The year 2006 marks the 40th anniversary of Star Trek and since Paramount has accidentally fucked up Star Trek for the time being, it's up to we the fans to make tribute to the greatest science fiction legacy of the 20th century.

That's right, I didn't stutter.  Star Trek is the science fiction that Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica, and all the series that came after it dreams that they could be.   So, today at the crap factory, we're counting down the best 100 stories every to come from the final frontier in the first four decades of Star Trek's existence.  Read on and see if you agree with our Crap Factory writer!

#100 - Future's End
Star Trek: Voyager
Airdate: November 6, 1996 and November 13, 1996
Stardate: 3192.1

The U.S.S. Voyager is fired upon by the 29th-century Federation "Timeship" Aeon commanded by Captain Braxton, who has time-traveled through a spatial rift to destroy Janeway's ship. Braxton claims that Voyager is responsible for a temporal explosion that will obliterate Earth's solar system in his era. Although equipped with only 24th-century technology, the crew manages to deflect Braxton's blasts and damage his ship, but then both the timeship and Voyager get sucked through the rift. The starship winds up in orbit around Earth in 1996.

Knowing Braxton's ship holds the key to returning to their own era, the crew begins searching for it, and an Away Team beams down to Los Angeles to investigate subspace readings that seem out of place in the 20th century. Meanwhile, at Griffith Observatory in the Hollywood Hills, astronomer Rain Robinson picks up Voyager's warp emission on her instruments and reports the finding to computer mogul Henry Starling, who funds her lab. Against Starling's instructions, Rain transmits a greeting to Voyager, and the crew tracks her to the Observatory. While Paris and Tuvok head for the site, Chakotay and Janeway identify a homeless man as Captain Braxton. He explains that he emerged from the time rift in 1967 and crash-landed in the desert, where a young Henry Starling found the timeship and utilized its technology to start a high-tech empire. Starling is now planning to use Braxton's vessel to time travel, and, according to Braxton, that will cause the explosion in the future.

Fearing that Rain is a security risk, Starling sends a henchman to kill her. But Paris and Tuvok spirit her away before she can be harmed. When Rain questions what they're up to, Paris tells her that they're secret agents tracking a Soviet KGB spy operation. She sees through his story, though, because the Soviet Union and the KGB no longer exist.

Chakotay and Janeway sneak into Starling's office, where they discover Braxton's timeship just as Starling walks in and confronts them. Janeway warns Starling not to launch the ship, explaining it will unleash disaster. Undaunted, Starling tries to kill Chakotay and Janeway, but they're transported to Voyager in the nick of time. They try to beam up the timeship, but Starling uses their transporter beam to access Voyager's computer and study its systems. Minutes later, the wily Starling steals the Doctor's program from Sickbay. To complicate things even further, Voyager's presence is disclosed on the evening news!

Janeway's attempts to beam up 20th-century computer mogul Henry Starling and the timeship in his possession are stymied because Voyager's long-range transporters aren't working. As a result, brilliant astronomer Rain Robinson lures Starling to a meeting where the crew hopes to hijack him. Starling shows up with the Doctor, whom he's supplied with a 29th-century portable holo-emitter that allows him to exist in environments without standard holographic emitters.

Having reconfigured the shields on a shuttlecraft to disguise it from 20th-century radar, Chakotay and Torres try to beam up Starling from the rendezvous. Starling has a device that interferes with the attempt, but Voyager is able to redirect the transporter signal to beam him directly to the starship. Unfortunately, Starling's attempt to disrupt the beam-out damages the shuttle's controls. It goes down in the desert, where Chakotay and Torres are taken hostage by a paramilitary group. Voyager traces the crash site to Arizona, and the Doctor and Tuvok travel there to find them.

On Voyager, Starling admits to Janeway that he wants to travel into the future to steal more advanced technology. Although Janeway thinks she's put an end to those plans, one of Starling's henchmen uses his scavenged 29th-century technology to transport Starling back to his office. Outside Starling's headquarters, Paris spots a truck that appears to be moving the timeship to another location. In Arizona, Tuvok and the Doctor manage to free Chakotay and Torres. Torres repairs the damaged shuttle, which they use to track the truck and destroy it. However, they discover the truck was a ruse; the timeship is back in Starling's office, and he's just launched it.

