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Old 04-03-2019, 03:02 PM
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Nate the Great Nate the Great is offline
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Time for a double bill, I seem to have forgotten "The Royale" last week...

March 27th, 1989, "The Royale"

Fiver (by Andy Taylor)
Transcript
Memory Alpha

The Episode

Captain's log, stardate 42625.4, We're entering orbit around the eighth planet in this previously unmapped Theta One Sixteen solar system. We diverted from our scheduled course when a passing Klingon cruiser reported discovering pieces of a strange vessel in the upper atmosphere of this planet.

I'm not going to make the usual "Klingon scientists are creatures of myth, haha" joke, but you do have to wonder what happened here. I can't see why the Klingons would care about non-class M planets. Furthermore, even if they're our allies why are they studying Federation planets? Are there Starfleet science vessels poking around uninhabited Klingon worlds? Seems awfully inefficient all around.

PICARD: Fermat's last theorem. You're familiar with it?

Have I fully expounded my impatience with this kind of nonsense yet? Not just Fermat's last theorem, but all of Picard's ready room hobbies. At times you wonder if Picard ever sits around on the bridge when nothing is happening. He's always saying "Number One, you have the bridge" and heading off to his office to read Shakespeare, analyze odd planetary orbits, feed his fish, or whatever. You never see Sisko or Janeway do this stuff, they're writing reports or reading reports from the subordinates and other productive stuff. Even Kirk was willing to stay on the bridge when nothing was happening, having reports brought to him by Rand or whatever.

DATA: On several of its surfaces, the molecules seem to have disintegrated
RIKER: Disintegrated? How?
DATA: Almost as if they were hit by a weapon from our time.

I'm not sure which is more ludicrous, the idea that only 24th century weapons can disintegrate molecules or the idea that Starfleet officers are going to discount any scale of technology that isn't its own. It's not like we already know that the Borg had such weapons centuries ago, or the T'kon, or the Preservers, etc.

PICARD [OC]: Any information about the structure.
RIKER: Yes, sir. There is an antique revolving door. It could be an entrance.

Grrr. Where's the "And that's all we see. If there's a building here it's invisible."?

DATA: Sir, without communication, we should beam up immediately.
RIKER: We're here, there's no danger. We'll look around then leave.

I don't think the regulations have a "if there's no immediate danger you can ignore this rule" clause. And once again we could easily solve this by moving the failed exit up sooner.

RIKER: Yes. We're from the United Federation of Planets.
CLERK: Of course you are.

Odd exchange. We're definitely led to believe that these people are akin to holodeck characters whose behavior is affected by the participants within certain parameters but no perceptual filters. If so, this sarcasm doesn't seem appropriate, the clerk should've ignored the response and stuck to the script.

PICARD: It's unlike Commander Riker not to follow procedure. When he lost contact with the Enterprise, he should have returned immediately to the beam down coordinates.

Exactly! I hope this goes into his record. Data will have to report that Riker ignored his recommendation and the regulations.

DATA: Ah, is this poker?
TEXAS: No, no, blackjack.
DATA: Blackjack. Accessing. Ah. Also known as twenty one, a number which defines the object of the game. Picture cards are worth ten, aces one or eleven, all other cards face value.

Ugh. What does this exchange achieve except making Data look like an idiot? Do the exact rules of the game matter to the viewer or serve the plot?
Since I know nothing about blackjack, I had to look it up. One calculation says about half a percent.


TEXAS: Hey, you're not one of them card counting fellas, are you?
DATA: The number of the cards and their values remain quite constant. What would be the purpose in counting them?

Ugh. Card counting exists in poker, something he's supposedly read every book about. Again, this stuff isn't funny and only exists to make the writers look like idiots.

WORF: Phasers are totally ineffective on all surfaces.

"Ineffective" implies that the phaser is functional, it just doesn't damage anything. Which raises the question of what this place is made out of. Enter more unanswered questions about the intentions of the creators of this place. They are obviously not monitoring the hotel remotely, so is there an artificial intelligence repairing the phaser damage? If Colonel Richey awoke in the hotel and can't leave, why was there a quiet area outside with a one-way door? Etc.

DATA: Commander, I am picking up something most unusual in another section of this structure. It appears to be human DNA.

Was it cloaked before now? The creators couldn't have anticipated tricorders!

DATA: He has been dead for two hundred and eighty three years, sir. The lack of any advanced decomposition is due to the sterile environment.

As SF Debris says, "advanced decomposition" has happened. Cut the line!

DATA: Fifty two stars sir.
RIKER: Places it between 2033 and 2079 AD.

I agree with SF Debris, having this memorized is impressive.

Meaningless aside, what additional states do you think are likely in future? As I understand it, most resistance from Puerto Rico, etc. to the idea of becoming a state comes from the theory that statehood would mean more representation but also increased taxation and federal government control.

PICARD: Colonel Stephen Richey was the commanding officer of the explorer ship Charybdis.

Charybdis is a sea monster from Greek mythology, creating whirlpools that destroyed passing ships. Why anyone would name a spaceship after it is beyond me.

RIKER: "And for the last thirty eight years I have survived here."

Presumably any and all calendars within the hotel reflect the chronology of the novel, resetting with each cycle. How would Richey record the passage of time? Even this hotel-provided journal would reset (be rereplicated?).

PICARD: 'It was a dark and stormy night'. It's not a promising beginning.
TROI: It may get better.

The phrase was first used by Washington Irving in 1809, but most people are referring to Edward Bulwer-Lytton's 1830 usage. Snoopy used it a lot.

DATA: And how did you get here?
TEXAS: To Vegas? Drove my car. I got a ninety one Caddy with only eighty thousand miles on it.

Again as SF Debris remarked, this place seems way older than the 1990s. Seriously, where are the editors who should be catching this stuff?

TROI: I don't believe this dialogue. Did humans really talk like that?
PICARD: Not in real life. Remember, everything that's going on down there is taken from what Colonel Richey calls a second-rate novel.

"A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest man."

RIKER [OC]: A bizarre incident just took place.
PICARD: The shoot-out between the bellboy and Mickey D.

Shoot-out? Did the bellboy even get to touch his gun? "The murder of the bellboy by Mickey D.!"

The Fiver

Riker: Even though proof was found for it in 1993?
Picard: But... I mean... So... WAH!

We still have fivers that are missing the first few lines, ugh...

Data: Okay, I'm detecting human DNA.
Worf: But you didn't detect anything earlier!
Data: Yeah, but it finally stopped flashing 12:00am.

I wonder if the flashing 12:00 gag will ever really go away.

Picard: Picard to Riker.
Computer: The number you have dialed has not been recognized.
Picard: Oh fudge. (ahem) Picard to Riker.
Computer: A dial-up connection could not be established at this time.
Picard: Oh for the love of...

"If you'd like to make a call, please hang up and dial again. If you need help hang up and then dial the operator. In Allllll-buquerque!"

Memory Alpha

* Memory Alpha attributes the dark and stormy night quote to Bulwer-Lytton. Oops.

Nitpicker's Guide

* How can the Charbydis have U.S.A. markings in 2037 if the United Earth was created in 2036? My immediate response is "United Earth didn't launch the ship, the United States did." Duh.
* If the piece of the Charbydis has just been beamed in from space, how can Riker and O'Brien touch it immediately if the metal is still close to absolute zero? I'd chalk this up to O'Brien telling the transporter to rematerialize the thing with a higher molecular motion to make it touchable.
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