TNG: S6E18: “Starship Mine”

In which Picard is all alone in his home and you know what they say about old habits, and those garbage mashers can be trouble.

The Enterprise is docked at the Remmler array in order to cleans it of exotic radiation. During this process, it has to be evacuated. Troi is helping coordinate this, and Crusher is worried about some tissue samples that won’t survive the Baryon sweep unless Geordi rigs up some stasis storage for them. I’m not sure whether the stasis will save the samples in itself or whether that will just allow them to move the samples. Probably the latter. It’s also somewhat surprising, on this ship which is a model of efficiency, that all this wasn’t done before they arrived.

Is this Picard's Sudden Understanding face or his I Need To Change My Uniform face?

Is this Picard’s Sudden Understanding face or his I Need To Change My Uniform face?

There’s a neat moment with the turbolift here. Riker steps off, has a very brief conversation with Picard, and then the doors open again to reveal Data, giving us a sense of just how fast these move and why the only time we’ve ever seen anyone wait for one was when there were rampant time loops happening all over the ship. Also, Data is trying to make small talk. He’s actually doing a decent job of it except for Picard completely not understanding the attempt and being blindsided by it. However, Picard does give Data a valuable resource to check out.

Geordi specifies that the Enterprise has logged more than twice the typical warp-hours, so they have to install some additional safeguards due to the intensity of the sweep. Never one to be deterred by safety precautions (that’s probably a lie, but who’s keeping track?) Picard tells the computer to schedule command shutdown in 30 minutes, presuming nothing will go wrong with the installation.

Apparently, nobody likes Hutchinson and his reception, but Worf asked first and is therefore the only one who gets to skip out. Hutchinson even specifically asks for Picard. There’s a beautiful moment of emptiness as Picard walks out on the abandoned bridge. Remember he’s had this ship for a year longer than Kirk had his Enterprise, and Kirk got a little creepy about being inside her after a while. It feels like the kind of shot you’d have at a season finale if you didn’t know whether you’d get renewed. I will therefore refrain from making jokes about Picard running his hands along the curves.

It’s interrupted anyway by a crew of workers traipsing in and putting all sorts of schmutter all over the carpet. Way to ruin the moment, Undercover Tuvok.

Presented without comment.

Presented without comment.

During maintenance, everyone is off-duty and enjoying what may in fact be real drinks instead of this bloody synthohol. Data, never one to slack from his self-improvement regimen, takes the opportunity to watch Presumably-Hutchinson smarming at Beverly and working on the facial expressions. Watching Data mimic Calvin “Hutch” Hutchinson is fantastic. He has the mannerisms down, but somewhat lacking on the content side.

For a society with replicators, there’s a surprising lack of variation in the servingware. The hollow-stemmed glasses are fine for liquids, but they also seem to be serving nuts and whatnot in them, making it basically impossible to get the majority of the offerings. Also, for a society with replicators, Picard seems to forget that he can replicate a saddle. He claims that it’s a personal item he keeps around in case he randomly finds horses around, which is a little… odd. Let’s go with odd. It’s almost certainly just an excuse to leave the party.

With the dish powered down, she looks... dead.

With the dish powered down, she looks… dead.

So Picard goes fleeing back to the Enterprise to get his saddle. There’s eight minutes to go until the sweep, which means the command functions were shut off 22 minutes ago. Picard happens to see an Optical Data Network junction box open, and is threatened by one of the workers with a laser welder. He knocks the dude out and leaves him in the corridor with seven minutes before the presumably-lethal sweep. It was his fault for being on the ship. Picard tries to beam off, but the power shuts down just as he steps on the pad. The purge has started, and Picard has only one chance – get to the non-existent EVA suits and exit the ship. Or get to the escape pods which were referenced in “Cause and Effect,” which damn well better have their own independent power supplies and ejection methods in case the ship is disabled.

