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  #281  
Old 03-25-2022, 01:19 AM
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March 23rd, 1992, "Cause and Effect"

Fiver by Kira

The Episode


RIKER: Damage report!
CRUSHER: Casualty reports coming in from all over the ship.
DATA: The starboard nacelle has sustained a direct impact. We are venting drive plasma.
LAFORGE: Initiating emergency core shutdown.
RO: Inertial dampers failing. We're losing attitude control.
RIKER: This is the Bridge. All hands to emergency escape pods.
DATA: Core shutdown is unsuccessful. We are losing antimatter containment.
LAFORGE: We've got to eject the core!
DATA: Ejection systems offline. Core breach is imminent.
PICARD: All hands abandon ship. Repeat, all hands abandon
(KaBOOM!!!!)

Are people supposed to be able to reach the escape pods in less than thirty seconds? Also "emergency" escape pods? As opposed to all of those nonemergency escape pods?

Captain's log, stardate 45652.1. The Enterprise has entered an area of space known as the Typhon Expanse. We're the first Starfleet vessel to chart this unexplored region.

The Typhon Expanse is in Beta Quadrant, it's a shame how seldom we hear "Beta Quadrant." In First Contact Starfleet made a last stand in the "Typhon Sector." Would you really want to encounter a Borg Cube around here?

Deep Space 5 was in the Typhon Sector, the station is smaller than the Enterprise. It's there to try to detect a Borg invasion early enough to mount a defense. Don't ask me why the Borg would approach via Typhon Sector in particular.

DS-5 will come back in "Parallels" and First Contact.

The later novels will introduce the Typhon Pact, negotiated in this region.

(Data does a fast, professional shuffle)
RIKER: Sometimes I wonder if he's stacking the deck.
DATA: I assure you, Commander, the cards are sufficiently randomised.

The number of shuffles required for sufficient randomization has been a long-standing statistics problem. It depends on the kind of shuffle. Wikipedia claims that seven riffle shuffles (two stacks, bent up and released so alternating cards flatten out in the new stack) are needed.

Of course Numberphile has made a video about this.

LAFORGE: At first I thought the catwalk was spinning. As it turns out, it was me. Luckily Ensign Fletcher was there to grab me. It's a long way down to the bottom of the warp core.

The warp core goes four decks below the dilithium chamber and six decks above. At 3.5 m per deck, that's 14 meters or 46 feet. Within a rounding error that's enough for the fall to kill you. If it's flat on the bottom, which I wouldn't count on for the antimatter injectors down there.

CRUSHER: I'll give you twenty cc's of vertazine. That should clear up the dizziness.

Vertazine's only other appearance is in "Parallels". You'll recall that jumping between quantum realities also causes dizziness.

(Beverly is dead-heading a plant and sipping on a night-cap.)

Dead-heading is simply removing the dead parts of a plant. I'd never heard of the term before.

LAFORGE: As you can see, the Typhon Expanse is huge. If we want to chart the most remote star system, we'll have to launch a probe within the next few hours.

Why? I'd imagine that the Enterprise only has X days to spend on this mission, but they could've explained the time constraints better.

LAFORGE: The flux spectrometers are still down for re-alignment.
RIKER: I thought they were supposed to be back online yesterday.
LAFORGE: They were, until the stellar dynamics lab decided they needed to install new modules.
DATA: I recommend we use a gravitron polarimeter. It will perform a similar function.

I get that both devices are fictional, but just based on the descriptions I can't imagine how these gadgets are supposed to do the same thing.

RIKER: Decompress main shuttlebay. The explosive reaction may kick us out of the way.
DATA: Captain, I suggest we use the tractor beam to alter the other ship's trajectory.
PICARD: Mister Worf, make it so.
WORF: Engaging tractor beam.

You'd think Worf would automatically use the tractor beam in this case. Plus we've seen that it takes like ten seconds to open the main shuttlebay doors. There's no time. Plus you'd have to imagine that there are people in the shuttlebay who can't evacuate in less than ten seconds.

PICARD: My Aunt Adele cured a lot of sleepless nights with this steamed milk.

This is the second mention of Aunt Adele. Her ginger tea appeared in "Ensign Ro" and the milk toddy will also appear in "Schisms."

CRUSHER: I ran a scan to see if I could detect what he was seeing. I picked up miniscule distortions in the surrounding dekyon field. Somehow, his visor is translating those distortions into visual impulses.

Dekyons will reappear in "Parallax," in a way inconsistent with this episode.

WORF: Maybe we should reverse course.
RIKER: For all we know, reversing course may be what leads us into the crash.
PICARD: No. We can't afford to start second guessing ourselves. We'll stay on this course until we have reason to change it.

Like hearing voices from a previous loop? As the next scene will reveal, our heroes can feel when events are "new".

DATA: I have encountered the numeral three an inordinate number of times over the last two hours.

Actually, Data, you've encountered number threes. "3" is a numeral, *** is a number. You can thank SF Debris for this nit.

DATA: To date we have encountered two thousand eighty five conspicuous examples of the number three.

No 47? Someone's been dropping the ball.

PICARD: Mister Worf, end Red alert. And try to access a Federation time base beacon. Let's see if we can find out how long we've been in this causality loop.
WORF: Time base confirms our chronometers are off by seventeen point four days.

They got lucky. Over on Stargate they were stuck in a loop for AT LEAST three months.

WORF: Captain, we are being hailed by the other vessel. The computer identifies it as the USS Bozeman, a Federation starship, Soyuz class.
LAFORGE: Soyuz class? They haven't been in service in over eighty years.

The Soyuz is like the Miranda, only without the rollbar and a longer rear shuttlebay section (and the side sensor turrets).

BATESON [on viewscreen]: This is Captain Morgan Bateson of the Federation Starship Bozeman.

"I'm listening". You have to give me one Frasier joke.

PICARD: Captain, do you know what year this is?
BATESON [on viewscreen]: Of course I do. It's twenty two seventy eight.

Pardek started his career as a senator in this year. Chekov was also promoted to full Commander in this year. It's also the year that Data originally graduated before his backstory was completely rewritten.

The Fiver

Enterprise: KA-BLAM!

I still like Kablazmo better.

Data: The sensors can't find anything. I believe the Doctor is nuts.
Picard: I concur.

Like I've said, I don't like it when people are thought to be insane. That's why I don't watch "Remember Me" and "All Good Things" anymore.

Crusher: La de da de do.
Voices: You need singing lessons, lady.
Crusher: What the...?

Well, if she was the Singing Doctor as well as the Dancing Doctor she'd be trapped in a horrible Scrubs musical episode. I don't think that's a good thing.

Crusher: I heard voices.
Picard: Could this have anything to do with those magic mushrooms you're growing in Sickbay?
Crusher: Well, I...aw, dammit.

Is there a movie or whatever where mushrooms cause auditory hallucinations?

Captain's Log: If a ship blows up in a time loop, does anybody care?

I care more than I did that time that a tree fell on a mime...

Captain Bateson: You morons! You almost hit us!
Picard: Why should we care? That old rustbucket you're driving is no match for the Enterprise.
Bateson: The Enterprise? Oh my God! Kirk -- you've lost all your hair!

Actually, in the novel Ship of the Line I think it was revealed that Bateson was friends with Scotty, not Kirk.

Memory Alpha

* Braga pointed out that this episode came out before Groundhog Day.
* The creators wanted to have Kirstie Alley's Saavik on the Bozeman, but she was busy with Cheers.
* Only appearance of Shuttlebay One, and even then it was only a model.
* First appearance of Ogawa's last name.
* Crusher must've learned of Aunt Adelle's warm milk in the final loop, as she introduces it to Riker in "Schisms."
* First mention of a warp core ejection. Really?

Memory Beta

* The major appearance of Bateson and the Bozeman crew after this is in the novel Ship of the Line. Bateson took command of the Enterprise-E during the shakedown cruise. Also featuring Scotty and Picard teaming up with Gul Madred!

Nitpicker's Guide

* How is the Enterprise going back in time for each cycle if time is passing for the rest of the universe?
* Did the Bozeman go through a "jump in time" temporal anomaly before the "time loop" temporal anomaly?
* Why didn't Picard do the shuttle bay compression AND the tractor beam?
* The time that Geordi arrives in Sickbay varies a lot between cycles.
* Why didn't Bateson mention the current captain of the Enterprise (this would be Kirk, it's the last year of the second five-year mission under him).
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  #282  
Old 03-31-2022, 12:58 AM
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March 30th, 1992, "The First Duty"

Fiver by Kira

The Episode

Captain's log, stardate 45703.9. We are en route to Earth, where it will be my pleasant duty to deliver this year's commencement address at Starfleet Academy. I'm also looking forward to seeing Wesley Crusher again. His flight team will perform a demonstration near Saturn that will be transmitted to the graduation ceremonies.

I suddenly wonder how cameras work in space here. It'll later be said that the ships are going at 80,000 kph ten meters apart. The camera must be several kilometers away, how does it track ships going that fast?

RIKER: When I was at the Academy, we had a Vulcan Superintendent who had memorised the personnel files of every single cadet. He knew everything about them. It was like having your parents around all the time.
PICARD: My superintendent was a Betazoid, a full telepath. When he sent for you to his office, he didn't have to ask what you'd done.

The expanded universe doesn't give a name to Picard's superintendent, but there's a Starfleet Academy novel that gives Riker's as Sulak. Sulak was still superintendent when Worf was there a few years later.

Another novel gives the name of the Commandant (second after superintendent) in 2324 as Oonnoommi. Picard was at the Academy from 2323-2327, so perhaps Oonnoommi was promoted in time to be the one Picard is referring to. Then again, "Oonnoommi" doesn't sound like a Betazoid name, does it?

CRUSHER: Wesley's allergic to metorapan treatments. I think they'll have to use a bicaridine substitute. I should send his complete records to the Academy infirmary. Of course, they probably have them already, but you can't be too sure.

I get that Beverly is under a lot of stress right now, but I still can't forgive this moment of idiocy. I expect the Academy to collect all necessary medical records of incoming students. And to be frank, Wesley's status on the Enterprise should've been such that his service record just moved to the Academy.

Both metorapan and bicardine made appearances in Star Trek Online. Metorapan is addictive, unlike bicaridine. Metorapan allergy is very rare, but a bout with polywater intoxication makes it more likely.

"Flight ranges" don't exist today. In military terminology a "range" is simply an area for testing. While I could imagine a section of desert on Earth being designated for atmospheric flight, interstellar space near moons can't really be sectioned off into "ranges". Or are you going to tell me that Starfleet maintains hundreds of sensor bouys like in "Drive"?

CRUSHER: Do you know who it was?
PICARD: Yes. His name was Joshua Albert.
CRUSHER: Wesley spoke of him. They were friends.

To my surprise Josh Albert isn't even mentioned once in the expanded universe. There are other Joshes out there, including Christopher Pike's father and Tom Riker's son.

BRAND: There was very little left to salvage from the wreckage. We did recover one of the ships' data recorders, but it was badly damaged. We're attempting to restore the information, but that will take some time.

It's always amazing to me when they imply black boxes that aren't durable. Are you really telling me that in the 24th century you can't make thin layers of neutronium that can handle exposure to warp core explosions?

