Voyager’s Wrong Turnings: Scorpion Part II

BRIDGE: Borg drone 7 of 9 is assimilating the navigation console, having proven immune to the crew and their phasers. Captain Janeway deploys her secret weapon.

“Bridge to Chakotay. Scorpion.”

CARGO BAY 2: Commander Chakotay, standing in a Borg alcove, has the EMH connect him to 7 of 9 using a neural transceiver.

I repeat: with the Borg connected to bridge controls the crew gives them a direct link to the first officer’s mind. You might recognise this as a worse idea than playing chicken against Captain Kirk and an Enterprise with Deltan twin sisters on navigation and helm. Chakotay has experience with neural links so he can beat 7 of 9? YOU KNOW WHO ELSE HAS EXPERIENCE WITH NEURAL LINKS? You know who’s named after being part of a constant neural link for decades? You don’t beat someone one-on-one when their name is higher numbers!

Hey, remember the last time 7 of 9 was disconnected from the Collective? That time she struggled with freedom for days, decided she didn’t like it, then force-assimilated three drones just as experienced as her and who wanted to remain free so hard that they not only formed a secret triad Collective within the Collective, in a Collectivception, but they remained a Collective even when they’d escaped the Collective?

So yeah, don’t rate Chakotay’s chances here. He suddenly stands rigid, silently mouthing “Resistance is futile.”

BRIDGE: The console controls which were flickering instantly go out as 7 of 9 accesses every code and override in Chakotay’s mind. The entire bridge reboots in the distinctive green circles style of Borg systems.

ENGINEERING: Everything shuts down to prevent Torres’ planned power overload, which Chakotay/replacement 1 of 9/the Borg knows all about.

CARGO BAY 2: The EMH is command overridden and flickers out before he can delete the nanite research, which is then copied from his offline program and uploaded to the Collective. His morality subroutines are deleted. His program is assimilated. He reboots as a Borg with particularly nasty surgical tools for hands as 2 of 9 (which I would pay a lot of money to see). He reaches across and brutally sutures the transceiver permanently into Chakotay’s neck.

INTERIOR HALLWAY: Anesthezine floods the ship through the life support system (the ship’s Chief Medical Officer and First Officer both agree it’s necessary, after all). 7 of 9 is fine because all that mechanical tubing through her body actually does something, it’s not like it’s a cosmetic piercing you can just pull out and look perfectly human a week later. That would be stupid.

CAMERA MOVING DOWN HALLWAY: The only sound is hissing gas, collapsed crewmembers littering the decks. We hear heavy footfalls and scuffing, 7 of 9 and the Doctor-borg drag Janeway into shot, down the hall, to a doorway. The camera follows through as they march into the holodeck, revealing a simulation of a Borg chamber. Several extra Doctor-borgs flicker into view brandishing surgical attachments.

EXTERNAL: Voyager travelling at maximum warp, the blue of the nacelles shot through with pulsing green.

EXTERNAL, ZOOMING OUT: It’s heading towards an oncoming fleet of Borg Cubes.

Voyager will achieve its mission. Voyager will return to Earth. And it will bring friends.


Star Trek: Superior, Series 2

Continuing the adventures of Starfleet’s finest aboard the USS Defiant-B.

(minor edit, “Linear” award makes more sense than original “Ouroborous” award)

More Federation fun with

5 Ways Thunderbirds Beat Star Trek

The Worst Moments from Star Trek Movie History

Star Trek: Superior, Series 1

This was too much fun not to collect.

(thanks to @rex4711 for the transporter-Riker reminder)

(and one from guest scriptwriter!)

The second series of Star Trek: Superior has now aired. And if you’d like more Treknobabble:

Thunderbirds, Star Trek, and Showing Not Telling

Improved graphics give us a reason to remake, but retelling the exact same story with improved graphics is the work of obsessively nostalgic fan-projects instead of new releases. Altering something fundamental allows old and new fans to enjoy wondering what will happen next.

Thunderbirds pulled that off as an incidental detail in the very first action scene. A child’s father plummets toward his death, and Virgil decares “No-one is losing their father today”, and you just know. It’s the perfect change for the series. Jeff Tracy was the commander in the original series, the powerful paterfamilias, the wise old authority figure. Removing him is the perfect plot change. The Tracys have learned his ideals but can struggle with the experience, and you’ve get a powerful plot hook to take them places trying to discover the truth of what happened.



Compare this to Star Trek where Spock, allegedly the smartest character in the text, takes an entire scene to carefully explain that blowing up an entire planet might have changed the timeline. Twice, because his older self did it as well. They had two different versions of the same character carefully explaining that changing the timeline might make things different instead of pointing at each other and shouting “Duh!” That scene spoon-feeding us the details took longer than spoon-feeding us the entire rubbled remains of Vulcan. We didn’t think things were going to go as before, with Kirk and Vulcan eventually Pon Farring it up in spacesuits, stomping around the cloud of asteroids which used to be a planet unable to hear the fight music because of the total vacuum.

