Broken Bow

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Keckler: B | Grade It Now!
Yesterday's Enterprise

The two crewmen weave in and out of other crewmembers hanging down from corridor ceilings, passing orders back and forth, causing circuits to shower sparks. "No doubt Mr. Tucker will reassure me my equipment will be here tomorrow: 'Keep yer shurt on, Lewtenent,'" Reed says in an exaggerated Southern accent. Mayweather asks him if he notices whether the artificial gravity feels "a bit heavy." Reed seems to think it feels okay, saying, "Earth sea level," by way of verification. Mayweather clasps his hands behind his back and says, "My father always kept it at point eight g," locking the Exposition Tractor Beam on his space travel background: "Thought it put a little spring in his step." Reed helps him redirect the Exposition Tractor Beam by saying, "After being raised on cargo ships, it must've felt like you had lead in your boots when you got to Earth."

They enter the Engineering Chamber, made up of steel tubes, catwalks, and ladders around a large pink-glowing warp core. A Southern accent says, "Beautiful! Lock it off right there," Ah, this must be Chief Engineer Charlie "Trip" Tucker III. I don't know how comfortable I'd feel if my Chief Engineer had somehow earned himself the nickname "Trip." Trip runs across a catwalk and down suspension steps to the front of the glowing warp core. He pats a capped technician on the shoulder and surveys the readings on the core. Whipping out a handkerchief, Trip polishes the edge of the warp core. "You missed a spot," Reed teases him from below. Trip turns around with a smile to greet his fellow accented crewmember. "Commander Tucker, Ensign Travis Mayweather, he just arrived," Reed says in introducing them. "Our 'Space Boomer,'" Trip says, reaching down to shake Mayweather's hand. Mayweather asks how fast Trip "has gotten her." "Warp four," Trip drawls, looking fondly at his core, "we'll be going to four-five soon's we clear Jupiter -- think you can handle it?" Mayweather grins, "Four point five?" and laughs incredulously. I just love how naively excited they are about going five-point-five slower than Picard's crew. "Pardon me," Reed interjects, raining on their parade, "but if I don't realign the deflector, the first grain of space dust we come across will blow a hole in this ship the size of your fist." "Keep yer shirt on, Lewtenent, yer equipment will be here in the mornin'," Trip tells him. Mayweather and Reed exchange amused looks.

Somewhere in the mountains of Brazil, Ensign Hoshi Sato puts her students through their alien linguistics paces. "It's Klingon language camp, just like in Trekkies!" Mathra shrieks. Except it's not, because they don't know about the Klingon language yet. Cpt. Quantum beckons his Communications Officer away from her students. He's big into beckoning, isn't he? First Phlox, now Sato. It's good to be the Captain. Sato argues that she still has three weeks left with her students and can't just up and leave with only two weeks before exams. "There's gotta be someone else who can cover for you," Cpt. Quantum tells her. "If there was someone else who could do what I do, you wouldn't be so eager to have me on your starship," Hoshi tells him pertly. I guess an ego is a prereq in Starfleet? Aw, but who am I trying to kid? I like her sass already. Cpt. Quantum tells her he could order her back. "I'm on leave from Starfleet, remember?" Hoshi tells him. "You would have to forcibly recall me, which would require a reprimand, which would disqualify me from serving on an active vessel." So there! Cpt. Quantum tells her he needs someone with her ear. "Well, if that's all you need," Hoshi says, unclipping her auditory canal from her cranium and handing it to him, "then take it." Okay, not really, but admit it, it's not that farfetched in the world of Star Trek. Hoshi tells him he can have her ear in three weeks when she's done with her students. Cpt. Quantum holds up a speaker smaller than the palm of his hand. The mini-speaker emits some words in Klingon. "Wh-what's that?" Hoshi asks, starting to salivate. Cpt. Quantum tells her it's a sample of the Klingon language from the Vulcan linguistic database. "I thought you said the Vulcans were opposed to this," Hoshi says, her ears still fixed on the little speaker. "They are, but we agreed to make a few compromises," Cpt. Quantum tells her. Hoshi asks what he knows of the Klingons. "Not much," Cpt. Quantum says. "An empire of warriors with 80 poly-guttural dialects constructed on adaptive syntax." "Turn it up," Hoshi insists. Cpt. Quantum hands over the little speaker: "Think of it, you'd be the first human to talk to these people. Do you really want someone else to do it?" Hoshi fixes him with a look and smiles. Captain Quantum's Law #118: When in doubt, resort to flattery and bribery.

Back at the hairclipped Enterprise. "Since when do we need Vulcan science officers?" Trip asks Cpt. Quantum. "Since we needed their star charts to get to Kronos," Cpt. Quantum tells him. "So we get a few maps and they get to put a spy on our ship?" Trip asks. "Admiral Forrest says we should think of her more as a chaperone," Cpt. Quantum says, unconsciously adopting Trip's drawl. "I thought the whole point of this was to get away from the Vulcans," Trip argues. Cpt. Quantum tells him it's four days to get to Kronos and four days to get home, and then she'll be off their ship and out of their hair. "In the meantime, we're to extend her every courtesy," he finishes, pouring himself something to drink from a stylized thermos -- I think I saw one of those at Starbucks. Geddit? Starbucks, as in Battlestar Galactica? Or maybe it's just me. Trip cracks that he'd feel more comfortable with "Porthos on the bridge," looking over at a corner of the Captain's cramped cabin. A little beagle looks up quizzically at the sound of his name. Awww! Wouldn't it just be the cutest if he's got a tiny space suit to take walks around the outer hull in? Admit it, it would be the cutest. You know, if they took dogs in space back then, how come Janeway left her dogs behind in Voyager? I mean, I can see why she left her fiancé behind -- they just get in the way of holographic romances -- but her dogs? I sure hope it's not foreshadowing something dire in Porthos' future. An electronic doorbell beeps out. "Here we go," Cpt. Quantum tells Trip, who clenches his jaw with anticipated sexual repression. "Come in," the Captain calls out.

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