(Wesley is using a resistance device to strengthen his broken arm. There's a knock on the door. He goes to open it by turning the handle!)

Yeah, I agree with Chakoteya here. Even Bajor has automatic doors, are you telling me that Starfleet Academy doesn't?

Furthermore, you'd think it wouldn't be that hard to have a quarters set that you can tweak to be the Academy, or a Starbase, or Risa, or whatever.

(another knock on the door)
WESLEY: Hi.
LOCARNO: Hi.
(enter Robert Duncan McNeill, who will become Tom Paris in Voyager)

Let me state for the record, the writers of this episode got screwed. Locarno should've been in Voyager, not Paris.

CRUSHER: And how are you feeling, Nicholas?
LOCARNO: I'm okay. I just never lost anyone under my command before.
PICARD: I'm afraid that never gets easier.

Has Locarno even had anyone under his command before? What is he comparing this to? Was he captain of the Parrises Squares team?

PICARD: Boothby? Jean-Luc Picard, class of twenty seven.
BOOTHBY: I know that. What happened to your hair?

If Nemesis is to be believed (and I don't), Picard was bald as a cadet. If other flashbacks are to be believed he had an awful toupee as a cadet.

FYI, Boothby's first name is Liam. He was born in the Marian Colonies in 2263 and died in 2382. His only 23rd century appearance is in "The Captain's Daughter", when he meets Demora Sulu when he was assisting his father. He doesn't quite trust Nechayev, and suspects her of being a member of a group obviously meant to be Section 31.

BOOTHBY: Nothing you ever did surprised me, son. Except that time you caught that Ligonian with a reverse body lift and pinned him in the first fourteen seconds of the match. Didn't think you had it in you.
PICARD: Well, it was all in the legs, all that running I did.

This must be a species name recycle that we weren't supposed to notice. The Ligonians are the guys from "Code of Honor"! I don't think any of them are cadets NOW!

It's been established that for a non-Federation citizen to join Starfleet they need a letter of recommendation. Who would give a letter to a Ligonian?

PICARD: Yes, there is. I just wanted to, while I was here. Look, you know as well as I do I would never have graduated if you
BOOTHBY: You made a mistake. There isn't a man among us who hasn't been young enough to make one.

Boy does this one hit home.

PICARD: Did you know the boy from Nova Squadron who was killed?
BOOTHBY: Josh Albert? Yeah. Crusher, Hajar, Sito, Locarno. I know them all.

Jean Hajar never appeared again. A later member of Nova Squadron is Sarita Carson, who cameoed in DS9 episode "Starship Down" and was later a main character in the Prometheus novels.

LOCARNO: We executed a low apogee turn around Titan then began a z-plus twenty five degree climb in preparation for a Yeager loop.
(named for Chuck Yeager, who broke the sound barrier in 1947)

I want to be a bit snarky at Chakoteya. No, really, I'm sure the Yeager Loop is named after characters from Attack on Titan!

LOCARNO: Approximately nine seconds later, Cadet Albert's ship collided with Cadet Hajar's. We had less than two seconds to activate our emergency transporters and beam to the evac stations at Mimas. Everyone made it except Josh.

Mimas is a moon of Saturn. It's the smallest astronomical body that has managed to achieve a rounded shape through self-gravitation. It has a crater named Hershel that makes the moon look vaguely like the Death Star. Mimas Station makes an appearance in a RPG module.

SITO: No, sir. I was flying solely on sensor readings at the time. I did not have any visual contact with Cadet Albert's ship when he broke formation.
SATELK: Sensor readings?
(a murmur goes around the room)
CRUSHER: What's wrong?
PICARD: Well, it's unusual to fly on sensors alone in this type of manoeuvre. The pilot relies on visual clues from the other ships to maintain formation.

This is a whole other screed waiting to happen, but it would require a lot of research that I don't care to do. Long story short, at 80,000 kph and ten meters away I would want autopilot to be doing most of the work!

SATELK: Mister Crusher, will you describe a Yeager loop?
WESLEY: The ships begin in a diamond slot formation, and climb and loop backwards at a steep angle, and at the peak of the loop, turn over and accelerate in a new direction.

I can picture this maneuver, but it doesn't seem that impressive to me. The biggest danger would be the other ships.
__________________
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 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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  #283  
Old 03-31-2022, 12:59 AM
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CRUSHER: There must be something wrong with the satellite data. It might have been tampered with.

By who? Why would the Romulans or whoever want to do this?

CRUSHER:I am going to talk to Admiral Brand and ask her to delay the inquiry.

Until when? You prove that the Romulans tampered with the satellite data?

BOOTHBY: These weeds keep popping up in the pittosporum. Poor plants don't have a chance to grow.

Also known as cheesewood, pittosporum is a family of flowers. Small curling white petals, long narrow leaves. The Japanese use them as bonsai plants. The seeds will stick to animal fur, but some animals like to eat them.

And that's your pointless knowledge for the day. I wonder if Ro knows this stuff.

PICARD: You could use a good herbicide instead of pulling the weeds with your bare hands.
BOOTHBY: And you could explore space on a holodeck instead of a starship.

I don't see the parallel here. Furthermore, how can you "explore" unknown space on a holodeck? If it's unknown it can't be simulated!

BOOTHBY: Do you remember the parrises squares tournament of 'twenty four?
PICARD: The final game against Minsk.

Jack and Beverly were born in this year. It does make me wonder how they became friends with Picard. I'll always remember how firmly Worf pushed for Minsk as the O'Brien's new home in "What You Leave Behind." After all, the Roshenkos are from Minsk.

DATA: We unsuccessfully tried fifty three different computational models in an effort to simulate the movements of the Nova Squadron just prior to the crash.

I wonder why they didn't slip in a 47 here.

PICARD: Filling the primary coolant tanks requires an open interlock but that can only be performed in a maintenance bay. Is there any other reason for opening the valve?
LAFORGE: It's the first step in purging the plasma exhaust.

They seem to be implying that exhaust plasma is kept in a tank for later removal instead of sending it out into space. What does that have to do with coolant?

The best that I can figure is that they're dumping the coolant to temporarily store the plasma in there. Perhaps they're going to pressurize the plasma for a few seconds to make a more impressive display.

PICARD: The first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth. Whether it's scientific truth, or historical truth, or personal truth. It is the guiding principle upon which Starfleet is based. If you can't find it within yourself to stand up and tell the truth about what happened you don't deserve to wear that uniform.

I hope you don't mind if I toss up a link to the Picard Song here...

LOCARNO: He got to you, didn't he? Picard told you some big story about duty and honour. It must've been a pretty good speech to make you turn your back on your friends.
WESLEY: We're Starfleet cadets. We have a duty to the truth.
LOCARNO: What about your duty to your friends?

Maybe they should've changed Locarno to Paris after all, Locarno is a real slimeball...

PICARD: You knew what you had to do. I just made sure you listened to yourself.

They could've made the Boothby parallel a bit less obvious and more natural.

The Fiver

Captain's Log: ...Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before....
Data: We should arrive at Earth in just over ten hours, Captain.
Picard: Mr. Data, you're ruining the mood.

"How could I ruin the mood, sir? We've been acting as a taxi for the last month!"

Brand: I have assigned Captain Satelk of Vulcan to assist me.
Crusher: Uh oh.

Satelk is played by Richard Fancy. He's been in a number of projects with other Trek alumni, but not McFadden. Is the fact that he's a Vulcan supposed to be the joke here? Crusher never had any problem with Vulcans, did she?

La Forge: You want us to investigate the accident too? Why?
Picard: I'm still hoping there's some way Wesley will get in trouble for all this.
La Forge: Why do you care?
Picard: Do you want him assigned to the Enterprise when he graduates?
La Forge: We'll get right on that investigation, sir.

Again, I get the joke, but this still seems out of character.

Wesley: This sucks. We should just tell the truth.
Locarno: No.
Sito: Not even if they offer us a guest starring role in a future episode?
Wesley: Not even if they offer us a cameo in the next movie?
Locarno: No way! Not even if they offer us a starring role in the next series.
Wesley: (to Sito) Wow, he is serious.

Wesley didn't cameo in "the next movie", he cameoed in Nemesis!

Wesley: We're screwed, Nick! Captain Picard knows we performed a banned maneuver!
Locarno: You mean you're screwed. I'm going to change my name and join the Maquis.
Wesley: That sounds kind of risky.
Locarno: Meh. What's the worst that could happen?

Locarno and Paris' backstories aren't that similar, really.

Wesley: I feel awful. I'm being held back a year and my career is probably ruined for good. I'll never get posted to the Enterprise now!
Picard: Well, my work here is done.

Actually, since Picard wanted to give Sito a fair chance to redeem herself, he probably would welcome Wesley back. If Wesley hadn't turned into a jerk, that is...

Memory Alpha

* Only appearance of the real Boothby (he never should've been in Voyager).
* They wanted to bring back Robin Lefler for this episode, but I can't understand how she'd fit into the plot.
* First actual appearance of Starfleet Academy.
* Jeri Taylor considered Lacarno to be too dark and damaged.
* McNeill considered the two roles quite different. Locarno was a bad person pretending to be a good person and Paris was the other way around.

Memory Beta
* Locarno joined a privateer ship, but was assimilated by the Borg.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Phil has a nice time calculating Picard's age if Data really did graduate in the class of '78 as he once claimed. Picard has to be over ninety! Of course that also means that this episode is taking place is 2400, not 2368.
* The graphic implies a position between Wesley's and Joshua's ship's that the mirror image of how Wesley describes it. Oops.
* The manual doors at the Academy still make automated door noises. Oops.
* The second edition features a reader reply correcting the Picard age math.
* How does Riker know what it's like to live with his parents when his mother died when he was young?
__________________
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 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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  #284  
Old 04-22-2022, 03:17 PM
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April 20th, 1992, "Cost of Living"

The Episode

RIKER: Ready torpedoes.
WORF: Aye, sir.
DATA: Sir, the core is composed of nitrium and chrondite. It is unlikely another photon torpedo will be of any effect.

The name "nitrium" is a variant on "natrium", the original name for sodium (hence "Na"). I doubt sodium is what was intended here, although it's not unheard of for comets to have sodium in them that will burn away into the tail. This the only appearance of nitrium or chrondite in Trek.

WORF: My instructions were clear.
ALEXANDER: They were not!
WORF: Before he was allowed to play, he was to place his soiled clothing in the garment reprocessor.

Only appearance of the garment reprocessor, although "In Theory" mentions clothes being cleaned using a "cleaning processor". It stands to reason that it would be energy intensive to use the replicator to reduce clothes to base replicator material and then rereplicate them, but you have to wonder what a "cleaning processor" does that a washing machine does not. Perhaps by the 24th century they've invented a more efficient dry cleaning method and combined it with an automatic ironing system.

RIKER: Apparently, Deanna being on board is only part of the reason.
PICARD: The other reason being?
RIKER: She thinks the honour of giving away the bride should fall on you.
PICARD: Permission for an on-board wedding is granted, Number One. Nothing would please me more than to give away Mrs. Troi.

Picard's dry wit is a real pleasure sometimes.

LWAXANA: Little one! Mister Woof. Come, join us.

We're way too far into the series for Lwaxana to still be doing the Mister Woof thing. It wasn't that good of a joke to begin with.

LWAXANA: Computer, some jestral tea, please.

