. They were postponing Spock's reveal by all of thirty seconds. What's the point?

Incidentally, why not mention his Starfleet service? Or his reputation as a scientist, for that matter?

BRACKETT: Taken on Romulus, by long range scanner.

Long range scanners can take photographs? How does that work? Don't Vulcan/human hybrids have different lifesigns than Romulans? Couldn't they have used that?

For that matter, where are these intelligence reports coming from? Does Starfleet maintain a network of spies on Romulus?

And while we're at it, wouldn't Spock have surgically altered his appearance before this mission? Such a thing should be possible. Just the thickened Romulan brow would make him look drastically different.

Captain's log, stardate 45236.4. As I study the intelligence reports on Ambassador Spock's disappearance, I cannot help but feel a deeper, more personal concern about this mission, for I know this man through his father. It was barely a year ago that I shared a mind meld with the Vulcan, Sarek.

"Sarek" was stardate 43917.4. That's not "barely a year", that's 16 months. "It was only last year" would've been better.

PICARD: I met him once. What I know of him comes from history books, and of course my mind meld with his father.

As I've mentioned before, Picard attended Spock and Saavik's bonding ceremony back in 2329. Unfortunately he wasn't able to make it to the actual wedding in 2344.

RIKER: That must cover a lot of ground.
PICARD: Not as much as you'd imagine. Sarek and Spock. Well, sometimes, fathers and sons.
RIKER: Understood.

A deleted scene from "Journey's End" says that Picard's father Maurice died when Jean-Luc was a sophomore, 2324. The stress from this almost caused him to drop out of the Academy.

PERRIN: Mint tea. It's been years since I've had it. Vulcans have some kind of strange concoction they call mint. You'd never recognise it.

Even if we're going to claim that old-fashioned Vulcans choose not to have replicators in their homes, you'd think an exception could be made for Perrin. Incidentally, in the novel Sarek it's established that Amanda worked hard in her garden to make Earth plants grow. I wonder if Perrin lacks a green thumb (no rude jokes, please).

Furthermore, I have serious doubts that mint would be one of those things that replicators can't duplicate properly.

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.

RIKER: The Vulcans haven't figure out what these fragments are but they've determined that the metal is a dentarium alloy.
LAFORGE: That pretty well indicates that they're Vulcan. And dentarium also means that whatever this was, it was originally designed for use in space.

Meaningless aside, but there's a dentist office in Latvia called Dentarium. Only mention of dentarium in the canon.

Incidentally, Memory Alpha tells us that T'Pau is called Apollo. The USS Ajax that Kosinski worked on was of this class, as was the Vulcan freighter that was carrying CFI replicators to Cardassia (the ones the Maquis stole). The USS Gage was destroyed by the Borg at Wolf 359, another use of the model. This class doesn't have conventional nacelles, they have an annular warp drive (the "nacelles" are actually a tube around the main hull).

Memory Beta (and the CCG) calls this the Merchant-class because the expanded universe uses "Apollo-class" for a completely different design (it looks like the Constellation-class but there are only two nacelles, upper and lower).

I know, you don't care about any of this, but I find it fascinating.

SAREK: He is a Romulan Senator. Spock has maintained a relationship with him over the years. I don't know how they met. At the Khitomer Conference, I'd imagine.

Yes, they did. The novel Assignment: Eternity features their first meeting at Khitomer. Sarek was actually the one who introduced them.

Pardek wasn't killed by Shinzon, he was assassinated by the Tal Shiar in 2380.

PICARD: He's ignoring me. What other explanation is there?
RIKER: Seems after hailing him for three days, he could've found a minute to talk to you.

Why did they let it get to three days? After twelve hours I would've contacted Starfleet to sic the Diplomatic Corps on Gowron.

DATA: Captain, I have a visual identification of Senator Pardek of Romulus. This is a Barolian record of a trade negotiation in which Pardek participated four years ago.

Only mention of Barolians on screen. They appeared a couple novels. The Borg destroyed their homeworld in 2381.

In the Star Wars expanded universe Barolians are just blue-haired "humans."

PICARD: Gowron or K'Tal?
WORF: Neither, sir. It is the junior adjutant to the diplomatic delegation.

An adjutant is in charge of HR in a military heirarchy.

PICARD: I require a cloaked vessel.

It sounds like Picard wants to be given a ship. He should be asking for the use of a cloaked vessel.

