Lynch's Spoiler Review: "First Contact"

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Amateurgrammer

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Feb 21, 1991, 12:43:49 PM2/21/91
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tly...@nntp-server.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch) writes:
>WARNING: The following article contains spoiler information pertinent to this
>week's TNG episode, "First Contact". Anyone not wishing said spoilage would
>be advised to back away slowly with their hands over their head. :-)

>In 10 words or less: incredible. Probably the season's best.
I don't know...I liked "Reunion" and "Clues" a lot too...

>2) There is no #2. The above question is the only potential problem I can
>think of.

To ask the question someone else asked, why didn't the planet pick up the
Enterprise on scanners of some kind? Does the Big E have a cloak (which may
only be usable when the ship is at a dead stop...?)? Did the planet have no
scanners? But of course, I didn't notice this when the episode was on, so
it doesn't really count. :-)

>TOTAL: 10. Bravo, gentlebeings. Bravo.
Yeah. I mistakenly gave "Clues" an A- and this a B+...oops. Give this one
an A- too. Can't go any higher...Amok Time was on Tuesday and gets my A for
the week. (Otherwise this would have an A.) This is a beautiful, well done
episode...but "The Doomsday Machine" is the one I watch again and again.

>Tim Lynch (Cornell's first Astronomy B.A.; one of many Caltech grad students)

>"I will have to say that this morning, I was the leader of the universe as I
>knew it. This afternoon, I am only a voice in a chorus. But I think it was a
>good day."
> --Chancellor Durken

Those holes in their heads are STILL for changing the air, though. :-)
:-)
Glenn Eychaner - Big Bear Solar Observatory - eych...@suncub.bbso.caltech.edu
"Ravage, pillage, plunder, maim, and put big hickeys on all the fair damsels!"
-Ray Stevens, "Erik the Awful"

Timothy W. Lynch

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Feb 21, 1991, 3:10:40 AM2/21/91
to
WARNING: The following article contains spoiler information pertinent to this
week's TNG episode, "First Contact". Anyone not wishing said spoilage would be
advised to back away slowly with their hands over their head. :-)

In 10 words or less: incredible. Probably the season's best.

This was amazingly solid--I don't expect to see any "Clues"-type nitpicking on
this one. (Of course, that almost guarantees there will be some, right? :-) )
But before I get to my reasons, here comes a synop. And, at the risk of
incurring the wrath of Mike the Almighty Co-Author Brown, this is gonna be one
of my long, ultra-complete synops. Be warned. Anyway:

We begin with a hospital, where an unknown patient is being wheeled in for
treatment. He (definitely a he, for a beard is seen) is in with a severe head
blow, but before long, the physicians in attendance note some unusual things.
His cardiac organ, for example, is where they expected to find his digestive
tract. And if that weren't enough, he has too many fingers and toes. "What
are you?" asks a nurse, as the camera pans down to reveal...William Riker.

Later, when Riker (surgically altered to resemble the natives, Malkorians)
revives, he talks to the facility's director, Berel. He claims to be named
Rivas Jakara, and to be from the Marta community on the southern continent.
His many abnormalities (as well as the above, his cranial lobes are clearly a
surgical attachment) are attributed to a combination of birth defects and
cosmetic surgery to help with said defects. The assistant director, Nilrem, i
not impressed by the story, but Riker suggests that his "personal physician",
Dr. Crusher, is familiar with his ailments--unfortunately, he says, she's
taking a sabbatical, and probably can't be reached. Berel promises to try, an
prepares to leave. As he does so, though, he asks Riker about a phaser they
found on his clothing--Riker claims it's a toy he was bringing home for a
neighbor's child. And when Riker asks about his communicator (some "jewelry",
Berel tells him that nothing else has been seen.

After leaving Riker alone, Nilrem insists that Riker can only be a creature
from outer space, but Berel will have none of it, not wishing to inspire a
panic. He refuses to call Security, deciding to check his story and medical
history for any cases remotely similar--he also calls for 29-hour-a-day guard
on the room, and most importantly, that everything be kept _quiet_.

Later, the heads of the government are in conference. Chancellor Durken, after
hearing the end of Space Administrator Mirasta's report on warp technology (and
hearing her say she's within ten months of completion), gives his approval to
the final project, over the objections of Krola, Minister of Internal Security.
Krola insists that the people are not ready for so many changes in so short a
time, and that they are confused and frightened by space travel. Durken,
however, insists that he "will not allow them to remain in the dark ages," and
says that after the warp program is complete, _then_ they shall slow down a
bit, to let everyone adjust.

Mirasta retires to her lab--but before she's been there more than a few
minutes, a transporter beam appears, and two aliens appear: Picard and Troi.
They tell her that they come with information "about space, about the universe
you are preparing to enter"--in short, it's a first contact. They've come to
her first because she's a big name in the scientific community, and scientists
are generally more accepting of their arrival than others. Mirasta is
understandably stunned, but when Picard offers to prove their identity to her,
she eagerly agrees. "Picard to Enterprise--three to beam up."

She sees Ten-Forward (complete with a Bolean drinking at the bar), and sees her
world out the front window. She is impressed, and nearly giddy with
excitement. As a child, she dreamed of things like this--and now, she says,
she's still waiting for the planetarium "lights to come up, and for the program
to end." The conversation then turns to how they found out about her. As is
normal for a first-contact situation, they began by monitoring
broadcasts--music, journalism, humor, and so forth (the first, understandably,
elicits various reactions of amused horror by Mirasta). However, as that is
clearly an incomplete picture, they've sent down teams for surface
reconnaissance: specialists, trained for such things, and surgically altered
so that they can blend in. Mirasta understands, but believes most of her world
would not. She then discovers the difficulty which caused their contact to
come more precipitously than they would have liked: Riker, Picard's first
officer, is missing. She asks for (and receives) Riker's last location and
cover, but warns that because of Malkorian ideology (that their race is the
most advanced and superior in the universe), their arrival will be a massive
shock to the Malkorian system. She agrees to take Picard to visit Chancellor
Durken, but warns him not to speak of Riker or the surface teams, as Durken
would call in Krola, who has his own motives.

Back in the med-facility, rumors are flying, much to Berel's chagrin. Berel
talks to "Mr. Jakara", telling him that there is no such Dr. Crusher ("on this
planet, anyway"), and that the address he gave was of a restaurant where no one
had ever heard of him. He out-and-out asks Riker if he is an alien, but Riker
dismisses it as preposterous. Berel admits that it is possible Riker's
"mutations" are just that, but says that Riker is definitely hiding something,
and that if he doesn't reveal it soon, the rumors could become more and more
dangerous.

Meanwhile, Durken is doing paperwork, when Mirasta comes in almost unannounced.
Durken is friendly, if busy, but Mirasta says, "Chancellor--I think you might
want to clear your afternoon schedule for this...", and brings in Picard.

Later, Picard is showing Mirasta and Durken the bridge. Both are quite
impressed by the technology (particularly Data), but soon Durken asks to speak
to Picard in private, as Mirasta elicits news from Data that Riker still has
not been found.

Durken enters Picard's ready room, where Picard pours some wine from his
brother's vineyard and proposes a toast. Durken congratulates Picard on his
adeptness with "the language of diplomacy", but says he is still not sure he
trusts all of this. Picard assures Durken that they are not conquerors, that
they only wish "a beginning", and that the pace of the contact is entirely up
to Durken, up to and including if he asks them to leave the planet forever. He
assures Durken that they will not interfere with the planet's natural course of
development, and adds that yes, that noninterference directive does include not
sharing their technology (but that this is for their benefit, not to maintain
Federation superiority). Durken, a bit overwhelmed, nonetheless believes that
today has been "a good day", and welcomes the contact.

Back in the hospital, Riker is about to smash a window in an escape attempt,
when a nurse stops him, claiming that it wouldn't work. She is convinced that
he *is* an alien, but is not afraid of him. She offers to help him escape--but
only if he makes love to her first. Riker protests, but apparently to no
avail. Some time later, she distracts the guards, and Riker tries to get away.
Unfortunately, the attempt is botched, and Riker is nearly killed by a mob
before Berel breaks it all up. His injuries have been aggravated, and Berel
preps him for surgery (but also calls Central Security).

Durken talks to his Cabinet of his contact with the Federation, meanwhile.
Krola is incensed that Durken can so easily "surrender" to these horrible
aliens, and dismisses Mirasta's assurances of their intentions as naivete. He
says that many people, himself included, are prepared to die to defend the old
traditions and ways, and reveals that "we have captured one of their spies!"
Mirasta, exercising as much damage control as she can, quickly tells Durken
everything she knows about Riker, and about the surface teams. Krola is
understandably thunderstruck that the aliens have been "influencing our young
people, stirring up dissent...", despite Mirasta's claims that they have merely
been gathering information. He tells Durken that Riker is being held at the
medical facility, and that he will soon revive.

Shortly thereafter, Krola and Mirasta visit Riker's room. Krola orders Berel
to revive him, using drugs that could be fatal given Riker's current condition.
Berel refuses: "...he is a living, intelligent being. I don't care if the
Chancellor himself calls down here. I have sworn an oath to do no harm, and I
will not." Krola promptly sets in motion orders to have Berel replaced.

