The Enterprise is orbiting near Deep Space Nine, there to assist Bajor in
aqueduct repair. While Picard, Crusher, Geordi and Worf are stationside,
Data goes to sickbay to investigate a power drain and finds Dr. Julian
Bashir, DS9's chief medical officer, trying to figure out the inner workings
of a field generator found in the Gamma quadrant. Data points out that
despite his needs, Bashir cannot use the Enterprise sickbay for his purposes.
As an alternative, however, Data offers an analysis in Engineering, which
Bashir happily accepts, adding that he didn't expect Data (whom he finds
fascinating) to be so "personable".
Meanwhile, Worf is accosted on the station by Jaglom Shrek, who claims to
have information to sell about Worf's father, Mogh. Mogh, Shrek claims, was
not killed at Khitomer, but instead captured and taken to a secret Romulan
prison camp, the location of which Shrek will divulge for a price. Worf,
however, snarls that Mogh would never let himself be captured, threatens
Shrek for spreading lies, and stalks off.
Returning to the Enterprise, Worf remains in a very ill humor, snapping at an
ensign for a minor mistake and accidentally breaking a table in his quarters.
Troi decides to find out what's bothering him ("or would you like to break
some more furniture?"), and eventually points out that despite Worf's
concerns over honor (among other things, the shame of Mogh's capture would
place a "burden of guilt" on both Worf and Alexander), he cannot let the
issue pass without trying to verify it. She leaves him to think about his
In Engineering, Data, Bashir and Geordi begin connecting up the generator for
tests, while Bashir plies Data with questions about his "ordinary"
properties, such as whether he breathes or grows his hair. Bashir notes that
Data's creator went to great lengths to _humanize_ Data, and Bashir finds
that very interesting indeed. Shortly thereafter, the generator overloads
and sends out a plasma shock that strikes Data full force. Data collapses,
and has a vision of himself walking down an Enterprise corridor and finding a
blacksmith -- a blacksmith with the face of a young Dr. Soong.
Upon his reactivation after the shock, Data tells Geordi and Bashir of his
vision. No rational explanation can be found for his memories, so Data
chooses to treat it as an almost mystical experience. He first turns to
Worf, asking Worf of a similar vision he might have had once and describing
his own. Worf responds that Data *must* find the meaning of the vision,
because for Klingons, "nothing is more important than receiving a revelation
about your father." Worf continues, but begins aiming his points inwards,
saying that no matter what your father has done, "you must find him."
Worf returns to the station and finds Shrek. He tells Shrek that he will pay
for the information, but *after* it has been verified -- and that Shrek will
take him there. Further, he tells Shrek that if there is no prison camp,
Shrek will die. Shrek takes him to the prison planet, but remains
closemouthed about his reasons and the source of his information.
Data, meanwhile, talks to Picard about his experiences and his attempts to
interpret them. After Picard advises him to start looking within *himself*
for the vision's meaning rather than into other cultures, Data returns to his
quarters and begins to paint -- and paint, and paint...
Worf is dropped off and begins to travel through the dense jungle towards the
camp. He eventually happens upon a young Klingon girl bathing. She attempts
to flee, but he catches her and asks her to bring him to the camp. She
reacts with puzzlement to his claim that he will take them "home", but does
not give him away when a Romulan comes to get her...
Back on the Enterprise, Geordi sees Data's work, now numbering 23 paintings.
The images in Data's paintings have expanded to include things not seen in the
vision: smoke rising from water, a bird's wing, and so forth; and Data
believes that the only way to solve the mystery is to recreate his collapse
and let the vision continue to its end. Despite the danger, Geordi agrees,
and the experiment begins. Data begins to dream...
He finds Soong again, only to find that he's forging a bird's wing. He
places the wing in a bucket of water, which steams -- and when it clears, a
living bird sits on the table, then flies off. "This vision is different..."
