reader told me that I was cluttering up my HiPiers Column with all
the Star Trek episodes, so I am doing two things: I am moving the
episodes to their own section following the regular column, and
querying my other readers how they feel about it. I have wanted to
catch up on Star Trek for decades, since missing half the original
series, and now finally I am. This column covers what interests me,
but I hope it also interests my readers, many of whom are Star Trek
fans. So is this compromise satisfactory, or do you prefer something
else? I am leaving my book and movie reviews in place, interspersed
with my commentary on this & that.
watched Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It starts with wild space
action, of course. It has been a while since I've seen a Star Wars
movie, so maybe I'm not up on details, but this strikes me as full of
sound and fury, signifying not much. Slowly a comprehensible story
line emerges from the scattered debris. There are Chewie, C-3PO,
Yoda, Luke Skywalker, as incidental characters, to provide some
flavor of the original movies. They need to recruit a master code
breaker. Little Rose leads one strand with Finn. The girl Rey leads
another, as she learns to invoke the immense power of the Force. Even
so it is touch and go. A few survive, and they will teach the
children. A so-so movie, for me.
watched Divergent. This one reminded me of The Hunger
Games. In the future society is divided into five factions, each
a particular type, and folk know where they belong. Erudite.
Dauntless. Amity. Candor. Abnegation. Except for Beatrice
Prior—Tris—a Divergent who crosses boundaries. She
undergoes the classification test that will show her where she
belongs. Then she will get to choose, and will forever be bound by
that choice. They say that for her it is Abnegation, but she is
actually a rogue Divergent and must hide it. She meets Christina and
they become friends. She makes a scary jump, and joins Dauntless, the
warrior faction, where she meets the leader Four. It starts like
military basic training, pushing to physical and mental limits. She
has to fist fight another girl, and loses. She is taught that
Dauntless never give up. She fights her way up, qualifying to
continue training. The second part of it is mental, as she has to
face her worst fear. She succeeds. Then she and Four do it together,
facing their worst fears. They fall in love. The tests continue, and
it's hard to know what is real. There is war between the Factions as
Erudite tries to take over. Then Tris is about to be executed, but is
rescued by her parents, that she never knew were Divergent. Her
mother gets killed, saving Tris, but her father survives. Then she
encounters Four, turned by chemistry, now her enemy. But she manages
to turn him back, and they struggle to stop the malign program. There
is more to do, but they have won the first engagement. This is one
watched Insurgent, sequel to Divergent. The jacket has
an impressive 3D cover picture. This picks up where the first left
off. Jeanine, the evil woman, remains in control, spreading
propaganda blaming the Divergents for the recent trouble. She has a
box from the Founder that will enable her to destroy the Divergents,
but only a Divergent can open the box. Tris, Four, and other
insurgents are staying with an Amity Faction village, but government
troops invade. They flee with her brother Caleb and manage to catch a
passing freight train, but Factionless folk are aboard. Tobias
Eaton—Four says that's him; that's his original name. They go
to see his mother, whom he rejects. They head on to Candor, but Caleb
declines to continue with them. But Candor arrests them and will turn
them over to the Council. Four persuades them to use Truth Serum. She
confesses to killing Will, which alienates them. Troops attack,
firing sleep darts. Tris is hit, but it doesn't work on her, because
she's 100% Divergent. So the government starts killing people, to
force Tris to give herself up. She makes love with Four. The
definition is that Factionless belong to no Faction, while Divergents
belong to all Factions. They need to get these groups together as
Insurgents. To stop the suicides—caused by embedded darts—Tris
must pass all five simulations for the Factions. They are brutal. She
must rescue her mother from burning house that is being carried aloft
on a cable. She succeeds, passing Dauntless. Then Four rescues her,
but she catches on that he is a simulation. She has passed Amity by
sparing a traitorous friend. But in the next simulation she dies, or
seems to. Peter found a way for her to fake it. Meanwhile the
Factionless figure out how to stop the suicides. Then she has to
fight herself. Then comes a message from beyond the Wall, saying the
Divergents are the real hope of humanity. The future of mankind lies
beyond the wall. And Jeanine is executed. This sequel is even harder
hitting than the original.
I watched Allegiant,
the third Divergent
walled city is Chicago, and the wall remains. Now Four's mother
and she is acting pretty much like Jeanine. They decide to escape:
Trice, Four, Caleb, Peter, Christina,
scale the Wall, under fire. Tori gets shot. They rappel down
outside, the five remaining, and discover a devastated world,like
the remnant of a huge strip mine. They are pursued by Edgar in a
truck. And captured by an unfamiliar army with flying machines.
Welcome to the future. They are taken to a base and decontaminated.
They learn that the city of Chicago
is now a genetic experiment to perfect humanity, to
purify the genome.
They are known here; they have been watched. Tris meets David, the
Director. He tells her that she is the only pure person; the others
are damaged. She sees the life history of her mother, Natalie, who
left the project in
the Fringe to
join the city, to help the Damaged. Four and the others go through
Simulations. Nita supervises Four. They go on a mission to save some
more children in the Fringe. Four has his doubts about this; they're
not saving kids, they're stealing them. They tell Four they are
returning him to 'Chicago, but they aren't. He catches on and fights
them off. Meanwhile David takes Tris to Providence, another island
city, and she catches on too. Now she organizes another escape,
stealing a flying craft with Christina. They return to Chicago and
organize another revolt: “Chicago is not your experiment, it
is our home.” Will they get it right this time?
read The Names of our Tears, by P L Gaus. This is set in Amish
country. The Amish don't run drugs, but it seems an Amish girl was
coerced into bringing an extra suitcase with her from Florida to
Ohio. When she found out what she was carrying, she dumped all the
cocaine out into a pond. Then she was shot to death; evidently
someone was annoyed. The local sheriff investigates, and discovers
that there is a considerable drug running operation using shady
methods to move their wares. He does what he can, but it really isn't
much, and the novel ends inconclusively. That's the way it tends to
be in real life; it's hard to nail a criminal gang that kills any
witnesses and terrorizes the rest. I wondered about the relevance of
the title, and learned that one legend has it that God names every
tear, to honor human pain. A pastor explains this to a desolate ten
year old girl who lost her only friend, the original murder victim.
She is not much consoled.
read The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve, by Stephen Greenblatt.
This is a thorough discussion of the biblical origin of the human
species with interesting aspects, and some of the related art. There
is a suggestion that Eve was the real hero, as she was the one who
grasped the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil,
freeing us all from chronic ignorance. But Eve was also roundly
condemned by the sexist Christian church, apparently because she was
sexually attractive and amenable. It seems that the two led a
vegetarian life in the Garden of Eden, eating animals only after they
were expelled. Which raises a thought in my mind: maybe the true
Original Sin was forsaking peaceful vegetarianism and then killing
and eating the flesh of innocent animals, God's other creatures. As
for sex, of course they practiced it in the garden, as the animals
did, thinking nothing of it; only when they ate of the fruit of the
forbidden tree did they realize that sex was supposed to be sinful.
The question is, what kind of a loving deity would refuse to permit
humans to achieve knowledge? Would put the forbidden fruit right
there in easy reach as a chronic temptation? He must have wanted them
to break the rule so he had a pretext to cast them out. At any rate,
this book is not up on the latest: the bone that God took from Adam
to make Eve was not a rib; that was an editorial censorship by a
scribe. It was his penis bone, the baculum. So now most mammals have
bones there, but man does not. That explains why it is that modern
man is not missing a rib, giving the Bible the lie, but is missing a
key bone. And you wonder why authors don't like censorious editing?
This book goes into the life histories of a number of the architects
of Christianity, and concludes with appendixes offering variations.
One example: the Maker wanted company, so he went to a swampy place,
dug out a lump of mud, shaped a male organ, and set it on the ground.
Then he dug out another lump and shaped a female organ, leaving it
beside the male. During the night the two lumps joined, generating
the first Ancestor. Next night they did it again, and again,
evidently enjoying it, until there were a number of Ancestors. But
again, this book misses one of the nicest stories, from the American
Indians: the Maker formed man and woman with open bellies, and gave
each of them a length of thread to close them up. The woman
meticulously and tightly stitched herself up, but that used up all
the thread, and the bottom part was left as an open gash. The man
carelessly stitched fast and loose, so that he had thread left over,
which dangled down. That explains the anatomy of the two; now you
know. So this book is marvelously informative, but I deem it
read Escaping Paradise by Kambry Ellis. This is a Romance on
steroids. Alyssa Marks is a healthy young woman, out on an exercise
run. When she returns there is a flyer on her windshield: a temporary
employment agency. She plans to be a graphic artist, but it takes
time to develop a clientele; maybe a temporary job would do. So she
follows up, and it leads into romance, challenge, a brush with a kind
of cult, amazing sex, torture, and fears of betrayal. Whom can she
trust? Her boyfriend has an alarming alter ego. She gets more or less
trapped on the cult site, theoretically a guest but unable to escape
it. The leader is a pretty woman, soft spoken, wanting only the best
for her followers—until she gets crossed and shows a much
uglier side. This sort of thing interests me because I had an uncle
who truly followed God; in fact it was hard to have him speak more
than one sentence without God intervening. “The price of beans
in Bohemia? I don't know the answer, but I know Someone who does...”
