Star Trek

Star Trek

Monday, March 27, 2017

ST:TNG Season Two, Episode Eleven "Contagion"

ST:TNG Season Two, Episode Eleven "Contagion"
Production Order: 37
Air Order: 37
Stardate: 42609.1
Original Air Date: March 20, 1989

Okay, sorry I skipped a week. Roomie has been using her laptop to game, so I tried to write this post on a dumbphone. Things I found out doing that:
- It is possible, but only just. I still haven't been able to take screenshots with it, and I don't know if there are ways to edit those shots. I also haven't figured out how to watch in one tab and type it up in another, so it requires two screens.
- IT SUCKS ASS. And not even regular ass, either. Goblin King ass.


- Predictive text kept trying to change things I typed, so if there's a weird word that doesn't fit the context, it means my copy-editing missed it, and I apologize.

*******




Picard's Log 42609.1: "So our sister ship, the USS Yamato, is having some serious problems. The captain, my friend Donald Varley, asked me to come help them out, because AAA doesn't exist in this century. Here's the shitty part: they're sitting in The Neutral Zone. So we gotta jet in there, fix the problem, and then leave before the Romulans catch us."

Picard moves from his ready room to the bridge, where Wes says that they've almost hit the rendezvous point, and Data says they are downloading the Yamato's logs now. Riker says there was a weird reading that he's mildly concerned about, but it might have to do with the acquisition of the Yamato logs.
This scene feels different. I think whoever was filming was doing so with a hand-held camera, rather than one on a boom. The camera is getting closer to the actors than it has been previously, and it feels mildly claustrophobic. Clearly, they were looking to set people slightly on edge here.
They catch up with the Yamato and put the Captain Varley on the viewscreen.
Picard goofy moment (not so much sassy, as just... dad joke): "Donald, what's a nice Starfleet captain like you doing in a place like this?"
"I'm glad to see you, despite your antique humor," pans Varley.



The lights go out and come on on Varley's end, and he talks soberly of malfunctions, including one where the computer shut down a force field in a shuttle bay and an entire Engineering team died. He makes an off-hand comment that implies that there's a design flaw in the galaxy-class starships, and Picard is somewhat alarmed because, hello? He is also in a galaxy-class starship. Varley shrugs it off.
"Do you want to start evacuating your ship?" asks Riker.
"Naw. we're good," replies Varley.
"Okay, level with us," says Picard. "Why the fuck are you in the NZ?"
"This will probably sound dumb," Varley says, "but you know the Iconians? I got some maybe-proof that they existed. Stuff from archaeological digs and shit. And I came into the NZ to find out if it was true. Found a dead planet and some technology, we don't want the Roms to find it first."
"Seriously?" asks Picard, curiosity piqued.
But then Varley's viewscreen starts breaking down, and they try to raise him through the static.
"Whoa, hey," interrupts Worf. "They're having some problems with their warp engines. Like, breaking down problems."
Or, you know, blowing up problems.





"Um, no life signs," reports Data.
"Also...Romulan ship approaching," adds Worf.

Well, shit.

Dramatic music! Opening credits break!

Heeeeeyyy, sexy model! Op, op, op, op, op, Oppa Warbird Style!


Picard's Log, supplemental: "Just watched a thousand people die, but because we've got Romulans on our ass, we have no time to think about it."

The Romulan ship de-cloaks and arms their weapons.
"Did they attack the Yamato?" asks Picard.
"Dunno," replies Data, checking his scans.
Picard hails the Roms. "Hey, this is Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Federation ship Enterprise. Why the fuck are you in the Neural Zone?"
The Roms open their channel. "Captain Picard," says the female commander. She does not introduce herself at all, or explain her presence. "Why the fuck are you in the Neutral Zone?"



"Did you destroy the Yamato?" he asks.
"No," she answers. "But if we were gonna start shooting up Federation starships, we would have done yours, too."
God, always a pissing contest with this lot. They never miss an opportunity to tell you how big their dicks are.
"GTFO," she finishes.
Picard has Worf mute the transmission, and he asks his crew what they think.
"She's on edge," says Troi.
"Well, yeah," replies Worf. "She just blew up a Starfleet vessel."
"Naw, you don't know that," points out Riker.
Picard turns the sound back on.
"Yeah, we'll leave after we figure out what happened to the Yamato," he tells the commander.
Then he hangs up on her like a boss.
The Rom ship cloaks again.
"Good," said Riker. "They can't use weapons when they're cloaked."
"That we know of," snaps Worf. "Maybe they figured out how. They were cloaked when the Yamato blew up, you know."
Riker looks like he wants to argue, but Picard cuts him off.
"Knock it off. We're gonna have a staff meeting in an hour, and you need to have some actual answers, not just your own headcanons, got it?"



