Saturday, September 21, 2013

Best in Lessons on Human Intuition (and metaphors) from "The Defector"

Data gets a lesson from Geordi about human intuition when it comes to figuring out the facts and filling in the gaps. He also learns the meaning of "being caught with their pants down."

Monday, September 9, 2013

TNG Returning Adversaries Part 3


Encounter at Farpoint
 Hide and Q
 Deja Q 
 True Q 
All Good Things

This troublesome pest has made the most appearances of any other adversary and is a mixture of malevolence, indifference, genius, humor, and inconsideration, the latter he brings in abundance being he always shows up uninvited and outstays his welcome. 

The Enterprise encounters him first on their first mission to Farpoint.  He inconveniences the crew by disrupting their mission and putting members of the crew on trial for the crimes of humanity in a showy staged courtroom play containing cheering rabel.   

The Q, AKA The Q Continuum, is a collection of highly advanced beings that appear to be omnipotent and possess the power to manipulate space, time, and matter. This member is rogue and enjoys tormenting creatures of less strength and power. This gets him in trouble with the Q council and he gets banished from the continuum. He seeks refuge on The Enterprise as a full humanoid with no special powers except his intelligence and  ability to annoy the hell out of people.   

He has both caused the Enterprise grief and saved them from destruction. In "Q-Who," he shows them what lies ahead, a race of beings whose only goal is to consume and destroy. Angered that the captain refuses his offer to become a member of the crew as a guide to the universe, he sends the ship hurling into the Delta quadrant. Here, we are introduced to the Borg, who become the most dangerous threat the Federation has ever seen. After undergoing excessive damage to their ship and the loss of over a dozen crew members, Q brings the ship back to their own space out of harms way. Q tells Picard that what's out in space is wondrous, but not for the timid. Picard realizes what Q actually did was "give us a kick in our complacency."

Q's most important encounter with the crew is in the series finale where he helps Picard save humanity by undoing research Picard does in the future on an anomaly in space that creates a time distortion that reverses linear time.

He has fun for his own pleasure as well, sending the senior staff into Sherwood Forest to rescue a love interest of Picard's. Each crew member plays a role in the famous story about Robin Hood, with Picard playing the lead role. In "Hide & Q," he plays a game of cat and mouse with the crew using "vicious animal things" and reenacting a civil war with Q as a Napoleon type figure.


The Romulans

This warrior race was first introduced in the original series. Mark Lenard, noted for playing Spock's dad, appeared first as a Romulan warrior in "Balance of Terror." Since then, the Romulans have been a staple to the Star Trek franchise.

Not all Romulans are conquerors, some in fact preferring to avoid war, especially unnecessary and costly ones. In "The Defector," a Romulan ambassador tires to stop a plan of conquest and is betrayed by Commander Tomalak. In "Face of the Enemy," a Romulan soldiers is helping transport resistance fighters to Federation space. And Spock makes an appearance in "Unification," as a goodwill ambassador working with an underground movement on Romulus.

                                                                 The Cardassians

Another war like race, the Cardassians major nemesis are the Bajorans. Each side is secretly building up an arsenal. The Federation is trying to maintain peaceful relations with them while keeping a close eye out for their transport ships and colonizations. In "Chain of Command," Captain Picard gets kidnapped and tortured by a Cardassian guard. Picard is used as a bargaining chip to stop the Federation from investigating new biological weapons. The Cardassians are forced to back down when Captain Jellico sets up explosive beacons across their path to stop them from attacking a colony.

                                                                       The Ferengi

Not the brightest bunch, the Ferengi's main philosophy is profit. They are the prime example of vulture capitalists. They are a mixture of stunted intellectualism, greed, misogyny, and general annoyance. In "The Perfect Mate," a few renegade Ferengi's try to steal the bride to be of an ambassador after their offer to buy her from her guardian for a bag of precious metals fails. In "Rascals," another rogue band tries and fails to take over the Enterprise and use it's crew and family members as slave labor to mine for gems.

                                                                        The Borg

Introduced to the Federation by Q, this race are a mixture
of biological and artificial mechanical parts. Q called them the
ultimate consumers. They aren't interested in forming
relationships or exchanging ideas. They are only interested in the collection of other species technology
and their bodies for assimilation into their collective. They are the biggest threat the Federation has faced. In "Descent," we see what can happen to them when one Borg becomes individualized and reintroduced into the collective. That is their weakness. They are one collective mind. Conjoined minds thinking individually causes them confusion and chaos. When Lore took lost Borg under his leadership, his main objective was to rid the universe of biological humanoids and experimented on Borg to find ways to turn them into entire mechanical beings like him. Lore was defeated and the colony got a new leader---Hugh.
The remaining Borg collective who weren't affected by the virus of individualization were ultimately defeated in "Star Trek: First Contact" when their queen was destroyed.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

TNG Returning Adversaries Part 2

                                                       Commander Tomalak

                                                             The Enemy
                                                             The Defector
                                                             Future Imperfect
                                                            All Good Things

 Commander Tomalak is a Romulan with an air for deception. As a Romulan, he is trained to be suspicious of The Federation and goes out of his way to be secretive. In "The Enemy," he pretends he knows nothing about another fallen Romulan comrade left on the planet's surface, all the while the Romulan soldier is forming a bond with Geordi after Geordi is left on the planet surface as well due to a storm that disrupts communications and transporters. Tomalak and Picard go in a faceoff where The Enterprise must lower it's shields to beam up the missing men. Tomalak shows himself to be a fairly trustworthy opponent when he doesn't take that opportunity to fire phasers on the Enterprise.

