TNG: S2E20: “The Emissary”

In which JetBlue has really gone downhill, Worf achieves many things, and soft lighting is employed. 

I didn’t remember this episode by name until the Netflix splash screen showed me Worf making a face. There is only one time Worf makes that face. Let’s see if I’m right.

The senior staff are playing poker again, and it always strikes me that this is probably doing more to tutor Data in the ways of reading the subtleties of organic thought than any other duty. Currently, Worf is winning and Data is trash-talking. Only Pulaski stays in to the end and proves that a True Warrior does not bluff. Sadly, the game is interrupted by duty and the senior officers take over their duty stations from lesser crewmen. It always happens, and it’s always perfectly seamless, which is interesting to me. It often seems like the bank of duty stations behind tactical exist solely so that crewmen can do busywork on the bridge in case the duty officer is required for a staff meeting or away mission. Given how often those tend to happen, it’s a sensible thing to do.

In any case, the incoming emergency signal diverts the Enterprise to a specific place at all speed, and Picard makes a quip about how cryptic orders are a big flashing warning light. Their destination is a recently-colonized (34 years ago) region of space, but just a random point in space, not a colony. They will be rendezvousing with a special emissary with special orders, none of which can be discussed even on official Starfleet channels. The reason for the tricky rendezvous is that the starbase had no starships available, so the envoy is in a probe. This seems like a pretty important line – the mission has to be kind of an emergency, or they would likely have waited until a starship showed up or had the Enterprise divert there.

Don't be nervious. Being locked inside a metal coffin and shot toward an inhabited star system at 2700c is still one of the safest ways to travel.

Don’t be nervious. Being locked inside a metal coffin and shot toward an inhabited star system at 2700c is still one of the safest ways to travel.

In fact, the class 8 probe is just over 2 meters long and can be converted into a spaceborne coffin if need be, and is also designed to travel at Warp 9, saving the Enterprise six hours of travel time. The question, then, is whether a class-8 probe can somehow maintain its own warp field despite being person-sized and full of a person, or if the Federation has some kind of warp-capable launching technology. That seems like it would be kind of important as a defensive installation, if nothing else.

Looks uncomfortable, but on the plus side, enough leg room and no screaming babies.

Looks uncomfortable, but on the plus side, enough leg room and no screaming babies. So still better than Southwest Airlines.

The Enterprise manages to match velocities with the probe, lock onto it, and beam the occupant aboard. Incidentally, my math says the starbase is 1.8 light years away. They didn’t have anything nearby that could make that journey? Pulaski shows up in the transporter room, as she ought to to make sure that, not to put too fine a point on it, the occupant of the space coffin is fine. And Klingon. Or at least, half-Klingon.

BIOLOGY BREAK: No. As with Spock, whose father had blood cells that bound via copper rather than hemoglobin and whose mother was human, no.

Realism over. Back to Star Trek. K’ehleyr is brought up to the conference room, where she is introduced to the senior staff and reintroduced to Worf. They have that special disdain for each other that only comes from having seen each other naked. But on to more important things that Worf’s love poetry and ducking. Klingon High Command received a message from an ancient Klingon sleeper ship sent out during the height of the Klingon-Federation War. When they wake up, they’ll want to fight. A Klingon ship from High Command was sent to stand them down, but they might not show up in time. K’ehleyr is nominally intended to talk them down, but really there to advise Picard to destroy the ship with her there as a witness to report that it was necessary. Picard doesn’t want to blow them up, because Picard is awesome. He also assigns Worf to work with her, because he enjoys tormenting Worf.

Apparently, Klingon DNA is compatible with human, ‘with a little bit of help.’ 24th century medicine must be truly remarkable. As with all half-human half-aliens, the cultural inheritances are split right down the middle. Being half-Klingon apaprently gets you the Klingon temprament as well, although K’ehleyr tries to keep that under control. She and Worf were a couple six years ago. It’s not clear what happened between the two of them, but the subtext is that each of them thinks the other one is the person who ended it.

"Take that, table."

“Take that, table.”

Doing their homework reveals that nobody knows that the T’Ong‘s mission actually were, which Worf insists will help them come up with options, while K’ehleyr insists taht nothing but blowing them up will work. There is yelling, followed by the breaking of furniture, and not in a sexy way. Troi suggests K’ehleyr go to the holodeck to let off some steam. Apparently, there is a menu, and she finds Worf’s calisthenics program. The one where Worf almost killed Riker that one time. Worf also gets ordered off the bridge for similar reasons, and winds up in the same holodeck. Worf increases the simulation to one of the levels he told Riker was ‘too personal.’ Then there’s much stabbing and grunting. Followed by the cover of a Klingon romance novel. very ‘she was a half-breed, he was a Federation traitor, but their love killed millions’ type of thing.

Anyway, after their boinking, they have a post-coital chit-chat that ends with Worf declaring his intention to get married. Worf does not believe in one-night stands, at all. Klingon culture, at least to Worf, means that under these circumstances it’s right and proper for marriage and sex to be inextricably linked. Compare this with the attitudes of the Klingon women aboard the Pagh, where Riker was briefly stationed. It’s likely that Worf, having to get most of his Klingon culture growing up from reading, is a lot more idealized than real Klingons. He’s the perpetual Outsider.

back on the bridge, the Enterprise has arrived at where the T’Ong should be and lay in a search pattern. Apparently, no outpost in the area could stand up to even a 75-year-old Klingon warship. This seemed weird at first, but I suppose a stealth ship sent deep into Federation territory would be aimed at civilian populations,a nd after decades of peace those outposts probably wouldn’t have the latest weapons installations. Although now that I think about it, it’s also pretty impressive that the ship has kept running for 75 years without maintenance or refueling. The Klingon Empire is to be commended for their robust engineering.

Back to the main plot, if the Enterprise finds the T’Ong before they wake up, then it’s easy. They just keep the cryogenics going. If not, then even trying to disable the Klingons will result in their self-destruction. A plan has not, however, been decided on by the time the Enterprise detects the Klingon D-7 hull. We don’t know whether they’re awake or not until it opens fire. This isn’t a difficult fight for the Enterprise, and it takes the opening salvo without much fuss, as it ought to. I would expect shields and weapons technology to have continued to advance along with sensors. Still, the Klingons have a cloaking device.

As far as tactics go, the shields seem to be able to take a beating without difficulty, so even if there isn’t some flaw in the cloaking device of that generation that is no longer classified, the Enterprise would be able to blow the T’Ong out of the sky once it decloaks to fire. Of course, if it makes a tactical withdrawal to to take care of its pimary mission, that’s at least one dead outpost.

Luckily, Geordi can find a chink in the cloaking field by following gamma ray emissions. Worf, though, finally figures out another option. We know it’s going to work because they don’t describe the plan out loud.

I would watch this show.

I would watch this show.

Not a bad plan, as it turns out. Better than having Worf on-duty at tactical, because if he’s serving the Federation he’s no true Klingon. But as a captain, he commands respect immediately, at least enough to actually parlay long enough for Worf to carry out his diplomatic alternative. As we say, Klingons do not bluff.

K’ehleyr is to go over to the Klingon ship to start acclimating them to the 24th century, leaving only another romance novel moment between the two of them. They declare the true feelings they were too afraid to say before, and we kind of want to give Worf a hug.




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