Welcome to Star Trek Simulation Forum

Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to contribute to this site by submitting your own content or replying to existing content. You'll be able to customize your profile, receive reputation points as a reward for submitting content, while also communicating with other members via your own private inbox, plus much more! This message will be removed once you have signed in.


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

0 Neutral

About Sorehl

  • Birthday 04/05/1970

Contact Methods

  • AIM
  • ICQ

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Interests
    Arrested Development, Lost, Battlestar Galactica, Strong Bad, Tchiakovsky, Los Straitjackets, GPS, snopes.com, KOTOR, MST3K/Rifftrax, inventing starbases, freakish devotion to continuity, aerospace
  1. While the amount and duration are the big breakthroughs, we've been able to create antimatter for more than 50 years. Note that the amounts were still on the order of individual particles and the durations were just fractions of a second. Then consider that it takes megawatts just to power up the CERN superconducting supercollider. That's enough to power a small city. And finally, when the antimatter was annihilated, it didn't blow up a chunk of Switzerland. So you're looking at a huge amount of energy to create... a fairly inconsequential amount of energy. You don't ever get more energy out than you started with, in fact, usually much less. Antimatter as a fuel depends on the annihilation of its mass, but if you have to put energy in to make it, you'll never get more from the later annihilation. Combustion engines and fission reactors work because you start with fuel that already has energy bound in it, that you're liberating. Not so with generated antimatter. Even in Trek terms, antimatter isn't magic. The trick isn't making it and then using it - there'd always be a net loss, so that's not any good as an energy source. The old Next Generation Tech Manual highlighted this by having the Enterprise carry an antimatter generator, but one that "cost" ten atoms of deuterium for every one anti-deuterium made. The real trick would be finding sources where it already exists and then containing it. Not unlike finding and using fossil fuels. Magnetic bottles have been devised for containment, as in the CERN experiment, but the real problem is that antimatter extinguishes itself when it comes in contact with matter, so where would you find it? To the consternation of cosmologists, our observable universe seems to be fairly unbalanced toward matter. Yet there may be an exploitable source of antimatter. Hawking theorizes that black holes might be one. According to quantum theory, free energy will suddenly and randomly turn into opposite particles of matter and antimatter, which drift apart, then pull themselves back and annihilate each other, returning to the previous energy state. This is called a quantum fluxuation. If during this process, the matter particle fell into the event horizon of a black hole, we'd have an unpaired antimatter particle that could presumably be collected. But how often does this happen? How often could you capture the results? Would a collector expend so much energy just sitting near the edge of a black hole to make it a worthless exercise? I know, who asked me to bring my wet blanket to the party? My point is, we're a long way from antimatter being a cheap fuel. Making it will never be a viable energy trade, although it might help spaceflight by being a lightweight, condensed form of fuel. But it would cost more to make it than you'd get out of it. Laws of thermodynamics and such. If you're looking for Earthbound alternate sources, go for fusion.
  2. I had considered limiting this question to an e-mail topic among the technobabble-minded, but realized that: 1) I didn't know who that was, and 2) I didn't know if that was the group that would have the best answer. And so, I pose the following: Just how does a civilization advance/stumble toward discovering subspace? One might imagine this depends on answering the question "What is subspace?" but I don't think it's absolutely necessary to know the latter to consider the former. Still, it might, but I think that's a different topic. Trek offers us sufficient description in saying it's a medium by which things can go faster-than-light. We've learned that Starfleet uses the development of warp drive as a marker of technical sophistication, a criteria for first contact. But warp drive would seem to depend on a civilization discovering subspace, or at least coming up with the theory that expands physics beyond Einstein's speed limit. With science, you often discover something after theorizing it exists to explain an observation. With that in mind, is there an observable or unexplained phenomena that subspace would solve? (Dark matter, dark energy, the popularity of Jersey Shore?) And how would you try to find subspace, once you've theorized it exists? Or did Zephram Cochrane just skip theory and start slamming matter and antimatter together, serendipitously finding "things to make us go"? I'm trying to envision a species just on the verge of warp drive, but wondering how they jump that gap from "too primative" 21st Century tech to being capable of getting the attention of passing Vulcan ships. I'd be interested in others' thoughts...
