I’ve been working my way through Star Trek: The Next Generation on Netflix streaming and I’m in the last half of the last season. I thought I had seen most episodes of the show, but I think there’ve been more I haven’t seen. Regardless, it’s been a great ride and has reawakened my inner Trekkie. After this, I’m thinking of starting Deep Space 9, because I’ve seen maybe three episodes of that one.
Yesterday I watched an episode that I had seen before, but didn’t remember that well. It was called “Lower Decks,” and I’ll let the IMDB synopsis tell you about it:
A mission of the Enterprise as seen through some junior officers who are up for promotions, as questions of duty and honor arise among some of them, such as a Bajoran whom Worf has designated to be promoted to operations.
Because I’ve been watching the series in order, I remembered the Bajoran from the previous episode she was on, “The First Duty,” where she (along with Wesley Crusher) covered up an accident they were involved in. There’s more, but it’s not important. You’ll get to that when you watch through the series yourself.
It ended up being one of my favorite episodes in the whole series. Seeing the ship from the viewpoint of people who weren’t the same characters we’ve seen every week was very interesting. The secondary characters circled around a storyline that sort of happened in the background with the main characters, until the end when the storylines sort of became the same.
I’ve said before how much I love the idea of space travel. I love the idea of an Enterprise wandering around at warp speed, checking things out and getting into crazy adventures. I do not, however, love the idea of actually being on the Enterprise. Aside from the whole “submarine in space” thing, it just seems like living in the place you work is a bad idea. The Enterprise-D has a little over 1,000 people on it, which is fewer than the amount of people at the school where I work. So you see the same people during your 8-hour shift, and then you see those same people in your 16 hours of off-time (minus sleeptime). There’s pretty much just the one hangout place, and Guinan’s there most of the time, so there’s always the danger of her butting in and making you learn some sort of life lesson.
Aside from having to figure out how to keep coming up with small talk in a place where the weather never changes, there’s also the lack of privacy. Anytime the senior officers want to know where you are, they ask the computer and the computer tells them. “Ensign MadMup is hiding behind some crates in Cargo Bay 4. He is playing Angry Birds 4000 on his spacephone.” The kids on the Enterprise can’t play hide-and-seek because the computer ruins everything.
Speaking of kids, what kind of psychotic parent brings their kids on a spaceship whose job it is to seek out new and unexplained phenomena?? “Well, the Crystalline Entity was pretty scary, but I’m sure there’s nothing worse than that. Now, what’s this ‘Borg’ thing you were talking about?” I don’t know what the Starfleet approximation of Child Services is, but any parent that wants to take their kids on a starship should probably be assumed to be an unfit parent.
How often did the non-major characters even know what was going on, anyway? The ship’s being torn in half, but I never noticed anyone getting on the intercom and saying, “Hey, we’ve run into some slight quantum turbulence, so buckle in and put your tray tables up.” It really seems like a horrific experience all around. Sure there’s replicators and holodecks, but Barclay can’t even run a simple holodeck program with the senior officers as inferior-to-him beings without being found out, so what chance does your “I am Superman mixed with Spider-Man on a planet of chocolate” program have of not being used by everybody?
I’m completely in favor of space exploration. When I’m appointed President, I’ll make sure NASA gets a nice budget (and I will share my ideas with them). I just don’t want to be the guy out there in actual space. Vulcans are totally cool, but I can wait til they come here for a visit.