He got in a mini religion, and in the end it cost him his wife, who
committed suicide because of her resistance to the indoctrination,
and he died up alienated and unhappy, having dedicated his life to a
false cause. That's my cynical interpretation, which surely differs
violently from that of others, but it left me with a profound
aversion to cults. There were those who saw me as being rather
similar to my uncle. Ouch; I have always been a total unbeliever.
Regardless, I'm glad to see a novel addressing the subject. This
story is incomplete, to be continued in the sequel Chasing
Freedom, but it strikes me as hitting close enough in that
read Elf Doubt by Bryant Reil. I read the author's first novel
in this series, Elf Mastery, in 2016. My aging memory is not
what it once was, and the details of the first book have faded, but I
remember liking Kyla, the perky and sometimes headstrong
tree-dwelling elf girl. In this sequel Kyla quickly gets on a new
mission and into serious trouble. It is a restless time, politically,
with threats against the existing order, and she discovers that it's
hard to trust anyone else, including the queen herself. Details are
complicated, with many intertwining threads, and violence and death
strike all around her. She seems to have been selected for some
special purpose, but she doesn't know what it might be, and her
friends may not really be her friends. By the end the king and queen
have been dispatched, and Kyla is chief of one group and queen of
another, without much notion what she should be doing or whether she
is likely to survive long enough to find out. In fact the story
becomes grim, and it is not yet done, as this book ends in the middle
of the action. So this is no sweet gentle innocent girl story. I
suspect that much anguish remains before it ends.
Ellison died. There will be plenty about him elsewhere, but this is
my purely personal take on him. He was about two and a half months
older than I, about five inches shorter, and was the one person I
knew of who may have had more trouble with publishers than I have. We
had a lot in common, beginning with that matter of height: folk
including other writers poked fun at him for his physical stature,
but I never did. When I graduated from ninth grade I was the shortest
and smallest person in my class, male and female, standing five feet
tall and weighing one hundred pounds. Then I grew most of another
foot to five ten and a half, and gained fifty pounds, and what do you
know, the bullies disappeared. But I remembered, and was never amused
by jokes about Harlan. As an adult my arena was no longer physical,
but mental and legal, as his was, and I had many battles, including
getting blacklisted for six years when I protested being cheated by a
publisher. Harlan never blacklisted me, understanding what it was to
stand up to publishers when few others did. We were fellow arch
liberals; I know of no political differences between us, though there
were social ones, as his five marriages vs. my one 62 year long one
hinted. So we got along, generally, until I broke relations. Why?
That's a story in itself.
met in 1966 at the Milford Writer's conference, sponsored by Damon
Knight, where writers submitted their stories for critiques. I liked
Harlan's story, “I have No Mouth And I Must Scream,” and
I think he liked mine, which later became the basis for my
collaborative novel with Philip Jose Farmer, The Caterpillar's
Question. Harlan was a frequent topic of private discussion; the
consensus was that his input and his output were not connected. That
is, he insulted others freely, but was hyper sensitive to any return
insult. I overheard him on the phone, for something like half an
hour, bawling out someone else for a baggage foul-up; he just
couldn't let it go. He also craved attention; he could keep telling
jokes indefinitely, as long as he had an audience, and he was good at
it, a showman. But discussions at that conference could get quite
pointed. I described other fiction of Harlan's as like garbage being
hurled at the reader's face. But Harlan was hardly my only fracas
there. I remember how Algis Budris had raised the question in a
column of his own about male writers writing female perspective
stories, and vice versa: did readers find that off-putting? I don't,
and I have written many female protagonist stories that have been
well received; for a time there was even a rumor circulating that I
was a female writer myself. I take that as a compliment to my writing
skill, and having raised two girls I do feel for the female
perspective in this male dominated culture. But I thought the
question was worth considering, so I raised it at the conference.
John Brunner not only disagreed, he said there was something wrong
with me personally because I even raised the question. Note that a
general question was being answered not by consideration of the issue
but by a personal attack, an error that intelligent folk are
generally careful not to make. I have great respect for the body of
Brunner's fiction, and appreciate that he was born the same place I
was, Oxford, England, not long after me, but he was dead wrong here.
What did the other writers think of that? They applauded Brunner.
That was an eye-opener, and I suspect it was not entirely coincidence
that in the ensuing decades my success as a commercial writer may
have eclipsed that of all of them combined, in sharp contrast to my
unsuccess with critics. My thinking was simply more rational, and I
had one phenomenally lucky break, which is what it generally takes to
launch a writer out of the struggling pack. But of course the other
writers might disagree, if they even remember the incident, if they
are alive today. So where was Harlan on that matter? He wasn't there;
he was elsewhere that afternoon. I like to think that had he been
there, he would have set the matter straight, as he had to be much
aware of being unfaurly personally targeted. But it shows the kind of
interactions that could occur, and I think is one reason why neither
he nor I had a lot of respect for Milford. Theoretically it was a
conference for writers to improve their skills, but it had become a
kind of in-club that resisted critiques from outsiders regardless of
their merit. I understand that writer and critic James Blish in a
prior conference had told Harlan that he was so bad a writer that he
would never sell a word. Harlan then sold many words, and won many
awards, and said openly “Well, I'm here.” More power to
him on that score. Meanwhile Blish said he had finally figured out
what made a story popular, and he had written one. Others were
careful to avoid the real issue until it was my turn to comment. Then
I spelled it out point by point: the story stunk. Blish got heated,
unable (like Harlan) to accept the kind of criticism he dished out
himself, and was never thereafter any fan of mine. But after I had
spoken, the others had to admit I was correct. He was an excellent
literary writer and critic, but he didn't know beans about commercial
writing. That effectively alienated Milford, and cost me the market
of Damon Knight's annual anthologies, and I was not held in good
regard thereafter. It is dangerous to speak truth to power, or to
insult a local god by exposing his feet of clay. So I was like Harlan
there, in that respect, both of us becoming pariahs for refusing to
fit a false mold. It's a sad commentary on the state of many writers'
ability to think rationally.
there was a critique of another writer's story, an aspect of which
related to the perception of male and female. I am and have always
been highly aware of the distinction; I love the look and feel of
women. But Harlan found my commentary far off-base, openly expressing
derision even as I was speaking. He went and got a fly swatter and
batted with it as if my comments were an infestation. Another writer
chided him for his lack of courtesy. Then it turned out that the
author had put in several copies of her story, and the gender of the
protagonist had been reversed in the version I had read. That also
torpedoed Samuel R Delaney who, being gay, was also highly aware. So
Harlan was taking off on me discourteously for commenting on a
different version of the story than he had read. Mark that strike
number one. I still supported Harlan's efforts generally, and he
supported mine; when other fans attacked me without showing me the
attack, so I was unable to respond immediately, Harlan defended me.
