Saturday, May 31, 2003

Tyr Anasazi, out of Victoria by Barbarossa.

Tamerlane Anasazi, out of Freya by Tyr.

Michael Wilson, out of Joyce by Fredrick. (Yeah, I know, my dad's name is spelled Fredrick, not the usual Frederick. What can I say? We're freaks. Freaks and puny humans, not Nietzscheans.)
At this point, I'm torn. I want to keep developing new allies and enemies, but I've already got over a hundred episodes of Odyssey. The Bald Mountain made the excellent point that I want to leave room for the other writers, theoretical though they may be, to work, since they will invariably have good ideas that would never occur to me. Well, at any rate I want to keep developing two species, the Ascendant and the Phos; so, I'll just wait and see where they take me.

Episode Guide
Season Four
"Reign of Khan, Part II" - While the human coalition launches a D-Day-sized offensive against the seat of Khan's power, New Dehli, the senior staff race to destroy their missing shuttlecraft. Neelix disobeys a direct order and dives the Ulysses into Earth's atmosphere in a desperate attempt to save the away team; as the ship swoops over Khan's palace-fortress, the viewscreen shows a single spaceship, the Botany Bay, launching into orbit. The timeline repaired, Nick races the ship back through the wormhole before it collapses. Only too late do the crew discover they have a stowaway, one of Khan's rivals, Agrippa.

"Perchance to Dream" - The crew's dreams are invaded by a race of malevolent energy beings. Unable to wake crewmembers once they are asleep, Doc forces Benicio to stay awake for days until they can hunt down the aliens' base. ("Waking Moments")

"The Superior Intellect" - Agrippa makes his move to assume command of the Ulysses, a scheme he's been preparing since he realized he was stranded in the future. Captain McKenna opens his eyes to the mistake of eugenic supermen in every century: underestimating Starfleet captains.

"Message in a Bottle" - The Ulysses happens upon an alien communications network that spans halfway across the galaxy and, checking to see that coast is clear, hack into it. They detect a Federation starship on the far end of the network and transmit the only signal strong enough the endure the alien comm protocols: Doc's program. He arrives aboard the U.S.S. Sulu, two years into a five-year deep space mission; the Sulu is in dire straits herself, as her scans of the network have destablized the power source of the local comm exchange: an artificial singularity. Doc delivers official reports for Starfleet and personal letters for the crew's families, but is transferred back to the Ulysses before the Sulu is out of the woods. ("Message in a Bottle")

"Predators" - The builders of the comm network detect the ship's illegal hack and come to investigate. The builders, a race of big-game hunters called the Hirogen, do not find the ship and move off in search of their prey. (This is the first appearance of the Hirogen.) The Ulysses shadows the Hirogen to the wreck of a Gorn ship, which Neelix recognizes as having seen brought to the Delta Quadrant by the Caretaker. The Ulysses locates the last survivor, Grak Xor, and rescues him before the Hirogen can make the kill. (from "Hunters")

"The Killing Game, Parts I and II" - The Hirogen Alpha from "Predators" returns with a full hunting party and this time the Ulysses is his prey. The ship plays cat-and-mouse through several star systems until the Hirogen overwhelm the ship's defenses and board. A massive, desperate firefight ensues as the crew struggle to keep their heads off the Hirogen's trophy walls. Grak Xor enthusiastically avenges his slaughtered crewmates while Agrippa, freed from house-arrest in his quarters, improbably defeats a massive (7', 350 lbs.) Hirogen in hand-to-hand combat. Defending Sickbay, Kes demonstrates a remarkable increase in her telekinesis. Eventually, the predators become the prey. A great big shoot-'em-up, just what is needed now and then. (from "The Killing Game, Parts I and II")

"Resistance" - Captain Mckenna confronts that which she has feared since entering the Delta Quadrant: a Borg cube. Before the ship is assimilated, however, an alien vessel decloaks and engages the cube: it is a warship of the mysterious Shadows. (This is the first appearance of the Tehlyri.) The Ulysses moves in to assist, but is forced off when her shields are disabled. Moments before the cube inevitably overwhelms the Tehlyri ship, the latter beams over a small party and kamikazes into the cube at warp speed, utterly destroying it. Crown Princess Rissa explains that the Tehlyri Imperium has successfully resisted the Collective for two centuries, greatly impressing the crew. Neelix is surprised to actually meet "the Shadows," whom he had considered mythical.

"Black Flag" - The Ulysses is attacked by something the crew thought they'd never see again, a Vidiian cruiser, oddly emblazened with a skull-and-crossbones. Hunter Cole, exiled since the failure of his mutiny, is back. His crew of pirates execute a Maquis-trademark raid against the ship's armory and make a quick getaway, but our heroes track them down and recover or destroy everything they stole. However, Cole is able to convince Grak Xor to leave the Ulysses and join him on the Revenge.

"War Machine" - While in pursuit of a massive, mysterious warship that had killed thousands aboard a nearby orbital habitat, the Ulysses is contacted by an identical warship. (This is the first appearance of the Ascendant.) Aboard is Protocol Axis, a security officer of the Ascendant Imperative, a machine civilization. The marauding warship is controlled by a renegade A.I. calling itself Zero-One. While comparing and contrasting himself and his nonsentient-A.I. ship to Seventh Prix and Doc, Axis is aided by the crew in destroying Zero-One's ship and taking the unembodied virus into custody.

"Alone" - For the month long voyage through a strange barrier that emits a lethal form of radiation, the crew are placed in specifically constructed stasis chambers, while Neelix, who is not vulnerable to the radiation, and Doc are left to run the ship. Spending all that time with only the Sickbay-bound Doc for company, Neelix reflects that the barrier is the farthest he had ever journeyed before joining the crew; thus, he can no longer act as Captain McKenna's guide or local expert. Adding to his troubles, he starts seeing things. ("One")

"Kingdom of Shadows, Part I" - Guided by Princess Rissa, the Ulysses arrives at the secret, hidden homeworld of the Tehlyri resistance. Gathered in orbit are thousands of ships from hundreds of cultures, refugees and warriors from countless worlds assimilated by the Borg. Having befriended the princess, the crew are greeted by Emperor Vorei, who recognizes our heroes as kindred spirits and generously offers to refit and resupply the ship. With Dan as Best Man, K'rena as Maid of Honor, and Neelix as Father of the Bride, Nick and Kes are married by Captain McKenna. The emperor's finest general, an El Aurian named Marzian Guinan, has finally convinced his liege to mount a more active resistance to the Borg and the Tehlyri fleet is preparing to strike. Awed by the nobility of the Tehlyri's centuries old mission, the crew join the quest and the Ulysses follows the fleet into a transwarp conduit, bound for the Borg's next target: the throneworld of the powerful Voth Hegemony.

More to Come
Seasons five, six, and seven. After the "Episode Guide," we'll have a final "Dramatis Personae," covering both friends and foes, and after that I don't know what else I can really do regarding Star Trek: Odyssey.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Two Items
a) John Walsh is Batman. Think about it, one bad thing happened to him and so he dedicated his entire life to fighting an all-out war on crime. Bruce Wayne lost his parents, John Walsh lost his son. In both cases, thousands upon thousands of criminals reaped the whirlwind, though they had personally done nothing to the man. John Walsh is Batman. Never believe anyone who tells you there aren't really superheroes.

b) Fewer than two days until Finding Nemo. God bless the fine folks at Pixar.
There weren't any new comics today, they've been delayed until tomorrow because of Memorial Day. The second season of Enterprise concluded last week; so, there's no new episode tonight. This travesty is supposed to be Wednesday? What the hell day is this?

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

If you like Star Trek, you'll love Star Trek: Odyssey. If you don't like Star Trek, well, fuck you.

The Plot Thickens
In the seventh season write-up, there is an episode called "The Devil You Know." It features a group of extradimensional aliens who can go blow-for-blow with the Borg; this concept was borrowed from Voyager, the so-called Species 8472. I've determined that's all a load of hogwash. When we get to season seven, there will still be a "The Devil You Know," but it will showcase an all-new adversary for the Borg, much more akin to something from Babylon 5.

Episode Guide
Season Two
"Lifesigns" - (This episode takes place early in the season, before "Children of the Phage.") The Ulysses answers a distress call and beams over a Vidiian near death, though from physical trauma, not the phage. Placing her body in stasis, Doc transfers the woman's brain patterns into a hologram. While they work together to repair her body, the woman, Dr. Danara Pel, begins to have feelings for the Doctor. Kes and several others encourage him to explore both a relationship with Danara and his own "humanity." Doc, however, has no desire to be more human, nor human at all, and rejects Danara, insisting he isn't a lifeform of any kind. ("Lifesigns")

Season Three
"Marooned, Part II" - Korat cannot believe that Kazon Pasha left Captain McKenna and the crew alive, even though stranded. Finally having had enough, she assassinates Kazon and declares herself leader of all the pashates which had gathered to capture the Ulysses. She directs the ship back to the primative planet to finish the crew off. Meanwhile, Nick and Neelix have reached Haakonian space and been given a squadron of fighters to help retake the ship. Guided by Kes's powerful telepathy, they locate the crew; picking up the captain, K'rena, and Sovok, they set off to reclaim their ship. With Doc and Suder conducting a campaign of sabotage, the Falcon and Haakonians intercept the Ulysses, culminating in a dramatic duel between McKenna and Korat. ("Basics, Part II")

"To Boldly Go" - This is the 30th anniversary of Star Trek episode (1966-1996). Elisabeth and Sovok celebrate the anniversary of their families' friendship: two generations of Vulcans and four generations of humans. The episode takes place in 2267, aboard the U.S.S. Endeavour NCC-1895, highlighting the day that Captain Elisabeth Rose (McKenna, playing her own great-grandmother) and her Chief Engineer Commander Sonak (Sovok, playing his father) met her new science officer and future husband, Lt. Angus McKenna (Nick). The whole cast in original series costume, a salute and thanks to the original series. (from DS9's "Trials and Tribble-ations")

"False Profits" - In an episode of The Next Generation, "The Price," a pair of Ferengi were stranded in the Delta Quadrant. The Ulysses catches up on what they've been doing for the last seven years. ("False Profits")

"Devil's Island" - Nick and Dan are accused of being terrorists and sentenced to a hellish prison planet. Captain McKenna proves their innocence, but still the authorities refuse to release them; so, our heroes launch a daring jailbreak, taking on an entire world. ("The Chute")

"Before and After" - Kes experiences time in reverse from the moment of her death, years in the future. She sees her possible family to be and gains valuable insight into the time-twisting Krenim, this season's villains (wink). Alt history, time travel, big fun. ("Before and After")

"Sacred Ground" - When Nick is rendered comatose in an alien sanctuary, the only way to heal him is for Elisabeth to participate in a religious test of faith. She seeks advise, learning about the Talaxian pantheon, the Ocampa's worship of the Caretaker, Vulcan philosophy, and Benicio's Catholic grandmother. ("Sacred Ground")

"The Fugitive" - At a space station outside a dangerous nebula, the crew learn that Neelix is a wanted criminal. We see flashbacks of a deal gone sour with his old friend Wixiban, and the shady character Neelix used to be. Citing the good man he's become since joining the crew, Captain McKenna refuses to turn him over, even though it costs the ship needed supplies. ("Fair Trade")

"The Joining" - In a Krenim attack, Lt. (j.g.) Lenza Prix is mortally wounded. Heightening the tragedy, she is a joined Trill. Though Lenza is doomed, Doc believes he can save the Prix symbiont; however, there is no one onboard who could act as a suitable host. K'rena devises a solution: a Praelor robot; she and Doc work together to modify the design to sustain the biological functions of the symbiont. The resulting cyborg has a difficult time adjusting to its new life, but Prix eventually concludes that the artificial brain of the robot is sufficiently interesting to serve as a host and adopts a masculine personality and the name Seventh Prix.