At the meeting, Geordi explains that the Yamato's explosion was caused by a freak accident in the matter/antimatter containment units. Picard is surprised, because that sort of thing shouldn't be possible. Geordi tells him exactly how it happened, and also wonders, like Varley, if there isn't a design flaw in the ship.
"Holy shit, check it out," insists Picard.
They all get up to leave, except for Troi, who stays put.
"Um, now that we know what happened, shouldn't we leave the NZ?" She had wanted to leave before, and is worried that the Romulan commander could use this as an excuse to start some shit.
"No way," says Picard. "If there's a design flaw in this ship, we need to stay put and fix it before we blow up, too."



Later, Picard is in his ready room, super frustrated, and decides to look at Varley's personal logs, specifying anything that has to do with the Iconians, the Romulans, or both.
Varley's logs play. They're disjointed, but give a basic picture: dude has archaeologist friends, and one of them gave him a piece of what could be Iconian tech. None of his engineers knows what the hell it is. Based on where the object was found, he added in millennia of stellar drift, and figured out that mythical Iconia may have been on some planet in the Neutral Zone, near Romulan space. So he goes there. His Number One thinks it's a crappy idea, but he's certain if he doesn't get there first, that the Roms will find weapons and use them to destroy the Federation. The Roms that Picard has been talking to showed up and they played hide and seek for a while, but he's pretty sure he gave them the slip, and heads off on his hunt again. Once they arrive, they're scanned by some probe, but again, can't figure out the tech. That's when the ship malfunctions set in.



Picard gets up to leave the ready room, and he almost bashes his face in on the door when it doesn't open for him. It takes a moment before opening, then he enters the bridge and asks Data at the science station about the probe that Varley described.
"Yeah, I got it," says Data, and they put on the viewscreen the video footage of the probe scanning the Yamato, from the ships POV.
"That's fucked up," says Riker.



Picard calls Geordi.
"We're good," Geordi relays. "No design flaws found so far."
"Where was the Yamato when it was scanned?" Picard asks Data.
"Orbiting a planet in the NZ near Romulan space," Data answers.
"Let's go there," Picard announces. "We'll pick up the Yamato's mission."
Wait. Hold up. How do we know that this was the Yamato's mission? Did Starfleet approve Varley going deep in the NZ on a hunch? Cuz that sounds like crap. Also, why is the E just allowed to go there now? Shouldn't they have to check in with Starfleet?
"Hey, headquarters. Gonna go investigate this thing in the NZ, okay?"
Seems like Starfleet would tell both Varley and Picard not to touch that planet with a thirty-nine-and-a-half-foot-pole. But here's the thing: they have to keep sending back reports to Starfleet. Was Varley banking on the time lag between his position and Earth, to be able to gallivant however he likes way out in space? Was he just going with the "better to beg forgiveness than ask permission" stance? Is Picard going with that as well? How much freedom to they have to just "check stuff out"?
To put it into perspective, Riker points out that going this close to Romulan space could start a war.
Yeah... they're just dicking around out in space.
"Maybe we're preventing war," Picard suggests.

Dramatic music! Commercial break!



Picard is back in the ready room, doing what appears to be paperwork, when Wes enters.
"Can I ask you about the Iconians? Like, I thought they were a myth?"
"Yeah, lots of things were supposed to be myths until their existence was proven," Picard replies. "In this case, we had three planets with very similar cultures in one system, and it seemed like they were close enough to share a root."
"Did the Iconians colonize those planets?" asks Wes.
"More likely conquered," Picard admits. "Records talk about "demons of air and darkness." Supposedly, they could travel without ships, so they just showed up on planets without warning, and took over the place." Then he switches things up. "But you didn't come here to talk about the Iconians."
"Naw," says Wes, sadly. "I'm kind of messed up. About the Yamato. Like, a thousand people just died, and you guys all handled it like pros."
"Ah." Picard gets up and goes to the replicator. "Yeah, we "handled it" because we're trained to. But that doesn't mean that we have zero fucks to give. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot," he says aside to the replicator.
He starts to talk more about caring but not letting it get to you when you have a job to do, but he is interrupted when the replicator gives him a potted plant instead of his tea.
"What in gay hell?" he demands.




