Sunday, February 10, 2013

TOS #235: The Doomsday Machine

The Enterprise is mosying along through space when they get a garbled partial distress signal from the Constellation. Matt Decker is in command of that ship and Kirk seems to know him and isn't happy that his friend may be in danger. Sulu and Spock come up with a bigger problem... Every planet in the solar system they're approaching has been obliterated. The Enterprise heads toward the distress signal and encounters more and more completely obliterated solar systems. This isn't cool! They final get to the one from which the distress signal is originating and find out that it's been obliterated too. Well, except for the 2 inner planets... And the Constellation itself which is adrift in space. Off they go to see what's up. Kirk sounds a red alert and does so by punching a button on his chair. So much for my earlier complaint that he never does that!

They're getting no response from the ship but it is heavily damaged. Life support is functional but at a very low level. Kirk decides to go check it out. He forms a landing party with McCoy, Scotty, and 3 'damage control' guys who are wearing a mix of blue and gold shirts. Looks like everyone gets to live today! They search a bit and don't find any people or bodies. Scotty thinks they can repair the impulse engines but not the warp drive. And that the computer still works so they can probably go check out the duplicate captain's log to see what happened. Good idea, Scotty! It turns out there's a dude in the auxiliary control room which has this log. He's in a state of shock, but McCoy drugs him up enough to talk. It's Commodore Decker, and he fought some weird ship until it took out his engines. Then he beamed his whole crew down to the third planet in the solar system. The transporter went out and the weird ship ate the planet with his crew, which appears to have driven Decker a little crazy. Scotty sends the logs and data tapes over to Spock who figures out what's going on. There's a robot ship that apparently can destroy planets with a pure anti-proton beam. It then eats the debris for fuel which lets it continue on forever. Apparently it came from outside the galaxy and is likely to slice right through the most densely populated areas of this galaxy. Uh-oh! Kirk likens it to a doomsday machine, like an h-bomb.

McCoy beams back to the Enterprise with Decker to get him some psych care. As soon as they beam over the ship goes to red alert. It would seem the planet killer has come back, and it's chasing the Enterprise! Kirk orders Spock to lower the shields and beam them back, but as soon as the shields go down the robot attacks and takes out the transporter. It also damages communications, so they can't talk to Kirk anymore! Kirk sets Scotty to work repairing the impulse engines and tries to get his viewscreen working so they can figure out what's going on and join the fight.

Eventually the Enterprise gets out of range and the robot gives up chasing. It heads off for the next solar system, Rigel, which has millions of people. Spock orders Sulu to go back for Kirk. Decker disagrees with this plan and orders a full scale attack on the robot. Spock orders Sulu to go back for Kirk. Decker pulls rank as a Commodore and relieves Spock of command. McCoy is incensed and tries to relieve Decker of command back by saying he's medically unfit for duty, but has no proof. Decker smirks and kicks McCoy off the bridge which is going to make it hard to gather said proof. Decker orders the attack and Sulu complies.

Kirk and Scotty manage to rig together the warp drive controls to the impulse engines on the Constellation and have got the viewscreen working. They don't quite have power yet, but it's close. Kirk sees the Enterprise go in for an attack and is mind boggled. He tries desperately to hail them but can't. Meanwhile Decker continues his crazed attack. The robot takes out their shields and locks a tractor beam on. It's going to eat the Enterprise! Decker orders to continue attacking. Spock points out that this is illogical, and suicide. And that someone who wants to commit suicide must be unfit for command. So either Decker orders the retreat or Spock relieves him of duty and orders the retreat. Decker gives in and orders the retreat. But it doesn't work! Warp power is gone and they can't break free with impulse alone. Uh-oh!

For some reason this image is burned into my brain.
Scotty gets some power going and Kirk has them fly near the robot. The idea being that maybe the robot will turn and attack something that's moving. If only they had some phasers... Oh, wait, turns out Scotty was working miracles and they do have some phasers. PEW PEW! Shooting it worked, and it turns on the Constellation which can't possibly get away. Decker sees this and shoots too. This confuses the poor robot and it wanders off to eat some rocks and recharge while also chasing the Enterprise. Ship to ship communications are finally restored and Kirk calls up to talk to Spock. Decker acts all high and mighty and says that he's in charge over here and Kirk will talk to him. Kirk is really pissed that Decker almost got the Enterprise destroyed. He orders Spock to assume command. Spock does, though Decker isn't happy. Spock orders Decker to sick bay for that psych appointment. Decker goes, but beats up the security guard along the way and breaks free. He runs down to the shuttlecraft hangar deck and steals a shuttle. Kirk and Spock try to talk him into coming back but Decker has no will to live now that his crew are all dead. He agrees with Spock that they can't pierce the robot's hull from outside so he's going to try from inside! He flies the shuttle right into the robot and dies.

Press this one. Thirty seconds later... Poof!
Kirk is sad that his friend is dead, but Sulu points out that the robot actually took some damage. Kirk gets a crazy idea. He'll fly the Constellation in there and blow the impulse engines! That ought to kill it! Maybe! Spock thinks this is a terrible plan but I honestly don't know what their alternative is at this point. The robot is pretty much guaranteed to kill the Enterprise before they get warp power back online so Kirk committing suicide a few hours earlier than the rest of them doesn't seem that bad. Oh, and Kirk isn't going to commit suicide. He had Scotty rig up a 30 second fuse on the explosion so they can totally beam Kirk over before he dies. Spock points out the transporter is still damaged and 30 seconds is an awfully short time frame. I believe they call this foreshadowing.

Scotty beams back but the transporter breaks. Scotty quickly runs to fix it, but they won't be able to beam Kirk over. Kirk has to go now because the Constellation is running out of juice. Will Scotty fix it in time? DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNN! He fixes it! Kirk pushes the button and wants to get beamed over. But it breaks again! Scotty goes to fix it again, and Kirk is getting antsy since he already pushed the 30 second button. Spock is urgently backseat fixing the transporter by giving Scotty advice. Sulu is 'helping' by counting down the 30 seconds. THREE! TWO! ONE! KABOOM! And Kirk's on board! The robot is dead! Everybody wins!

He's Dead, Jim!
- Commodore Decker
Running tally: 58 deaths, 30 crew deaths, 4 He's Dead, Jim!

