Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Voyager Re-Watch: Warlord

Ok, so I guess somehow it's Tuesday now. Over the weekend (I think?) I watched Warlord. I love this episode. It's a fantastic character episode for Kes, a great chance for Jennifer Lien to flex her acting muscles, and it contains an emotional Kes/Tuvok friendship scene. You know how I just love Vulcan friendships. So much fun.
Here's the thing, I've been banging my head against the table/keyboard/steering wheel for the last two days in preparation for this post. I wanted to write about it. I wanted to do a great recap where I delve into Jennifer Lien's great performance and go further into detail about what makes this a unique and intriguing episode. But all I could think about was Kentucky. The rolling, green hills. The twisting rivers and streams. The endless, deafening hum of cicadas.

Weird, right?

Well, maybe not.

See, the thing is, I'm actually in Kentucky. I've been here for nearly three weeks.

At the beginning of August, Scott and I took a crazy whirlwind trip to New York City to see Penn and Teller on Broadway. We got back on Sunday night. We went about our regular lives on Monday. And then on Tuesday we got a call saying that a close family member had had a health emergency. We waited for news, hoping for the best. On Thursday, we hopped on a plane and came back to the South East just in time to be here for a major surgery. We've been here ever since.

We've been helping out here. At first we were at the hospital. We were the night shift. Quietly sitting by or wandering the corridors at 1AM or eating cafeteria pork chops as we watched moonlit rain pound the windows. After about a week we left the hospital but stuck around Kentucky, doing stuff that needs doing and just providing emotional support. Two weirdos--one with Asperger's--are maybe not the best emotional caregivers but, I mean, whatever. We do what we can.

In the midst of all this I've managed to steal away for a few hours here and there. I had tacos, breakfast, and beer with my friend Kate who also took me for my first pedicure. I met with my mentor. I had dinner with a great friend and former costumer. Scott and I ate barbecue with a few of our Shakespeare students and an old friend. And, I went to see my dad.

We went for a quick hike, visited my grandpa's grave, played video games, ate pizza, and watched weird movies and anime until we fell asleep. The next day I got in my rent-a-wreck and drove back toward Scott's family's house. In the car, it felt like there was a vice gripping my heart. I was choking, I was smothering, I couldn't breathe. I was drowning in the thick, wet Kentucky air. 

This is the first time we've been home in just about two years. Circumstances have prevented us from making our way back like we've wanted to and it took a real emergency to make it happen. And that feels rather strange. There's just not enough time. I'd love to make the trek to North Carolina to see my mom and sister and brother. I'd love to spend a couple days just hiking around the Appalachian Mountains. I'd love to hit up some legit fried chicken places and chow down without worrying about catching a plane. I'd love to roll around in the grass and climb the trees until I felt like I'd somehow absorbed enough of Appalachia's greenness to last me another long while in the desert. But we just don't have the time or the opportunity. The thing is, this whole experience has made me feel--more keenly than ever before--the way time slips away. I feel like I use my time well. I write my heart out. I publish books. I make art. I lift weights. I eat good food. I have great relationships. I appreciate the little things. What else can I do? 

Nothing really. Just put my foot on the gas and point my car to the next destination. I could pound my head against the steering wheel/keyboard/table all day. It won't change how fast the clock ticks. As a great guy once said, "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." So that's what I'm doing now. I'm writing this post because, even though I only barely mentioned the episode, this project is still a huge part of my life. What'll I do next? Who knows? But I feel like I'm on the right track. Even if there's never enough time. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Voyager Re-Member: Future's End

So about a million years ago  two weeks ago, because I was stuck on a plane/in an airport/generally unable to access the internet I wrote a post recapping the Voyager episode "Basics" completely from memory. I felt like it was pretty successful and, the thing is, I'm still in this weird place where I'm away from home and don't really have great internet access or the time to really just sit down and watch a 2-part episode. So I'm back to do it again with "Future's End." The idea here is that I'm not going to look up stuff about the episode or watch it--only describe/guess/make up what I can remember from all the times I've viewed it in the past.

Alright! Let's get started!

Ok, so... Voyager ends up in 199Something because...? Time rift? Yes. That sounds right. I think Voyager encounters a ship from FURTHER in the future than them and they're all like, "You've contaminated the timeline!" and Janeway's all, "Nuh-uh." But then I think there's a fight and suddenly both ships get sucked into the time rift.

Alright so now we're in 199Something and it's Los Angeles and what I remember about this is Janeway wearing a snazzy white pantsuit and it's really sunny and maybe they're supposed to be down around Venice Beach or maybe the Santa Monica Pier. I don't know. When I saw this as a kid I remember thinking, "This is LA? This place looks ridiculous." And now I live in LA and it is ridiculous. Anyway, so Janeway and Chakotay are walking around and... maybe taking scans? And then they meet up with Paris and Tuvok, I think? And Tuvok is wearing like... the BEST outfit. I love Tuvok's outfit in this episode. I mean, he and Paris are both wearing tank tops, amIright? I'm right. There's no way I could forget Tuvok running around Los Angeles in a tank top.

Ok so anyway, I guess something happens and they head up to Griffith Observatory because of maybe someone's spotted Voyager on their sensors or radar or whatever we puny 199Something humans were using to scan the skies for alien life. And so they get over there and I guess knock on the door and Sarah Silverman answers and she's like, "Cool tank top." Or something. And then I think... maybe some folks show up to kill her at this point or maybe it's not yet. Oh! Maybe they are there to destroy evidence of Voyager so she can't go around telling people about them because then they really would've contaminated the timeline.

Hmm. So at some point in all this we're made aware of the giant turd who's actually behind all this business. Ed Begley Junior. That's right. He's the CEO of some tech company and he's been pedaling technology gleaned from a crashed UFO (the future ship) he found back in like... the 60's.

How'm I doing so far? Good? Deep breath.

So I guess he makes contact with Voyager or they make contact with him. Does Harry talk to him on the comm? That kind of seems familiar. So then I think he scans them and downloads their database and suddenly The Doctor pops up and he's all, "WTF am I doing in Ed Begley Jr's office?" Also I sort of feel like Ed Begley Jr is building his own time ship? Maybe?

Ok maybe now is when he sends some goons to kill Sarah Silverman. Anyway at some point she and Tank Top Tuvok and Tank Top Tom all jump in her old VW Van and we get a kind of weird chase through Los Angeles. Do we all go back to her apartment? Does Tank Top Tom flirt with her? In my head there's a scene where maybe there's pizza and flirting but I might've just filled in the gaps on my own there.