Why didn't they show me the attack? Because they knew I would refute
it quite effectively, as I did when I finally did catch up to it. I
stick to the truth, and that is usually an excellent defense against
those who can be slipshod about facts. When there was early movie
interest in my work, Harlan tried to help. But I remembered both the
positives and the negatives.
ahead several years. My review of Harlan's provocative anthology
Dangerous Visions in a fanzine (amateur magazine) incited a
discussion that lasted almost two years. I approved the effort, and
said that if he ever did another, I meant to be in it. That, by his
own statement, turned him on to the idea of a sequel, Again
Dangerous Visions, and indeed I was in it with my story “In
the Barn,” where in an alternate reality the cows had died out
so they used buxom human women as the milkers. (A reviewer who
evidently had not read the story called it vegetarian science
fiction. I think there should be standards for reviewing.) But in the
volume's introduction Harlan chided me for a supposed error that,
like the changed gender at Milford, was actually his misunderstanding
of the issue, as I remarked in a recent HiPiers column. So I was
chastised in print for an error I had not made. Harlan had not
bothered to check for accuracy. I let it pass without more than a
refutation in another fanzine, but I remembered. Strike Two.
there are limits. When Harlan made comments that could be dangerous
to my career, I wrote to him privately saying in essence that I did
not want trouble with him, as we were on the same side in so many
cases, but if he repeated some of the things in print I would have to
take legal action to protect my reputation. He was dismayed, listing
three things that I should have said and had not. I replied by
quoting all three things from the first page of my letter. Again he
had accused me without cause. It was apparent that he was
incorrigible, simply not capable of getting such things straight; he
was a loose cannon, possibly more dangerous to friends than to
enemies. Strike Three. I decided to disengage. “Fare well,
Harlan,” I wrote, and cut him off. When I became a best seller
and a publisher sent me on an Author Tour to California, I declined
to be interviewed by him, though it might have facilitated sales. But
when he sued the Internet giants for facilitating pirating—I
forget the details, but was satisfied that he had the right of the
case, and of course most of my works have been pirated—I
supported him with a check for $5,000. He won his case, and repaid
me. But we remained personally estranged, by my choice.
so it was when he died. I remember a story he wrote, where a man
helped another who was dying, and then at the end asked “Did
you think you would have to go alone?” and went with him. I
hope Harlan found a friend to support him similarly on that final
journey. He was a remarkable figure in the field, but he had some
phenomenal liabilities and, to paraphrase Shakespeare, taken all in
all he was a man, and we shall not see his like again.
notes: my wife and I had our 62nd anniversary, and
celebrated with a slice of blueberry pie. At our age, that suffices.
I had another cat-scan, and it revealed no malignancy. Remember how
the incidentalomas can be bird, rabbit, or turtle? I have a dead
turtle. That's a relief. Meanwhile I am making notes for Xanth novel
#45, A Tryst of Fate, and have decided to have a lady
character called Incident who is an oma, who has three animals: a
bird, a rabbit, and a turtle. They are dedicated to deadly mischief,
but get converted to doing good. Can't think how that notion came to
me. We are still marketing the prior three Xanths; maybe next column
I'll have news.
living: researchers now believe that loneliness is as bad for a
person as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. It can shave eight years from
life expectancy and has a negative effect on quality of life. It is
also important to be optimistic and to have a purpose in life. But
material welfare also counts. There is a book titled Bullshit
Jobs: A Theory, by David Graeber, whose thesis is that a large
share of workers today are engaged in performing pointless tasks. Up
to 40% believe their labor has no meaning for contributing to
society, and the indication is that they are right. They spend their
time in make-work, pretending to be useful. Why do such purposeless
jobs persist? Because they keep the masses busy and subdued. Then
there is the wage mystery: with the economy doing so well, and
unemployment under 4%, why is wage growth stagnant? It seems that the
big companies are putting downward pressure on wages. They have
largely gotten rid of the unions, or rendered them powerless, so the
average man has no recourse. Today a minimum-wage worker can't afford
a two bedroom apartment anywhere in the USA. And maybe not
coincidentally, the combined wealth held by the world's millionaires
has increased for the sixth consecutive year, passing $70 trillion,
and rising rapidly. And the suicide rate is rising in tandem with the
wealth inequality. Meanwhile the big companies that benefit most from
the Trump tax cuts are not spending more, but hanging on to it. You
expected generosity? There are now more guns than people in the
United States; that facilitates suicide. So your job is meaningless
and your wage is stagnant, but don't be negative, because that isn't
if meat is grown in the laboratory without harming any animals, what
should it be called? Clean Meat? The conventional meat industry
doesn't like that, because it implies that traditional meat is dirty.
I, as a vegetarian, don't like it either, because I don't want to eat
any meat, dirty or clean. So I have a suggestion: spell it backward.
Taem, or Kaets, or Feeb, or Bmal, or Korp, or Nekcihc (maybe
Neckich). Problem solved.
a news item reports how press secretary Sarah Sanders and a party of
eight entered the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia. The
owner quietly asked them to leave, because several of the restaurant
employees are gay and Sanders is a known bully who echoes President
Trump's bigotry on that score. Sanders then attacked The Red Hen on
Twitter, trying to ruin it, and so did President Trump. Well, I say a
pox on both their houses. I disagree with that cake maker who refused
to make a wedding cake for a gay wedding, because he is in the
business of serving the public, not of imposing his bigotry on
others. If he feels otherwise, he should leave that business.
Similarly, the Red Hen is serving the public, and should not have
asked Sanders to leave. That kind of opposition to bigotry is its own
bigotry, and fake liberalism. Had the party started a fight, or
thrown food on the floor, or been otherwise obnoxious, they could
have called the police to settle it. But just going there to eat?
Refusing to serve them because of whom they were? The way blacks and
Jews used to be refused? They should have been politely fed, like
anyone else. At least it would then have been evident who was civil
and who was bigoted.
watched Star Trek The Next Generation Season 6, Episode #21 “Frame
of Mind.” Riker is rehearsing for a role in a play by that
title that Beverly is directing. He says he may be surrounded by
insanity, but he is not insane. Then he encounters an odd person,
and wonders. Then he finds himself elsewhere being treated by Dr.
Syrus for mental disorders. It seems that his position on the
Enterprise is a delusion. He wakes; was it a bad dream? What is
reality? Dr. Syrus puts him into Reflection Therapy, interacting
with different aspects of his own personality. These are animated by
other officers of the Enterprise. He rejects them as delusions, and
they vanish. He keeps breaking out of delusions, into other
delusions, until they finally rescue him for real. This is an
exercise in paranoia to which anyone can relate.
“Suspicions” Beverly says she's not a doctor on the
Enterprise any more. What happened? She tells Guinan, and we go into
a flashback. A Ferengi scientist has an invention that others don't
take seriously. But Beverly has read his paper and is impressed, so
she assembles four noted scientists to check it out. It is a shield
that can protect a shuttle flying into a star. Something goes wrong,
and a scientist is lost. Then the Ferengi scientist dies. Did the
Klingon woman kill him? Beverly does an autopsy on the Ferengi's
body—and finds nothing. She has violated protocols for nothing.
Guinan persuades her to investigate farther. She takes a shuttle into
the star, proving that the shield works. It failed because it was
sabotaged. It was, but the saboteur is aboard planning to steal the
invention for himself, and she has to fight him off. But she has won
“Rightful Heir” Worf does not report on time for duty.
Something is wrong. He is trying to verify his Klingon beliefs.
Picard gives him leave to visit Boreth, a sacred planet, and do what
he needs to. And the hero Kahless returns, not a vision, but real.
Worf challenges him, but can't prove anything. Kahless is beamed
aboard the Enterprise. The leader Gowron comes, skeptical. They test
Kahless' blood, and it matches. Gowron fights him and defeats him,
which disproves him as the greatest warrior of all. Then the elders
explain that he is a clone of the original Kahless. But the people
need him as a moral leader. Worf argues that he should be Emperor,
exercising moral power rather than political. But Worf's own faith
has not been found.
“Second Chances” An Away party beams to Planet Nirvala
IV, during a brief window of opportunity that occurs only once every
eight years. And the man they encounter is Riker. So now there are
two Rikers, genetically identical. He knows Deanna Troi; they had a
relationship. She has moved on, emotionally but he hasn't; he still
loves her. She is interested. It seems that he was the one who broke
it off before; now he won't. They go together to receive a key
database; there's an accident, and Riker senior saves Riker junior.
Deanna may join Junior in the future.
“Timescape” They pick up a Romulan distress call.
Meanwhile, about to return from conferences, Picard, Data, Geordi,
and Deanna are comparing notes, but there are several one second
pauses that only Deanna notices. Then she freezes for three minutes.
The others notice that. Then their shuttle malfunctions. There's a
temporal anomaly that accelerates time 50-fold. They discover
temporal anomalies all around, each governing time at a different
rate, moving toward the Enterprise. They discover the Enterprise and
a Romulan warbird frozen in time together. They make a protective
time capsule and three of them beam aboard the Enterprise. They find
everyone frozen, and three Romulans aboard, also frozen. It seems the
Enterprise was in the process of beaming more Romulans aboard when
the freeze occurred. They learn that temporal aliens mistook the
Romulan engine core for a natural black hole, and placed their young
there, triggering devastating time warps. Time is proceeding forward
and backward. They manage to help enough to enable the aliens to
depart, restoring things to normal.