"Of course it's different!" Data looks over, to find himself and Soong now
standing on the bridge, surrounded by Data's possessions. "It's never the
same ... always changing ... it doesn't make sense!" Soong calls Data's
vision "a beginning. Still a little grounded in the mundane, but showing
"I do not understand." "You're not supposed to. No man should know where
his dreams come from! It spoils the mystery -- the fun." Soong walks right
up to Data and takes his face in his hands. "I'm proud of you, son; I wasn't
sure you'd ever develop the cognitive abilities to make it this far. But if
you're _here_ -- if you can _see_ me -- you've crossed over the threshold of
being a collection of circuits and subprocessors, and have started a
"What type of journey?" Data now finds himself on a lab table, although
still on the bridge. "Think of it ... think of it as an empty sky," replies
"I do not understand." "Shh. Just dream, Data -- *dream*." Soong bends
down low and whispers faintly, "Data -- _you_ are the bird."
Data's vision changes, and he finds himself seeing images of flying, swooping
through the corridors of the Enterprise, passing Soong, and soaring out into
...and Data awakes in Engineering. He later discusses with Bashir his
findings that the "dreams" were created by circuits Soong designed that were
intended to be activated by a certain level of awareness, but that have now
been activated early by the plasma shock. He intends to "dream" every night
to see what occurs.
Worf, meanwhile, reaches the prison camp undetected. He enters, and finds a
group of Klingons engaging in what could almost be termed a Klingon
spiritual. The apparent leader of that group leaves for another room, and
Worf grabs him and forces him to answer some questions.
Worf finds first that Mogh was killed in battle at Khitomer, but that L'Kor
and his group were captured and brought to the camp. 73 now live there, and
Worf intends to bring them all home. L'Kor, however, says that Worf does not
understand and that he must speak with the others.
"I knew your father well, Worf -- and I remember you. A boy, barely able to
lift a batlekh. Once, your father insisted that we take you on the ritual
hunt. You were so eager, you tried to take the beast with your bare hands.
It mauled your arm."
Worf's glare softens. "I still have the scar -- I _do_ remember you now."
"You should not have come here, Worf." "I do not understand." "You should
not have come."
Other Klingons enter and say that Worf must leave. L'Kor, however, says
that it's already too late, and that he would tell others. They grab Worf,
who breaks free and begins to flee -- only to be caught by Romulan guards.
"We are not leaving here, Worf -- and neither are you."
TO BE CONTINUED.
Whew. So much for trying for a short synopsis. :-) Now, onwards to
Off the bat, I should say that the only thing keeping this show from being
another solid 10 (lots of those lately...as I said, they're on a roll) is the
actual mechanics of getting Worf from DS9 to the prison planet and his
subsequent trap. It may lead to good stuff in part II, but it was all far
too convenient -- and having recently been burned by implausibilities in
"Chain of Command, Part I", I'm quite leery of another one. Among those
-- Why is it that Worf could just up and leave without anyone on the
Enterprise knowing, caring, or leaving backup plans in case something goes
-- Why is it that a planet so close (assuming the plots are proceeding at the
same rate, we're talking at most 24 hours away from DS9) to Bajor is suddenly
on the edge of *Romulan* space?
The former is correctable, and it's very possible that we'll see that it was
indeed thought of in part II. If that happens, I'll be very impressed,
though I still prefer hints being dropped in advance, like we saw in "The
Defector"; the final plot twist there was foreshadowed and *still* caught me
utterly flatfooted. The latter, however, is a side issue relating to why
this had to take place on DS9 in the first place -- and I'd argue that aside
from a bit of "crossover hype", there was no reason for it, really. (On the
other hand, it meant we got to see a *lot* of Siddig El Fadil, and I don't
particularly mind that.)
So far, "Birthright", like "Face of the Enemy", seems to reflect TNG
returning, at least occasionally, to a multi-plot approach. However, both of
the above examples have something in common that many early multi-plot TNG
shows do not: the plotlines at least relate to each other, and at most
Here, there's certainly a common theme -- that of seeking out one's father.
The two plots dovetail, however, in the Data/Worf scene in Ten-Forward.
While that scene is not, in my opinion, the best scene in the episode, it's
among the most critical -- and did a good job of setting *both* halves of the
story onto the courses they took for the remainder of the hour. And again,
even though there were better scenes, it *was* awfully good; if nothing else,
it's a decidedly interesting change of pace to have Worf get so
The above theme, that of fatherhood (and family, to some degree) is a
surprise to see, not from TNG, but from Brannon Braga in particular.