Anyway they all decide to make a deal, I guess. Sarah Silverman has... something? She has something. And Ed Begley Jr wants it and they're going to do some kind of trade for The Doctor? Is this making sense? I feel like it's really sunny and there are goons and phaser fire and The Doctor is all, "I'm panicking! Get me out of here!" Oh! And also somewhere in this bit The Doctor says something to the effect of, "Going somewhere? In case you haven't noticed, I'm a hologram, I can't go anywhere!" (I made up that dialogue but it sounds totally legit in my head) and then Ed Begley Jr is all, "Well, Doc, you can now. Here's a holo emitter. Take good care of it for the next 4 seasons because it's just about irreplaceable. Also here's a backup one for you to lose on a planet somewhere so a culture can build a big museum about how awful Voyager is." Also I think I remember Sarah Silverman wearing a tank top in this part too because all we did in the 90s was go around wearing tank tops and saying ridiculous slang.

Oh! And then somewhere in here Janeway/Chakotay maybe run into that Future Jerk from the beginning and are like, 'Holy crap! What are you doing here?!" And he's all, "Ed Begley Jr is a turd!" I don't know where that goes. Probably at the beginning before all this stuff where we know Ed Begley Jr is a turd and he's trying to kill Sarah Silverman.

Next... some kind of... conclusion? I feel like there's some outsmarting that happens here. How does one go about thwarting Ed Begley Jr? Hmmm. I really don't remember at all but I'm sure it has something to do with Janeway being really smart and also maybe Sarah Silverman's in on saving the day. Probably there are some explosions. Anyway, the day is saved and Voyager goes... back through the rift? I guess? And...Oh! And then is there another time ship maybe? And he's all, "You're going to contaminate the timeline!" And Janeway's like, "Slow your roll."

And then I think they all eat cake.

DONE! Alright, how'd I do? Let me know in the comments.

PS- I found these pics in my files from the last time I watched this one. Who totally called the tank tops and pantsuit? Me. That's who.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Voyager Re-Watch: Sacred Ground

Guys, I'm sorry. I just can't. This episode has always irked me. I'm not saying it's badly written. I'm not saying it's badly acted or directed or scored. But, it does make me make this face:
I don't even make this face when watching gross X-Files episodes.
Here's the thing--I don't think it's a Star Trek episode. At least, it shouldn't be. This episode is all about Janeway undergoing a sacred, religious, alien ritual in an attempt to get an answer for how to cure Kes (who walked into a weird alien field and got zapped into a death-like sleep.) An alien woman goes along with Janeway on this totally BS ritual and Janeway, all the while, is a willing participant who figures (as a scientist would/should) that any supposed spiritual benefit this ritual grants will also be physiological and replicable and will lead to a cure. Ultimately Janeway finishes this crazyness and Kes is cured and they move along with Janeway saying something kind of vaguely condescending about The Doctor's scientific explanation of what happened. 

Here's the thing: if this were a Chakotay (who is inherently spiritual) episode, I don't think I'd have as much of a problem. Of course, then it wouldn't be an episode. Chakotay would just walk straight through this business chanting a-koo-che-moya and lighting sage or whatever and it would take five minutes and he'd be like, "Here's the cure." Because that's how Chakotay rolls. 

You know how Janeway rolls? With the effing Scientific Method. That's how. 

And this entire time, the "guide" (pretend you can hear me saying that with utmost sarcasm) offers the kind of higher-than-thou patronizing smiles and nods that only the deeply religious can truly muster. Trust me. I grew up in the Bible Belt and I'm well attuned to the familiar "Bless his heart, he's going to Hell," passive aggressive attitude. 
Anyway, yes. The guide unnerves me. Yes, the giddy condescension of everyone involved makes me grumpy. But I think what really gets under my skin about this one is summed up in a line uttered by one of the maybe spirit guardians, maybe ancestral spirits, maybe bored old fogies in a cave, "If you can explain everything--what's left to believe in?"

I mentioned The X-Files earlier. It's one of my absolute favorite shows. I grew up with it and I love it to my core. I read somewhere that this episode's writer compared Sacred Ground to an X-Files episode. And, yes, this would've worked there. But Star Trek isn't The X-Files. Star Trek isn't about the struggle between science and faith. It's not about seeking out paranormal explanations when normal ones are the most probable. It's not about looking for wonder in the supernatural. 

Star Trek is about finding wonder in the physical universe, in the science of exploration, and in humanity itself. If you can't understand why these things are magnificent, beautiful, awe-inspiring, complex, and, yes, wondrous, then I'm not sure you get the whole Trek mission. And, as the captains of Trek are sort of the human embodiment of that mission, I feel like it completely goes against the conceit of the show to do an episode where Janeway finishes up with a "we don't have to understand everything" mentality. 

Maybe I'm not getting my point across. A few weeks ago Scott and I went to New York for the express purpose of seeing Penn and Teller on Broadway. I've been a fan since I was in 1st grade and saw their amazing "Don't Try This At Home" special. My husband has been following them practically his whole life. We always said if they ever went back to New York (their career took off in NYC about thirty years ago) that we would go. No matter what. We'd find a way and we would go. And so we did. And it was... magical. Anyway, P&T often end their Vegas show with their version of the bullet catch. It's loud. It's showy. It's amazing. It's perfect...except that both Scott and I have always preferred their alternate show ending. Fire eating. 

In a recent interview for NPR Penn recalls the great Richard Feynman (who'd brought some fellow Nobel winners and his wife along to a show) approaching him afterward and saying, "I wanted them to hear that monologue, and I especially want my wife to hear that monologue because she has never understood how those who look for answers are the ones who love the mystery the most. I could never explain that...your fire eating monologue does that." 

So, thanks to the internet, here's Penn's complete fire eating monologue. It's hella long but it's beautiful and worth the read. But, if you ever have a chance to see them live... go see them. 