There’s a cute moment where Riker saves himself from Calvin “Hutch” Hutchinson and the station administrator from Data by introducing the two, and Picard being missing is passingly referenced.

Meanwhile, on the ship, Picard has found a door opener and a few other tools when the worker’s communicator goes off and finds himself face-to-laser-welder with an angry Picard. Picard tries to question him, but forgets the primary purpose of letting the guy wake up in the first place and hypos him back into unconsciousness. Then is ambushed, because this is just not his day.

"It's like watching a train wreck."

“It’s like watching a train wreck.”

Data and Hutch are still going at it when Geordi finds something strange with a table. He gets a very inelegant brush-off, which interests Riker enough to precipitate the ambush. Geordi and Hutch get shot and everyone in the room gets taken hostage. Now everyone’s a hostage, isn’t this fun?

Picard claims to be Mott the barber when taken to meat the bandit leader. He does a pretty good job of trying to look terrified while sitting in a corner in Engineering listening to their plans. Something about trilithium, which is 50% better than dilithium.

So, that VISOR is a fantastic piece of technology. I feel like I’ve mentioned this fact before, but in addition to interpreting everything on the EM spectrum and detecting particle emissions, apparently it can also be modified as a sonic weapon as well. I’d love to know how that works. It’s not like the thing ought to have speakers.

While the bandits are distracted by draining the trilithium out of the engine, Picard sabotages their efforts, causes a warp core situation that necessitates the containment doors coming down, and escapes. That’s going to bone up the timetable, particularly since the energy sweep is nearly there. Picard burns through the deck and leaves a distraction just good enough to get one of the bandits killed in what sounds like an exceptionally painful way. Or maybe that was terror, and the sudden cutoff was the vaporization.

Trilithium is volatile enough that they don’t want to cart it through the ship running from the sweep, and it’s preferable to spend the remaining twelve mintues rigging up better containment for it and risking getting hit by the angry green death wall. While they deliberate and suspect hat maybe Picard isn’t Mott the Barber, Picard goes to Worf’s quarters and takes his crossbow. Worf has a crossbow, and Picard has the bandits pegged as terrorists based on the toxicity of trilithium fallout. But really, they’re just there for the bank vault.

Engaged in asymmetrical warfare now, Picard is all about the home field advantage. He knows where Crusher keeps the things that would make a nasty poison to tip Worf’s crossbow bolts with. he knows which jeffries tube ladders to cut. He’s cutting off the access to Ten-Forward, since that’s the last place the sweep will get to, and he uses stuff from that class about improvising in survival situations to make some flash powder, too.

The time has come for the command staff to guile their way into control of the hostage situation. And by Guile I mean Riker talking his way close to the administrator and then palm-striking him in the face. I’m not sure what was accomplished by that except that there was one tiny moment where the VISOR did something visible that Bevery could have easily hidden. I think Riker just wanted to look brave in front of Deanna.

The terrorist leader’s statement about the escape ship being very small pays off when she kills her tech and doesn’t go back for the guy Picard shot and drugged. The sweep is approaching the front of the ship, the planetbound hostage team run their knockout array, and Data goes to stop the escape ship.

GOOD THING THAT TRILITHIUM IS PROPERLY STORED, HUH?

GOOD THING THAT TRILITHIUM IS PROPERLY STORED, HUH?

Picard leads the way into Ten-Forward and steps over the handy detonation strips. Using the distraction, he gets into a fight as the angry green death wall approaches, and he and the bandit leader scrap it out. She retrieves the trilithium, but now that Picard is all alone, with the other bandit presumably knocked unconscious by the blast and vaporized, he grabs his stolen comm and gets the sweep turned off after some increasingly frantic comms traffic. During the ruckus, he also managed to remove the control rod and seconds later the escape ship blows up. It what would be a triumphant moment in any action movie, Picard clearly mourns at the necessity of killing all those people, but it’s fine – at least his saddle made it.

One thought on “TNG: S6E18: “Starship Mine”

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