“Descent, Part I” Stephen Hawking has a bit part, playing
himself in a holodeck sequence, which also features Isaac Newton and
Albert Einstein. That is interrupted by a problem outside; a strange
vessel is there, and a planetary station may be in trouble. Riker,
Data, Worf, and a woman beam to the station, which seems inoperative,
the personnel dead. Data bypasses the primary system. Then they
encounter the Borg. This is odd; they seem to be acting as
individuals, with emotion. The Borg and their ship depart, but the
oddness remains. Data is concerned, because he felt anger. Is he
finally coming alive? Then the Borg attack a colony again. Two Borg
beam aboard, and one survives. That one persuades Data to depart with
him. Riker and Worf beam to a planetary surface with a team, looking
for Data. They and other search parties canvas the terrain. Picard
with Deanna and Geordi read another party, and get ambushed by the
Borg. Data is there, with an artificial Data, now the enemy. This
concludes Season Six. We'll see what is next.
7 #1 “Descent, Part II” Data is a Borg now, experiencing
emotions. Picard talks to him, getting him to think about right and
wrong. He begins to reconsider. His evil brother Lore is ready to
kill him, but Data kills Lore. Meanwhile the Enterprise figures out
how to destroy the Borg ship. So in the end the humans win, and Data
is back as he was.
“Liaisons” They formally meet the Lyaar ambassadors. Worf
has to show one around the ship, and is not keen on the notion.
Deanna shows another around. Picard goes with the third, Voval, to
visit their planet. All the Lyaar are taciturn to the point of
rudeness. Picard's craft crashes on an anonymous planet, and he is
rescued by Anna, a survivor of a prior crash seven years before. She
says she loves him and tries to keep him there, and is distraught
when he demurs. It turns out that Voval is a shape changer who
assumed the form of Anna in order to study human love. They return to
the Enterprise, mutually educated.
“Interface” Geordi is testing an interface that seems to
put him in the scene physically though it's actually a probe there.
Then they learn that the Hera, the ship that his mother commands, has
disappeared. Meanwhile he interfaces with a locally distressed ship,
but its crew are all dead. And there's a fire, and he burns his
hands, despite not being there physically. He visits another ship,
and encounters his mother on the Raman. He touches her, there is a
flash, and he is disconnected. The others don't credit it, because
the Hera should be 300 light years away. Geordi risks his own death
in his effort to save his mother and her crew. But it's not his
mother, but an alien who assumed her form to communicate with him. At
least he manages to save the aliens.
“Gambit Part I” A crew from the Enterprise are at an
alien bar, questioning creatures about the disappearance of Picard.
The report is he got vaporized. It seems he is dead. They are all sad
and angry, Riker especially; he is determined to deal with those who
did this. They go to the planet where the mercenary perpetrators
went, and the Away team gets ambushed and Riker gets captured. And
Picard is there, now called the smuggler Galen, or someone who
resembles him, saying Riker should be killed. But Picard is faking;
it's a matter of survival. The mercenaries are stealing Romulan
artifacts, looking for one particular one, to sell to the Romulans.
“Gambit Part II” The Romulan woman Tallera turns out to
be a Vulcan agent who exchanges confidences with Picard. She says
they are searching for a device that enhances telepathy so it can be
used as a weapon. That's the point of this whole business. Picard and
Riker manage to fool the mercenary leader, and Picard and Tallera
take over the mission. In the end Picard understands the artifact
better than Tallera does, and knows how to defeat it. So all ends
well. It may not be relevant, but I must say that Tallera, as a
Romulan or Vulcan female, is quite attractive as a human, too.
“Phantasms” Data suffers a nightmare. How is that
possible? He is using a program for dreams, but why have they turned
bad? Then he has one while awake, a bad vision, a hallucination. And
others, as they cause him to attack Deanna Troi. He thought he saw a
mouth on her shoulder, that he had to destroy. Then they discover odd
creatures that feed on people like leeches. Data may be reacting to
them. It turns out that Data can emit a high pitched noise that hurts
the creatures. That eliminates the infection that came aboard with a
new phase converter.
“Dark Page” Deanna's nuisance of a mother, Lwaxana,
visits again. She is communicating with the Cairn, a visually
telepathic race, and it is wearing her out emotionally. She collapses
when communicating with Maques, a Carnn man. There's something about
the interaction between two kinds of telepathy that can damage a
person's mind. Deanna links with Lwaxana and finds herself in her
mother's bad dream. Incidental comment: ever since a visiting captain
required Deanna to don a conventional uniform, she has continued
wearing it. I think she looks better that way. Lwaxana's horror is
the memory of the accidental death of Deanna's older sister Kestra as
a child; Lwaxana blamed herself. Now she can let it go.
“Attached” Picard and Beverly Crusher beam to the Kes,
who seek admittance to the Federation of half of their world, an
unusual request. Instead they arrive as prisoners of the Prytt, the
other part of the planet. There are control implants in the back of
their necks. They used a tractor beam to divert the transmission.
Alone, they talk, and we learn that long ago he loved her, but she
was married to his best friend, so he was silent, and now it has
faded to friendship. The implants enable them to read each others
thoughts to a degree. They escape the prison and flee across the
surface, then are rescued. The implants are removed, but it is clear
that feelings remain.
“Force of Nature” They are in search of the lost medical
ship the Fleming. They locate it. A lady scientist, Dr. Serova, has a
theory that cumulative warp drive use can disrupt space. She tries to
demonstrate, putting the Fleming in danger. Her brother Dr. Rabal
does his best to help them. They beam the Fleming crew aboard and
ride a distortion field out of the rift, bit it's a rough ride.
Warping does affect space. Hereafter Federation ships will be
limited to Warp 5 except in extreme emergency.
“Inheritance” Planet Atrea is cooling, solidifying the
molten core at a rate that will make it uninhabitable in 13 months.
They will try to use the phasers to inject energy that will keep it
molten. The lady representative, Juliana Tainer, explains to Data
that she was once Dr. Soong's wife and was there at Data's creation;
in a sense she is his mother. But she turns out to be an android
herself, who believed she was alive, and his mother. Data decides to
keep the secret, rather than destroying her fond illusion. And they
succeed in stabilizing the planet.
“Parallels” Worf returns from a Klingon competition that
he won. Then he experiences dizziness, and seeming loss of memory.
But he clearly remembers things that the others don't. What is
happening? Then he turns out to be married to Deanna Troi. Riker is
captain, as Picard died four years ago. This is weird! They
conjecture that Worf is being shifted to different realities. Then
different realities start merging, producing multiple Enterprises.
They succeed in sending him back to his original reality. His memory
is intact; he will have a considerable story to tell. Lost in space
12 years ago.
“The Pegasus” This ship was lost in space 12 years ago,
but now the Romulans may have found it. It was Riker's first ship.
The Romulans claim to be surveying local space. It seems that they
were doing an experiment, and maybe they can now complete it. Admiral
Pressman joins the Enterprise, Riker's captain when the Pegasus was
lost. He talks with Riker: did they do the right thing? Picard learns
from Riker that at the time of crisis, there was a mutiny aboard the
Pegasus. Riker sided with the captain. Why did the others mutiny?
Riker won't tell Picard. They find the Pegasus inside an asteroid,
having materialized overlapping it. They salvage a key piece of
equipment. It is a special cloaking device that can also phase
through matter. It is also in violation of the Federation agreement.
That's why the Romulans were after it. They arrest the Admiral;
there will be a court martial. Riker will be charged also, though he
may give evidence and get off.
“Homeward” They answer a distress call from Nikolai,
Worf's human brother, who is an observer of a primitive culture. The
planet Boraal may become uninhabitable in 36 hours. Worf's Away party
beams to caverns, where he meets Nikolai. Picard refuses to violate
the Prime Directive by saving the natives, but Nikolai beams a
village to the Holodeck. They don't know they are no longer home.
They are taken to Vacca, the most likely suitable planet. But Vorin,
their young village chronicler, happens to wander out of the Holodeck
and discovers the Enterprise. They have to explain things to him. If
he tells his people the truth, it will destroy their culture. But can
he live with a lie? Vorin, in an impossible situation, kills himself.
The Boraalsians reach their new planet and will survive, their
culture intact. Nikolai marries one of their women and will stay with
“Sub Rosa” A memorial service for Beverly Crusher's
grandmother, Nana, who raised her after her mother died. They are
visiting a recreated Scottish colony. Beverly reads a journal. Ned
the caretaker warns her that a particular candle brings bad luck, but
she insists on keeping it. She learns from the journal that her
grandmother, over a century old, had a 30 year old lover, Ronin. Ned
says the house is haunted, and if she lights the candle it will
summon a ghost. Ronin is the ghost, 800 years old . He has loved
Beverly's ancestors through the centuries. She is highly intrigued.