Retrieving Paris and Tuvok, the shuttle returns to Voyager, where Janeway hails Starling, who refuses to abort his mission. She has no choice but to destroy the timeship. Seconds later, a time rift opens and Braxton appears in his timeship. With his previous timeline altered by the destruction of Starling, this Braxton has come from the future to lead Voyager back to the 24th century, where it belongs. Janeway implores Braxton to place them at Earth, but Braxton cites the Temporal Prime Directive, which Janeway cannot argue with. Back in the Delta Quadrant, the crew finds that they've gained one particular advantage from their journey: the Doctor has retained the 29th-century mobile holo-emitter, freeing him from the confines of Sickbay.

What makes this episode great:

It may have been an attempt to make the ratings go up, but the end result is a fun romp through the present for the Voyager crew as they deal with a Bill Gates wannabe and the trials and tribulations of the 20th century.

Quote:

"Time travel - from my first day in the job as a Starfleet Captain, I swore that I would never get myself caught in one of these god-forsaken paradoxes, the future is the past, the past is the future, it all gives me an headache...."
- Captain Janeway!

#99 - First Flight
Star Trek: Enterprise
Airdate: May 14, 2003
Date: Unknown

Archer receives news that A.G. Robinson, his old rival in the early days of the NX test program, has died. During a shuttlepod mission, Archer reminisces to T'Pol about the time he and Robinson were pilots competing for the honor of being the first to break the Warp 2 barrier.

Just as Enterprise is about to investigate what appears to be a dark matter nebula, Archer receives word that his old rival A.G. Robinson has died while climbing Mt. McKinley. Archer and T'Pol set off in a shuttlepod, and while the captain is uncharacteristically quiet, T'Pol finally gets him to open up about his complicated history with Robinson. Archer begins to remember the days when he and Robinson were part of the NX test program trying to break warp 2, while Admiral Forrest was a Commodore overseeing the program at Starfleet Command...

Both Robinson and Archer want the first flight the assignment is particularly important to Archer, as his father designed the engine. Ultimately, Forrest gives the mission to Robinson. Though Archer is disappointed, he promises to give Robinson all the support he needs later, at the 602 Club, he even raises a toast to his rival. Robinson confides that Archer didn't get the assignment because he's too by-the-book. Archer is trying to be a great pilot, but Robinson knows that Starfleet would rather have a great captain.

The next day, Robinson goes up in the NX-Alpha. Archer and Forrest man mission control as a few Vulcan advisors look on. The mission starts off well, but when the vessel encounters some problems, Archer and Forrest tell Robinson to abort. Robinson, however, is determined to break warp 2. He does, but the NX craft is destroyed. Robinson manages to get out just in time via an escape pod. The Vulcans are unimpressed with Robinson's stubbornness, and believe the NX vessel is faulty. Later on, Archer has drinks at the 602 Club with Forrest and a new acquaintance Lieutenant Trip Tucker. Forrest reveals that the Vulcans have urged Starfleet to put the NX program on hold for an indefinite period of time ... and Starfleet has agreed. When Robinson shows up, he and Archer get into a heated argument about the mission Archer believes Robinson is at fault, while Robinson blames the engine. The two men eventually come to blows, until Trip breaks up the argument.

After he cools off, Archer realizes that Robinson's words ring a bit true there are problems with the engine. He and Trip run a few calculations and realize that they can make it work. They enlist Robinson in a plan to convince the Vulcans that the NX program is worth keeping on track. Robinson, however, doesn't believe that just talking with the Vulcans will work. He suggests they use the remaining NX vessel, the NX-Beta, to prove their point. The trio plans a night launch Trip runs things from the ground while Robinson and Archer head up in the NX vessel. They succeed in getting off the ground without being noticed, but it's not long before they're found out. As Forrest orders them back to the ground, the two officers manage to get to warp 2.5 without any disastrous technical malfunctions.

Back on the ground, Forrest is furious (if more than a little impressed) and lectures his officers on their carelessness. Archer can't help but respond. He gives an impassioned speech about the importance of their actions, and how it will only help to further human exploration. The NX program continues, and several years later, Archer is awarded command of the Enterprise.

Back in the present day, T'Pol is intrigued by Archer's story. Just as he's finishing up, they discover the elusive dark matter nebula they were searching for. As it lights up the sky, even T'Pol can't help but be in awe. Archer notes that a sight like this is one of the reasons he and Robinson worked so hard to explore space. Back on Enterprise, T'Pol mentions that it is a human custom to name something you've discovered. She suggests dubbing the nebula "The Robinson Nebula." A moved Archer can only nod in agreement.