"Also, hinging our entire plot on you just happening to wander into the exact right cave on a random world is not logical."

“Also, hinging our entire plot on you just happening to wander into the exact right cave on a random world is not logical.”

I could adore the new Thunderbirds and hate the new Star Trek for twenty more pages. So I picked out the best two and wrote them up:

The most glorious nerdiness ever made.

Speeding in the most glorious nerdiness ever made.

The Terrible Truth About Starship Bridge Crews

It makes no sense for an advanced starship to have a human bridge crew. We need a captain, because because we didn’t go to all the bother of inventing hypertech computers and warp drives just to let them go off and have fun without us. But intelligence isn’t a zero sum game: we won’t advance physics into punching past the light barrier by devolving user interfaces to the point where you need a full-time secretary to translate your commands into switches at each station. The Enterprise has vending machines which can instantly understand and obey every order. Captain Picard could stand naked in a holodeck and make it so wherever he wanted.

There’s no such thing as “experience” – the computer can plot a course faster than a fleshbrain, and you sure as hell don’t don’t need someone to press the little button which tells the ship to raise shields when that ship detected the incoming fire. You’ve got warp drives and energy weapons. By the time your “tactical offer” has started saying “Sir”, your ship could have punched out the enemy shield emitters, scanned the Captain’s psychological history, and carved a pleasing abstract shape through the opposing hull so that the foe died as prettily as possible.

You don’t need human help to run a ship. What you need is human faces on those all-powerful functions so that one day you don’t just fuck it and start firing photon torpedoes at an alien race because they don’t pick up their commlink fast enough. The real function of a bridge crew is to stand between the captain and their power. To put faces on how the captain interacts with the outside universe, and to say “hell no” if he starts getting stupid. They’re fleshy circuit-breakers in the Total Perspective Vortex, sentient fuses connecting a single mind to existence on a scale and power level which would otherwise utterly destroy it.

That’s why the bridge is built like an inwards-pointing firework display. There is no possible reason for the bridge systems to explode unless they’re specifically built to do that. It’s on purpose. The captain is kept in the center, because they have to stay functioning, but any damage to the ship causes explosions on the bridge to send real people flying in pain. Adding emotional weight to what is otherwise just a lot of pretty lights and loud noises, humanifying the utterly unimaginable scale of space combat. “Real people are dying”, this tells the captain. “This matters. Pay attention.” Otherwise you end up with a naked lunatic trolling the universe with photon torpedoes.

More science-fiction overanalysis with

Pink Alert: Other Emergencies on the Starship Enterprise

The Enterprise-D had famously color-coded alerts.


Yellow Alert: Get generally sort of (but not too) ready to deal with the unknown. Wonder why you’re not permanently in this condition aboard the Federation flagship.

Red Alert: Crisis situations are better dealt with in poor lighting when you can’t hear each other.

But you need more than an autumn color scheme to deal with the infinite diversity of space. Here are the alerts you never saw on the show.

White Alert: Ship undergoing bullshit which we could end in a second if we remembered we had a transporter.

Intruder Alert: See White Alert.

Indigo Alert: For a technotopia, we sure do seem to have a lot of effective serfs running around in the background on this ship.

Pink Alert: The only women on staff are the emotional one, the one who looks after you when you’re sick, and the one who serves you drinks, and no-one seems to have a problem with this.

Gamboge Alert: Unnecessarily obscure words being used to dress up a fairly basic idea. (In this case yellow).

Showers-of-Sparks Alert: We’re just gonna let these irredeemably violent aliens pound on the ship for a while before we start fighting back. Good luck everyone!

Black Alert: Total power failure to all systems except gravity, because losing life support is free plot tension, but filming people floating is incredibly expensive.

Hypercolor Alert: The far reaches of space have thrown up an event with remarkable similarities to late twentieth century Earth, again.

Pink-layer-of-liquified-human-flesh-on-the-walls Alert: The inertial dampers have failed.

Scorchmarks-on-the-walls Alert: We have holodecks, tranpsorters, and replicators which can direct energy to any location in three dimensional space, but rayguns still need to be manually aimed by people who can’t aim.

Rave Alert: The lights strobe through all possible colors as the comm system relays funky beats, replicators auto-synthesize a psychotropically active fog, and the crew strip naked and have all the good times while the ship’s ultra-computer runs everyday functions far better than they ever could. This happened every time a Star Trek writer decided they couldn’t be bothered writing  Star Trek and stuck the officers in the holodeck instead.

For more things your favorite fictions didn’t tell you, behold An Infinity Of Alternate Bat-men, and Pacific Rim: The Story of the Irish Jaeger.