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Old 05-09-2019, 10:16 PM
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Nate the Great Nate the Great is offline
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Sorry, yesterday was pretty hectic and the TNG Marathon wasn't a high priority.

May 8th, 1988, "Q Who"

Prelude: I wish the Borg had stayed like this. Incomprehensible, uncommunicative, focused on mechanical perfection. To be frank the Best of Both Worlds should've been their last appearance.

Fiver (by Marc)
Transcript
Memory Alpha

The Episode

SONYA: Have I been talking too much?
LAFORGE: No.
SONYA: Oh, I do tend to have a bit of a motor mouth, especially when I'm excited.

Sonya had possibilities, but she wasn't written very well. We'll be returning to her character in the Memory Alpha section.

LAFORGE: I don't think you want to be around these control stations with that hot chocolate, do you?
SONYA: Oh, I'm sorry. I shouldn't even have this in Engineering.

Why not? This isn't the first or last time we've seen coffee cups in proximity to people on duty. Tuvok was making custom teas for Captain Sulu on the bridge seventy years ago! Furthermore, why is there a replicator here if people shouldn't be eating in Engineering?

SONYA: I just want to say, sir, that I'm very excited about this assignment and I promise to serve you and my ship, your ship, this ship, to the best of my ability.

This is an interesting idea. I don't have a problem with any officer assigned to Enterprise calling her "my ship." Using "your ship" with Kirk might make sense, but I doubt Picard would like such a usage (at least until Generations, that is).

PICARD: We agreed you would never trouble my ship again!

As numerous nitpickers have pointed out, Q promised to stay out of humanity's path forever, not stay away from the Enterprise. I'd rather Q just say "I chose to give you a break, but you don't have the power to make me stay away." Then again, a fantastic story possibility suddenly occurs to me. What if Q kept his word and stayed away, but the Continuum just sent another Q2 in his place. Q2 would be even less bearable to Picard, who would lift his ban on Q. That would be an interesting episode!

LAFORGE: You know, you're awfully young to be so driven.
SONYA: Yes, I am. I had to be. I had to be the best because only the best get to be here.

This makes sense of course, and opens many other storytelling possibilities that weren't even considered. Similar to Reg Barclay, but taking it in a different direction. The difference between "best at your job" and "best at interpersonal relationships".

RIKER: Computer locate Captain Picard.
COMPUTER: The Captain is not on the ship.
WORF: Commander, there is a shuttle missing from bay two.

First, what's the point in the officers wearing commbadges if the computer isn't going to notify the security officer the instant one just vanishes? Second, a missing shuttle should also generation an instant alarm. Third, is there a reason why the shuttle Q used has to be from the Enterprise? Surely he could just whip up a facsimile for the purposes of meeting with Picard.

PICARD: You know him?
GUINAN: We have had some dealings.
Q: Those dealings were two centuries ago. This creature is not what she appears to be. She's an imp, and where she goes, trouble always follows.

One of the great untold stories in Trek, the dealings between Guinan and Q. Especially since we're never quite sure what powers Guinan has or not. One problem is that she is unquestionably humanoid, not a shapeshifter or energy being engaged in a masquerade. What danger is she to him?

Q: Ah, the redoubtable Commander Riker. And Micro-brain. Growl for me. Let me know you still care.

Another line that has stuck with me.

RIKER: The good times? The first time we met you, you put us on trial for the crimes of humanity.
Q: Of which you were exonerated.

It will be revealed later that the trial never ended. I do wish that this plot point had been made more clear at the end of Encounter at Farpoint.

Q: Oh. Well, you may not trust me, but you do need me. You're not prepared for what awaits you.
PICARD: How can we be prepared for that which we do not know? But I do know that we are ready to encounter it.
Q: Really?
PICARD: yes. Absolutely. That's why we're out here.
Q: Oh, the arrogance. They don't have a clue as to what's out here.
GUINAN: But they will learn, adapt. That is their greatest advantage.
Q: They're moving faster than expected, further than they should.

