Star Trek: The Next Generation: Relics   Rewatch 
June 28, 2021 10:36 AM - Season 6, Episode 4 - Subscribe

The Enterprise discovers a ship that crashed on a Dyson sphere more than seventy-five years prior with a single survivor suspended in the transporter buffer: Captain Montgomery Scott.

Laddie, I was reading Memory Alpha a hundred years before you were born and I can tell you that, whatever this is, it is definitely not Memory Alpha.

  • The transporter loop premise of the episode originated from a story pitch that freelance writer Michael Rupert had submitted earlier, and which already suggested a character from eighty years before suspended in a transporter loop. The story was rejected, but as episode writer Ronald D. Moore recalled, when it was realized that the "transporter loop" concept might be useful, "The story didn't work and we didn't really like it, but the notion of someone staying alive in the transporter was a neat gimmick so we bought the premise from him." It was colleague Michael Piller who came up with the suggestion of using the "gimmick' in conjuncture with a Star Trek: The Original Series character. "Michael said, "That's a neat gag. I wonder if we could use this to bring back an original series character?" Everybody started to prick their ears and we started going through who it could be.", Moore continued. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, issue 3/4, p. 22)
  • The writers considered other characters from The Original Series, including Kirk, before selecting Montgomery Scott for this episode. As writer Moore claimed in the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (3rd ed., p. 219), "McCoy is old, Spock's playing James Bond on Romulus – and we couldn't do Kirk; it would raise too many other things. Nothing against the other characters, but Scotty seemed like the one with the most fun quotient." In regard to the other Original Series characters, Moore has added, "It seemed like Scotty was the best choice. We'd seen Spock and then you look around and realize Scotty was the character that you could have the most fun with because you knew a lot about him. Sulu, Chekov and Uhura are fine characters, but they don't have a lot of the qualities Scotty did: the obsession with engines, the drinking. We knew we could do a relationship between him and Geordi. He was sort of ready-made to do this kind of a show." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, issue 3/4, p. 22)
  • Much of the drama in the episode stemmed from the initial friction between Scott and La Forge, which writer Moore had purposely inserted to underscore the differences between the two characters. Moore explained, "Scotty never wanted to be anything else but an engineer. He was happiest in the engine room. The ship was a living being to him. She was a lady and there was a whole different philosophy. And with Geordi, although he loves his job and was having a good time at it, it's not the same thing. Geordi used to be on the bridge. I'm sure he wants to command his own ship some day [note: and in an alternate reality he did, as captain of the USS Challenger in Star Trek: Voyager's fifth season episode "Timeless"], like probably most engineers in the fleet do. Scotty was a little different and he had a different relationship." Science consultant for the episode and another Original Series fan, Naren Shankar chimed in, and added, "Scotty and Geordi are probably the two most different people you could ever imagine. Ron felt very strongly about that. He correctly pointed out that Geordi had not been an engineer his entire life, it's sort of like he ended up that way. He was a bridge officer first season and Ron's point, which is arguable, is that Geordi doesn't think of himself as an engineer. Geordi is the kind of guy who when he wants to relax might go to the beach or play some classical guitar music or hang out. Scotty is the kind of guy who will go into his room and read technical manuals. Scotty is an engineer through and through and he likes to break rules and do things in an unorthodox manner. He likes to tinker and Geordi is not that way, so I think it's reasonable that they clashed initially." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, issue 3/4, pp. 24-25) Moore's and Shankar's notions were ultimately carried over onto the screen in Scott's lines in the scene where he relinquishes command of the Jenolan to La Forge, even though he outranked him.
  • The Dyson sphere was named after scientist Freeman Dyson, who envisioned a real-world postulate in 1959, although the actual sphere that Dyson theorized was not a solid object like the one visualized in the episode. Dyson, who himself never took his idea too seriously, said in a later interview that, while the science behind it was "nonsense", as TV viewer he enjoyed the episode.
  • The visual and sound effects of the USS Jenolan's transporter were directly taken from those of the Enterprise's transporter from The Original Series. It was because of the intimate knowledge the episode's Visual Effects Producer Dan Curry, also an Original Series fan, had of The Original Series, that the effect visuals were included, as he recalled, "We used the original Star Trek transporter sparkle. I used to work at Cinema Research [note: one of the Original Series visual effects companies], and I remembered that in the bowels of their stock footage storage room was an old box labeled "Star Trek Transporter Sparkle". We blew the cobwebs off, dug through, pulled out the strip of film, and discovered it was in perfect condition." (The Next Generation 365, p. 274) The accompanying sound effect, the original transporter whine, was located by Co-Producer Wendy Neuss, yet another fan, in the studio's own archive. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (3rd ed., p. 219))
