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Friday, July 16, 2010

Star Trek Enterprise Retro-Spective "Civilization"

Civilization is hardly an original story. They encounter a “Minshara” Class planet along their path with an interesting-looking pre-industrial society. This gives T’Pol a chance to remind them about the Vulcan’s non-interference policy (that will of course become the Federation’s Prime Directive), and it gives Archer and Trip a chance to remind her that Enterprise is a human starship and they’re in charge. Anyway, as they’re scanning the planet and Hoshi is learning that she is going to go down there when they pick up massive neutrino emissions that T’Pol suggests come from an antimatter reactor. Obviously someone else is down there. So Archer, T’Pol, Trip and Hoshi all submit to Phlox’s plastic surgery (two small, vertically placed sets of ridges) and put on period costumes and take a shuttlepod down.

They track the neutrino emissions to a curio shop, which is closed up for the night. Trip uses a 22nd century lock pick to break in, and they are led to another door, which is protected by an energy screen. While they’re contemplating this, they’re accosted by a (hand-sized) crossbow-wielding woman who thinks that they are part of the same group of people making secret night time deliveries that she is convinced are contributing to many unexplained illnesses. While Archer is trying to talk his way out of trouble, T’Pol stuns her with a phase pistol blast in the back. Archer doesn’t like this, but it works, and he gets the woman back to her attic, hoping to get answers from her. All he gets is the name of the guy who owns the shop. Archer comes back the next day to see the guy, Garos, who quickly realizes that Archer and Trip are from another province. Archer scans him, and says that they know he’s knows he’s an alien. Garos scans him and says the same thing. Archer tells Garos where they’re from, and Tucker says that they detected the signature from Garos’s reactor. Garos says that he’s from the Malurian system (slated to be wiped out by Nomad in the 23rd century) who led a survey mission to the planet two years ago, but decided to stay because he liked it so much. He says that he uses the antimatter reactor as a fabrication device (like a TNG replicator). Archer implies that the reactor is tied to the illnesses. Garos denies it and says that the apothecary (Riann, the pretty girl that Archer likes) is lying. Archer wants to look at the reactor, but Garos turns him away.

In Riann’s shop, Archer and T’Pol talk to her about the illness, and she explains that the illnesses start at the same time that Garos arrived. Archer orders T’Pol to take the others back up to the ship to give Phlox some samples to analyze. He wants to stay to see if he can learn more about Garos and the mysterious night deliveries. T’Pol cautions him about cultural contamination, rather snidely tells him, to enjoy the tea that Riann made, and leaves.

On the ship, Phlox remarks that Riann has done some excellent forensic work, and discovers that the water sample is contaminated with tetracyanate 622, a highly toxic synthetic compound used as an industrial lubricant.

On the planet, a glitch in the (invisible) universal translator gives Archer an excuse to kiss Riann. Then they catch someone making a night delivery. They follow him in. Eventually the man unloads a crate and conveniently leaves it in the forest. Archer moves to investigate when a ship descends from the sky and tractors the crate up and away. A man jumps out of a tree and gets in a fight with Archer, who eventually knocks him out. Then Archer sees that the guy is wearing a latex map. Archer peels the mask away to reveal a scaly face. They scrabble for the phase pistol. Archer gets to it and stuns the guy. They come back to the lab and use the guy’s equipment to deactivate the force field and go in. Looking from a control room, they see a huge cavern with other people and machinery. Archer informs T’Pol that they Malurians are mining a veridium isotope that T’Pol explains is used to manufacture explosives. Archer and Riann take a guess at deactivating the dampening field, so that Trip can beam the reactor up, but when they do it, they are locked in and the Malurian ship rises from orbit and fires some heavy weaponry at Enterprise. On the planet, Archer and Riann are arguing with Garos. Eventually they manage to get the power cut (somehow) and rush out of the room.

Trip beams the reactor up, and (on T’Pol’s orders) out into space where they detonate it to bring down the Malurian ship’s shields. Then T’Pol orders their weapons arrays destroyed. That finishes the fight. After losing a shoot-out on the planet, the Malurians leave. The Enterprise removes the mining equipment, and Archer delivers some medicine to cure the population. He tells Riann that T’Pol’s people will make sure the Malurians don’t come back. Then he steals one more kiss before moving on.