Picard's Log, supplemental: "Well, fuck me. You know how the Yamato was falling apart and malfunctioning? That's us too, now."

Picard calls Geordi in Engineering.
"Okay, so it's not a design flaw," Geordi relays. "I think that probe fucked up all the shit. I need to look at it, and some time to think."
"Yeah, cuz we have time," replies Picard.



So they roll up on the planet, and it looks like the least-happenin' place in the universe.
Data reports zero life forms, and Worf says the place was trashed 200,000 years earlier by "orbital bombardment."



"Check that out," says Riker as they see a small flash on the surface.
"Something was launched," notes Worf. "I think it's a probe."
"Ooh, let's catch it!" says Picard. He calls Geordi. "G-Dawg, gonna snatch us a probe to study."
Geordi, looking over a padd, hears Picard's plan and yells, "Oh, shit - no!"
But when he presses the comm button, all he gets back is that "fail" noise.
The Ship is Disabled.
"Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck!"
 He skids across the floor to the lift, but the doors refuse to open, so he makes a mad-dash for the one in the corridor. This lift opens, but it's more like those carnival rides that spin so fast that you end up melting into the wall. Because the lifts are both vertical and horizontal, Geordi gets slammed against the walls and ceiling. He loses his VISOR.



The lift stops and he tumbles out.
"Kill the probe, kill the motherfucking probe!"
Picard Dry Sass Moment: "Welcome to the bridge, Mr LaForge."
Worf, all too happy to play Space Invaders, shoots that shit out of the sky.
"Awesome," says Geordi. "If that thing had scanned us, I could not have fixed the ship."



Picard, Riker, Data and Geordi all go to the observation lounge to chat about why Geordi just tumbled onto the bridge, yelling about the probe. Seems he figured out in the nick of time that the advanced Iconian probe was trying to communicate with the Yamato, and that it then proceeded to try to rewrite all of the Yamato's systems in its own image, which was the cause of the malfunctions.
"So how did we get it too?" asks Riker.
"It was in the logs we downloaded," Geordi answers.
"So how come it's taking so long to affect us, compared to the Yamato?" Picard asks.
"Because the Yamato was affected everywhere at once by the probe," says Geordi. "We weren't scanned. The new program came in through the logs, so it has to work its way outward."
"At least we have some time," suggests Picard.
Riker tells then that injuries keep being reported all over the ship, and because Pulaski doesn't trust the lifts anymore, she's sending teams through Jeffries tunnels.
Way to be resourceful, Enterprise crew.

(There's some weird blocking in this ob-lounge scene: Picard and the others are sitting at one end of that long, curved table, but Geordi is standing on the other side of the room, at the far end of the table, to talk to them. Visually, this makes sense - it balances the shot, and allows for a full establishment shot of the ob-lounge to be taken. But in real life, it would make no sense for Geordi to be on the opposite side of the room. Sometimes life does not imitate art.)



Down in sick bay, one of the med techs has informed Pulaski that the bio beds aren't working.
"Well, that's fucking great," she replies. "Emergencies on all decks because of these malfunctions, and now the beds don't work. Okay, whatever, make do."
A medical assistant flags her down because the knitter isn't working.
"Just splint it," she answers, checking out his patient's broken leg.
Dude just stares at her, because I guess basic first aid no longer exists in the 23rd century? He's baffled. She explains the splint (which doesn't explain how this guy got a medical license), and he gets all huffy.
"That's not practicing medicine!"
"The fuck it's not," she barks back. "This is the shit that you do when your tech breaks down. Now fucking do it."