Picard beams down, right on schedule, to talk to Durken, but soon finds that
Durken is rather upset by Picard's coverup of the survey teams. Picard takes
all the blame for the decision, refusing to blame Mirasta. He explains that
centuries ago, after a disastrous first-contact with the Klingon Empire led to
a bloody war, it was decided to send surface teams to get more concrete
information before making contact. He claims that he planned to tell Durken
eventually, but that observations indicated that the initial reaction would be
strongly negative. He admits that it was a mistake. "Yes," says Durken, "a
mistake I might have made in your place. I rather like it, actually." It
makes Picard seem more human. Durken refuses, however, to discuss Riker's
release just then.

In the hospital, meanwhile, Berel has been relieved of his duties. His
replacement, Nilrem, quickly revives Riker, who hears upon waking up that Krola
knows who and what he is. Krola agrees to send for Riker's people, but only
after getting a few answers.

In Durken's chambers, Durken chews out Mirasta for not trusting him enough to
tell him of the surface observers, but then listens as Mirasta tells him of
Krola's actions. He agrees that Riker should be interrogated, but is taken
aback to hear that without prompt medical help from his ship, Riker may not
survive the day.

Krola demands to know why the supposedly peaceful "conquerors" come bearing
weapons of such power as phasers, and doesn't believe the claim that they're
only defensive. He says that even if their goals are benevolent, they are
still a threat to Krola's way of life. In an attempt to force Durken to
permanently avoid relations with the Federation, he takes Riker's phaser, puts
it in Riker's left hand, and fires it, point-blank, at himself.

Nilrem and an aide find the two of them, but before much can be done, another
transporter beam appears, bearing Beverly, Worf, and a nurse. Beverly quickly
contacts Picard (now in Durken's office) and tells him that both Riker and
Krola need to be taken to sickbay, which Picard agrees to.

Later, in sickbay, Bev tells Picard, Mirasta, and Durken that both Riker and
Krola will be fine--the phaser, fortunately, was only set for stun. Krola is
revived, and begs Durken not to continue relations with the Federation.
Durken, saddened, is forced to admit that his people are not yet ready for
contact. Over Mirasta's strong objections, he orders a delay in the warp
program (shifting the funds to education to help his people ready themselves),
and asks Picard to leave his world. Picard is disappointed, but agrees. After
Durken assures Picard that the tales of the aliens will eventually pass,
Mirasta asks one final favor--that Picard take her with them. After Mirasta
insists she is prepared, and Durken agrees wholeheartedly, Picard agrees--and
bids Durken farewell, hoping that one day they will meet again.

Wow. That was monstrously long. I guess it's a good thing I didn't put in ALL
of the dialogue I transcribed (my poor VCR will never forgive me for all of
this...). And yes, each paragraph there was one scene: I decided it was the
best way to break it up. Now, onwards to something more opinionated:

I've defended a few other episodes fiercely in my time, but this will be one of
the most strongly defended yet. It was virtually flawless.

The plot was very, very tightly woven. Unlike some occasions, where they've
tried to do something grand, and not quite managed to pull it off, they stuck
with a simpler approach here. The show dealt with something that we're taught
to think of as routine in the Federation: a first-contact mission. It doesn't
even go that horribly wrong--it's not like the whole thing was in danger of
destroying the whole world, which is a way the writers could easily have chosen
to go. No--this was something reasonably routine, at least for the Federation
representatives. (As evidence for that, despite the fact that we had never,
EVER seen an actual planned first-contact before [note the word _planned_
before you correct me], I got the feeling that the little speech Picard and
Troi gave to Mirasta was one they'd given many, many times before. Nicely
played.

What made it less than a routine episode, though, was the way it was presented.
The entire show, it can be argued (and I *certainly* do), was presented from
the perspective of the Malkorians, particularly Mirasta and Durken. We never
got into the heads of any of the regular cast, really (though a case could
probably be made for Riker)--but as a semi-direct consequence, we got very much
into the heads of Durken, Mirasta, and Krola. And it was a fascinating trip, I
can tell you.

I was impressed by this at the start, with the teaser (we came in right in the
middle of things, with no clue who Riker was or what this had to do with
_anything_ Trek-related [unless of course you saw the preview :-) ] until the
very close of the teaser). But I didn't really sit up and take notice of just
how much power this technique had until Picard and Troi first arrived. We
really saw this from Mirasta's perspective--you're sitting around, doing your
job, when suddenly people appear from nowhere and tell you they're from another
planet and they're there to help you. What the hell would YOU do? I just hope
I'd react as well if it ever happened to me (like it's ever going to :-) ).

I don't know if that whole presentation was mainly the writers' idea (and a
whole bunch of people wrote the teleplay, including Ron Moore and Michael
Piller himself) or Cliff Bole's (the director), but whoever thought of it needs
to be chained to a desk and not let up until another 25 or so episodes have
come down. We need more people who think like this!

As a consequence of the show's style, we saw little of most of the regulars.
LeVar got the week off, and Data had about 90 seconds of screen time. Troi
only showed up once or twice, Bev only got the last few minutes, and Worf only
had a couple of scenes. The two main Enterprise crewfolk we saw were Picard
and Riker, and neither of them were ever unaccompanied by a Malkorian during
the episode. (The technique reminds me a bit of Stephen Donaldson's technique
during _The Illearth War_, when on the few occasions a chapter was told from a
Land-born person's point of view, it was always with a "real" person in
constant attendance. Okay, okay, enough with the Donaldson. :-) )

However, what we did see of the regulars was stellar. All of the minor roles
were more or less perfectly played (even Troi--now this is the kind of thing
you're _supposed_ to use her for!), and Stewart had one of his best
performances in weeks. Frakes was surprisingly good as well--it might have
worked for me because he didn't have that damned smirk on his face all the
time. :-) Absolutely stunning.

As for the guests: well, this is one of those rare times when TNG has gotten
some terrific performances out of guest stars. Carolyn Seymour (did she look
familiar? I'm getting to that.) was a truly dedicated Mirasta, and if we don't
see more of her, now that she's on board, I will be very disappointed. Bebe
Neuwirth was an amusing Lanel (that small bit there was really just an amusing
throwaway, but that's all it was meant to be), and Michael Ensign's Krola had
me both sympathetic and worried simultaneously--not an easy task, eh? (Krola
reminded me to a certain extent of "Who Watches the Watchers"'s Liko--not
really a bad guy, just very misguided.) Finally, George Coe was absolutely
stunning as Durken--finally, a leader with equal command abilities and vision
as Jean-Luc. It's a pity we won't see him again.

Now, as to some familiar faces: yes, some of them should have been
recognizable. Bebe Neuwirth, as I'm sure most of you recognized, plays Lilith
Sternin on "Cheers". But more interestingly, Carolyn Seymour (Mirasta) was
Sub-Commander Taris in the second season's "Contagion"--and I'll bet you were
wondering where you'd seen her before. Finally, if you don't remember where
you saw George Coe, shame on you: who could forget Cheviet, head of "Max
Headroom"'s Network 23? :-)

There were also a bunch of little touches which were a great help to the show.
For example, the small line about a "29-hour-a-day" guard. The society may
have been rather Earthlike, but they're not completely the same. There was no
big deal made about it--it was just there. Splendid. I also happened to like
Lanel's ultimatum to Riker--it was an amusing throwaway, but it also played up
a probable cultural difference between the two societies (one that the
broadcast monitors probably didn't pick up, either). The Malkorian society was
probably one of the most fleshed-out societies I've seen to date on TNG (one of
the few others was the Mintakans, but they had the advantage of being based on
one we knew well). And on a different note, it was very nice to see Picard put
Robert's wine to a good use--I can't think of a better use for it than this.

Technically, it was a dream. Everything felt right to me, from the slightly
skewed look of the medical facility right down to the star-field slowly
drifting by the ready room window. Bravo.

Now, a quick interlude. I've only done this occasionally, but I'm going to try
to answer some possible complaints in advance.

1) "Why couldn't the scanners pick up Riker by just scanning for humans?" I
thought of that. Two possibilities come to mind--first, it's possible that
humans are close enough to Malkorians that the sensors can't distinguish.
Second, and more likely to me, there was no indication that the sensors were
used until after Riker had been taken into the hospital. Perhaps something
about the hospital (some of the equipment or something) blocked scans that were
that detailed. Hell, just the building could have done it--Picard managed to
beam in and out of other buildings, but that was with a strong comm signal. I
think it's an easily explained point.

2) There is no #2. The above question is the only potential problem I can
think of.

So, you can probably guess what my rating's going to be for this one. So can
I. But to sum up first, SEE THIS. It was probably the best the season's had
to offer--certainly the tightest offering we've had in a long time, possibly
ever. (Quick chronological note: this episode last year (#15 of the season,
right in the middle of Feb. sweeps, fourth of four in a row) was "Yesterday's
Enterprise". Someone knows how to make quality during sweeps month.)

The numbers, then:

Plot: 9.9. A tenth of a point off because I even had to make the explanation
above, but no more. Everything hung together really, _really_ well.
Plot Handling: 10, but the unique perspective of the show really merits about a
17.
Characterization: 10. Need I say more?
Technical: See characterization. :-)

TOTAL: 10. Bravo, gentlebeings. Bravo.

NEXT WEEK

A rerun of "Future Imperfect", so I'm outta here...