"Warlord" - An alien tyrant transfers his consciousness into Kes's body and uses her in his coup d'etat. However, he underestimates the "little girl" and finds her more than he can handle. ("Warlord")

"Unnatural Disasters" - While investigating a series of seemingly natural disasters, the crew determine they're being caused by a hostile race, determined to drive the planet's miners away and claim the resources for themselves. Meanwhile, Neelix and Sovok are trapped in an orbital elevator with an unknown murderer and everyone aboard is a suspect. ("Rise")

"The Year of Hell, Parts I and II" - Having had several unpleasant run-ins with the imperialist Krenim Republic, the Ulysses encounters a ship unlike any other: the entire ship is a temporal weapon. Commanded by the mad genius Annorax, the Restoration has the ability to rewrite history; their temporal weapon retroactively removes its target from history, thus realigning every event that target had ever effected. Themselves isolated from the changing timelines, Annorax's crew are attempting to restore their embittered captain's long-dead wife, an irresponsible use of temporal technology that has alienated their fellow Krenim. The Ulysses is protected due to the chrono-torpedo that caused Kes's jumps in "Before and After," but suffers the consequences of a universe gone mad. After enduring months of shifting, savage timelines that leave the ship in shambles, Captain McKenna is able to lead the Krenim fleet to Annorax and destroy the Restoration. The ship's destruction leaves Annorax imprisoned in a timeless limbo, though Captain McKenna tells the Krenim he is dead. ("Year of Hell, Parts I and II")

"Shanghaied" - An innocent and confused alien suddenly appears on the Ulysses, while at the same instant Nick disappears. While the crew fruitlessly search for a cause, more crewman are exchanged for aliens. Too late, they realize the aliens are taking over the ship; they are pacifist pirates who seize ships by bloodlessly replacing the crews. While the aliens auction off the ship, the crew work to escape from their idyllic prison. ("Displaced")

"In the Land of the Blind" - On a supply mission, K'rena and Dan make an emergency landing on a planet surrounded by a dangerous energy field. They encounter a society composed of survivors from other shipwrecked vessels, lead by a Krenim engineer. A decade earlier, his scoutship had crashed and in the interim he has used his engineering skills to rule over the others. Being the only one capable of fixing their communications arrays and signalling for help, he has declined to do so, preferring the power of his new position. Remember the old saw: in the land of the blind, the man with one eye is king. K'rena and Dan, though, have no intention of remaining in his junkyard kingdom.

"A Single Seed" - K'rena and Dan propose a bold plan: intersplicing parts salvaged from the Restoration with the Sikarian trajector (as seen in "The Long Road Home"), they believe they can construct an artificial wormhole generator. A guardedly optimistic Captain McKenna approves and soon the Ulysses is outfitted with a prototype wormhole generator and Annorax's temporal sensors, which allow them to scan the timeline and literally watch the many tangled threads of history. They generating a wormhole and send through a probe, which, though battered by the journey, returns images of Earth. Still unsure of in which year the wormhole's terminus is located, Elisabeth sends Benicio and Dan through to ascertain the date. Their shuttle is damaged by the passage and crashes on Earth. As soon as it crashes, the temporal sensors show massive change to the timeline; Benicio and Dan crashed during the Eugenics Wars, giving both victory and dominion over the earth to Khan Noonian Singh.

"Reign of Khan, Part I" - Khan won the Eugenics Wars. Zefram Cochrane never made first contact with the Vulcans. There is no Federation. The Empire of Khan, ruled by a succession of clones of the great man, reaches across the stars with an iron grip. The Ulysses cannot allow that to happen. The ship travels through the wormhole, emerging in 1996 mere hours behind Benicio and Dan. After a lopsided firefight with several antiquated spaceships, ironically of the human coalition, Captain McKenna and the senior staff beam down while Neelix hides the ship behind the dark side of the Moon. On the planet, they try to locate Benicio, Dan, and the timeline-polluting shuttlecraft. The last image of the season is our heroes, held at gunpoint by a genetic superman, Agrippa Ramirez.

Friday, May 23, 2003

Star Trek: Odyssey will, in the end, consist of 176 episodes, the same length as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Star Trek: Voyager was only 172 episodes long; UPN screwed around with its schedule and cut the first season so that only sixteen episodes aired, though twenty had been produced. The remaining four episodes were integrated into the second season, and the four extra episodes from season two were integrated into season three. To correct this deviation, only twenty-two episodes were produced for season three, totally twenty-six broadcast episodes including the refugees from season two. So, Odyssey's first season will be twenty episodes long, with each subsequent season composed of twenty-six episodes.

This entire endeavor has been about showing how good the Voyager concept could have been; so, as a tip of the hat to the writers, flawed though their work was, I have borrowed and improved many of their episodes. Where I have done this, I will credit the original episode by title. Example: "The Stars My Destination, Parts I and II"... ("Caretaker, Parts I and II"). Some episodes are more loosely borrowed than others; these will be denoted: "Reign of Khan, Parts I and II"... (sorta "Future's End, Parts I and II"). Please see for complete writing credits.

Episode Guide
Season One
"The Stars My Destination, Parts I and II" - The two-hour TV movie series premeire. We meet the crew and watch as both Torres's Maquis ship and later the U.S.S. Ulysses are pulled into the Delta Quadrant by the Caretaker. The crew meets the Talaxian trader-cum-pirate Neelix, the deadly Vidiians, and Kes, Neelix's Ocampa girlfriend. There is an adventure in the Ocampa city, the Caretaker's motives and mission are revealed, and the Starfleet and Maquis crews learn to work together to save the naive Ocampa from the Vidiians. In the end, the Caretaker is dead, the Vidiians want blood, and both crews are now living together aboard the Ulysses as they try to make their way home. ("Caretaker, Parts I and II")

"Chain Reaction" - The Ulysses comes across a recently devastated civilization and through a temporal anomaly paradoxically learn that they caused it. After retroactively preventing the disaster, the crew follow the Prime Directive and do not make contact with the pre-warp society. ("Time and Again")

"The Bright City" - A peaceful city is not what it appears to be when the crew learns non-corporeal beings have forcibly possessed the humanoid population and try to do the same to them.

"Horror Show" - Desperate for supplies, the crew sneak into a Vidiian-occupied colony. They witness the horror the Vidiians have inflicted upon the natives and decide they must step in. Aiding a local resistance cell, they destroy the Vidiian government house and cover the escape of the colonists. Benicio backs Captain McKenna's decision to intercede, despite Sovok's objections; it is one of the first times McKenna and Torres have agreed.

"Ex Post Facto" - Nick is accused of a murder he didn't commit and it is up to Sovok to clear his name and uncover the conspiracy to frame him. ("Ex Post Facto")

"Eye of the Needle" - Using a randomly happened upon wormhole, the crew are able to make contact with a Romulan science ship in the Beta Quadrant. However, because wormholes are breaches in both time and space, the Romulans are twenty years in the Ulysses's past. Nevertheless, a message for Starfleet is given to the Romulan captain, who promises he will deliver it when the time is right. ("Eye of the Needle")

"Lights in the Sky" - The only source of desperately needed supplies is a pre-warp planet, which the Prime Directive forbids the ship from contacting. A compromise is reached when local broadcasts speak of the mysterious sighting of "unidentified flying objects" by many people. The crew disguise the ship to match the local UFOs and head toward the surface. (This is the first time we see the Ulysses's atmospheric flight abilities.) Encountering some locals, the crew pretend to be "visiters" and make off with the supplies they need; of course, later very few people on the planet believes the wild stories of visiters from the stars.

"Life Eternal" - Accidental interference with alien burial rituals leaves Dan stranded in another dimension, where his very presence causes a crisis of faith. He is eventually retrived, but the dimensional shift has left him able to "see" certain frequencies of the subspace spectrum. ("Emanations")

"The Long Road Home" - The crew meet a hedonistic society who posses a transporter with a range of 40,000 light years, halfway back to the Alpha Quadrant. The Sikarian canon of laws does not permit the sale of the technology; so, Sovok, Cole, and K'rena's Starfleet rival, Joe Carey, spearhead an effort to illegally purchase the device from a group of dissidents. The attempt to use the "trajector" fails and the Ulysses is further damaged. The Sikarians explain that the trajector only works within the planet's atmosphere; insulted by the illegal purchase, they insist that the ship leave orbit. McKenna disciplines the conspirators, expressing her particular disappointment in Sovok, whom she considers one of her closest friends. ("Prime Factors")

"Dominion Over All" - The crew are greeted by a group of friendly aliens living in an idyllic city: Vidiians not infected by the phage. Sadly, due to blackmail by the infected Vidiians, it's a trap and the Ulysses only escapes by forcing a Vidiian ship to crash into the city, thus introducing the phage. Elisabeth quotes Poe to Benicio, "And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all."

"In Wartime" - A Haakonian ship is rescued from Vidiians and the sole survivor is the man who killed Neelix's entire family, Dr. Ma'Bor Jetrel. The Talaxians had lost a war against the Haakonians fifteen years earlier; they had surrendered after the Haakonians devastated the Talaxian moon of Rinax with a weapon of mass destruction called a metreon cascade, invented by Jetrel. Though hailed by his people as a great conquerer, Jetrel has been crushed by guilt of "murdering" over 300,000 Talaxians; he has been trying for fifteen years to atone for that one day. Neelix reflects upon his service as a fighter pilot in the war, which he admits to Kes his people had started with a sneak attack upon the peaceful Haakonians. Jetrel's attempt to reconstitute those disintegrated by the cascade fails and he confesses he is dying from a slower-acting form of the cascade, which he had acquired by developing the weapon. Neelix remains too bitter to forgive the Haakonian, who insists he does not deserve forgiveness. ("Jetrel")

"Maelstrom" - The Ulysses encounters a Talaxian convoy in dire straits; one by one, the ships are being drawn into a spatial anomaly and smashed to bits. In classic Starfleet style, Captain McKenna decides to rescue them. This causes major tension onboard, as the ship is very nearly destroyed for, many argue, no good reason. This marks a turning point for Neelix, who had previously stuck around just to be with Kes.