Family-centered stories have nearly always been Ron Moore's particular
"specialty" (especially *Klingon* family stories) -- this is, after all, the
same person who wrote "Family" and "The Defector", and much of "Reunion". I
don't particularly mind being surprised at the writing credit, though, as
long as the one surprising me is as adept as the one he or she is replacing
-- and given both Moore's and Braga's track records, that's no problem here.
One thing in the show that *did* very definitely play to Braga's strengths
was the dialoguing, both incidental and crucial. Troi was the strongest I've
seen her be as _herself_ (as opposed to "Face of the Enemy") in a long while,
despite only having one scene. I'm not so sure her particularly sardonic
points ("Did the table do something wrong?") would be applicable in *all* her
counseling situations, but they did a good job at getting through to Worf.
More incidental points, such as Geordi and Worf's attempted meal on DS9, were
simply amusing, but in appropriate ways throughout.
Perhaps due to the implausibilities in the Worf situation, I found the
"Data's vision" subplot far more interesting. The second dream sequence was
particularly notable, of course, but that's not a great surprise -- even when
Winrich Kolbe's had problems with directing routine scenes, the weird ones
nearly always worked, and Spiner *still* does a great Dr. Soong. What got to
me nearly as much, though, was the scene of him beginning to be "inspired".
(Obsessed is more like it. Even for Data, that look was of an awfully
single-minded android.) Picard provided a nice motivating force, and we got
to see Data being successfully creative in one of the most vivid ways
possible -- dreaming.
I'm not sure where the Data plotline is going to go in part II, though (and
given past history, I, alas, do not expect to ever see a trace of it *after*
part II of "Birthright"). I will admit, though, that when the point was made
that these dream-circuits were activated prematurely, before Data had
developed enough to do it himself, my first thought was of a situation set up
in Donaldson's "Thomas Covenant" trilogies -- "uh-oh," I thought, "Data's
found the Second Ward without mastering the First." Something tells me there
may be unpleasant consequences to this early discovery. (Those who've
been reading my reviews for a couple of years know that I've seen parallels
to bits and pieces of the series before. Those who have absolutely no idea
what I'm talking about are advised to ask. :-) )
That said, a few words on the guest stars. First, I found Dr. Bashir's guest
shot here very effective -- not necessarily enough to justify the artificial
nature of setting the framing device on DS9 in the first place [particularly
when he's the *only* DS9 regular we see or hear], but nice. His reaction to
Data seemed very well in line with Bashir's character, both in his
fascination and his uncanny ability to put his foot in his mouth. :-)
Second, while James Cromwell was no big deal as Shrek (quite acceptable, but
unspectacular), Richard Herd's short turn so far as the Klingon L'Kor was
extremely nice. I don't know exactly what role he's going to be playing as
the plot unfolds, but I already feel somewhat like I know the *character*,
thanks to his and Worf's shared memories of Worf's childhood. Nice.
(Jennifer Gatti, on the other hand, may not be as effective in whatever role
she plays -- while we didn't get much of a chance to tell, I wasn't that
impressed with what I saw, and I'm not talking about the bathing sequence.)
Now, a couple of very quick short takes:
-- Given Troi's actions both here and in "The Emissary" way back when, I have
to ask: Does she have some sort of warning sensor in her office that goes
off whenever Klingons break glass tables? And for that matter, hasn't the
Enterprise support staff realized that glass tables are a *bad* idea in
Klingon quarters? :-)
-- While Picard was examining aqueduct layouts in his ready room, it looked
for all the world like the setup for a covert "Tetris" game. One wonders --
does Picard ever decide to blow off time and play games or read the
24th-century equivalent of Usenet in his ready room? :-)
That should about cover it. All in all, I was quite pleased with what I saw,
and if part II can both continue this part's strengths and explain its
implausibilities, we'll have a very strong winner on our hands. So, the
Plot: 7. Some general artificialities in putting the situation on DS9 in
the first place, and in getting Worf trapped as well.
Plot Handling: 10. Sharply done, and possibly the best work I've seen from
Kolbe in directing.
Characterization: 10. Marvelous.
TOTAL: 9. Nice work yet again -- let's keep this running.
Looks like Worf *really* better have that backup plan.