  • Director Alexander Singer had some trepidation about the initial antagonistic La Forge-Scott relationship and at first didn't agree with Moore's assessment who stated that he "(…) always had an understanding that it wasn't going to destroy Geordi's character. In a sense Geordi was right. Who is this guy to be hanging around my engine room and giving me a hard time? I knew as long as he played him straight and eventually made him sort of see Scotty's point of view and understand and be a little sympathetic, I knew it was going to work." Singer on the other hand, was afraid that La Forge's early attitude would backfire among audiences that were naturally sympathetic towards Scott, but while working with Burton came around to Moore's thinking, "I had not worked with LeVar [Burton, who plays Geordi] so what I did was meet with him to talk to him about it. I don't think he's done that before. I figured it's a new guy and I'd talk to him but I think he was a little annoyed because in effect I wanted to be reassured that he understood that balance. LeVar's feeling was of course I understand it, if I don't understand this, I don't understand anything. It turned out that LeVar is like the cast in general, some of the best actors I've ever worked with anywhere and in the scenes it was possible to fine-tune the performance. Sometimes the guys hit the right level immediately, just instantly. Sometimes we had to work for it. The combination of hostility turning into affection was very moving to me." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, issue 3/4, p. 24)
  • Singer also had some trepidation about Scott actor James Doohan's ability to pull off the episode at first, "The next intangible was that I had never worked with Doohan. I felt that potentially the show was a kind of classic and I understood exactly what I had in my hands. I did not know physically what shape Doohan was in. There was a lot of dialogue and I don't think he ever did a show in the old STAR TREK where he had this much drama and this many notes to hit. I had seen the STAR TREK movies and I think that's still true. I don't think he ever was in the center, he was peripheral and in this episode he was the center. By the time we came to the scene on the old STAR TREK deck, he was not only the center but he had to support a very powerful dramatic scene. It's a scene that in reading it, I choked up [note: Singer too, was a life-long Original Series fan]. Part of me is very hardheaded and realistic and the part of me is very romantic and very sensitive and I was deeply moved by that story." Doohan, however, more than allayed Singer's reservations, especially when the two men met at a private pre-production meeting, "I wanted to meet him first so we didn't meet [for the first time] on the set. He came in graciously and we talked. His delight in doing the show and his manner reassured me enormously. I think that he wanted me to be comfortable and he wanted me to have a sense that he could indeed carry this load and he convinced me. And subsequently I think there was only one day, one scene where he had a very technical page of technobabble, and he was utterly exhausted at the end of a very long day, that we had any problems whatsoever. For the rest of it he was delight to work with, and he got all the jokes, so to speak." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, issue 3/4, p. 24) If there had been any lingering doubt about Doohan's capabilities, that was definitively dispelled when filming the bridge scene indeed moved both Singer and his visiting, down-to-earth wife to tears, as he has admitted. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (3rd ed., pp. 219-220))
  • "Relics" makes many references to TOS, including the episodes "Elaan of Troyius", "Wolf in the Fold", and "The Naked Time", representing each of the three seasons of The Original Series, as well as Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (Kirk pulled the Enterprise out of the "mothballs" of decommissioning), Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (since Scotty tells Picard he served on two different Enterprises). In return, at the end of the episode, La Forge tells Scotty about the events of "Galaxy's Child", which occurred two seasons before.
  • La Forge and Scotty are beamed off of the USS Jenolan before it is destroyed, despite the fact that they did not drop the ship's shields to allow transport beforehand. According to Moore, "It's just a straight, flat-out mistake! I didn't think about it, I didn't catch it, the producers didn't catch it, the technical consultants didn't catch it – it was just one of those things and a single line of dialogue could've explained it away. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (2nd ed., p. 219))
  • This is the second episode in which the Enterprise-D crew discover a 23rd century Starfleet ship and captain, initially unaware of the passage of time. The first was Captain Morgan Bateson, along with the crew of the USS Bozeman, in "Cause and Effect".
  • This episode shows Troi wearing a new hairstyle. This style is a low pony tail, with curls framing her face. This style is kept for several episodes before the style changes again in "The Quality of Life".
  • Scotty is regularly referred to as a Captain; this is the only instance of him being referred to by rank in dialog following his promotion to Captain in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
Cast and characters
  • James Doohan is the fourth and final actor from The Original Series to reprise his role in Star Trek: The Next Generation. DeForest Kelley appeared in "Encounter at Farpoint", Mark Lenard appeared in "Sarek" and "Unification I", and Leonard Nimoy appeared in "Unification I" and "Unification II". During the first season of The Next Generation, Doohan had strong words about the series, believing it to be rehashing a number of episodes the classic series had done. It was not until his family made him sit down and watch The Next Generation did he finally appreciate the new series. While a bit too crass in regard to season one, he was not entirety wrong in his assessment, as there were some episodes that were essentially rehashes of original crew episodes, such as "The Naked Now" (from "The Naked Time") and, due to a writers' strike, the second season episodes "The Child" (originally a likewise titled episode written for the abandoned Star Trek: Phase II television series) and "Unnatural Selection" (from "The Deadly Years").
Poster's Log:
Two episodes previous, in "Realm of Fear", O'Brien was able to bring Barclay back with his pattern at or just below 50%. Franklin's pattern's degraded to 47%, apparently just beyond Scotty's reach using 75-year-old hardware.