Q made remarks like this in Encounter at Farpoint, and I still don't know what business it is of the Q's. Don't they have an equivalent of the Prime Directive? Of course, my big problem is that on the whole the stuff TNG ran into isn't that more of a threat than the stuff in TOS, with the possibly exception of the Borg.

Q: You judge yourselves against the pitiful adversaries you have encountered so far. The Romulans, the Klingons. They are nothing compared to what's waiting. Picard, you are about to move into areas of the galaxy containing wonders more incredible than you can possibly imagine, and terrors to freeze your soul.

I'd hardly call the Romulans and Klingons "pitiful." "Conventional", perhaps. As for terrors to freeze the soul, I can't think of anything in TNG to match that. The Borg don't count, as it's made clear that regular Borg space was still a bit away at warp speeds.

DATA: According to these coordinates, we have travelled seven thousand light years and are located near the system J two five.
RIKER: Travel time to the nearest starbase?
DATA: At maximum warp, in two years, seven months, three days, eighteen hours we would reach Starbase one eight five.

Ugh, I'm not going into variable warp speeds again today. I'm just irked the writers still think that maximum warp can be sustained for more than a few days at a time.

DATA: There is a system of roads on this planet, which indicates a highly industrialised civilisation. But where there should be cities there are only great rips in the surface.
WORF: It is as though some great force just scooped all the machine elements off the face of the planet.
DATA: It is identical to what happened to the outposts along the Neutral Zone.

The whole Neutral Zone outpost thing from the end of Season One really wasn't handled well, even with the shift in direction from the bluegills to the Borg. A problem I have is that it's implied that the Borg literally assimilate the actual machinery of conquered people and not just the design of the technology itself. That's just dumb, with Borg nanoprobes all necessary technologies can be manufactured in a much more efficient manner than an angle grinder, welder, and soldering iron.

RIKER: Keep the shields down. We don't want to appear provocative.

I hate this sentiment. Keeping shields up in the presence of a stranger isn't provocative, locking weapons is.

RIKER: Life signs?
DATA: There is no indication of life.

The issue of Borg life signs is another lengthy essay I could write but won't. Suffice to say Data should've been more vague: "I detect biological matter, but no organized life forms as we know them."

TROI: We're not dealing with an individual mind. They don't have a single leader. It's the collective minds of all of them.
PICARD: That would have definite advantages.
TROI: Yes, A single leader can make mistakes. It's far less likely in the combined whole.

See, this is Trek. Asking questions about the human condition and making you think. This question of the real efficiency of the Borg Collective is quite interesting, it's a shame they didn't really do anything with it until Species 8472.

RIKER: If they pull down our shields, we're helpless.

Cue slap to forehead. Was someone really paid to write something this obvious?

(A circular cut is made in the hull, and a section of several decks is pulled out)
WORF: A type of laser beam is slicing into the saucer section.

But lasers can't even penetrate the navigational shields! "An unknown form of energy beam" is more than adequate!

SONYA: Eighteen people. Dead, just like that.
LAFORGE: I know. Just put it out of your head.
SONYA: No, I can't. I keep seeing them.
LAFORGE: Sonya, stop it.

Thank you! Some of the eighteen had to be civilians, possibly children. This would have an effect. Of course, back when this happened to Wesley Picard implies that Academy training takes care of this sort of thing.

GUINAN: They're made up of organic and artificial life which has been developing for thousands of centuries.

I wonder how Guinan knows this. It's clear that El Auriens aren't empathic or telepathic in the traditional sense. Did they have a military that managed to damage and salvage a Borg ship?

RIKER: Captain this is incredible. We've entered what appears to be the Borg nursery.
PICARD [OC]: Describe it.
RIKER: From the look of it the Borg are born as biological life form. It seems that almost immediately after birth they begin artificial implants. Apparently the Borg have developed the technology to link artificial intelligence directly into the humanoid brain.

Okay, assimilation as we will later know it hasn't been conceived of yet. The implication is that the Borg see the need for a biological component to their race and the drones are clones. Another interesting discussion that we don't have time for.

Q: If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross, but it's not for the timid.

Another line that's stuck with me. Of course, you have to ask what happened to Q's desire to join the crew.
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