"All the Pasha's Treasure" - The crew conduct the survivors of the Talaxian convoy to their destination, the first world of the Sankur-Hobii. (This is the first appearance of the Sankur.) On the way, they are attacked by a rival pashate, the Sankur-Nistrim, and meet its leader, Kazon Pasha. Jabin Pasha of the Hobii is grateful to the crew for rescuing and defending the convoy. Things take a nasty and complicating turn when the Nistrim draw the Hobii fleet away and then launch a raid on Jabin Pasha's treasury. (This is also the first appearance of the Sankur's technician-slaves, the Trabe.)

"The Mutiny, Part I" - Hunter Cole is not happy that Captain McKenna "wastes" her time freeing slaves from evil energy beings, helping "organ donors" escape from the Vidiians, and easing the consciences of dying Haakonian weapons engineers; she should be expending all her effort tracking down the Second Caretaker and then forced her to return the Ulysses to the Alpha Quadrant. More than that, though, he is enraged that his friend and former commander Benicio has sold out to "that Starfleet witch." He is not alone in his frustration with being stranded in the Delta Quadrant. Moving boldly, the mutineers seize the ship and assault the bridge, but cannot stop McKenna from using her command codes to lock out the main computer. Still, at the end of season one, Hunter Cole controls the Ulysses.

Season Two
"The Mutiny, Part II" - Sovok escapes from his quarters and leads a campaign of sabotage, while Cole's skeleton crew stuggle to maintain control. However, when Cole captures and executes one of the saboteurs, the mutiny falls apart. Cole murders Joe Carey, his chief aid, but cannot escape before McKenna tracks him down. Faced with a dilemma, McKenna cannot simply put twenty-five people, a fifth of her already undersized crew, off the ship, nor can she lock them in the brig for seventy years. The majority of the mutineers are stripped of rank and confined to their quarters when not on duty for six months; however, Cole and five others are deemed too great a threat to stay. The Ulysses lands near the outskirts of an alien spaceport and leaves them behind. In the spirit of reconciliation, Captain McKenna allows Lt. Carey to be buried with full Starfleet honors.

"Secrets and Lies" - Cesca, Benicio's old flame from back in their Maquis days, is revealed to be working with the Sankur-Nistrim, attempting to give them a transporter. Before she defects, but after Sovok suspects, Benicio tries to defend Cesca, who once aboard a Nistrim ship reveals her true name to be Elar Korat; she is not a Bajoran freedom fighter, but an operative of the Cardassian Obsidian Order assigned to infiltrate the Maquis. Between Sovok working for Starfleet and "Cesca" for the Obsidian Order, Benicio laments to K'rena, "Was anyone on that ship working for me?" "I was, jefe. Always." ("State of Flux")

"Deadlock" - A spatial anomaly (love 'em, don't'cha?) creates out-of-sync duplicates of the Ulysses and the crew. While the two ships are destroying each other, both Docs are delievering a baby in Sickbay. The Dan of one ship and the baby from the other are killed, but one ship, with both aboard, survives when the other sacrifices herself by self-destructing. ("Deadlock")

"Possibilities" - Dan finds himself in a series of disjointed, contradictory timelines: he was never asigned to the Ulysses; he's aboard the Ulysses, but the ship was never abducted by the Caretaker; he's back at the Academy on the day he learned his girlfriend was cheating on him with his best friend.... Eventually, Dan's altered sight allows him to see bizarre subspace aliens observing each permutation of his life; everything he's seen has been part of the aliens' research. Releasing him with their apologies, Dan finds that he was abducted without ever leaving his quarters. ("Non Sequitur")

"The Good of the Many" - A transporter accident combines Sovok and Neelix, killing them, but simultaneously creating a third, unique being, who takes the name Sovix. For several weeks, Sovix struggles to establish an identity and make a life for himself. When a technique for recovering both Sovok and Neelix is developed, Sovix argues that he has a right to live as a unique sentient being. While McKenna agrees, she orders his death in order to salvage the two others, logically citing the good of the many over the good of the one. ("Tuvix")

"Children of the Phage" - The crew find a group of Vidiian children, too young to have contracted the phage, on a ship adrift in space. A recorded message informs them that the children's parents have given them up in the hope they can be spared the ravages of the deadly disease. Alas, the phage has mutated to lay dormant in young children without revealing its presence (Doc finds it with more than just a little luck). Having no choice but to leave the children on a nearby planet to die, one of only two nurses decides to stay behind and easy the children's suffering.

"The Weapon" - The ship finds an interstellar cruise missile floating dead in space and accidentally reactivate it. The weapon's A.I., reawakened after being damaged by a plasma storm, resumes its mission to destroy the capital city of a nearby planet, thus restarting the war it had been meant to win, a war that had ended decades earlier. Trapped aboard the weapon, K'rena struggles to stop the destruction of an entire city. ("Dreadnought" and "Warhead")

"The Armistice" - The crew encounter a large fleet of free Trabe, who ask them to help negotiate an armistice with the coaltion of Sankur pashates. Seeing an opportunity to help stablize the entire region, McKenna uses her influence with the Hobii, one of the most powerful pashates, to gather many different pashas. Included among them are Kazon Pasha and his chief adviser, a once again-Cardassian Elar Korat. Sadly, it is a trap by the Trabe to assassinate the Sankur pashas and the Ulysses finds herself stripped of her few allies among the Sankur. ("Alliances")

"The Carnival" - The crew come across an entire race of humanoids in suspended animation. The aliens' minds are connected into a central computer core; so, they cannot be safely revived without their cooperation. To find out why they are still in suspended animation long after their computer sez they were supposed to be revived, McKenna, Kes, and Dan are plugged in. They find themselves in a twisted version of a carnival, presided over by the maniacal Clown. The aliens have not left suspended animation because the sadistic Clown won't let them. ("The Thaw")

"Upgrade" - A sentient robot is discovered drifting in space amid the wreckage of an alien warship. Revived by K'rena, the robot sends out a homing signal and is soon picked up by a starship populated by identical robots, the soldiers of the Praelor. The Praelor warbots kidnap K'rena and force her to perform several upgrades, upgrades which will allow them to be free of organic Praelor control and launch a genocidal war of conquest. ("Prototype")

"Occupied Territory" - The Ulysses calls upon Neelix's homeworld of Talax, under the adminstration of the Haakonian military for the past fifteen years, since Rinax was devastated by the metreon cascade. Neelix's relationship with Kes is irrevocably damaged when he becomes involved with Fazik, his former girlfriend and squadron mate during the war. Fazik, now a terrorist against the Haakonian-supported government, tries to recruit Neelix, but eventually he turns her over to the authorities. Denounced as a traitor by Fazik and broken up with Kes, Neelix returns to the ship feeling all alone in the universe. (from "Fair Trade")

"The Raid" - Elar Korat engineers a magnificently executed Nistrim raid on the ship, making off with several crucial transporter components. While Kazon Pasha uses the transporter to convince other pashas to help him seize the entire Ulysses, the crew devise and execute a daring counterraid to sabotage Kazon's flagship and destroy his transporter. ("Maneuvers")

"Monster" - Lon Suder, a Betazoid Maquis with a long history of violent behavior, murders a fellow engineer in cold blood. In an effort to render Suder a more cooperative prisoner, Sovok performs a mindmeld. While Suder does somewhat adopt the Vulcan's calm demeaner, Sovok experiences painful memories of Suder's crimes and several days of severe loss of emotional control. ("Meld")

"The Race" - Having taken a year and a half of beatings (the passage to the Delta Quadrant, the Vidiians, the Sankur, the maelstrom, the Praelor warbots, et al.) with no time in spacedock, the Ulysses is on her last leg. The only way to get the money necessary to pay for the parts and repairs is for the Talax Falcon to win a local space derby. The only way for the Falcon to win is for Nick and Neelix to get over their feud over Kes and work together. In the end, the Ulysses is in better shape than at any other point since leaving the Alpha Quadrant.

"Sleeper" - Before joining Starfleet, Sovok was for fifty years an agent of the V'Shar, the Vulcan security ministry. When it becomes clear someone among the crew is a mole working for Korat and the Nistrim, he has to match wits against Korat's Obsidian Order skills in a race to uncover the sleeper's identity before the Ulysses is delivered into the hands of the Cardassian. ("Investigations")

"Marooned, Part I" - Korat lures the Ulysses into an inescapably devious trap and the Nistrim, joined by ships from several other pashates, overwhelm the ship's defenses. Having fought a not insignificantly sized flotilla of Sankur vessels and with Sankur troops fighting their way to the bridge deck by deck, McKenna orders Neelix and Nick to make a desperate run for help in the Falcon. Kazon Pasha and Korat gain control of the ship and, to Korat's horror, maroon the crew on a primative planet with potentially unfriendly Stone Age natives. The season ends with the crew watching as the Ulysses flies off without them. ("Basics, Part I")

The Oath of Narwhal Day
The narwhal is a noble, pitiable creature,
A magnificent, monstrous visage.
An asymetrical tooth for a horn,
Or sometimes two, or sometimes none,
Half again as long as the beast.

I swear my sympathy for the narwhal.
I will not lie and convince it all is well,
But I will be a friend to the narwhal.
The mocking dolphins and snobby manatees
Will get their well-earned comeuppance,
And the narwhal will frolic all day.

I dream this dream of the narwhal
And celebrate it in all its improbable, oddball glory,
On this the third Narwhal Day.

To celebrate Narwhal Day, one must do three things: a) wear gray, b) recite The Oath of Narwhal Day, and c) listen to "Sympathy for the Narwhal" by DJ Seaghost. Hurray, it's Narwhal Day!

the narwhal (Monodon monoceros) - also narwal or narwhale
Never depend on anyone, they'll only fail you. Everyone you care about will either forget you or betray you. You are alone. We are all alone. Always.
The only way I can avoid screaming in agony is by having my pinky taped securely to my ring finger (left hand). Fun!

I do not know if I have ever before been this dusty in all my life. Suddenly, I miss the rain.

"Illimitable dominion over all." Be afraid, people, be very afraid.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Hurray, I fixed my archives! This really had nothing to do with any skill on my part, but rather Blogger deciding to be cooperative. Still, I'll take it.
The Star Trek Movies, From Best to Worst
1. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
2. Star Trek: First Contact
3. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
4. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
5. Star Trek Generations
6. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
7. Star Trek: Nemesis
8. Star Trek: Insurrection
9. Star Trek: The Motion Picture
10. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

I really don't want to go to work in an hour. Once I'm there, I really won't want to work until midnight. Once I get home, I really won't want to go to bed, since the sooner I fall alseep the sooner I have to wake up and go to work. Woe is me.

In the meantime, though, I've got the horrors of the Vidiian phage to keep me diverted: "Horror Show," "Dominion Over All," and "Children of the Phage." Brother, Odyssey is dark. From "The Masque of the Red Death" by Edgar Allan Poe, "And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all."