[The stage is dark. Penn speaks to the audience.]
Everything that Teller and I do in this show comes from a love that we share of the American Sideshow.
[Penn lights a candle. He is seated on a stool.]
Now, the real name for the freak show is the Ten-in-One Show, and it's called the Ten-in-One Show because you get ten acts under one tent for one admission price.
When I was a kid I used to go the Franklin County Fair-- That's where the carnival came in my hometown. And that fair would be in town about ten days every year, and every one of those ten days, I'd go to the fair, and every day at the fair, I'd end up at the Ten-in-One Show. And I loved the freak show. I loved it because you'd pay your seventy-five cents and you were allowed to go into a tent with people who were entirely different from you, and then you could just stare at them.
And I loved the freaks, but I especially loved the self-made freaks, the fire-eater, the sword-swallower, the tattooed people, because they had made an extra decision to be there. I can remember standing in that tent watching the fire-eater and I swear my whole life was there; it meant everything to me.
And my friends would go with me to the Ten-in-One, but my friends were different, 'cause they took the whole show as some sort of weird challenge, and all through this fire-eater's perfect act, my friends would be talking. And they'd be saying stuff like, "Oh, I know how he does that, Penn, he just coats his mouth with something." They would try to convince me there was sort of something you could just smear in your mouth, then go suck on a soldering iron, and it wasn't going to hurt you.
And it's not just kids -- it's also adults-- and it's usually a man, and it's most often a man who's with some woman he's trying desperately, and often pathetically, to impress. And I'll hear this guy who just thinks he's got to pretend to know everything, you know? So he's saying stuff like, "Oh, don't worry about him honey, he's just using cold fire." Yeah. [He laughs]
Or needles. Now the reason that Teller and I are working together today, is about thirteen years ago I saw Teller on stage in Jersey, alone and silently eating those needles. When I watched him up on that stage I got that same feeling in my guts that I used to get watching the fire-eater as a kid, and I knew we had to work together, and we have been ever since.
Now, I go in to the lobby during intermission. I have a cola and I talk to folks and I hang out. But the whole time I'm talking, I'm also try to listen, and I've learned a lot from eavesdropping on you guys for all these years. And one of the things I've learned is there's a certain kind of person who comes to our show, and they may like the show, but they don't get it. And these are the people who cannot accept mystery.
Now I want to make this very clear to you: by "not accepting mystery," I am not talking about scientists, and I am not talking about skeptics. 'Cause I'm a skeptic, and I've always felt that skeptics love the mystery, and that's why they don't want to believe anything. They don't want to have any faith. They either want to have it scientifically proven over and over again, or they want to leave it alone. "We'll get to it. Let it go." The kind of people that cannot accept mystery are the kind of people that, when there's a mystery there, they just believe the first thing they're told for their whole life, or they pretend to have an open mind, so they'll believe anything that's popular that comes along, or they'll make up something that makes sense to them and they'll just believe it. Just anything to shut the mystery out of their heads and stop them from really thinking.
And I'll hear people doing this even with things as trivial as the needles. I'll hear guys in the lobby with these real authoritative voices gathering little crowds of people going, "Oh, yeah, needles, yeah, I figured that one out, sure. He's got a little pocket sewn in the back of his throat. It's a skin graft from his leg." Or my favorite one, and I actually heard this, I did not make this up. (Some stuff I just make up, but this I heard.) There was a guy in L.A., who was talking about "candy needles." Now I don't know where this guy ever heard of candy needles, but I assume he figured they're manufactured around Halloween time, as treats for the neighborhood children. I don't know.
Anyways, about nineteen years have passed, and those kids I grew up with, I guess they're all still living in Greenfield, Massachusetts, and I turned out to be a fire-eater, and the ironic thing I found out, is that there's no trick. Not to this. To everything else in the show there's a trick--don't let anybody tell you differently. Susan floating in the air, she wasn't hypnotized--there's no "balance point." Go home, get a chair, clear your mind, think clean thoughts, concentrate: you'll break your ass. It's a gimmick, it's a lie, it's a cheat, it's a swindle! But fire-eating is a stunt, and if anybody here still thinks that there's any such thing as cold fire, and I'm using it, you wait till I get it lit, you raise your hand, I'll stick it in your eye--prove it to you.
[Teller enters from left with the fire-eating props.]
Teller's coming out here with a fireproof camping fuel container. In the container is lighter fluid--it's Ronson brand--and Teller's dipping the torches in.
[Teller hands Penn a torch.]
The torches are cotton, sewn tightly around a threaded, metal rod that's then screwed into a wooden handle. It's not the cotton that burns, it's the fuel that burns and the way fire- eating works is this:
You've got moisture in your mouth, and all that moisture has to evaporate from any given part of your mouth, before that part will burn. So you learn how to handle the burning vapors, then you gotta make it look good. Now if you've got a lot of saliva in your mouth (and that's at least where I try to keep most of mine), you rub your lips right along the cotton and pull that vapor off. Now the vapor's still burning, but if you breathe in a little bit , the audience can't see it, so you've got a beautiful surprise there. The you just wait until the time is right an just let it flow, like it was magic smoke. Then when you want to put the fire out, there's a move for that, too, and it's the move that gives it the name "fire-eating." Now, you're not actually eating the flame, but I guess they figure that "Oral Fire Extinguishing" didn't sound that butch. When you feel your mouth drying out, you close your lips tightly. That cuts out most of the oxygen and... [he snaps his fingers] the fire goes out. Now when I was being taught this, I got burned every time I tried it, and I still get burned occasionally, but the burns you get from fire-eating are for the most part extremely minor. They're the kind of burns you get--you know what I'm talking about--when you eat a pizza too fast, and that cheese'll snag you, or you gulp some hot coffee. Now I'm not trying to snow you. I'm not talking mind-over-matter jive. There's no such thing, it just hurts like holy hell. But it's not dangerous. The dangerous thing is something lay people don't even think about. And that is every time you do this act, no matter how carefully or how well, you swallow about a teaspoon of the lighter fluid, and that stuff is poisonous--that's why they write "Harmful or Fatal if Swallowed" right there on the can-- and the effect is, to a certain degree, cumulative. Now I say a certain degree: I do eight shows a week, I'm a big guy, that doesn't effect me. Carnies, the real boys, they'll do up to fifty shows a day, and in as little as two or three years that stuff'll build up in their liver and they'll get sick enough, they actually have to take time off and do another line of work in the carney while that liver regenerates, which, thankfully, it will do.
Now I take the time to explain all of this to you in such detail because I think it's more fascinating to think of someone poisoning themselves to death slowly on stage than merely burning themselves, and after all, we're here to entertain you.
I really tell you this 'cause this is the last bit in the show, and when you leave here tonight and you're thinking about our show, as I hope you will be, I don't want you to be thinking about how we did it. I want you to be thinking about why. So sit back and relax, I'm going to burn myself.
[Teller lights the torch. Penn twirls it with a flourish.]
This move right here and this move right here are called stalling.
[Penn and Teller look out at the audience, studying them.]
I realize you've been sitting in these seats a long time, but if you can just bear with us another moment, we'd like to look out at you guys. 'Cause there's an obvious but still unique quality of live theater, and that is that while we're doing the show, you're right here in the room with us. And that means that light will fall on some of your faces. And if light happens to fall on one of your faces while we're doing the show we'll do a small part of the show for you, I mean, just for you, just staring right in your face. And when we do that, and we've picked you, and you know it, and you can feel it...we're not paying any attention to you at all. We're trying to get the tricks to work, get the laughs. We can't worry about you individually. So what I'm saying--convolutedly--is that right now is the place in the show we can look at you in the same light we're in, and we can kinda pay attention. And it's really important. And I used to feel that importance should be made explicit, so I would do these little speeches about community and these speeches were superficial and they were contrived, and I really believed them, so they were embarrassing. So now I'm trying to learn to shut up and look at you. Teller's got it down.
And if your the kind of person that needs to sum things up, all you need to know now is that you're in our tent, so it's okay. And the sideshow ain't dead. That's for damn sure.
[Penn eats fire.]