Love in Space
- No one learned to stop worrying and love the bomb.

Vulcans are Awesome
- Nothing out of the ordinary this time, actually.

I'm a Doctor, not a...
- snap psychologist? McCoy wants to relieve Decker of duty but can't come up with a good reason on the spot.

Awesome Conversations
McCoy - "You can't let him do this, Spock!"
Decker - "Doctor, you are out of line."
McCoy - "SO ARE YOU!"
McCoy - "Sir!"

Kirk - "Worry about your miracle, Scotty, I'll worry about mine."

Kirk - "If we only had some phasers..."
Scotty - "Phasers?!? You've got 'em! I've got one bank recharged."
Kirk - "Scotty! You've just earned your pay for the week."

Kirk - "Mr Scott, it worked! Great!"
{robot turns to eat them instead}
Kirk - "I think it's great... Scotty, get us out of here!"

Spock - "Commodore Decker, you are relieved of command."
Decker - "I don't recognize your authority to relieve me!"
Spock - "You may file a formal protest with Starfleet Command, assuming we survive to reach a starbase. But you are relieved."
Spock - "Commodore, I do not wish to place you under arrest."
Decker - "You wouldn't dare!"
{Spock signals the security guards}
Decker - "You're bluffing!"
Spock - "Vulcans never bluff."
Decker - "No. No, I don't suppose that they do."

Time Travel or Mind Rape?
- Nope.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

TOS #238: The Apple

Pew pew!
Kirk, Spock, Chekov, and three red shirts beam down to a new planet. They walk away and immediately afterwards McCoy and two more red shirts beam down as well. Wow, this planet must be pretty dangerous if they need 5 red shirts. Apparently it's a very fertile and strange planet. It earns some comparisons to paradise and Eden. Then one of the redshirts notices a weird plant which, just like the last time they were on a paradise planet, shoots him with some spores. Unfortunately this time the spores don't turn you into hippies... They turn you into corpses!

Scotty calls down and says the engines are losing power mysteriously and he's looking into it. Also, he'd like to take a walk in a garden if Kirk doesn't mind. Kirk does mind. Fix the damn engines, Scotty! Spock finds some weird vibrations and detects a humanoid watching them but it runs away like a cat. Chekov in the meantime has started making moves on the female redshirt who came down with them. Kirk puts a stop to that and they head off to find the humanoid village.

On the way Scotty calls down to say the antimatter pods have been completely drained by a beam from the planet. It doesn't seem to be so serious they need to leave but it is mighty disturbing. While Kirk is chatting with Scotty one of those deadly plants aims at him and shoots! Spock notices and pushes Kirk out of the way in time, but gets hit himself. McCoy pumps Spock full of drugs but it doesn't help. He's going to die! They need to beam back up to the ship! But when they try it doesn't work. Turns out the planet has some sort of dampening field up now. They're stuck. DUN DUN DUN!

After the commercial break Spock wakes up. Turns out Vulcans are pretty tough cookies. This makes the planet bitter and it sends red stormclouds at the landing party. Lightning bolts stream down and one of the red shirts gets vaporized. Another red shirt runs off and steps on a land mine. Kaboom! Three down, and now the party is back at a manageable six members. Kirk gets all whiny and introspective about losing three men when Spock detects the humanoid nearby. Kirk snaps out of it, devises a plan, and captures the humanoid. It turns out to be a tribal leader who claims to be the eyes and voice of Vaal, whoever that is. Kirk wants more information and the leader takes them back to his village.

Scotty calls down again. Now the planet has hooked a tractor beam onto the ship. They don't have warp power and impulse isn't enough to escape. They're slowly being pulled into the planet and will burn up in 16 hours! Kirk threatens Scotty by saying if he can't find a way to fix the warp engines and escape he'll be fired. And on fire, really.

Vaal turns out to be a giant lizard head carved out of a mountain. He's surrounded by a forcefield and currently sleeping. When he wakes up to eat maybe then Kirk can talk to him. For now, the party goes to the tribal village to rest and meet everyone else. Kirk is surprised that there are no children. It turns out children aren't needed and love is forbidden by Vaal. McCoy comments that that really puts the end to paradise. Landmines and killer flowers are fine, but no sex? That's a deal breaker apparently.

Scotty still has no luck getting away from the tractor beam. Kirk makes the novel suggestion of discarding the warp nacelles and just getting out of their with the main section. The genesis of the saucer separation from  TNG? Sweet! Scotty is going to try some more things first.

Chekov and the Yeoman break away from the village for some make-outs. Two of the villagers notice them kissing and are curious as to why they might do such a thing. So they try it out, and they like it! Vaal, on the other hand, does not like it one bit. He gets very angry and the tribal leader comes by and admonishes the villagers for breaking the rules and kissing. This incident makes him realize what a bother the landing party is to his village and goes about making a plan to kill them all. By bashing them over the head with a heavy stick.

Kirk and Spock go to visit Vaal and seem to make it mad. Vaal decides he can't wait for the villagers to implement plan stick and shoots some lightning at them. Spock takes a direct hit to his back but somehow lives. The red shirt got disintegrated by a lightning bolt and it merely stuns Spock. McCoy is giving him a once over when the villagers strike with their big sticks. The red shirt gets clubbed over the head before there's time to react but after that it turns out untrained savages with sticks are no match for Federation officers. The yeoman even takes one out with a kick to the face! Once the villagers are subdued Kirk orders them all imprisoned in a hut.

Scotty is finally ready to make a last ditch effort to escape. All systems are rigged into the engines and they start pulling away! Woo! Then Vaal ups the power on the tractor beam and overloads the Enterprise. They've gained maybe an hour but most of the systems are fried. There will be no second try. Kirk fires Scotty.

How close is the Enterprise if those beams
are expanding like that but don't touch?
Down on the planet Vaal puts out a call for food. The villagers want to go feed him but Kirk has them all locked up in a hut and orders Chekov and McCoy to keep them contained. Kirk has a plan, see. The Enterprise trying to pull away must have taken a lot of energy from Vaal and it needs to recharge. Instead, Kirk wants to drain it's reserves even more by having Scotty shoot at Vaal's shields with the phasers. Luckily the phasers are still working so Scotty is able to do it. After enough phaser fire Vaal runs out of energy and dies. Kirk rehires Scotty and everyone lives happily ever after.