Data and Geordi are in Engineering trying to get a handle on things when Geordi touches a console and is electrocuted. He is stuck, and Data rips him from the console, flinging him backward onto the floor several feet away.
Data makes a face that reads as, "Oh, shit. Super-strength. Humans like rag dolls. Did not mean to fling him across the room."
Geordi, face pressed into the floor, asks, "Data? What just happened?"
"Dunno," replies Data. "One of those times when actions have random outcomes."
Geordi Dry-Sass Moment: "Thanks, Data. I noticed."





Riker and Picard are in the ready room talking about the situation.
"This is BS," bemoans Riker. "The ship is falling apart around us, and there's nothing we can do about it. We may even have an accident like the Yamato. "
"The probe came from Iconia," muses Picard. "We should go there to check it out. I'll lead the away team."
"The hell you will," Riker replies. "No captains on away missions."
"Seriously, STFU," Picard answers. "I've been studying the Iconians since Academy days. Nobody here knows them better than I do."
Okay, Picard. We know you have an Iconia boner. You've been champing at the bit ever since that intro, where Varley first mentioned them.
Picard takes Worf and Data with him, and O'Brien warns them that the transporter works now, but may have conniptions later, sooo...
"Cool," replies Picard, and they beam down.



Back to the bridge.
Wes reports that the Romulans have apparently followed them, because they're decloaking on the viewscreen.
Whoa, and they're arming photon torpedoes.
Riker calls for red alert, and shields up. Wes yells that he can't get the shields up, dramatic music!
They're gonna fire! They're gonna fire!
And then they don't.
"The fuck?" asks Riker.
"They canceled and disarmed," replies Worf's stand-in.
"Ohhh-kay," decides Riker. "Lock the phasers on them, but don't fire anything."
Wes reports shields up, then back down. Security Ensign Williams reports that phasers are down, then shields are up.
Troi makes a joke about how this might be funny.



Williams says torpedoes are down.
Riker: "If it should become necessary to fight, could you arrange to find me some rocks to throw at them?"




Lol.



Williams says that the Roms keep arming and disarming their torpedoes, and a lightbulb goes off over Riker's head.
He calls the Romulans.
"Hey, this Riker of the Enterprise. What's with the torpedo scare?"
A chick appears onscreen. "I'm Subcommander Taris of the vessel Haakona."


That's what she said.

"Why are you still here?" demands Riker in return.
"We... claimed this planet for the Romulan Empire."
Girlfriend speaks with confidence, but you can tell she's grasping at straws. Riker calls her bluff.
"Yeah, no. This is the Neutral Zone. Your green ass isn't claiming anything."
The broadcast goes fuzzy and gets all Max Headroom, and the ship appears to cloak and decloak like a bad mirage.
"Listen, if you don't get the hell out of Dodge - " she starts, but then she pauses as her systems keep playing with the lights and cloaking device.
"Probe! Probe! Probe! Probe!" yells Wes, but he's not making suggestions to Riker as to what the commander should do to Taris.
"Crap!" says Riker, and he asks Williams if they have phaser abilities now.
"Nope," replies Williams.
"Taris!" barks Riker. "If you have phasers or torpedoes, or rocks, or whatever, shoot that probe down!"
Taris looks confused, then slightly panicked, then turns as the viewscreen shuts off. They watch as the Haakona blows up the probe.



"Rude," remarks Riker. "No gratitude whatsoever."
"She's frustrated," says Troi. "Her ship has gone to hell too."
"But why?" asks Wes.
"Bet they also downloaded the Yamato log," guesses Riker. "Okay, shields up when we have them, and stay at red alert."
"But we can't beam the away team back with the shields up," Wes points out.

Dramatic music! Commercial break!



Picard's Log, supplemental: "There's kind of nothing left of Iconia, but we did find some ruins, including a control center, which appears to be working."


Heeeyyyy, sexy painting! Op, op, op, op, op, Iconia style!


Picard, Data and Worf wander around the control room, looking at stuff and attempting to raise the E. Picard and Data both notice that Iconian writing looks an awful lot like three other languages from nearby systems.
"Can you see if they all share a root language?" Picard asks Data. "Like maybe, Iconian?"
"Sure," replies Data.
He stares off into space, but just to denote that Data is busy working on something. his eyes dart back and forth rapidly, like they do when he is reading something at high speed.
Picard is restraining his excitement, but you know if he wasn't, he'd be piddling on the floor like an excited puppy.