  3. Of course, the problem isn't just limited to transporters. In assessing adherence to canon, the essential question is: do I stick with what the series tells me or try an alternate explanation that makes more sense (at least to me)? The answer for a simming community is almost always "stick with the canon". Why? It's like having a dictionary onhand during Scrabble. I may not agree that there are 96 acceptable two-letter word combinations, but they're documented for everyone to see. Oh, I can add a few house rules about what's unacceptable, but unless I document or review each and every one, I may surprise a player and rightfully get called for being "arbitrary" or "unfair". I admit I ignore a couple of outright onscreen canon items like VOY:Threshold and it's overly-simplistic, generally absurd use of the Warp 10 barrier. I tend to ignore "outliers" that are grossly inconsistent with other established canon, like Admiral Morrow's statement (STIII:TSFS) about the Enterprise being "20 years old" in 2285. It ignores established details like Spock serving onboard for 13 years before the five-year mission, wihch itself ended about 15 years before TSFS. But in these cases, there are usually singular episodes or comments that I'm dismissing. With transporters, the series just makes too many repeated references to molecular imaging scanners, matter streams, and pattern buffers to argue that transport doesn't involve the breakdown of the original target. While it's attractive to consider a subspace shunting, with a Boolean moment of here/there, we see numerous onscreen occasions where the beam-out place blows up well before our heroes reappear on the pad - requiring cross-circuiting to B and all. Consider also, the series made mention of an alternate transport method (TNG: The High Ground) called "subspace folding" that sounds a lot like what the referenced paper describes. Frankly, it sounded so good they had to invent a plot device that it's eventually harmful to living tissue so it's not viable long-term. There's also the issue of what "makes sense" to one player versus another. I can't believe it would ever be efficient to use a replicator except to make the most expensive or difficult-to-construct items. You might only have to break covalent electromagnetic bonds to disassemble a person and re-form them, but CHANGING bulk matter into other elements means adding and subtracting strong and weak nuclear forces - the amount contained in a few kilograms of uranium can level and irradiate a city. I like to imagine Treknology that works, but I reach limits where I must finally accede and repeat to myself "it's just a show, I should really just relax." It's even worse when canon itself has irreconcilable (or at least implausible) contradictions. There are multiple fan attempts to explain how warp speeds can be determined, and I don't believe any of them. I've done the math and compared the episodes until I'm convinced: it takes as long as the plot requires. Trek canon is far from perfect and few people are likely to agree to the same content and interpretation (and yes, there's a very real world counterpart there). But it does offer a frame of reference. And from there, as they say, the sky's hardly the limit.
  4. If unclear, the above joint log takes place on Camelot Station in the time between sims, but before the addendums to the logs "Making Trouble" and "Memos".
