The TREKKER Reviews

The Next Generation
Second Chances

It's evacuation time again, but this time it's not friendly aliens, it's data - the stuff, not the android. An abandoned research station on Nervala 4 has an important data core on it, but unfortunately the planet's wrapped in a strange distortion field that makes access possible only every eight years. What genius thought that site up? Riker has returned to finally clean up the mess that he and his team made all those years ago.

Geordi jury-rigs the transporters to beam through the field, but there's a catch - he can only open three windows, after that it's another eight year wait. The three bears beam down... Someone's been patching up the walls, and they're all messy. Someone's been playing with my computer core, and it's not accessible. Someone's been living in my research station, and they're still here! It's not Goldilocks, it's another Wil Riker, and that's one Riker two many.

How can this be? Riker was the last member of the away team from the Potemkin to beam out, and the transporter chief used two containment beams to try and enhance his pattern to get through the distortion. One got through, and the other was reflected back to the surface before being shut down, creating two exact copies. It would have taken an exact phase match between the distortion and the transporter to make it work, but such freak occurrences seem to happen a lot...

"I'll talk to him" says Troi, but talking is the last thing on Goldilocks' mind. He grabs her in a tight embrace and slides that famous tongue in. "We need to talk" she says, pulling away. When a woman speaks those four words, you know things are looking bad. She puts him down gently, by saying that her feelings have changed. "Mine haven't" he leches. Sleaze is something he must have had down pat a long time ago...

Despite all the reminiscing there's still a job to do - recover the computer core. Why don't they just beam the whole thing up, and retrieve the data on the Enterprise? Too obvious. Laughing Boy leads an away team down in the second window, and spends most of the time bitching with Goldilocks. Unfortunately the servos connecting the core with the terminals have been severed, and they will need to venture down into the caverns below to restore them. Goldilocks wants to stay and do the work, but Riker orders him back with the rest. Haven't we seen all this before, with Rimmer in Me2?

A note for Troi! And it's got a cute bow on it! Who could it be from? "Meet me in the transporter room" it says. Oh look, another note! This leads to engineering, and another finally to 10-Forward. It's Goldilocks, and he's turned the sleaze tap on full bore - "Want to see my phaser etchings" he croons. If the FX budget had been up to it, there would have been a flashback, but we'll just have to settle for dialogue... "I missed you..." "I missed you too..." Barf!

Time for some exercise - Tai Chi is always invigorating, and has the advantage that the gi is easy to remove. After a little of the horizontal lambada it looks like Troi is finally going to get her wish. Ha! In an amazing piece of string pulling Picard manages to get Goldilocks a posting on the Gandhi, but that would mean they would once again be apart, unless they got married...

Laughing Boy is spending a lot of his available energy picking on himself. It's hard to work out which is the evil copy and which is the good - TOS was so simple. They take the third window and beam down to the research station. The core is just on the other side of that perilously deep crevasse, spanned by a narrow bridge. I wonder what would happen if it were to collapse? Oh no, wouldn't you know it, it just did! Riker saves Riker, and the database is saved.

Can there be a happy ending, with the final permanent removal of Chocolate-Hips Troi? Nope, that's what the ContractShield™ is for! She won't be joining Lt. Riker on the Gandhi, but at least he'll be gone. Two Rikers on one ship would be insufferable. To guarantee that he's hated by all his new crewmates, Wil gives "Thomas" Riker one of his trombones...

Roll Credits...

It was well acted, and the visual effects of putting the same person more than once in the same scene have really improved, but the story is ancient! It has certainly been done in both TOS and Red Dwarf, but this time they didn't merge the copies. Is there a future for Thomas Riker?

This review is Copyright © 1995, Phil Kernick.
Permission is granted for anyone to electronically distribute it - details available on request.