In "The Defector," it is learned that Tomalak aided in feeding false information to a Romulan who they suspected of trying to stop the empire from engaging in a war that would be costly and one in which the empire would be sure to lose. The Romulan is actually an ambassador who defected on The Enterprise and ends up committing suicide after he learns about Tomalak's deception when the Enterprise is lured into the neutral zone and fired upon by one of Tomalak's ships.

Tomalak and Picard end up joining forces in investigating an anomaly at the Neutral Zone when Tomalak learns it isn't a command from Starfleet in the final episode of the series.


                                                         Episodes: I, Borg & Descent

Hugh began as any other member of the Borg collective, as a thoughtless automaton doing what the hive wanted--to assimilate other species for the purposes of becoming one big species with a mixture of biological and technological parts. Even after the crew give a weakened Borg, looking for an outlet on the walls in which to plug into his hive and be fed energy food, what he needed to survive, he thanks them by reminding them they will all be assimilated and that resistance is futile. When the crew decides to study him for research purposes, they manage to get him into thinking as an individual. Geordi give him the new name Hugh when telling the Borg "you" can pick any name "you" want. Since "you" sounds close to "Hugh," the name was given. "We are Hugh" says the Borg, still struggling with the concept of you rather than we. He is then sent back to his collective at the crash site where the crew discovered him. 

More than a year later, the hive in which Hugh was sent back, goes to pieces. They can't tell their asses from their elbows because each individual Borg is waking to a new conscience of telling all the other hive members to take a hike and/or do things his/her way. Data's evil twin Lore has found a new purpose for his existence; become lord and guardian to these hapless miscreants by telling them what to do and convincing them that those horrible humans that are jealous of him need to be destroyed because they are inferior. Only artificial life forms are worthy of existence. When the Enterprise crew goes looking for a missing Data they discover Hugh. He was one of the Borg that Lore found and tried to control. Hugh, being too smart for that and not wanting to become one of Lore's pet project experiments, escapes to the underground with other Borg not ready for prime time. Hugh is left in charge of the Borg colony when Lore gets captured and turned off by his twin Data, who nearly turned members of his own starship crew into brainless automatons because of Lore's influence.. 


 Lore is discovered in a hidden laboratory behind a rock face and disassembled on Omicron Theta, a planet abandoned and turned to barren rock after all life on it, including the colonists, was devoured by the Crystalline Entity. The android is reassembled on The Enterprise, with his twin Data looking on. That was the ship's first mistake, taking this android on board. They soon learn that he's got more than a few wires crossed and screws loose. He contacts the giant snowflake, telling it he's got some food for it after knocking his twin unconscious and taking his identity. Data is wakened up by an observant and astute Wesley Crusher and his doctor mom and manage to get the evil android off the ship before he does more damage--like feeding the entire Enterprise crew to the entity.

They encounter Lore again on a planet where his and Data's creator has been living since the colony on Omicron Theta was destroyed. Seems Dr. Soong had an escape plan before the thing got there. Soong has activated a homing device in Data's brain and it causes the commander to go on automatic pilot and single-handily send the ship there during a crisis (a subplot complication). After Data is awakened by Soong, they talk living among humans, purpose, and that sort of thing. Then walks in party crasher Lore, who was inadvertently sent there by the same homing device. Soong is surprised to see that Lore had been reactivated, but refuses to heed Data's warning not to awaken him. That was his fatal mistake. Lore sends the tired, sick old man hurling across the room after putting Data to sleep and then escapes with an emotion chip embedded in his circuitry that was intended for Data.

In "Descent," we meet Lore as the guardian and master over the reject Borg colonists. He's influencing Data through a transmitter which makes the commander experience sensations of pain and pleasure while it overrids his ethics programing. He gets Data to perform experiments on Geordi's brain by inserting artificial implants meant to replace his natural neurotransmitters. Picard and Troi, being held prisoner, create a low frequency pulse that disrupts Data's programming by Lore, causing him to rejoin with the rest of the Enterprise crew. They get rescued by Worf and Riker with the help of Hugh. Lore is deactivated by Data after getting a phaser blast that renders him immobilized.

most of the gifs are from StarTrekGifs @
the first one and last two come from yours truly

TNG Returning Adversaries Part 1

                                                                           The Duras                    Family             
          Sins of the Father

The creepy Duras family are a pack of low life schemers with ambition to take over the Klingon Empire. Duras, son of Ja'rod, slowly poisoned to death the head of the Klingon council and sabotaged the Rites of Succession challenge in hopes of killing his rival Gowron. Duras seals his fate when he kills Ambassador K'Ehleyr when he learns she has been poking around to gather information about him and his treasonous family.  Worf challenges him to a battle of vengeance and kills him with the batlith.