Tim Lynch (Cornell's first Astronomy B.A.; one of many Caltech grad students)

BITNET: tlynch@citjuliet
INTERNET: tly...@juliet.caltech.edu
UUCP: ...!ucbvax!tlynch%juliet.ca...@hamlet.caltech.edu


"I will have to say that this morning, I was the leader of the universe as I
knew it. This afternoon, I am only a voice in a chorus. But I think it was a
good day."
--Chancellor Durken

--
Copyright 1991, Timothy W. Lynch. All rights reserved, but feel free to ask...

Timothy W. Lynch

unread,
Feb 21, 1991, 4:03:29 PM2/21/91
to
eych...@suncub.bbso.caltech.edu (Amateurgrammer) writes:
>tly...@nntp-server.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch) writes:

>>WARNING: The following article contains spoiler information pertinent to this
>>week's TNG episode, "First Contact". Anyone not wishing said spoilage would
>>be advised to back away slowly with their hands over their head. :-)

>>In 10 words or less: incredible. Probably the season's best.

>I don't know...I liked "Reunion" and "Clues" a lot too...

As did I, but this easily beats "Clues". I'll reserve judgment on this vs.
"Reunion" until later.

>To ask the question someone else asked, why didn't the planet pick up the
>Enterprise on scanners of some kind? Does the Big E have a cloak (which may
>only be usable when the ship is at a dead stop...?)? Did the planet have no
>scanners? But of course, I didn't notice this when the episode was on, so
>it doesn't really count. :-)

It might depend on just how high an orbit the ship was in. Transporters have a
high enough range these days that they might have been far enough up to avoid
detection.

Tim Lynch

Gym Z. Quirk

unread,
Feb 21, 1991, 5:37:05 PM2/21/91
to
In article <1991Feb21.2...@nntp-server.caltech.edu> tly...@nntp-server.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch) writes:
>eych...@suncub.bbso.caltech.edu (Amateurgrammer) writes:
>>tly...@nntp-server.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch) writes:
>
>>>WARNING: The following article contains spoiler information pertinent to this
>>>week's TNG episode, "First Contact". Anyone not wishing said spoilage would
>>>be advised to back away slowly with their hands over their head. :-)

>[Deleted.]

>>To ask the question someone else asked, why didn't the planet pick up the
>>Enterprise on scanners of some kind? Does the Big E have a cloak (which may
>>only be usable when the ship is at a dead stop...?)? Did the planet have no
>>scanners? But of course, I didn't notice this when the episode was on, so
>>it doesn't really count. :-)
>
>It might depend on just how high an orbit the ship was in. Transporters have a
>high enough range these days that they might have been far enough up to avoid
>detection.

If you recall "Assignment Earth", the mere act of raising shields
rendered the _Enterprise_ invisible to the radar of the 1960s. Of
course, this would become a minor problem when you had to lower the
shields to beam people up/down...

>Tim Lynch

--
Capt. Gym Z. Quirk net.terrorist (reformed) | This space
tko...@triton.unm.edu | intentionally
(Known to some as Taki Kogoma) | left blank

felix_the_cat

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Feb 24, 1991, 3:01:53 AM2/24/91
to
tly...@nntp-server.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch) writes:

>I've defended a few other episodes fiercely in my time, but this will be one of
>the most strongly defended yet. It was virtually flawless.

Wow, Tim! I didn't know you really liked this episode! I, however, found
it to be.....semi-ordinary.

>....(stuff deleted)....

>What made it less than a routine episode, though, was the way it was presented.
>The entire show, it can be argued (and I *certainly* do), was presented from
>the perspective of the Malkorians, particularly Mirasta and Durken. We never
>got into the heads of any of the regular cast, really (though a case could
>probably be made for Riker)--but as a semi-direct consequence, we got very much
>into the heads of Durken, Mirasta, and Krola. And it was a fascinating trip, I
>can tell you.

I'll agree with you there. What made it better than the ordinary TNG episode
was the viewpoint of the Malkorians, and not that of the Enterprise crew.

>I was impressed by this at the start, with the teaser (we came in right in the
>middle of things, with no clue who Riker was or what this had to do with
>_anything_ Trek-related [unless of course you saw the preview :-) ] until the
>very close of the teaser). But I didn't really sit up and take notice of just
>how much power this technique had until Picard and Troi first arrived. We
>really saw this from Mirasta's perspective--you're sitting around, doing your
>job, when suddenly people appear from nowhere and tell you they're from another
>planet and they're there to help you. What the hell would YOU do? I just hope
>I'd react as well if it ever happened to me (like it's ever going to :-) ).

Again, I agree, but however, I found it to be just ordinary. If you think
about it, with Riker in the hospital, and not being able to check in regu-
larly with the Enterprise, that scene was necessary. You have a crew mem-
ber missing, and Picard decided that the Malkorians, with the advent of
warp drive technology, would be able to deal with the "aliens". So, they
beamed down and introduced themselves to somebody they found to be trust-
worthy, ie. Mirasta.

>I don't know if that whole presentation was mainly the writers' idea (and a
>whole bunch of people wrote the teleplay, including Ron Moore and Michael
>Piller himself) or Cliff Bole's (the director), but whoever thought of it needs
>to be chained to a desk and not let up until another 25 or so episodes have
>come down. We need more people who think like this!

Actually, no. An episode like this is good only once. Repeating it would
be just repetitive.

>....(stuff deleted)....

>However, what we did see of the regulars was stellar. All of the minor roles
>were more or less perfectly played (even Troi--now this is the kind of thing
>you're _supposed_ to use her for!), and Stewart had one of his best
>performances in weeks. Frakes was surprisingly good as well--it might have
>worked for me because he didn't have that damned smirk on his face all the
>time. :-) Absolutely stunning.

Stellar? I don't know.....the regulars acted just like in any other episode.
They just acted....ordinary. IMHO, no particular regular stood out.

>As for the guests: well, this is one of those rare times when TNG has gotten
>some terrific performances out of guest stars. Carolyn Seymour (did she look
>familiar? I'm getting to that.) was a truly dedicated Mirasta, and if we don't
>see more of her, now that she's on board, I will be very disappointed. Bebe
>Neuwirth was an amusing Lanel (that small bit there was really just an amusing
>throwaway, but that's all it was meant to be), and Michael Ensign's Krola had
>me both sympathetic and worried simultaneously--not an easy task, eh? (Krola
>reminded me to a certain extent of "Who Watches the Watchers"'s Liko--not
>really a bad guy, just very misguided.) Finally, George Coe was absolutely
>stunning as Durken--finally, a leader with equal command abilities and vision
>as Jean-Luc. It's a pity we won't see him again.

Okay, in the order mentioned:

1. Mirasta. I agree. She made the episode work for me.

2. Lanel. Bebe, say it isn't so! I found that small scene she was in to be
absolutely unnecessary. The scene didn't fit in with the normal flow of the
episode. First, we have all this talk about first contact, meeting the "a-
liens", an "alien" in a hospital, then we have "make love to me." If it was
meant to be amusing, I sure as hell wasn't laughing.

3. Kroll. Boy, I knew somebody like this wasn't gonna appear. While he did
add to the flavor of the episode, I found him to be boring, stupid, and single-
minded. And I can't stand single-minded people! He was necessary, though,
since the episode would of lacked any antagonist ideas.

4. Durken. Again, I agree; a "worthy" leader and opponent.

>There were also a bunch of little touches which were a great help to the show.
>For example, the small line about a "29-hour-a-day" guard. The society may
>have been rather Earthlike, but they're not completely the same. There was no
>big deal made about it--it was just there. Splendid. I also happened to like
>Lanel's ultimatum to Riker--it was an amusing throwaway, but it also played up
>a probable cultural difference between the two societies (one that the
>broadcast monitors probably didn't pick up, either). The Malkorian society was
>probably one of the most fleshed-out societies I've seen to date on TNG (one of
>the few others was the Mintakans, but they had the advantage of being based on
>one we knew well). And on a different note, it was very nice to see Picard put
>Robert's wine to a good use--I can't think of a better use for it than this.

Ah, what a waste of wine; you yourself stated it: this appeared to be a routine
mission.

>....(stuff deleted)....

>Now, a quick interlude. I've only done this occasionally, but I'm going to try
>to answer some possible complaints in advance.

>1) "Why couldn't the scanners pick up Riker by just scanning for humans?" I
>thought of that. Two possibilities come to mind--first, it's possible that
>humans are close enough to Malkorians that the sensors can't distinguish.
>Second, and more likely to me, there was no indication that the sensors were
>used until after Riker had been taken into the hospital. Perhaps something
>about the hospital (some of the equipment or something) blocked scans that were
>that detailed. Hell, just the building could have done it--Picard managed to
>beam in and out of other buildings, but that was with a strong comm signal. I
>think it's an easily explained point.

Uh, Tim, I have to disagree. The whole thing about Riker not being able to
be found was an SPD (Stupid Plot Device) to keep the episode going. Remem-
ber "The Enterprise Incident"? Remember when Chekov found it hard to distin-
guish between Romulan and Vulcan physiological characteristics, but did find
Spock in the end. With the improvements in sensor technology, I find it hard
to believe that they couldn't locate Riker. The building and equipment idea
just doesn't cut it. And because Picard was able to beam in and out of the
building rule out anything in the building.

>....(stuff deleted)....