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Rassum frassum, stupid Blogger. I didn't finish proofreading "Retroactively Making Star Trek: Voyager Good, Part IX" because I'm in a foul mood; attempting to reread "Parts I-VIII," I discovered that my archives are gone and all efforts to restore them met with failure at the hands of the always infuriating ERROR message. With Blogger, you definitely get what you pay for; I hate the worthless fuckers behind this infernal "service." I wish upon them all a slow, painful death, alone and terrified, beyond hope, beyond prayer.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

The Plot Thickens
Season Seven - The U.S.S. Gulliver, a Quasar-class science vessel, was pulled into the Delta Quadrant in 2368 while studying plasma streamers far from the Badlands. Half the crew of eighty-eight were civilian scientists and their families, not Starfleet officers, but Captain Kao Xiaoping kept everyone together and casualties of the passage were minimal; after that, though, their journey went quite poorly. Within weeks of their arrival, depredations by the Vidiians resulted in the death and dissection of half the crew and it was only a chance encounter with a wormhole that saved the survivors; tragically, it was the crew of the Gulliver who made the Vidiians aware of the existence of the Ocampa. In the aftermath of the Vidiian attacks, Lt. Felix Aeschliman, the Chief Engineer, arranged the "accidental" death of Captain Kao and assumed command. Violating the Prime Directive, they made contact with the pre-warp civilization of a nearby planet. Striking a deal with the planetary dictator, they gave him advanced Federation technology in exchange for a safe haven and the resources of an entire world. Soon they had repaired the Gulliver and equiped a small fleet of ships with advanced Starfleet weaponry. By the time our heroes meet up with them, Aeschliman's crew have been preying on the nearby systems for nearly seven years, their Federation ethics long forgotten. The Ulysses, with her full compliment of Federation weapons plus Tehlyri and Hirogen additions, is too rich a prize for "Captain" Aeschliman to pass up. "The High Road" is a war between McKenna's crew and who they could have been had the strength of their convictions failed them. In "War of the Worlds," the crew stop the interplanetary invasion of a pre-warp world without the inhabitants even knowing anything other than germs felled the invaders, all set to an eerily familiar radio broadcast. Also, in a format that is a personal fave, we have a pair of flashback episodes: Elisabeth marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of her Academy graduation by recalling her first Starfleet assignment in "Ex Astris, Scientia." In "Act of Contrition," Benicio tells Elisabeth about the darkest day of his life, the first time he took a life and enjoyed it. Set back in his Maquis days, we see Cole, K'rena, Cesca, and the rest of the Maquis as they greet Sovok, a new recruit, and test the Vulcan's loyalty. Everything Benicio's done aboard the Ulysses has been an attempt to repent for that day.

The two-part "Things to Come" begins with the ship being intercepted by a waiting honor guard of Presari warships. The Presari are the Ocampa carried into deep space by the second Caretaker; possessing the power of pre-cognition, the Presari knew just where and when to meet the Ulysses. However friendly the greetings by Kes's distant cousins, not all is well in the land of the pre-cogs. The Presari have build an empire by being able to predict their enemies' movements and weaknesses. The ruthless Field Marshal Ramakar executes the will of Autarch Aelia, the most powerful pro-cog in the Presari Realm. Yet for all their ability to see the future, no Presari possesses Kes or Liz's formidible telekinetic abilities; their purpose in greeting Captain McKenna and her crew is to capture Nick's wife and daughter and weaponize their mental powers. They possess enough telepathy to obscure Kes's sight until they spring their trap. As Ramakar sez to McKenna upon capturing her vessel, "How, my dear, do you propose to fight an enemy who knows your next move before you do?" Wheels within wheels, it's all terribly exciting (in other words, I haven't yet worked out how our heroes triumph nor at what cost). Far beyond the protective blanket of the Tehlyri, the Ulysses detects a rapidly approaching Borg cube in "The Devil You Know." They are quite relieved when the cube ignores them, but the captain's curiosity is aroused when a second cube is detected heading for the same coordinates as the first. Carefully shadowing the Borg, the crew are shocked to discover the first cube a flaming wreck while the second and a previously undetected third are locked in mortal combat with a plethora of small, organic-looking ships. The Borg are slaughtering the organic vessels, but an uninterrupted stream continue to pour out of some manner of transdimensional portal, slowly overwhelming the cubes by sheer force of numbers. The charred remains of an organic ship are brought aboard, where both K'rena and Doc set to work. The vessel is revealed to be a lifeform, akin to a single cell of a greater, collective organism; each vessel is a cell with no will of its own. More terrifying, the vessels are developing an "immunity" to the Borg weaponry, evolving at a quicker pace than the Borg technology can adapt. The cells, nicknamed the Hydra, are determined to eradicate all impurities in our dimension; impurities being any lifeforms not them. *sigh* Nothing's ever easy, is it? While the Borg and the Hydra pulverize each other, the Ulysses enters the Hydra dimension, a weird realm of fluidic space, and seals the dimensional rift with a just-crazy-enough-to-work plan. Cut off from the whole, the Hydra are little match for the sole remaining Borg cube and the Ulysses slinks away during the mop-up.

"Vengeance, Parts I and II": The final battle between McKenna and Cole. With the Xanadu and the Tholian ship at his command, Cole has located the second Caretaker and its array; he will destroy the Ulysses's long sought-after way home unless Captain McKenna and the crew fall into his obvious trap. Cole! Xor (I finally named the Gorn)! The Tholians! The Caretaker! The Revenge! The Xanadu! The Ulysses! A way home! Brother, this one's been building up since the end of "The Mutiny"! Put on a pot of coffee and bring out the Dan Rather bizarre quasi-witicisms, this one's going to be a barn burner! Hot dog! Then comes "Wing and a Prayer," the series finale. The prototype transwarp engine killed the crew of the Xanadu, but with the second Caretaker's array destroyed, it may just be the crew's only way home. Hunted by the vengeful Presari under a nigh-mad Ramakar and a catatonic Aelia, Kes makes a most unusual suggestion. Nearing her eighth birthday, she has already lived almost a full year longer than any other Ocampa; she can sense her end coming. The crew embark upon a desperate plan to gather the materials necessary to reconfigure the salvaged transwarp drive to be powered by Kes herself. Elisabeth proposes to Benicio, Nick sez goodbye to his wife, Liz sez goodbye to her mom, Cole stews in the cell that was once Agrippa's, the Wildman twins and all the other kids cower in wonder and terror, and a family faces one last danger together. An untested, almost certainly lethal device, designed to carry a starship from one side of the galaxy to the other without dumping it inside a sun, powered by nothing but the concentration (and self-sacrifice) of an immensely-powerful-yet-elfin-in-appearance woman, , while the crew face off against aliens who can see the future: what could possibly go wrong? A fiery death or a triumphant return for our heroes? The end of the Odyssey and a hero's welcome for a crew who have truly explored strange new worlds, sought out new life and new civilizations, and boldly gone where no one has gone before.

More to Come
More aliens, an as close to complete as I can make it "Dramatis Personae," and my personal favorite, the episode guide! Woo hoo!
Today is Less Than Jake Day. This is because Anthem, their first new album since 2000's Borders and Boundaries, was released today.

Seriously, if you don't like Less Than Jake, fuck you. I mean it. You've got nothing to say I want to hear.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Watch Donnie Darko. I cannot recommend this movie highly enough. It's a trip.

I now have seventy-eight episodes of Star Trek: Odyssey plotted/titled. They are developed to greater and lesser degrees, mostly lesser as far as specific plot structure, but I am nevertheless very impressed with myself. Seventy-eight episodes is three entire seasons, and only one episode short of the original Star Trek series. I rule. Of course, with heavy modification both the basic structure of Odyssey and a number of specific episodes are lifted directly from Voyager; my next challenge, once I bore of this project, will be to develop my own entirely original Star Trek series. A sequel to Deep Space Nine? Captain Riker's adventures aboard the Titan? A The Next Generation in the early 25th century?

Fishy appears to have unlearned his trick. Or more likely, it was a fluke in the first place. Blast!

I batted .500 in electronic matters today. My new speaker wires are great; the sound is far more robust and stable than before. However, as soon as I plugged them in my Christmas lights burned out. In the long run, though, the quality speaker wires are a far more significant victory than the lights are a defeat. The packaging called them "monster wires." Beware my stereo, it's in league with monsters.

A pleasant side effect of Donnie Darko, I want to do very naughty things to Maggie Gyllenhaal.
On my drive to St. Francis this morning, I heard Joan Osbourne's "What If God Was One of Us?" I just thought that was a neat coincidence, hearing it on the way to Mass.

On Tuesday, Anthem, the new album by Less Than Jake, is released. Fuckin' kick ass, dude.

Saturday, May 17, 2003

A Friday Tradition
The Bald Mountain works both Friday and Saturday nights. Those are the prime nights for summer moviegoing. This would seem to present a problem; however, huge summer movie fans that we are, we have of course devised a solution: Friday afternoons. Not only are the lines shorter, but we get to pay matinee price, too. The last three Fridays, we have seen:

5.2 X2
5.9 A Mighty Wind
5.16 The Matrix Reloaded

There appears to be a gap this Friday, but the week after arrives perhaps the most highly anticipated movie of the summer, Finding Nemo. I love the movies.

In Other News
At today's screening, Q-Girl tried to give my head the old pat/hair russle. A of all) my hair is too short for that garbage. B of all and most importantly) I am no longer trying to get closer to her. Thus, back the hell up, please.

Dylweed has joined Skeeter's chorus against "Retroactively Making Star Trek: Voyager Good." Kids, if you don't like reading it, just don't read it. Or, in a more accurate summation of my reaction, bugger off.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Hey, I just taught Fishy a trick! Fishy, for those of you who may not know, is my goldfish; I didn't name Fishy, I inherited him, name and all, from the Phantom Frantom (Phrantom?). See, Frantom didn't want to take Fishy all the way out to Colorado when he graduated; so, I took the little guy in. Anyway, the trick: when I put a finger up against the glass of Fishy's "bowl," he comes right up and tries to eat my finger. Sure, it only works right before I feed him, but still, I shall now become insufferable (or at least moreso) with my constant boasting of having taught my goldfish to perform a trick.

An absolutely huge haul of comics today, including the next exciting issue of JSA. Courtney and Billy (The Star-Spangled Kid and Captain Marvel) kissed! Woo hoo! I love being emotionally invested in the lives of fictional people.