Duras' sisters, Lursa and B'Etor, attempt to overthrow Gowron by stating Duras had a son and is and should be the rightful heir to the council. They scheme with the Romulans by kidnapping Worf and try to seduce him. When he refuses their advances and proposal of marriage in exchange for privilege, they hand him over to Romulan guards. The Federation is able to outmaneuver them and Gowron keeps his position. But that doesn't stop the sisters, who later scheme with Soren in "Generations" and meet their fate.
                                                                 Diamon Bok

                                                 Episodes: The Battle & Bloodlines

This little weasel accused Jean-Luc Picard of murdering his son when Picard was captain of The Stargazer. Apparently, Picard's ship fell under attack from a Ferengi vessel in which Bok's son commanded. The crew defended themselves, but that's not how Bok sees it. He hatches a scheme to get back at Picard by using a mind controlling device that not only renders Picard practically useless as captain of The Enterprise because of severe migraines, but has him think he's back on The Stargazer. Picard tries to relive his experience on the salvaged ship and almost destroys The Enterprise in the process using his famous Picard maneuver. Commander Riker is ready for it  Picard is outmaneuvered.  Bok's scheme is ruined and he's relieved of his command by his comrades.
Bok tries once more to get his revenge, this time using Picard's son as the target. It's revealed that Picard had a love affair with a woman Miranda Vigo and has a son named Jason. The plot is botched when it's learned the "son" had his DNA altered. to make him appear to be Picard's son. The young man is saved in the nick of time. Bok's co-conspirators hand him over when they learn there was no profit to be made.

Commander Remmick

Episodes: Coming of Age & Conspiracy

Commander Remmick merely starts off as just a pain in the ass to the Enterprise crew in "Coming of Age." He was ordered by Ambassador Quinn to interrogate the senior staff regarding a possible conspiracy to undermine the Federation.  The crew comes to dislike Remmick and his accusations. However, Remmick, having found nothing suspicious, tells Picard he found a sense of family and comradery and would like to serve on his ship one day.
Fast forward several months and we find Remmick on Earth with Ambassador Quinn and several other high ranking Starfleet officials at Starfleet headquarters. Only this time, there really is a conspiracy and Remmick is the host of an intelligent life form that must use human carriers for transport and colonization. They are slowly using Starfleet officers to carry out this colonization plan and Dr. Crusher is the next target. Commander Riker infiltrates the group by faking a bonding with one of the aliens by having a breathing tail surgically implanted behind the base of his neck. He and Picard, spared in the nick of time from being forced to eat a bowl of live larva,  use phasers to eliminate the aliens from the host bodies. Remmick is destroyed in the most gruesome fashion seen in the series.

The Crystalline Entity

Episodes: Datalore & Silicon Avatar

This "giant snowflake" is hungry. It eats any living thing on any planet. Anything in it's path that moves and has cells is food. We are introduced to it by Data's evil twin Lore first. Lore hatches a plan to have a tree beamed out to it in space for it to eat. That way it can attack the ship and eat the crew when the shields were down. Lucky for the tree, it's Lore that gets his ass kicked out into space. The Crystalline giant moves on to seek other food. 
A few years later it shows up to suck up a newly formed colony and taking a few inhabitants with it who weren't lucky enough to get to shelter in time. It's eventually destroyed by a vengeful scientist who kills it with a frequency pulse when the rest of the science crew were on the verge of communicating with it.

Professor Moriarty

Episodes: Elementary, Dear Data & Ship in a Bottle

The Professor is the creation, not only of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but the holodeck. Commander's Data and LeForge decide to do a little roleplaying on the holodeck. However, having read all of Doyle's novels,  Data solves the mystery in 5 minutes and Geordi refuses to play anymore. So, he, Data, and Dr. Polaskie decide to give Data a real challenge. Geordi asks the computer to create "an opponent capable of defeating Data." Fortunately, this Moriarty wasn't capable of defeating the diplomacy of Captain Picard, who convinces the computer generated sociopath to give back control of the ship to him in exchange for a time when their species has the knowledge and technology to give the professor new life outside the confides of the holodeck.
A few years later, Lt. Barclay meets the professor while doing routine maintenance on the ship's holodecks. The professor tricks him and Captain Picard into thinking he's real enough to journey about the ship and interact with it's inhabitants by creating a simulation in the holodeck. The men discover Moriarty's trick and turn the tables. They allow Moriarty to believe he's actually become a new life form. The professor travels outside the confines of the ship and into his own shuttlecraft with the computer generated love of his life. The whole time, he's in his own computer generated program that's being left to continue running---at least until the ship is dismantled, recommissioned, or destroyed. We never learn about the professor's fate after this episode.