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Voyager Re-Watch: Remember

So here's what happened: I watched this episode on my phone on Thursday night (when I was loopy and exhausted) with the idea that I was going to sit right down and write the post but then explosions (not really) happened and suddenly it's Tuesday and I need to put a post up or risk falling into the trap of just letting things go (again.) Anyway, I finally have a bit of peace and quiet and aloneness (and wifi) and my brain fog has lifted enough that I *think* I can remember Remember enough to write about it. Here we go.

I wasn't particularly excited about this one, if I'm honest. I've never thought it a bad episode but it was always a little unpleasant/hard to watch. And, really, I suppose that's the point.

Basically, there's a group of psychic aliens--the Enarans--tagging along with Voyager on their way back to their homeworld. They're lovely, sophisticated people who are way into the arts and shiny curtains and whatever. In the middle of their journey, B'Elanna begins having super sexy dreams about an Enaran man she's never met.

The dreams are so vivid and sensual she pretty much can't wait to get back to her quarters at night for bedtime. The dreams get so intense they become kind of dangerous but she has to keep having them because she's B'Elanna. Eventually the dreams take a new direction and she realizes that these aren't dreams but memories and the Enarans were jerks who committed genocide against a whole subset of their own people.

I found that I had a new appreciation of this episode on Thursday night. Maybe it's because I hadn't been looking forward to it I was simply pleasantly surprised. Maybe now that I'm not watching Voyager at such a fast clip (as I was in 2013) I can slow down and appreciate the episodes in a new way. I don't know. But I'm glad I re-watched this one.

Roxann Dawson is particularly fantastic here. She is convincingly both B'Elanna and the more bubbly/excitable/naive Korenna. I believe she's enraptured by the dreams and I believe that she doesn't want them to stop--even to the point of willingly accepting the memories from a much older and wiser Korenna. I believe Korenna's slow descent into the Nazi-esque political movement which seemed innocent enough on the surface. "We're helping them," is the repeated refrain from Korenna's jerk dad. And I believe that, after all this time, Korenna's finally realized her awful mistake and wants to share her knowledge before it's too late.

Trek has a long history with socio-political allegories and I believe this one is a success. It seems a little like a TNG episode and that's because it was originally dreamed up as a piece for Troi but I think it actually works much better here. Troi is always willing to listen to whatever anyone has to say and she's very sensitive and patient. B'Elanna has a much different style. She falls into this dream stuff ass-backwards and becomes so obsessed with it she fights for her right to "know how it ends." I feel like back in Troi's day this one (unfortunately) wouldn't have been written with as much proactivity on the main character's part. Troi would experience the dreams and she would plead with Picard to do something about it but there's something about B'Elanna's desperation and her agency that is more appealing. She seeks out Korenna, accuses the Enarans of murder and genocide, insists that an investigation be conducted and doesn't stop until someone will listen to what she has to say. I think it's an important emotional evolution for B'Elanna--one that likely would've been missed or gone undeveloped with Troi.

Re-watching this one, I remembered what the Enarans were guilty of, I remembered that B'Elanna eventually got to the bottom of it but couldn't take real action against them. But, I'd forgotten the very last moments: when Jessen agrees to take B'Elanna's/Korenna's memories and we see her wake up in the same dream, it's a resonant representation of the power and importance of knowledge.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Voyager Re-Watch: False Profits

Well, I watched False Profits on my phone in two different sittings--one at around 1am and the other at about 5am. I was cranky and in no mood to even be awake, let alone doing things. But, this wasn't too bad because False Profits is a romp. You know how I love a romp.

So what happens is Voyager detects a wormhole and they realize that it's actually a wormhole they've seen before on Next Gen  in the Alpha Quadrant so they decide to swing by and check it out because maybe this thing can take them home. When they get there they find that the Ferengis who ran into the damn thing seven years before have been stuck here ever since and have been parading around as gods among the planet's primitive culture. Obviously their presence isn't strictly (or at all) beneficial so Voyager finds it necessary to step in. And when I say Voyager, I mean Janeway. Because you know Janeway isn't about to let a couple of Ferengi ding-dongs take advantage of a bunch of old timey folks with an inexplicable shoe obsession. Hijinks ensue (as they do) and Neelix almost gets burned at the stake and eventually the wormhole closes and (surprise) Voyager is still stuck in the Delta Quadrant.

Cards on the table: I don't have any really exciting revelations about this episode. As much as I do love a romp and as much as I typically really enjoy this episode, I have to admit, I'm getting a little cranky. I'm not saying the shine's worn off the lobes. I'm just saying I'm tired and I haven't slept in any kind of actual human way for about a week and watching Voyager in the middle of the night on my phone isn't really the best way to go about things even though watching Voyager actually makes me less cranky.