What makes this episode great:

Coming only a couple of months after the Columbia's destruction, Star Trek gave us an episode devoted to the bravery of people going where no one has gone before.  Some accused the later versions of Star Trek of not being topical, but this episode proved that they were.

Quote:

Archer: You remember what Buzz Aldrin said when he stepped on the moon?
Ruby: No.
Archer: Nobody does because Armstrong went first.

#98 - The Nth Degree
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Airdate: April 1, 1991
Stardate: 44704.2

When the U.S.S. Enterprise sets out to repair the Argus Array, a telescope that has stopped relaying data for two months, the crew discovers an alien probe near the telescope. Geordi takes Barclay, a notoriously shy crew member, to investigate. As they near the probe, it emits an energy surge that knocks Barclay unconscious, and he and Geordi are transported to Sickbay. Meanwhile, the probe begins to follow the starship, emitting a dangerously high energy level. When the crew is unable to evade it, Barclay amazes everyone by taking charge of the situation and eliminating the probe, saving the ship from destruction.

Turning back to the task of repairing the telescope, Geordi estimates the job will take three weeks. But Barclay, whose confidence and intelligence are continuing to grow, claims he can complete the job in two days. Geordi's pride in Barclay turns to concern, however, when he discovers his crewmate in the Holodeck arguing scientific theory with a simulated Einstein. Geordi insists to Barclay that the encounter with the probe must have precipitated the change and drags him to Sickbay, where Beverly Crusher's examination reveals an astounding change in Barclay's brain tissue that has rendered him the most advanced human being who ever lived.

Although the crew is frightened by the change in Barclay, the fact that they need him to repair the Array convinces them to leave him alone. As the repairs progress, however, the ship's computer is unable to work fast enough, creating the danger of a reactor failure in the telescope that could cause a deadly explosion. Picard orders an immediate retreat, but is informed that the Bridge has lost control of the computer. However, before panic can set in, the computer comes back on line and the crew learns the telescope has been saved. When Picard asks the computer to tell him how the disaster was averted, he is shocked when Barclay's voice answers.

Barclay explains that since the computer was too slow, he connected his brain to the computer to save the Array. Picard demands the engineer disconnect himself, but Barclay replies that this will cause his death. As the crew tries to devise a plan to regain control of the ship, Barclay propels the U.S.S. Enterprise to a point thirty thousand light-years away.

Before the crew can stop Barclay an alien suddenly appears on the Bridge, admitting that the probe transformed Barclay so he would bring the starship to him. The alien goes on to explain that this is his civilization's method of researching new races. Picard agrees to let him scan the brains of crew members if the aliens will transfer their knowledge of tens of thousands of civilizations into the starship's computer. As they talk, Barclay arrives on the Bridge, having been returned to normal by the aliens, but retaining a bit of the confidence and intelligence his experience gave him.

What makes this episode great:

Barcaly had been pretty much a retarded background character up until this point, but when he's suddenly given great intelligence, he goes from a loveable doofus, to someone formidable and even dangerous. It's Flowers for Algernon in reverse!

Quote:

"Smaller"
- Barcaly, back to his old doofy self, and asked how he feels.

#97 - Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
Feature Film
Airdate: June 1, 1984
Stardate: 8210.3 

As the U.S.S. Enterprise returns to spacedock for repairs following the battle with Khan in 2285. Kirk continues to mourn Spock's death. McCoy suddenly enters the Vulcan's sealed quarters, babbling incoherently. Upon reaching Earth, McCoy is hospitalized. Scotty is reassigned to the U.S.S. Excelsior and the newly formed Genesis Planet is decreed off-limits by Starfleet Command. Kirk is then informed that the U.S.S. Enterprise is to be decommissioned.

In Kirk's quarters, Sarek, Spock's father, confronts the Admiral, saying that Spock's body should have been returned to Vulcan so that his katra could have been stored in an ancient Vulcan repository on Mount Seleya. Sarek tells Kirk that he must retrieve the coffin from the Genesis planet and, since Spock performed a last-minute Vulcan mind-meld with McCoy, thus transferring his "katra" or spirit, the doctor must also return to Vulcan.