Ronin tells her to light the candle so they can be together always.
She lights it. He comes, dissolves into vapor, and phases into her.
She resigns her commission and means to join the colony. Data and
Geordi zero in on the source of an odd energy signal. Then Ronin
appears to Picard and knocks him out. They exhume Nana's body, and
Nana wakes. Beverly catches on and destroys the candle, then shoots
Ronin though she almost loves him. She is sorry to have eliminated
the entity that made her ancestors so happy. This is one intriguing
“Lower Decks” This concerns promotion of lower ranking
officers, who are much concerned with contacts and recommendations.
Meanwhile the ship is near Cardassian space, and they have a wounded
Cardassian in sick bay. He is actually a Federation operative. But
the lady junior officer assigned to accompany him on his return is
killed in the line of duty. That is a pall on all. This is a nice
change of pace episode, showing another side of fleet operations.
“Thine Own Self” Data seems to be suffering amnesia on a
colony. He is carrying a radioactive artifact. They name him Jayden.
Then he inadvertently shows his strength, amazing them. He learns to
function well enough in this society. Then he is injured in the head
and its metallic nature is revealed. Meanwhile the radioactivity
sickens his host and the daughter Gia. He makes a liquid to cure it,
and that helps. But the villagers distrust him and run a spear
through his body. Then a party from the Enterprise comes and rescues
him, getting him functioning again.
“Masks” They encounter a rogue comet, en route for 87
million years. Something from it seems to be affecting the
Enterprise's computer. They vaporize the shell of the comet, and
inside is an 87 million year old structure. Then Data changes to the
alien Ihat, who says Masaka is waking. And prostrates himself before
Dianna Troi. He has the android equivalent of multiple personality
disorder. Meanwhile the ship is being reconfigured. A piece of
equipment becomes a writhing nest to snakes. The alien artifact is
using the elements of the ship to create its own culture. Picard dons
the mask of Korgano that Data made and back Ihat off, restoring the
“Eye of the Beholder” A junior officer, Lieutenant Kwan,
suicides. He seemed normal almost to the end. Why did he suddenly
turn suicidal? Deanna talks with Maddy, Kwan's girlfriend, and with
his supervisor; both say he was normal. Then, in his workplace,
Deanna experiences a sudden suicidal urge. Later she revisits it,
with Worf as backup, and he disappears. She sees visions. Then Worf
is back. She may have experienced an eight year old incident there,
when the Enterprise was built. Later she talks with Worf, and they
kiss and make love. They discover human remains that may have
triggered memories. They plan to talk with Lieutenant Pierce, a
person of interest, Deanna suffers hallucinations and tries to commit
suicide. Worf saves her. She has relived an eight year old murder and
suicide sequence. That is evidently what happened to Lt. Kwan.
“Genesis” They are testing enhanced weapons, and a
torpedo goes astray. Worf is upset; he is evidently suffering
emotionally. He tears up his bed to sleep on the fragments. Deanna
seems to be suffering too. She takes a bath in her uniform. Others
are also reacting, including Riker. Something is spreading, causing
mischief. Picard and Data return to the ship, and find it weirdly
shut down. They find Deanna who has become an amphibian. The bridge
is unmanned. Riker is an animal. The crew is de-evolving, becoming
more primitive, victim of a virus. Some are transforming to
completely different creatures. Data manages to develop a cure than
slowly returns the ship's personnel to normal.
“Journey's End” Wesley Crusher returns to the Enterprise,
but seems ill at ease. Meanwhile there's a new treaty with the
Cardassians, and some colonies have to be moved, including an
American Indian one. But they don't want to go, as this echoes the
malign experience on Earth. Wesley meets with an Indian seer, who
enables him to have a vision of his late father, who tells him to
follow his own course. He resigns from the academy, knowing that
removing the Indians by force is wrong. Wesley tries to intervene,
and discovers that the Indian sage is actually The Traveler, his
alien mentor. They depart. Picard and the Cardassian leader confer
with the Indian chief, and they decide to let the planet leave the
Federation and became part of the Cardassian Empire. War is averted.
“Firstborn” Worf is trying to educate his son Alexander
about becoming a warrior, but the boy does not want to be a warrior.
So they attend a Klingon ceremony. That impresses the boy. But Worf
gets attacked, and his brother K'mtar intercedes, and also talks to
the boy about Klingon culture. Who tried to ambush Worf? The Klingon
Duras sisters Lursa and B'tar. So they go in search of them. Then
Alexander returns from 40 years in the future, as K'mtar, trying to
change the past, and make himself a warrior so he could protect Worf
from a later, successful attempt at assassination. If he failed, he
was going to kill himself as a child.
“Bloodlines” A small probe projects a Ferengi holograph:
the Bok Ferengi says
Picard killed his son 15 years ago, and now
he will kill Picard's son, Jason Vigo. Picard did not know he had a
son from a casual liaison 24 years ago, but it could be true. They
rescue Jason from a cave, a genetic test indicates that he is
Picard's son. Bok appears in Picard's room. Jason is not much
interesting in getting to know his father. Bok appears again,
swearing revenge. Jason has a neural condition that could kill him if
untreated, so they are treating him. Then Bok manages to beam Jason
to his own ship. Picard pursues and rescues him, but has learned he
is not actually his son; Bok faked the record. Picard and Jason part
“Emergence” Picard and Data are in a Shakespearean play
rendition in the holodeck when a physical train passes through: the
Orient Express. And the Enterprise jumped into warp just in time to
save it from disaster, without human direction. Also, at least seven
holodeck programs are overlapping scenes. The holodeck has control of
the ship. They help the train move forward, and it moves the ship
forward at warp 9. When a new life form occurs, it takes off, and
control of the ship returns to the regular crew.
Strike” Lieutenant Ro Laren
There is a distress call from a Cardassian ship, that seems to be
under attack by several small Federation ships. This is odd. The
attack by Maquis ships is in violation of the treaty. Someone is
trying to stir up war. They send Ro as an undercover agent, as her
history makes her credible as a rogue. She succeeds in hijacking
medical supplies the Maquis need for their mission. Now they trust
her. Instead of leading the Marquis into a trap, she aborts the
mission, saving them, and joins them. Picard is not pleased, but
“All Good Things...” Picard seems to be time traveling in
his own life, one moment being young,
being an old retired man in
He is with Tasha when they first met, then back in the present, then
back in the future. He
suffers from Irumodic
syndrome that messes up his awareness. He keeps seeing others
laughing at him. In the course of these shifts we gain a picture of
the future of these personnel. Worf is to be with Deanna. Picard
marries Beverly. And Q appears. He is putting Picard and mankind on
trial, and the decision is to destroy mankind. They go to the Devron
to investigate an anomaly in the neutral zone. Here time and
are merging and annihilating each other. Q says that
Picard causes the temporal anomaly at the beginning of life on Earth,
and the anomaly is destroying mankind. They create it by firing from
three different times, and destroy it by nullifying it from three
times. They have saved humanity. And The Next Generation series has
ended. I really enjoyed it, finding it a shade more intellectual and
sensitive than the original Star Trek, and with impeccable taste in
season 1, episode #1 “Emissary” This
is an outlying station tear the Cardassian border. The
station is attacked by the Borg, who have taken over Captain Picard.
The station is destroyed as Commander
escapes. Three years later they are reconstructing the station. Sisko
meets Picard on the Enterprise. Then the
Major Kira. Chief
O'Brien, formerly of the Enterprise. Lieutenant
Dax, who only appears to be an attractive young human woman. Sisko
and Dax travel through a stable wormhole. Meanwhile the station is
attacked by the Cardassians. Then the wormhole opens by the station,
Sisko returns. The Cardassians back off. The presence of the wormhole
this an area of strategic importance to the Federation, changing the
picture. Sisko, in doubt about remaining, has changed his mind. I
suspect the actor was chosen for his remarkable evocative
voice; it has a smoky
that stands out in a way his appearance does not.
Prologue” A Bajoran
chased by Cardassians and seeks refuge at the station. The
Cardassian envoy Garak demands that Tahna be turned over to them. The
Klingon women Lursa and B'tar arrive; Odo
disarms them and lets them be, but watches them. They are
troublemakers who show a lot of breast. Tahna is plotting to destroy
Kira fights him, making her choice of sides: supporting Sisko and the
#3 “A Man Alone” This is a murder mystery. A visitor that
Odo doesn't like is abruptly stabbed to death. It looks as if only a
shape shifter could have done it, and the only one on the station is
Odo, the head of security. Sisko relieves him of duty, though
he doesn't think he's guilty. Odo becomes a pariah. Then they find
that the murder victim was a clone; in effect he killed himself to
Chief O'Brien. Is working continuously to fix a glut of problems,
losing sleep. He starts not making sense. Kira takes him to Dr.