Well, except maybe for the villagers. They've been living a peaceful life for more than 10000 years and now will have to worry about taking care of themselves and *eugh* having kids and stuff like that. It would seem Kirk is Satan and fed them an apple. Spock even points this out but Kirk throws it back at him because, after all, if anyone looks like Satan it would be Spock with his pointy ears.

He's Dead, Jim!
- 4 red shirts
Running tally: 57 deaths, 30 crew deaths, 4 He's Dead, Jim!

Love in Space
- Chekov and the yeoman are in love, and by kissing a bunch they convince some of the villagers to start kissing too.

Vulcans are Awesome
- Well... Spock got shot by a poison plant that killed a red shirt. He got hit by lightning that killed a red shirt. And he was barely stunned by each incident. I'd say that's pretty awesome!

I'm a Doctor, not a...
- doctor? McCoy was more philosopher in this episode as he bantered a fair bit with Spock about whether or not they should set the villagers free.

Awesome Conversations
Chekov - "It makes me homesick. Just like Russia!"
McCoy - "More like the Garden of Eden, Ensign!"
Chekov - "Of course, Doctor. The Garden of Eden was just outside Moscow. A wery nice place. It must have made Adam and Eve wery sad to leave."
Kirk - "Just outside Moscow? Alright..."

Kirk - "The Garden of Eden... With land mines!"

Kirk - "It, uh, does something for you" (after tribal women tie flowers around their wrists)
Spock - "Yes, it does, Captain. It makes me uncomfortable."

Female Villager - "What are children?"
Kirk - "Little ones? Look like you, they... Just go on the way you're going and you'll find out."

Time Travel or Mind Rape?
- Nope.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

TOS #239: Mirror, Mirror

Kirk, McCoy, Scotty, and Uhura are down on a planet talking to some old dudes. It would seem this planet has a huge wealth of dilithium crystals to be mined but they worry that those crystals will be used for war. Kirk is trying to convince them that the Federation is peaceful but the old dude has his doubts. A crazy magnetic storm is impacting both the planet and the Enterprise so Kirk decides to head back to the ship and wait the storm out. They'll be back for future discussions. The old dude first makes the point that the Enterprise could trivially take the crystals by force if they wanted to since the planet is entirely pacifistic but Kirk won't use force. Yay! I'm not sure why McCoy, Scotty, or Uhura are in the landing party. This seems like a job for some diplomatic chump and some red shirts.

Goatees: The #1 Evil Indicator
At any rate, they beam up. Or try to, anyway. The storm screws with the beam-up process. We get treated to a flashing screen where the Enterprise flips which direction it's orbiting the planet. Then the landing party finally energizes in the transporter room, but on the ship going the other way. Spock is there to greet them... But he has a GOATEE! DUN DUN DUN! (Aside: I've seen the episode before so I know this means Spock is evil, but I was wondering if audiences at the time would know. Apparently according to Wikipedia there was a 1939 movie, The Man in the Iron Mask, where the good twin had a beard... So maybe?) At any rate, evil Spock immediately goes about showing that he's evil. He kicks things off with something similar to (if not the same as) a Nazi salute. He then orders Sulu to start bombarding the planet. And then because the transporter took a while to work he turns to the transporter operator evil Mr Kyle and uses an 'agonizer' on him. Oh, and the landing party has changed clothes to match the evil ship, including Uhura being even more scantily dressed than usual. I guess that's why she was in the landing party.

Kirk makes up a story about feeling dizzy from the transporter surge thing and gets McCoy to look them over. So that's why he's in the landing party. They find a room to talk and quickly work out they're in a parallel universe. McCoy worries about killing the people on the planet with Sulu's bombardments so Kirk has Scotty go do some sabotage to buy time. And that's why Scotty is in the landing party. Uhura gets sent to figure out what evil Kirk's orders were so Kirk knows how to act. It's unclear what McCoy is going to do. They need a plan to get back to their universe but that seems like something Spock and Kirk would cook up.

Evil Chekov stands out with an evil smile.
Uhura gets to the bridge first and evil Sulu (with a big old scar) starts macking on her. She fights back and a scene is about to erupt when Kirk shows up and eSulu runs away. eSulu clearly fears eKirk. It turns out eKirk's orders are to annihilate the population of the planet if they don't comply. Scotty tries to bust into phaser control but there's a security guard there who won't let him through with eSulu's permission. Scotty gives up and calls Kirk up to let him know the phasers are undamaged. Kirk doesn't want to vaporize the poor people on the planet so he starts adlibbing. He calls the leader up and gives them 12 hours to change their minds and orders eSulu to turn the phasers off. eSulu, eSpock, and eChekov are all highly disturbed by this. eSpock comments on how he'll have to report this serious breech of orders to the Empire Command. eChekov meanwhile hits some buttons on his console and jumps into the turbolift along with Kirk. They get to deck 5, where Kirk is ambushed. eChekov then comments on how after assassinating Kirk they'll all get promoted to fill the void and no one will complain when someone who disobeys orders gets killed.

Of course, it turns out on a ship where people are willing to kill their superiors for a promotion there isn't a ton of loyalty. One of eChekov's goons switches sides and phasers the other two. eChekov gets knocked out and Kirk's security guys show up. They take eChekov to 'the booth'. The guy who switched sides wants to get promoted by Kirk. Kirk says he'll hook him up, and then punches him. I guess Kirk is bitter the guy backstabbed eChekov? I don't know.

Kirk, Scotty, and McCoy have a little meeting, talk to the computer, and come up with a plan. Scotty can duplicate the power surge and send them back, but he'll need help from an engineer (not a doctor) and the hacks he'll have to put into place will alert eSulu as to what's going on. So Uhura is going to need to create a bit of a sexy diversion. No problems!

Flash to the real universe where we get to see Spock lock up eKirk in the brig. eKirk complains about Spock's lack of beard and then tries to bribe Spock with credits, or power, or whatever it is Spock wants. Spock finds this very fascinating and wanders off to figure out what happened.