However, Starfleet refuses to allow the antiquated U.S.S. Enterprise to leave spacedock. Released from the hospital and faced with this news, McCoy tries to hire a craft to go back to the Genesis planet. He then starts a brawl and is subsequently arrested, pending further psychiatric examination. The arrest proves futile, though, when McCoy escapes with the help of Kirk, Scott, Sulu, Uhura and Chekov. The crew then beams aboard the deserted U.S.S. Enterprise. To avoid pursuit, Scotty removes an integral engine part from the U.S.S. Excelsior and, knowing that they've all probably destroyed their careers, the six friends take the Enterprise out for one final voyage.

Meanwhile, the Klingons have learned of the new Genesis Device and planet, and fear that it could be a new Federation weapon. Lead by the treacherous Captain Kruge, the Klingons set out to either destroy or capture the valuable device.

On board the U.S.S. Grissom, David Marcus and Lt. Saavik arrive at the Genesis Planet for scientific observation. They quickly discover a lifeform reading coming from the surface. Intrigued, the two beam to the planet's surface to find Spock's empty coffin. Tracing the lifeform reading, the two then find the living body of a child-Spock, aging with erratic rapidity but lacking a consciousness or spirit.

Suddenly, the Klingons arrive, destroying the Grissom and taking Saavik, Marcus, and the young Spock prisoner. Shortly thereafter, the U.S.S. Enterprise arrives in the Mutara Sector and is crippled by Kruge and his Klingon cohorts. With the Klingons threatening the lives of their prisoners, Kirk tries a bluff to regain control of the situation, but is unsuccessful. David Marcus is killed by the Klingon landing party. Faced with no other choice, Kirk surrenders the Enterprise to the Klingons, yet in a last-ditch effort to gain the upper hand, activates the starship's self-destruct mechanism. The small U.S.S. Enterprise crew then beams to the surface of the Genesis Planet, watching as their historic starship is destroyed in a streak of light, taking with it most of Kruge's nefarious crew.

Kirk and party rescue Spock and Saavik from the Klingons and learn that an unstable element used in the Genesis Device threatens the stability of the planet, which is likely to explode within minutes. One factor of this instability, however, is the rejuvenating effect it had on Spock's body. With the planet reaching critical mass, Spock finally achieves the age he was just before his death on the U.S.S. Enterprise. Kruge, still alive on the Klingon Bird-of-Prey and angry at the death of his comrades, beams down to the planet. There, he fights one-on-one with Kirk, eventually falling to his death. The Enterprise crew, Saavik, and Spock then escape in the Bird-of-Prey, just as the planet violently explodes, a victim of its own dangerous growth.

Under Sarek's diplomatic protection, the Klingon ship then speeds to Vulcan. Once there, the risky ceremony fal-tor-pan is performed, fusing Spock's katra, which resides in McCoy's mind, with the Vulcan's body. With the ceremony seemingly successful, a revived Spock begins the long journey of remembering his past and his friends. He questions why the Enterprise crew risked their lives and careers to rescue him. As his friend Jim reminds him, sometimes the "needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many."

What makes this movie great:

So many things. Watching the great Captain Kirk crumple to the floor of the bridge when he hears that his son is dead... watching the Enterprise blow itself to bits... seeing how this crew would willingly sacrifice all they are and all they have for a friend, this is the movie that makes me say "bullshit!" to everyone touting the "odd-numbered" curse.

Quote:

"Forgive me... My logic is uncertain where my son is concerned."
- Spock's father, Sarek, when his logic on bringing Spock back is questioned by a high priestess.

#96 - Journey to Babel
Star Trek
Airdate: November 17, 1967
Stardate: 3842.3

The U.S.S. Enterprise is appointed to transport ambassadors from many worlds to the Babel Conferences. Among those aboard are Ambassador Sarek of Vulcan and his human wife, Amanda Spock's parents.

Keeping peace aboard his ship is complicated for Kirk by an unidentified vessel following the U.S.S. Enterprise and high tensions running among delegates on board. At a cocktail party, Ambassador Gav, a Tellarite, quarrels openly with Sarek about the admission of Coridan into the Federation. When Gav is later murdered, circumstantial evidence points to Sarek. The strain of such an accusation causes Sarek's already existing heart condition to worsen and he has the Vulcan equivalent of a heart attack. McCoy battles with less familiar Vulcan physiology to try and correct the damage. Spock is needed as a blood donor for the operation.

