|The Next Generation|
|The Ensigns of Command|
Ring, ring! It's a message from the Sheliak Corporate, no-one's heard from them for 111 years, and they just want us to know that they're alright, and could we let the cat out. But seriously - wait, who am I trying to kid - they've finally decided to settle a planet that's legally theirs. The problem is that it is currently "infested" with humans, and if they're not removed in four days, they'll be exterminated.
That shouldn't pose much of a problem for our able crew, as the planet is irradiated by hyperonic radiation, which is fatal to humans. Lets see, a "hyperon" is any of a class of subatomic particles with mass exceeding that of a neutron. That means that any survivors are being pelted with big neutrons - chance of survival, nil. Since the radiation also interferes with transporters, phasers and sensors, how are they going to determine who's down there?
Easy, Data's immune to it. Yeah, right. He jaunts down to the planet in a shuttle, expecting to find only a handful of survivors from a colony ship that was lost 92 years before. Is he in for a surprise! When there's nothing else to do, and life expectancy is short, humans have this strange habit of breeding like rabbits. Say "Hi" to 15,253 colonists! That would take more than a month to do using the Enterprise's shuttles, and Starfleet can't supply a transport ship for three weeks - both a little more than the four day deadline.
Unfortunately he totally fails to convince anyone of merit that they should bugger off. Gosheven, the colony's leader, says that since they built the community, they claim the planet. There will be no evacuation! The only one who was really interested was a babe with a silicon fixation. She tells Data that Gosheven doesn't like computers, and won't be bullied by a jumped-up toaster!
Alright, the straightforward logical approach didn't work, so lets try a little reverse psychology... "Your children will by dying for a worthy cause." Data may have the content down pat, but he just doesn't have the soul to be a successful orator. Gosheven thinks he can fight the Sheliak and win! That's pretty arrogant given he doesn't even know what a Sheliak is - but the people love him for it, and are prepared to bet their lives on his leadership. At least most of them are... A secret meeting of the resistance is held, but Gosheven gatecrashes and has a little present for Data. A cattle-prod! Bzzzzz...
Ard'rian manages to jumpstart Data using some pieces from an old TV. I hope he doesn't start doing Lucy re-runs. So it's action Gosheven wants, then it's action he will get... Data jury-rigs a phaser to work in the hyperon field by stealing subprocessors from one of his arms. The Terminator was much more impressive. With a phaser and an attitude he goes to the communal aqueduct and blows it up! That was one android with one weapon, imagine irate aliens who will just pull back and nuke the site from orbit - it's the only way to be sure...
Captain Conciliatory tries to negotiate with the Sheliak, but they just hang up. Since he can't deal with them politely, he whips out his mask, to become... The Bald Avenger! He takes it into his head that if he cannot convince the Sheliak to not kill the human colonists, then he will start a major galactic incident by declaring war on their colony ship. All this of course without Starfleet's permission. I think that they should string him up next to Wes.
They say that the pen is mightier than the sword... The treaty drawn up between Starfleet and the Sheliak runs to 500,000 words, and took 372 legal experts to create. Maybe there's a clause in there we can use to our advantage. Right - page one, paragraph one, word one... Since they are doing it by hand, this might take some time...
Success! Picard demands an independent arbiter, and as that race just happens to be hibernating for the next six months, this dispute is going to take some time to resolve, unless of course you give us three weeks. Ho hum.