Jestral tea actually had an appearance in Trek 11. I feel such pity for the production staff that cares about such things when the producers don't.

(the ship shakes and alarms go off)
WORF: We have an intermittent failure of the inertial damping system.

It's annoying how cavalier the writers are about inertial dampener failure. Any failure should result in people being thrown into walls at fatal velocities.

LAFORGE: According to the mass spectrometer, the elements in the residue have been broken down into simpler molecular structures.
DATA: That would suggest the nitrium has been organically metabolised.

So this nitrium is definitely not sodium, but some sort of molecule, probably a metal alloy.

DATA: In several cases, an exanogen gas barrier has been known to slow the progress of metal parasites.
PICARD: They don't like cold, eh? Make it so.

Only appearance of exanogen gas. I am annoyed at this solution, you'd imagine that the asteroid is colder than the ship, and the parasites seemed fine.

LAFORGE: The parasites must've gotten into the primary warp controllers, Captain. Trying to do a bypass patch to isolate the backup controllers but it looks like warp six is about the best I'm going to be able to give you.

There's a whole screed to be written here about the practicality of a secondary warp control computer just in case. Let's just boil it down to the conclusion: I doubt that such a backup would have the full range of warp speeds available. I wonder if each computer core has a full set of engineering processors, with the saucer cores being isolated until they're needed. Perhaps Geordi has to do a bypass to reach the engineering directories of the saucer computer cores.

LAFORGE: The matter-antimatter injectors are failing. I'm rerouting to secondary injector power now.

The matter and antimatter injectors are different components, you can't really lump them into one thing.

WORF: We must evacuate decks twenty through twenty four, Captain.
PICARD: Make it so. Shut down life support to those decks.
RIKER: Direct all evacuees to decks nine and ten.

There's no safe deck in between? And are the turbolifts still working?

COMPUTER: Structural integrity of the dilithium chamber is at thirty four percent.

So the parasites have turned the dilithium chamber into swiss cheese. This is one place where the interepisode reboot button is the most annoying. After this episode the E-D would require a major refit to replace all of the nitrium components, but the next episode is set ten days after this one. Oops.

WORF: You're just supposed to sit here?

You have to wonder if Klingons even have sedentary methods of recreation. They do have music and stage plays, but that's a different category. I can't see them tanning on the beach, can you?

Memory Alpha

* Last appearance of Mr. Homn.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Phil is confused as to how childless Troi is giving parenting advice. I'm not, she's a trained counselor, and that has to include parenting advice. The readers pointed this out during the interval between Volume 1 and Volume 2 of the Nitpicker's Guide.
* Troi responds to a question from Campio with "Ha!" Phil finds this odd and disrespectful. I call this her being on her last nerve with her mother on board.
* They say that sensors can't detect the parasites. Phil presents the valid counterargument that it's simply a matter of doing continual scans of the ship and looking for places where nitrium is disappearing.
* How can the ship survive coming out of warp if the inertial dampeners aren't reliable right now?
* At the end Data activates the Bussard collectors for seemingly no reason. The particle stream is emitted from the tractor beam emitter, after all.
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Old 04-27-2022, 04:44 PM
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April 27th, 1992, "The Perfect Mate"

I will try to keep the X-Men jokes to a minimum, but no promises...

Fiver by Marc

The Episode

PICARD: I trust, Ambassador, that this cargo is in no way dangerous?
BRIAM: Oh, no, nothing of the sort. I'm cautious because it's quite fragile, and quite irreplaceable.

I know that this has nothing to do with Harry Mudd, but it's an interesting idea. After all, while he called his women "cargo" he did treat them as actual people.

RIKER: Bridge to transporter room three. Boost your output and lock on to the two Ferengi on board the shuttle.

What's a Ferengi shuttle doing all the way out here without a mother ship?

RIKER: Bridge to transporter room three. Boost your output and lock on to the two Ferengi on board the shuttle. We may need to attempt a long range transport.

It occurs to me that we never really got an explanation as to what a "long range transport" actually is. It would make sense that if the transporters on both ends could link you could extend the range, but that's rarely implied. Does a long range transport involve tying in long range sensors or other equipment that lowers the chances of success?

RIKER: Mister Worf, escort our Ferengi guests to quarters. Not too close to mine.
WORF: Understood.

A cute joke, and it raises the question of whether or not there are different "levels" of quest quarters. The Kriosians are no doubt in the VIP section, the senior officers in another, and the standard guest quarters in yet another.

LAFORGE: We've been working from your drawings, Ambassador. I hope we're in the ballpark.
BRIAM: Ball park?
PICARD: That's an old human expression. Mister LaForge hopes that we've got close to achieving what you wanted.

Ah, the inconsistencies of the Universal Translator. How I don't like them. Then again, could you really train Starfleet officers to not use planet-specific idioms? Or program the Universal Translator to translate idioms into plain English before the translation?

Then again, I'm reminded of how "spider under the table" is the Bajoran version of "fly on the wall." So I guess the UT is depressingly literal.

BRIAM: Astonishing. It is the ancient Temple of Akadar. It is this temple that bonds Krios and Valt, gentlemen. Two brothers ruled a vast empire from this site until they were torn apart by their love for an extraordinary woman.

How large was this empire? I'm reminded of the novel Dragon's Honor, where an "empire" was the homeworld and a couple colonies, all contained within one nebula. Or maybe this "vast empire" existed in the "generation" of galactic powers before the current one, where engines were slower and travel times longer. I'm sure if I wanted to I could crawl through Memory Alpha and come up with likely galactic powers a thousand years ago.

LENOR: Peace is good for trade, unless you happen to be an arms merchant.

I actually think this is a decent joke, even if the TNG Ferengi themselves constitute a joke at this point. Of course "peace is good for business" is Rule #35 (and Memory Alpha refers to this episode as a reference).

(Briam and Picard enter a turbolift as Geordi hustles Lenor away)
LAFORGE: Listen, have you had a chance to see the dolphins yet?

Only mention of the onboard dolphins in TNG. "Yesterday's Enterprise" has a mention of "Cetacean Ops", but that was more of an Easter egg. Lower Decks has a few more cameos, including onscreen whale Starfleet officers. Personally I think the whole thing is ridiculous. Navigating in three dimensions in water is nothing like navigating in three dimensions in outer space. Furthermore adapting a ship's control for their use would require a ground-up redesign of the ship.

As for whether or not the inhabitants of the Whale Probe are actually whales, SF Debris presented a valid point. Creating spaceships requires technology that flippers just can't manage.

QOL: This is a misunderstanding. I was looking for a barbershop. Apparently I made an incorrect turn and...

What a Ferengi would need with a barber is beyond me. Or was Qol planning to ask Mr. Mot for tips on changing careers?

KAMALA: As do I, Ambassador. Why have I been brought out of stasis prematurely?
BRIAM: It was an accident. This is quite complicated. Perhaps you and I
KAMALA: It is not complicated at all, Briam, and the Captain has no tolerance for prevarication. I'm a gift, to Alrik of Valt.

"Prevarication" is just a fancy way of saying "lying" or at least "avoiding the truth." I get that the writers want to portray Kamala as intelligent, but there have to be better ways than sending viewers to their dictionaries.

BRIAM: Not as property, as a gift, and I was concerned that you might not entirely understand.

Could someone explain to me how a "gift" is not "property"?

KAMALA: In our history there's a woman known as Garuth, who was loved by the brothers Krios and Valt with such passion that an empire fell.
BRIAM: And the wars began when Krios kidnapped Garuth and took her to our planet.
KAMALA: Like her, I'm an empathic metamorph. The first female metamorph born in my world for over a hundred years.
PICARD: A metamorph?
KAMALA: A mutant. A biological curiosity, if you will. With the ability to sense what a potential mate wants, what he needs, what gives him the greatest pleasure and then to become that for him.

I refer you to SF Debris' review. As he points out, they try to make this okay by saying that male metamorphs are common, but it doesn't work. There's a whole screed to be had here about people changing themselves for love, or at least the illusion of love.

Furthermore, the fact that a fight over a metamorph caused the war in the first place is something that they give too little attention to. If they're not going to discuss the issues thoroughly than the story of Garuth is rather pointless.

BRIAM: You see, male metamorphs are somewhat common, but females are born only once in seven generations. So obviously they are greatly sought after as mates.
RIKER: Which explains the Ferengi's interest.

Which raises further questions! It's one thing for these people to be fought over on their own planets, but if the Ferengi kidnapped one it's still kidnapping, prostitution, and human trafficking! Even if such things aren't prohibited by Ferengi culture (and since Ferengi women have no rights I see no reason why they would be), they're prohibited by anyone the Ferengi would try to sell her to, except for other Ferengi! And making non-Ferengi women do Ferengi woman tasks (especially prechewing their tube grubs, ew) raises further questions!

KAMALA: My body is producing an unusually elevated level of what you would call pheromones. The effect can be quite provocative. Perhaps you sense it?
RIKER: Ah, unfortunately, I'm not an empath.
KAMALA: Oh, I think you are more empathic than you admit. At least when it comes to women.

Oh boy, the uncomfortable discussion we could have on this point...

RIKER: Listen. This has been educational but I make it a policy never to open another man's gift.
KAMALA: I know my role in history, Commander. But it's going to be a long voyage.

Without getting too uncomfortable, let's just say that I expect a people who value these metamorphs would also value virginity in said metamorphs.

RIKER: Riker to bridge. If you need me, I'll be in holodeck four.

SF Debris was correct to mock Riker for needing a cold shower after one kiss. Besides, we've seen Riker with plenty of women who were forward with him, he should be used to it. And no, I won't blame her pheromones, Riker hangs out on Risa all the time and they must have something similar.

CRUSHER: How can you simply deliver her like a courier into a life of virtual prostitution.
PICARD: Beverly! Arranged marriages have been the basis of political alliances in many cultures, including our own.

I'm not sure that "prostitution" is the right word here, but I'm not in the mood to ponder alternatives. I have more problem with Picard's use of "culture". While some may be willing to unite all of humanity within a single culture umbrella, I doubt that Picard is one of them.

CRUSHER: She has been conditioned since the day she was born to believe it's perfectly acceptable to exist only to please men.

Do metamorphs not have jobs of their own? Are metamorphs stuck in the proverbial kitchen by these people? I'll skip another screed.
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Old 04-27-2022, 04:44 PM
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PICARD: All right, fine, good, let's throw the Prime Directive to the winds. Let's detain her against her will. Let's destroy any chance of peace between these worlds. Let's interfere in their society, their customs.

Picard has a point here. At most he can recommend that these people aren't ready for Federation membership. That's it.

CRUSHER: That slave trader who calls himself an ambassador, he has confined her to her quarters.

There's a difference between pimps and slave traders. A big one.

KAMALA: I'm afraid my premature emergence from stasis has left me a little vulnerable to the desires I sense from men. Nevertheless, this is who I am, Captain. You might as well ask a Vulcan to forgo logic, or a Klingon to be nonviolent. I cannot change, and I don't want to until the time has come for me to bond with my permanent mate. Why does it bother you?
PICARD: Frankly, it's difficult for me, for many of us, to easily accept that a sentient being can live only to be what someone else wants them to be.
KAMALA: But that's what gives a metamorph pleasure.