Dramatis Personae
Captain Elisabeth McKenna, Commanding Officer - Reason should not always be trusted. In the end, if you know you're right, you've got to go with that. Tricia O'Neil is great, but Susanna Thompson should play Elisabeth McKenna. Long live the Queen.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Dramatis Personae
Captain Elisabeth McKenna, Commanding Officer - There are only two choices to play the good captain: Tricia O'Neil or Susanna Thompson. Both are known to Star Trek fans. O'Neil played Captain Rachel Garrett of the Enterprise-C in "Yesterday's Enterprise" (TNG); Kurak, a Klingon scientist, in "Suspicions" (TNG); and Korinas, an agent of the Obsidian Order, in "Defiant" (DS9). Thompson had a minor role in "Frame of Mind" (TNG), but is most noted as the gorgeous Dr. Lenara Kahn in "Rejoined" (DS9). O'Neil brings to the table an undeniable command presence, as well as charm and guile. Thompson brings elegence, spunk, and incredible beauty. Thompson's McKenna would be younger, on her first command, and a better romantic fit with Torres. O'Neil's would be a veteran commander, given the Ulysses because she knows how to get the job done even without the resources of a Galaxy-class behemoth. My gut sez O'Neil, but a little nagging voice sez Thompson. A conundrum to be sure. And honestly, I don't know which way to go. Maybe O'Neil as McKenna and Thompson as the recurring Crown Princess Rissa? I'm torn.
Lieutenant K'rena Singh, Chief Engineer - I really had no idea who to cast as K'rena until I was home for Mothers' Day. Then, it hit me like a bolt from the gray, thundering sky: Lexa Doig, best known in the quasi-dual roles of Andromeda and Romi on Andromeda. Putting aside her beauty, which is considerable, she's just perfect. The ferocity in her voice, the kindness in her eyes, she is K'rena Singh.
Ensign Daniel Kim, Operations Officer - I'm not certain I have to replace Garrett Wong (who played Harry Kim on Voyager), but I do have reservations, i.e. I think he's a wuss. The other candidate I'm considering is the character's namesake, Daniel Dae Kim. I'll let you know if I make a decision.
Et Alii - I'm still looking for a Benicio Torres. Suggestions are welcome. I'm open to other actors, but for the time being Tim Russ will retain the part of Sovok (he played Tuvok). Robert Picardo as the EMH; Ethan Phillips as Neelix, though with different make-up; and Jennifer Lien as Kes all remain the same.

The Plot Thickens
Season Six - And so, above the Tehlyri's no-longer-secret base, Captain McKenna's armada hit the Borg with everything they have. The Krenim trap a cube in several different timeframes, ripping it apart with intense temporal fluctuations. The Vidiians, intrigued by the prospect of using Borg nanoprobes, the tip-of-the-spear in the assimilation process, against the phage, board several cubes, avoiding assimlation with their advanced quarantine fields. Several Hirogen hunting parties joined the armada on the promise of the ultimate prey and find the Borg to be just that in close quarters combat. While the battle rages, Benicio, security officer Neelix, Kes, a deputized Agrippa, and Princess Rissa beam down to the surface, finding it a nightmarish maze of battle-damaged and half-assimilated buildings. In orbit, the battle grows ever more desperate, as any head-to-head confrontation with the Borg is apt to do, while on the surface the away team finds the strongest keep of the imperial palace to have been breached. Where is Rissa's father, Emperor Vorei? The Vidiians overcome, the Hirogen assimilated, the Voth smashed, the armada has bought time for countless Tehlyri ships to disappear into the transwarp conduits, but at a terrible price. Benicio's team locates the Emperor and are beamed aboard, but not before a Borg pricks him with its assimilation nobules. The Doc's Vidiian tools slow the process, but cannot save him, their methods having been adapted to, and he requests to be beamed aboard the Borg cube in pursuit of the ship. Once on board, he waits until surrounded by Borg and, in his last act of free will, detonates himself. The fleet disappears into a transwarp conduit and the Krenim detonate a device that temporarily seals the entrance behind them. The various races are returned to their respective domains by Tehlyri guides and the Ulysses escorts Rissa to the new base of the Tehlyri resistance. Aboard the flagship, newly renamed the Vorei, the crew witness Rissa's coronation as Empress of the Tehlyri Imperium and then return to the long road home. In "History Project," Liz gets permission from the captain to interview Agrippa as part of a research project. She finds herself face to face with evil, an urbane and erudite man who gleefully killed millions without batting an eye. What makes a man a monster? Is he truly accountable if he is simply acting as he was genetically altered to act? Passing a barren world, long ago stripped of life by the Borg, only a few days after receiving a melancholy letter from Empress Rissa, Captain McKenna decides that the Borg must be stopped, no matter the cost. While K'rena, Dan, and Doc work on the Krenim wormhole technology not used since "Reign of Khan," McKenna enters the limbo in which the crew trapped the mad Krenim timelord Annorax at the end of "The Year of Hell." Making use of Annorax's expertise, they are able to scan the time-space continuum and locate a specific event: the birth of the Borg. Using the wormhole device, the Ulysses embarks upon a journey that violates every principle of Starfleet temporal ethics: their mission is to change the past. So begins "Perfection, Parts I and II." Welcome to an idealized world of tomorrow, a utopia not dissimilar from Earth, with technology on a par with the pre-Vulcan mid-21st century, had the Third World War not bombed the world back to the stone age. The Borg were once similar to humans;in the words of a disgusted Borg Queen, "We used to be just like them." The Ilani are a generous, prosperous people on the verge of a great revolution in their lives. Already they employ a high level of technology and many are cybernetically enhanced. Dr. Aevo Lumin (played by Alice Krige, the Borg Queen in Star Trek: First Contact) has developed a technology that will allow groups of individuals to act as a collective, thereby overcoming inefficiency and raising productivity in the workplace. However, some Ilani are against this process, feeling that by giving their minds over to a collective consciousness, they are losing their individuality, even when disconnected from the others. However desperate she is to stop the Borg, Captain McKenna is unwilling to commit genocide, rejecting Sovok and Agrippa's suggestion that the Ulysses destroy the Ilani homeworld from orbit. Posing as Ilani, the crew mingle among the population and try to sway public opinion to the side of those who oppose Dr. Lumin's company, Borg Enterprises, Ltd., "borg" being the Ilani word for collective. Captain McKenna confronts Dr. Lumin while Benicio and a surgically de-eared K'rena pose as activists on the Ilani equivalent of Oprah. They argue that members of a cybernetically enhanced borg will inevitably come to think that they have a duty to include as many people as possible in their hive mind, whether they want to join or not, believing the end, supposed perfection, to justify any means. Nick and Dan, trying to find proof of malevolent intent in Lumin's offices, are happened upon by a security guard and are soon on the run from the Ilani constabulary, branded as terrorists. Agrippa escapes from the Ulysses, determined to destroy the Ilani before they can become the Borg. The crew race to stop him before he can blow up the capital city's fusion power plant, ending Dr. Lumin's collective as well as killing ten million innocents. In the struggle, the eugenic superman is killed. Hearing news reports of a terrorist attack on the fusion core, public opinion begins to swing towards Borg Enterprises and the social order the collective would provide. Our heroes leave the distant past savoring the irony that in stopping Agrippa and saving millions, they may have inadvertantly contributed to the rise of the Borg. In his prison outside normal time, Annorax, who had only ever used time travel as a means of changing history, must be laughing his head off.

K'rena's mother defected from the Tal Shiar two years after the 2344 Romulan attack on the Klingon outpost on Narendra III. In "Warbird," to observe the thirtieth anniversary of her mother's arrival in the Federation, K'rena stages a dramatic interpretation of the Romulan myth of their arrival on Romulus and Remus after generations of travel from Vulcan. Once again we spend an hour with Captain Cole and his bloody pirates aboard the Revenge. Finally joining up with a Tholian ship, the Gorn's erstwhile companions, Cole and company find the wreck of the U.S.S. Xanadu, a Starfleet vessel that disappeared in the Badlands mere months before Benicio's Maquis ship and the Ulysses. The ship is flooded with an unidentified radiation which only the Gorn can withstand. Encountering the Xanadu's EMH, he learns that the crew were all killed by the radiation, which was emitted when they activated an experimental transwarp engine, which they had cobbled together using several distinct alien technologies and a form of dilithium crystals unlike any others ever seen by Alpha Quadrant science. Transferring his flag to the Xanadu once the Tholians have devised a way to eliminate the radiation, Cole takes the Revenge in tow and the small squadron resumes its search for the second Caretaker. "Xanadu" ends with Hunter Cole allied with a powerful Tholian warship and in control of an Ambassador-class Federation starship. In "The Most Dangerous Game," the crew, masking their transmission to pass themselves off as Hirogen, establish contact with a lurking Hirogen vessel. The hunters are stalking a prey unlike any other, a being with precognition, the ability to see the future. Warned off by the Hirogen, who assume fellow Hirogen will honor their claim to the prey, the Ulysses shadows the hunters, eventually locating the elusive prey. Making contact, the crew learns that the Hirogen have been hunting an Ocampa, one of Kes's people, not seen since "The Stars My Destination." An entire culture of Ocampa, calling themselves Presari, were transplanted this far into space by the second Caretaker. Eventually, this Caretaker left them to their own devices and the Presari have established an interstellar state. Even with the Presari's procognition, the wiley Hirogen locate them; the Presari sacrifices himself and his body is claimed as a trophy. Liz first regarded Neelix as her godfather (which he is), but as she grew up he became her best friend and confidant. Now in appearance the same age as her mother, and as old as Kes was at the beginning of the series, she finds herself attracted to the Talaxian, much to Nick's irritation. Neelix and Nick repeat the macho grandstanding that marked their battle over Kes, but this time it is Nick who realizes he cannot stand in the way of true love. At season's end, the Ulysses is intercepted by several heavily armed picket ships, who stand down once they see the ship's Starfleet markings. The Ulysses is escorted to a nearby system where the crew is greeted by "Captain" Felix Aeschliman of the Federation Starship Gulliver, lost in the Delta Quadrant since 2368, three years before the Ulysses. However, the crew of the Gulliver are no longer trying to make their way home, instead carving out a life for themselves where they are; having a ship as heavily armed as the extensively modified Ulysses would go a long way to making their life as tyrannical rulers of the native population that much better. "The High Road, Part I" ends with our heroes in the familiar position of having been boarded, but this time by fellow Starfleet officers. Bum-ba-dum!

More to Come
The conclusion of "The High Road" and season seven, plus a final decision on Captain McKenna: Tricia O'Neil or Susanna Thompson?
"Gee, Marge, they made your butt look kind of big."
"That's what I thought, but they said it sells."
"It works for the Lumber King."
(stare transfixed at the Lumber King's mechanized ass)
"Lumber. We need lumber."

This triviality is brought to you by virtue of my having purchased lumber earlier today. Considering that a) my desk was too low in relation to my chair and b) I live within sight of Fingerle Lumber, I walked on over to ye olde neighborhood lumber yard where the great Don Gonzales himself helped me buy $3.94 worth of 2x4, which was then cut into 18-inch long sections and, with the Mountain's able assistance, placed under my desk. I'm happy to report that the procedure was a complete success. The main issue with my desk's height was I was not comfortable while writing in my journal; thus, the quality of the entries was suffering. My journal is the chronicle of my life, I cannot allow it to diminish in quality.

In the past two hours, I've gone grocery shopping, bought lumber, fixed my desk, folded my laundry, and blogged. Whew, I think that's enough for one afternoon. It's Miller time!