Bashir. He has become aphasic. Then it happens to Dax. And to others.
It's a virus that randomly reroutes mental signals. It quickly
spreads throughout the station. It seems to be an artificial
Bajoran virus left here 18 years ago. The doctor gets it. Sisko gets
it. It's up to Kira, Odo, and Quark. And Kira gets it. They find the
antidote, and things are slowly returning to normal.
#5 “Captive Pursuit” A small ship come through the
wormhole, transported 90,000 light years. The pilot is Tosk. His ship
needs repair. He refuses to reveal his mission. “Allow me to
die with honor,” he says. Another ship comes through the
wormhole. Three red suited figures beam aboard. This is a hunt, and
Tosk is the prey. He lives to outwit the hunters, until he dies with
honor. To be brought
back alive would be his greatest humiliation. O'Brien helps him to
the hunt. Sisko bawls him out, but tacitly
helps. He understands.
#6 “Q-Less” And of course Q messes in with Deep Space
Nine. Archaeologist Vash, an attractive and
once dated Picard,
also had an affair with Q, is
passing through on business. She has a way with men of any species.
But Q wants her back, and is guiding the space station into
the wormhole where it will be
torn apart, in the hope of persuading her to join him. Unless they
can divert the power drain that is doing it. They succeed, barely in
time. Q remains jilted.
#7 “Dax” Three strangers
knocking her out. They catch a ship out, but a tractor
beam hauls them back. Then they say they have a valid arrest
warrant for her, for treason and murder that occurred 30 years ago.
It is established that when a Trill goes to a new host, memories
remain complete. It is a symbiosis, neither governing the other.
Curzon Dax, the prior male, whom
Sisko knew well, was
an honorable man, incapable of what he is accused of. But his wife
has a different impression. But Jadzia refuses to defend herself.
Until the wife comes to testify that Curzon was in her bed at the
time he is accused of sending
the traitorous message. That ends
the case. Jadzia
did not want to tell.
#8 “The Passenger” Kira and Bashir answer a distress
call, going out in a ship. They rescue Kajada, who was guarding a
dangerous prisoner Vantika, who is dead—if he really is dead.
He may be using a portion of another person's brain. Maybe Kajada's.
Or Bashir's. A Federation security officer Primmin works with Odo.
Vantika takes over Bashir's body and hijacks a ship. After a tense
showdown they manage to enable Bashir to recover control and they
#9 “Move Along Home” A Wadi ship comes through the
wormhole, for First Contact. But all the Wadi want is to play games.
They turn out to be excellent gamblers, consistently winning. Then
Sisko, Dax, Bashir, and Kira get trapped in some alternate frame
where they have to play a child's game and go through mazes to make
progress. Odo is left to figure things out, along with Quark. They
are caught in a deadly game whose rules they don't know. They lose
but survive: it is only a game. The Wadi move on.
#10 “The Nagus” The Ferengi will have an important
conference at the station. This is of course mischief. The Grand
Nagus conducts it. There are millions of new worlds to exploit in the
Gamma Quadrant, that are not familiar with the dubious reputation of
the Ferengi. Quark is assigned to lead the effort as the new Grand
Nagus. That makes him a target for assassination by his brother, who
wants to take over. He is saved by his father, who isn't dead after
all. So he loses the position, which is surely just as well.
#11 “The Vortex” There is an altercation, and a killing,
and Odo learns that there may be other shape shifters like him in the
sector. But Croden, the only one who can take him to them, is a
conniving criminal being returned to his world for justice. They pick
up. Croden's daughter on the way, and Odo gives them passage to a
Vulcan planet, sparing Croden.
#12 “Battle Lines” Opaka the Kai visits and they take her
on a tour into the wormhole. Sisko, Kira, and Bashir operate the
ship. They encounter others, are fired on, and crash on a planet.
Opaka is killed. It's a prison planet. Then Opaka revives. Also a
dead prisoner. They are in chronic war. But they can't leave this
planet or they will die. But all they want is to destroy their enemy.
So they leave without Opaka. That is not a suitable answer.
#13 “The Storyteller” They are to negotiate a decision
between Paqu and Navot, who are chronically at war. The course of a
river has changed, butting land in the other territory. Who gets the
land? The representative from Paqu is an attractive young woman,
Varis. There is also a plague in a village on Bajor, so Bashir and
O'Brien got there. The Dal'Rok comes, resembling a twisted cloud of
smoke. Their dying leader, the Sirah, says O'Brien can stop it from
destroying the village, just by standing up to it. And it works, as
the Sirah dies. Now O'Brien must be the next Sirah, which he doesn't
want. Meanwhile the boys, Jake and Nog, get in trouble, trying to
cultivate Varis. O'Brien learns that the Dal'Rok is the manifestation
of the villagers fears. The Sirah unifies the villagers to
emotionally repel it. Finally the villagers accept the apprentice
Sirah as the real Sirah, letting O'Brien off the hook, and Varis
works out a compromise between the enemies.
#14 “Progress” The moon whose molten core they hope to
tap for energy was supposed to have been evacuated by now, but there
is a sign of life, so Nerys Kira beams down to check. There's a whole
family there, determined to stay. Meanwhile Jake and Nog try to
arrange a good deal for surplus merchandise, in this case
self-sealing stem bolts. Kira likes the old farmer and sympathizes
with his position, but she has to get him off the moon or he will
die. Sisko likes Kira and understands her position, but reminds her
that now she is on the other side. Finally she burns down the farm
house and takes the old man off the planet, doing her job the hard
way. It is touching and painful.
#15 “If Horses Were Wishes” O'Brien tells his daughter
the Rumpelstiltskin story. Then Rumpelstiltskin appears in the flesh.
Meanwhile Dax comes on to Bashir. He likes her very well, but doesn't
trust this, as she has rejected his prior advances. She's a duplicate
generated from his imagination; the real one still exists. In fact
the two Daxes get into an argument about who is a cold fish.
Delightful! A baseball player Sisko likes also appears from the
holodeck. And an emu bird. Two sexy women for Quark. Something has
turned the whole station into a holodeck of wish fulfillment. The
figments get together and discuss the situation. So do the real folk.
It's a rupture in space that is expanding; they need to end it. Kira
experiences a scary hallucination that does disappear. They finally
manage to end the rupture, and adjust their imaginations, and the
figments disappear. Mostly. It seems there is a species that is
observing the station, and this is part of that. A really fun
#16 “The Forsaken” Four ambassadors visit and are a
supreme bore. Betazoaid Lwaxana Troi, of prior series fame, is one of
them. She says her brooch has been stolen. Odo finds it on a relative
of the Ferengi, and Lwaxana is highly impressed. She comes on to him.
Meanwhile an alien probe arrives, tumbling through space; they check
it cautiously. The station computer malfunctions. Odo and Lwaxana are
trapped for hours in an elevator. He has to dissolve every 16 hours,
and the time comes upon him. She catches him in her apron. The
station finally gets back in working order. Odo and Lwaxana are
developing mutual respect. Another fun episode.
#17 “Dramatis Personae” a Klingon ship come through the
wormhole and explodes. They manage to beam one Klingon aboard. He
says “Victory!” and dies. Meanwhile Kira is convinced a
Valerian ship is bringing weapon grade Dolomide to the Cardassians to
be used against the Bajorans. She seems to be conspiring for power
against Sisko. But Sisko does not seem entirely rational either.
There seems to be a telepathic field that is causing people to choose
sides for a confrontation. That's what happened on the Klingon ship.
That's what destroyed it. Odo manages to eject the field into space,
and the personnel return to normal. Close call.