Over in evil-land Kirk and eSpock banter for a bit. eSpock is confused and doesn't want to have to kill Kirk but also doesn't want to have his career sunk by whatever insanity has struck Kirk. Kirk waves him away and then saves eChekov from the torture booth. Scotty and McCoy break into engineering by drugging the guard and start work on setting up the transporter. Kirk goes back to his quarters where he finds quite the surprise in his bed. She acts sultry and tries to pry information out of Kirk. Kirk makes out with her a bit while revealing no information. eSpock eventually interrupts by calling in to let Kirk know that he's just been ordered to kill Kirk at dawn if the planet hasn't been vaporized. eSpock is breaking orders to do so himself, which makes them a pair of order breakers.

The hottie (Marlena) asks Kirk what he's going to do about eSpock. Kirk makes some vague statements. Marlena then asks if Kirk's going to use the Tantalus device. Kirk doesn't know what that is but he pretends like he does in a way that gets her to show him what's going on. Turns out eKirk plundered an alien device that lets him spy and assassinate anyone he wants. Nifty device, that. Marlena goes to kill eSpock but Kirk stops her. He has a plan, see, and it doesn't need eSpock to die. Marlena is still confused and wants more information but none is forthcoming. She wanders off sultrily. Kirk calls up Scotty and gets some bad news... The seal between the universes is closing so they've got less than half an hour to get this done or they'll be trapped forever! Oh no!

Marlena comes back from the other room in an even more awesome outfit. There's some talking about things and she gets fed up with Kirk. She demands a transfer to another ship. Kirk then uses all his charms on her and they make out for a bit. Then he takes off to sabotage the transporter. Marlena is confused and turns on the Tantalus device to spy on Kirk. I'm not sure letting your temperamental mistress know about your instant death machine is such a good idea...

Drugs: the poor man's Vulcan Nerve Pinch.
Scotty is ready to roll, so he calls up Uhura for that distraction. She goes and flirts with eSulu for a bit and wow does she do a good job. It works, and she runs off after holding eSulu off with two knives. Now it's all up to Kirk in the transporter room. Unfortunately eSpock gets the jump on him. They end up going to sick bay where the rest of the landing party is waiting. eSpock is about to torture McCoy for answers when they all jump him. eSpock does a good job beating up 4 people at once (and I'm surprised they actually have him toss Uhura around) but eventually Uhura and Kirk team up and smash a skull on eSpock's head, knocking him out. I'm a little surprised Marlena didn't kill off eSpock during the fight, but maybe she got bored or is waiting for some answers. Of course it turns out that skull did more damage than expected... He'll DIE without immediate treatment. McCoy is not just an engineer, he is also a doctor and he wants to save eSpock's life. They don't have time to screw around, but they do anyway because they're the good guys.

Marlena is watching, it turns out, as we're shown her listening in as Scotty and McCoy bicker on the pros and cons of saving eSpock's life vs getting stuck in this universe. Kirk gives the order to save eSpock's life when suddenly eSulu busts in. He's going to make it look like Kirk and Spock killed each other which, sadly, will leave eSulu in command. Shucks! He also has backup and all the weapons, so things are looking grim.

All the weapons, that is, except the Tantalus device. Marlena kills off all three of the backup goons. Then she doesn't kill eSulu. In fact, she closes down the Tantalus device and walks away. WHAT? Can it only kill 3 people at a time and then need to recharge? Or does she have some aversion to killing off evil versions of main characters? eSulu has a knife, Kirk has nothing, and they fight. Kirk obviously wins. But this has wasted a lot of time and they probably can't save eSpock anymore. McCoy decides to stay behind. He'll catch up, honest, but the other three are going to be in position to leave even if he can't.

Of course, as soon as they leave eSpock wakes up and grabs McCoy in a Vulcan Mind Meld to figure out what's going on.

Nice abs, Uhura!
The other three get to the transporter room and are greeted by Marlena who wants to tag along. Kirk says she can't come because there's only room for 4 people. She rightly points out there's only 3 of them. Kirk says they have a 4th coming and she's out of luck. Out of luck, maybe, but she does have a phaser and is going to force her way in. Kirk starts making googly eyes and it really seems like he's going to disarm her but it turns out he's just the distraction. Uhura continues to be a badass and takes Marlena out herself.

They're all ready to go if only McCoy would show up. Then the power to the transporter gets cut off! Oh no! Scotty can rig up a bypass for it but someone will have to trigger in manually. Someone will have to stay behind! Hey, why doesn't Marlena do it? Scotty volunteers but Kirk quickly orders both Uhura and Scotty to the transporter. He'll stay behind, especially if McCoy doesn't show. McCoy does show, however, as eSpock's hostage. He cut power to delay them so they'd have time to talk. They talk a bunch and Kirk reveals the Tantalus device. He talks eSpock into considering rebellion against the empire since it isn't sustainable and he thinks with Marlena and the Tantalus device that eSpock can pull it off. eSpock will consider it, beams them back, and everything goes back to normal.

Oh, and it turns out Kirk has a new lieutenant on board his Enterprise... It's good Marlena. They're clearly on duty but with a wink and a smile Kirk heads off to become 'friends' with her.

Apparently the actress who played Marlena goes to conventions and such for that role. And that's what she's best known for despite being a movie/tv star for 50+ years. I don't know if that's awesome or sad.

This is probably my favourite Star Trek episode. Spock, Uhura, and Sulu are all really awesome in this episode and Kirk, McCoy, Scotty, and Chekov all have very good stuff going on too. They often have one-shot hot women as guest stars and Marlena was both hot and played the role well too with plenty of screen time. It's just awesome. And the fact that 'evil twins' are now known for having goatees because of evil Spock is pretty sweet.

He's Dead, Jim!
- 2 of Chekov's goons?
- 3 of Sulu's goons?
Running tally: 53 deaths, 26 crew deaths, 4 He's Dead, Jim! (I'm going to count all the goons as crew deaths. Seems fair, even evil versions of the crew are members of the crew.)

Love in Space
- Kirk and Marlena are hot.
- Uhura and Sulu, while faked as a distraction, are pretty hot too.

Vulcans are Awesome
- Vulcan Mind Meld!
- What a goatee!

I'm a Doctor, not a...
- ENGINEER! He said it! Woo!

Awesome Conversations
Evil Spock - "I am pleased that you frustrated Mr Chekov's plan. I should regret your death."
Kirk - "Why?"
Evil Spock - "I do not desire the captaincy. I much prefer my scientific duties. And I am frankly content to be a lesser target."
Kirk - "Logical, as always, Mr Spock."