Tim Lynch (Harvard-Westlake School, Science Dept.)
"No man should know where his dreams come from! It spoils the mystery, the
-- Dr. Soong
Copyright 1993, Timothy W. Lynch. All rights reserved, but feel free to ask...
In article <1mpnbl...@gap.caltech.edu> tly...@cco.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch) writes:
>WARNING: This article contains spoilers for "Birthright, Part I", the latest
>TNG offering. As usual, if you're not willing to be spoiled, don't blame me
>for it if you choose to read further. :-)
>I thought only Ron Moore wrote stories about fathers. :-) Not that I *mind*,
>TNG is continuing the string of good work we've seen since "Chain of Command"
>[excepting "Aquiel", for obvious reasons], and it'll be interesting to see
>where the threads picked up by this one go. First, however, a synopsis (as
First, I want to say that I liked this episode.
However, ST:TNG is still having the same problem as I have
mentioned when I first started posting to this group.
It's not Star Trek.
What do I mean?
The purpose of Starfleet is to "explore strange new worlds, to seek
out new life, and new civilizations, to boldly go whee no
man/one has gone before".
Now, when have they done this? In TOS, about 80% of the epsiodes had
the Enterprise crew encountering a new life form, either beaming down
to an unexplored planet or encountering an unknown starship.
In TNG, the percentage is about 40%. Granted, they have down wonderful
exploration episodes, such as "First Contact", the planet with the Vulcanoids,
"Darmok"; however, most of the episodes are 'As the Enterprise Turns".
True, character development is important, but we're in the sixth season now.
I want to see genuine exploration. I want the Enterprise to go to an
unexplored planet, beam down the away team, and see what's there.
Now, mostly what they do is ferry some diplomat from place to place or
go to planets/space stations that belong to the Federation already.
Their not exploring anything new. Granted, they are finding new
"life", (Moriarty, those self-aware pig-like machines, Data in "Birthright"),
but all they're doing is exploring old life, and old civilizations but
in a different way. While entertaining, yes, it is also boring.
There's no excitement because they're not exploring anything new.
This is why I don't like Deep Space Nine. Overall it's entertaining.
I admit that, but it's just not "Star Trek". There's no exploration.
It's just an alien visitor of the week type of show.
The TNG episodes I like the best are the ones with genuine exploration:
the ones I mentioned above plus "Justice","The Outcast", any episode
where we learn about Klingon or Romulan culture, the Borg.
The ones I like the least are those that involve no exploration:
any episode involving Lwaxana Troi or Alexander, Data trying
to become more human, the holodeck goes on the blink again,
"The Game", "Captain's Holiday", all Q episodes except where
he introduces the Borg. (I loved "Tapestry", but it was
a character development episode, not exploration.)
By themselves the episodes are entertaining, but over all,
I can't stand them.
I think that what has made TNG as popular and good (in
my opinion) as it is is that it is NOT a clone of TOS. The show
has left itself open for any number of possible plots involving
much more than just beaming down to some alien planet, hearing
the generic redshirt scream, pronouncing him dead, and dealing
with the alien of the week. Personally if it was just exploration
plots I think that I would begin to get bored fairly quickly.
But then that's the best part of TNG. They've produced
enough of a variety that audience has expanded to include many
who have little interest in TOS.
The same holds true of DS9. The object was to produce a
NEW show. Not just TNG or TOS clone. By setting it on a Space
Station they now can show a whole new aspect of Starfleet. I like
it because its something new for Star Trek.
So yes, TNG and DS9 are not "Star Trek," but then neither
is an acorn a tree. The new series are not an imitation of TOS
but an expansion on it, and they have succeeded in not only
providing material for the fans of TOS but also entertaining
a lot of others also.