PICARD: The only benefit to the Klingon Empire would be our gratitude.
B'IJIK [on viewscreen]: That is what you want me to tell him?
PICARD: Yes. And please add that if he is unable to provide a ship, then I am sure there are others in the Klingon Empire who would be willing to help me. And then, they would have our gratitude.
B'IJIK [on viewscreen]: I see.

And some people have the nerve to claim that TNG is boring.

CRUSHER: They're not removable, are they, Data?
DATA: Removable?
CRUSHER: Your ears.
DATA: No, Doctor. They are fully integrated components.

Pointless exchange. Incidentally, Lore's ears ARE removable, even though he's supposed to be physically identical to Data. Oops.

CRUSHER: These two still have an appointment with Mister Mott to have their hairpieces designed.

Mot has one "t." And why would a barber know anything about making wigs? You'd think that the ship would have someone in charge of disguises for away teams that require it. The episode "Patterns of Force" sure indicated that such a position existed on Kirk's Enterprise.

LAFORGE: What we seem to have here is a navigational deflector array. Or at least what's left of one.
RIKER: Why would anyone want a Vulcan shield array?

Navigational deflectors and shields aren't the same thing. Oops.

K'VADA: You'll sleep Klingon style. We do not soften our bodies by putting down a pad.

This seems like a horrible idea. And if Worf is any indication, Kligons prefer to sleep under animal skins.

KLINGON [OC]: MeH HoD.
K'VADA: Jatlh!
KLINGON [OC]: MeHmaH ghoS.
K'VADA: So'wl'chu'.

"Bridge to captain." "Speak!" "Bridge, we're assuming the heading." "Engage cloak."

K'VADA: Well, Captain, we're at the border of the Neutral Zone.

That's not what the other guy said!
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Old 11-07-2021, 07:46 PM
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First Officer's log, stardate 45240.6. The Enterprise is nearing Qualor Two, home of a Federation surplus depot operated by the Zakdorn.

I thought that this episode and "Peak Performance" were the only appearances of Zakdorn, but apparently there was one at the trade conference back in "Menage a Troi."

DOKACHIN: He probably figures that we don't get to see a lot of handsome women out this way and someone like you might get a little more cooperation from me. He's probably right.

So now Riker has impressed two Zakdorn. I wonder how often that happens.

PICARD: I'm sure the Klingons found it amusing to put us in here together.
DATA: Since I do not require sleep, I propose you take the shelf, sir.

It's a shame that some jokes don't translate to plain text very well. Data hesitates before saying "shelf". As I said on the TV Tropes page for funny TNG moments...

"At the last second Data pauses as the word "bed" refuses to come out. Data does not lie unless it's required to complete a mission, and calling this thing a "bed" would definitely be a lie. So Data awkwardly finishes with "shelf.""

DATA: I was processing all of the information we have accumulated on Romulan society. I am preparing for the task of impersonating a Romulan.

You'd think he would've finished this back on the Enterprise. At this point I'd expect his thoughts to be occupied by things like attempting to detect the speed of the ship by the feel of the deckplates a la Scotty.

PICARD: Well, Mister Data? What do you think?
(They are both now Romulan)
DATA: I would not have thought it possible, sir. I am eager to test the success of our efforts. It does remain to be seen if the Romulans will accept us.

They brought the gear to go to and from Romulan with them? Does that sort of stuff fit into a suitcase? Why didn't they have Crusher do this back on the Enterprise?

On DS9 they definitely implied that minor surgery was required to change appearance this much.

NERAL: Ah, Senator Pardek. You received my message.
PARDEK: I got here as quickly as I could, Proconsul.
NERAL: What do you know of this human? Jean-Luc Picard, a Starfleet Captain.
PARDEK: I know nothing of him.

Really? Being captain of the Enterprise seems like enough reason for all Romulans in the higher levels of government to know about him (I'm sure they all knew about Kirk after "Balance of Terror").

DATA: I am sorry, Captain. I will be more careful.
PICARD: Don't call me Captain.

So what is he supposed to call you? Did you go through the effort to create a cover identity? I doubt it.

(Picard knocks, then tries the handle)
PICARD: He's not open for business yet.

It's always interesting to see where there are manual doors and where there are automatic doors. There's no consistency at all across canon.

(an old woman brings two bowls to their table, no chairs)

Where did they get Romulan currency, and how do they know how to use it?

The expanded universe has precious little about Romulan currency. There's something called a "prime transfer authority" which seems less like normal currency and more like a representation of a bond.

The Klingons use darseks and talons. The Cardassians use leks and droknas.