When Kirk is attacked by Thelev, an Andorian, Spock assumes command of the Enterprise, and refuses to participate in McCoy's operation on his father. The Vulcan insists that they identify and stop the vessel that is following them. Kirk fakes recovery and returns to the bridge, freeing Spock to go to the sickbay and assist in his father's surgery. On the bridge, Kirk must deal with the unknown ship, now in contact with someone on board the U.S.S. Enterprise. A search uncovers the fact that Thelev is not Andorian, but a surgically altered Orion, put on board to disrupt the Babel Conference.

The unknown ship attacks the U.S.S. Enterprise and is defeated. Rather than be captured, it destroys itself and Thelev commits suicide. With Spock available for the blood transfusion, Sarek's operation is a success and he recovers. Father and son make peace, realizing they have a common bond that transcends their differences. Kirk returns to sickbay for treatment of the knife wound caused by Thelev and McCoy gets the last word.

What makes this episode great:

One of the things that I've loved about Star Trek though the years is its ability to find a story about people in the midst of political intrigue. In fact, I find the story of Spock and Sarek, son and father caught in a fundamental disagreement, more interesting than the assassination plot.

Quote:

Spock: Emotional, isn't she?
Sarek: She has always been that way.
Spock: Indeed. Why did you marry her?
Sarek: At the time it seemed like the logical thing to do.

#95 - Cold Front
Star Trek: Enterprise
Airdate: November 28, 2001
Date: Unknown

Enterprise navigates into a stellar nursery hoping to make contact with some of the alien vessels detected among the colorful gases and protostars. Finding a transport vessel escorting a group of alien pilgrims to the "Great Plume of Agosoria," a protostar which emits an epic burst of energy every 11 years, Captain Archer decides to caravan with the pilgrimage ship, and invites the group for a social dinner onboard Enterprise. Relations fare well among the starship crew and the pilgrims culminating with Commander Trip Tucker giving a guided tour of the Enterprise engineering bay. As the group listens attentively to Trip's oversimplified explanation of the warp engines, one pilgrim silently slips behind a bulkhead unnoticed. He opens a panel and dislocates his limb in order to disconnect a conduit within he is a Suliban. After the disguised invader rejoins the group, the entire ship is suddenly rocked by a powerful plasma storm within the stellar nursery. Unsuccessfully attempting to steer clear of the storm, Enterprise is repeatedly hit with plasma lighting, severely damaging the warp manifold and starting a disastrous antimatter cascade traveling towards the reactor. Instead of completely destroying the ship, though, the cascade is suddenly stopped dead at the very console the Suliban tampered with moments before.

After the jostled pilgrims return to their ship, Trip informs Archer of the recently discovered separated conduit, and that although it's what saved the ship, no one is taking responsibility for its disconnection. Perplexed, a sullen Archer is approached by Crewman Daniels, a steward in the Mess Hall, who reveals he is not really a member of Starfleet, but a soldier from 900 years in the future. Taking Archer to his quarters, Daniels uses a futuristic device to project a holographic "temporal observatory." Daniels claims he was sent to track and stop Silik the same Suliban whom Archer fought on the Helix during the ship's first mission from altering history, but he requires a portion of the Enterprise's power and equipment to operate his futuristic tracking technology. Archer discusses Daniel's proposal with a stunned Trip and the ever-skeptical T'Pol, ultimately deciding that in case a "Temporal Cold War" actually does exist, it would be best to give Daniels the aid he needs.

Trip and T'Pol help Daniels set up his tracking devices in Engineering and are amazed at his futuristic technology, particularly a device that allows its operator to literally walk through walls. Meanwhile a suspicious Archer attempts to seek out Silik from the group of pilgrims, who have returned to the Enterprise Mess Hall in order to gain a better view of the rapidly approaching Plume of Agosoria. But when Archer returns to his quarters he is ambushed by the awaiting Silik. Insisting someone else is actually the one trying to alter history, Silik claims to be there to stop whomever it might be and needs Archer's help in identifying the unknown soldier. In an attempt to gain Archer's trust Silik confesses to having disconnected the conduit and saving Enterprise, but while Archer denies knowing who Silik is referring to, T'Pol announces over the com that Daniels' modifications in Engineering are complete, which unwittingly provides Silik with the information he required. No longer needing him, Silik stuns Archer into unconsciousness.