This story really has been done a thousand times in a thousand ways, and honestly, there is nothing that Enterprise does to improve it. At the same time, we get to see a Malurian before Nomad wipes them out, and we get to see T’Pol with long hair that suits her. Overall, the episode itself isn’t bad. Not great, not original, as I’ve said, and not one that I’ll feel compelled to go back to specifically. But it was also not stupid or poorly done. Not the most enthusiastic recommendation, but a rather unenthusiastic thumbs up.

Next Up: “Fortunate Son”


Isn’t this a great pic? We found it while checking one of our twitter accounts. It came in from one of the NASA twitter bots that we have. The walrus is a wonderful animal and is part of the equally wonderful chain of nature. They can be quite comical and also quite dangerous if you annoy them on a beach. Most of us will be unlikely to come across them in the wild except for those lucky folk who live near the coastal areas in Alaska. There is a film 50 First Dates that has a classic example of the zany ways a walrus can behave if they have the right handler. The film is very good but the walrus takes a star turn indeed, in front of Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore – excellent actors though they are. Our oceans and the creatures in them deserve our constant care and attention. If our oceans become polluted then we are all in trouble. There are some really good coastal preservation groups around the globe and they are worth supporting.

Take care out there and for those of you in the United States, remember to drink lots of water and be careful if you have to go outside in the very high temperatures that this great country is enduring as we write this.

Bless you.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


My oh my, has it been hot in the desert south west (USA) where we are currently based. The animal family sharing it with us, is handling it ok drinking lots of water and lying around, in behind the drawn curtains with a myriad of extra fans, bowls of ice and cool water. We find that the cats in particular, seem to sense (despite air conditioning) that the weather is at a high peak outside and they love to sleep on their backs in front of their fans. They also drink in strange places especially out of the bath tap! So when we came across this week’s pic we just had to use it. This is an outstanding balancing act – we loved it. To the owners of this enterprising cat, lucky you. Its fun to have an animal with character. All animals have their quirks and their fun side but this guy is great!

If you live in rural areas and it is a hot day, we would like to suggest that you find an old bowl and put it out, full of water in a shaded area for any animals that live outside or may be passing by. Next week we are taking a little trip to an ice flow.

God bless you and stay safe. Staff Desk.

Miss Ginny's Diary July 10th 2010

Meow to you out there. Well it is hot hot hot here in the desert south west of the USA. We all have our own little fans plus the air conditioning which is, as HM says, belching! In this high heat it is important to drink a lot and we have our own ice bowls and cool water bowls. HM likes to put out water bowls for outside creatures so they can take a drink or in some of the bowls, they take a swim, especially the little birds. When we were living our own place, HM likes to put on the outside sprinkler and the little birds used to fly through the water holding their wings up to get a little water on their feathers and then they would sit in the trees preening and cleaning their feathers and chirping away. I would sit and talk to them through the windows. We have been behaving a bit better although yesterday both ShooShoo and I got told off by HM for what she called being too aggressive in our play. I admit we ended up yelling at each other. It was HD’s day off and HM likes a quiet household for him. He works hard and his work has been particularly busy. Grandma Carrie (GC) is coming up another birthday – she will be about 19 years which is 171 human years. That is really old and HM says to stop playing with her tail, and to leave out aggressive play to areas of the house where she is sleeping which is mostly what she does all day. She is worrying HM because she is thin although she eats a lot and probably eats more than I do. Her teeth are good – she has lost one of her front fangs and her dark gray coat is shiny. She is always cleaning and when she had kittens about 15 years ago or so HM thinks, she apparently kept them really well and was a strict mum. We were supposed to have left the desert south west and go north to the northern prairies of Dakota but HD’s transfer is looking more like we will be going west to the state of California. HM’s not sure about this but she says it will be cooler near the coast. It all depends on HD’s bosses. I like being near the ocean. We used to live in the Pacific Islands and there were lots of fish to eat and lots of seabirds to meow at.

Here is a pic of GC to honor her. She really is a cool old lady cat and we were both walking over some stuff that HM was sorting out. Take care out there and be well and HM says God Bless you all.

Meow from me, Miss Ginny.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Poetry "Impaled"

what does it feel like
to feel nothing at all

to not suffer the slings and arrows
that pierce the rest of us
like a thousand cuts
a thousand tiny pains and barbs

and the one
arrow of love
upon which I am happily impaled
for you...