One of the most annoying things about episodes like this is that practically every conversation could result in lengthy discussions of the moral implications. I'm offended that she equates "Klingon" with "violent". Klingons try to attain and defend their honor, and we've seen that they're willing to scheme and use other nonviolent methods to attain this.

KAMALA: But you know me better than you realise. I am independent, forceful, brilliant, and adventurous. Exactly as you would have me be, Captain.

Oh, the discussion we could have about how well Picard's previous girlfriends match this description. Let me just say that Jenice Manheim doesn't seem to fit this very well.

BRIAM: She is still in the Finiis'ral, the height of her sexual allure, Captain. Every man on the ship will be fighting over her.
PICARD: Not every man.

I have to agree with SF Debris on this one. Picard can't even trust a Vulcan woman for this job?

MINER 1: Excuse me, but I'm absolutely certain that we met once at Paloris Colony.
KAMALA: I've never been to Paloris Colony.
MINER 1: Neither have I. Why don't we find out what else we have in common.

This is such a lame attempt at a pickup line. Only mention of Paloris Colony. I do wish they could've used one of the existing TOS mining colonies like Delta Vega or Janus VI or Ardana.

KAMALA: What are you all having, boys?
MINER 2: Aldorian Ale's our drink.
KAMALA: Then, it's mine too.

Only mention of Aldorian ale. One wonders if they meant Andorian ale, but that beverage won't appear until DS9.

DATA: Thank you, Lieutenant. The crowd seemed a bit too ebullient for comfort. Perhaps you would enjoy a quiet visit to the arboretum.
(Data leads Kamala away, then she turns and growls. Data hauls her out of the room before Worf growls back and then catches himself)

"Men do not roar. Women roar. Then they hurl heavy objects, and claw at you..."

KAMALA: I stay informed on a wide variety of subjects. After all, one never knows when the conversation might turn to Ventanan archeology or to the dark woman of raven brows and mournful eyes in Shakespeare's sonnets. Or to the gardens of Les Eyries near the village where you grew up.

I get the implication, but there's just too much information out there for any one person to be fluent in all of it.

KAMALA: My empathic powers can only sense a man of deep passion, and conviction. So controlled. So disciplined. I am simply curious to know what lies beneath.
PICARD: Nothing. Nothing lies beneath. I'm really quite dull. I fall asleep each night with an old book in my hands.

I don't like this description of Picard. It may be accurate, but there's more to him than she's mentioning. How many antique books does Picard own?

QOL: The bribe is ten thousand more.
LENOR: Ludugial gold. The purest in the galaxy.

An RPG module claims that ludugial gold is impossible to counterfeit, just like latinum. I do wish that gold-pressed latinum had been introduced WAY earlier.

PICARD: I'm reminded of piano lessons when I was a child. Preparing for some dreaded recital.
KAMALA: You still play?
PICARD: No. I regret that I gave it up. It used to please my mother. But I didn't like performing in front of an audience.
KAMALA: Shy?
PICARD: No. Just not very good.

Actually, Picard never plays the Ressikan flute in public either. Apparently Yvette appears in STP. I always thought that the illusion in "Where No One Has Gone Before" is Picard's grandmother, but no, that's Yvette.

PICARD: Kamala.
KAMALA: Do you find me unattractive?
PICARD: I find you unavailable.

I'm offended when people think that physical attractiveness is the only important factor in deciding to have a relationship. I refer you to my "'60s gender politics" comment from the retrospective entry on "Is There In Truth No Beauty."

KAMALA: When I was a child, I took music lessons, too.
PICARD: Really? What instrument?
KAMALA: All of them.

I repeat my earlier comment. This is impossible. A human orchestra has a couple dozen different kinds of instruments by itself. Toss in dozens of alien races and you have hundreds of instruments. It's just like any of the other subjects that she claims to be fluent in, impossible.

KAMALA: A starship captain must encounter all sorts of lifeforms. Am I one of the most unique you've ever met? Please say yes.
PICARD: Yes.

Actually, she isn't, not by a long shot.

CRUSHER: For your thoughts. Penny for your thoughts.
PICARD: Do you have one?
CRUSHER: I'm sure the replicator will have one on file.

The issue of replicating antique currency is another interesting discussion that I'll skip.

PICARD: Acknowledged. You can't go through with the ceremony.
KAMALA: Would you ask me to stay and ask two armies to keep fighting? Having bonded with you, I've learned the meaning of duty. He'll never know. I'm still empathic. I will be able to please him. I only hope he likes Shakespeare.

This is supposed to be heartwarming, but I find it horrifying.

The fiver

Captain's Log: We are carrying a mysterious, highly valuable gift that Ambassador Briam of Krios will present as a peace offering to Chancellor Alrik of Valt Minor. Our guest says that he would have preferred us to use an armoured delivery ship, so I have dealt with his complaint by ordering the Enterprise's outer hull to be painted in suitable shades of gray.

I'm sorry, Marc, but this was a lengthy setup for a particularly weak and irrelevant joke.

Briam: All the same, I request that you declare your cargo bay to be strictly off limits to everyone.
Picard: Before I do that, I'll need proof that this gift of yours is truly as priceless as you claim.
Riker: (over the comm) Captain, two Ferengi in a damaged shuttlecraft are requesting that we rescue them.
Picard: All right, I'm convinced.

Ha. The joys of medium awareness.

Picard: Was this the place that launched a thousand ships and burnt the topless towers of Ilium?

Illium is another name for Troy of the Trojan War. I'm not sure why Marc would mix and match references to the Illiad.

Kamala: (smooch!)
Computer: Warning -- ambient temperature levels approaching the combustion point of Starfleet uniform material.

Ha. You have to wonder what the combustion point it, it must be above that of today's cloth.

Crusher: Well I believe that people should marry for love, whether they're royalty or not.
Picard: You mean like King Charles the Third and Queen Camilla?
Crusher: Exactly.

Charles isn't king yet, and I'll bet Marc thought that he would be by now. Charles married Camilla in 2005, after this fiver was written.

Picard: I'm already married to a special lady -- she's called the Enterprise.

Picard never had the loverlike attachment to his ship that Kirk had. This doesn't seem like Picard. He'd me more likely to say that he's married to his Starfleet career.

Kamala: I like it that way. Hey, boys! Wanna work up some sweat in the gym with me? Dr. Crusher told me there's a great ThighMaster machine in there I should try.

This is a reference to Famke Janssen's later role as Xenia Onatopp in Goldeneye.

Kamala: Will you visit me from time to time? We could listen to Mozart, make love, talk about archaeology....
Picard: Kamala, please stop doing this. There's only so much temptation a man can take.

Of course you could argue which of the three Picard finds the most tempting...

Picard: Yes, and I'm having trouble picturing what she'll transform into once she finally meets the Chancellor.
Beverly: From what I've seen of Alrik, my guess would be a cross between a stockbroker and a bureaucrat.
Picard: Oh, thanks a million for that particular image.

Maybe the Ferengi came a bit too early, then. Hehe...

(Picard watches Kamala's ship depart at Dolorous Speed)

"Dolorous" means "sorrowful."

Memory Alpha

* Famke Janssen turned down the role of Dax on DS9. The makeup was recycled for Terry Farrell when the original Trill makeup didn't work out.
* Memory Alpha compares this episode to "Elaan of Troyius." Aside from broad strokes, I don't see it.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Picard agreed to add extra security to the cargo bay, so how did the Ferengi get in there? It occurs to me that all of the cargo bays should at least scan for a commbadge before opening the door.
* Phil notes that on the xylophone notes get higher going left to right on one level and right to left on another level, very confusing.
* Wouldn't Kamala be herself if she's only surrounded by women?
* In "The Mind's Eye" it's declared that Krios is a Klingon colony trying to get its independence. Oops.
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Old 04-28-2022, 01:21 AM
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I guess I didn't make any X-Men jokes after all. Anyway, if you want a parallel consider that in the earliest X-Men comics it was revealed that Professor X was in love with Jean Grey as well.
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mudshark: I don't expect Nate to make sense, really -- it's just a bad idea.

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

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

Crow T. Robot: Oh, stop pretending there's a plot. Don't cheapen yourself further.
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Old 05-02-2022, 04:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the Great View Post
March 23rd, 1992, "Cause and Effect"
Like I've said, I don't like it when people are thought to be insane.
Nor do I generally.

Quote:
* The major appearance of Bateson and the Bozeman crew after this is in the novel Ship of the Line.
Ah yes, the Diane Carey novel I like to pretend doesn't exist.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the Great View Post
March 30th, 1992, "The First Duty"
CRUSHER: Wesley's allergic to metorapan treatments. I think they'll have to use a bicaridine substitute. I should send his complete records to the Academy infirmary. Of course, they probably have them already, but you can't be too sure.

I get that Beverly is under a lot of stress right now, but I still can't forgive this moment of idiocy. I expect the Academy to collect all necessary medical records of incoming students.
Yeah, but this is Starfleet, and a chance to have an unexpected allergic reaction is exactly the kind of dramatic opportunity to create a case of Starfleet Stupidity.

Quote:
This is a whole other screed waiting to happen, but it would require a lot of research that I don't care to do. Long story short, at 80,000 kph and ten meters away I would want autopilot to be doing most of the work!
Agreed.

Quote:
Brand: I have assigned Captain Satelk of Vulcan to assist me.
Crusher: Uh oh.

Satelk is played by Richard Fancy. He's been in a number of projects with other Trek alumni, but not McFadden. Is the fact that he's a Vulcan supposed to be the joke here? Crusher never had any problem with Vulcans, did she?
Crusher is hoping the investigators won't be able to pick apart Wesley's testimony . . . and now she finds out one of them is Vulcan.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the Great View Post
The Outcast

The fiver

Picard: Was this the place that launched a thousand ships and burnt the topless towers of Ilium?

Illium is another name for Troy of the Trojan War. I'm not sure why Marc would mix and match references to the Illiad.
They fought over a woman before and they might do it again? "Place that launched a thousand ships" is wordplay on "face that launched a thousand ships". It's enough for a fiver.


Quote:
* Picard agreed to add extra security to the cargo bay, so how did the Ferengi get in there? It occurs to me that all of the cargo bays should at least scan for a commbadge before opening the door.
Starfleet Stupid strikes again!
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Old 05-08-2022, 05:55 PM
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May 4th, 1992, "Imaginary Friend"

Let's get this out of the way up front; the creators do their best to present both sides of the imaginary friend debate, but they fell short. Troi and Guinan act like imaginary friends are just a phase that kids will eventually grow out of, but that's not the whole story. If a child feels the psychological need to have an imaginary friend, find out why and deal with the issue so they don't have the need anymore.

I never had a traditional imaginary friend. That is, someone my own age that I could talk to. Instead I had (and still have) a cast of characters that I would send on adventures like in fanfiction, narrating their actions. I could tell you such stories about them, but you're not THAT interested, I'm sure.

No fiver

The Episode

CLARA: I have to go plant the nasturtiums now. I'm Keiko's helper in the arboretum today.

"Nasturtium" sounds like an alien plant, but they're real. They're small orange/red flowers. You can eat them in a salad or stir fry, and the herbs have medicinal properties.

