Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Last Outpost TNG

In the fifth episode of Star Treks TNG, "the last outpost," the crew of USS Enterprise NCC 1701-D chases after a Ferengi marauder which has looted a T-9 Energy converter from a federation Outpost on Gamma Tauri IV. Captain Picard's mission establishes contact with Ferengi outlaws in orbit of a desserted planet which once thrived as a powerful space federation before its star went supernova. An electromagnetic power surge fires upon the Enterprise so Picard decides to fallback. Curiously both ships are seized by a powerful energy forcefield which drains their power systems and lifesupport paralysing them in the Delphi Ardu star system. The Ferengi's impressive spaceship design makes them appear technologically savvy to the Federation but all is not what it seems. Is it possible the Ferengi have immobilized the Starfleet's flagship with a vastly powerful weapon?

Image Owner/creator: Paramount Pictures and/or CBS Studios.

Worf " I say fight sir, theres nothing shameful falling before a superior enemy."
Picard "And nothing shameful in a strategic retreat either."

This episode is loaded with heroic metaphors. Riker "He will triumph who knows when to fight and when not to fight." Sun Tzu. Geordi Laforge shines briefly in Main Engineering as Chief Engineer when he rolls out a proficient plan which should have broken the Enterprise free from the forcefield trap at high warp. Fortunately, Deannas Betazoid instincts saves the day when she redirects everyones attention away from the Ferengi ship focusing instead on the Tkon planet. But time is running out and with the powerdrain constantly sapping the Enterprise's warp engines, Worf and Yar suggest going out in a blaze of glory.

Captain Picard nearly surrenders the USS Enterprise-D until Daimon Taar contacts him asking to be spared offering the lives of his first officers in return. A plan is eventually hatched when the Enterprise teams up with the Ferengi "traders" who value commerce above all else. The first Ferengi is played by Armin Shimerman who also plays a regular character, Quark, in Deep Space Nine. Away teams beams down to investigate the planet amidst the remains of a seemingly lifeless outpost some 600,000 years old.

Data reports tricorders are useless and dead communicator contact with the Enterprise means they're on their own. Fortunately a sleeping portal reawakens just in the nick of time materializing after the Ferengi surprise attack on the Enterprise away team. Portal is disappointed with the Ferengi's closed and warlike wisecracks accusing the "human criminals" of treachery and deceit. "and they shamelessly clothe their females...... inviting others to unclothe them, the very depth of perversion!!" Tasha Yar fends off Mardocks advances as he closes in on her. "Paws off Ferengi!"

Image Owner/creator: Paramount Pictures and/or CBS Studios.

"Speak Barbarians Speak, who makes the Challenge? who will it be?" Portal63 transforms himself into a humanoid biped and challenges Riker to enter the Tkon Empire. Riker passes Portals test of courage by conquering his fear in the face of certain death with complete composure. Riker "Fear is the true enemy, the only enemy." Sun Tzu. The guardian of the Tkon empire is satisfied Riker has met his challenge with civilized common sense and releases their starships with full power restored to the engines. Something to write home about eh, trekkies?
Live Long and prosper!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Code of Honor TNG

The USS Enterprise NCC 1701-D is on a mission to acquire a miracle vaccine needed to combat the deadly Anchilles Fever ravaging planet Styris IV. The crew enter Ligon II's orbit and finally get to meet its proud leader, Lutan who beams aboard with his delegates. Tasha Yar floors Lutan's right hand man, Hagon when he ignores the Chief of Security inspection procedures. I like how Yar easily disarms Lutan's secondary snatching the sample medicine out of his hands before the guy even gets near Picard. This makes a distinct impression on the Ligonian leader who has been watching "the strange aliens things" very closely. The captain arranges some friendly entertainment for the Enterprise's guests and presents Lutan with a 13th century horse from China's Song Dinasty which hopefully was replicated.

owner/Creator: Paramount Pictures and/or CBS Studios.

"We of Ligon have been apprehensive about strangers. We're not as technologically advanced as you but we possess something you do not. A vaccine which has been found to be an effective antidote to your Anchilles fever. If you respect our custom and we see that respect, we will be friends and we'll make the antidote available to all who need it." A round of applause follows but its interesting to note how unconvinced Deanna Troy is by Lutans grand speech. This is when the councillor should have chimed in with "he's hiding something" but she mysteriously opted to stay quiet instead! Why? In a surprising move, Lutan's springs into action and deliberately kidnaps the Chief of Security from the Enterprise flagship.

Captain Picard's startled crew need to act fast in order to guarantee mission success but instead are paralysed with shock. Tasha has vanished to the surface without a trace. Picard faces a tough test but is weirded out by Lutans beserk behaviour and fires stupidly at the planet... A review of Ligonian tradition reveals Lutan has acted honourably but all is not what it seems. Heroism, tradition and strict codes of honor similar to Native American "counting coup" need to be observed if Picard is to obtain the vaccine, who beams down to the planet.

Image owner/Creator: Paramount Pictures and/or CBS Studios.

Tasha Yar reluctantly fights a death duel with Yareena, Lutan's wealthy wife for her position as "First One." In a greedy plot to swipe his wifes lands, Lutan declares he cannot part with Yar and pits the two women against each other with deadly hand spikes. The battle for power begins. Glee is written all over Lutans face who is secretly rooting for Yar. "The rules are known. Let combat continue until there is victory. It will not be interrupted." Fortunately for Yar, Yareena's weapon flys off her left hand striking a ligonian guard in the belly killing him.