>So, you can probably guess what my rating's going to be for this one. So can
>I. But to sum up first, SEE THIS. It was probably the best the season's had
>to offer--certainly the tightest offering we've had in a long time, possibly
>ever. (Quick chronological note: this episode last year (#15 of the season,
>right in the middle of Feb. sweeps, fourth of four in a row) was "Yesterday's
>Enterprise". Someone knows how to make quality during sweeps month.)

Ah, gee, yah, go see it. But, BUT, it isn't better than "Reunion", and it cer-
tainly isn't better than "Yesterday's Enterprise"....

>The numbers, then:

>....(stuff deleted)....

>TOTAL: 10. Bravo, gentlebeings. Bravo.

Actually, I'm going to have to agree with Michael. I found it to be semi-or-
dinary. C+.

>NEXT WEEK
>
>A rerun of "Future Imperfect", so I'm outta here...

Me too....catch ya later!

>Tim Lynch

Chet C.

--
###############################################################################
# Chet (Cheesehead) Cuaresma #
# ch...@uop.edu (209) 957-8865 Disclaimer: Righteeooh! #
###############################################################################

Kurt Ludwick

unread,
Feb 24, 1991, 4:41:30 AM2/24/91
to
>>I was impressed by this at the start, with the teaser (we came in right in th
>>middle of things, with no clue who Riker was or what this had to do with
>>_anything_ Trek-related [unless of course you saw the preview :-) ] until the
>>very close of the teaser). But I didn't really sit up and take notice of jus
>>how much power this technique had until Picard and Troi first arrived. We
>>really saw this from Mirasta's perspective--you're sitting around, doing your
>>job, when suddenly people appear from nowhere and tell you they're from anothr
>>planet and they're there to help you. What the hell would YOU do? I just hoe

>>I'd react as well if it ever happened to me (like it's ever going to :-) ).

>Again, I agree, but however, I found it to be just ordinary. If you think
>about it, with Riker in the hospital, and not being able to check in regu-
>larly with the Enterprise, that scene was necessary. You have a crew mem-
>ber missing, and Picard decided that the Malkorians, with the advent of
>warp drive technology, would be able to deal with the "aliens". So, they
>beamed down and introduced themselves to somebody they found to be trust-
>worthy, ie. Mirasta.

Picard didn't decide they'd be ready; that's Federation policy.
And, yes, the part about contacting Mirasta, who's trustworthy (BECAUSE
she's a scientist, and can accept aliens more easily) WAS ordinary...
FOR THE FEDERATION. The whole point was how alien this routine oper-
ation seemed to the Malkorian scientist. Like Tim said, I wonder how
ANY of us would react?

(By the way: HEY! ALIEN CULTURES! IF ANY OF YOU HAPPEN TO BE READING
THIS IN THE COURSE OF MONITORING US, BEAM ME UP! I'LL HELP YOU OUT!
REALLY!)

Well, hey. It's worth a shot...

>2. Lanel. Bebe, say it isn't so! I found that small scene she was in to be
>absolutely unnecessary. The scene didn't fit in with the normal flow of the
>episode. First, we have all this talk about first contact, meeting the "a-
>liens", an "alien" in a hospital, then we have "make love to me." If it was
>meant to be amusing, I sure as hell wasn't laughing.

Why didn't this fit in? Why can't planet Malkor have sex perverts too?
Must Earth have a monopoly on them..?
("I've always wanted to make love to an alien!"...sounds like a bona fide
sexual fantasy, albeit twisted, to me. (Not that I'VE ever had it, of
course!)) Seemed OK to me, and I thought it was hilarious!

>>one we knew well). And on a different note, it was very nice to see Picard pt


>>Robert's wine to a good use--I can't think of a better use for it than this.

>Ah, what a waste of wine; you yourself stated it: this appeared to be a routie
>mission.

I think if you would (/could) ask Picard, he'd say that such a mission is
NEVER just ROUTINE... I think, to him, establishing a friendship with such
a fine person, from a newly contacted culture, WOULD be a special occasion
indeed. Even if it WASN'T a unique one...

>>TOTAL: 10. Bravo, gentlebeings. Bravo.

>Actually, I'm going to have to agree with Michael. I found it to be semi-or-
>dinary. C+.

Hey, I've never done this before! Think I'll start now.
Yesterday's Enterprise: Refreshing, unique plot.
Hilarious at times, good character development,
few technical or content flaws. (All IMHO,
of COURSE) Well, 29 is a strange number of
hours to arbitrarily divide a day into (if you
think about it, it IS arbitrary), and I wish
they'd have referred to universal translators
at some point, so people wouldn't complain about
yet more aliens who happen to speak English.

TOTAL: 9.8 (Out of 10)
(No, I don't use Yesterday's E. as a '10' standard; I thought this
was <gasp!> better! The best I've seen, actually! So there! :P)

Just my ..well.. THREE cents, this time!

Kurt Ludwick
-----------------
TROI: Oh, Will! I sense...great..pain!
RIKER: That's because you slept on my ARM, ALL DAMN NIGHT!!!

<A desperate attempt at Trekhumor. DISCLAIMER: Q made me do it!!!>
=========================================================================

Robert J. Granvin

unread,
Feb 24, 1991, 11:56:03 AM2/24/91
to
>>1) "Why couldn't the scanners pick up Riker by just scanning for humans?" I
>> [...]

>
>Uh, Tim, I have to disagree. The whole thing about Riker not being able to
>be found was an SPD (Stupid Plot Device) to keep the episode going. Remem-
>ber "The Enterprise Incident"? Remember when Chekov found it hard to distin-
>guish between Romulan and Vulcan physiological characteristics, but did find
>Spock in the end. With the improvements in sensor technology, I find it hard
>to believe that they couldn't locate Riker. [...]

Of course sensor technology will have improved, but lets put this all
into perspective... First lets assume that human physiology is close
enough to make the scanning as difficult as discussed in The Enterprise
Incident.

In that episode, it was necessary to locate one Vulcan amongst several
hundred Klingons, on board a vessel (i.e., confined area), hanging
very close by.

Here we have a lost crew member, on a planet, where they only have
information as to his last known position. Technically, he could be
_anywhere_ on the planet, if he's still alive, and you then must
scan the entire planet from an orbiting starship. Even if they
concentrated the search only in the capital city, you still have
potentially millions of people scattered over a large area.

The scanning technology has improved, but I argue that the complexity
of the scanning needs have increased much more dramatically than as
compared to that older episode.

--
Robert J. Granvin \\\\\\\\ r...@sialis.com : INTERNET
University of Minnesota \\\ ...uunet!rosevax!sialis!rjg : UUCP
School of Statistics \\\\\\\ rjg%siali...@uunet.uu.net : BITNET
Cleared by Network Censors

Gabe Wiener

unread,
Feb 24, 1991, 4:15:20 PM2/24/91
to
In article <3...@sialis.mn.org> r...@sialis.mn.org (Robert J. Granvin) writes:
>>>1) "Why couldn't the scanners pick up Riker by just scanning for humans?" I
>
>Of course sensor technology will have improved, but lets put this all
>into perspective... First lets assume that human physiology is close
>enough to make the scanning as difficult as discussed in The Enterprise
>Incident.

I still don't buy it.

In the TOS episode "Patterns of Force," they injected Kirk and Spock with
subcutaneous transponders. Of course, the only reason they did that was so
that they could have a plot loophole so the two could laser themselves out
of a Nazi jail cell.

If they had put those things in every time they beamed down somewhere (or
heck, implanted them in their clothing or something), we could have done
away with all the TOS and TNG variants of "He's missing his communicator so
we can't find him." Come on, guys. That one didn't go over 25 years ago.
It won't go over now.

I still liked the episode though.

>In that episode, it was necessary to locate one Vulcan amongst several
>hundred Klingons, on board a vessel (i.e., confined area), hanging
>very close by.

Romulans, actually.

On a different note, I find something disquieting about the geopolitical
structure that we saw on that planet. So often it seems that whoever it
is, the "chancellor" or whatever, is the ruler of the ENTIRE PLANET. Does
it not seem likely that a planet in that era would still have nation-states?

If not, then wouldn't it seem likely, given the instability visible on
that planet, that the chancellor would've been a much more protected, and
certainly more unreachable person?

--
Gabe Wiener - Columbia Univ. "This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings
ga...@ctr.columbia.edu to be seriously considered as a means of
gm...@cunixa.cc.columbia.edu communication. The device is inherently of
72355...@compuserve.com no value to us." -Western Union memo, 1877

Timothy W. Lynch

unread,
Feb 24, 1991, 5:12:06 PM2/24/91
to
ch...@uop.edu (felix_the_cat) writes:
>tly...@nntp-server.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch) writes:

>Wow, Tim! I didn't know you really liked this episode! I, however, found
>it to be.....semi-ordinary.

Uh-oh...here we go again. :-)

>What made it better than the ordinary TNG episode
>was the viewpoint of the Malkorians, and not that of the Enterprise crew.

Absolutely--I seem to be more impressed with this than several others, though.

>>I was impressed by this at the start, with the teaser (we came in right in
>>the middle of things, with no clue who Riker was or what this had to do with
>>_anything_ Trek-related [unless of course you saw the preview :-) ] until the
>>very close of the teaser). But I didn't really sit up and take notice of just
>>how much power this technique had until Picard and Troi first arrived. We
>>really saw this from Mirasta's perspective--you're sitting around, doing your
>>job, when suddenly people appear from nowhere and tell you they're from
>>another planet and they're there to help you. What the hell would YOU do?
>>I just hope I'd react as well if it ever happened to me (like it's ever going
>>to :-) ).