  5. It does sorta depend on what definition of "worst" I go with. If it's watchability, I shudder at "And the Children Shall Lead". Yuck. "The Way to Eden" comes next, even if I find myself singing "Headin' down to Eden, yea, brother" for days. If it's pure storyline confusion, I gotta go with "The Alternative Factor". (Not to mention the laughable Fu Manchu that Lazarus sports.) If it's bad science, it's "Spock's Brain" - although not the whole episode. The bridge scene where Kirk considers which planet they should search is almost like a TNG conference room scene. He gets input from Sulu and Chekov and Uhura in ways we don't usually see. And the technology of the Teacher is actually pretty cool. "The Mark of Gideon" comes in second - a planet so overpopulated that people are pressed up against the windows, but has room to build an exact duplicate of the Enterprise. Right. If it's out-dated social commentary, "Turnabout Intruder" offends me every time I watch it. The implication that women aren't capable of leadership like starship command and need to "accept their place" was outdated even in the 60's. Sad that this was the last TOS episode. As for moments of acting badness, my kids still thrill at shouting "IIIIIIII'm Captain Kirk!" with Shatner's wide-eyed, teeth-gritting mannerisms in "The Enemy Within". (My personal favorite is curling up with balled fists to shout, "Stop it! Stop it! You're KILLING heeeeeeerrrrr!" from "Gamesters of Triskellion")
  6. As a Vulcan, he would never permit himself to embrace an emotion as self-indulgent as frustration. That did not mean Sorehl couldn't identify where it would have otherwise appeared, if it weren't for his self-discipline. Nine months. It had been late last year when he had spoken on Camelot Station to Lieutenant Victria, offering her people the assistance of private Federation citizens in their struggles against the Scorpiad. The Al-Ucard security officer had been receptive, offering her knowledge of surviving contacts in the ruling councils. In the intervening time, Sorehl had exerted himself with ruthless efficiency from his home on Avalon. Systematically, he had plied the discreet channels Victria had offered, reaching out to each of the still-surviving contacts and advising them of resources he could offer. Nine ineffectual months. In what should have been time to give birth to a strengthened resistance through tactical advice, medical aid, and political support, his efforts had instead met repeated rebuffs, polite refusals, and mild surprise. Some of the Al-Ucard had offered thanks, but cautiously implied that help was already being received. One leader had even said, somewhat bemusedly, that his call had been "expected, but ultimately unnecessary". The logic of such a statement escaped him. Sorehl was unaware of any successful inroads that had been made into Scorpiad space by Federation citizens, but it was not impossible. Still, he had gained no details on how to provide additional help. The Al-Ucard had simply praised his interest and suggested he channel his efforts elsewhere. It was true that reports from inside the Scorpiad rebellion had grown less grim, he knew, but it was hard to tell if this was because the situation was improving or because there were fewer survivors to provide accounts. He'd been disinclined to let an absence of knowledge paralyze his efforts. Unyielding, Sorehl had simply changed tactics, seeking to increase Federation awareness of the chaos and instability that could easily spill through the wormhole. He had prompted a number of his own diplomatic contacts - Ambassador shiKatsu Raumuk, Ambassador Joy Seven, Governor K'Vorlag - to encourage a shift in popular opinion that would favor intervention. He'd even presumed on his good relations with the Ferengi government to encourage their involvement, but those pleas remained unanswered. Sadly, his influence as a decorated member of the Order of Damar was hampered by the treaty restrictions that prevented Cardassia from entangling itself in Gamma Quadrant politics. His one clear success: he'd noticed a number of anonymous essays and commentaries openly challenging the Federation Council about ignoring the plight of races under Scorpiad and Dominion oppression. The unattributed nature of these writings, as well as familiar phrasing, suggested they were the work of Starfleet officers attempting to offer private opinions without compromising their apolitical roles. But was it enough? The Scorpiad remained at civil war, even if muted. If the Al-Ucard were unwilling to accept his help against their foes, perhaps it was time to aid those races who sought freedom from their Vorta overlords and Jem-Hadar enforcers? It was clear the Dominion was showing the stress of holding together its empire. Shouldn't the Federation help liberate those who sought it? Or would such assistance merely play into the hands of rebels like the Hundred? His friend and colleague, Commander John Blair, had recently announced he was stepping down as first officer of Camelot Station. The human's career move was unrelated to the political struggles of the Gamma Quadrant, but it personalized the erosion of Sorehl's influence in this remote section of the galaxy. He had never exploited the human's obvious loyalty to their years of service together, nor would he, but it was another example of losing one who'd helped forge the peace of recent years. No longer an active Starfleet officer, Sorehl had been drawn into diplomatic conflicts against his will. There was his recommendation to have Aegis withdrawn from Cardassian space. There'd been the negotiations with the Ferengi. Semil had taunted him for being involved in such matters while letting the Federation fail to uphold its ideals in the Gamma Quadrant. The Vorta had actually tried to shame him for being one of those willing to let others be "denied the liberties they claimed to cherish". Arguments of passion from such a hypocritical source could hold little weight against logic. But Sorehl could not deny their persuasiveness. He had hoped to speak of his concerns with Corizon during the captain's convalescence, but a constant vigil by his yeoman had left no opportunity for a private audience. And now Excalibur was gone again, bearing away the few officers he might have consulted for a fresh perspective. Whatever his actions, he concluded, it seemed they were bound to be his alone.
