|A totally random picture of a show that is in NO way related to the satire below.|
[What does this have to do with writing about writing? Um...it's uh.....a study in tropes! That's it. That's the ticket.
Unfortunately, since Star Trek: The Next Generation and all the characters therin is trademarked by Paramount and its affiliates, and this blog technically makes money (two whole cents yesterday!) I'll have to fiddle with the knobs a little on the names in this medium, so that it conforms to the legal rules of satire. So the title of this post is just about the introduction here. The title of this piece is....]
Captain’s log; supplemental, Stardate Season 5 Episode 2341 point 2
In our travels to Lagornden core to deliver vital medical supplies to some race that apparently can’t deal with any other member of Sunfleet except me, we have encountered what appears to be a giant shark—a predator native to Earth oceans, and Earth’s past—in the Sellowt cluster, a region of space known for its treacherous stellar geography and the specific course that must be taken to navigate through it successfully. The shark is blocking our route through the cluster and appears to be ready to defend the pass. Thus far we have only questions, and few answers.
USS Capitalize Bridge
Captain Pickhard: Is it possible this is something other than a shark. A hologram or a ship built to resemble a shark.
Datum: The entity *is* biological, sir. Scans do not show any indication of holographic energy patterns. I am reading a bio-energy signature indicative of what one would expect to find in a large aquatic biological entity. Though it defies everything we know about biology, it does appear to be a shark.
Spiker: How is that even possible?
Datum: Unknown, sir. At this point there is not enough information with which to formulate a hypothesis. I am capable of creative thinking only within the last six minutes of an episode or if I go insane. I'm very creative when I'm the bad guy. However, as I appear to have no alien entities, nanites, broken servos, come-back-to-me-my-son recall signals, missing morality chips, holodeck western bleed or evil twin brothers whispering in my ear, we will have to wait thirty-two minutes and fourteen seconds for any out-of-the-box solution to come from me.
Spiker: Go to yellow alert. Raise the shields.
Pickhard: We need to know more about this shark. I’m not exactly sure yet how I’m going to turn this situation into a parable of late 20th century social issues. I’ve got to make a moralizing speech before the fourth commercial break.
Bev Crushim: I’ve adapted our ship’s sensors to perform medical scans, Jyawn-Loonk. It is a genetically identical to the species of shark known as the Great White that went extinct in the early 21st century due to overfishing and pollution.
(Pickhard looks thoughtful.)
Datum: Doctor, I find your conclusions…questionable. The presence of the shark in space—rather than within salt-water—and its preternatural size would tend to suggest the hypothesis that it actually a shark highly improbable.
Bev: And yet…it is a shark. Right down to the DNA. It’s a big shark…in space. I can’t explain it.
Captain Pickhard: Mr. Datum, can we maneuver around the shark?
Datum: The shark has matched our maneuvers exactly, Captain. The pass is narrow enough that it can effectively counter any move we make. It appears to be able to....swim faster than our impulse engines can react.
Spiker: Would we be able to leave the pass? Maybe navigate through the Sellowt Cluster another way or go around?
Datum: Leaving the pass at this point would require impulse and low warp navigation that would add 4 days, 20 hours, 4 minutes, and 20 seconds to our arrival time even if we accelerated to maximum warp when we cleared the Cluster. Going around would add even more time, even though that makes no sense whatsoever given the velocities involved.
Captain Pickhard: Unacceptable. That is far too long for the…oh whoever they are who are going to die if we don’t deal directly with this shark. Our sense of urgency has been established and we have an obstacle. Suggestions?
Fordy LaGorge: I’ve been working on a theory, Captain. If I can boost the anular confinement of the computer's navigational matrix I may be able to modify the Capitalize's shield emitters to boost the warp bubble in a way that will allow us to exploit the fact that space is--well, I know this is radical but hear me out--...three-dimensional. I’ve been working on simulations on the holodeck with holo version of Dr. Leah Brahms....all night. Here is what we’ve come up with: if I can incorporate the third dimension of space into our navigational matrix, there isn’t really any reason we should have plot elements like passes or blockades that are based in planetary, two-dimensional geography. I’m working on a way to go up or maybe even down instead of through the pass. But my research is tied in with my inability to get a real date and character development, so it’s going to be at least the whole episode before I realize that I need to just be myself. I will be happy to give you scientific sounding babble for any other objectives you might want.
Dee Anna Troit: (aside to Dr. Crusher) He always did do best with hollow women.
Spiker: Go to yellow alert. Raise the shields.
(Datum and Eastly Crushim look back at Riker.)
Datum: Commander....you have already ordered both these actions.
Spiker: Oh sorry. It's pretty much my only job. Sometimes I forget.
Warfle: I suggest a full photon torpedo spread at the shark with phaser burst in attack pattern delta along with a deflector dish nucleonic burst like we fired at the Borg while simultaneously performing the Picard maneuver and ejecting an overloading warp core…into the shark’s face.
Bev Crushim: Warfle we don’t know the shark is dangerous. This is a new life form.