Riker and Troi are sitting in the command chairs on the bridge while the power goes on and off. Troi shakes herself several times.
"What?" asks Riker.
"Everyone is upset," she replies, and I like that this was included.
As an Empath, she absorbs that nervous, distraught emotion that's everywhere, and it has nowhere to go but back inside everyone else. It's pinging off the walls and she's feeling every inch of it.
Riker, taking the hint, suggests that they consider evacuating to the planet as a distraction for everyone on the ship.
"Are you really suggesting we evacuate?" she asks.
"Meh, yes and no," he shrugs. "It mostly just gives everyone something to think about, and then, on the off-chance we have to use it, we'll be ready."



Data finishes his examination and tells Picard that his guess was right: the three languages they thought looked like Iconian were all based on Iconian. He begins listing off words that are the same or similar in each language, which leads to a "Thank you, Mr Data" moment.
Data warns Picard that he might not get it right, but Picard is willing to chance it.
Data presses some buttons, and a sort of gateway appears behind him, powered by the ball thing in the middle of the controls.



Data Sassy Moment: "That was not manual override."
Every few minutes, the scene through the gateway changes, and shows a different landscape with different buildings.
"What the hell?" demands Worf.
"I think it's a gateway," muses Picard. "I think these doors open up onto planets all across the galaxy, and that this is how they got around. By just opening these doors into other realms. From the other side it would look like they just appeared there."
"Maybe it's a holograph," suggests Worf.
Data puts his arm through. "Nope, Not a holograph."
"That was dumb, Data!" says a shocked Picard.
"Why are you complaining?" asks the android. "Dude thought it might not be real, now we know it is."



"Theory," announces Picard. "What if this planet was being attacked by enemies that didn't understand them, and instead of being wiped out, they hopped through these gateways to escape to other planets and live out their lives there?"
Ahh, the old "All Our Yesterdays" route. Very smart. I know there's no such thing as an archaeological headcanon, but I'm calling it that. I ship this theory.
What follows is a very interesting philosophical debate between our three characters. Worf still feels that the Iconians were conquerors, because the old stories say they were. Picard argues that, to the victors go the spoils, including the rewrite of what happened. So you could attack a civilization for their resources, completely destroy the place, and then claim they were Sodom and Gomorrah. Who will contradict you - you killed everyone.
Picard also thinks this is why Varley was willing to violate the terms of the Neutral Zone and risk his own life - if the Roms had gotten a hold of this tech, they could use it to take down the Federation.
Data also agrees with Picard, that he doesn't think the Iconians were war-like, based on the fact that the control center doesn't feel militaristic. He thinks it feels more like a transporter room.
"Whoa!" says Worf.




"We can get home trough there if we to," suggests Picard.
Data notices that when he switched on the gateway, it started up this giant energy burst from somewhere nearby, which in turn started up the equipment. He presses a few buttons.
"Sweet, it let me in!"
Oops.

Dramatic music! Commercial break!



Data starts to fall backward, and Worf catches him.
(A quick aside: sometimes they remember to account for Data's extreme weight as a human-sized machine and sometimes they don't, like in this case. I'm sure Worf is plenty strong, but Data has to be heavy AF, and Worf lowers him to the ground like he weighs next to nothing.)
"Data, are you okay?" asks Picard.
Data twitches and acts stiff and odd. "Nope. Totes damaged. The Iconian program is rewriting my software. I'm blind, and it's screwing with my motor control."
"Um, we needed him to help figure out how to shut this shit down," points out Worf.
"Well, fuck," replies Picard. He notices that the E has appeared in the gateway again. "What's the cycle time on that?"
"Four minutes?" guesses Worf.
"When it cycles back, take Data through and see if Geordi can fix him."
"We... don't know if that's an actual gateway," says Worf.
"You're testing the theory," Picard answers.
Worf says nothing, but his face reads as a very dry "Yaaaaay..."