/ ------------------------------------------------------------- \
| Paul Hinecker pm_...@pavo.concordia.ca |
| Concordia University |
| Political Science Montreal, Canada |
\ ------------------------------------------------------------- /
>WARNING: This article contains spoilers for "Birthright, Part I"
>-- Why is it that Worf could just up and leave without anyone on the
>Enterprise knowing, caring, or leaving backup plans in case something goes
I have the same gripe. Has Worf requested a shore leave or something that
he can just take off on a potentially dangerous mission? Plot hole or
a simple convenience, as you say, to avoid Picard's ramblings about backup
>One thing in the show that *did* very definitely play to Braga's strengths
>was the dialoguing, both incidental and crucial. Troi was the strongest I've
>seen her be as _herself_ (as opposed to "Face of the Enemy") in a long while,
>despite only having one scene. I'm not so sure her particularly sardonic
>points ("Did the table do something wrong?") would be applicable in *all* her
>counseling situations, but they did a good job at getting through to Worf.
Dialogues were particularly awesome with Spiner as young Soong. Troi's
dialogues were useless. They could've just cut that scene and made
a conference with Picard and Riker about Worf going to rescue his father.
The scene in Worf's quarter is totally screwed. Would've been better if
Troi comes in and say, "I have seen this happened before." -- Referring
to "The Emissary" with K'ehler who crashed the table also.
>Tim Lynch (Harvard-Westlake School, Science Dept.)
As a side note, why did they only sign Dr. Bashir to appear? I was hoping
to see the whole cast of DS9 to cameo. Ugh. When Geordi mentioned that
he has to talk to O'Brien about the food replicator, I was hoping we'll see
him. Too bad about contracts, salary, payments, etc... spoils the fun.
I don't want a TOS clone. I want science fiction.
If I wanted "let's explore the personal life of a character"
of the week, I'd watch All My Children. I don't want a
space opera. Star Trek is supposed to be science fiction.
When they do a moral message of the week, the episode is
usually terrible, in my opinion. Yes, there are moral type
shows, but they do have exploration ("The Outcast").
However, pure moral message episodes ("Aquiel") stink.
The same is true in TOS. "A Private Little War" was a
moral message about Vietnam. It stank. "Wink of an Eye"
was the exploration of Scalos with a great science fiction
plot, speeding up one's molecules. That episode is terrific.
Now, having character development is good, now and then,
like "Tapestry" or "Court Martial" in TOS. However, when
2 out of 3 episodes are All My Children clones, I get bored
real fast. I'm not knocking All My Children. I personally
just don't like soap operas. I like science fiction. That's
why I watch Star Trek.
As far as Deep Space Nine is concerned, I need to give it more
time. I can't say "Dax" is bad because it's character development.
Any story needs such, and I liked the aspect of exploring
Trill culture, especially after the "Trills are Disgusting Monsters"
fiasco here on the net. However, I just hope it doesn't mock
TNG. Oh look, a character falls in love with an alien diplomat/visitor/
possible enemy *again!* I *know* that will happend when Lwaxana Troi
makes her obligatory appearance. I think she'll pursue Odo.
I really LOVED seeing Data sans makeup as Soong. He rather reminded
me of all the other brilliant-but-slightly-nuts scientists that I've
loved for ages, such as those guys from the short-lived TV seriese
"Probe" and "War of the Worlds." I would LOVE to see more of him
(though if they overused him, it could become a bit like "Kung Fu"
or "The Last Electric Knight," with Data seeking enlightenment from
his "ancient master" in every episode. :)
Wonder what the Federation equivalent of Usenet is? Probably it
uses a system similar to the Usenet of today, but with a subspace
net replacing the worldwide nets we have today. Hmm, with the vast
distances involved, how long do you suppose it would take a message
to reach all points in the net? Probably days...perhaps even longer
on sites where all the messages have to go through universal trans-
lators before being read. I REALLY would hate to read through the
high-traffic newsgroups on that net...with the amount of people who
would be living in the galaxy in that day and age, there would prob-
ably be MILLIONS per day instead of just hundreds. :)
Chris Meadows | Robotech/RIFTS/Palladium fanfic author/editor
CHM173S@SMSVMA | They Might Be Giants about Star Trek aliens:
CHM...@VMA.SMSU.EDU | "Everybody wants prosthetic foreheads
CMEA...@NYX.CS.DU.EDU | on their real heads!"
I have a sense in this scene that the more Worf talks about Data's
vision, the more Worf felt that he must embark on his search of his
father. And it is after this scene that Worf decided to take up
the alien's offer to goto the prison camp.