Monday, May 12, 2003

I had a very strange dream the other night, Friday, I think. It was full of small time criminals, massive violence, sex, and an unstoppable Mexican assassin who mumbled under this breath, "No, senor. No, senor." I was in it, I think, but only through my own eyes; I wasn't a character like all the others. I was going down on a girl, the strange thing about that being she was very tanned and I prefer pale girls. I couldn't see her face. Of greater interest to me, though, was the assassin. I got the sense he wasn't an evil man, he was just caught up in extraordinary circumstances. Everyone he killed seemed to deserve it.

I don't have dreams very often (maybe once every couple of months); so, I like to document them when I can.

Friday, May 9, 2003

My only complaint about A Mighty Wind: not enough Parker Posey. Then again, that's a complaint common to life in general. Otherwise, it was absolutely brilliant. Grand job, all around.
"And this is where the three dollars in quarters live. I love it."

Thursday, May 8, 2003

Some people (okay, so far only one person, but her opinion is important) don't like our continuing feature "Retroactively Making Star Trek: Voyager Good." Sorry, Skeeter, but I like it; in fact, the more I write the more excited I become about the whole idea. The Odyssey continues!

The French Connection
The ambassador of the French Republic to the United States of America was on The Diane Rehm Show yesterday. He made some excellent points, but also had the unenviable job of making his country seem to have always been supportive of American policy vis-a-vis Iraq. Mr. Ambassador, I apologize for the boorish behavior of my countrymen, but you have to understand that they reacted the way they did because France and America were not standing "side by side," despite your assertions to the contrary. Had France and America been side by side, French troops would have been in the coalition, as they were during the Gulf War. Our two countries have traditionally been both allies and friends, but you have to understand that the recent animosity was a result of our not standing side by side. Frankness is the only way to mend the ties between us, not dissembling half-truths. Nevertheless, France and America are friends, and I want the head of the man who coined the phrase "freedom fries" on a pike.

Tuesday, May 6, 2003

The Big Picture
Three words: Odyssey is fun. As I said yesterday, space is an adventure. Sure, the Ulysses is lost in space tens of thousands of light years from home, but that doesn't mean they have to be morose. One of the most fundamental problems of Voyager was that it just wasn't any fun. They tried things like Neelix's bumbling, the Doctor's bedside "wit," the Tuvok-and-Neelix as Martin-and-Lewis debacle, and "The Adventures of Captain Proton," but no one was having any fun. Except for Tom Paris, those characters were dead people walking around. The cast had all the chemistry of a noble gas (see, science humor is inherently lame). Odyssey is the adventure of a lifetime, a firecracker waiting to be lit. We're here to have fun, folks, even as we're getting chased by alien brainsuckers and homicidal space babies. In this vein, the second season episode "The Race" will now be conducted on impulse power around all manner of objects, rather than a more velocity-oriented warp race. Let the following illustrate the attitude on Star Trek: Odyssey: "He's in danger. He may die. And I envy him the thrill of it."

The Plot Thickens
Season Five - In "Kingdom of Shadows," we meet the Rebel Alliance. Not actually Luke Skywalker's cohorts, but a vast collection of alien vessels, refugees and warriors from a thousand worlds, all of them lucky to have evaded assimilation at the hands of the Borg. The Tehlyri provide sanctuary to all the Collective's victims, including once-assimlated individuals who have been freed from the hive mind. Naturally, some species resent the deassimilated Borg, blaming them for the death of family and friends, but the Imperial Guard keeps order among the endlessly varied cultures in the kingdom. Rissa's father, Emperor Vorei, welcomes Captain McKenna and the Ulysses, thanking them for the safe return of his daughter and future leader of his people. The crew's prestige further enhanced by the tale of the Federation's defeat at the Battle of Wolf 359 (there is no shame in losing to the Borg) and the Enterprise-D's victory in orbit above Earth (because they were in the Delta Quadrant at the time, our heroes do not know about the second Borg incursion, seen in Star Trek: First Contact), the ship receives her first complete refit since entering the Delta Quadrant. The Ulysses is retrofitted with ablative armor, changing the hull's exterior appearance, and, ironically given the damage recently sustained in "The Killing Game," a massive Hirogen rail gun is strapped to the saucer section. Some of the emperor's more militant advisors, a group of long-lived El Aurians, have recently convinced him to take a more aggressive stand against the Borg; the Ulysses, with Princess Rissa aboard, joins a Tehlyri-led alien armada in an attempt to destroy a cube on its way to assimilate the throneworld of a powerful saurian species known as the Voth. (The key to the longevity of the Tehlyri resistance has been a strict policy of suicide to avoid capture; only a relative handful of Tehlyri even know the location of their hidden planet, the rest travel back and forth with their ships on autopilot, guided by an individual privy to the correct coordinates. Were a Tehlyri to be assimilated, the Borg would learn that there is a secret Tehlyri baseworld and begin searching for it.) The armada intercepts the cube already in heavy combat with the Voth fleet. The cube is destroyed, but at a cost of half the combined fleet and not before it can signal the Collective for assitance. Four cubes are detected after emerging from the Borg transwarp conduit network. A valiant resistance is put up, but the fleet is soon overwhelmed. The Ulysses dodges a tractor beam, but is boarded by a squad of Borg. Assimilation is avoided only when the captain of Rissa's bodyguard charges the Borg and detonates his imbedded kamikaze explosives. The ship suffers a massive hull breach, but narrowly escapes along with a handful of surviving Tehlyri and Voth ships. The ship returns to the Tehlyri stronghold, where they drop off the princess and take on a group of deassimilated Borg on their way back their homeworld in a nearby system. With a squad of Tehlyri guards also on board, the Ulysses resumes her course towards the Alpha Quadrant.

With a little genetic slight-of-hand by the Doctor, Kes becomes pregnant. After the one-month Ocampa pregnancy, Nick becomes a proud papa in "The Big Day," an all-out romp. In "In the Mood," love is in the air for just about everyone. Godfather Neelix babysits while Nick and Kes take-off on a romantic weekend, while Elisabeth and Benicio finally kiss (and more, nudge nudge). Sovok's been acting strangely: yep, pon farr, the Vulcan mating cycle. He tried to sate his urges with a holographic recreation of his wife, but it is not enough. He makes an unusual request of K'rena, admitting that he had used his Vulcan resentment of her Romulan heritage as a shield for his latent attraction to her. When all is said and done, Sovok is back to his usual Vulcan self, and K'rena drops by Dan's quarters. "I just don't want to be alone right now, and I'm comfortable around you." Kes is kidnapped by a hunting party of Hirogen while on an away mission with K'rena and Neelix; however, when the Ulysses catches up to mount a rescue, they discover that Kes was more than a match for her pursuers. The Hirogen had wanted to hunt Kes because of her awakened Ocampa abilities, but fell victim to having underestimated those abilities. "The Pirate King" takes place entirely away from the Ulysses, aboard the Revenge among Captain Cole and his murderous crew. While searching for a Tholian ship the Gorn's vessel had travel with before it was destroyed, Cole regales his bulky first mate with the tale of how he acquired a ship after being left behind in "The Mutiny, Part II" and his adventures in hunting Captain McKenna and her crew. In "Assimilation," the deassimilated Borg deal with their time in the Collective in different ways, some overwhelmed with guilt (a la Captain Picard, post-Locutus, in "Family") while others have been Borg for so long they have difficulty acting as individuals (Third of Five, a.k.a. Hugh, in "I, Borg"); it's all very touching and then they and their Tehlyri guardians disembark. The ship encounters the Las Vegas of the Delta Quadrant, a world-turned-casino inhabited by a race of energy beings obsessed with gambling. Like Vegas, there is both fun and danger to be had with the sums of money floating around; basically, I thought this up just so I could use the episode titles "Snake Eyes" and "Suicide Kings." In a crooked game, Neelix's Talax Falcon is taken from him, but the crew get it back by beating the house at its own game. Why have an episode like "The Heist"? Because I love heist movies. (And besides, if they put their minds to it I'm sure the dorks of Starfleet could be quite inventive thieves.) Because Ocampa only live to be seven years old, they reach physical maturity in just one year; so, Kes and Nick's daughter is a teenager by the end of the season. Puberty slowed her aging down, but she is still far closer in development to an Ocampa than a human. Liz, named for the captain, finds herself attracted to her father's best friend, Dan, and resents his slowly blooming relationship with K'rena. Although there have been several children born on board, only Liz and the twins, Noah and Naomi, born during season one to a mother who was pregnant in "The Stars My Destination," are old enough to go on Sovok's educational "Field Trip" while Kes prepares to take her final medical exams under the Doctor's supervision.

In the season finale, a Borg transwarp conduit opens near the ship, prompting fear until a Tehlyri warship emerges carrying Princess Rissa. The Borg managed to assimilate some members of the Tehlyri fleet that helped defend the Voth throneworld and, alerted to the existence of the Tehlyri base, are now relentlessly searching for it. The Tehlyri are trying to relocate, but need more time to evacuate a planet that has been their home for nearly two centuries. Will the Ulysses turn around and help the Tehlyri fight a battle they cannot possibly win, or continue on their way back to the Alpha Quadrant? Reflecting the family the crew has become since the dark days of "The Mutiny," Captain McKenna's decision to aid Emperor Vorei is greeted with cheers and the Ulysses prepares for war. Though it is usually too dangerous to risk using the Borg transwarp conduit network, Rissa cites desperate times and the two ships enter the vortex. In transwarp, the two ships encounter a Borg cube and play a tense game of cat-and-mouse, hoping the Borg have not yet penetrated their Tehlyri stealth modifications. Evading the cube, the ships emerge in Voth space and convince the High Prefect that his empire and its beloved doctrine (the Voth are dicks) will only survive if the Tehlyri can continue to resist the Borg. Trips to Krenim, Hirogen, and even Vidiian space yield more allies; when the Shadows call for help, people listen. "The Armada, Part I" ends with McKenna's ragtag fleet emerging from transwarp to the horrifying visage of a score of Borg cubes hanging ominously over the Tehlyri "homeworld," spoken for by an assimilated version of Emperor Vorei's El Aurian chief advisor. "We are the Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."

More to Come
Holy shit! Seasons six and seven, including the second half of "The Armada" and the series finale. Stay tuned.

Monday, May 5, 2003

I got out of work early; so, I guess I was wrong when I said no Odyssey today. Sue me.