Picard has him destroy the tricorder that Data was using, because it contains information about the gateways and how they operate. Then Picard tells Data that he needs to figure out how to destroy the control room and the probes... everything left of the old system. Data relays in halting language that Picard needs to launch the probes with the bay doors closed, which will backwash energy into the system, and blow everything up.
"You'll probably die in the attempt," says Worf, alarmed.
"I'll go through he gateway, and hopefully come out someplace nearby," Picard answers, though his confidence is somewhat like Taris' confidence, completely faked.
So Picard describes the control panels to Data, who guides him to the correct spot.
"How do I launch the probes?" asks Picard.
Data relays a series of colors that correspond to buttons, and Picard makes note of it.
"How do I override the doors?"
"Blue, blue, blue."
Picard Dry-Sass Moment: "I hope that wasn't a stutter."
Worf picks up Data and throws him over his shoulder in a fireman's carry (how?) and they jump through the gateway when it switches back to the E.
They appear out of thin air on the bridge.
"The hell?" asks Riker.
"Need to get to engineering!" says Worf.



Riker goes to Engineering with Data while Geordi scans him.
Geordi is at a loss, and bemoans the fact that, as often as he assists Data with "tune-ups," he is not an expert. He even sort of wishes that Bruce Maddox were present. (Gross. Maddox falls into the category of "helpful asshole.") He tells Riker that Data's systems are going nuts, trying to fight but also interact with the Iconian programs, then he reaches over and closes Data's eyelids. Data is gone.



Picard carefully watches the gateway, looking for the order in which specific landscapes appear. He's now seen the order several times, and will know when to jump. He punches in the sequence for the launch, and a countdown begins in a foreign language.



In Engineering, Data's eyes snap open and he sits up.
"How did that happen?" Riker demands.
Geordi's thoughts race while Data looks around in interest, asking questions as to how he got back on the E when he remembers being on Iconia. Geordi and Riker ignore his questions, and talk about him in the third person, as though he wasn't there.
Geordi voices his thoughts out loud as he goes before reaching the answer: Data's system was looking for a way to keep him alive, so it shut him down and wiped the new programs from his memory.
"We need to shut down the ship," says Geordi hurriedly. "We need to wipe out the Yamato logs and everything we've done since, then we can turn her back on."
"Dude, there's a Warbird outside," Riker points out.
"What did I forget?" asks Data, as the other two bolt from Engineering.



We get a mish-mash of cut-aways here:
- Picard plugs in the bay door closure, and the control begins to shake with the power build-up.
- The E powers down.
- Picard waits by the gateway, but the room and equipment are breaking down, and he really can't spare any more time.
- The E powers back up, and O'Brien reports to Riker that everything is functioning perfectly again. He gets a lock on Picard.
- Picard, out of time, sees the Haakona, and steps through the gateway, appearing on the Warbird's bridge.
- "I lost him!" says O'Brien. "Oh, wait - he's on the Romulan ship!"

Picard has stepped from the Iconian control room and ended up on the Warbird's bridge... the Iconian countdown gives way to another countdown, this one in Romulan. (Interestingly, Picard's universal translator didn't translate either countdown.)



Taris accuses Picard of sabotaging her ship, then reveals that she can't shut off the auto-destruct.
"At least you'll die with us."
But then O'Brien's transporter lock takes affect, and he begins to shimmer.
Picard Sassy Moment: "Not I think today, commander."
Picard reappears on the transporter pad.
"So the Haakona is set to self-destruct, and they can't stop it," says Picard casually. "We should really get the hell out of here."
Riker quickly opens his comm to talk to Taris. "Hey. Gonna hook you up with our IT guy. He'll tell you how to get your ship working again."
"...agreed," says Taris grudgingly.
Then Riker calls Data on the bridge and tells him that they need to leave quickly, just in case Taris' chief engineer is not as smart as Geordi.
"So that was fun," says Picard lightly, stepping off the pad. Sassy Moment: "And how was it here? Same shit, different day?"



Picard leaves the transporter room, chased by Riker's best "WTF?!" face.



The E pulls away, the Haakona prepares to do the same, and tiny explosions erupt on Iconia.