#18 “Duet” A freighter docks, and has an ill passenger,
Marritza, who is beamed directly to the infirmary. Kira checks, and
asks for immediate security. She recognizes him as a Cardassian
criminal whose disease must have been acquired at a notorious labor
camp, Gallitep. She interviews him, and his story differs; he was
only a file clerk. But when they check a picture, they discover that
he was not a file clerk, but the camp leader, Gul Darhe'el. He is
proud of what he did, running a completely orderly camp, killing
Bajorans. Further investigation indicates that Gul died six years
ago. The prisoner had surgical alteration of his face to resemble
Gul. He is actually Marritza, torn by guilt for the crimes he was
unable to stop. He's really on the same side as Kira. So they release
him—but a Bajoran murders him simply because he is a
Cardassian. A powerful episode, reminiscent of the horrors and
passions of World War II.
the Hands of the Prophets” O'Brien's wife is now a teacher,
teaching science, not religion. A Bajoran woman, Vedek (priestess)
Winn, says this is blasphemy and must not continue. The teacher
refuses to delete science from the program. So it is war. Most of
the Bajoran children stop attending the school. There also has been
a murder of a crewman. Then the school gets bombed. O'Brien's
Neela, a Bajoran, is evidently
part of a plot. It
is increasingly apparent that there is more here than a simple
difference of philosophy. It turns out to be a plot to prevent a
more liberal Vedek from assuming leadership. This is another
hard-hitting episode, addressing the problem
of religion vs. science. It is clear that Deep Space Nine is ready
to explore challenging issues. This
ends Season One. I am favorably impressed.
Homecoming” A Balsic freighter captain gives Quark an earring
to deliver to Bajor, saying any Bajoran
will know what it is. He takes it to Kira, who does recognize it. It
is from Bareil
a Bajoran resistance leader presumed dead; she must rescue him.
the emblem of The Circle appears; that movement believes that Bajor
should be for the Bajorans alone. Sisko is wary of that. Kira and
take a runabout to Bajor, theoretically to deliver a delicacy to an
important figure. They land at a work camp, finding a number of
Bajorans there. There are supposed to be no Baroran prisoners
remaining. They rescue six in a pitched battle. The Cardassian
commander apologizes and also returns
the four prisoners they had to leave behind. Li
Nalas has returned to unify Bajor at last. It badly needs it, but he
does not want to do it. He says his reputation is based on an
exaggerated story; he is not the man they think he is. He is
appointed to be the new Bajoran
liaison officer, replacing
Kira. That pleases none of them: Kira, Li Nalas, or Sisko.
S2 #2 “The Circle” It seems that Kira has been promoted,
but she is going extremely reluctantly, and none of the station
her to go. For
now she goes to the monastery, associating with Li Nalas. Bajoran
unrest continues. Odo, in the form of a rat, is evidently checking
out a ship suspected of running guns. Kira
is abducted from the monastery and learns that Minister
runs the Circle and means to take over the government of Bajor. Sisko
leads a raiding party on the Circle's headquarters and rescues Kira.
But ships are converging, and the station must be evacuated. The
Cardassians seem to be in the verge of taking over
Bajor again, and the station, and the invaluable wormhole.
S2 #3 “The Siege” Sisko means to stay to oversee the
theoretically. Actually to try to delay things long enough for the Cardassian plot
to be revealed. He releases the others to depart, but all of them
elect to remain. But they will evacuate their families. The
troops arrive and board the station, finding no one there. Until they
get quietly ambushed. Meanwhile Kira and Dax locate and activate a
ten year old shuttle and fight off other craft. Kira can pilot, and
Dax has memories from one of her former hosts that has technical
expertise. In the end they manage to show the Bajoran general that
the Cardassians are behind it, and that ends that plot. Bajor has
S2 #4 “Invasive Procedures” A plasma storm forces
a temporary evacuation of the station,
a skeleton crew. Klingons invade and take over the station, having
Quark disable the security system. What do they want? Their
leader Verad wants Dax—not
the girl, but the sympbiont. They set Verad and Dax up in parallel
beds in the infirmary and the symbiont is transferred. Now Verad has
Dax's memories, while Dax herself is dying. Mareel, the girlfriend,
is sure she remains so, but Sisko tells her she isn't. It
is apparent that Verad is not the same man he was. Then
Sisko shoots Verad, and they transfer the symbiont back to Dax. So
they have Dax back, whole.
S2 #5 “Cardassians” Garak is a Cardassian tailor who does
business with Bajorans, which requires considerable mutual trust, as
their species are passionate enemies. A Bajoran man and his adopted
Cardassian son, twelve year old Rugal, visit the station, and the boy
bites Garak on the hand. That precipitates an investigation. Gul
Dukat, the Cardassian leader, wants this clarified. There may be more
going on here than shows. They separate Rugal from his father in
order to learn more about him, and he stays with O'Brien and Keiko
and plays with their four year old daughter. He turns out to be the
son of a prominent Cardassian official, who thought he was dead and
is eager to reclaim him. Sisko must arbitrate to decide where the boy
goes. He decides to return him to his natural father, and the boy
reluctantly goes. It is as much a political decision as a family one.
S2 #6 “Melora” A new cartographer comes, pretty Melora
Pazlar. She is from a low gravity planet and needs a kind of powered
wheelchair to get about, but she is fiercely independent, declining
to accept much help. Meanwhile an old friend, Fallit Kot, comes to
see Quark, saying he has come to kill him. Melora entertains Bashir
in her non-gravity suite; she's not at all weak or helpless there. He
finds a treatment that enables her to walk normally in this gravity.
She must move on, but she has enjoyed her stay here, especially with
Bashir. And Quark buys his way out of trouble.
S2 #7 “Rules of Acquisition” Quark becomes a negotiator
for the Nagus, with the chance to make a fabulous profit. The Dosi
will hold a conference here. He enlists smart assistant, Pel—who
turns out, in private, to be female. Ferengi females are not allowed
out of the house, but she pretended to be male and has done well.
Until she fell in love with Quark. That complicates things. It is not
clear to me whether this torpedoes the big deal.
S2 #8 “Necessary Evil” This is a murder mystery. Quark
gets shot and robbed. His brother Rom gets accused, though he didn't
do it. Gul Dukat asks Odo to investigate the murder of a Bajoran. The
widow points out a suspect: a girl her husband was having an affair
with. Odo questions the girl, who says no, no affair, just an
acquaintanceship. Quark was shot for a list of names of Bajoran
collaborators with the Cardassians. Kira was involved, needing the
list to find out who was betraying the resistance. I am not clear
what happened when, who who killed whom, but Odo was quite sharp,
observing details few would catch, and did figure it out.
S2 #9 “Second Sight” Sisko meets lovely Fenna, who is
passing through. He offers to show her around the station, but she is
gone. Professor Seyetik visits, a terraformer. Fenna reappears,
highly approachable, but quickly departs when he asks her about
herself. She turns out to be Seyetik's wife Nidell! Only she says she
never met him before, and there's no record of anyone accompanying
Seyetik. Then Fenna reappears, says she thought she was looking for a
place to stay, but realizes now that she was looking for a person.
She kisses him, and disappears, fading out before him. Then she
reappears in his room. It turns out that Nidell is a
psycho-projector, and Fenna is her projection. Nidell is unconscious
and dying; Fenna doesn't know she is just energy, an illusion. The
professor, conscious of the situation, commits suicide, to free her.
But she fades, and Nidell can't remember her, and goes home. The
woman of Sisko's dreams was only a dream. My favorite episode so far.
S2 #10 “Sanctuary” The musician Varani plays so
beautifully that Quark is distraught; folks are listening instead of
eating, drinking, and gambling, and profits are down. Meanwhile a
ship is in trouble and stops for repairs, but the translators can't
handle their language so there is no verbal communication. Gradually
the translators catch on, and dialogue is established. They are the
Skyrreeans. Three million of their people need to be brought through
the Eye of the Universe—the wormhole--here. They were virtual
slaves to another culture, but escaped what that culture was
destroyed by a third culture. Now they are refugees. There seems to
be an ideal planet for them, but the Skirreeans want to go to Bajor.
They refuse to listen to reason. They go to the other planet, feeling
S2 #11 “Rivals” Odo arrests a con man, Martus. In a cell
with an ailing man who dies, he takes a gambling device that
resembles a child's toy. Meanwhile Bashir plays racketball with
O'Brien and wipes him out. Martus, released, resumes his con man
ways. He's good at it, and Quark resents it. But a run of bad luck
occurs at the station, with people suffering minor injuries, computer
foul-ups, etc. Quark promotes a big match between Bashir and
O'Brien, to raise money. Dax discovers that neutrinos on the station
are spinning the wrong way. This seems to affect luck, making highly
improbable things happen. The “toy” is doing it. They
destroy the toy and normalcy returns.
S2 #12 “The Alternate” Dr. Mora Pol comes to the station.
He was the scientist at the lab where they were figuring Odo out.
Mora thinks they may have discovered the origin of Odo's kind. They
go there and beam up a stone monument—and the ground shakes and
they barely escape. They have a life form, but it escapes and trashes
the lab. Mora is ailing. There is a 43 second gap in the security
camera record. Then a blob attacks Bashir. Mora suspects that the
blob is actually from Odo, when he's in his gelatinous state. He's
right. They lure the thing into a force field and it materializes
into Odo. They eliminate the aspect that is messing him up; he should
be okay now.