>Again, I agree, but however, I found it to be just ordinary. If you think
>about it, with Riker in the hospital, and not being able to check in regu-
>larly with the Enterprise, that scene was necessary. You have a crew mem-
>ber missing, and Picard decided that the Malkorians, with the advent of
>warp drive technology, would be able to deal with the "aliens". So, they
>beamed down and introduced themselves to somebody they found to be trust-
>worthy, ie. Mirasta.

Yes, that's all true (aside from the fact that it wasn't entirely Picard's
decision). But that ties in completely with what I said earlier--from the
Feds' viewpoint, this was fairly routine. The scene was necessary--the way it
was presented was very definitely NOT, and that presentation was clearly the
strong point of the show.

>>I don't know if that whole presentation was mainly the writers' idea (and a
>>whole bunch of people wrote the teleplay, including Ron Moore and Michael
>>Piller himself) or Cliff Bole's (the director), but whoever thought of it
>>needs to be chained to a desk and not let up until another 25 or so episodes
>>have come down. We need more people who think like this!

>Actually, no. An episode like this is good only once. Repeating it would
>be just repetitive.

Um...I didn't say we needed more shows just like this--but having unorthodox,
out-of-the-usual-fare presentations is nearly always a help. We need more
original viewpoints.

>>However, what we did see of the regulars was stellar.

[...]

>Stellar? I don't know.....the regulars acted just like in any other episode.
>They just acted....ordinary. IMHO, no particular regular stood out.

No particular CHARACTER stood out...and by managing that, most of the _actors_
involved (particular Stewart and Frakes) did a terrific job. Normally, Picard
commands most of the attention in a scene, but Stewart did a good job of
avoiding that, I thought.

[on the guests]

>Okay, in the order mentioned:

>1. Mirasta. I agree. She made the episode work for me.

Check.

>2. Lanel. Bebe, say it isn't so! I found that small scene she was in to be
>absolutely unnecessary. The scene didn't fit in with the normal flow of the
>episode. First, we have all this talk about first contact, meeting the "a-
>liens", an "alien" in a hospital, then we have "make love to me." If it was
>meant to be amusing, I sure as hell wasn't laughing.

As I've said, it definitely was the weakest scene in the show--but I didn't
find it all that weak. Its biggest problem is that yes, it did jar a bit from
the rest of the presentation. "Unnecessary", though, may be too strong. They
were trying to illustrate the somewhat wide range of reactions to the "aliens",
and Lanel's is certainly one that could come up.

>3. Kroll. Boy, I knew somebody like this wasn't gonna appear. While he did
>add to the flavor of the episode, I found him to be boring, stupid, and

>single-minded. And I can't stand single-minded people!

>He was necessary, though, since the episode would of lacked any antagonist
>ideas.

I find him only the last. I don't much like completely single-minded individu-
als myself, but somehow I rather doubt we were supposed to like him. I felt
that I sort of understood him, though.

>>And on a different note, it was very nice to see Picard put
>>Robert's wine to a good use--I can't think of a better use for it than this.

>Ah, what a waste of wine; you yourself stated it: this appeared to be a
>routine mission.

Well, if you're in the middle of saving the galaxy or something, you're not
going to have time for a drink. He used it to cement a new friendship, and to
help both a fellow officer and a culture. What's so bad about that?

[on Riker's undetectability]

>Uh, Tim, I have to disagree.

Somehow, I'm not surprised...

>The whole thing about Riker not being able to
>be found was an SPD (Stupid Plot Device) to keep the episode going. Remem-
>ber "The Enterprise Incident"? Remember when Chekov found it hard to distin-
>guish between Romulan and Vulcan physiological characteristics, but did find
>Spock in the end. With the improvements in sensor technology, I find it hard
>to believe that they couldn't locate Riker. The building and equipment idea
>just doesn't cut it. And because Picard was able to beam in and out of the
>building rule out anything in the building.

First of all, the entire capital city is a hell of a lot bigger than one little
Rihan ship. Second of all, the building might have made it difficult, but not
impossible. Yes, Bev and company managed to beam down, and then beam them back
up, but the building could have served as enough of a mask to make only bare
detection of a lifeform possible, without much else. (And Picard, BTW,
appeared to me to be in a completely different building.)

>Ah, gee, yah, go see it. But, BUT, it isn't better than "Reunion", and it

>certainly isn't better than "Yesterday's Enterprise"....

Suit yourself. I'll find out how it ages--that's the real test.

>Actually, I'm going to have to agree with Michael. I found it to be semi-or-
>dinary. C+.

You're going to have to agree with Michael? He'll be crushed, I'm sure--he
takes so much pride in being off the beaten path...:-)

Tim Lynch (Cornell's first Astronomy B.A.; one of many Caltech grad students)
BITNET: tlynch@citjuliet
INTERNET: tly...@juliet.caltech.edu
UUCP: ...!ucbvax!tlynch%juliet.ca...@hamlet.caltech.edu

Why are there so many songs about rainbows, and what's on the other side?
R.I.P. Jim Henson, 1936-1990; we shall never see your like again.

Michael Rawdon

unread,
Feb 24, 1991, 5:35:55 PM2/24/91
to
In <1991Feb21.0...@nntp-server.caltech.edu> tly...@nntp-server.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch) writes:
>WARNING: The following article contains spoiler information pertinent to this
>week's TNG episode, "First Contact". Anyone not wishing said spoilage would be
>advised to back away slowly with their hands over their head. :-)

>Now, a quick interlude. I've only done this occasionally, but I'm going to try
>to answer some possible complaints in advance.

[#1 deleted]

>2) There is no #2. The above question is the only potential problem I can
>think of.

Actually, while re-reading your post, I remembered another problem I had
with the show: When Krola and Mirasta are in Riker's room and Krola is
trying to get Riker revived, risking Riker's life, Mirasta seems to just
stand around and do nothing. I felt sure that she'd head out to the
nearest phone and call up the Chancellor and tell him that Krola was about
to risk killing one of the aliens. (If I recall, she DID later on point
this out to Durken, but after it was FAR too late.)

--
Michael Rawdon raw...@rex.cs.tulane.edu (Internet)
Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana CS6FECU@TCSVM (Bitnet)

"What a piece of work is man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties;
in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in
apprehension how like a god: the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals!
And yet to me what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me..."
- William Shakespeare, _Hamlet_, II, ii

Timothy W. Lynch

unread,
Feb 24, 1991, 7:45:46 PM2/24/91
to
raw...@rex.cs.tulane.edu (Michael Rawdon) writes:

Spoilers...



>Actually, while re-reading your post, I remembered another problem I had
>with the show: When Krola and Mirasta are in Riker's room and Krola is
>trying to get Riker revived, risking Riker's life, Mirasta seems to just
>stand around and do nothing. I felt sure that she'd head out to the
>nearest phone and call up the Chancellor and tell him that Krola was about
>to risk killing one of the aliens. (If I recall, she DID later on point
>this out to Durken, but after it was FAR too late.)

She certainly did--and not all that much time had passed.

I get the impression that Krola had more or less imposed his own law on the
facility at the time, so that she wouldn't be able to call without his knowing.
Therefore, she ran out to tell Durken in person.

(It's also possible that she tried to call Durken, but Durken was so pissed
at her distrust of him that he said 'you can damn well come here and tell me'
or something like that.)

Tim Lynch

Michael Rawdon

unread,
Feb 24, 1991, 8:21:44 PM2/24/91
to

I don't think so, but this is what I remember happening. Correct me if I'm
wrong:

- Krola and Mirasta arrive at the center and Krola gives the order to wake
Riker up, which the center's head refuses to comply with. Krola says that
he'll get someone to replce the head.

- Cut to some other scene which I forget, but which involved neither Krola
nor Mirasta.

- Cut back to the hospital where Krola has gotten the head replaced by someone
more sympathetic to his desires. Mirasta is *still*there*, not (apparently)
having done anything. Before Riker is awakened, Mirasta leaves.

- I don't recall if there was another scene in here dealing with something
else.

- Mirasta meets with Durgen and tell him about Krola's actions, speaking in
such a way that she believes that this is something that he plans to do, but
has not yet done, despite the fact that when she left, it looked very much
like he was minutes, if not seconds, away from getting his way.

- Krola talks with Riker.

While at the hospital, Krola certainly did not seem to have placed the center
under martial law or anything (I don't believe I saw any goons around).
The head seemed very much to still be in control of the center (seeing as
he was able to resist Krola's wishes and all), so, if she wished, Mirasta
should have had no problem phoning Durgen to tell him what happened.

Since Mirasta was able to get in to talk to Durgen very shortly after
leaving the medical center, and apparently without any resistance from him,
I highly doubt that Durgen was pissed enough at her to just brush her off.
If he was, it was definitely something that needed to be pointed out in the
show, IMHO.

dr...@drake.almaden.ibm.com

unread,
Feb 24, 1991, 10:03:29 PM2/24/91
to

>1) "Why couldn't the scanners pick up Riker by just scanning for humans?" I
>thought of that.

I assumed they couldn't scan for Riker because a scan would be detected
by folks on the planet. Remember, these folks are very sophisticated,
with lots of good technology. And in lots of other TNG episodes it's been
made clear that a scan can be detected. So on-surface scanning could give
away the whole game ... not allowed.