Kirk - "Is that a threat?"
Evil Spock - "I do not threaten, Captain. I merely state facts."

Kirk - "You would find me a formidable enemy."
Evil Spock - "I am aware of that, Captain."
Evil Spock - "I trust that you are aware of the reverse."

Kirk - "I always thought Spock was a bit of a pirate at heart!"

Kirk - "I'm not sure, but I think we've been insulted!"
McCoy - "I'm sure."

Time Travel or Mind Rape?
- Alternate dimensions don't count as either one, sorry.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

TOS #237: The Changeling

The Enterprise is heading out to make a stop at some sort of settlement but Uhura can't seem to raise them on any frequency. Spock chimes in that no one is going to respond because according to long range sensors, there are no life forms in the area. Which is weird because a week ago there were over 4 billion people in the system. That's a lot of people to just disappear in a week. And with no signs of diseases or radiation Spock doesn't have a clue where they could have gone. Sulu then detects an incoming energy missile of some kind and raises the shields. Scotty's givin' the shields all he's got, and they don't die when it hits them. Woo!

Spock says the impact took the shields down to 20% which seems pretty bad. He then says they can somehow survive 3 more hits but the 4th one will kill them. I wonder if he means the shields are down 20% and not down to 20%. He also said the energy was equivalent to 80 photon torpedoes. I'm sorry, but if the shields can actually take at least 320 photon torpedoes then I can't see how ships ever get hurt. They shoot those things one at a time!

Another missile is coming in, apparently at warp 15. I thought warp 10 was the highest possible. Also given the exponential scale they decided warp speeds work under I can't understand how they're even detecting something moving at warp 15. It's so stupidly fast it should hit them before they can detect it. Oh, numbers. Why don't script writers in the 60s understand you?

Anyway, they do get hit with 3 more missiles and the shield do collapse. Spock has find the thing shooting at them in the meantime and Sulu shot it with a photon torpedo to no effect. Thankfully. If it could attack out with the strength of 80 torpedoes but had been taken out by 1 itself then it would have been quite the glass cannon. Uhura finally manages to make contact with the thing and Kirk eventually talks it into being peaceful and coming on board the Entreprise. It's a little floating robot! And it wants to know their point of origin.

After some discussion and digging in the computer records it eventually becomes clear that this thing is Nomad, a probe launched from Earth in the early 2000s. It was presumed destroyed when it hit a meteor but it would seem it got repaired somehow. It's programming got screwed up a little and instead of being on a mission to catalog life forms it's on a mission to eradicate them. And somehow it became godly in its destructive power. Oh, and it thinks Kirk is its creator which is pretty much the only reason it didn't finish eradicating them earlier. His actually creator was a guy named Roykirk and Nomad seems to have confused the two. Roykirk was an AI pioneer obsessed with perfection hence why Nomad is eradicating things that aren't perfect.

Think about music!
The guy Kirk left in charge of watching Nomad does a piss poor job of it and Nomad just wanders off. It heard Uhura singing and wants to know what the deal is so it heads on up the bridge and accosts her for information on singing and music. It uses some sort of mind reading beam on her and Scotty gets angry and attacks it. Nomad trivially kills Scotty and has wiped out Uhura's brain. Kirk is rather annoyed. Nomad seems confused and asks if they're going to repair the Scott unit. Kirk says he's dead and they can't repair him. Nomad then offers to repair Scott for them. McCoy can't see any reason not to try, so they fill Nomad in on how human bodies work and he goes to fix Scott, but not after complaining a bit about how frail and badly designed human bodies are. Uhura can't be fixed because her memory was wiped, but she can be retaught. Which leads to a few silly scenes where someone Chapel and McCoy reteach Uhura everything she'd learned in her life in a short period of time.

My mind to your whatever you have...
Kirk orders Nomad to let Spock scan its memory. Spock starts learning all he can about how Nomad works and eventually decides to bust out the Vulcan mind meld. This almost drives Spock crazy but he figures out what happened. The damaged Nomad merged with another probe that was on a mission to sterilize soil samples and ended up deciding on a mission to sterilize imperfect life forms. Kirk and Spock wander off to come up with a plan and Nomad gets bored. It decides to break out of the brig, kills the guards, and heads to engineering. But instead of doing more killing it decides to fix the engines. By making them so powerful they're going warp 11! Which is going to shake the ship apart. Kirk ordered Nomad to stop and it does. Then Kirk orders it to do nothing and to stop killing humans because Kirk is human. This gives Nomad pause and it wanders off to think. Spock points out that Kirk screwed up by giving Nomad information about being human. Now Nomad is likely to decide to kill them all, head to Earth, and wipe out humanity. Seems poor.

Worse, Nomad broke into sickbay, looked at Kirk's personnel file, and decided it didn't like what it saw. It turns off life support on the ship. So Kirk goes to one of his two go-to solutions and talks fast at Nomad in an attempt to confuse it into killing itself. (The other one being the double axe handle to the back of the neck, which Nomad doesn't have.) Kirk gets Nomad to admit that Nomad has to sterilize anything that makes an error. Then Kirk points out that he's not actually Nomad's creator and therefore Nomad made an error. Ergo, Nomad needs to sterilize itself. Nomad goes into a thinking loop about this and ultimately blows itself up, but thankfully they manage to beam it into space before it takes out the ship.

He's Dead, Jim!
- Scotty! (He's Dead, Jim!)
- 4 security guards.
Running tally: 48 deaths, 21 crew deaths, 4 He's Dead, Jim!. (Counting Scotty as a He's Dead, Jim! but not a real death since he got better.)

Love in Space
- No love this time.

Vulcans are Awesome
- Vulcan Mind Meld!
- Nomad points out that this biological unit is particularly well ordered.

I'm a Doctor, not a...
- elementary school teacher? He couldn't help Scotty but did manage to reteach Uhura.