Anyway, there's plenty to love about this episode:
-As I already mentioned, it's a romp--complete with Ferengi hijinks.
-Neelix is a fantastic Ferengi. Maybe that's because he'd had some practice in TNG's Ménage à Troi.
-The ear necklaces. Brilliant!
-The punny name. I love puns. I feel no shame about that.
-Ferengi costumes.
-Why are these people obsessed with shoes? I don't know but I think it's a great running joke.
-I'm glad we got a chance to see Janeway give some Ferengis the business.
I feel like maybe the reason I can't fully appreciate the rompiness of this one is the way it ends. Any time Voyager finds a possible way to get home I get a little irked if it doesn't seem like it's handled with enough gravity. Yes, we all know they're not going home in this episode. The writers know it. You know it. I know it. But... I mean, the characters don't know it. The idea that there's this wormhole that could spit them out a few lightyears from earth (literally the biggest deal to our TV friends) and these doofus Ferengi manage to not only get past their security guy, and shoot their way out of the shuttle bay, but also they--I don't know... evade?--Voyager long enough that the wormhole goes all bonkers and Voyager can't go in? It's maddening to just watch Voyager sit there within reach and twiddle their thumbs at the Ferengi. I mean... it's a problem. We all know it's a problem and I don't want to dwell on it. Even if I'm cranky.

There are plenty of reasons to watch False Profits. Even if the end is a little shaky this is still a solid, fun, energetic episode.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Voyager Re-Watch: The Swarm

So I watched this one at about one o'clock this morning on my phone because I'm still doing family stuff. I couldn't take notes and somehow it's now late at night and I don't know where the time has gone so I'm a little off my head but I'll do my best to write something at least akin to the fifth grade book report version of a recap:

The Swarm finds Voyager navigating into an area of mysteriously hostile space. They can't communicate with the inhabitants of this area but they're fairly sure they aren't wanted. Tuvok suggests maybe they shouldn't just barge on through but Janeway's got places to be! They take a shortcut and run into a swarm (hence the name) of these jerk aliens. Around the same time, The Doctor starts experiencing memory loss which gets progressively worse as the episode wears on.
You know, the weird thing is, I tend to forget about this one. I think I meld it together with the later episode where The Doctor realizes he's forgotten stuff because of a conspiracy/cover up. But I shouldn't forget this one. It's a legitimately great episode and a fantastic example of the way The Doctor continues to evolve. His memory loss is a product of cascade failure (two of the scariest, saddest words in Trek) because he's overtaxed his program, running nearly non-stop for two years. In short, he's losing it because he's evolved and his emotional journey in this episode only serves to provide further evolution.

Often in this one I found myself anticipating Jennifer Lien's absence and dreading it. At first, Kes was pretty much just a bubbly little innocent with a weird jealous boyfriend. But, like The Doctor, she's grown. By the third season she's an excellent nurse, a valuable crew member, and The Doctor's best friend. At one point here she even says, "I've known him most of my life." And it's true. And I believe it. Lien shows mad skillz here as she fights for The Doctor's right to existence, his right not to be erased, to continue to evolve. I love Seven. I love her. But I also love Kes and I think it's possible that Voyager's biggest mistake was jettisoning her character.
Lien and Picardo are both phenomenal in this one and their scenes are further bolstered by some great Janeway/B'Elanna stuff. The Doctor's fast-paced memory loss is devastating and Lien's desperate race to save him is a perfect development for her character. Likewise Voyager's confrontation with the Tholian-web-esque aliens is well done and adds just enough physical drama/action to compliment the episode's emotional core. This one works for me.

At least it did at one o'clock in the morning. Honestly at this point I feel like I may have a developing cascade failure. Or maybe I just need some sleep. Either way, I hope I don't forget this one again.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Voyager Re-Watch: The Chute

So, in case you're following along, I'm still dealing with family stuff. This means I've got way less computer time which means I've got way less Voyager time and that means I don't really want to spend it watching an episode about my TV friends being really irritable.

Still--Here's what happens in The Chute:
Harry and Tom slide down (not in a fun way) a gross chute into a gross pit full of other guys who've previously slid down (not in a fun way either) the chute. Harry and Tom have slid into Voyager's take on a prison movie. They have a device stuck to their heads which makes them irritable (which makes me irritable) and their relationship grows more and more tenuous as they try to survive/escape etc. Finally Janeway shows up and is all, "Let's get the hell out of here." And they do and their prison time is over.

Star Trek, in all its variations, has done a lot of takes on other stuff. They've done westerns, shakespearean plays, a Robin Hood adventure, a heist movie, and Die Hard. They've done horror movies, they've done psychological thrillers, they've done (plenty of) tragic romances. They've pretty much done it all--including prison movies.

There's a lot made of prisons in the universe of Trek. Most of us can even name a famous one: Rura Penthe. In TNG Picard was captured, held, and tortured by the Cardassians which is why I still sometimes shout 'There are four lights!" in inappropriate situations. In DS9 Miles O'Brien perceived twenty years of mental prison which is why he came back to the station and kept squirreling away bread for about two episodes thereafter.

The episodes I've mentioned here work for a couple of reasons.
1-Patrick Stewart is amazing and Picard is the human embodiment of Starfleet's ethics. To see him taken to the breaking point is inherently interesting and captivating. The direction of this episode is also quite well done. The way everything feels stark and cold. The lone desk in the Cardassian torture chamber. The way Picard is stripped naked. Everything about the way it's written, staged, and executed legitimizes Picard's experience and pulls us in.
2- O'Brien is (like Harry and Tom) thrust into prison at the start of this one with little to no explanation. The whole time we're focused on his experiences, his life, his struggle. Again, Colm Meany is a fantastic actor and his Miles is the every man of Trek. He's been with us since TNG and at some point someone along the way realized that torturing Miles was a great way to pull at the fandom's heartstrings. The main reason this one works, though, is the protracted time. Prison movies offer creators/audiences a way to explore the humanity and ethics of an individual who's been stripped of their every day comforts and thrown into horrid, hopeless, inescapable circumstances. The movies tend to take place over several years because that's how long it seems to take (according to what we know from said movies) to test one's humanity. The falsely protracted timeline in DS9's Hard Time is how they achieve this.

In "The Chute" it's all about a gizmo in their head called The Clamp which is a sort of nebulous deal. It's said to increase aggression and irritation.
Mostly its purpose is to give you the Crazy Eyes.
The thing is...if you're the prison warden, why not give them something that makes them docile and forgetful? Oh yeah, because that wouldn't be very interesting to watch. I get why they did it. The Clamp provides a dramatic shortcut to testing Kim/Paris' humanity/friendship etc. This leads to Kim nearly bludgeoning Paris to death. But we know Kim isn't going to kill Paris. We know this. We're Star Trek fans. This isn't our first rodeo. The only way he would've killed Paris is if this were somehow a weird simulation and he later had to come to terms with the fact that he'd "killed" his BFF.