[ Rodrick Su [ If at first you don't succeed, well, so much for ]
[----------------------[ skydiving. ]
[ r...@cats.ucsc.edu ]------------------------[ ``Games of the Hangman'' ]
[ r...@ucscb.ucsc.edu ]------------------------[ Victor O'Reilly ]
Several novels have mentioned the speed at which news (not Usenet, but
gossip information) travels in space. Diane Duane, in _Spock's World_
mentioned a "ship's BBS" that was very similar to today's BBSs and Usenet.
I believe other authors (Peter David, perhaps?) have mentioned similar
I expect that by the 24th century, clipping services will exist that
would pare down the content to a reasonable level. And I expect that
even in that time, people will still be asking for business cards to be
sent to this sick kid in England on Earth. :)
Rob Knauerhase, University of Illinois @ Urbana, Dept. of Computer Science
"See, when the GOVERNMENT spends money, it creates jobs; whereas when the
money is left in the hands of TAXPAYERS, God only knows what they do with it.
Bake it into pies, probably. Anything to avoid creating jobs." -- Dave Barry
I like that one... Entertaining but boring...
TNG is it's own show. I felt the same way about DS9... but now DS9 has proved it can be it's own show too, and it is. Just because the episodes don't explore
anything new doesn't mean they're not exploring... And, in a sense, when the
character-development episodes air, they are exploring something new, just in
a self-evident way. They're exploring their inner selves, not the outer surrou-ndings... Don't get me wrong, I love the "let
s go find a new life form" episodes and the fascination with whatever they
encounter... But I don't discount all the other exploration that goes on in the
TNG _has_ been doing science fiction, I believe, if you define
science fiction as any story where if there's no "fictional"
science, there's no story. "Fictional" is a really general
term here, but I don't mean "well, if the Enterprise didn't
exist, there'd be no series, so ST:TNG is all science fiction"...
"The Inner Light" was sci-fi, big time. Even _I_ hadn't ever
thought of a probe that transplants a world into one's mind
"Time's Arrow" was sci-fi (time travel).
"Relics" was sci-fi (Dyson sphere).
"Fistful of Datas"? Hmm. Holodeck, so I'll give it a maybe.
"Face of the Enemy" seemed more Clancy-style to me. Another
"Ship in a Bottle" was sci-fi, I'm fairly certain (I missed
that episode! :( ).
"Aquiel" - *sigh*
"Tapestry" MIGHT be sci-fi, depending on whether it was
really Q there.
"Birthright I" was definitely sci-fi to me; having Data "dream"
breaks new ground, in my opinion.
In the above hodge-podge of episodes from late 5th/6th season,
ST:TNG has hit reasonably close to science fiction, and for me
it's been VERY entertaining. (Except for "Aquiel".) With or
without character development. Hell, they could all sit around
weaving baskets and chanting mantras, if it offers new insights
into the universe; I'll make time to watch it. The sixth season
has been uncannily promising; I've never seen so many excellent
episodes in a row.
An aside: Dunno 'bout y'all, but have the last three episodes
seemed to have borrowed a bit from movies?
"Face of the Enemy" - "Hunt for Red October"
"Tapestry" - "It's a Wonderful Life"
"Birthright I" - "Flatliners"
Just a thought. :-)
In one of the TOS books - "Spock's World", I think - Kirk likes to
spend some of his time reading a News Network on the Enterprise.
"Today I saw a red-and-gold sunset and thought, how insignificant I
am! But then I thought that yesterday, too, and it rained." --Allen
As I recall, in "Dax" there was a mention of the Cardassians having
used some bits of Romulan technology in the construction of DS9.
Given this, it's not unreasonable to conclude that Cardassian space is
near Romulan space.
Daniel W. Johnson Applied Computing Devices, Inc.
Home: 7152...@CompuServe.COM Work: d...@iedvb.acd.com
Dani...@aol.com 39 25 02 N / 87 19 55 W
- this space unintentionally left blank -
And one's named Legba, and the other is Danbala.
(If you don't get it, go read Neuromancer, Count Zero, and Mona Lisa
"Dr. McCoy, would you do me the very great honor of eating my shorts?" -Spock
"Ray, when somebody asks you if you're a god, you say YES!" -- Winston Zeddmore