#176 – back from the buttdial

12 Comments on #176 – back from the buttdial

Boy, sometimes the old writing-box doesn’t work right. THIS ISN’T ROCKET SCIENCE, BRAIN. But, okay! Okay.

As an apology for the extended delay, here’s a Star Trek Puzzle Manual me and my wife discovered the other day at a coffee shop:

star trek puzzle manual

Note that this is the abridged version. Somewhere out there there is a fuller, more complete collection of Star Trek Puzzles, but it was too much for some folks I guess.

Of course, someone else had been busy with this thing long before we got to it, so e.g. the WHOSE FACE PARTS ARE THESE puzzle had already been filled in:

star trek puzzle manual quiz

#175 – oh hi mark

25 Comments on #175 – oh hi mark

This may be the most Star Trek story arc I’ve ever written here. (For those catching up, it started a few strips ago with Reg Barclay wearing his anxieties on his sleeve.)

Because, look: it’s a perfectly logical explanation.

I mean, sure, it’s also a stupid explanation; it doesn’t hold up to the least scrutiny in either the immediate sense (what the hell is phase displacement, how would that even work, what are the implications for Reg’s sense of his surroundings or even the viability of his biological existence, does he even still see the ship or hear himself or etc. etc. etc.) or in the long-term (if this is something a bored transporter engineer can cobble together on his downtime, why hasn’t it been done before, and regardless of provenance if something like this was invented why wouldn’t it be used constantly for all kinds of things instead of being something that will no doubt never be mentioned again even though it could neatly solve any number of future dun dun DUNNNNN tense situations).

But still: it’s explained. A weird, apparently impossible thing happened, and then the answer was that somebody teched the tech and ergo blah blah blah, back to status quo. A bit of technical handwaving bullshit is used as an escape clause to excuse the actual core motivation for the storyline which is a bit of character examination about the A-plot character.

Someone mentioned a few strips ago the TNG episode Remember Me, which according to the Golden Rule of Larp Trek Continuity has of course not happened yet as of our mid/late season 3 timeline. Similar territory; Bev has a tremendously exciting/terrifying existential experience that turns out to amount to literally nothing but some character development notes because not a goddam thing that happened to her stuck. I mean, it’s an entertainingly disconcerting episode (at least up until the point where shit starts getting explained), but it’s also silly Trekish nonsense of the highest order.

(Also, my developing theory re: the Golden Rule is that everything that happens in TNG after Larp Trek and that hence hasn’t actually happened in TNG and might never happen is actually the content of Bev’s private fanfic novellas. She’s written like a thousand of the things over the years, and a ton of them are nicked from this game campaign. Remember Me is her reworking the phasing idea (and Mary Sue-ing her own son into some kind of space god to boot); The Host is her reifying her invention of the Trill race for the game along with a bit of Riker slashfic and even a dull-as-dirt prudish dalliance with the idea of a lesbian affair; the implication in All Good Things… that she had eventually married Jean-Luc at some point is essentially her doodling “Dr. Mrs. Beverly Picard” with a heart for the dot on the i on her 24th century Trapper Keeper. There’s probably at least a few stories that feature particularly unflattering cameos by one Katherine “Flatasski” Pulaski.)

#171 – Jiminy Cricket Go Home

27 Comments on #171 – Jiminy Cricket Go Home

Those gosh-darned Ventrusian armadas, man.

But, yes, this was the other thing I was thinking while watching If Wishes Were Horses. And, I mean, the episode goes there in the softball way Star Trek goes places, by playing ultimately with the idea that the existential threat to the station in the third act is in fact one of Dax’s imagining, but it stops short of murdering everybody with an errant thought or fundamentally rewiring the universe.

I suppose the argument is that the aliens without imagination who were responsible for the whole thing weren’t actually trying to harm anyone, but they’re beings to whom the very concept of imagination is fundamentally alien, so it’s hard to credit them with too much plausible care in this scenario. “Fascinating, they seem to have blown themselves up” feels like a pretty believable outcome if you set aside the Everything Will End Okay For Our Heroes stipulation.

(Related, but one of my favorite stories about the ramifications of imagination is Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Lathe of Heaven. If you’ve never read it, do so, it’s a wonderful bit of fiction.)

And the thing I forgot to mention in the previous strip’s writeup (and which I was trying to play with in the strip itself) is that there is, of course, a natural explanation for why Sisko didn’t imagine Jennifer coming back to life: it’s because Picard never wanted his character to have a wife, he just wanted to have had tragically lost a wife.

Having Jake running around being autonomous is bad enough, clearly.

#170 – wish in one hand, baseball in the other

16 Comments on #170 – wish in one hand, baseball in the other

Where were we? Oh right, Wes-as-Jake just sold some stuff to Wes-as-Odo. And then the holidays happened.

So, this is sort of what occurred to me during this episode: people’s secret hopes and dreams and terrors are being manifested, and Sisko, who our introduction to at the start of the show was as aggrieved widower, never once has a glimmer of Oh Right My Wife Whom I Mourn? Instead it’s more like “I, too, will talk to this baseball player.”

I mean, I’m spitballing here, not presenting this as a solid critique of the episode or anything; for one thing, it might’ve been too many moving parts; for another, Sisko’s allowed to not be an obsessive ball of grief and there’s the “he found closure in the pilot” argument for not going back to the Jennifer well yet (and it’s clearly “yet”, since they till that ground plenty in later seasons). Just sort of struck me.

Also, Bill Striker’s JAG: Nights would probably be on five nights a week on the 24th C. equivalent of basic cable.

#169 – An Abecedary of Larp Trek

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New years sort of slumping off to a slow start! We’ll get down to the game again on Monday; for now, here’s a quick joke of a strip from poor ol’ Worf, mostly as an excuse to post an alphabetical trip through 2013 (and a bit of 2012) in fond strip moments. And so:

– ~ –

A Rhyming Abecedary of Larp Trek

A is for Aquans, shot in the first strip
B is for Barclay, our recent conscript

C’s for Cardassians, lately retired
D is for Data, who auto-rewired

E’s for Exploding, which planets will do
F’s for Ferengi, who profit pursue

G is for Geordi, whose best laid plans sink
H is for Holodeck, still on the blink

I is for Interludes (fish might appear)
J is for Julian Subatoi Bashir

K is for Keiko, whom Miles has been dating
L is for Latinum, with pressed-in gold plating

M is for Morn, who is new to the game
N is for Nerys (that’s Kira’s first name)

O’s for Opaka, whom Riker suspected
P’s for Picard, who got self-introspected

Q is for Q, at whom Sisko threw knuckles
R is for Riker’s lascivious chuckles

S is for Spouse, whom poor Sisko lamented
T is for Trill, a race Bev just invented

U is for Uniforms (Miles’ was dated)
V is for Virus, which Wes simulated

W’s for Wadi, who liked to play Chula
X is for Xenomorph (Odo will fool ya)

Y is for Yuletide, when fake songs get listed
Z is for Zek, a Grand Nagus desisted