TROI: I can understand your concern, Ensign Sutter, but really you have nothing to worry about. It's a normal, healthy activity for children to engage in imaginary play.
SUTTER: I'm just afraid she's not making any real friends. She spends all of her time with Isabella.
TROI: You've been moving from starship to starship since Clara was two years old. Maybe Isabella provides a constant companion. She knows this is one friend she won't have to leave behind.

I understand Starfleet's new program of integrating families with the crew, but there are two big problems:
1. After the Borg invasion this program should've been abandoned for any ship not actually in deep space. It's way way WAY too late to still have so many children on board.
2. Stability is important for small children. Even IF the Borg weren't a factor, you shouldn't be moving them around without good reason. Furthermore, her father is an ordinary engineer, not a job that requires a lot of transfers. You shouldn't be forcing children to say goodbye all the time without good reason, and I'm not hearing one.

DATA: In order for the lateral sensors to complete their scheduled observations, additional processing time will be required.
LAFORGE: We could steal a couple of hours from the Engineering team while they're recalibrating the thermal interferometery scanner.

All standard engineering computer processing should be handled by the stardrive computer core. Long range sensors can be slaved to one of the saucer cores. If you're going to write technobabble to kill time until a plot-relevant thing happens, put more thought into it, writers!

OGAWA: He has shore leave next month. He asked me to go to Risa with him.
CRUSHER: No problem. Nurse McClukidge can cover for you.
OGAWA: I don't think I'm going, Doctor. I hear it's a very uninhibited atmosphere. Personally, I don't think I'm ready for that kind of fun.
CRUSHER: Try to talk him into Tavena Minor. They have a cruise down the Jokri River. The iridescent currents are beautiful.

This boyfriend is not her eventual husband Andrew Powell. In fact Andrew is the THIRD boyfriend mentioned for Ogawa over the years. It's always nice to see the minor characters fleshed out, especially when compared to the later series.

LAFORGE: So what are we going to name this nebula? FGC forty seven just doesn't have the proper ring to it.
SUTTER: Why don't we call it Sutter's Cloud?
...
LAFORGE: I was thinking about something more along the lines of the La Forge Nebula. It's got sort of a majestic sound, don't you think?

A nebula is a smaller, denser kind of interstellar cloud. If this thing qualifies as a nebula you should call it a nebula. Also, obvious 47 is obvious.

CLARA: Why do you keep disappearing like that?
ISABELLA: The grown-ups don't believe I'm real. When they're around, I have to be invisible.

Well, duh. If they can't see you they won't believe you're real. Is Isabella supposed to have the intelligence of a child?

ISABELLA: What's in here?
CLARA: That's the door to the cargo bay. We can't go in there.

THE cargo bay? There are at least twelve on board, and probably many more than that. Even Clara should know that there's more than one. Furthermore, the door shouldn't even open unless you have a commbadge. And if you really want to be pedantic, there should be distinct differences in bulkhead colors, etc. between the civilian sections of the ship and the officers-only sections. The kids should've triggered a security alert on Worf's board.

LAFORGE: Okay, I've configured the magnetic coil to collect samples of gaseous matter from the nebula. Go ahead and activate the beam emitter.

Shouldn't the ship already have equipment to collect samples of what's outside? Plus it sounds like they're collecting nebular matter using the Bussard collectors. How can something designed to only collect hydrogen collect more complicated molecules?

SUTTER: I'm setting the fractionater to a continuous cycle.

"Fractionator" sounds like a fictional device, but it's real. It separates a mixture into its components based on their different physical properties. However, it seems to be used as random technobabble here.

LAFORGE: Well, I suppose there were aspects of my childhood that were less than ideal, but to me it was just one long adventure. Children are a lot stronger than you think. As long as they know you love them, they can handle just about anything life throws at them, you know.

Some kids are tougher than others, and applying a single model to all of them often leads to disaster.

GUINAN: It's a Samarian coral fish with its fin unfolded.
DATA: I believe what you are seeing is the effect of the fluid dynamic processes inherent in the large scale motion of highly rarified gas.
GUINAN: No, no. First it was a fish, and now it's a Mintonian sailing ship.
DATA: Where?
GUINAN: Right there. Don't you see the two swirls coming together to form the mast?
DATA: I do not see it. It is interesting that people try to find meaningful patterns in things that are essentially random. I have noticed that the images they perceive sometimes suggest what they are thinking about at that particular moment. Besides, it is clearly a bunny rabbit.

Seeing patterns where there is none is called "pareidolia." Data's punchline is noncharacteristic, though.

GUINAN: Now, how about two Papalla juices with extra bubbles.
CLARA: Just one, please. Isabella isn't thirsty.

Like Kanar and other Trek beverages, Papalla juice doesn't have a single appearance. It could be transparent purple or opaque orange.

TROI: Clara, you haven't been on this she very long, so maybe you don't know, but Ten Forward is usually for grown-ups.

It makes you wonder if there's a children's equivalent on board. It would be a good idea.

ISABELLA: Let's go to Engineering, Clara. Just for a little while. No one will know. It'll be our secret. And if they find us, we'll tell them we got lost.

Isabella is pressing her luck. While there's no question that there are civilian areas near Ten Forward, there shouldn't be any near Engineering. In fact, why would civilians be allowed in the stardrive section at all? Except for authorized civilian scientists like Keiko, of course.

LAFORGE: No, but if we run the warp field generators through the deflector grid, we could radiate a field outside the ship.

The warp field already goes outside the ship! And a lot farther than the deflector shields by the way!

ISABELLA: You should be destroyed. You are cruel, uncaring creatures.
PICARD: What makes you say that?
ISABELLA: The way you treat Clara.
PICARD: In what way have we mistreated her?
ISABELLA: You wouldn't let her do what she wanted to, or go where she wanted to.
...
PICARD: I understand. You are seeing this ship, all of us, from a unique perspective. From a child's point of view. It must seem terribly unfair and restrictive to you. As adults, we don't always stop to consider how everything we say and do shapes the impressions of young people. But if you're judging us as a people by the way we treat our children, and I think there can be better criterion, then you must understand how deeply we care for them. When our children are young, they don't understand what might be dangerous. Our rules are to keep them from harm, real or imagined, and that's part of the continuity of our human species.

This is one of the more hamfisted Picard speeches, but I can't blame him, it's the episode's fault.

Memory Alpha

* Guinan wasn't originally intended to be a part of this episode. I feel that she was necessary in this case, just like in "Rascals."

Nitpicker's Guide

* Clara's mother is never mentioned. Is she on assignment somewhere else as her child keeps getting relocated?
* Clara says that Isabella has pierced ears, but the imposter doesn't. You'd think an editor would've noticed that one.
* How did Clara get to Main Engineering? Wouldn't the computer notice her turbolift destination and stop her? (Maybe there are civilian areas elsewhere on Deck 36, but would the computer do the wall panel arrows to direct her there?)
* Guinan says that the papalla juice has extra bubbles, but the prop doesn't. Oops.
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Old 05-12-2022, 02:47 PM
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May 11th, 1992, "I, Borg"

Fiver by Marc

The Episode

DATA: Readings are still inconclusive, however the moon's atmosphere is capable of supporting life.

I hate it when Trek implies that the only thing that matters for Class M conditions is the atmosphere. They ignore gravity, air pressure, temperature, on and on...

TROI: I would have thought having a Borg on the ship would stir some feelings.
PICARD: I'm quite recovered from my experience, thank you.

Talk about a blatant lie. Even if you don't count First Contact we have the events of "Drumhead" and other episodes.

LAFORGE: If this works the way I think it will, once the invasive programme starts spreading, it'll only be a matter of months before the Borg suffer total systems failure.

Months? I don't think that the Borg would allow that much delay between updates. Isn't that what the transwarp conduits are for?

CRUSHER: I just think we should be plain about that. We're talking about annihilating an entire race.

What race? The Borg have no culture, even if you consider the Voyager retcons. They exist to consume, nothing more. The concept of genocide doesn't apply to the Borg.

RIKER: I agree. We're at war.
CRUSHER: There's been no formal declaration of war.
TROI: Not from us, but certainly from them. They've attacked us in every encounter.
PICARD: They've declared war on our way of life. We are to be assimilated.
CRUSHER: But even in war there are rules. You don't kill civilians indiscriminately.
RIKER: There are no civilians among the Borg.

The Borg are at war with every other sentient race. And Riker is right, there are no Borg civilians. There is no Borg culture. While you could argue that Hugh is a drafted soldier, he's still a soldier.

CRUSHER: When I look at my patient, I don't see a collective consciousness. I don't see a hive. I see a living, breathing boy who's been hurt and who needs our help. And we're talking about sending him back to his people as an instrument of destruction.

Being alive is not the same as being sentient. And while Hugh will eventually become sentient, at this point he isn't. Crusher is short-sighted. You could also argue that Borg drones aren't "alive" in the same way as humanoid, every single function is being supported by machinery.

CRUSHER: He must be hungry. The Borg don't ingest food. Their implants can synthesise any organic molecules the biological tissues require. What they need is energy.

There's another screed here. Does regeneration really consist of just a power socket and ethernet connection? It could be argued that regeneration alcoves also cultivate base biological material that can be transferred to drones. There has to be a limit to how much biological repair a drone can do by itself, after that the implants expand to replace the flesh.

LAFORGE: Yeah, but there's only one of you. Do you have a name? A means of identification?
BORG: Third of five.

I can't help but feel that a unimatrix or cube number should be attached to this designation.

LAFORGE: I've been rationing his portions of energy. I think he understands. When he cooperates, he gets fed. If not.
CRUSHER: Like a rat in a cage.

Alive does not mean sentient, etc.

LAFORGE: Look, if I'm going to figure out his command pathways, I need to learn how he processes information, and the only way I know to do that is by giving him perceptual tests. And for that, I need his cooperation.
CRUSHER: So he can participate in the destruction of his entire species.

The Borg are not a species! They're a virus that only wants to exist and gather information for no particular reason. The writer is really hammering in the foreshadowing, we didn't need this much!

BORG: What is a doctor?

If Data has a built-in dictionary, there's no reason why Borg can't. Stupid line...

LAFORGE: Anyway, I'm having second thoughts about what we're doing here. I mean, programming him like some sort of walking bomb. Sending him back to destroy the others.

Even IF we accept that Borg drones are sentient, THEY ARE AT WAR! Sabotage and Trojan Horses are an accepted part of war. I hate it when Trek writers rewrite reality to convey a message in a hamfisted manner.

PICARD: How can a geometric form disable a computer system?
DATA: The shape is a paradox, sir. It cannot exist in real space or time.
LAFORGE: When Hugh's imaging apparatus imprints this on his biochips, he'll try to analyse it.
DATA: He will be unsuccessful, and will store the shape in his memory banks. It will be shunted to a subroutine for further analysis.
LAFORGE: Then when the Borg download his memory, it'll be incorporated it into their network, then they'll try to analyse it.
DATA: It is designed so that each approach they take will spawn an anomalous solution. The anomalies are designed to interact with each other, linking together to form an endless and unsolvable puzzle.

The Borg have been around long enough to debug themselves to avoid logic loops. Furthermore, this seems like a plan that some other race would've tried a long time ago.

BORG: Locutus.
PICARD: Yes. I am Locutus of Borg.
BORG: Why are you here?

You'd think the Collective would've told all the drones that Locutus doesn't exist anymore.