While waiting for Archer to arrive, Daniels' tracking device alerts him to Silik's presence within Engineering, and he insists Trip and T'Pol immediately leave to bring reinforcements to help contain Silik. As the two comply and leave Engineering, they witness Silik murder Daniels without hesitation, then use his genetically enhanced camouflaging ability to disappear from sight. Awakened by Dr. Phlox, a sore Archer orders every outer door and hatch sealed, and security posted on all decks to prevent Silik's escape. Then confirming his suspicion, Archer takes T'Pol into Daniels' quarters and discovers that the device Daniels used to project the Temporal Observatory has been stolen, deducing it was probably Silik's mission in the first place. Silik is detected by Ensign Hoshi Sato as he attempts to bypass the lockout codes for Launch Bay One, while Trip helps Archer by giving him the phasing device he witnessed Daniels use earlier. Archer uses it to walk through a bulkhead wall, catching Silik by surprise, when suddenly both men are violently rocked as Enterprise experiences heavy plasma turbulence from the much anticipated Plume of Agosoria. Silik seizes the moment to escape inside the Launch Bay, quickly followed by Archer, who, rather than letting Silik have it, opts to shoot Daniels' device out of Silik's clutched grasp. Seeing the device is destroyed, Silik camouflages himself and flees, gaining enough time to open the Launch Bay doors. Holding on to a handrail as the ensuing vacuum decompresses the bay of air, Archer watches as Silik steps to the edge of the opening and jumps out of the ship headlong into the cloudy depths of the stellar nursery. Saving himself from being sucked into space after Silik, Archer climbs into a control room and repressurizes it so he can breathe again. T'Pol comes over the com, requesting to follow Silik who has just been picked up from space by a Suliban cell ship. Archer denies T'Pol's request, opting to let the conniving Silik go as he failed to get what he came for anyway. Before retiring to bed, the exhausted Archer orders Daniels' quarters to be sealed off indefinitely, as a safeguard against any other unknown powerful and mysterious devices that may lie within.

What makes this episode great:

Ignoring the fact that Enterprise allowed the whole Temporal Cold War story to crash and burn without resolution or payoff, "Cold Front" is the ultimate testament to just how cool (no pun intended) this story could have been as, in one episode, an enemy saves the ship and a trusted crewmember turns out to be nothing like he appears. Everything the Enterprise crew assumed to know about the war is turned on its ear.

Quote:

Trip: It's good to know Earth will still be around in 900 years.
Daniels: That depends on how you define Earth.

#94 - The High Ground
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Airdate: January 29, 1990
Stardate: 43510.7

While delivering medical supplies to a planet involved in a lengthy civil war, Dr. Crusher is taken hostage by Finn, the leader of a radical separatist organization. Although at first fearful for her life, Beverly soon learns that she has been kidnapped to provide expert medical care for terrorists dying from the effects of an interdimensional transporter. Although the nuclear-powered device allows the rebels to move at high speeds and to escape detection by Rutian sensors, its end result is fatal internal damage.

Certain that Finn and his followers will use Beverly as a bargaining chip for their cause, Picard asks Riker to rescue Dr. Crusher with the help of Alexana Devos, the leader of the Rutian police. Alexana, determined not to compromise her hard-line position with the terrorists, is furious when Riker tells one of Finn's men that the Federation is willing to negotiate for Beverly's release.

Alexana's skepticism is justified when Finn, certain that the U.S.S. Enterprise has joined forces with the Rutians against his people, launches a deadly assault on the U.S.S. Enterprise. Although Geordi is able to remove a bomb from the vessel before it detonates, several crew members are killed in the skirmish and Captain Picard is taken hostage with Beverly.

At his hideout, Finn tells Picard that he welcomes Federation involvement in his cause, since that will force the Rutian government to make important concessions. On board the U.S.S. Enterprise, Riker plots a surprise attack on Finn's underground headquarters.

But when Riker, Worf and Alexana show up in the hideout, Alexana shoots Finn to death after the terrorist leader appears ready to execute Picard. Riker chides Alexana for her actions, but she tells him that Finn's death will result in less bloodshed than if he had been taken prisoner and his followers attempted to free him. With Beverly and Picard safely released from captivity, the U.S.S. Enterprise leaves the outcome of the Rutian conflict to Alexana and her advisers.

What makes this episode great:

Star Trek usually takes on socially relevant issues by science fiction analogy, so it was rather unexpected and refreshing to see terrorism confronted as terrorism. Plus, it gave the painfully underused Dr. Crusher a chance to strut her stuff.

