TNG: S5E05: “Disaster”

In which Troi is left in charge, Data gives good head, and a new crew member arrives. 

"Meet Uncle Riker, baby William."

“Meet Uncle Riker, baby William.”

The Entertprise has finished an assignment and they’re not due to begin their next one for a few days, so O’Brien and Keiko have plenty of time to argue about their baby’s name. Riker does his best to reliev the tension by suggesting they name it after him instead. It’s also notable that Keiko and Miles do not actually know the sex of the baby. Hopefully someone did a prenatal screening and they just chose not to ask. Interesting that the tradition of mystery has persisted, though.

Other things of small consequence are happening. Crusher is pestering Geordi to be in one of her musical productions, and apparently has a cure for pitchiness. Picard has somehow overlooked the fact that the prize for winning the shipboard science fair is that the children get to be on the bridge. Marrissa, Jay Gordon, and Patterson can clearly tell that Picard is thrilled to give them a tour and isn’t awkward at all around them. It’s at least good to know that despite the fact that some kids learn calculus at age 8, many of them remain as doofy as ever. Patterson’s science fair project was planting radishes in special dirt so that they ‘came up all weird.’ Jay Gordon studied some mayflies, and Marissa can apparently crash turbolifts with her mind.

Either that or the ship crashed into a giant spiderweb/quantum filament. All the power is down and Troi is the ranking officer on the bridge. In fact, the only other member of the main or recurring cast is Miles O’Brien. Jury’s still out on whether he’s actually an officer who’s been to the academy, but we at least know that he has plenty of crisis experience. Time for Troi to learn how to command, and it’s nice that she has a good crew to lean on in these trying times.

"Huh. I didn't know I believed in hell, but clearly I am in it."

“Huh. I didn’t know I believed in hell, but clearly I am in it.”

One thing that’s bothering me is if the ship could sense the approach of the second quantum filament, why couldn’t it avoid the first one, or at least warn everyone to get into emergency shelters and away from explosive conduits? One thing that’s bothering Picard is that he’s trapped in a turbolift full of crying children. Also his leg is broken. Note that even with ship’s systems so shut down that the communicators don’t work, they still have emergency lights and gravity. Now, it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to put backup batteries everywhere, since without them the ship is just pitch-black. But the gravity? Now, I know what you’re thinking. If the gravity goes down in an emergency, then space-suited figures in magnetic boots could easily beam aboard and shoot the Chancellor. But you’d think at least they’d have the fail-safe be that the gravity in the turbolift shafts defaults to ‘off’ on a 40-story ship.

Ro makes it to the bridge by climbing up a turbolift shaft. It seems the computer is up enough to have sensed a hull breach and closed some emergency bulkheads. O’Brien and Ro are in fact taking charge of the situation, but yes, it’s confirmed that Troi, since she carries the rank of LtC, is senior officer. Se’s a good enough officer to know when she’s out of her depth and request suggestions. Ensign Ro and Crewman Mendel have the exact same pips on their collars, but one of them is an officer and one not so much. Rank structure and insignia in Starfleet is weird. 

In Ten Forward, Riker and Data set up an emergency medical shelter since they’re cut off from Sick Bay and then start to make their way to engineering. In the cargo bay, Crusher somehow senses that a wall is hot before Geordi does despite the fact that he can see in the infrared spectrum oh god what is wrong with this episode. Will someone please put the human drama writers in the same friggin’ room as the science writers? Anyway, there’s a plasma fire which starts to turn a stable substance they’re carrying into an explosive one.

Back in the Turbolift, Picard starts giving the kids field commissions in order to stop them from wailing and moaning about how everyone is going to die. Marissa, as the oldest, gets to be firs officer. Jay Gordon, who studied life sciences, gets to be science officer. Patterson gets to be Executive Officer In Charge of Radishes. I wish I was making that up. Patterson might be a little slow. Or six.

Okay, but you couldn't have had him lock his knees, taken off his head, and just kind of dangled him intot he arc instead, thus protecting the only irreplaceable thing in his body?

Okay, but you couldn’t have had him lock his knees, taken off his head, and just kind of dangled him intot he arc instead, thus protecting the only irreplaceable thing in his body?

I don’t like to complain this much any more, but we’re jumping around between scenes and a lot of the rigor seems to have drained out of the technobabble, but long story short there are a lot of minor challenges thatthe crew are more-or-less dealing with. For example, in order to interrupt an electrical arc, Data stands in the way and shorts it out. He insists that his brain will be fine and Riker can carry Data’s head with him as a backup computer. They don’t bother to take Data’s head off first to make sure it’s safe, though. Geordi and Crusher have to move some cargo across the room by hand. Worf is in sick bay directing medical efforts. Troi, currently, doesn’t know what she’s doing and is learning fast from Ro and O’Brien. It’s going to be like this until further notice.

And so it goes. As each micro-crew faces new challenges, they begin to jury-rig solutions. Picard uses some fiberoptic cabling as a rope to get everyone out of the lift. Geordi and Crusher open the cargo bay to space to put out the fire. Worf and Keiko have plenty of alcohol to sterilize wounds, and plenty of napkins to behave as towels for when Keiko goes into labor oh look there she goes.

It was inevitable that Ro and O’Brien would start giving contradictory advice eventually, and it’s up to Troi to make command decisions. She has priveleged information regarding the survival status of the rest of the crew, and chooses to divert power to Engineering in case someone is still alive there to be able to do something about the imminent warp core breach. This would be a terrible decision if she didn’t have information about life signs on the rest of the ship.

Starfleet has an emergency medical course for child delivery which includes a holographic simulation, which Worf has completed. Sadly, Keiko is a month premature, the baby hasn’t turned yet, so it’s going to be a fun ride for both of them. Speaking of fun rides, Geordi and Crusher are going to have to walk across the depressurized cargo bay in order to repressurize it because somehow this function can’t be done from the same panel that lowers the force field who designed this farkakte system?

Things I learned from Star Trek: I would make a way better UX designer than anyone alive in the 24th century.

This is the joke from the summary.

This is the joke from the summary.

It’s been a while since we heard from Data and Riker. They’ve made it to engineering and are making good use of a spare USB 23.0 cable, the bridge power, and the modular quality of Soong-type android construction. They figure out pretty quickly that there’s something drastically wrong and rush to fix it. Data stabilizes the antimatter containment field moments after Troi should have separated the saucer section. Fortunately, she’s not good at lifeboath ethics.

The danger is over for almost everyone. All that’s left is for Worf to help Keiko give birth. Apparently, the emergency simulation course doesn’t actually cover situations where anything goes wrong. Fortunately, all of the things that could have gone wrong don’t, and everyone lives with a minimum of blood everywhere.

2 thoughts on “TNG: S5E05: “Disaster”

  1. Pingback: Worlds in a Blender | TNG: S7E16: “Thine Own Self”

  2. Pingback: Worlds in a Blender | TNG: S7E12: “The Pegasus”

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