  7. Isn't this one of those phrases that can never be used correctly, like "Here's a man who needs no introduction" or "it goes without saying"? So, since I must admit I am trying to debate, I'd have to say the Romulan is the best acted character and above all, he LOOKS the part. I could see him plucked out of this group and showing up in a Trek movie. I liked the doctor, but they could scale back the "Colonel O'Neill" like quips just a little. The others did fine, certainly better than the first season of TNG; if they keep going, they may ease into their lines and technobabble. But they need to find some way to avoid making every conversation a drama scene - again, time will tell. Best I've seen since Phase II. Good find, Jorahl.
  8. Clearly, Aries have an affinity toward superior science fiction products.
  9. DS9 remains my favorite of the Trek series. It's hard to say exactly why, since it possessed neither the best Trek characters (TOS and TNG), nor many of the best one-shot episodes (again, TOS and TNG). I think it's because it actually stayed with its stories and dealt with the ramifications. Kirk or Picard could run into a new all-powerful energy race or bad guy one week and then we'd never see them again. (But when they DID go back - Mudd, Best of Both Worlds, Q - those were some superior episodes.) DS9 took two new species, the Bajorans and Cardassians - neither if which I initially cared for - and spent seven years adding richness and detail to them. How I wish we knew as much about Vulcans after five series and 11 movies! They also made the Ferengi - which were so unworkable that TNG punted them as the new bad guys after the first season - into a species that reflected well against the perfect Federation. Later, they expanded the Klingons just as much as TNG did. Then, over the course of a five year arc, they added the greatest threat the Federation has ever faced onscreen - the Dominion. (Yes, and I include the Borg since they got so sissified and easily defeatable by the time VOY was finished with them.) The Dominion were a flip-side Federation that were never truly defeated, just driven from the Alpha Quadrant. And then there were deliciously ambiguous characters like Garak and Weyoun. There are Trek fans who didn't care for the Dominion war arc itself, which is understandable, but I still marvel (not to get too political) at how prescient it was with the concept of how war strains the limits of a democracy. And Ron Moore took those ideas right over to BSG, where they blossomed. Trek has always had one-shot episodes about social and political issues that were either obvious (TOS "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield", "A Private Little War"), ridiculously one-sided (TNG: "Force of Nature") or deeply compelling (DS9: "In the Pale Moonlight"). I still think about cautionary messages from DS9 episodes. My contributions to Aegis and Excalibur have bene largely centered on continuing that series' races, themes, and context. I think it's that staying power that gives DS9 the edge in my ranking. But Spock is still the best. Since I was a boy, he has been and always will be Star Trek to me.
  10. Sorehl eased the kal'athri into its padded case. It was a larger instrument and less well known than the ka'athyra - the Vulcan lyre - but it was the one his parents had urged him toward in his youth. With a return to civilian life two years ago, he'd renewed an interest when encouraging the musical talents of his three elder daughters. He slung the case over his right shoulder, then pulled his short cloak over the strap. Nodding to the few patrons he knew in the Vulcan establishment, he stepped out onto the upper level of the Commercial Concourse. The exit placed him near the top of the massive viewports that spanned three decks. The starship Excalibur had already departed, although it wouldn't have been visible from this vantage in any case - the drydocks and umbilical connections were thirty-five decks below in the D-Ring. To his knowledge, only the small escort Reliant remained berthed, although he was aware the starship Yorktown was due for a layover in the coming days. Sorehl stepped onto one of the dedicated Concourse lifts, since the main transporter complex was only two levels down. As the open car descended, he reflected on his interchange with Lieutenant Victria and what would come next. Their conversation had been an acknowledgement that the situation in the Gamma Quadrant was destabilizing. The Federation might refuse to acknowledge it, but Scorpiad territory had degenerated into a full-magnitude, if slow-paced, civil war. The Al-Ucard were not faring well. "Starfleet, of course," he'd assured her, "must yield to the command directives it is given - it cannot interfere with what has been deemed an 'internal matter of the Scorpiad Empire' by the Council." But he went on, adding that "ordinary Federation citizens, unencumbered by military regulation, were not bound by