I agree, this was a VERY good episode. One other minor item: note that we
saw the suicide attempt from the point of view of the victim. Nice touch.

The fact that the culture that was contacted was US ... National Enquirer
mindset and all ... made it very funny. The sex-fiend fit into this joke
perfectly.

I've read a couple of non-Trek novels about "first contact" themes. and
was a bit worried about one thing. In other contexts, first contact
reps are 100% EXPENDABLE. I think that's got to be a requirement in
Trek as well. The fact that they went after Riker once he disappeared
was unfortunate.

"The Disposessed" by Ursula LeGuin is an excellent book that "First Contact"
was apparently very much influenced by. Highly recommended.


Sam Drake / IBM Almaden Research Center
Internet: dr...@ibm.com BITNET: DRAKE at ALMADEN
Usenet: ...!uunet!ibmarc!drake Phone: (408) 927-1861

Timothy W. Lynch

unread,
Feb 24, 1991, 11:17:56 PM2/24/91
to
raw...@rex.cs.tulane.edu (Michael Rawdon) writes:
>In <1991Feb25....@nntp-server.caltech.edu> tly...@nntp-server.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch) writes:
>>raw...@rex.cs.tulane.edu (Michael Rawdon) writes:

>>Spoilers...

[why didn't Mirasta leave/call earlier?]

>I don't think so, but this is what I remember happening. Correct me if I'm
>wrong:

Now that I've rechecked the scenes in question...

>- Krola and Mirasta arrive at the center and Krola gives the order to wake
>Riker up, which the center's head refuses to comply with. Krola says that
>he'll get someone to replce the head.

Yep...

>- Cut to some other scene which I forget, but which involved neither Krola
>nor Mirasta.

True. Picard and a somewhat miffed Durken.

>- Cut back to the hospital where Krola has gotten the head replaced by
>someone
>more sympathetic to his desires. Mirasta is *still*there*, not (apparently)
>having done anything. Before Riker is awakened, Mirasta leaves.

True...

>- I don't recall if there was another scene in here dealing with something
>else.

Nor I. I didn't check that far, but I don't believe so.

>- Mirasta meets with Durgen and tell him about Krola's actions, speaking in
>such a way that she believes that this is something that he plans to do, but
>has not yet done, despite the fact that when she left, it looked very much
>like he was minutes, if not seconds, away from getting his way.

>- Krola talks with Riker.

This is essentially the order, yes.

BUT, here's what I noticed on the recheck:

Mirasta sticks around until it becomes crystal clear that Nilrem actually *was*
going to follow Krola's orders and wake Riker. She is enough of an idealist
(Krola, though misguided, is partially right when calling her naive, I think)
that she may not have believed Krola could find anyone to do it.

>While at the hospital, Krola certainly did not seem to have placed the center
>under martial law or anything (I don't believe I saw any goons around).

Joe McCarthy didn't have goons with him either, but one still didn't publicly
cross him.

>The head seemed very much to still be in control of the center (seeing as
>he was able to resist Krola's wishes and all), so, if she wished, Mirasta
>should have had no problem phoning Durgen to tell him what happened.

As I said, I suspect she waited until it was definite that Riker was in fact
going to be revived. It might look bad were she to run to Durken in a panic
and return to find that Krola had changed his mind or something.

>Since Mirasta was able to get in to talk to Durgen very shortly after
>leaving the medical center, and apparently without any resistance from him,
>I highly doubt that Durgen was pissed enough at her to just brush her off.
>If he was, it was definitely something that needed to be pointed out in the
>show, IMHO.

No doubt. But there isn't room to point everything out, you see, in nearly
any situation. Some things have to be taken on faith/figured out later.

Tim Lynch

Zap Savage

unread,
Feb 24, 1991, 2:21:43 PM2/24/91
to
ch...@uop.edu (felix_the_cat) writes:
> tly...@nntp-server.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch) writes:
> >I don't know if that whole presentation was mainly the writers' idea (and a
> >whole bunch of people wrote the teleplay, including Ron Moore and Michael
> >Piller himself) or Cliff Bole's (the director), but whoever thought of it needs
> >to be chained to a desk and not let up until another 25 or so episodes have
> >come down. We need more people who think like this!
>
> Actually, no. An episode like this is good only once. Repeating it would
> be just repetitive.

I agree with Tim that we need more people who can come up with new ideas, like
the way this episode was presented. I don't think he meant rewrite the episode
25 times.

> 3. Kroll. Boy, I knew somebody like this wasn't gonna appear. While he did
> add to the flavor of the episode, I found him to be boring, stupid, and single-
> minded. And I can't stand single-minded people! He was necessary, though,
> since the episode would of lacked any antagonist ideas.

Actually, something more like 'bucolic' might work for him. Unfortunately,
I've met plenty of people like him here and I could believe him. Doesn't
mean I liked him though. I overheard a conversation recently. One said to
the other that she hated learning new things, "except microwaves, I guess I
need that." Argh.

> >There were also a bunch of little touches which were a great help to the show.
> >For example, the small line about a "29-hour-a-day" guard. The society may
> >have been rather Earthlike, but they're not completely the same. There was no
> >big deal made about it--it was just there. Splendid.

Except that why would anyone pick 29 as the number of hours in a day??? :-)

> And on a different note, it was very nice to see Picard put
> >Robert's wine to a good use--I can't think of a better use for it than this.

> Ah, what a waste of wine; you yourself stated it: this appeared to be a routine
> mission.

To the Enterprise crew, yes. To the planet they were visiting, exactly the
opposite. And Picard is aware of that and considered it a special occasion.
Sometimes you have to feel for the other guy.

> >1) "Why couldn't the scanners pick up Riker by just scanning for humans?"
>

> Uh, Tim, I have to disagree. The whole thing about Riker not being able to
> be found was an SPD (Stupid Plot Device) to keep the episode going. Remem-
> ber "The Enterprise Incident"? Remember when Chekov found it hard to distin-
> guish between Romulan and Vulcan physiological characteristics, but did find
> Spock in the end. With the improvements in sensor technology, I find it hard
> to believe that they couldn't locate Riker.

Except that... There was one Vulcan on a ship (small area) with how many
Romulans? 100? Now compare that to one man (with weak life signs) among
a city full of aliens. (Ok, he was the alien). And not just any city, but
the capitol city of a planet just developing warp drive. Probably a large
population. What, 5 million? Slight difference between this and "The
Enterprise Incident".

> >Tim Lynch
> Chet C.

Zap
---
Zap Savage, Savage Research, Inc.
"We are the energy of Shakespeare's verse/we are what mathematics wants to be/
The Life Force in the Universe/That longs to See!/That would Become/and give
a voice to matter that was dumb." "To Sail Beyond The Sun"
R. Bradbury&J.V.Post

Zap Savage

unread,
Feb 24, 1991, 2:24:48 PM2/24/91
to
KEL...@psuvm.psu.edu (Kurt Ludwick) writes:
> (By the way: HEY! ALIEN CULTURES! IF ANY OF YOU HAPPEN TO BE READING
> THIS IN THE COURSE OF MONITORING US, BEAM ME UP! I'LL HELP YOU OUT!
> REALLY!)

Strange, my email to Kurt bounced. Hmmm.

> Kurt Ludwick

Zap (implied smiley) Savage

Arnold Gill (visiting astrophys phd std)

unread,
Feb 25, 1991, 11:55:34 PM2/25/91
to
In article <17...@bbxsda.UUCP> sc...@bbxsda.UUCP (Scott Amspoker) writes:
>I also thought that the nurse wanting to make love with Will was
>kind of disturbing. Who knows what little innocuous virus could be
>deadly to another species. Inter-species sex no doubt carries great
>risks.

What little virus do you know that affects across different species?
I can't think of one -- unless cowpox gets cows sick too rather than
just those who work around cows (many moons ago). I don't know about
you, but if I'm sick, my cat will not get sick, and vice versa.
--

Arnold Gill ---astrophysician in training

Scott Amspoker

unread,
Feb 25, 1991, 6:32:30 PM2/25/91
to
Although I really enjoyed this episode it was one of the few times I
was ever bothered by the gee-we-all-speak-English problem. I know that
it's best to take an artistic license if that's the only hope for a
smooth plot.

I also thought that the nurse wanting to make love with Will was
kind of disturbing. Who knows what little innocuous virus could be
deadly to another species. Inter-species sex no doubt carries great
risks.

--
Scott Amspoker | Touch the peripheral convex of every
Basis International, Albuquerque, NM | kind, then various kinds of blaming
(505) 345-5232 | sound can be sent forth.
unmvax.cs.unm.edu!bbx!bbxsda!scott | - Instructions for a little box that
| blurts out obscenities.

HARVEY, JASON W

unread,
Feb 26, 1991, 1:37:31 AM2/26/91
to
In article <1991Feb26.0...@cs.ubc.ca>, gi...@physics.ubc.ca (Arnold Gill (visiting astrophys phd std)) writes...

