|The Next Generation|
The Enterprise is doing a planetary survey. This at least takes them where "not many people have been recently" but I feel that they are still slipping in fulfilling their charter. The Hood arrives at high warp with some new orders and a mission specialist - Tam Elbrun. Tam is the Federation specialist in conacting new alien lifeforms. He is also abrupt and extremely annoying. His ability to be able to tell what is going to be said before it is said really starts to rile laughing-boy Riker and even seems to disconcert Picard.
Tin Man is a living alien artifact orbiting a decaying star - if that isn't a contradiction in terms. Actually it is a lifeform that has either been altered to be or is naturally a living ship. Tam is just about wetting himself in anticipation of the encounter. So are the Romulans. What Romulans? Oh, didn't I mention it, the ones that are following with their cloak around their ankles!
The Enterprise finally makes it to the star, and shortly afterwards so do the Romulans. They claim right to the star and Tin Man, and Tam takes offense. He warns Tin Man telepathically of their poor hygeine and inability to make jokes and so, on a whim, Tin Man nukes the Romulan ship down to slag and seriously damages the Enterprise. Given that it looks somewhat like a glowing artichoke it could almost be one of the Q's little gags... Nah, no such luck.
Tin Man is bored. Cosmically bored. So bored I think it'll probably go annoy that f*cking spider! It is alone and the last of its species, and wants to die. That is why it is hanging around a sun that will shortly go nova. If it really wanted to die it should get itself a bitpart in TOS and change its name to Wartofski! Unfortunately in TNG the best it could hope for is to be bored to death by one of Picard's monologues.
The second Romulan arrives and uncloaks. Worf: "The Romulan's have uncloaked". Brilliant work! Even Mr X-Ray Charles could have seen that. It's good to see that Worf get's kept on his toes though. The Romulans want to destroy Tin Man in an act of vengence, but I think that they have not been keeping up on current events - their sister ship just got its butt kicked but they think that can do better. Hmm.
Data and Tam beam into Tin Man. Tin Man clearly doesn't want to let them out since all communication with the Enterprise is cut and O'Brien loses the transporter lock. The Romulans threaten to destroy Tin Man, and the Enterprise if it gets in the way. I'd like to see them try. Maybe just one stray photon torpedo through the main bridge...
Either way it doesn't really matter as the star starts to collapse. Tam sits down in a sort of Art Deco chair that morphed out of the floor of Tin Man and the Enterprise and Romulan ship get flicked out of the system. 3.8 billion km in 12.5 seconds. That's about 1000 times the speed of light. Not a bad little jaunt. The Romulan ship is nowhere to be seen and the Enterprise is far enough away so that when the star goes pop, they are not affected.
Data mysteriously is back onboard the Enterprise and Tin Man and Tam Elbrun are missing. Not a bad heist all things considered. He managed to get away with an alien artifact and the Enterprise got left with yet another political shambles to deal with.