such political non-interference directives." He stepped off the lift, moving towards the center of the station and away from the outer hub. Those outer areas of the ring were blocked off by the entrances of Embassy Row. Even "unencumbered", there were still bounds. The help he could offer Victria's beleaguered people was limited. There were only a handful of loosely connected, concerned individuals willing to enter Scorpiad space. It would be illegal for them to provide weapons; on a personal level, he did not condone it either. They could make no commitments of military equipment or Starfleet deployments. As ordinary citizens of the Federation, they could do little more than offer their personal skills. They could provide medical supplies and the services of charitable organizations. They could try to expose conditions to a wider audience and encourage a shift of political will in the Alpha Quadrant toward intervention in this distant part of the galaxy. For him, as a former Starfleet officer, even some of those limited options weren't available. His knowledge of classified information, dated in his years since entering the Reserves, still made it problematic to travel in foreign space. His knowledge of tactics and aeronautical engineering offered secrets that competing powers might try to wrest from him. It would be unwise to travel in unaligned space without elaborate precautions to safeguard such information. That would involve Vulcan disciplines and internal biometric protections - things that would make this knowledge unavailable to him consciously. At this point, there was no pressing need for it. But it did mean relegation to little more than administrative support and coordination. As a Vulcan, he considered himself ideally suited to such a role. Passing the onboard hospital and the Main Security substation, he nodded at some of the officers who recognized him from previous years of service. He had no doubt his future activities would be frowned upon by the new regime. It was a cliché to find fault with one's successor, but Vice-Admiral Abronvonvich was clearly cast from the militant mold. He was no diplomat. Sorehl blinked. That was a phrase he generally reserved for describing himself, he mused, or rather, what he was not. Ironically, it was Semil who had prompted him toward such action, although the Vorta had undoubtedly intended the focus to be on his own disputed part of the Quadrant. The Dominion was slowly losing grip on their own empire. Starfleet remained complicit in containing knowledge that the Founders no longer ruled their subjects, but the secret couldn't last. Starfleet had further upheld their former enemy by seeking out an instrument to regain contact with the shapeshifters in their isolation - the classified mission that had taken Excalibur nearly a year to complete. The Hundred, previously restrained in their rebellion, made it clear they would not tolerate such a tacit alliance. Before ending their presence on Camelot Station, Semil had made one last appearance at his home on Avalon, using his own form of logic to suggest Sorehl had a duty to promote the "liberties he claimed to espouse". It was the Vorta who had confirmed that there were already independent Federation citizens at work in Dominion space - stimulating independence, encouraging resistance, offering new values, and perhaps even fomenting rebellion. Some were offering dissenting opinions in the Federation press. Semil had been cryptic, but implied he was leaving Camelot to join those forces. Sorehl had rejected an invitation to join him. He gripped the strap of the instrument case as he entered the transporter queue. He passed his civilian identification by the entry sensor, although the Andorian lieutenant nodded recognition. He stepped onto the raised pad. Over the past few months, rumors of discontent between the Scorpiad and their servitor races had grown more frequent. Although his wife Ambassador T'Salik remained a representative to the arachnid race on Camelot, their mutual sense of duty would not permit a violation of the strict rules about sharing classified information. He had neither requested nor learned anything from her. Similarly, Sorehl had made no attempts to gain information from those formerly under his command, having no desire to impose on any emotional sense of loyalty they might harbor. Despite his lack of access to official intelligence, the Vorta Semil had used their informal meetings to confirm the destruction of Eritan and Al-Ucard forces, colonies, even worlds. Unbeknownst to Semil, the discussions had worked. Genocide, it seemed, did not sit well on the Vulcan brow. As a private citizen, he could not ignore it, especially under the thin guise of maintaining status quo. At the console, Lieutenant shiKren Staso slid the controls. The constituent atoms of the Vulcan's frame obeyed the governing physics and dematerialized, sending his essence and its connected will onto its next destiny.