If I had a hairline fracture of my humerus, I'd probably be a little miffed at the guy that kept slapping me on that arm.

There is something beautiful in the way Scotty burrs "La Forrrrj".

Ensign Kane has a really good "OK, Boomer" face.

Scotty's shocked at the size of his quarters but doesn't question the bar in Ten-Forward?

Hat tip to Brent Spiner. It could not have been easy to run that drink sequence with a straight face.

Comment from the hanov3r household: "Of course Picard shoots whisky like that"

What keeps the atmosphere inside the sphere when the portal opens? I can't imagine it would be fun living anywhere in that hemisphere if there was in-and-out traffic at all.

Why park the Jenolan there? One glance at angles and distances shows they could have kept the door open much farther and not been in the way by parking it off to the side, between a side panel and a "main" panel instead of between the two "main" panels.

Poster's Log, Supplemental:

There's a lot more at Memory Alpha than I quoted above, and I urge everyone to go read the page.

It always surprises me how viscerally I respond to this episode. It's definitely a giant needle full of nostalgia right into my veins and I absolutely love it. But, similar to (and maybe fueled by) my reaction to PIC S1E6 "The Impossible Box" and seeing how harmful Picard's command style can be, this one hit differently this time. Scotty's comparison of starship captains to children is, maybe, one of the worst aspects of how he looks at Starfleet. His anger and petulance at having been outpaced by the world while he 'slept' is projected in the worst "OK, Boomer" kind of way. It's almost a "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM" kind of reaction and, well, you're no Chief O'Brien, my friend.

My other soft spot regarding this episode is the Dyson sphere itself. At some point around 1980, I was gifted copies of _Ringworld_ and _The Ringworld Engineers_ and the image of a structure the size of a planetary orbit's been burned into my DNA since then.
posted by hanov3r (26 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I had also read a bunch of Niven around this time period and was super pscyhed to recognize an arcane sci-fi thing showing up on TNG. Too bad they never did any follow-up to this.