The Fiver

Data: Sir, I am picking up an automated signal from the moon ahead of us.
Picard: What does it say?
Data: It is a single repeating word. I cannot decipher it, but it resembles the pseudo-Swedish dialect used by a certain culinary artist once featured on twentieth-century Earth television.

Ah yes, the Swedish Chef. "Borg" is a name used in various Nordic and Germanic cultures. There are multiple people with the last name of Borg.

Riker: I'd better take down an Away Team. I've always wanted to have a chef aboard the Enterprise.
Picard: Aren't replicators good enough for you anymore, Will?
Riker: It's the one in my quarters that's the problem. I once called it an overgrown toaster and it never forgave me.

Painful Enterprise joke. The Voyager joke is better by comparison.

Riker: Okay...definitely not Swedish.
Crusher: Why definitely? There's no reason the Borg couldn't have assimilated a few Scandinavians during the Battle of Wolf 359.
Riker: True. I just have trouble imagining what a blonde Borg would look like.

While we don't know Seven's ethnicity, Jeri Ryan is German.

Riker: Doctor, we have to get out of here. The Borg always come back to collect their dead.
Crusher: But he's not dead! He's just resting!
Worf: He looks dead to me.
Crusher: It's probably because he's pining for the Collective.

The Parrot Sketch is a classic. I would've included a few more lines from it, though.

Picard: The Collective is vulnerable because it's so interconnected. Can you devise an invasive program that we could load into this Borg before we return him to the hive?
La Forge: That depends on how good their security protocols are. Do you think they could be fooled into opening an unsolicited message attachment?
Picard: If we make the subject line enticing enough, yes.

Ah, early email gags. Spam filtering has certainly advanced since 2004, hasn't it?

Picard: The plan is to infect the Collective's great link with a logical paradox virus. Within months, the Borg will become so obsessed with solving it that they'll be powerless to do anything else
La Forge: In other words, think of it as a weapon of mass distraction.

I'm reminded of a gag from the movie "You've Got Mail"...

Listen to this, the entire work force of the state of Virginia had to have solitaire removed from their computers because they hadn't done any work in six weeks.

Data: This is the final design for the paradox virus.
Picard: It looks harmless enough. How does it work?
La Forge: I disguised it as an election-year campaign leaflet. It promises to cut taxes and balance the budget while eliminating the national debt and increasing public spending.

There are some politics jokes that never get old.

Guinan: Hugh has feelings. Before you use him as a genocidal weapon, you should at least look him in the eye.
Picard: It is not a he, it is an it, and it deserves no consideration whatsoever!
Guinan: That's not how you felt when Commander Maddox said the same thing about Data.
Picard: That was an entirely different case! My android second officer was being denied his fundamental human righ-- uh, what I mean to say is, um....

Comparisons to "Measure of a Man" are a bit of a stretch.

Memory Alpha

* There's a blooper in Borg designations here. Hugh uses "Third of Five" instead of "Three of Five" as Voyager would establish.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Why is Geordi writing the computer virus instead of Data?
* Phil also thinks that Borg would be able to escape logic loops.
* If Picard fighting to keep his individuality didn't affect the Borg, why would Hugh's?
* Hugh hears that the Enterprise will hide from the Borg cube behind the star. Why didn't the Borg assimilate this knowledge and attack the Enterprise?
* Back in "The Best of Both Worlds" Beverly wanted to program nanites to attack the Borg. Why is she against this computer virus?
* BOBW also established that cutting a drone off from Borg transmissions will kill them, yet they do it in this episode without problems. Oops.
* Why does Hugh think that "doctor" is an occupation and not a name? Phil specifically brings up Judge Reinhold.
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  #291  
Old 05-19-2022, 10:10 PM
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May 18th, 1992, "The Next Phase"

Fiver by Marc

I won't be complaining about the "why don't they fall through the floor" bit, every outlandish Trek tech has to have a handwave to make it plausible. Besides, I'm always willing to suspend logic in the name of a good story. I am NOT willing to suspend logic in the name of lazy writers (looking at you, Voyager creative team!)

The Episode

RIKER: Aye, sir. No weapons. We don't want them to think they're under attack.
RO: This is not a bright idea.

The question of who's right isn't remotely as simple as Riker thinks. Personally I'd refuse to beam aboard a Romulan ship without at least a holstered phaser.

MIROK: Yes. We had a forced chamber explosion in the resonator coil.
LAFORGE: It's a pretty strange set up, but it looks like the graviton field generator has been completely depolarised. There's no way to fix it. It'll have to be replaced.

Time to play Decode the Technobabble! It stands to reason that you'd need some sort of resonating field to keep the artificial singularity under control. However, does it have to be a graviton field? This thing isn't a black hole, it's a quantum singularity, they're not that similar. The polarization is a bit tougher, but perhaps there's some analog of an electromagnet in there and there's no distinct north and south pole anymore. However, polarized gravitons seem a bit...impossible.

BROSSMER: What the hell? Engineering, I need more power to the primary energising coil. Brossmer to Commander Riker. I'm losing them I have to abort.
...
PICARD: Mister Data, begin a level one diagnostic. All transporter systems offline until further notice. Could they have materialised somewhere else?
DATA: Negative, Captain. Sensors are unable to locate them anywhere within transporter range.

So the transporter lost track of the phased patterns of Geordi and Ro. Fair enough, but later it will be revealed that they materialized, just not on the pads. This seems rather impossible. It seems that the endpoints of a transporter beam have to be locked onto before the occupant is dematerialized. Loosing the signal means dead in a wisp of smoke, we're not talking about a person walking along a forcefield and being dropped when the forcefield fails.

It would help if the Romulan and Starfleet transporters were linked here, and there was some sort of football fumbling action here to result in a displaced rematerialization.

PICARD: Mister Data, you may continue the diagnostic of the transporter systems at another time. Take a shuttlecraft and two more engineers down to the Romulan ship.

Two more? The Romulans need more than that! Meaningless aside, why was Ro over there anyway? She's Command, not Security!

WORF: Commander. Emergency bulkheads have sealed this section off from the rest of the ship. There is no way to gain access to the main Bridge or control centres.

Given the sheer volume of a D'deridex warbird, having multiple control centers makes sense. You'd want each major weapon cluster to have a "bridge", as well as the departments in the rear bridge stations on the E-D.

WORF: Readings indicate at least seventy three Romulans are still alive.
VAREL: Seventy three.

If the E-D has half a thousand crew, you'd have to imagine a Romulan warbird would have at least a thousand, just in terms of volume. I don't think you could run the whole ship with only 73 people. Incidentally, Varel's line is a blatant Chekov's Gun about the phased Romulan on the Enterprise, but they could've been clearer about that.

MIROK: The pressure has jumped two hundred melakols!

Melakols only appear in this episode. I wish they had appeared more often, maybe on Vulcan ships as well.

VAREL: I've lost control of the containment chamber.
MIROK: It's going to implode.
RIKER: We'll need to dump the entire engine core.

This is an interesting notion; the quantum singularity has to be contained to avoid imploding, not exploding. You have to assume that a delicate balance has to be maintained.

CRUSHER: You're right. I just hate making out death certificates. Does Ensign Ro have any family?
RO: Captain, I'm right here.
PICARD: None that I know of, but I'll check with the Bajoran liaison Office.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The captain should know about the immediate family of at least the senior staff.

The expanded universe doesn't give her any relatives besides her mother Talia and father Gale. This surprises me, as you'd think a cousin or two would've crawled out of the woodwork by now.

RIKER [OC]: Engineering is modifying one of our subspace resonators to act as a new engine core. It won't do more than warp two, but it'll get them home.

There's no reason that a radically different tech like this would use the same integer warp factors that Starfleet does, but maybe Riker is rounding off.

WORF: Commander, the (looks round) the Romulans want a computer. We cannot give them access to Federation technology. That is an unacceptable security risk.
RIKER: What about a computer core from thirty or forty years ago? One the Romulans are already familiar with.
WORF: That would be satisfactory.
RIKER: Check with the Enterprise, see what's available. Be sure your concern are addressed before we install it.
WORF: Aye, sir. Thank you.

A nice scene. You do have to wonder why they keep spare computers from a period from before the ship was built around, though. I have trouble with the notion that PADDs are replicated, much less computer cores. There have to be industrial fabrication facilities, I suppose, so they're just using a computer DESIGN from thirty or forty years ago.

The notion of the Enterprise-C's computer core running a Romulan ship is still humorous.

LAFORGE: Wait a minute. What are you saying, that we're some sort of spirits?
RO: Spirits, souls. My people used to call them borhyas. Whatever term you want to use, we're it.
LAFORGE: But my uniform, my visor. Are you saying I'm some blind ghost with clothes?

Geordi has a point. Borhyas appear in a few DS9 novels. The DS9 game Harbinger states that if the Bajoran death chant isn't performed a person's soul becomes a borhyas, they sound more like wraiths in this context.

RIKER: In fact I might like to say a few words.
PICARD: You did know La Forge longer than any of us.
RIKER: Actually, I was thinking more about Ensign Ro.
RO: Me?
PICARD: When you're ready, coordinate with Mister Data.
RO: Wait a minute. What are you going to say about me?

I'd really like to know, too! How much do they remember about their romp in the hay from "Conundrum" five months ago?

RO: Captain. I don't believe this. I'm dead. you can't even hear me and I'm still intimidated by you. I just wanted to say thank you. For trusting in me when no one else would.

I wouldn't say "no one else". Does Guinan not count? Where is Guinan this week, anyway? I'm sure she would have something to say about Geordi AND Ro!

WORF: Human custom is to conduct a solemn, dignified service in which the dead are praised by their friends and loved ones.
DATA: Ensign Ro was Bajoran. Her beliefs should be reflected as well. However their death rituals are quite complicated.
RO: Please, not the Death Chant.
WORF: The Bajoran Death Chant is over two hours long.

Why is Ro so annoyed? She doesn't have to hang around and listen to it. Are there other Bajorans on board? Sito Jaxa won't join the crew for another year.
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Old 05-19-2022, 10:10 PM
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DATA: I am not certain that either human or Bajoran rites are fitting.

Why not?

DATA: In almost all societies, it is traditional to say a ritual farewell to those you call friends. I never knew what a friend was until I met Geordi. He spoke to me as though I were human. He treated me no differently from anyone else. He accepted me for what I am. And that, I have learned, is friendship. But I do not know how to say goodbye.
RO: He seems almost human, doesn't he.

A nice moment from Data, but I'd forgotten about Ro's line. I wonder if Guinan talks about him to her.

LAFORGE: It's supposed to change the structure of matter so it can pass through normal matter and energy. Hang on a second. A few years back, we got intelligence reports that the Klingons were working on trying to combine a phase inverter and a cloaking device. In theory, they believed that a phased ship could hide anywhere, even inside a planet, and that conventional weapons would be useless against it.
RO: How far did they get in their research?
LAFORGE: It never got out of the preliminary stages. There were several accidents.

We'll see that the phase cloak has been considered by both powers for awhile, but...

RO: Then that would explain the explosion and the chroniton fields.
LAFORGE: And us.
RO: You mean we're cloaked?
LAFORGE: Not just cloaked, phased. Our entire molecular structure altered so that we don't have any substance.

