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Old 03-20-2019, 11:46 PM
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Nate the Great Nate the Great is offline
Knate airrant
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Minneapolis, MN
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March 20th, 1989, "Contagion"

Fiver (by Marc)
Memory Alpha

The Episode

Captain's log, stardate 42609.1. In response to a desperate plea for aid by my old friend, Captain Donald Varley of the USS Yamato, I am running a grave risk by taking the Enterprise into the Neutral Zone. Varley's request was prompted by dangerous malfunctions which have been plaguing our sister ship. Perhaps with both crews working together we can able to eliminate the problems before our presence is detected by the Romulans.

What does Varley being a friend have to do with this mission? Merely being a Starfleet ship in distress in the Neutral Zone is enough. At least for official log purposes. Surely he could discuss the friend part with Riker and Troi after the log ends?

RIKER: Have you nailed down our little hiccup yet?
DATA: Sir?
RIKER: The odd reading?

Cue usual dictionary rant, stupid joke etc., moving on...

RIKER: I'm not sure, sir. Are we alone out here, Worf?
WORF: Yes, sir. There are no other vessels in the area except the Yamato.

I thought they couldn't detect cloaked Romulan ships until the tachyon detection grid was set up in "Redemption."

VARLEY [on viewscreen]: None. They are affecting every system simultaneously. It's like the ship has suddenly decided to fall apart. It's beginning to make me think we should have run these Galaxy Class ships across a few more drawing boards before we built one.

If you feel a sudden chill that's Leah Brahms bristling that anyone would dare insult her ship design, anime-style.

RIKER: Do you wish to evacuate any non-essential personnel to the Enterprise, sir?
VARLEY [on viewscreen]: No. No, that would be premature.

Why? You've got a serious problem that you don't have an answer for, a problem that has already killed people. Cue usual families-at-risk ranting. Even if Varley thought that this mission was worth it, he could've left the saucer in Federation space, right?

VARLEY [on viewscreen]: The risk would be in allowing the Romulans to locate Iconia. Fortunately, I got there first. It's a virtually dead planet, but enough technology remains to give the Romulans an edge if they should find it.

It occurs to me that Picard will only destroy one complex later. What about the rest of the planet? Did Picard leave the leftovers for the Romulans to scavenge?

TARIS [on viewscreen]: But believe me, Captain, had we chosen to exercise our right to defend the Neutral Zone, we would not have stopped with one starship.

Since when do the Romulans have a right to defend the Neutral Zone and the Federation doesn't?

LAFORGE: Okay. In the event of a breach of seal integrity there's an emergency release system which dumps the antimatter.
DATA: Apparently such a dump began, was then halted, and the containment seals were dropped. There was still sufficient antimatter present to lead to an explosion.

Why was the dump able to be stopped? The emergency release system should be as simple as possible and idiot-proof right?

LAFORGE: I think Captain Varley may have been right. There may be a design flaw.
RIKER: In a Galaxy Class starship?
LAFORGE: Yes, sir. It's the most sophisticated piece of machinery ever built. Something could have been overlooked.

The problem here is the idea that Galaxy-class ships are designed from nothing, an absurd notion. The design of the Excelsior-class must be an evolution of the Constitution-class refit (what I still call the Enterprise-class even though it's noncanon), the Ambassador-class was an evolution of the Excelsior-class, etc. Any changes to the Ambassador-class specs must've been tested in detail at the design stage!

TROI: If we have established that the Romulans were not responsible for the destruction of the Yamato, would it not be prudent to withdraw?
PICARD: If it is a design flaw, we're better to stay where we are and give Geordi time to work on it. Or what happened to the Yamato could happen to us.

This is ludicrous. The warp core is operational no matter what speed the ship is going, and the problems seen so far are with the interaction between the computer and the antimatter, which will happen whether or not the ship is at warp. Get out of the Neutral Zone, you idiots! Even if they have to violate the Zone to visit Iconia later, that's a different problem.