Lots to enjoy here, and I won't let myself get too worked up about the decades stuck in non-corporeal consciousness suggested by Realm of Fear just two weeks ago, there's probably a good technical reason that issue didn't come up, and if I brought it up to Geordi he'd get frustrated and want to smack me.

A fun episode, and doesn't rely on the "small problem that very, very, very slowly creeps toward doom" pattern that they get bogged down with so often in these later seasons.
posted by skewed at 11:29 AM on June 28, 2021

I'm with you on the rush from getting hit with a rush of nostalgia from the spike right in the ol' veinaroo, even with the misgivings about some of Scotty's behavior, and maybe a little bit because of it; as I get older, I have to watch myself for outward expressions of my crankier tendencies, and so I can dig it coming from someone who basically gave his life to Starfleet, only to find that the new and improved version barely has any time for him. (I can barely--barely--forgive them for not having time right at that moment, because of the shock of encountering a freakin' Dyson Sphere, although I still wonder if they shouldn't have some protocols for the temporally displaced. I think that one of the books has an agency or something that the Federation/Starfleet set up that handles the like of Morgan Bateson and his crew from "Cause and Effect" and the boomersicles from "The Neutral Zone." Something else about getting old, of course, is handling new stuff, and the 24th century is beyond new.) And the OG bridge simulation scene is also great, if somewhat bittersweet; I think that I like KurtzmanTrek more than a lot of paleo-Trekkies, but I get the desire that a lot of them had/have for the original bridge, rather than the gussied-up version shown on S2 of DIS (and, presumably, on Strange New Worlds).

And that Dyson sphere--hot damn. I wasn't worrying about how they kept the air in (I figured that any species or civilization that could build one could make a force field that would handle that; they're obviously getting the atmosphere to stick to the inside surface via some other method besides centrifugal force, IIRC, the reason why Niven made the Ringworld a ring rather than a sphere). I was wondering if there was really a gap between being able to make a working Dyson Sphere and being able to... what would you call being able to engineer a sun? Stellengineering? Anyway, we know that Trek (or at least some civilizations within it) has a way of making a sun go prematurely nova via trilithium explosives--Soren and the Dominion almost pulled it off (technically, Soren did)--and so I wonder if the Dyson sphere people might not have been too far from pulling off some sort of stabilization/regulation on their troublesome sun.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:38 AM on June 28, 2021

they're obviously getting the atmosphere to stick to the inside surface via some other method besides centrifugal force, IIRC, the reason why Niven made the Ringworld a ring rather than a sphere

Even the Federation has gravity generators; getting the atmosphere to stick to the inside of a closed sphere probably isn't any harder than getting crewmembers to stick to the deck of a starship.
posted by hanov3r at 11:46 AM on June 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

Cards of the episode in the Star Trek CCG:
Explore Dyson Sphere in Premiere has a lot of requirements, but Geordi or a certain O'Brien gets you most of the way. S'good, man.

Original Bridge Crew Time! Mongomery Scott is a common card in the Alternate Universe set, and was also featured as a white-bordered promo in the freebie 'warp pack' set designed to make up for people getting starter decks with not enough missions and such. Slightly different skills than LaForge, but quite complimentary. Side note I guess, Scotty is and will always be my favorite Star Trek character, the affable technical guy I always want to be. I was super excited, in the summer of '95, to discover this card in a booster pack, back in the days before internet spoilers were available for practically everything. Send him to a Reunion with the Cantankerous guy and the logical guy, g'wan.

Rager is a fine addition to your attempts at the EDS mission above.

In the Way is a cheap dilemma, not bad, not one I ever used. Second Edition also gets Montgomery Scott, Relic who's a bit expensive but busts dilemmas like a champ, pretty nice.
posted by StarkRoads at 12:01 PM on June 28, 2021

Niven made the Ringworld a ring rather than a sphere

Very OT, but this change is the sort of mistake that Niven kept making. Reading him as a nerdy kid is a weird mix of getting the confidence to work through math and physics and handle big ideas, and then realizing you may have developed a case of Dunning-Kruger because you are actually missing important points.