Warfle: (flares nostrils) It is an OLD lifeform, Doctor. You said yourself, it was just a shark. They are very dangerous--the perfect predator. In 20th century earth the chances of being killed by a shark were much greater than that of being killed by a terrorist attack. You can see how seriously our ancestors took THAT threat. We must treat this threat accordingly.
Bev: Yes, Warfle, but it is in space, and we don’t know how or why.
Warfle: With all due respect, doctor. Sharks have no honor. Neither do any Klingons except me, but I still think it's important to keep up pretense. They are…magnificent and beautiful, but mindless predators. We cannot compromise the security of The Capitalize. The shark has…..many teeth.
Bev: Just because something is a predator and because it might attack out of instinct doesn’t mean we have the right to just destroy it. I am required to be nothing but an archetype for the Hippocratic oath, and that means arguing for life no matter how dangerous or threatening it may be.
Captain Pickhard: Agreed. Warfle, I'm going to cockblock your suggestion, because...let's face it...that's all I ever do with your suggestions. But don't worry...you're still totally a symbol of diversity and cultural respect....and stuff. We will just ignore that culture's every input since we're better. We will attempt to find a non-violent solution.
Warfle: But Captain—
Captain Pickhard: Mr. Warfle, your objection is noted. I appreciate your concern. I share it. Keep a full weapon’s lock on the shark’s face. But let’s not provoke it and resort to violence only as a last resort. I want to try to communicate with it, if possible. If we can determine its needs, we can try to provide those needs in a way that doesn't hurt anyone, and allows us all to coexist. It is not evil. It is feeding. It has as much a right to be here as we do.
Spiker: Dee Anna do you—
Pickhard: “Yes, the systematic wiping out of predators may have been a way we handled things in our incredibly ignorant past of incredible ignorance. But we do things differently now. We are enlightened—unless, of course, we happen to be cocksure, arrogant admirals who embody all the failings of the late incredibly ignorant 20th century US military warhawks, but other than that…totally enlightened.
Fordy LaGorge: Except for Warfle.
Warfle: (nostrils flare...more than normal)
Pickhard: I would argue that this life form has as much a right to exist as we do. It is as much a part of nature as we are. We have NO RIGHT to destroy entire species as we see fit. If we are going to place ourselves above nature as it’s vicegerents, a slippery slope to begin with, then we have as much a duty to protect that nature as a right to manipulate it. We cannot allow ourselves to think that we are more important than anything else…even though we would perish as a species if that weren’t wired into our biological imperative.
Spiker: Shields up!
Datum: Commander, you have already ordered the shields raised. Twice. Unless we send an away team to the shark or it transforms into a ‘severe hottie,’ I think your input this episode has reached its denouement.
Pickhard: Can we communicate with it?
Datum: We have been hailing the shark on all known subspace frequencies—even though we’ve established that there are infinite numbers of those, so that is technically impossible.
LaGorge: If I can boost the annular dechion emissions beam I may be able to calibrate the neucleogenic resonance harmonics to a reverse polarity of the sharks brain wave amplitude patterns, and set up a reverse ionic cascade that would allow us to use the holodeck to talk directly with the shark’s brain by entering it's dreams, as long as--for some reason--we also lock ourselves in with no escape for two hours. It could make for a great holodeck-out-of-control episode. We haven’t had one of those in at least two months.
Pickhard: How long would it take to cali...rev...to....do that thing you just said?
LaGorge: (blowing out breath like he's really actually thinking since Levar totally fucking rocks as an actor) Since this is a moral lesson episode instead of a character development one, I’d say….about four times longer than we have.
Pickhard: *sighs* Dee Anna, do you sense anything from the shark? Is there any way we can communicate with it…telepathically?
Troit: It’s an animal captain. It has no intelligence. I sense hostility and violence, but not any sort of higher consciousness. I do think it’s hiding something, but--as always--I can’t tell you what, or I would blow the pacing.
Spiker: I’ve heard that non-Betazoid ship’s counselors are also capable of saying that everyone in the damned galaxy is ‘hiding something.’
Troit: Look this isn’t one of the few episodes that highlight the fact that I am actually somewhat capable instead of just a conduit for every psychic species that wants to hitch a ride in my body. I’m sorry that I can’t give you anything else. I’m a bad plot hole on the best of days, Bill Spiker. At least I’ve accepted MY archetype. Have you? The shark is hiding something, okay??
Eastly Crushim: Captain, I have calculated a series of short warp jumps that the shark should be unable to react to. If we execute Eastly Theta Seven, we should be able to trick the shark, with the first warp jumps, and then jump OVER it with subsequent jumps.
Spiker: Sort of like a feint.
Troit: I’ve heard that non-bearded first officers are also capable of repeating everything everyone else says layman's terms. In fact, I’m fairly certain that being the character who repeats the plot in a simple way has some kind of....literary precedent.
Spiker: I hate you Zimzadee. I hate you so very, very much.
Pickhard: Mr. Datum, could Eastly’s plan work? We’re the flagship of The Conglomeration, and we have the best officers in all of Sunfleet, yet I am—again—about to go with the plan of a kid whose every burst of hormones make us all regret ever giving him that uniform.
Datum: I believe so, Captain. I have checked his calculations. It does appear that the best solution may be to...jump the shark.
Pickhard: Well then... Make it so!