  11. In the darkness, the Vulcan and his oldest daughter sat on the grassy hill, looking skyward. Not far from them, where the ground leveled out, two other girls squeezed in closer to the tripod which held a rudimentary refractory telescope. Oblivious to their interest in the heavens, a toddling boy stumbled in dizzying circles around them, occasionally bumping into their legs and falling to the grass. "You've got it centered?" the father asked. The taller girl near the telescope nodded. "I can see the station," T'Ael described, "but I don't see anything else." She thumbed a control on the tripod display and brushed a blonde hair from her delicately pointed ear. "Camelot is large enough to reflect sunlight," Sorehl explained, "but the drydocks are free-floating and lack surface area. They may be difficult to locate visually." The younger girl twisted her mouth before speaking. "It's weird to think we can see somewhere we used to live up in space," T'Jen remarked, putting her hands on her hips. Sorehl raised an eyebrow. 'Weird' was obviously a descriptor his eight-year-old had picked up from visits with Blair and his family. "The station holds a geosynchronous orbit," he explained, "so it remains in the same spot in the sky." He glanced toward his oldest daughter T'Kel, remembering earlier experiences sharing astronomical observations with her. "This makes it easy to locate, even when we can't see it easily." Avalon had no moon, but its sister planet Tintagel was bright and close enough to fill a sizable portion of the sky, obscuring nighttime observations. Tonight, there was no such appearance. "Why isn't it directly overhead, T'Ael?" His eleven-year-old daughter turned and looked back, the hint of a frown on her face. "Doesn't it orbit the middle?" she answered, a slight questioning in her voice. Sorehl nodded. "Essentially correct," he confirmed. "The ground trace of a geosynchronous orbit is above the equator. We live twenty degrees north, so we must incline the scope to offset the difference." He gestured toward the tripod. "Do you notice the starfield moves behind it?" T'Ael and T'Jen both leaned in toward the viewer. "Yeah," said the younger. Sorehl turned to his oldest daughter. "Why?" T'Kel barely hesitated. "The stars are fixed, but the station moves as the planet rotates," she answered. "Since our scope is locked on Camelot, we see apparent motion in the background." Her father inclined his head. "Very good," he offered, inwardly pleased that she had learned her lessons well. Off to the left, there was the gentle sound of a door opening, followed by graceful footsteps. Sorehl glanced toward the house, its windows darkened. His wife was moving out on the flagstone balcony, their infant daughter cradled in one arm. She had returned from the station only a few hours earlier, having endured another round of Scorpiad briefings as part of her continuing diplomatic duties. T'Salik looked out over the gathered group and simply sat, not disturbing them. Beside him, his daughter stirred. "There it is, I think," T'Kel observed, pointing. Low, toward the southeastern horizon, a steady point of light - not quite as bright as Camelot - moved upward. He sat up, directing his attention toward the two at the telescope. "You'll want to reduce magnification to see the approach," he counseled. He stretched out his arms, waving his son toward him. T'Ael picked up the display and made adjustments. Sorehl placed his squirming son on his knee, pointing toward the slowly moving light. "Can you see it?" he asked. There was a silence below before T'Ael finally answered, "There it is." "Now, you can narrow in as it closes," he instructed. Beside her sister, T'Jen stood on her toes. "That's it," she announced triumphantly, "I see it!" Sorehl continued watching unaided until the two points merged, then looked down the hill toward the scope display. Onscreen, he could see a shape looking like an Akira-class starship easing into berth. T'Jen turned around, her hands back on her hips. "Did you really serve on that ship, daddy?" Sorehl set his son down as he rolled to his knees, then got to his feet. "No," he shook his head, "I served on two of her predecessors - ships of the same name." Before rising to command on Aegis, his only starship assignment had been on the Excalibur-A as an ensign in tactical systems. After years of starbase-related duty, he had then served briefly as interim chief engineer on the Excalibur-B before taking command of Camelot Station. He gripped his son Sawyek by the hand. "Very well, let's turn off the display," he directed, "and get you ready for bed." He spoke to several of them at once. He looked back to T'Kel, who had laid back and was still looking up at the sky. He let her stay as he herded the others toward the house. * * * * * On the balcony, Ambassador T'Salik watched her husband and children approach. The expected moment of Excalibur's return had been no secret, but the nature and result of their mission certainly was. Or rather, she corrected herself, it was supposed to be. In meeting with her husband, Semil had admitted he knew that Excalibur quest was to seek an instrument to contact the Founders. The Vorta had intimate knowledge of events, suggesting the Hundred had a spy in Dominion Intelligence or on the ship itself. Although she had done nothing to confirm her husband's report, she knew the Hundred had threatened to reveal the Founder's absence if they were excluded from use of the device. The fear was, of course, what the Jem'Hadar would do when faced with such knowledge. She shifted the newborn T'Riel in her arm, hearing the baby snurgle in her sleep. Given the cost, she realized, no one would let it come to such an illogical conclusion.