Awesome Conversations
Spock - "My congratulations, Captain. A dazzling display of logic."
Kirk - "You didn't think I had it in me, did you Spock?"
Spock - "No sir."
Kirk - *pained look on his face*

Spock - "The destruction of Nomad was a great waste, Captain. It was a remarkable instrument."
Kirk - "Which might well have destroyed MORE billions of lives. It's well gone."
Kirk - "Besides, what are you feeling so badly about. It's not easy to lose a bright and promising son."
Spock - "Sir?"
Kirk - "Well, it thought I was its mother, didn't it?"
Kirk - "You think I'm completely without feelings, Mr Spock?"
Kirk - "You saw what it did for Scotty!"
Kirk - "What a doctor it would have made."
Kirk - "My son, the doctor!"
Kirk - "It gets you right there..." *taps heart*

Time Travel or Mind Rape?
- I'd say the complete removal of all memories qualifies as mind rape. It wasn't a main factor in the plot, but it did happen.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

TOS #233: Who Mourns For Adonais?

The Enterprise is cruising through space, minding its own business. So little is going on that Scotty has time to hit on the new pretty young lieutenant. Then, from out of nowhere... Giant hand! Sulu and Chekov try to get away from the hand but can't and the ship ends up grabbed by this giant energy field hand thing and gets stopped dead in space.

A giant head appears on one of the scanners and hails the ship. The head mumbles a lot of things about 5000 years ago and his children and Agamemnon and bla, bla, bla. Kirk also gets bored and demands the floating head release the ship. Floating head gets bitter and starts to crush the Enterprise with the giant hand. Scotty is worried the hull will buckle and Kirk gives up. Giant head invites Kirk and all his officers down somewhere for a party of some sort but explicitly uninvites Spock because Spock reminds the head of some boring guy named Pan. Kirk decides if he doesn't play along the ship will get crushed so he goes along for the ride. He beams down with McCoy, Chekov, Scotty, and the pretty lieutenant.

Crush your head!
Floaty head has a body down on the planet and claims to be Apollo. I've been watching Battlestar Galactica recently and I like that Apollo more than this one. Anyway, Apollo says he brought them here to worship him. Kirk gets fed up and tries to get beamed up to the ship but Apollo turns off the transporter and the communicators and grows super huge. He then wanders away.

Kirk muses about what if this really is Apollo from Earth's history? Apollo comes back and argues with Kirk a bit. Then he turns his attention to Carolyn, the lieutenant. He hits on her a bit and Scotty gets jealous. He yells at Apollo and tries to shoot him with his phaser. Apollo preemptively hits it with a lightning bolt and fuses the circuits in Chekov's phaser. Scotty gets hurt a bit from the exploding phaser. Apollo then gives Carolyn a pretty awesome dress and hits on her some more. Scotty gets more jealous and resorts to fisticuffs. Apollo takes him out in one swing and heads off alone with Carolyn. Kirk yells at Scotty for letting his feelings get the better of him and sets them to work figuring out what's going on.

Apollo explains a bit of his past to Carolyn. It sounds an awful lot like a group of aliens landed in ancient Greece and were taken to be gods. They needed to be worshipped in order to thrive and when the people turned away from the gods the gods weakened and had to leave. Sounds like ActRaiser! Anyway, all the other gods faded away but Apollo had hope. He asserted that one day humans would take to the stars and he'd be able to find some worshippers and thrive then.

The other 4 members of the landing party are musing about things. Chekov likens Apollo to an electric eel in that he seems to act as a conduit for power. McCoy points out that Apollo has an extra organ in his chest but is otherwise mostly human. Apollo shows up without Carolyn and explains that she's none of their concern now since he's taking her as a consort or something. Scotty gets really bitter, grabs a club, and attacks. He gets blasted by lightning. Kirk tries to intervene but Apollo uses the force and psychically chokes him. Apollo then gets very tired and disappears and Chekov notices. Kirk decides this means they can probably overwork him and that they should make him fight again if he comes back.

Back on the ship they're keeping busy. Uhura is working on wiring in a bypass circuit of some kind. Sulu is slowly scanning the planet bit by bit in an attempt to track down where the power source might be. Spock has come up with an idea to maybe punch a couple holes in the hand in order to shoot at the planet. Probably this will all work well if Kirk and co manage to weaken Apollo down on the planet.

Operation annoyance begins and Apollo is about to strike when Carolyn jumps in the way and begs for lenience. Apollo gives in and heads off to make out with Carolyn after demanding that the rest of the ship's crew beams down to worship her.
Nice dress!

Carolyn comes back and Kirk gives her a long talking to explaining how she needs to start spurning Apollo ASAP or they're going to all become slaves. She eventually relents despite loving Apollo.

The plans all come together. Carolyn convinces Apollo she neither loves him nor worships him. Spock punches a few holes in the energy field. Sulu finds the source of Apollo's power. Uhura manages to open a line of communication with Kirk. They end up shooting the power source which essentially kills Apollo and everyone else lives happily every after. An awful lot of blathering again before it happens though.

He's Dead, Jim!
- none
Running tally: 44 deaths, 17 crew deaths, 3 He's Dead, Jim!.

Love in Space
- Scotty lusts for Carolyn. Apollo and Carolyn love each other.

Vulcans are Awesome
- Pretty much the only awesome thing about Vulcans here is they have pointy ears and are therefore excluded from the landing party. Not sure if they could have saved the day without Spock being smart back on the ship.

I'm a Doctor, not a...
- rabble rouser? McCoy does a good job of pissing Apollo off in the middle I guess?

Awesome Conversations
Scotty - "What happened to her?"
Kirk - "Scotty, I'll find out."
Chekov - "Uh, perhaps if I assisted..."
Kirk - "How old are you?"
Chekov - "Tventy-two, sir."
Kirk - "Then I'd better handle it."

Time Travel or Mind Rape?
- This one gets a big old neither.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

TOS #234: Amok Time

The second season start with McCoy worrying about Spock. He hasn't been eating, he seems irritable, and when McCoy asked him to go to sickbay for a routine checkup Spock threatened to break McCoy's neck. Chapel has also noticed and made some special Vulcan soup for Spock. Spock gets really angry about this, yells at her, and throws the soup against the wall. He then yells at Kirk and requests a leave of absence. He needs to go to Vulcan and diverting there will only take 2.8 lightdays. Of course a lightday would be a measurement of distance, not time, so that doesn't really make any sense. But whatever. At least Kirk is now convinced something is wrong.