Dramatis Personae
Lieutenant K'rena Singh, Chief Engineer - I just can't do it; I do not believe in this character. I created K'rena Singh as an improved version of B'Elanna Torres, leaving her a human/Klingon hapa to satisfy the baser tendencies of my Trekkie brethren. This has never sat right with me; K'Ehlyr, Worf's first wife, was the perfect half-human/half-Klingon character. In her current state, K'rena, like B'Elanna, would be just a pale reflection of her. So, she's gone. Fear not, for K'rena Singh will live again. As before, she was chief engineer on Benicio's Maquis raider as well as a Starfleet Academy dropout. The main reason she dropped out of the Academy was her feeling of alienation from her fellow cadets. She felt alienated because of her heritage: K'rena's father was human, a native of Devena, while her mother was a more unusual character, a Romulan. Her mother had been an agent of the Tal Shiar, the Romulan secret police, while secretly working for Starfleet Intelligence. One step ahead of a firing squad, she defected to the Federation, but as a Romulan she was subtlely discriminated against virtually everywhere, and rather overtly discriminated against by most Vulcans. She passed her resentment and bitterness along to her daughter; however, K'rena didn't have the advantage of her mother's inpregnable Romulan ego. Nevertheless, K'rena remains a thoughtful, introspective person, and aboard the Ulysses, after a lifetime of trying, she's finally becoming comfortable in her own skin.
The Gorn - Sooner or later I'll get around to naming him. In the last years of his life, the Caretaker was bringing ships from all over the Milky Way Galaxy to his Array near the Ocampa homeworld; one such ship was a Gorn cruiser. Trying to return home, just like the Ulysses, the ship was hunted and eventually destroyed by the Hirogen. Our heroes helped the sole survivor escape his hunters and he repaid them by flying to coop to join Cole at the first opportunity. The Gorn's not a bad guy, he justs wants to get home, and on the surface Cole's singleminded dedication to that goal can seem more appealing than Captain McKenna's constraining Federation ethics (flexible though they may be).
Agrippa Ramirez - Somehow or other, at the end of "Reign of Khan," the Ulysses has her own eugenic superman. His finely tuned intellect and raging ego cannot be held in check for long, and in the first half of the fourth season, he makes his bid for control of the Ulysses. However, in "The Superior Intellect," he is individually defeated by Captain McKenna, both mentally and physically. Thereafter imprisoned in his quarters, Agrippa is instrumental in repelling the Hirogen hunting parties in "The Killing Game." From time to time, he and the captain will match wits, and he will prove useful to the crew now and again, a recurring character in the Deep Space Nine mold. Most importantly, he is a souvenir of the ultimate road trip. On Voyager, they only picked up hitchhikers twice, Neelix and Kes in the beginning and Seven(th) of Nine when they introduced "the Borg." On Odyssey, our crew are cut off from their family and friends, all alone in deep space. Consequently, they're like little kids, picking up almost everything and invariably putting it in their mouths. Space is an adventure, people, live a little.
Never doubt that The Ataris are right, "Girls are fucking evil." If you do doubt, just check out The Watergirl's later entry from this past Sunday.

Starting today, but getting worse next Monday, Mondays are my bad days; so, no Odyssey today. Fear not, for this morning I figured out how I'm going to get the crew home, made K'rena about a thousand times cooler than she had been, and decided some other important things.

Sunday, May 4, 2003

Looking back through the episodes of Voyager via the Library feature of, I've reached the conclusion that the second season was the series's best. I mean, it was still Voyager, but definite progress was being made: "Maneuvers," "Alliances," "Investigations," and "Deadlock," plus the second/third season cliffhanger, "Basics, Parts I and II." In the third season, though, whatever progress had been made was reversed, and when "the Borg" were introduced at the end of the third season and Seven(th) of Nine joined the crew at the beginning of the fourth, all hope had to be abandoned. I say "the Borg," because although it would be logical for a Starfleet vessel lost in the Delta Quadrant to encounter the Borg, the creatures on Voyager were not the Borg. In my view, all "Borg" encounters on Voyager must be disavowed. They never happened. Or if they did, whatever aliens the crew were facing certainly weren't the Borg. But, enough of the past, foward to the future!

The Plot Thickens
Season Four - As with "Marooned," the mechanics of "Reign of Khan" are not my primary concern in this forum. Still, rest assured, I'd have the writing staff pull out all the stops and make it an episode for the ages. (A question: one thing I do know I want to see is the Ulysses fighting off several of Khan's spaceships. These are ships on a technical par with the sleeper ship seen in "Space Seed" [TOS], but designed for combat. In the aftermath, when the Ulysses returns to its proper place in space-time, does it have aboard a eugenic superman? He'd be forced by circumstance to join the crew. Hmm, that could be fun, but it requires some serious contemplation.) Nick proposes to Kes and the two of them are married; with Captain McKenna presiding, Dan serves as Best Man while Neelix, having accepted that he's truly lost Kes, serves as Father of the Bride. The ship encounters an alien communications network that seems to stretch across half the galaxy. Tapping into it, the crew makes contact with a Federation starship... in their own time! However, the ship is on a multi-year deep space mission and well out of communications range with Starfleet Command. The crew's use of the pan-galactic comm array draws the attention of the Hirogen, its builders, a race of big game hunters who remain basically unchanged. Banned from using the array to phone home, the Ulysses follows the Hirogen ship back to a recent kill, a Gorn ship from the Alpha Quadrant, also brought to the Delta Quadrant by the Caretaker. Tracking the sole survivor, Captain McKenna makes an enemy of the Hirogen by thwarting their effort to kill the last Gorn, who joins the crew before they make their escape. Since the second season, vague mention has been made of an enigmatic race known as the Shadows. (I know, the name is a tad melodramatic, but stay with me.) In "Resistance," the Ulysses comes across a planet bearing the telltale signs of assimilation: roads leading not to cities, but to large pits in the earth. Investigating a former city to determine how long ago it was assimilated, the ship is contacted by an alien vessel, a warship of the Tehlyri, the people known as the Shadows (see "The Good Samaritans"). While the two ships are traveling together, a lurking Borg cube approaches. The Tehlyri ship possesses stealth technology that gives it a fair chance of evading the cube, but the Ulysses is an easy target (if the Borg had ever seriously tried to assimilate the Enterprise-D, Captain Picard would have remained Locutus of Borg). The stealth ship beams over a single Tehlyri and then destroys the cube by ramming it at warp speed (give me one good reason why it wouldn't work). The Tehlyri identifies herself as Crown Princess Luca Rissa; her crew, unwilling to let the heir to their throne die, transported her to the Ulysses against her will. With the princess on board, the ship sets course for the hidden world from which the Tehlyri conduct their campaign to prove that resistance is not futile. A hunting party of the Hirogen seeks the Ulysses as their prey in the two-parter "The Killing Game" (which will have nothing to do with using holographic technology as a substitute for live prey). Both Elisabeth and Benicio have been afraid of their attraction to each other and even though they had one awkward date, they have tried to deny their feelings. However, when Benicio finds himself drawn to Princess Rissa, Elisabeth is spurned into action and fights to win the heart of her first officer. K'rena, on the tenth anniversary of completing the Klingon Rite of Ascension, tosses the fanboys a bone by dealing with her Klingon heritage. The crew frolic through the holographic adventures of Captain Proton, a Flash Gordon-type serial. (This was quite possibly Voyager's best idea.) The fourth season also brings us "Black Flag," the return of Cole, bwa ha ha ha ha! Now captain of a Vidiian attack ship dubbed the Revenge, Cole is still searching for the second Caretaker, but his primary goal is the destruction of the Ulysses. His pirate crew raids the ship for isolinear circuitry and photon torpedo technology, in the process damaging their new Tehlyri stealth modifications. Cole is beaten back, but not before causing havoc and convincing the Gorn to join him. Finally the Ulysses reaches the top secret Tehlyri homeworld, kicking off our season ending cliffhanger, "Kingdom of Shadows."

The Good Samaritans
Tehlyri - The Tehlyri Imperium was once a quarter the size of the Federation, a substantial chunk of space. Two hundred years ago, a single Borg cube attacked the Tehlyri capital, echoing the pattern established in "The Best of Both Worlds." The homeworld was assimilated and from there the Borg spread out and devastated the entire empire. But not all the Tehlyri were forced into the collective. Small pockets of resistance, spread out across the Imperium, opposed the Borg reign. For two centuries, they have been in a race between cloaking and detection technologies, desperately trying to stay one step ahead of the Borg. Their stealth ships have acted as defenders of all who the Borg threaten, hiding what worlds they could and leading the collective on innumerable wild goose chases. The Tehlyri are like Jedi, oddball experts who don't fit in with those they defend; they are an isolated society of zealots, but they still try to maintain some semblence of a normal life.
Borg - The mistake Voyager made was in trying to deal directly with the Borg. If you deal directly with the Borg, especially on their home turf, your ass is going to get assimilated. So, you need some kind of proxy. That's where the Tehlyri come in. For those of you who were paying attention, the Borg only appeared in six episodes of The Next Generation (and two of those were as the individualized Borg under Lore's thrall in "Descent, Parts I and II") and the movie Star Trek: First Contact. The Borg are simply too powerful to encounter as if they were normal aliens, like Ferengi or Breen. The Borg incursions into the Federation took place tens of thousands of light years from Borg space; in Star Trek: Odyssey, it is our Federation heroes who are far from home in unfamiliar territory. The way to handle the Borg is not to confront them, but to see the impact they have had on other cultures. And every once in a while, just for kicks, run like hell from a rampaging cube.

More to Come
Seasons five, six, and seven; guest stars galore (Tholians? El Aurians?); encountering another Starfleet vessel, the way it should have been; and I still haven't figured out how I'm going to get the Ulysses home. Star Trek: Odyssey fever, catch it!
Well, the Mountain's cell phine is all set up and is now fully functional. No, I didn't misspell phone, he doesn't have a cell phone, he has a cell phine. Don't ask me, K. Steeze is entirely to blame for this.

Julie, the more standoffish of my two summer roommates, is gone to California for a week. She's not so standoffish as to be unpleasant, she's just more standoffish than Lauren, the other roomie. Julie's standoffish, Lauren's friendly.

The swelling of my right-hand middle finger has finally subsided enough that I can wear my ring again. I must have jammed it while moving, but I don't remember doing it. The important thing is I'm glad to be able to wear my ring.

First communion day today. Ugh. Sure, it's great for the kids and their parents, but it makes Mass take for-fucking-ever. It's weird going to church by myself, but I have to start doing it regularly.

Last night's episode of Enterprise, "Cogenitor" (preempted on Wednesday by fucking basketball), raised the issues of universal sentient rights and cultural relativism. I have to say, I strongly disagree with the conclusions they reached. Slavery should not be tolerated in the name of cultural differences. Next week, the Borg. I really like Enterprise, but some things about it make me uneasy.

Saturday, May 3, 2003

X2 was everything I knew it could be and more. Thank you, Bryan Singer, thank you so much.

There's no getting around it, girls love Dave Matthews. If the choice is between learning to tolerate DMB or dying a virgin, I think I'd prefer to be a Jesuit rather than a Franciscan.

The pilot episode, "Caretaker," has been renamed "The Stars My Destination." The reasons for this are two in number. "Caretaker" sounds too much like staying in one place, settling down or going home; "The Stars My Destination" sez it all, perfectly capturing the adventureous spirit of exploration. B of all, The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester is my favorite book of all time and I cannot pass up the opportunity to tip my hat in respect and appreciation.