The Fiver

Riker: For whatever reason, Starfleet thinks we don't have enough going on with the Spock mission, so they gave us a debris-from-some-random-Vulcan-ship mission on the side.
La Forge: Heh. It's as if they think there'll be some sort of correlation between the two at the end of all this.
Riker and La Forge: Hahaha!

Genre saaviness is always a classic fiver gag.

Perrin: Here he is. Yelling, smoking, and whistling of Disney theme songs are not permitted.

I thought this Disney thing refers to another Mark Lenard role, but I'm not seeing anything. Explanation?

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?

K'Vada: Captain, I dislike secrets. What is your business on Romulus?
Picard: Me telling my Klingon chauffer about a classified Federation mission? Ha!

Is this a reference to another fiver or something?

Data: Captain, do you think our disguises are convincing enough to fool the Romulans?
Picard: I don't know. Why don't you step out into the corridor and find out?
Data: I don't see how that will--
(kaSHINK)
Data: I see your point, Captain. Would you mind pulling this Bat'leth out of my back?

What's a bat'leth doing on Romulus? I tried to look for a Romulan edged weapon, but they won't appear until Picard and Discovery.

Data: Pardek's establishment is right over there.
Picard: He doesn't appear to be home.... Let's get some soup.
Romulan Guard: No soup for you!
Picard: I'm amazed I didn't see that coming.

The fiver is from 2005. Seinfeld ended in 1998. I didn't watch much Seinfeld, but I do know who the Soup Nazi is.

Memory Alpha

* There was going to be an episode with Spock in the second season called "Return to Forever", but it fell through.
* Jeri Taylor didn't just write the episode, she wrote the novelization. I've read it, and it falls into the trap that most other Trek novelizations do: sticking to the script too closely and not expanding the story. If you want a good TNG novelization I'd take Relics above this one anyday.
* Sarek's mention of young Spock going to the mountains is a reference to "Yesteryear". I never made the connection.
* First appearance of Romulus (the holodeck recreation from "The Defector" doesn't count).

Nitpicker's Guide

* Why did the Klingons wait until they reached the Neutral Zone to cloak? Don't the Romulans keep track on ships on the other side?
* Phil also noted the Lore's ears thing.
* Usually Trek uses the metric system, yet Dokachi uses feet to describe the eel. This isn't the first or last time the TNG era will use Imperial measurements. Then again, maybe the eel actually has fourteen feet...
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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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  #260  
Old 11-13-2021, 03:46 AM
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November 11th, 1991, "Unification Part Two"

No fiver

The Episode

SPOCK: It is no concern of Starfleet.
PICARD: On the contrary, it is very much Starfleet's concern. You're in a position to compromise the security of the Federation.
SPOCK: You may assure your superiors, Captain, that I am here on a personal mission of peace, and I will advise Starfleet when it is appropriate.

Spock seems a bit short-sighted here. It stands to reason that he's maintained his expert status is not just Starfleet computers but most Federation technology. It also stands to reason that even though the Romulans don't have training in telepathic techniques, they would've captured any number of Vulcans who DO. And even if Spock wasn't a useful hostage in terms of intel, the Federation would still want him back, even to the point of starting a war.

PICARD: And I will not return without a full explanation. Ambassador, with great respect for all that you've achieved on behalf of the Federation, this sort of cowboy diplomacy will not easily be tolerated any more.
SPOCK: Cowboy diplomacy?

This seems more like an insult against Kirk than Spock. Spock didn't disobey orders that often, and when he did it was usually to save Kirk. He's not using Starfleet resources here, he's an independent citizen who wants to help. Spock isn't even using his Ambassadorial status.

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.

SPOCK: For some time now, I've been aware of a growing movement here of people who seek to learn the ideals of the Vulcan philosophy. They've been declared enemies of the state. But there are a few in the Romulan hierarchy like Pardek, who are sympathetic. He asked me to come now, because he believes it may be time to take the first step toward reunification.

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?

Furthermore, in order to maintain relationships with Spock and the reunification movement Pardek has had to assume the part of a senator who continually advocates for peace and is seen as a radical by most Romulans. How does Pardek keep getting reelected? Do the Romulans really rig elections for Pardek to keep him in power to manipulate Spock to expose the reunification movement? There's chess and there's Fizzbin, people!

SPOCK: A personal decision, Captain. Perhaps you are aware of the small role I played in the overture to peace with the Klingons.
PICARD: History is aware of the role you played, Ambassador.
SPOCK: Not entirely. It was I who committed Captain Kirk to that peace mission, and I who had to bear the responsibility for the consequences to him and his crew. Quite simply, I am unwilling to risk anyone's life but my own on this occasion. So I ask you respect my wishes and leave.