>In article <17...@bbxsda.UUCP> sc...@bbxsda.UUCP (Scott Amspoker) writes:
>>I also thought that the nurse wanting to make love with Will was
>>kind of disturbing. Who knows what little innocuous virus could be
>>deadly to another species. Inter-species sex no doubt carries great
>>
This is all a pointless discussion; it has already been pointed out the
episode is an allegory to present twentieth century attitudes toward alien
contact: the sex/rape of Riker is just the Malkorian version of the Daily Sun's
headline SPACE SPAWNED LOVE CHILD.
risks.
>

Scott Amspoker

unread,
Feb 26, 1991, 10:22:48 AM2/26/91
to

Have you ever tried drinking the water in Mexico. Funny, it doesn't make
*them* sick? We each adapt to our environments. I would imagine that
close sexual with alien beings presents unknown biological risks.
However, having never engaged in sex with aliens or animals I'll yield
to your judgement here.

STEPHEN DENNISON

unread,
Feb 26, 1991, 12:33:42 PM2/26/91
to
In article <1991Feb26.0...@cs.ubc.ca>, gi...@physics.ubc.ca (Arnold Gill (visiting astrophys phd std)) writes...
Bzzzzzzzzzt !! Bad Answer. Humans can get infected by other species, as far
as I know. Maybe not virus infections, but there are many documented cases
of ringworm being passed from cats to humans. Also, birds can contract
colds from humans, at least that's what I have been told by Vets I deal
with. Parasitic infestation, especially ALIEN parasites, could be just as
deadly as any internal virus/bacterial infections.

Besides, we are dealing with the known base of knowledge (God, was THAT
redundant!), and, as we all know, Star Trek operates by a whole different
set of rules.

******************** Caution ! Tasteless Observations Ahead *************


Last chance not to be sickened ....

By the way, was it just a viscious racist joke, or hasn't AIDS been traced
(or at least LINKED) to monkees and questionable cross-pollination
techniques used by some African tribes ? I have also heard sheep and
syphalis (sp ?) mentioned in the same sentence. (But NEVER at the dinner
table !!)

>
>Arnold Gill ---astrophysician in training

Stephen Dennison -- Newsreader in training

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Disclaimer: I know Nothing... Nothing !!

"And the sign said, long haired freaky people need not apply..."
-- 5 Man Electrical Band
"Then what the HELL am I doing here ??"
-- Stephen Dennison
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Gym Z. Quirk

unread,
Feb 26, 1991, 2:49:53 PM2/26/91
to
In article <17...@bbxsda.UUCP> sc...@bbxsda.UUCP (Scott Amspoker) writes:
>I also thought that the nurse wanting to make love with Will was
>kind of disturbing. Who knows what little innocuous virus could be
>deadly to another species. Inter-species sex no doubt carries great
>risks.

But since she was a medical professional, she probably had access to
condoms... ;-)

>Scott Amspoker

Kevin D. Quitt

unread,
Feb 26, 1991, 5:15:14 PM2/26/91
to
In article <1991Feb26.1...@eagle.lerc.nasa.gov> afd...@lims02.lerc.nasa.gov writes:
>In article <1991Feb26.0...@cs.ubc.ca>, gi...@physics.ubc.ca (Arnold Gill (visiting astrophys phd std)) writes...
>>In article <17...@bbxsda.UUCP> sc...@bbxsda.UUCP (Scott Amspoker) writes:
>>>I also thought that the nurse wanting to make love with Will was
>>>kind of disturbing. Who knows what little innocuous virus could be
>>>deadly to another species. Inter-species sex no doubt carries great
>>>risks.
>>
>> What little virus do you know that affects across different species?
>> I can't think of one -- unless cowpox gets cows sick too rather than
>> just those who work around cows (many moons ago). I don't know about
>> you, but if I'm sick, my cat will not get sick, and vice versa.
>>--
>Bzzzzzzzzzt !! Bad Answer.

Indeed. Virtually every new flu strain comes from pigs in china
(because of the way the chinese farm). Cowpox is tranmittable to
humans, but has less effect than it's close cousin smallpox - but it's
close enough for one to provide immunity against the other. AIDS has
been found naturally in monkeys, although it doesn't have the effect on
them it does on us. And there are viruses from cats that can be
dangerous to fetuses.

It's very uncommon for a particular virus to cause the same effects
in different species, but it's easy for them to spread.

As to sex with an alien, I'd worry more about histamine-based allergic
reactions than specific microbes. The former can kill a lot faster.


--
_
Kevin D. Quitt demott!kdq k...@demott.com
DeMott Electronics Co. 14707 Keswick St. Van Nuys, CA 91405-1266
VOICE (818) 988-4975 FAX (818) 997-1190 MODEM (818) 997-4496 PEP last

Michael Rawdon

unread,
Feb 26, 1991, 9:36:42 PM2/26/91
to
[The 'why did Mirasta not tell Durgen what Krola was planning?' thread:]

>Mirasta sticks around until it becomes crystal clear that Nilrem actually *was*
>going to follow Krola's orders and wake Riker. She is enough of an idealist
>(Krola, though misguided, is partially right when calling her naive, I think)
>that she may not have believed Krola could find anyone to do it.

I might be able to buy that except that she's obviously been rather heavily
embroiled in the planet's bureaucracy for a while, and while I can easily see
her naivete regarding space and aliens, I have a harder time seeing it WRT
Krola, whom she's surely either seen in action, or heard about.

>>While at the hospital, Krola certainly did not seem to have placed the center
>>under martial law or anything (I don't believe I saw any goons around).

>Joe McCarthy didn't have goons with him either, but one still didn't publicly
>cross him.

I depends which "one" you're talking about. I'd think that Durgen would
have had more than enough power to stop him, and Mirasta wasn't exactly on
Krola's good side anyway.

>>The head seemed very much to still be in control of the center (seeing as
>>he was able to resist Krola's wishes and all), so, if she wished, Mirasta
>>should have had no problem phoning Durgen to tell him what happened.

>As I said, I suspect she waited until it was definite that Riker was in fact
>going to be revived. It might look bad were she to run to Durken in a panic
>and return to find that Krola had changed his mind or something.

I dunno. I'd feel that it would be even worse to take the risk of Krola
killing Riker, especially considering her commitment to heading out into
space. Killing Riker could ruin everything, and she had considered this.

>>Since Mirasta was able to get in to talk to Durgen very shortly after
>>leaving the medical center, and apparently without any resistance from him,
>>I highly doubt that Durgen was pissed enough at her to just brush her off.
>>If he was, it was definitely something that needed to be pointed out in the
>>show, IMHO.

>No doubt. But there isn't room to point everything out, you see, in nearly
>any situation. Some things have to be taken on faith/figured out later.

Some things, yes, but I don't think this was one of those things. Personally,
I think a better move would to have had Mirasta and Krola NOT show up at
the hospital together, but have Mirasta show up just as it's too late. She
didn't contribute anything really meaningful to the scene anyway, except a
"You can't do that, Krola!", which was being done much more effectively by
the head of the facility.

My main lament about the loose ends in this episode is that it seems to me
that a little tighter scriptwriting, rearranging some scenes and cutting out
some extraneous dialogue, could have covered them all up superbly.

--
Michael Rawdon raw...@rex.cs.tulane.edu (Internet)
Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana CS6FECU@TCSVM (Bitnet)

"Communication is hard to establish
when things like a state of mind get in the way.
People don't eat, they just think what you feed them now;
The horse with the blinders eating the hay."
- Men Without Hats, "The Great Ones Remember"

Larry Diamond

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Feb 26, 1991, 9:22:23 PM2/26/91
to
>In article <17...@bbxsda.UUCP> sc...@bbxsda.UUCP (Scott Amspoker) writes:
[stuff deleted]

>
>But since she was a medical professional, she probably had access to
>condoms... ;-)

But wait a sec....

How do we know they've INVENTED it?

Larry Diamond

Timothy W. Lynch

unread,
Feb 27, 1991, 2:30:37 AM2/27/91
to

>[The 'why did Mirasta not tell Durken what Krola was planning?' thread:]

>>Mirasta sticks around until it becomes crystal clear that Nilrem actually
>>*was* going to follow Krola's orders and wake Riker. She is enough of an
>>idealist (Krola, though misguided, is partially right when calling her naive,
>>I think) that she may not have believed Krola could find anyone to do it.

>I might be able to buy that except that she's obviously been rather heavily
>embroiled in the planet's bureaucracy for a while, and while I can easily see
>her naivete regarding space and aliens, I have a harder time seeing it WRT
>Krola, whom she's surely either seen in action, or heard about.

But she doesn't need to be naive with respect to Krola--merely the individuals
he was dealing with. I'm sure she realized Krola would certainly try to find
someone to revive Riker, but she may have had the faith in human (sorry,
Malkorian) nature to think that nobody would agree to do it. She was certainly
wrong, but c'est la vie.

>>>The head seemed very much to still be in control of the center (seeing as
>>>he was able to resist Krola's wishes and all), so, if she wished, Mirasta
>>>should have had no problem phoning Durgen to tell him what happened.

>>As I said, I suspect she waited until it was definite that Riker was in fact
>>going to be revived. It might look bad were she to run to Durken in a panic
>>and return to find that Krola had changed his mind or something.

>I dunno. I'd feel that it would be even worse to take the risk of Krola
>killing Riker, especially considering her commitment to heading out into
>space. Killing Riker could ruin everything, and she had considered this.

But screwing up like that with Durken could completely ruin her credibility,
and thus throw Durken behind Krola as well. It's a balance of risks.