A Dyson sphere is stable: The sun does not actually need to be in the center of it. All the gravitational pulls cancel each other out; proving that any point inside a uniform sphere has no net gravitational force pulling it one way or another (and, conversely, does not pull the sphere either) is a physics 101 question, though for a smart student in a good class.

But a ringworld is basically a one dimensional version of this and is not stable. There is a net pull except at the very center. If it ever goes even slightly off, the sun will start pulling the side close to it slightly closer, and a positive feedback loop will start that ends with mass calamity.

Niven tried to lampshade this with the plot of Ringworld Engineers and asserting huge numbers of thrusters to keep readjusting the thing, but he admitted (to his credit) that he missed this and then (less impressively) he assumed the interstellar society of engineers that stole the thrusters also missed this.
posted by mark k at 12:16 PM on June 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

I think that the word I was looking for was "helioengineering", probably.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:12 PM on June 28, 2021

they're obviously getting the atmosphere to stick to the inside surface via some other method besides centrifugal force,

I had always imagined that the majority of the space inside the sphere was vacuum(ish), with a few miles' worth of atmosphere held to the inside surface by whatever artificial gravity they used to keep the oceans from sloshing around the interior and evaporating into the space.

There is a throwaway line where Picard orders the Enterprise to be put in a synchronous orbit near the door, which, if I understand things right, would require that the entire sphere be rotating. For some reason, that idea is even more mind-bending than just the sheer size of the thing in the first place. I can't imagine that the visuals we see on TV are remotely to scale. If the Enterprise is visible in the shot, the horizon of the sphere should look almost flat to us, right? I'm always shocked in pictures from the ISS etc. that the Earth looms so large and so close; we really don't get that far from it these days, in solar system terms.
posted by pykrete jungle at 4:15 PM on June 28, 2021

As much of a Scotty fan as I was, this: "Sulu, Chekov and Uhura are fine characters, but they don't have a lot of the qualities Scotty did: the obsession with engines, the drinking" just reeks of their typical cowardice. The only reason the other characters didn't have interesting-enough qualities (to you) that you could make use of for your plotline is because of your rampant racism and misogyny in regards to two of those characters. You guys never GAVE them interesting qualities.

I never bought how shabbily Geordi treated Scotty in this. It was like the show was determined to grind my love for LaForge into a paste or something--he comes off about as badly here as he did with his holodeck fantasy girl.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 4:47 PM on June 28, 2021 [4 favorites]

Yeah their rationalizations about Geordi not being a born engineer ring completely false to me. Geordi is passionate enough about the Enterprise's warp engine that he fell in love with a holographic projection of its creator. And the bullshit about Scotty being a tinkerer and not doing things by the book, as if that's a contrast to Geordi? When Brahms came on board, all she saw were the various ways Geordi had fucked around with her engine in unorthodox ways. The ST: TNG writer's room never ceases to be just a crappy bunch of people.
posted by wabbittwax at 4:58 PM on June 28, 2021 [5 favorites]

The setup for Scotty sitting down in Ten-Forward was a little odd. Data's sitting at the end of the bar facing a couple who are facing each other and away from him in what looked like a date, and had drinks. What was Data doing there before he approached Scotty?

re: Dyson sphere - if it was spinning, would that make it more or less stable around the gravity well at the heart of the star? If the sphere's diameter was close to 1 AU, and assuming the rotation was close to an Earth year, it wouldn't be rotating fast enough for the background stars to be visibly "moving?" But yes, the local horizon would appear nearly flat.

Also, the sphere (and the star) would be rotating around the galactic core along with all of the other stars. Would this pose an addition logistical difficulty for a stable shell around a star?

Anyway, great performance by Doohan, and he inserted a lot of fun into the episode.
posted by porpoise at 5:49 PM on June 28, 2021

As much as I don't like what they did with Geordi and how they did so little to accommodate Scotty (the sphere wasn't going anywhere, but they just found a true piece of history in the form of Scotty), I do think Scotty's initial efforts to "help out" were poorly shown.