That doesn't explain the current scenario. A phase cloak would only phase everything within an active field. You can't attach a "static phase" charge to a person, that's ridiculous.

MIROK: We will set up a muon feedback wave inside the transfer beam. The particles will accumulate in their dilithium chamber. When they go to warp speed, their engines will explode.

How a wave can create particles is beyond me. Maybe this has to do with the higher dimensions that dilithium crystals exist in. Then again, why would the transfer beam be tapping directly into the warp core without an intermediate converter?

PICARD: Deck ten. I've been thinking about the first time I met Geordi La Forge. He was a young officer assigned to pilot me on an inspection tour, and I made some off hand remark about the shuttle's engine efficiency not being what it should. And the next morning I found that he'd stayed up all night refitting the fusion initiators. Well, I knew then that I wanted him with me on my next command.

A nice story.

PICARD: I would like to get under way as soon as possible. The situation on Garadius Four is becoming serious.

Garidians will return in the video game A Final Unity. They resemble Romulans, but I don't know if they're supposed to be an early offshoot just like Romulans were from Vulcans.

LAFORGE: It looks like a great party. Do you mind if we join you?

Great line.

RO: I was raised with Bajoran beliefs. I even followed some of the practices, but I never really believed in a life after death. Then suddenly I was dead and there was another life, and it made me feel like I'd been pretty arrogant to discount everything I'd been taught, you know? Now I don't know what to believe.
LAFORGE: Maybe we should develop our own interphase device. If it can teach Ro Laren humility, it can do anything.

Ro's line is good, but Geordi's is a little offensive. Insulting an emotional reveal for the sake of a joke doesn't seem like Geordi, it seem more like McCoy, doesn't it?

The Fiver

La Forge: Enterprise, two people and one piece of weird Romulan equipment to beam aboard.
Chief Brossmer: (over the comm) I don't like the sound of that, sir. Any chance you and Ensign Ro could fax me a signed waiver before I energize?
La Forge: No.

I'm always surprised to learn that some people still use faxes.

Brossmer: (over the comm): Commander Riker, they vanished! I activated the transporter and they just vanished!
Riker: I presume you mean they vanished in a manner not consistent with the usual workings of the transporter.
Brossmer: Aye, o'course I mean that! D'ye think I'd call ye if they'd just beamed doon?
Riker: Funny how I never noticed that Scottish accent of yours until now.

Ah, Gamesters of Triskelion.

Ro: Oh, my aching head! How did I end up on the floor outside Sickbay? Note to self -- Romulan ale no longer to be consumed during rescue missions.

Undiscovered Country, too?

Ro: La Forge, can you see me?
La Forge: Yes, and I'm sure glad you can see me! No one else can! I was beginning to understand how Cyrus Ramsey must have felt.
Ro: Who?

This is an Enterprise reference. Ramsey was one of the first human victims of a transporter accident. Or maybe Hoshi just hallucinated his entire existence.

Ro: I think we're ghosts. Dr. Crusher says we died in a transporter accident.
La Forge: I'm not dead!
Ro: Yes, you are.
La Forge: No, I'm not! And I'm going for a walk!
Ro: Look, you're not fooling anyone. Now just wait here with me for the wooden cart, will you?

It's always a good day for a Monty Python reference.

Ro: Won't the whole shuttle go right through us as soon as the pilot starts to accelerate?
La Forge: No, the shuttle seats are made of the same material as the floors of the Enterprise.
Ro: Ah.

If inertia had any effect on them they'd have been left in the dust by the Enterprise the second they materialized. There are times when you should really just relax and not wonder about science facts...

La Forge: Did our near-death experience give you any new insights about life?
Ro: It'd be impossible to discuss the subject without a common frame of reference.

Voyage Home, too? And Ro is the last person I can imagine emulating Spock.

Nitpicker's Guide

* If they can't interact with air, how can they breathe or hear?
* At one point Data must step back so Geordi can go by. Oops.
* How would a nonphased couch protech Geordi and Ro from a phased explosion?
* In "The Hunted", an exploding phaser was deemed a risk to the entire deck, but in this episode an exploding Romulan disrupter didn't even fill Ten Forward.
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Old 05-30-2022, 04:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the Great View Post
May 11th, 1992, "I, Borg"
LAFORGE: Yeah, but there's only one of you. Do you have a name? A means of identification?
BORG: Third of five.

I can't help but feel that a unimatrix or cube number should be attached to this designation.
Agreed.

Quote:
The Borg have been around long enough to debug themselves to avoid logic loops. Furthermore, this seems like a plan that some other race would've tried a long time ago.
Most things the Federation tries seems like something that someone would have already tried long ago.

Fiver is pretty good.
Quote:
Captain's Log: We are mapping the star systems of the Argolis Cluster, where we have found an abundance of curious asteroids shaped like spheres, cubes and octahedra. I look forward to seeing what other oddities we will discover in the next system on our route.
I'm sure this is a reference . . . ?

Quote:
Data: This is the final design for the paradox virus.
Picard: It looks harmless enough. How does it work?
La Forge: I disguised it as an election-year campaign leaflet. It promises to cut taxes and balance the budget while eliminating the national debt and increasing public spending.

There are some politics jokes that never get old.
Indeed.

Quote:
* Phil also thinks that Borg would be able to escape logic loops.
I think they would be able to recognize a low-importance process and not let it take over their entire processing capabilities. This is really something you spring on the Borg during a battle to slow them down a bit, perhaps, rather than expect them to gum themselves up at leisure.


Quote:
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The captain should know about the immediate family of at least the senior staff.
At the bare minimum, he should know if his First Officer's father is an important ambassador from a core Foundation world, am I right?

"The Next Phase" is a good fiver too, nothing sticks out though.
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Old 05-31-2022, 06:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NAHTMMM View Post
I'm sure this is a reference . . . ?
I think Marc was going for a little dramatic irony. With those particular shapes, the Argolis Cluster was screaming "upcoming Borg" as loud as it was able.
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Old 06-09-2022, 03:02 AM
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June 1st, 1992, "The Inner Light"

Fiver by me

I'm skipping the fiver coverage, given that I already made a dicer thread on it. Here's a link to the actual fiver, feel free to gush about it. My ego can never get enough stroking.

The Episode

Captain's log, stardate 45944.1. Following a magnetic wave survey of the Parvenium Sector, we've detected an object which we cannot immediately identify.

Only mention of the Parvenium Sector. Kataan is actually in the neighboring Silarian Sector, which isn't mentioned elsewhere either. Which is weird given the episode's popularity.

DATA: The probe is composed of paricium and talgonite, a ceramic alloy.

Only mention of either of these, although a ship made out of "crystalline ceramic" appears in "How Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth." I'm dubious as to whether you could make a spaceship out of ceramic materials. Does Kataan even have titanium?

WORF: Sir, I am detecting a low-level nucleonic beam coming from the probe.

Nucleonic beams reappear in "The Cloud." I'm not sure if these could be the same thing.

DATA: The beam is scanning the shield's perimeter. The probe is emitting an unusual particle stream.
WORF: Sir, the beam is penetrating our shields.

How? Penetrating shields shouldn't be this easy. Then again, we're told that blocking telepathic transmissions are impossible.

PICARD: Computer, freeze programme. Computer, end programme.

Why would "end program" work when "freeze program" doesn't?

BATAI: Thank you. This sapling is planted as an affirmation of life in defiance of the drought and with expectations of long life. Whatever comes, we will keep it alive as a symbol of our survival.

I get the symbolism of this, and it makes a nice recurring tableau. Whether these people should be wasting water on this instead of their crops is another question...

BATAI: Eline should've put you in the hospital, but she insisted on caring for you herself.
PICARD: Eline?
BATAI: Your wife. If you don't remember that, maybe it's safer not to go home.

Always a funny line.

PICARD: Kataan. Not a Federation planet.

Various sources say that the Federation has about fifty planets during the TOS era and 150 planets during the TNG era. I'm not sure that even Kirk could memorize 50 planets. Maybe Picard keeps track of all planets around where he is for a particular mission, but this is still silly.

PICARD: Are there other planets in this star system? Do you visit other systems? All right.

Poor Eline, Kamin must be sounding like adults in Peanuts cartoons right now.

PICARD: Do you have a communication system here? How do you send messages to other communities, to other places?
ELINE: The usual way, by voice-transit conductor.

This sounds more like telephone than radio. How can these guys launch interplanetary probes again?

PICARD: And what do I do here in Ressik?
ELINE: You're the best iron weaver in the community. At least I think so.

What's an iron weaver? Does he braid wires into cables? Can these guys make wire so narrow that you can make cloth out of it? Why would you want to wear chainmail on a planet in the middle of a drought?

ELINE: You prefer playing the flute, of course.
PICARD: The flute?
ELINE: Yes.
(she fetches him a penny whistle decorated with a tassel)

Penny whistles, more formally known as tin whistles, were only able to be invented in the 19th century when reliable thin metal sheets became possible. They descend from older "fipple flutes", which are the ancestors of what we now call recorders. Technically a "flute" is played by blowing air across it rather than into it. Flutes will give you twice as many notes as a whistle.

PICARD: And when did I learn to play it?
ELINE: I'm afraid you never did, dear, but you keep trying.

Now that's a wife line. Hehe.

(as she leans forward he sees a pendant on a necklace - it is the same design as probe that the Enterprise encountered)
PICARD: Where did you get this?
ELINE: Kamin, this is the first gift you ever gave me.

So is this just an Easter Egg to remind us of what's really going on, or is this double-finned design a Kataan trademark and the pendant and probe both derive from the same source?

CRUSHER: Pulse and blood pressure are normal I'm getting hyperactive fibrogenic activity. This is odd.

Fibrogenic just means "making fibers". In medicine it usually refers to disorders of the liver or kidneys. I'm sure this is just medicalbabble in this context.

RIKER: Agreed. Stand down phasers, Mister Worf. In the meantime, take us out of range. Ensign. Thrusters only, one hundred kph nice and easy

100 kph? Workbees go 10.8 million kph! Quarter impulse is 67 million kph! Do the thrusters even have a gear for a speed that slow?

ELINE: Was your life there so much better than this? So much more gratifying, so much more fulfilling, that you cling to it with such stubbornness?

I get that Eline doesn't have the right context for this judgement, but this is still troublesome.

ELINE: It must have been extraordinary. But never in all of the stories you've told me have you mentioned anyone who loved you as I do.

There's a whole discussion about how deep into romance Picard has let himself get into, especially after Jack's death, but I'm not interested in writing that particular screed.

ADMINISTRATOR: There you are, Batai. Perhaps you can explain to me, when crops are dying all over, how this tree is flourishing?

Has this guy never come around in the last five years?

BATAI: You've been brooding behind that flute all evening.
PICARD: I'm not brooding. I'm immersed in my music.
BATAI: Music.
PICARD: I find that it helps me think, but the real surprise is I enjoy it so much.
BATAI: No, the real surprise is that you may actually be improving.

I'm reminded of SF Debris' lament that bit characters in the TNG era were never given the same opportunities as TOS bit characters to show personality. There are exceptions like the cast in this episode.

ELINE: Batai?
BATAI: Yes, ma'am.
ELINE: Go home.
BATAI: Yes, ma'am.

Hehe.

CRUSHER: Two cc's delactovine.