Quote:

Quinn: "this is a war for independence and I'm no more than your George Washington"
Beverly Crusher "Washington was a military general, not a terrorist!"

#93 - What You Leave Behind
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Airdate: June 2, 1999
Stardate: Unknown

While Dukat and Winn enter the Fire Caves, the first power outage strikes on Cardassia. The Female Shapeshifter realizes that the Cardassian people are rising up against the Dominion and she promises severe retaliation.

Monitoring events from their basement hideout, Kira, Damar and Garak are horrified when Weyoun announces that, as punishment for every act of sabotage committed by rebel forces, one Cardassian city will be leveled. Reacting to the decree, Kira decides they must attack Dominion headquarters. Entering Cardassian space aboard the Defiant, Sisko prepares his crew to engage the Dominion-Cardassian-Breen fleet in battle.

As the Federation forces strike, the Defiant is rocked by enemy fire. Back on Cardassia, Jem'Hadar soldiers burst into Damar's hideout. Suffering heavy losses in space, Sisko, Admiral Ross and Chancellor Martok strategically realign their attack. Meanwhile, word of Damar's capture reaches the Female Shapeshifter, who orders Weyoun to have Damar, Kira and Garak executed.

Before the order can be carried out, Cardassian soldiers revolt and rescue the rebel trio. Meanwhile, in the heat of battle, the Defiant crew is elated when Cardassian ships switch sides and attack the Dominion fleet. In retaliation, the Female Shapeshifter orders the complete extermination of the Cardassian race and a Dominion retreat to Cardassia Prime.

Emboldened by the Cardassian about-face, Sisko, Ross and Martok decide to press forward in an attempt to end the war once and for all. On Bajor, Winn chants from the Kosst Amojan, brings the Fire Caves to life, and attempts to release the Pah-wraiths. And back on Cardassia, Kira, Damar and Garak lead an invasion of Dominion headquarters. Damar is killed by Jem'Hadar guards, but inspired by his leadership, the rest of the resistance presses on.

While Sisko, Ross and Martok plan a final assault in space, Kira and Garak lead the Cardassian resistance on the ground into Dominion headquarters and overtake the Briefing Room. Kira orders the Female Shapeshifter to surrender, but she refuses; soon after, the defiant Weyoun is killed by Garak.

When Kira alerts Sisko to the situation on Cardassia, Odo asks to meet with the Female Shapeshifter. In the Fire Caves, Winn poisons Dukat with a glass of wine and presents his body as a religious sacrifice to the Pah-wraiths. Hoping to commune with the Female Shapeshifter, Odo links with her and heals the Shapeshifter of the disease that has ravaged their people. Transformed by the experience, she orders a cease-fire. Eager to cure the rest of the ailing Shapeshifters, Odo informs a deeply saddened Kira that he is returning to his homeworld.

With the signing of surrender documents, the war officially ends. Later, Worf agrees to become the Federation Ambassador to Kronos and O'Brien announces that he's returning to Earth to teach. The crew holds a farewell party for Worf, O'Brien and Odo. Meanwhile, the Pah-wraiths bring Dukat, as a Cardassian, back to life in the Fire caves, and Sisko abruptly leaves the party after a vision from the Sarah Prophet to visit the site. Sisko confronts Dukat, and Winn is sacrificed to the Pah-wraiths; Sisko tackles Dukat and, along with the text of the evil Kosst Amojan, they plunge into the fiery abyss. Sisko "awakes" in a great vision: the Sarah Prophet assures him that he has completed his task by returning the Pah-wraiths to the Fire Caves; she then informs Sisko that he must now join the Prophets.

Back on the space station, Kasidy has a vision of Sisko in which he explains his reason for remaining with the Prophets and he promises to return someday. In the meantime, Jake Sisko grapples with his father's departure; Bashir and O'Brien bid a fond farewell; Ezri Dax says goodbye to Worf; and Kira leaves Odo on the Changeling planet where a sea of ailing Shapeshifters awaits his curative link. At Deep Space Nine, Kira takes command of the Captain's chair, Ezri and Bashir plan their future, and, despite her own feelings of loss, Kira reaches out to comfort a fatherless Jake.

What makes this episode great:

Aside from the end of the epic war that consumed the final few years of Deep Space Nine's run, this final episode was full of endings... something that Trek was not generally known for. Loose ends were tied up and, at the end, we were left with a moment to contemplate. The final scene of the episode where Deep Space Nine shrinks back into space until it becomes a single star is freakin' beautiful.