I know this is a teaser for Undiscovered Country, but it doesn't quite jibe. Spock may have recommended the mission to the Federation and Starfleet, but this was hardly "cowboy diplomacy." Furthermore, the consequences couldn't have been seen by Spock.

SPOCK: I was involved with cowboy diplomacy, as you describe it, long before you were born.

And? So? Spock's been doing this a long time, so that automatically means he's an expert at it and can foresee any danger? Dubious logic at best.

SPOCK: In your own way, you are as stubborn as another Captain of the Enterprise I once knew.
PICARD: Then I'm in good company, sir.

It makes you wonder how many Captains of the Enterprise Spock has known. April and Pike, of course. Did he meet Herriman or Garrett?

DATA: Using conventional means, that would be true. However, I suggest we piggy-back our signal on Romulan subspace transmissions.
K'VADA: Piggy-back?

Ugh, Universal Translator problems. Then again, it almost seems like Klingons choose to learn English in exchange for the Federation programming all Universal Translators to not automatically translate Klingonese.

Incidentally, while "Klingonese" remains the official term courtesy of "The Trouble With Tribbles," Mark Okrand has created the term "tlhIngan Hol" for the language. Prior to this the expanded universe had an alternate "Klingonaase" language.

And you do have to wonder why Data would use human metaphors around Klingons. You'd think his language banks would have some internal switch to go from "human vernacular" to "formal Federation Standard." And that he could also switch to "20th century human vernacular" or "22nd century Vulcan" or any number of other dialects and languages. Why can't Data speak Klingon, anyway? This "piggy-back" thing doesn't seem like a good enough joke to justify opening this particular can of worms.

SPOCK: It has become a serious concern for the Romulan leadership.
PICARD: Serious enough for the leaders to suddenly embrace a Vulcan peace initiative? I have some difficulty in accepting that.
SPOCK: I sense you have a closed mind, Captain. Closed minds have kept these two worlds apart for centuries. In the Federation, we have learned from experience to view the Romulans with distrust. We can either choose to live with that enmity or seek an opportunity to change it. I choose the latter.

Picard has a closed mind? Compared to Kirk Picard is positively easy-going. Picard is being realistic, which in no way equates to pessimism. Spock is also being hypocritical about the distrust of Romulans. The Federation doesn't distrust Romulans just because of the original Romulan War, but because current interactions with the Romulans have shown that their agenda hasn't changed in two hundred years.

AMARIE: So who are you looking for?
RIKER: Who says I'm looking for anybody?
AMARIE: Your face. Your uniform. In a place like this.

Yeah, why is Riker wearing his uniform, anyway? And it occurs to me that this would be a better mission for Worf or Ro.

NERAL: I've never liked titles since I was a lowly Uhlan in the Romulan guard.

You'd think "uhlan" is a simple alien word, but it actually has an Earth meaning. An uhlan is an eastern European cavalry trooper who carries a lance. Why they'd borrow this term for the Romulans is beyond me. considering all of the Roman terms that the Romulans borrow (I wonder what the guy programming the Universal Translator was thinking when he chose "uhlan"). For the Romans a cavalryman who wanted a political career was called an equite.

SPOCK: Are you prepared to support reunification?
NERAL: I believe it must eventually come. Our two worlds need each other.

This whole idea of reunification representing a political union has long been a thorn in my side. Even if the Romulans wanted to reestablish contact with Vulcan, neither side is ready to place themselves under political control of the other. Spock should be very skeptical.

NERAL: Things are not what they once were in the Senate. The old leaders have lost the respect of the people. Involvement in the Klingon War, endless confrontations with the Federation, they're tired of it. Times are changing, and leaders who refuse to change with them will no longer be leaders. Spock, I am prepared to publicly endorse the opening of talks between our peoples. What do you think the Vulcan people think of that?

What Klingon war? We know of the Battle of Klach D'kel Brakt in 2271, and by 2292 they were blood enemies. Was the attack on Narendra III in 2344 part of a larger conflict that the Federation didn't take part in? It can't be, because Worf said that the Romulans and Klingons were allies before the Khitomer Massacre in 2346.

The best I can determine is that the war must've taken place around 2350 when the Romulans attacked General ShiVang's flagship, which resulted in Martok's battlefield commission.

It still doesn't make sense, because the Federation certainly acts like the Romulans were incognito in galactic affairs for a long time prior to "The Neutral Zone." Not just no contact with the Federation, but no contact with anyone.
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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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