S2 #13 “Armageddon Game” Bashir and O'Bcien are helping
another station eliminate their stockpile of gene disruptors, the
harvesters, left over from a war. One more weapon remains to be
destroyed. Then raiders shoot the personnel; only Bashir and O'Brien
escape, barely. Ambassadors tell Sisko that O'Brien accidentally
caused a security device to flood the station with radiation and kill
everyone aboard. That's a lie; something more is evidently afoot.
They are out to kill all who know anything about the harvester virus,
so that it can't ever be replicated, and that includes Bashir and
O'Brien. And O'Brien has been infected by the harvester virus. Keiko
views the recording and realizes that part of it is wrong. Sisko
catches on and he and Dax manage to rescue them.
S2 #14 “Whispers” O'Brien is reviewing a wrongness. Keiko
and their little girl Molly are acting oddly, and so are others. He
suspects that they are not the real ones. He tries to check via the
computer, but access is denied to key files, as of his return from
the Parada system. He talks with Odo, who promises to check into it.
But then Odo demurs, and he realizes that Odo, also, has been
compromised. Then Sisko and others come, and he fights them off and
escapes. But now he is a fugitive and they are searching for him. He
beams himself to a shuttle and takes off. He contacts the admiral,
who tells him to turn around and go back to the station. Instead he
enters the wormhole and goes to the Parada system. He is pursued, but
hides, then beams down to Parada II, were he is caught and turns out
to be a replica himself. They don't know what his programmed mission
was, but the replica believed he was the original. I love there
S2 #15 “Paradise” They explore for good locales to set up
new colonies. Sisko and O'Brien beam to a promising forested planet
and are challenged. People were on their way to colonize elsewhere
and had to land here, where no electronic equipment works, and have
been here ten years. They have made a viable community governed by
Alexus, but there are aspects that are not nice. It is really a
dictatorship, masked as beneficial reforms. They punish Sisko because
O'Brien tried to make his transporter work. O'Brien continues, and
locates the buried device that suppresses technological activity, and
turns it off. Now their phasers work. Now rescue is at hand, and all
can be evacuated. But most of the community elects to remain.
S2 #16 “Shadowplay” Odo and Dax go to investigate odd
particles beyond the wormhole. Dax hints that a woman is interested
in Odo, but he's not interested in any romance. They learn that 22
people have mysteriously disappeared over the last few months. Odo
interviews Taya, the child daughter of the last one to disappear, and
really likes her. She is really curious about his shape changing, but
he demurs. It turns out that the whole village is populated by
holograms: illusory people, who don't know they're not real. In fact
they have been marrying and having children. Exactly what is reality,
anyway? These people seem real enough. But the projector is breaking
down. That's why they are disappearing. Dax fixes it, and they are
all back. Before he leaves, Odo performs one shape change for Taya,
becoming a fancy jug, then returning to human.
S2 #17 “Playing God” Arjin comes to visit Jadzia Dax.
He's a prospective host for a trill, here for field training. Dax has
a reputation for eliminating candidates. On the way, their shuttle
collides with something, and they bring it in to the lab for
analysis. It is a proto universe, destined to grow into a new
universe. As it does, it will destroy this one. They need to contain
it. But there's an indication of life in it, which could be advanced.
They don't want to risk destroying it. They will take it back through
the wormhole, to get it to where it can safely expand. This requires
precision flying, but they get through. Dax will give Arjin a good
S2 #18 “Profit and Loss” A Cardassian ship is in trouble.
They bring it in and work on repairs. On it is a pretty Cardassian
woman, Natima. Quark knows her and loves her, from seven years ago,
but she wants nothing to do with him. The ship was attacked by
another Cardassian ship. It seems they had an affair, but he stole
money from her and she felt betrayed. Garak, a Cardassian who has
been here, says the visitors are rebels that the government is
hunting down. Quark has a cloaking device that can help them escape,
but he wants Natima to stay with him. She agrees; she does love him.
But the provisional Bajoran government has agreed to turn them over,
and this is a Bajoran station; their will governs. They depart, using
the cloaking device. Maybe Natima will return one day.
S2 #19 “Blood Oath” Dax in a prior host, as Curzon, swore
a blood oath with three Klingons for vengeance against the Albino.
Now they have found the hidden enemy. 80 years ago they set out to
eliminate the predators, but one escaped and killed Dax's godson.
Curzon swore vengeance for that. Jadzia Dax inherited that oath.
Sisko tells her not to go, but she joins the three Klingons and they
raid the Albino's well defended compound. They kill the Albino, but
the Klingons die in the action. Jadzia returns to resume her duties,
and Sisko does not challenge her.
“The Maquis. Part I” A
implodes as it departs the station. It can't be an accident. The
Cardassian Gul Dukat
appears, saying he wants to help
Sisko. Indeed, something is going on. Meanwhile
Quark dialogues with the pretty
wants to buy weapons. There is a group called the Marquis involved.
Sisko, Kira, Gul Dukat and others get abducted. There is real
Maquis Part II” It seems that Sisko's friend Cal has joined the
Maquis. Sisko refuses to join him. Sisko and a party rescue Dukat.
Thus Sisko and Dukat become unusual allies. Dukat is quite effective
in hardball negotiation. Quark lectures Sakonna about sensible
strategy, and he makes sense: better to establish peace now, than
escalate to war. Sisko manages to stifle this outbreak, but fears he
has only delayed the inevitable.
#22; “The Wire” the Cardassian Garak is ill. It seems
that the Cardassian Obsidian Order is involved, and that's devious
mystery. Something has been implanted in him that alleviates the pain
of the local environment. He was once important in the Obsidian
Order. Bashir is determined to find a cure. He does, and Garak
#23; “Crossover” This is an alternate reality episode,
where the actors get to play entirely different roles. Some nice ones
are now mean ones. Those are fun. Bashir and Kira are returning in a
shuttle from a spot mission, but run afoul of an anomaly in the
wormhole. They discover the station with the same personnel playing
different roles. It is an alternate reality where Cardassians and
Klingons are allied. Kira talks with herself in this frame, who is
the cold-blooded leader, and her alternate understands the situation.
Several others do too, but they are playing their own roles. Sisko
laughs all the time. Garak wants her help for him to take over the
station, but betrayal is treacherous. Sisko helps them reach a
shuttle and escape. Oh, are they glad to be back!
#24; “The Collaborator” Vedek Bareil, Kira's boyfriend,
is visiting. In two days he will be elected kai. He is running
against Vedek Winn, and there was trouble the last time she was on
the station. Bareil suffers a warning vision of his betrayal and
death. Kira investigates, and learns that there are conflicting
versions of who was responsible for a massacre of Bajorans. Vedek
Beku? Another Vedek? A key section of the records is restricted, and
the files erased. By Vedek Bareil? Yes, he betrayed the rebels in
order to save many times their number of innocent Bajorans. But is
that all? No, Kira learns that he is accepting the falls for the late
Kia Opaka, to preserve her reputation.
#25; “Tribunal” O'Brien and Keiko take a vacation, but
their shuttle is intercepted by the Cardassians, who arrest him for
some undefined crime, his execution already scheduled in the manner
of their law. His lawyer is Kovat. Odo will be his nestor, or
adviser, as he qualifies by Cardassian law. Someone has planted
weapons in his runabout. Sisko investigates and discovers the
Cardassian operative on the station, presents him to the court, and
the judge realizes that the ploy is over and releases O'Brien. That's
how you handle a stacked deck.
#26; “The Jem'Hadhar” The final episode of Season Two.
Jake and Nog have a science project, and Quark insists on coming
along, ruining Sisko's planned father/son time. Then on the forest
planet Sisko and Quark get captured by a tribe that was chasing a
woman, Eris. She's telekinetic, but the Dominion puts a collar on her
to suppress her talent. The two boys are not captured, and get to the
shuttle. The station comes to the rescue. O'Brien beams aboard the
shuttle. Quark picks the lock on Eris' collar and frees her, and she
then frees the three of them from confinement. Then the shuttle beams
them aboard. They escape, but discover that Eris is actually an agent
of the Dominion. She beams away. The mischief has only begun. We'll
surely see it in Season Three
watched two seasons of Deep Space 9, I have to say that to my
surprise I like it just as well as The Next Generation, and perhaps
slightly better. In due course I will be watching Voyager and
Enterprise, measuring them against the standard set by the first