New best buds!
Kirk tries to get some answers out of Spock, but none are forthcoming. Eventually he caves in and orders the helm to plot a course to Vulcan. But then StarFleet Command calls up and informs them that the diplomatic mission they were on has been bumped up a week and they need to get there pronto. The new helmsman, Chekov, lets Kirk now there's no time to stop off at Wulcan. Kirk orders they skip Vulcan and tells Spock he'll get to Vulcan as soon as possible after this mission. Kirk goes to his quarters to think things over. He calls up the Monkee Chekov and asks about how late they'll be if they go to maximum warp and stop by Vulcan. Chekov is confused because they're already going to Vulcan as per Spock's orders.

Kirk runs up to the bridge to confront Spock. Spock doesn't remember giving any such order but he'll take Kirk's word for it that he did. But he doesn't know why he would have done so. Kirk is confused, orders Spock to sickbay, and changes course back to Altair which gives us the opportunity for a little banter between Sulu and Chekov. Spock goes to sickbay and tries to weasel out of an exam but McCoy badgers him into it. The result of which is McCoy determines Spock will die in a week if he doesn't get to Vulcan!

Kirk goes to Spock and gets some answers out of him. Turns out Spock is just really horny. So horny he's going to die if he doesn't get back to his girl on Vulcan. Kirk asks StarFleet Command for permission to be late to the party on Altair and gets told no. He has to go to Altair. Kirk decides Spock's life is worth his career and heads to Vulcan anyway. They get there, get called up by Spock's wife on the screen, and everyone is surprised that he has a wife. Spock asks Kirk and McCoy to beam down with him as his closest friends for the ceremony that awaits below. They agree.

Down at the ceremony it turns out a Vulcan legend, T'Pau, is officiating. She is surprised to see humans at the ceremony but Spock says they're his friends and he has a right to have them there. The ceremony gets started with lots of bells and such. Right as Spock is going to ring a gong to make things official his wife(-tobe) T'Pring stops him and claims the right of challenge. Whoever wins the ensuing fight is going to own T'Pring. There's a big, strong, young Vulcan standing by who's obviously there to be chosen to fight Spock. Kirk and McCoy muse a bit and McCoy doesn't think Spock can win in his current state.

It turns out he won't have to, because T'Pring chooses Kirk as her challenger! T'Pau offers Kirk the chance to back out since he isn't Vulcan but Kirk decides Spock will lose to the big guy and figures he can either knock Spock out or concede after a bit of a scuffle so he accepts. And he doesn't want to look like a wimp in front of T'Pau, which is always the best reason to do something. He regrets that decision immediately when it turns out the fight is going to be to the death, that Spock is super into winning, and that they're going to be fighting with big blade thingies.

They fight for a bit. Kirk gets cut open and has his blade thing broken. T'Pau calls a pause to change weapons and busts out some weighted bolo-ball whip things. McCoy pipes up at this point that the fight isn't fair because of the Vulcan atmosphere. If they'd let him give Kirk a shot of drugs to make it easier to breathe they could have a good, fair fight. T'Pau agrees and McCoy shoots Kirk up with some drugs.

In come the whips and it turns out Spock knows how to use them while Kirk just looks confused. Spock dominates this stage of the fight and chokes Kirk out. Kirk's body goes limp and lifeless and McCoy confirms that he's dead. This snaps Spock right out of his horny rage. He asks T'Pring for an explanation and she says no matter what the outcome of a Kirk v Spock fight she'd be given a divorce and allowed to be with the big guy. If Kirk wins there's no way he'd want to marry a crazy Vulcan woman. If Spock wins then he'd be so fed up with the challenge and having to kill Kirk that he'd let her go free. And otherwise she'd totally get all his family land while he runs off to be in StarFleet again. Win-win-win for the devious woman. Spock declares that to be logical and gives her a divorce. Turns out he isn't horny anymore and doesn't want anything to do with her.

Back on the ship Spock tells McCoy he'd resigning and putting Scotty in charge of the ship while they drop him off at a starbase for arrest. Kirk then walks out of the other room and declares that maybe Spock should clear that with him first. Spock is elated that Kirk is alive. Turns out McCoy shot him through of a paralytic poison instead of a breathing medicine. Haha, Vulcan customs. You've been pranked!

He's Dead, Jim!
- none
Running tally: 44 deaths, 17 crew deaths, 3 He's Dead, Jim!.

Love in Space
I feel like keeping pictures like this around isn't healthy.
- On the one hand, the whole thing is about love. On the other, maybe it's about lust? Spock certainly didn't get any.
- Chapel does really lays it on thick over Spock in this episode.

Vulcans are Awesome
- Vulcan super hornyness!

I'm a Doctor, not a...
- spider? Shooting someone full of a neurotoxin to simulate death doesn't sound very doctory, even if it saved a life.

Awesome Conversations
Spock - "The birds and the bees are NOT Vulcans, Captain."

Kirk - "But you're not a fish, Mr Spock."
Spock - "No, nor am I a man. I am a Vulcan."

Spock - "Stonn, she is yours. After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true."

Spock - "Live long, T'Pau, and prosper."
T'Pau - "Live long and prosper, Spock."
Spock - "I shall do neither. I have killed my captain, and my friend."

McCoy - "Of course, Mr Spock. Your reaction was quite logical."
Spock - "Thank you, Doctor."
McCoy - "In a pigs eye!"

Time Travel or Mind Rape?
- I'm thinking Ponn Farr, a state that drives a Vulcan mad with passion, could be considered a form of mind rape? 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

TOS #129: Operation -- Annihilate!

The Enterprise is on a mission to a planet in the Deneba system. It would seem there's some strange mass insanity that has been sweeping through the galaxy in a straight line and Deneba may be next. The planet isn't responding to Uhura's hailing signals and they detect a Denebian ship flying straight into the sun. Kirk warps after the ship to try to tractor beam it but doesn't get there in time. (As an aside, the idea that they could be affected by a star while still heading toward it at warp factor 8 is nonsensical given how they eventually decided warp speeds worked.) The ship flies into the sun but right before it explodes the guy on board says something about how he's finally free of something. McCoy hypothesizes that the mass insanity probably got this far as an explanation for why someone would deliberately fly into the sun. Oh, and it turns out Kirk's brother lives on this planet...