And that brings me to another reason why these other two somewhat famous Trek episodes are successful--solitary heroes. Without any familiar faces Picard and O'Brien are both left to dangle for almost an entire episode. Their only interaction is with an outsider--the Cardassian for Picard, and O'Brien's cellmate. These characters give our main guys someone new and different to talk to and we have no idea what they might do or what might happen to them.

In this one, I actually really love the idea of Tom and Harry being stranded together, their bond tested along with their humanity, Harry's dedication to taking care of Tom, Tom's tough guy stuff, etc. There's a lot to love in this episode but I sort of feel like maybe it's one of those episodes that should've been two. A prison episode with a solitary character (Tom) and another, completely different episode where Tom and Harry are stranded together and their relationship is put under stress--but not clamp-induced prison stress.

Anyway, apparently I had a lot of thoughts about this episode. I'd intended to just write a short summary and then vault into all the stuff that's made me irritable lately but that just didn't happen and it's probably for the best. Don't want to end up with the Crazy Eyes.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Voyager Re-Watch: Flashback

Welp, I'm still sitting here on the sidelines of a family emergency but I found an hour and some wifi and watched my next episode/took screen caps on my phone--which is where I'm also writing this post so, you know, autocorrect. Beware. 

 I spent my life retreating into Trek during tough times and today isn't any different. I was lucky too, that today's episode is the tremendously entertaining (if not very satisfying) episode, Flashback. 

Basically Tuvok starts having some kind of Vulcan fit and passes out when they get all up in some nebula's biz. It occurs to The Doc that this fit might be caused by a repressed memory and recruits Janeway to go inside Tuvok's old timey reminiscences where they encounter both Yeoman Rand and Captain Sulu just before the events of Undiscovered Country. 
Tuvok and Janeway go deeper and deeper into his mind until they uncover a sort of endless loop of fake memory and The Doctor gets rid of it with some Theron radiation which is apparently fake memory penicillin. 

At the end The Doctor says something like "we may never know what happened" and that's sort of how this whole episode feels. It seems like the idea of a fake memory virus is a great idea by itself. Like we could've done a whole episode where the memory essentially plays a game of telephone jumping from one crew member to the next, morphing as it goes. OR we could do a whole episode where Tuvok has to resolve some legitimate trauma that's been bugging him since his time on The Excelsior. As it is there's an awful lot of time spent building up this "trauma" for it to turn out to just be kind of a MacGuffin--existing only to set the Excelsior plot in motion.  

Anyway, this episode is actually a lot of fun to watch. I dislike the way the memory virus plays out but I love being able to spend time with Sulu and Rand. I love those old bridge sounds. I love those uniforms. I love seeing young and uncertain Tuvok. I love his relationship with Janeway. All of this is fantastic. 
And, on this day where I'm an honorary part of a family in distress, I am Janeway. I came to this family late. But I feel like I've always been here. I'll follow my Tuvok to the precipice or the past or the or the other side of the country. 

I couldn't help thinking about all this as  Sulu appropriately gave a lovely speech about what it means to be more than a crew--to be a family. I'll just leave that here for you. 

"You'll find that more happens on the bridge of a starship than just carrying out orders and observing regulations. There is a sense of loyalty to the men and women you serve with. A sense of family. Those two men on trial... I served with them for a long time. I owe them my life a dozen times over. And right now they're in trouble and I'm going to help them; let the regulations be damned."
"Sir, that is a most illogical line of reasoning."
"You better believe it. Helm, engage!"


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Voyager Re-Member: Basics

I’ve been so excited lately to finally get back on track and finish up season two. I’ve been so on top of things lately. Instead of watching a big chunk of episodes and then writing about them later, I’ve started watching one and writing about it that day or the next so it’s more fresh in my mind. I was all geared up to watch the Season 2 finale, Basics. But then, in the last couple of days, things really fell apart. Because of a family emergency I’m not sure when I’ll be able to get back to watching and blogging regularly and I didn’t get to watch Basics before all of this happened. 

The thing is, I still really want to keep this streak going. I might not be able to use my Netflix at the moment but I can still write. So, here’s what I’m going to do: 

AshleyRose’s Voyager Season Two Finale/Season Three Premier Re-Cap FROM MEMORY! 

That’s right. I’ve not seen this episode in almost two years but, in this post, I’m going to attempt to recall as much of it as I can/guess what happens based on my vast Star Trek episode formula knowledge and supplement the post with photos I just have sitting around in my computer (because I don’t have access to the internet and I’m just going to post this as soon as I can hop online for five minutes). You can tell me how close I got in the comments. 

Alright. Here we go. This might be completely incomprehensible but, you know, desperate times…

Janeway and Voyager are schlepping through the Delta Quadrant and…they get a phone call? Sure. Ok and it’s the Kazon, probably. Or someone running from the Kazon. Anyway, my special favorite baddies show up with their completely terrible seashell hair and somehow or another—oh, SESKA!—Seska gets them onboard. Ok so these guys are all clearly idiots but Seska has control and she’s all, “We’re here for the ship!” And Janeway’s probably all, “Over my dead body.” Lots of fighting ensues. 
Pretend Janeway's giving Seska some sass.
Eventually the ship is totally overrun by Kazon and everyone is… gathered in the… cargo bay? Does this happen? This seems like the kind of thing I would do if I were writing this one. And then I would have Seska and Janeway face-off… and also maybe Chakotay and Seska because they apparently used to date and now… does she have a baby? OH! Wait. Is she there because she had the baby and it’s totally not Chakotay’s and she realzes her kid is going to have seashell hair and now she’s like, “Well, I better get me a ship if I can’t just spent the rest of my life lording this kid over Chakotay.”

Ok. Back to the probably cargo bay. Janeway/Seska face-off. I’d have Seska like… say something really biting and then Janeway is finally resigned to her fate and she and her whole crew are put off on some crap planet while Voyager flies away. 


Part two. Alright so Seska’s in charge of the ship and Janeway and the whole crew are marooned on this BS planet with pretty much no supplies. Janeway… splits the crew up into recon units? They do some scouting and decide to go a certain way. Meanwhile, Naomi gets sick and maybe she’s running a fever. They… run into some hostile aliens? And then they run into a cave/caves. 