Only mention of delactovine. I would've liked a namedrop of cordrazine here.

MERIBOR: Analysing soil samples. There isn't any anaerobic bacteria. The soil is dead.

I learned the difference between aerobic and anaerobic years ago. Aerobic bacteria need air (like we do when we engage in "aerobics"), anaerobic bacteria don't.

As a matter of fact, "anaerobic exercise" does exist. They're motions that make your body break down glucose that's already in your body instead of using new oxygen like aerobics.

PICARD: Seize the time, Meribor. Live now. Make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again.

Always a classic.

LAFORGE: We've charted the alien probe's radiation trail for over one light year.
RIKER: Any way to extrapolate am origin?
LAFORGE: Looks like a star system in the Silarian sector. Kataan.

Let's say that the distance traveled is three light years, if the Enterprise had to extrapolate. A thousand years means 2700 km/s, or a little slower than a workbee.

PICARD: You shouldn't be outside so long. It's damaging, you know that.
MERIBOR: I'm wearing plenty of your skin protector.

Picard knows how to make advanced sunscreen? Does Ressik have manufacturing capability?

ELINE: The rest of us have been gone for a thousand years. If you remember what we were, and how we lived, then we'll have found life again.

(Riker hands him a box and leaves. Inside it is a penny whistle with a tassel. Picard clutches it to his chest for a moment, then plays his Skye Boat song variation on it)

I already made a post of Inner Light covers, I don't need to repeat it.

Memory Alpha

* Originally Picard's experience would start before courting Eline. I agree that it would've taken valuable time away from more important things.
* "The Inner Light" is the name of an obscure Beatles song. It was an injoke by the screenwriter and Beatles fan Morgan Gendel. Upon hearing it I can understand why it's an obscure Beatles song.
* A sequel called "The Outer Light" was written but never filmed. It was eventually turned into a webcomic.
* I remember a Strange New Worlds story where Picard finds a wormhole that leads back to Kataan at a time right after they launch the probe in the first place. He's able to send a message back to the people telling them that their plan worked.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Phil is incredulous that this society could create a spaceworthy probe, much less memory-imprinting technology. The fans say that a society can be advanced in some areas but not others. Phil doesn't buy it. At best he thinks that the Kataanians deliberately created a pastoral, nostalgia-bait version of their culture for the probe.
* How do they know the planet is named Kataan?
* Picard's porch light would render his telescope unusable.
* This time Phil does the stardate conversion. "Time's Arrow" is five days after this episode, how did Picard recover so fast?
* Only twenty minutes have elapsed, and somehow Beverly was able to leave the bridge and change her hair. Oops.
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Last edited by Nate the Great; 06-09-2022 at 05:31 PM.
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  #296  
Old 06-09-2022, 05:55 PM
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So I've read most of "The Outer Light" webcomic, and I have to say that I'm not impressed. I refrain from additional criticism, I'll just say that even the Internet Archive hasn't kept all of the pages of the comic, so you won't even get a complete story.
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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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  #297  
Old 06-11-2022, 11:32 PM
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Oh man, I could really have done without ever knowing that existed. A sequel with that name -- hell, a sequel at all -- is the kind of nonsense I would throw into a TJI.
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  #298  
Old 06-12-2022, 01:38 AM
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If you want a better sequel I recommend the Strange New Worlds story that I mentioned in the main post. It works a lot better. I don't own all of the volumes of SNW, but maybe later I'll check to see if I have that one.
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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 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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  #299  
Old 06-17-2022, 03:05 PM
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I looked through my collection of Strange New Worlds volumes, and I think I made a mistake. Picard doesn't send a message back in time to Kataan, he sends it back to the Progenitors from "The Chase".
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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 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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Old 06-30-2022, 08:21 PM
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June 15th, 1992, "Time's Arrow Part One"

Fiver by Zeke

This episode wasn't discussed in the "Shoulda Been A Two Parter" thread, and it should've. The aliens should've had more development, and the only way they could've is if they ditched the Mark Twain subplot. Which would've been a shame, converting others to the Federation philosophy is always interesting given the different approaches used.

The Episode

SCIENTIST: Here, look inside the watch.
(an engraving - To S.L.C., with love. 30 November, 1889).

I don't know if this was a gift from his wife Olivia, but it's possible. Their anniversary is in February, so I don't know what November 30th could represent. Maybe it's from an old family friend, who knows.

PICARD: Triolic waves?
DATA: The by-product of an energy source employed by very few species because of its deleterious effect on living tissue.

You mean "humanoid lifeforms", right Data? Something tells me that Tholians or the Crystalline Entity or Gomtuu wouldn't be bothered by this stuff.

SCIENTIST: We've confirmed that no one has been in or out of this cavern in centuries.

How?

DATA: Interesting. There is a twelve percent decomposition of the bitanium in the neural pathway links.

Only mention of bitanium. One does wonder if this is completely natural and Data could replace it at intervals, or if this is a byproduct of being turned off for five hundred years and Data could avoid it.

PICARD: Could it be Lore?
DATA: No, sir. My brother's positronic brain has a type L phase discriminating amplifier. Mine is a type R.

Soong pretty clearly said that the only differences between Data and Lore were in their programming. Then again, Data said that his ears can't be removed and when they found Lore his ears weren't attached, but whatever...

DATA: There is no way anyone can prevent it, sir. At some future date, I will be transported back to nineteenth century Earth, where I will die. It has occurred. It will occur.

Why isn't anyone curious about where Data's body is? Surely they could've scanned the entire planet by now!

LAFORGE: Well, I can't tell you exactly who the aliens were, but I have found out a few things. The triolicised rock face tells us we're probably dealing with a species with microcentrum cell membranes. Triolic waves wouldn't harm them. It also might mean they're shape shifters of some kind.
RIKER: So they could have appeared on Earth as humans.

This seems like a bit of a leap. For that matter, why aren't they impersonating wild animals instead of using the plague as a cover?

LAFORGE: Data, this has got to bother you a little.
DATA: On the contrary. I find it rather comforting.
LAFORGE: Comforting?
DATA: I have often wondered about my own mortality as I have seen others around me age. Until now it has been theoretically possible that I would live an unlimited period of time. And although some might find this attractive, to me it only reinforces the fact that I am artificial.

I would argue that "comforting" is an emotion in this context, but moving on. I do like when Data's "emotions" run so counter to that of humans. He may want to emulate humans, but he's a culture of one, a culture that still trying to create a unique identity. And as the Vulcans say, infinite diversity in infinite combinations is a good thing. Surak himself was pleased to see that people are different.

LAFORGE: I never knew how tough this must be for you.
DATA: Tough? As in difficult?
LAFORGE: Knowing that you would outlive all your friends.
DATA: I expected to make new friends.
LAFORGE: True.

This does raise a valid point, what about Data's crewmates before the E-D? He never mentions them. For that matter, all we know of his life between the Academy and the E-D is his service on the Trieste.

GUINAN: That sounded like a very intense discussion.
LAFORGE: Yeah. They found Data's head a mile beneath San Francisco. Been down there about five centuries.

As SF Debris said, this is a bombshell that wasn't given the gravitas that it deserved.

TROI: Have you ever heard Data define friendship?
RIKER: No.
TROI: How did he put it? "As I experience certain sensory input patterns, my mental pathways become accustomed to them. The inputs eventually are anticipated and even missed when absent."
RIKER: So what's the point?
TROI: He's used to us, and we're used to him. It's like finding out someone you love has a terminal illness and--

I like this exchange.

DATA: I am perceiving an apparent change in the way others behave toward me. For example, people abruptly end conversations when I appear, just as you did when the turbolift doors opened. Is that an accurate observation?
RIKER: Not at all.
TROI: (same time) Yes.
RIKER: Yes.
TROI: You're right, Data. And it's not a very nice thing to do.

Why can't the later Trek shows have moments like this?

DATA: Sir, it is standard procedure that the second officer accompany the away team.

I don't like how vague this is. I don't think that any given combination of officers should be "standard procedure", it should be mission-specific.

This also butts against something that's irked me for decades. Why is Data called the operations officer when he acts like a science officer most of the time? Having a science officer in the standard away team seems much more logical than referring to a position in the chain of command.

Does Data just not look good in blue, or is the yellow uniform supposed to complement his makeup in making him look more alien?

DATA: Captain, there is no rational justification for this course.
PICARD: Then I'll be irrational.

Great moment. Whoever said the human race was logical?

DATA: I appreciate your concern, Captain, but, to employ an aphorism, one cannot cheat fate.
PICARD: Cheat fate? Perhaps we can't, Mister Data. But at least we can give it a try.

"It does not matter that we will never reach our ultimate goal. The effort yields its own rewards."

LAFORGE: Well, whatever or whoever is there, we're out of phase with it, but we're only talking by a fraction of a second.
WORF: A fraction of a second would make them invisible?
LAFORGE: A millisecond, a year, it wouldn't make any difference. If what we're reading is true, then we're occupying the same space but in a different time.

This is one bit of technobabble that never made sense. Usage of a hyperspace dimension would be more logical. If these guys normally exist in the higher dimensions they would be able to choose how they're perceived in the lower ones. Their form of shapeshifting would be more complicated than that of Changelings or salt vampires or Garth of Izar or whatever.

DATA: My voice will be transmitted on a delay correlated to the phase adjustment. That should allow me to maintain verbal contact.

Yeah, this is nonsense.

DATA: Another lifeform. An ophidian. It seems to be restricted by a forcefield.

Ophidia is the common ancestor of all modern snakes. I think the screenwriter just wanted to sound fancy.

(Data finds a discarded copy of the San Francisco Register, Sunday August 13, 1893, proclaiming a cholera outbreak)

SF Debris thinks that cholera was a late change from the original tuberculosis.

BEGGAR: I'll take a dime.

Why am I so obsessed with doing inflation calculations? Ten cents in 1893 is three bucks today.

DATA: Sir, I need temporary lodging.
BELLBOY: Looks like the missus booted you out in the middle of the night.
DATA: I understand the source of your misperception.

I get the common joke that these guys are running around in pajamas, I just don't find it particularly funny.

DATA: I am a Frenchman.

Why French? I get that the creators wouldn't want to resort to Yellow Peril-style prejudices, but there has to be another nationality that Data resembles more than French.

GAMBLER: Ah. Mes parents sont originaires de Bourgonais. Je suis ne a la New Orleans.
DATA: Alors, nous sommes presque frères. Je suis heureux de vous connaitre.

"Ah. My parents are from Bourgon. I was born in New Orleans."
"So we are almost brothers. I am happy to meet you."

Bourgon is in northwest France, nowhere near where Picard grew up.

GAMBLER: Family heirloom?
DATA: In a manner of speaking. It is a crystalline composite of silicon, beryllium, Carbon seventy, and
SEAMAN: Gold.
DATA: Gold.
GAMBLER: I'll give you three bucks for it.
DATA: I accept.

Carbon-70 is a fullerine, a spherical molecule similar to a buckyball (Carbon-60). C70 was discovered in 1985. If you put alkali metals in the holes of the larger rings you get a conductor, which I assume is the purpose of including it in a commbadge.

Three dollars in 1893 is a hundred bucks today. At today's gold prices that's two grams of gold. So yeah, Dukat here is totally ripping Data off.
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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 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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