Thus, Re-Cap Redux
Season One: "The Stars My Destination" - "The Mutiny, Part I"
Season Two: "The Mutiny, Part II" - "Marooned, Part I"
Season Three: "Marooned, Part II" - "Reign of Khan, Part I"

Friday, May 2, 2003

The Plot Thickens
Season Two, Part II - After nearly two years of abuse, K'rena diagnoses the warp nacelles as being on the verge of failure. She can save one by cannibalizing the other, but the ship cannot form a stable warp field with just one nacelle. The Ulysses spends several weeks (and episodes) in a highly advanced system that serves as a crossroads of commerce and cultures. The emir, a gambling man, is holding a starship race. In "The Race," Neelix and Nick overcome their enmity about Kes and work together to prepare and race Neelix's ship, the Talax Falcon (Millennium Falcon anyone?). The race is won, the prize money claimed, and the Ulysses repaired and restored to better condition than since her arrival in the Delta Quadrant, including an all-new custom-built nacelle. Upon leaving the civilized enclave of the emirate, though, the Ulysses is swarmed and overwhelmed by the Kazon, unified under Seska. After a savage fight, the ship is boarded and seized, and the crew marooned on a savage planet. The Ulysses has been seized as Seska's flagship and the season ends with the image of the crew watching their ship fly off, leaving them "Marooned."

Season Three ñ The marooned crew survives the savage planet and the Ulysses returns and picks them up (thrilling stuff, but the mechanics of the episode aren't important). Both the Vidiians and the Kazon-Trabe are now in the past and shan't be seen again. Of course, in the course of their travels, the crew is constantly scavenging, especially looking for exotic alien technologies that might be able to get them home. They encounter numerous species, some friendly, more hostile, including the time-twisting Krenim. The single best episode of Voyager was "Before and After," in which Kes jumps backwards in time from some point in the future. Same thing, deja vu all over again. The fourth-season two-parter "Year of Hell" will be brought to the third season and vastly improved. (Good idea, poor execution.) Basically, a recurring villain and temporal hi-jinks that will leave the Ulysses outfitted with a jury-rigged ìchronometrics labî and some interesting ideas about wormholes. The third season finds Nick and Kes growing increasingly serious about their relationship fueled by an awareness of how little time they have together given Kes's short lifespan. Captain McKenna, after performing several weddings among the crew, finds herself longing for companionship. Her affections fall on Cmdr. Torres, who reciprocates her feelings, but they each remain unwilling to take any action. This is to the consternation of K'rena, who still carries a torch for Benicio, but decides to distract herself with a brief fling with newly promoted Lt. (j.g.) Kim. (As I said in "The Big Picture, Part II," on Odyssey everybody gets some.) Kes's powers continue to expand, now encompassing powerful telekinesis, tactile telepathy, and limited pre-cognitive abilities. Neelix finds the Ulysses to have traveled to the edge of his knowledge; Captain McKenna helps him redefine his role on-board from that of guide to quartermaster, since he is, after all, a natural scrounger and black market businessman. Using the Krenim hardware, modified and "interspliced" with other alien devices, the crew activates a device intended to create a stable, artificial wormhole. In "A Single Seed," the crew activates the wormhole device and sends through a probe. The probe is damaged in transit, but when it emerges on the other side it's visual sensor reports a clear image: Earth. The stresses inside the wormhole are extreme; so, Captain McKenna does not want to take the Ulysses through until they have more information. The Captain's Yacht, manned by Benicio and Nick, is sent through. Encountering the same obstacles as the probe, the Penelope (Odysseus's wife in The Iliad, twit) is severely damaged and makes a crash landing on Earth. The final image of the episode is Benicio and Nick crawling from the wreckage of the yacht, looking up at a banner bearing the face of Khan Noonien Singh.

ìReign of Khan.î The chronometrics lab reveals that things are worse than they seem: in a classic case of cultural contamination, Nick and Benicio crashed on Earth in the final stages of the Eugenics Wars (1992-1996; remember, wormholes are rips in space-time, not just space), when Khan's forces were in full retreat. However, the technology salvaged from the Penelope allowed Khan to turn the tide of the war and bring the entire Earth under his dominion. (The Krenim's goal was to rewrite history; so, it allows the Ulysses to view changes in the timeline, even while isolated from those changes by their proximity to and causation of the offending wormhole.) Up to the challenge no matter the odds, the Ulysses plunges into the wormhole bound for mid-1990s Earth to make sure that history unfolds as it should, thus allowing "Space Seed" and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan to happen as they did. (My inspiration here is the Voyager two-parter "Future's End, Parts I and II." The ship traveled back to Earth in the year 1996... an Earth that looked exactly like you'd walked off the Voyager soundstages. Listen, you twerps, in Star Trek history 1996 was the year the Eugenics Wars, a global conflict, ended; even if America - "Future's End" took place in, ugh, Los Angeles - was largely spared, as in the Second Word War, there should still be some evidence! Jerks.) The third season ends with "Reign of Khan, Part I." I want "Reign of Khan" to be the "The Best of Both Worlds" of Odyssey.

First season: "Caretaker, Parts I and II" ñ "The Mutiny, Part I"
Second season: "The Mutiny, Part II" ñ "Marooned, Part I"
Third season: "Marooned, Part II" ñ "Reign of Khan, Part I"

Thursday, May 1, 2003

Sorry for the lengthy interruption. It turns out moving is just as unpleasant as I remembered. But I digress.

Dramatis Personae
Captain Elisabeth McKenna, Commanding Officer - Yeah, you're right, Janeway just isn't a worthy last name for a Star Trek captain. Also, I've been considering making Captain McKenna younger, in her mid-thirties; the Ulysses is her first command. Her previous posting was as Executive Officer of the U.S.S. Victory, a Galaxy-class starship, under the command of Captain Grok (a Tellarite). She commanded the Ulysses through her spaceworthiness trials and then on to Starbase Deep Space 9, where the ship took on personnel and equipment before heading off into the Badlands in search of Sovok, working undercover aboard Benicio Torres's missing Maquis raider....
Ensign Daniel Kim, Operations Officer - the only change here is that I realized Harry just doesn't work with the last name Kim. So, I've renamed our uptight young ensign after the actor Daniel Dae Kim, whom I've always wanted to see work with Daniel Day Lewis, just for the name thing. Lt. Cmdr. Data was second officer (next in the chain of command after the Executive Officer) aboard the Enterprise-D while he served as Operations Officer. This leads me to believe that Ops Officer is a respected position; thus, Dan must be very good to have received such a choice assignment right out of the Academy. Sure, the Ulysses is hardly the most impressive ship in Starfleet, but Ops Officer on any ship beats spending the next three years crawling through Jeffries Tubes on the Engineering night shift.

The Plot Thickens
Season One - In the pilot episode, still titled "Caretaker," we meet the senior staff of the Ulysses, half of whom are killed when the ship is pulled into the Delta Quadrant. We meet the Ocampa, the Vidiians (instead of the Kazon), the Caretaker, and Neelix and Kes. (The Vidiians are trying to get their rotting hands on the Ocampa; since the Ocampa only live seven years, they have a devilishly fast metabolism. The Vidiians figure they might be able to beat the Phage if they could only make their immune systems adapt more quickly than the disease.) Things happen more or less as they did in Voyager's "Caretaker," only better. Throughtout the season, fights and arguments break out between the Starfleet and Maquis crew, exacerbated by the long hours everyone works in order to keep the severly crippled ship flying. Power being at a minumum, the replicators are shut down and a large compartment is converted into a Mess Hall, where a hearty diet of emergency rations leaves the crew highly disgruntled. Nevertheless, through a series of typical Star Trek adventures, trust starts to blossom between McKenna and Torres, the good commander even developing feelings for his erstwhile pursuer. He seeks the counsel of K'rena, who has always held secret feelings for him, but good friend that she is, she advises him to pursue to captain if that's what his heart tells him. Nick is an immediate bad influence on Dan, but while Nick teaches the young ensign to be more reckless, Dan rekindles Nick's long-dead dream to be a model Starfleet officer. Benicio busts heads to keep the Maquis crew in line, increasingly alienating his former first officer, newly-minted "Lt." Cole. Convinced that they should do whatever it takes to find the second Caretaker, who has the ability to send them home, Cole plays on the frustrations of the Starfleet crew and his fellow Maquis to develop a substantial following by season's end. The ship visits Talax, Neelix's homeworld, under occupation by Haakonian forces following defeat in war; the crew envades the ravenous clutches of the Vidiians; they make contact with a Romulan scientist from twenty years in the past through a small, inherently unstable wormhole; the encounter the Kazon several times, but learn nothing on the Trabe; before the season's end, it is learned that Seska was really a Cardassian spy aboard Benicio's ship and she defects to the Kazon. Neelix remains a wildcard, an invaluabe source of local information, but an aloof ally; he is greatly impressed by the strength of conviction of Starfleet morality, but also perplexed by its limitations. Kes catches the eye of Nick Locarno and their fast friendship begins to evolve into something more, creating enmity between Nick and Neelix; her personal project aboard is the EMH, her mentor, and by season's end she is issued a blue Starfleet uniform and given a field comission as a nurse (Specialist Second Class). The season conclude's with the cliffhanger "The Mutiny, Part I": Cole makes his move, loyalties are tested, shots are fired, and the final image is Cole holding Captain McKenna at phaserpoint on her own bridge. "To be continued...."

Season Two - The mutineers comprise only a small portion of the crew, but take control of the entire ship. Most of the crew doesn't know how to react and are basically stunned into inaction. Oddly enough, most of the Maquis stay loyal to McKenna, following Benicio's lead. With the computer core isolated and rendered inoperable by McKenna's last command, the Ulysses sits all but dead in space. Sovok manages to escape from his quarters and begins a campaign of sabotage. While Lt. Carey, Cole's first officer who joined the mutiny because he felt slighted when K'rena was named Chief Engineer, tries to unlock to computer, Cole grows increasingly irrational, boasting of a grandiose trial for McKenna and the others, personally holding the captain hostage in her Ready Room. Inspired by Sovok, more and more of the crew actively turn against the mutineers, who are quickly turning on each other. When Cole tries to execute McKenna, Benicio tells his old friend that the captain will be killed only over his dead body. Neelix, a lukewarm supporter fo the mutiny, stands next to Torres in defense of the captain. "What are you doing?" roared Cole. "I'm defending my captain," Neelix replied. Cole nearly escapes, but is stopped by Carey, who tells him to accept that they've lost. Cole disintegrates Carey before being knocked against a wall by a telekinetic blast from Kes, something she didn't know she could do. A hasty court marital is arranged, and Captain McKenna sentences Cole and six others to be put off the ship and all the other mutineers (a little over twenty) to be reduced in rank and confined to quarters when not on duty. The mutineers are left a few kilometers outside a spaceport, presumably to never be seen again. The Ulysses encounters the Kazon again, and finds that Seska has risen to a position of some power through her persecution of the Trabe; the Doctor, working with a rescued Vidiian scientist, tries his hand at research and believes he's found a cure for the Phage, but then discoveres the disease is not so easily conquered; I've got more second season stuff, really!

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