Second Union

Second Union

STAR TREK REWIND: “The Arsenal of Freedom”

If you need a little something ‘special’, be it for one target, or multiple targets, we got it, you’ll see it, here on Minos, where we live by the motto, ‘Peace through superior firepower’.

We know there have to be arms dealers in the galaxy. Deep Space Nine featured an episode about such an arms dealer. They are not looked on with any degree of affection by those who have to fight wars using the technology they sell. Minos is a planet of arms dealers. More importantly, they develop weapons technology. When the Enterprise approaches the planet, the equivalent of a pop-up ad appears on the view-screen. Vincent Schiavelli (favorite actor of Milos Forman) plays a holographic representation of one such arms merchant, inviting the crew to come down to the surface and sample their wares.

At this point, I would’ve turned tail and run, but Picard and company are curious to find out what happened to the U.S.S. Drake (and Riker’s old friend, Paul Rice) when they came here and then abruptly vanished. Riker, Data, and Yar beam down and are greeted by Rice, except it isn’t Rice. This is an information-gathering tool made to resemble Rice. It’s quite ingenious actually. Learn as much as you can about your enemy and then use that information to destroy them.

Riker is trapped in a stasis field and Data and Yar are beset by a drone who uses them for target practice. Unwisely (in my opinion), Picard beams down with Crusher to assess Riker’s condition. The drone fires at them. Crusher falls down a hole, taking Picard with her, some ten meters below the planet’s surface. While Picard tends to Crusher’s injuries (and getting a little character development along the way), Data uses his phaser to remove the stasis field, freeing Riker. On the ship, Geordi has been left in command. A larger drone appears and attacks the ship. Geordi sweats buckets in this episode, but he keeps a cool head even when he has to go up against another in a long line of Chief Engineers on the ship. This time it’s the smarmy Logan. How many is that? We had Argyle, the blond chick, Singh, it goes on. Geordi decides to separate the ship and Logan will lead the saucer section back to safety while he engages the drone in battle.

Data observes that the drones are getting smarter; analyzing attacks and learning to adapt, and it’s getting harder and harder to destroy these things even as stepped-up models are being manufactured. Picard discovers a massive computer in the underground cave. He presses a blinking button and the computer turns on and with it, the holographic salesman who informs Picard there is no way to stop the cycle of these weapons. Picard figures out these arms dealers destroyed themselves by developing smarter killing machines that turned on their developers.

Picard tells the salesman he has made a sale and to turn off the weaponry. My question is if Schiavelli did indeed disengage the drones, why is a drone still attacking Geordi and the Enterprise? Shouldn’t that drone have disappeared as well? I guess it doesn’t matter. Geordi gives his young crewmen a pep talk and they vanquish the drone. This is a fun, exciting episode I can watch over and over again, and it gives Geordi a chance to be a hero. This may be a controversial opinion, but I prefer Geordi in these earlier episodes than what would later occur with his character in the show’s prime.

Twice a week, Star Trek Rewind explores the Star Trek universe. From Archer to Janeway, Kirk to Picard, and Georgiou to Sisko — boldly read what no one has read before!

For more insane Star Trek babble, check out my podcast (with co-host David B. Anderson), Ship to Ship: A Star Trek Podcast.

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