They show up, can't really raise anyone, and decide to beam down. Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, and 2 redshirts head on down. It's day out but no one is out in the streets which is rather odd. They start exploring when they get accosted by 4 men with clubs. The men are yelling for them to stay away and then charge up to try to brain them with their clubs. The red shirts stun them with their phasers. McCoy runs his tricorder over them and finds out that even while unconscious they're being heavily stimulated by something. They get interrupted by a woman screaming and run off in that direction. It turns out to be Kirk's sister in law who is raving mad. McCoy gives her a shot to knock her out. Also in the room are Kirk's brother and nephew. Well, Kirk's brother's corpse, anyway. The kid is alive. McCoy wants to take the two survivors up to the ship for treatment and thinks Kirk should be there when his sister in law wakes up. Makes sense, so Kirk leaves Spock in charge on the planet.

She wakes up, sort of. She's in an incredible amount of pain and answering questions only makes it worse. McCoy keeps pumping her full of drugs to try to keep the pain down but they're not really working. It would seem some sort of things are capable of taking over people's bodies and forcing them to do things with pain. The things are making the people on the planet build ships so they can go infect more planets just like what happened here. She doesn't blame the people who infected them... They were just forced to do it by the things. She asserts very strongly to Kirk that they have to stop them here, don't let them keep going... And then she dies.

Kirk beams back down and wants answers. He meets up with the 4 remaining members of the away team (why didn't he bring more down with him?) and they go hunting for things. They find a bunch of flying jelly fish amoeba things in a room and blast one with a full force phaser. It should have been vaporized but merely falls to the ground. It doesn't even register on the tricorder. Spock wants to take it on board the ship but Kirk is afraid they're going to get ambushed and wants to back out and come up with another plan. They start retreating when the thing they phasered gets up and flies onto Spock's back! Oh no!

McCoy operates and finds some weird stinger things entwining all over Spock's nervous system. He took one out for examination but there's no way he could get them all. And he has no idea what could be done to save Spock or Kirk's nephew.

Spock wakes up, busts out of sickbay (turns out nurse Chapel isn't exactly able to restrain him) and goes on a mission to take over the ship. His plan is to waltz onto the bridge, push Sulu out of the way, and just take the helm. A brawl breaks out and it turns out 4 people can barely hold down Spock to give McCoy a chance to sedate him. Back to sickbay he goes, this time with restraints on the bed. Spock wakes up again and this time is lucid. He's under an incredible amount of pain but he's a Vulcan and he can deal with it. He promises not to get mind controlled again. Kirk isn't convinced and says he has to stay restrained for a while to prove he can handle it. Kirk and McCoy leave so Spock uses his Vulcan strength to bust out of the restraints. He runs off to the transporter room where he takes out a red shirt with a Vulcan nerve pinch. Scotty pulls a phaser on him and makes him wait for Kirk to show up and give orders. Spock makes the case that the creatures can't hurt him anymore since he's already infected. They need a specimen to analyze and clearly he's the only one who can go get it. Kirk agrees and sends him down.

Spock brings one back and makes the claim that it's one brain cell. And somehow connected to the others... So it's a huge being of some kind! And spreading out by taking over hosts. Kirk is now at the point where he needs to consider vaporizing every infected person (more than a million on the planet including Spock) to stop the spread of this thing. Spock agrees. McCoy is incensed! He wants a way to take out the creature without killing all the humans. Spock argues that it will save billions of lives. McCoy is of the opinion that killing any number of people is unacceptable. Spock wants to push the fat man. McCoy does not. Kirk decides he isn't happy with either scenario. He won't push the fat man and he won't let the people on the track die. He demands some other answer.

Nothing, nothing. No one has any answers. Spock again makes the case that he needs to get killed. Kirk again refuses. He wants that third option! They go back to the guy who flew into the sun... He was freed by something! McCoy has been testing heat and radiation and nothing seems to be killing the thing. Kirk suggests light. After all, the creatures were hiding in buildings... Maybe they weren't just springing a trap? McCoy can't see how light could kill anything but then this creature doesn't seem to follow our laws of physics anyway so why not give it a try?

Who ordered the steamed brain cell?
McCoy rigs up a test chamber while Spock crunches some numbers. Somehow he works out that they can set up satellites that will be bright enough to even penetrate into dark, enclosed spaces. What? I don't think bright light works that way, Spock. They test out the bright light on their sample and it gets killed. Woo! Next step is to send an infected person in there to see what will happen. Spock, of course, volunteers. McCoy wants to rig up some goggles for him but the millions on the planet won't have goggles... Damned logic! McCoy gives in. I guess he figures it's ok to vaporize a million optic nerves. They try it, and it works. Spock is free of the creature. And is also quite blind. Chapel comes in with the results of the first test and it turns out you didn't need the entire spectrum to kill the creature. The really bright stuff isn't needed at all and Spock didn't need to be blinded. For shame! McCoy tries to take the blame for blinding Spock. Spock points out it was his decision to take the blame himself. Kirk is really pissed and blames both of them.

They set up a bunch of satellites with the right spectrum of light. They turn them on and it kills all the creatures without blinding all the people. Victory! Then Spock shows up on the bridge with his vision intact. It turns out Vulcan has a really bright sun so they evolved an extra inner eyelid. It's like an appendix, really, so Spock forgot it existed. Turns out the blindness for him was temporary. Woo!

He's Dead, Jim!
- Sam Kirk and his wife.
Running tally: 44 deaths, 17 crew deaths, 3 He's Dead, Jim!.

Love in Space
- Nope.

Vulcans are Awesome
- Vulcan nerve pinch! x2
- Vulcan pain control!
- Vulcan super strength!
- Vulcan inner eyelid!
- Vulcan super hearing!

I'm a Doctor, not a...
- Eh, he was pretty much a full doctor the whole time and was only asked to be a doctor.

Awesome Conversations
Kirk - "You're only half Vulcan. What about the human half?"
Spock - "It is proving to be an inconvenience, but it is manageable."

Kirk - "Mr Spock your logic, as usual, is inescapable."

McCoy - "Jim, that man is sick. Don't give me any damnable logic about him being the only man for the job."
Kirk - "I don't have to, Bones. We both know he is."

Kirk - "You were so concerned about his Vulcan eyes, Doctor, that you forgot about his Vulcan ears!"

Time Travel or Mind Rape?
- Pretty sure when a strange creature can force you to do stuff against your will by inflicting a lot of pain that it's some form of mind rape.