Ok and then Neelix is like here’s some bugs we can eat! And some people scoff and then Janeway’s all, “Gimme them bugs!” and she eats a big handful and makes everyone feel really crappy about turning down bug dinner. So we’re eating bugs now. 
Pretend he's handing out grub(s).
Sure. Sounds good. Meanwhile, Seska is flying away on Voyager… and… Alright so she knows The Doctor is still onboard and, let’s see, he tells them that he is a medical professional and has to serve whoever’s in charge of the ship and can do no harm etc etc. It’s all a big lie. He’s still really working for us. 

And then… Oh! Ok so and then Suder—the Betazoid murderer—who was… maybe he was stuck on Voyager because of an explosion he’s been crawling through the jeffries tubes and now he shows up in sickbay and he’s all, “Here, lemme help you out with that Doctor” in his gorgeous North Carolina accent. And then they do some plotting. Probably they decide Suder should head on down to Engineering so he can tamper with that business like a pro. 

Alright, back on the planet, the crew is having a real hard time. Naomi is wicked sick at this point and Kess (?) tries to help take care of her…and then, I think, somewhere along the way Hogan (who we’ve sen a lot lately) gets eaten by a cave monster who may look like a worm/lizard/scorpion I really can’t remember. Also I can’t really remember if it’s Hogan that gets eaten here or someone else. 

I think they end up making friends with the natives and maybe someone gives someone else some herbs. Is there hopping on rocks involved? Is the floor lava? Am I thinking of something else? Anyway. They make friends because Janeway knows all about that biz. And then they survive long enough for The Doctor to come pick them up because…

Because back on the ship I’m pretty sure Suder sacrifices his life for Voyager and now we don’t have to deal with him being in house arrest forever and ever. This is kind of too bad because I love this character. 
Pretend he looks super heroic here.
Alright, does anyone get a final showdown with Seska? This is pretty important and if I were doing it I’d definitely have a final showdown between Seska and Janeway/Chakotay. 

And… DONE! I’ve now completed Season Two and started Season Three. Well, almost. As soon as I can claw my way back to regular life I’m going to watch these two episodes. Till then, I hope you’ve enjoyed my half-baked, semi remembered recap of Basics. 
Pretend this isn't a picture from two years ago.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Voyager Re-Watch: Resolutions

Sometimes I think about alternate timelines. About my own alternate timelines specifically. I almost pursued advanced degrees in anthropology. I had a knack for it. I had the drive. I even had a bachelor's level ethnographic study under my belt. I could've done it. I almost did it. And what might my life have been like if I had? I thought a lot about this as I watched Resolutions.

Sit Rep: Janeway and Chakotay have contracted an incurable disease and have been left (by a very reluctant Captain Tuvok and Voyager crew) on an M-Class planet devoid of humanoids where they will live together in a quaint Starfleet cabin until the day they die.

You know, this seems like the kind of episode I normally wouldn't like. There's very little in the way of intrigue, action, fun or big ethical questions. This one is strictly personal and, in the end, that's why I think I love it. Two intelligent, lovely people who've known each other for a couple years are pulled out of their restrictions and limitations and thrust into a new life together--one where they'll be each other's only source of human warmth and companionship. Basically this episode asks the very important question, "Do they get it on?"

The answer is, "Maybe/Probably." I don't know. There's a lot of filtered, soft light and hand holding and then we cut away. In my mind, there was definitely some intimacy on Planet Chaneway.

Aside from the obvious carnal stuff though, what interests me most about this one is how these characters evolve once they're out of uniform--once they're just regular humans without all the Starfleet rigamarole clogging up their brains. Janeway is, at first, completely consumed with finding a cure for their disease but pretty much as soon as Chakotay steps on the grass he turns into Pa Ingalls. And this totally makes sense. Chakotay was in Starfleet which didn't suit him. He was a Maquis which was fine but you don't get the sense that he was going to do it forever. Once Voyager kicks up he's in Starfleet again. Wearing a uniform. Commanding things. But every chance he gets it's all, "My people" this and "eagle spirit" that.

I've never hated Chakotay and I think Robert Beltran does a great job with what he's given... I just don't think the Chakotay character ever really crystalized in the way the series creators had hoped. He's often only in the scene to mention his people or to ask a question about the technobabble or to moan about his weird ex-relationship with Seska. As the series progresses, he gets even less to do. And, really, I think that's a shame because Beltran (as evidenced here and a few other places) actually has a lot to offer. Maybe he just doesn't have a lot to offer Chakotay as we know him. But, as Alternate Timeline Chakotay?

On planet Chaneway, this Brawny Paper Towel Man version of Chakotay is instantly deeper, more believable and more endearing than Starfleet/Maquis/Starfleet Chakotay. He settles right in to the frontier man lifestyle. He's carving things and hanging up curtains and, honest-to-god, if there were cows he'd be up at 5AM to milk them. He loves this life. In another timeline, if the Cardassians hadn't invaded his colony, or if he had never pursued a career with Starfleet or a second, more exciting career with the Maquis, this is the life he would have lived. This is the Chakotay he was meant to be. Here, the interjections about his people aren't trite but homey. Among the trees and blue skies, all his reverence for nature isn't tired; it's resonant. His earnestness and quiet sensitivity are clearly more suited for Walden than the Delta Quadrant. I look at this version of Chakotay and feel like this is where he belongs.

But Janeway doesn't really get into Planet Chaneway. She bucks the lifestyle, the meditative quiet of nature, the hand-carved headboards, the idea of longterm settlement. This isn't the life Janeway was meant to live. Eventually, finally, she begins to enjoy herself but then Voyager calls and by the time Tuvok has hung up the phone she's pinning on her pips.

I don't feel sad for Janeway going back to her ship in the same way I don't feel sad about not pursuing Anthropology as a career. Like Janeway, I know I've selected the appropriate path, that I'm in the correct timeline. Whenever my life gets derailed I claw my way back to it with Janeway-esque determination. But Chakotay? I do feel sort of sad for him. For the next five years he's going to put on a uniform instead of the dandy leather vest he made himself. For the next five years he's going to hang around as native-themed set dressing rather waking up to fresh air and the sound of the creek nearby. For the next five years he's going to see his role on the ship diminish and wonder what might've happened, what could've been, on Planet Chaneway.

Oh, but then he marries Seven of Nine so... I guess I shouldn't feel too sad for him...