  12. Different subject, but building on the previous post's mention of weak plot elements... First, I remind others that I enjoyed the new Trek film. But it was far from perfect, and I don't mean in a nit-picky continuity way (since the alternative timeline does away with most such concerns rather neatly). I wondered if anyone else shared my observations. Since we've let the film prosper and lauded its noteworthy elements, has enough time passed to offer a critical commentary on things we DIDN'T like and that we hope they do better on next time? And is this the right thread to post it on (since it would be riddled with spoilers)?
  13. Actually, I thought this picture made Nero look more like John Crichton from Farscape. But I have to agree, the Countdown story is weak - the Enterprise interferes in internal Romulan politics, the Vulcans are vindictive cutouts, the Romulans don't even try to save themselves, and Picard makes outright stupid tactical decisions. It seemed more like a shotgun attempt to explain some of the more glaring unexplained "why's" of the movie - red matter, a super-supernova that threatens the whole galaxy, Nero somehow blaming Spock and the Federation for the loss of Romulus in a natural disaster - and actually wound up emphasizing how weak those plot elements were. The comic book story hinges on the fact that Vulcan decides not to help save Romulus and her countless billions just to preserve a military capability. Hmmm, not a bunch of altruistic IDIC-minded pacifists after all, eh? The comic also emphasized the amazing red matter. Vulcans can produce the stuff - a single drop can create a magic black hole capable of sucking in all the energy of a super-supernova AFTER it explodes AND has time-travel possibilities that don't crush ships passing through them. For some reason, Spock brings along enough to wipe out the whole galaxy, when its clear "a little dab'll do ya". Red matter is just another plot weakness the comic winds up emphasizing. It's appearances in the film are brief enough to (almost) suspend one's disbelief, but not in Countdown. Beyond the cameos of canon characters now wielding huge importance as individuals, Countdown threw in a favorite hack fanfic element: a ship with Borg technology grafted into it. Which makes perfect sense for a mining ship, especially one built by Romulans with a well-deserved superiority complex for their own engineering and who've had little canon-based involvement with the Borg. It's good material for a comic book, but not a story for the ages. It never explains why Nero doesn't make it his first priority to make sure the super-supernova doesn't happen BEFORE his vendetta on Vulcan and Earth. I liked the bit about Nero's trident being an important Romulan symbol, but it's contrived how he gets it.
  14. Trek has several references to unofficial first contacts, like the Ferengi at Roswell in 1947, and early alien visitation from the Olympian gods, but the generally recognized human first contact with alien species was between Zephram Cochrane and a Vulcan ship in Bozeman, Montana on April 5, 2063. By generally recognized, I mean within the Trek continuity itself, since First Contact Day was mentioned in VOY: Homestead as the celebration of this historic event. (Memory Alpha has an entry on this under the subject "First Contact Day".) The result of this contact was generally favorable, although there are claims that humans begrudged the Vulcans for not sharing the entirety of their technology and possibly retarding their own progress. Ultimately, such tensions were largely resolved by the eventual formation of the United Federation of Planets almost a century later in 2161.
  15. This is the divergence point that begins the ENT episode "Through a Mirror Darkly" - one of the really outstanding Enterprise episodes of their final season.