So this episode was pretty good. Not gonna make any top ten lists for sure, but it wasn't a waste of time. I'm sure you've also learned by now that any episode that features archaeology, lost civilizations, or relics left over from said lost civilizations, is going to get Special Bias Bonus Points from me. To wit: my brain wants to know why I cannot study the Iconians in depth like Picard did. I really want to take a space history class after this episode occurred to learn about "possible new things we may now know about the Iconians." Of course, it's all hearsay. Sure, the archaeologists gave Varley an artifact... but it blew up when the Yamato did. Varley made log entries on his time at the Iconian homeworld... but said entries also blew up. The Enterprise and Haakona downloaded those logs.. but were forced to erase them. At which time Picard was also blowing up what remained of the Iconian control room. Varley was probably shipping his logs back to Starfleet for archiving, like a good little captain, but you know the E would have warned Headquarters to destroy that shit on contact, lest the Iconian computer virus infect Earth's computer systems as well. The Federation also wouldn't risk a war with the Romulan Empire in order to investigate Iconia in the Neutral Zone, so all they have left to go on is conjecture, the word of Picard, and the archaeological digs they already had going on other worlds. This story is very much about Indiana Jones archaeology, minus the fedoras and whips.

Michael Dorn, Patrick Stewart, director Joseph L Scanlan, and
script supervisor Cosmo Genovese.

There was one thing that was a bit of a question mark for me, though - how did the Roms gain access to the Yamato's logs? Did they look over Picard's shoulder when he took them? Piggybacked it somehow? This seems like a really huge security loophole if those kinds of things are just available to anyone to hack into at any time.
What about our science for this round? Not bad. The science was fairly simple and easy to follow - an alien computer system is trying to merge with that of the modern Federation and Romulan Empire, and causes problems. We never did find out how the gateways worked, but that's okay. A little mystery and magic isn't terrible to the storyline.
Also, does this story sound familiar to you? Yeah, me too. I can think of two Star Trek episodes that are very similar to this one, with notable differences: TOS' "That Which Survives" (in which Kirk and crew are harassed by a female holograph of an ancient weapons system), and TNG's season one "The Arsenal of Freedom" (in which Picard and crew are harassed by an ancient weapons system and its pushy holographic salesman).
This is not the last we'll hear of Iconia, though. It'll show up again in DS9, and for those of you who are interested in extra-curriculars, Iconaian gateways are the subject of a Star Trek franchise crossover series called (what else?) "Gateways."


Red deaths: 0
To date: 1
Gold deaths: 0
Blue deaths: 0
Obnoxious Wes moments: 0
Legitimate Wes moments when he should have told someone to go fuck themselves: 0
To date: 1
Sassy Geordi moments: 1
To date: 4
Sassy Wes Moments: 0
To date: 1
Sassy Worf Moment: 0
To date: 3
Sassy Riker Moments: 0
To date: 4
Sassy Picard Moments: 3
To date: 11
Sassy NPC Moments: 0
Sassy Data Moments: 1
To date: 4
Number of times that it is mentioned that Data is an android: 1
To date: 17
Number of times that Troi reacts to someone else's feelings: 2
To date: 11
Number of times that Geordi "looks at something" with his VISOR: 0
To date: 1
Number of times when Data gives too much info and has to be told to shut up: 1
To date: 12


Episodes Left Until We Get Rid of Pulaski:



Fun Facts:

- The USS Yamato was named after the flagship of the Imperial Japanese Navy during WWII. Trek fans suggested that it might be a reference to the anime "Space Battleship Yamato" but this turned out to be a coincidence.
- This is the first episode where we hear Picard's catch-phrase "Tea. Earl Grey. Hot."
- The idea for this story came from Beth Woods, an IT tech working on the Star Trek office computers at the studio.
- This is the first time that a Warbird has had a name onscreen.
- This is the first time that Picard discusses his love of archaeology.
- This is the first time that a Galaxy-class starship is destroyed onscreen. (Recall that the Yamato shows up in "Where Silence Has Lease," but it wasn't really the Yamato that time, and it wasn't destroyed, it just disappeared.)
- One of the locations featured in the Iconian gateways is Toronto City Hall, chosen to depict futuristic buildings in many science fiction works because of its architecture. (Though due to the ancient age of the gateway, that image of Toronto was not meant to depict an Earth city, just a futuristic one in general.)



- Mount Temple near Alberta, Canada is also featured as an alien landscape.


- Carolyn Seymour, who plays Taris, will play a Romulan again in season six, though not Taris. The production staff assumed that Taris had died at some point, so a new Romulan character was created for Seymour to play.



Lovely Josette


1 comment:

  1. Pretty impressive how the Iconians can put a virus into alien computers they know nothing about. I guess we know where Apple got the technology for their laptops.

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