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Generic Ensign's Log: Tuvix

Generic Ensign's Log
Stardate: 49655.2

Neelix wasn't in the messhall this morning for breakfast. I had replicator oatmeal instead. Samantha said he and Tuvok went down to the planet we're orbiting to investigate some kind of flower. 

I just heard there's been a crazy transporter accident! I don't know what happened yet but there are some rumors going around and it just seems too ridiculous to be true. You know, you hear about transporter accidents and mostly it's just ridiculous old stories officers tell the rookies. They've been going around since my grandpa was in Starfleet. That time someone got split into their two terrible halves, that time someone came back with leaves sticking out of his body, that time a couple of people got sent backward in time somehow, that time two people turned into ghosts, that time with the dog. I've heard those stories since my first day at Starfleet and yet I've used the transporter more times than I can even count. One time I transported to the grocery store on my old street corner because I didn't want my annoying neighbor to engage me in conversation. The point is--this stuff is supposed to be safe. Right? Anyway. Something happened to Neelix and Tuvok and no one really knows what it is yet. 

Holy crap. I just went down to the science lab to run some tests and I saw it:
Tuvok and Neelix have turned into one guy. What is going to happen? Who's going to make breakfast?!

Stardate: 49655.3

I guess Tuvix is making breakfast. That's what they're called now--the Tuvok/Neelix guy. His name is Tuvix. Actually, he's really nice. He's nicer than Tuvok was and he's got more sense than Neelix. And--he's a better cook. This morning was the best breakfast I've had since I left the alpha quadrant.
But, oh man, this must be so hard for Kes.  Neelix was her boyfriend (I still think that's sort of weird) and Tuvok was her mentor. 

Everyone's saying they don't have any idea how this transporter accident even happened, let alone how they might be able to get Tuvok and Neelix back. What if we have Tuvix forever? 

Stardate: 49655.4

I found Tuvix hanging out in the aeroponics bay and invited him out to drinks with me and Samantha and Hogan later. He looked really lonely and I felt bad for him. 

Oh man. Tuvix is amazing. This guy is great. He told a story I've heard Neelix tell a million times but this time it was actually a fantastic, well-constructed story. And he can play pool! He played Paris under the table! He said he's going to start working on the bridge again tomorrow. Apparently he has all of Tuvok's and Neelix' memories and knowledge so he's still an expert and I guess that means that starting tomorrow he's still my boss. Time to hit the sack. I'm exhausted. 

Stardate: 49655.6

Tuvix is the best. I really feel like we're just getting to know him even though we've known both of his halves for a couple of years now. It really is like he's a whole new person. And, I mean, it's not like I don't miss Tuvok and Neelix. I'm just saying that I like Tuvix. 

Stardate: 49655.9

Samantha and Hogan and I had coffee with Tuvix this morning after the breakfast rush. He doesn't seem as lonely anymore. He's been trying to keep his distance with Kes, I think, but otherwise it seems like he's fitting in really well. Everyone seems to love him. 

Stardate: 49656.1

We all just got back from a holodeck kayaking trip with Tuvix. Man. That guy is amazing. Honestly, it's hard to imagine life on Voyager without him at this point. 

Stardate: 49656.2

Last night I saw Kes and Tuvix in Sandrine's. They were holding hands! I really wonder if they might have a thing going on. It really seems like they might hit it off. Even if they don't, I feel like Kes will finally come around to the idea of Tuvix. How could anyone not? I know it's only been a couple of weeks but he's become one of my best friends. He's so intuitive and interesting. He's so smart but he does't lord it over everyone and he's so warm without being pushy. I don't know what we'd do without Tuvix now! 

Stardate: 49656.4

Samantha messaged me early this morning. She said they found a way to separate Tuvok and Neelix. What does that even mean? 

Well, the word's gotten around. If they separate Tuvok and Neelix then Tuvix won't exist anymore.  He'll be gone. He'll be dead. Either way, it's up to Janeway. Tuvix' life is in her hands.

I was just on the bridge and the captain came in. She had decided to separate them. Tuvix was distraught. I wish I could've done something. Said something. I can't believe they're going to go through with this. He said that he forgave us all but I don't feel like I deserve forgiveness. I feel like I'm complicit in a murder because I didn't try harder to stop what's happening. I wish I had said something. If nothing else, I wish I had told Tuvix how much he meant to us. 

It's done. Tuvix is gone. Tuvok and Neelix are back and, really, it is good to see them but... I miss Tuvix. We were supposed to meet up in the aeroponics bay later tonight. What happens now? Can we really just go back to our regular life after what's happened? I just can't imagine we'll ever forget about Tuvix. I can't imagine we won't talk about him every single day from now on but, with all the crazy stuff that happens out here in the Delta Quadrant, will we really take time to remember him? Or will Tuvix just be one more transporter horror story Samantha will end up telling her little girl?  

I hope it's the former. I would be a shame if we ever forgot about Tuvix. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Generic Ensign's Log: The Thaw

Generic Ensign's Log
Stardate: 49578.9

Was eating breakfast this morning and heard that last night we came across an iced over planet and got a distress call from some people down there. They've apparently been in stasis for nineteen years and we transported their stasis pods to the cargo bay. I heard Kim and Torres were investigating what the deal is. Then Samantha Wildman said she heard these people were the start of a settlement and then they just decided, instead of leaving the planet when it was about to freeze up, they would build an elaborate virtual reality system to live in for the next fifteen years. I mean, doesn't it seem obvious that something terrible might happen with a hastily planned and executed, long-running virtual reality system? Who does that? Why not just leave and come back later? Whatever. It is what it is.

I had an ingrown toenail so I stopped by sickbay. It looked like The Doctor was working on this stasis problem too.

Had the best lunch with Hogan and Samantha. She's hilarious. Harry was supposed to meet us too but I didn't see him. No idea where he got off to. Maybe he was still working on the stasis pod problem.
Pretty slow day at work. Not too bad at all. I really feel like things are coming along and Tuvok is starting to notice me. Oh--and I think all the senior officers had a really long meeting about this whole stasis pod thing.

Getting ready to head out for dinner. I'm meeting some people at Sandrine's.  Harry was supposed to meet us there but I got a message saying he couldn't make it--that he was really exhausted or something then muttered some business about clowns. Where was he all day? Sounds like he was messing around in the holodeck. Oh, and I heard the aliens who were trapped in those stasis pods are out now. I guess we're going to drop them off somewhere along the way. Noone's really said. Anyway, it was a good day. Nice and slow. Totally normal. Nothing out of the ordinary at all.

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