Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wagon Train To The Stars

Genre expectations met?
Specifically, the part where there is this group of humanoid, uniformed types who are boldly going where no man/person has gone before. Led by a reckless and daring throwback of a captain who seems to embrace danger at every point, coupled with a hyper-rational first officer who leads with his mind but follows with his alien heart, this crew is on a five year mission that seems much longer. A lot longer. And that whole "where no one has gone before" jazz? That may be for the folks on this ship, but for those of us tagging along on this voyage, it all seems very familiar.
What a favor the United Federation of Planets has done for all of us who might have had to stick around and learn a lot of alien languages and other forms of communication. They have recruited almost exclusively from the English-speaking, bipedal, standard-size portion of the galaxy. Wandering around the decks of the starships and space stations are these emissaries of this earth-based group that shouldn't be confused with any of that colonial stuff that Klingons and Romulans seem to favor. If it happens that there is some sort of conflict or disruption of the way things are supposed to go down on the outer reaches of those places we may boldly go, the captain and crew will try and reason with the troublemakers. And if that doesn't work, there are always phasers.
Did  I mention that there are almost always time constraints? The core of this planet seems unstable and there will only be a moment or two left when the survivors can be lifted to safety via special effects. If their ship is in danger, the countdown will commence at some point that will only allow the slimmest of margins for the captain and its crew to make it out of whatever catastrophe threatens them. Stress must be the reason for a lot of starship personnel to wash out. There are probably a lot of red-shirted crew members on the lower decks wondering what that guy in the captain's chair has gotten them into this time. But it all works out in the end. Who would have doubted that things would work out? All those English-speaking bipeds are safe once again. And those routine missions that result in nothing more than  a supply run to some remote outpost or visits to planets that really are just cold, dusty wastelands that can be ignored, they won't be making movies out of those. And those boring, lazy inhabitants of that distant system that no one can understand? Let's not invite them  to join the Federation, okay?

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