>>>Since Mirasta was able to get in to talk to Durgen very shortly after
>>>leaving the medical center, and apparently without any resistance from him,
>>>I highly doubt that Durgen was pissed enough at her to just brush her off.
>>>If he was, it was definitely something that needed to be pointed out in the
>>>show, IMHO.

>>No doubt. But there isn't room to point everything out, you see, in nearly
>>any situation. Some things have to be taken on faith/figured out later.

>Some things, yes, but I don't think this was one of those things. Personally,
>I think a better move would to have had Mirasta and Krola NOT show up at
>the hospital together, but have Mirasta show up just as it's too late.

Maybe she didn't need to be there. But the fact remains, neither her presence
there nor the timing of her departure bothered me in the slightest then, nor do
they now. The other bits might have worked equally well, but I fail to see how
the above was a great difficulty.

>My main lament about the loose ends in this episode is that it seems to me
>that a little tighter scriptwriting, rearranging some scenes and cutting out
>some extraneous dialogue, could have covered them all up superbly.

Well, we all know that you nearly always have to find *something* to lament
about every week. This time it seems rather minor, which is always nice...
:-)

Tim Lynch

Ward Griffiths

unread,
Feb 26, 1991, 2:03:34 PM2/26/91
to
sc...@bbxsda.UUCP (Scott Amspoker) writes:

>I also thought that the nurse wanting to make love with Will was
>kind of disturbing. Who knows what little innocuous virus could be
>deadly to another species. Inter-species sex no doubt carries great
>risks.

Even on this planet, there are relatively few diseases
which cross species barriers. Admittedly, some of them
are big-league killers such as anthrax (though not much
of a danger to human beings until the DoD and its ilk
got a hold of it), plague and typhus. But these are
diseases we share with biologically close relatives.
There would be little reason to expect a bug that has
developed in an unrelated biology to find us tasty.
The best way to make a reasonable study would be to
study McCoy's Venereal Disease file on Kirk, which I
assume would be kept confidential.

--
Ward Griffiths, Unisys NCG aka Convergent Technologies The people that make Unisys' official opinions get paid more. A LOT more.
=========================================================================== To Hell with "Only One Earth"! Try "At Least One Solar System"!

If I say love, I'll sound sentimental, and if I say sex, I'll sound cynical. I'll call it pair bonding and sound scientific. The Golden Apple

Janet M. Huss

unread,
Feb 27, 1991, 11:18:53 AM2/27/91
to
In an earlier article, sc...@bbxsda.UUCP (Scott Amspoker) wrote:
>I also thought that the nurse wanting to make love with Will was
>kind of disturbing. Who knows what little innocuous virus could be
>deadly to another species. Inter-species sex no doubt carries great
>risks.

In response, gi...@physics.ubc.ca (Arnold Gill) writes:
> What little virus do you know that affects across different species?
> I can't think of one -- unless cowpox gets cows sick too rather than
> just those who work around cows (many moons ago). I don't know about
> you, but if I'm sick, my cat will not get sick, and vice versa.

Well -- rabies. The virus causing rabies affects different species.
Admittedly, it doesn't qualify as a "little innocuous virus", since
it affects both the host creature and any others it/she/he infects.
But it can be spread, and all too easily, across species.

Janet Huss
j...@cipric.mn.org

STEPHEN DENNISON

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Feb 28, 1991, 5:25:59 PM2/28/91
to
In article <1991Feb27....@sarah.albany.edu>, ld5...@leah.albany.edu (Larry Diamond) writes...


and, with those HANDS, who would install it ??

Seems like just letting go of anything with those "Suckers" would be
painful.

Stephen the Mischevious

Mary V. Burke

unread,
Mar 1, 1991, 5:17:48 PM3/1/91
to

#In response, gi...@physics.ubc.ca (Arnold Gill) writes:
#> What little virus do you know that affects across different species?
#> I can't think of one -- unless cowpox gets cows sick too rather than
#> just those who work around cows (many moons ago). I don't know
about
#> you, but if I'm sick, my cat will not get sick, and vice versa.

#Well -- rabies. The virus causing rabies affects different species.
#Admittedly, it doesn't qualify as a "little innocuous virus", since
#it affects both the host creature and any others it/she/he infects.
#But it can be spread, and all too easily, across species.

I think spongiform encephalopathy too (alias Mad Cow Disease)--cows have
been getting it from consuming feed that contains the brain tissue of
infected sheep (ew! I thought cows were vegetarians, for cryin' out
loud!), and there's some evidence that people can get it from sheep as
well....Anyway, this is what I remember from an article about this in the Wall Street Journal recently (early Jan.?)

MVB
"Where your eyes don't go/A filthy scarecrow waves his broomstick arms/And does a parody of each unconscious thing you do"--TMBG
Disclaimer: Homey don't play dat.

Jason Zions

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Mar 1, 1991, 6:26:57 PM3/1/91
to
I think you all missed the point of the "Make Love To Me" scene.

Sure it was a throw-away, mostly; the sex angle wasn't necessary, and any
offer of help in escaping would have set up Riker's life-threatening
beating.

But, imagine if James T. Kirk had been the captive First Contact person.
Jimmy the K wouldn't have waited to be propositioned; oh, no, he would have
been coming on to anything in a skirt from the first minute. Taken the
opportunity to bed the girl, and then taken additional advantage of the
situation. That's our Jimbo!

How many episodes of TOS had Kirk's bacon hauled out of the fire by his
bouncing bedsprings with a local female?

Watching Riker's facial expressions throughout the scene had me rolling on
the floor convulsed with laughter; the comparison to Kirk sprang to mind
instantly.

Jazz

Janet Christian x2054

unread,
Mar 4, 1991, 12:50:36 PM3/4/91
to
>>--
>Bzzzzzzzzzt !! Bad Answer. Humans can get infected by other species, as far
>as I know. Maybe not virus infections, but there are many documented cases
>of ringworm being passed from cats to humans. Also, birds can contract
>colds from humans, at least that's what I have been told by Vets I deal
>with. Parasitic infestation, especially ALIEN parasites, could be just as
>deadly as any internal virus/bacterial infections.
>
>By the way, was it just a viscious racist joke, or hasn't AIDS been traced
>(or at least LINKED) to monkees and questionable cross-pollination
>techniques used by some African tribes ? I have also heard sheep and
>syphalis (sp ?) mentioned in the same sentence. (But NEVER at the dinner
>table !!)

You are right. These two diseases probably aren't the only things that
we get from other animals. Actually, I've always wondered why "swine flu"
was given this name.

Janet
--
____*_ Janet Christian jchri...@indetech.com
\ / / Independence Technologies {sun,sharkey,pacbell}!indetech!jchristian
\/ / 42705 Lawrence Place FAX: 415 438-2034
\/ Fremont, CA 94538 Voice: 415 438-2054

Vicki Holzhauer

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Mar 4, 1991, 2:32:32 PM3/4/91
to
In article <273...@hpcndjdz.CND.HP.COM>
ja...@hpcndjdz.CND.HP.COM (Jason Zions) writes:

>I think you all missed the point of the "Make Love To Me" scene.

I agree!

>Sure it was a throw-away, mostly; the sex angle wasn't necessary, and any
>offer of help in escaping would have set up Riker's life-threatening
>beating.
>

[......]


>Watching Riker's facial expressions throughout the scene had me rolling on
>the floor convulsed with laughter; the comparison to Kirk sprang to mind
>instantly.
>

I thought this scene was hilarious and liked it even better the second
time I saw the episode than the first. *And* I think it was perfectly
appropriate. The need for "comic relief" has been recognized back to
the time of the Greek playwrights and was often used by Shakespeare.
That is *exactly* the function this scene performed in an otherwise
serious episode ...

--
Vicki Holzhauer, NCAR/Research Aviation Facility
Internet: vi...@ncar.ucar.edu
"I was gratified to be able to answer promptly, and I did. I said
I didn't know." --Mark Twain

Allen P Haughay Jr

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Mar 4, 1991, 11:54:48 PM3/4/91
to
In article <10...@ncar.ucar.edu> vi...@stout.atd.ucar.edu (Vicki Holzhauer) writes:
>In article <273...@hpcndjdz.CND.HP.COM>
>ja...@hpcndjdz.CND.HP.COM (Jason Zions) writes:
>
>>I think you all missed the point of the "Make Love To Me" scene.
>
>I agree!
>
>>Sure it was a throw-away, mostly; the sex angle wasn't necessary, and any
>>offer of help in escaping would have set up Riker's life-threatening
>>beating.
>>
> [......]
>>Watching Riker's facial expressions throughout the scene had me rolling on
>>the floor convulsed with laughter; the comparison to Kirk sprang to mind
>>instantly.
>>
>
>I thought this scene was hilarious and liked it even better the second
>time I saw the episode than the first. *And* I think it was perfectly
>appropriate. The need for "comic relief" has been recognized back to

I agree that this episode was absolutely hilarious, and fit in just fine
with the story. I think it was included for several reasons. It was certainly
a playful throwback to the original series. I think it was a kind of playful
and affectionate jab at the rather tired and predictable plot device of TOS in
which Kirk gets to nail the bimbo. It was also a humorous poke at our 20th
Century society. Imagine seeing some months down the line in that society's
version of "World Weekly News" a story about "I Slept With a Space Alien", or
"My Baby's Father Was a Monster From Space". We see those tabloid headlines
every other week at the grocery store. Hmmmmm....


Skip Haughay

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