VARLEY [on monitor]: Personal log. We've been spotted by a Romulan cruiser, but after playing hide and seek through several solar systems, I think I've managed to elude them.

I've always wondered about this one. How can you "hide" in a solar system? Using nebulae and such would make more sense, it's not like space is short on spacial anomalies, right?

WORF: Sir, that would put us substantially close to the Romulan side of the Neutral Zone.

So? Violating the Neutral Zone is violating the Neutral Zone, it doesn't matter where in the Zone they are.

PICARD: Why don't we talk about what really brought you here?
WESLEY: It's the Yamato, Captain. I can't stop thinking about her. All those people dead. I don't know how you and Commander Riker and Geordi, how you handle it so easily.
PICARD: Easily? Oh no, not easily. We handle it because we're trained to, as you will be. Tea, Earl Grey, hot. But if the time ever comes when the death of a single individual fails to move us...

A nice moral, and a nice bit of defiance against Gene's "humans are perfect, they don't grieve" nonsense. "The Bonding", grrr....

DATA: Doctor Pulaski is unwilling to trust the turbolifts. She is sending medical teams through the access tunnels.

How cute, all season she's railed against technology, and for once she was proven right. Although I do wonder about the lack of "Jeffrie's Tubes". Furthermore, with a ship this big you gotta wonder why there aren't any ramps between decks to allow for emergency teams, fend off invasion, etc...

PULASKI: Try a splint.
MEDIC: Doctor?
PULASKI: Splint. It's a very ancient concept. You take two flat pieces of wood or plastic, a bandage. The broken limb is kept immobile.
DOCTOR: That's crazy, that's not practicing medicine.
PULASKI: Oh yes, it is. It's a time honoured way to practice medicine, with your head and your heart and your hands.

Are Starfleet officers trained in survival techniques or not? Splits are a basic idea, and to be frank this hardly seems the time for Pulaski to rail against technology again. There are too many other plot points as it is.

RIKER: Sir, we've had this conversation a hundred times.
PICARD: And we will have it again, Number One. I have been studying the Iconians since I was a cadet. I have to be the one to go.

How well Riker would've done on the planet this time is worth talking about, but I won't be doing so.

RIKER: Fate protects fools, little children and ships named Enterprise.

A classic line.

WESLEY: Sir, the shields are back up.
RIKER: Impeccable timing.
WESLEY: Sir, the shields are back down.
WILLIAMS: Phaser banks are down.
WESLEY: Shields are back up.
TROI: In another time and place this could be funny.

I'd still laugh, the situation is so tense a little levity is necessary.

RIKER: Status of torpedo banks?
WILLIAMS: They're down, too.
RIKER: In case it should become necessary to fight, could you arrange to find me some rocks to throw at them?

Another classic line, although it should be a matter of a few minutes to configure a torpedo for manual launch and aiming.

DATA: Scanners show no other life forms on the planet, sir.
PICARD: I would not expect any. Judging from the severity of bombardment, I doubt any Iconians survived.

Are they equating "life form" with "humanoid" again, because this seems like your proverbial "nothing left except cockroaches and Twinkies" scenario. There should be lifeforms left, just nothing sentient.

PICARD: A gateway?
WORF: These scenes could be holographic images.
(Data goes towards it)
PICARD: Be careful.
(Data sticks his arm into the image. Picard pulls him back)
PICARD: Data! That was very foolish.

Exactly. This seems like a "poke a stick into the mysterious portal" situation to me.

PICARD: Well, Number One, I can see why you want to keep the away missions to yourself. That's where the excitement is. So, what's been happening here? Same old routine, I suppose?

You almost expect the bridge crew to laugh along to a freeze frame like TOS.
mudshark: Nate's just being...Nate.
Zeke: It comes nateurally to him.

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

Sa'ar Chasm on the forum: Sit back, relax, and revel in the insanity.

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

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

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