1. The guy has been in the transporter for 75 years and yet he has no need for any downtime to get himself together and learn about his situation. There was supposed to be a scene with Troi where she is called in after he has annoyed Geordi. That scene should have been right off the bat with Troi working to acclimate Scotty to the Future.

2. Scotty isn't an idiot. He as well as anyone ought to know technology advances. Having him go around the ship poking and prodding and pointing out stuff that Geordi has to correct him on just does a disservice to the character.

The holodeck scene and everything after it through raises the level of the episode enough to make the early going excusable. Ron Moore's interpretation of the characters can be so ugh sometimes.
posted by Fukiyama at 6:27 PM on June 28, 2021 [2 favorites]

Ahh, I can't be too hard on this one. Scotty wandering around in shock and bumping into Geordi at the beginning of the episode pays off nicely in their later collaboration. It's not like modern soapy shows where they could spend all year developing their interactions - it's just not that kind of thing. Kinda inverts the scenes where he deals with the past-technology in Star Trek IV in an interesting way. It also makes total sense to use Scotty with the trasporter-time-travel gimmick: if anyone on the original series could plausibly pull that off, he's the one. You could make the case for Rand or Kyle, that wouldn't hit nearly the same.

Oh, yeah: Playmates totally did a Captain Scott figure based on this episode.
posted by StarkRoads at 8:00 PM on June 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

Oh, I love this episode as well--I actually think I may have read a novelization of it before I ever saw the episode, and enjoyed that, too.

Funny thing is, I remember thinking that Geordi was being a real jerk to Scotty; upon rewatching it last week, I thought Geordi was much more sympathetic--there's a couple of times where Scotty almost does something actually dangerous, and he continues to not show any awareness that he can't just blindly tinker with in-use ship systems before taking a few steps back to reacquaint himself.
posted by pykrete jungle at 8:21 PM on June 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

A Dyson sphere is stable: The sun does not actually need to be in the center of it.

Sort of. As you say, a uniform shell (regardless of spin) exerts no force on a mass at its center, which means the system isn't "stable" in the sense of being resistant to perturbations. A sun at the center of a perfectly symmetrical Dyson sphere would be free to drift. If there's even a slight net force of any kind, then over astronomical timescales the sun would build up momentum and eventually hit the shell, unless there's something actively keeping it in its desired position.

I mention this not to be pedantic, but because it's actually a plot point in one of the TNG tie-in novels, the creatively-titled Dyson Sphere.
posted by teraflop at 10:16 PM on June 28, 2021

it's funny, in the episode they mention if you build a Dyson sphere you could have effectively unlimited energy. It would take an incredible amount of energy (and matter, for that, uh, matter) to build the thing in the first place, no.
posted by StarkRoads at 10:38 PM on June 28, 2021

That bit at the end where Scotty just kind of grimaces at Worf when everyone is saying goodbye had pretty strong "your unreformed racist uncle" vibes.

That said, how was ST: Scotty not a spinoff? Every week, Scotty crash-lands his increasingly beat-up shuttle on another strange new world, and he has to eyeroll and bluster his way through the situation until he can technobabble his little schooner back to life. It writes itself!

Where is ST: Golden Girls
posted by phooky at 4:20 AM on June 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

That bit at the end where Scotty just kind of grimaces at Worf when everyone is saying goodbye had pretty strong "your unreformed racist uncle" vibes.

Nicholas Meyer kind of put that on Scotty in Star Trek VI when he said, "I'll bet that Klingon bitch killed her father!", referring to Chancellor Azetbur. That's another callback to how the Klingons were portrayed in TOS as being completely ruthless, with very few exceptions (i.e. Kang joining with the Enterprise crew in laughing away the energy critter in "Day of the Dove"); it might have made for a very interesting dialogue if Scotty had spent a few minutes actually talking to Worf.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:26 AM on June 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