Honor is eventually restored when Tasha strikes Yareena with a calculated killer blow poisoning her. Lutan in delighted and agrees to allow the transfer of the vaccine to the Enterprise. In a surprise maneuver, the Enterprise beams up Yareena, right at the point when she dies giving the Chief Medical Officer, Beverly Crusher, a chance to save Lutan's First One. Lutan is furious. Ligonian law dissolves their mating agreement instantaneously at the time of death. Yareena returns to life ruining Lutan's greedy plans. She ejects him from power and makes Lutan's right hand man Hagon her "First One" and leader of Ligon II with control over all her wealth and land.

Code of Honor is the fourth episode of Star Trek The next Generation written by Katharyn Powers and Michael Baron directed by Russ Mayberry.

Live long and prosper, trekkers.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Scotty's Laws of Physics

1. Call me Scotty. I may be captain by rank... but I never wanted to be anything else but an engineer.
2. Never let Mr Spock know exactly what your thinking... Vulcans are greedy for knowledge and want to read your mind.
3. Don't react when Klingons call Captain James T. Kirk a tin plated over bearing, swaggering dictator with delusions of Godhood. Keep your cool, sit down and finish your drink. Its simply not worth fighting about.
4. Don't be fooled by Shapeshifters. When in doubt speak in code and defeat your enemies with puzzles they cannot answer.
5. "Starship captains are like children. They want everything right now and they want it their way. The secret is to give them what they need, not what they want.
6. A fused dilithium crystal converter defies the laws of physics when trying to repel Klingon warships. The warp engines will not restore power to the phasers and shields without additional dilithium. Fortunately raw crystal necklaces are just as powerful as the Dohlman of Elas's tears.
7. Never make fun of Scotty's Excelsior, insult something he cares about instead like the Enterprise.
8. Never confuse the emergency bypass control valve for the matter/antimatter reaction chamber with emergency transporter bypass circuits.
9. No woman has been known to win Scotty away from his beloved ships. Lt Carolyn Palamas, a pretty young officer serving in the Enterprise's Archeology and Anthropology department came close but the Greek God Apollo stole her affections.
10. Always stand up to Klingons who insult the USS Enterprise NCC 1701. Shes not a Garbage Scow and will never be hauled away as garbage. We're big enough to take a few insults but the Enterprise is a matter of pride worth defending. Stick to your phasers on this!
11. Picard's Aldebaran whisky packs quite a punch. The 24th century has synthetic commanders and synthetic scotch. Scotty is not impressed. In Relics, Data offers Scotty a real drink. Strong and alcoholic, Dr. Leonard H. McCoy would approve. A bottle of the green stuff will help solve complex engineering problems every time.
12. Mr Scott has said "You 'cannae beat the finest scotch in all the Galaxy." Montgomery's scotch whiskey.

13. Prewarp cultures are the forbidden fruit in the Universe. The Prime Directive forbids interference with their development. Contact with the natives is forbidden except for Captain Kirk....of course!
14. Never tell the captain how long it really takes to run a diagnostic or fix the dilithium crystal converter if you value your reputation as a miracle worker.
15. Wise up on the latest Engineering technologies in your Starfleet Technical Manual and forget about shoreleave unless ordered by the Captain.
16. A good engineer will always understate how much pressure a starship engine can take in his engineering log.
17. "Condition Green" is covert Starfleet code telling you that Captain Kirk is in trouble with the natives again.
18. Make sure to thank your Captain when ordered "Confined to quarters until further notice." This is a rewarding experience just for you. Hes giving you a chance to read up on your technical journals.
19. When the ship is in danger of blowing up, ignore Scotty's design specifications including the pressure variances in regulation 42/15. Mr Scott wrote it. "A good engineer is always conservative on paper."
20. Be prepared to brave the unknown and take risks with minutes to spare. A good engineer is capable of bypassing errant computers and jury-rigging malfunctioning warpdrives which will place you in peril close to high voltage currents, odd power surges, radiation, coolant leaks, exploding consoles and warpcore breaches.
21. A master engineer can tell how fast a starship is travelling by the feel of the deck plates.
22. Its the Chief Engineers job to know his starships engines inside out, so use your wits to chill the Captain and save the Enterprise in your own sweet time.
23. Deep down everyone knows Scotty.

Live Long and Prosper, trekkies and trekkers..

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Time travel concepts

In H.G. Wells Time Machine, the time traveller shares his wondrous and terrifying voyages which interprets the nature of time in worlds the traveller visits. He projects himself far into a future where man has evolved into two distinct species rooted in time proving that the space time continuum is fixed and can't be changed. Looking at this phenomenon, time travel can be achieved in so many different ways.

1. The Time Machine was introduced in 1895.
2. The Guardian of Forever was a sentient arch pulsating with power that created a new beginning for entire civilisations just by stepping through its time portal.
3. A slingshot around the sun did the trick in Star Trek IV.
4. Suspended animation is another way for the time traveller to visit the future. He awakens from his deep freeze cryogenic sleep and experiences the culture shock.
5. Back to the Future features Marty McFy going back through time in his beefed up DeLorean time-machine in 1985.

What is your favorite time travel theory? H.G. Wells Time Machine, where the constant flow of history is fixed in time or Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek universe where time travel can radically alter the evolution of the timeline?

Live Long and Prosper, Time travellers.

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