I recall that this episode’s premise that Scotty has been sitting in the pattern buffer for decades got me thinking about what else was going on offscreen at, say, the point where Picard assumes command of the Enterprise. Scotty’s in the buffer, both Sarek and Spock are ambassadors, Julian Bashir is an academy student, Morgan Bateson and his ship the USS Bozeman are still in a time loop, Quark is running his bar in Terok Nor (where he meets Morn for the first time), Riker’s transporter double is living in a cavern awaiting rescue, the power struggles within the Klingon Empire are heating up, the USS Pegasus is entombed in an asteroid, the Cardassian War is grinding on, a NASA ship (the Charybdis) missing since 2037 is debris in the upper atmosphere is Theta VII, the command module of the 2032 Mars mission Ares IV is floating out in the Delta Quadrant with its commander’s corpse still strapped in place, three twentieth-century humans are still sitting in cold sleep near the Romulan Neutral Zone (quiet these last fifty years), a bunch more (including Amelia Earhart) are likewise cryogenically frozen in the Delta Quadrant, Aamin Marritza starts to work as an instructor at the Cardassian Military Academy on Kora II, etc., etc. And I suppose the USS Discovery is in a wormhole, a century into its millennium-long journey into the future.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:45 AM on June 29, 2021 [16 favorites]

- Kor, Kang, and Koloth are still searching for the killer of their sons. (Well, Kor is in theory.)
- Lieutenant Commander Benjamin Sisko reports for duty on the Saratoga with his lovely wife and adorable son; his superiors see him as a rising star, maybe even someday on the short list to command a Galaxy-class ship.
- Gul Dukat: pretty sure that he has this Bajoran problem in hand, just as long as he can show them who's daddyboss.
- Kira Nerys: killin' Cardassians.
- Odo: just doin' his job.
- Garak: gets sent on a mission to this dumpy ore processing station, glad that he's not stuck there for more than a week.
- Tom Paris: gets kicked out of Starfleet; his young cousin, Nick Locarno, resolves to do better when he's in the Academy, even though he's always admired Tom's daredevil flying.
- Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero One: calculating π
- Kes: not even born yet
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:34 AM on June 29, 2021 [8 favorites]

I find this episode mildly cringey throughout, partly because of the points made above about Scotty not being stupid. Once he's grasped that 75 years have passed, he should be avid for information about technological advances, not trying to get Geordi to do things the old way.

But the thing I deeply dislike is the closing minutes. We see Scotty getting into a shuttle and the hatch closes. We never even see the craft launch! It might as well be a coffin. Horrible downbeat ending.
posted by zadcat at 12:31 PM on June 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

Turns out he only thought he was getting into a shuttle to explore the galaxy. They were actually putting him back into the pattern buffer, but this time loaded with enough stars and planets for a lifetime of adventure.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 2:20 PM on June 29, 2021 [3 favorites]

I’ll be back in like 3 weeks with my impression of Scotty’s understanding of project management estimating. Certainly no sooner than 2 weeks, Captain.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:41 PM on June 29, 2021 [2 favorites]

Yeah, giving him his own shuttle and letting him explore was the Star Trek version of sending him off to a nice farm planet upquadrant, where he can play with other engineers and take apart engines and drink as much whiskey as he wants all day long. It was one step up from LaForge stuffing him into a torpedo and trying to gently convince him that it was a next generation shuttlecraft while Picard tearfully plays his sadness flute and Troi solemnly drapes him with a UFP flag.

It's okay for stories to have endings, and to be sad about them.
posted by phooky at 7:10 AM on June 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

sending him off to a nice farm planet upquadrant

Hey, the farm is a real place, and it cures all!
posted by hanov3r at 7:35 AM on June 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

Turns out he only thought he was getting into a shuttle to explore the galaxy. They were actually putting him back into the pattern buffer, but this time loaded with enough stars and planets for a lifetime of adventure.

Okay this is the wrong episode but I have to put this out there: Moriarty was designed to be able to outwit Data and he's figured out that his whole world was an illusion before, how the heck can they be sure he won't figure it out again and be put into a horrible purgatory by that knowledge?
posted by StarkRoads at 9:54 AM on June 30, 2021 [3 favorites]

I'd go as far as to say it's inevitable that he'll figure out he's in yet another simulation. Honestly it would have been more humane to delete him.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:44 PM on June 30, 2021

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