Quote:

Four hundred years ago a victorious General spoke the following words at the end of another costly war: 'Today the guns are silent. A great tragedy has ended. We have known the bitterness of defeat and the exhalation of triumph. From both we have learned... there can be no going back. We must move forward, to preserve in peace what we've won in war'.
- Admiral Ross"

#92 - Unification
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Airdate: November 4, 1991 and November 11, 1991
Stardate: 45245.8 

Captain Picard is disturbed to learn that the legendary Vulcan, Mr. Spock, has gone on an unauthorized mission to the planet Romulus. He immediately travels to Vulcan to speak with Spock's father Sarek, a close friend with whom he shared a mind meld the year before. Sarek's wife, Perrin, informs Picard that her husband is gravely ill, and confides to Picard the details of the strained relationship between Spock and his father. Despite Sarek's illness, Picard is able to see him, and the Vulcan tells Picard that his son may be in touch with the Romulan senator Pardek. He also asks Picard to convey his love to his son. Back on board the U.S.S. Enterprise, Riker and La Forge inspect several metal fragments, identified as Vulcan, recovered from a downed Ferengi ship. When the Vulcans claim to know nothing about the materials, Riker and Geordi assume the Ferengi have stolen them.

Upon his return to the Enterprise, Picard summons the help of the Klingons in hopes of receiving an undetectable ship to use to travel to Romulus. After several days, Picard finally reaches Gowron, who provides the vessel after a great deal of prodding. Meanwhile, covert reports from Romulus confirm Spock's meeting with Senator Pardek, who Data learns has been an advocate for peace, and reunification of the Vulcan and Romulan states, for many decades.

Disguised as Romulans, Picard and Data make their way toward the planet in the Klingon ship. At the same time, Riker and Troi work together to find out how the metal material, now identified as a disassembled Vulcan deflector array, ended up in the hands of the Ferengi.

During a difficult night aboard the Klingon ship, Picard is informed that Sarek has died. While investigating the mysterious Vulcan deflector array, the Enterprise encounters an unidentified alien warship. When the ship refuses to answer Riker's hails and prepares to attack, Riker orders Worf to fire a warning shot. Although the firepower used is small, the hostile ship explodes into space.

Picard and Data transport down to Romulus where disguised, they stop at a cafe across from Senator Pardek's office. They see Pardek and begin to move toward him when suddenly they are kidnapped by several Romulan soldiers. Later, however, they are approached by Senator Pardek, who explains that he had them kidnapped for their own protection. As Picard briefs the Senator on the reasons behind his mission, Spock suddenly appears before him.

Picard and Data meet Spock on the planet Romulus. Spock is initially uncooperative when Picard questions him as to the details of his mission. However, the tension is lifted when Picard shares the unhappy news of Spock's father's death and attempts to fulfill his friend's last request by telling Spock of his father's love. Spock then reveals to Picard that the purpose of his mission is to reunify the Romulans and the Vulcans. The revelation shocks Picard, who does not trust the intentions of the Romulan government. After learning this, Data transports back to the disguised Klingon ship that brought him and Picard to Romulus and attempts to access the Romulans' computer system.

Back on the U.S.S. Enterprise, Riker continues to investigate the theft of surplus Vulcan ships and materials. He makes contact with Amarie, the ex-wife of a smuggler killed when the Enterprise destroyed the unmarked enemy warship that interrupted their investigation. Meanwhile, Senator Pardek brings Picard and Spock to meet with Neral, the Romulan Proconsul, who claims to support reunification. However, after Picard and Spock leave, Sela appears in Neral's office. Later, Picard tells Spock that he doesn't trust the fact that Neral has offered his support so quickly, without the support of Romulan traditionalists. Spock also feels skeptical, but decides it is in the Federation's best interest to proceed whether the Romulans have an ulterior motive or not.

Afterwards, on the Klingon vessel, Spock offers Data his help in trying to access the Romulan computer system. At the same time, Amarie puts Riker in touch with a Ferengi arms trader, who, after a threat from Riker, reveals that the Romulans are involved in the theft of Vulcan ships.

Riker immediately contacts Picard with the news, and both wonder how the stolen Vulcan ship fits into the picture. The two agree to meet, and Riker steers the Enterprise towards Romulan territory. Data finally manages to access the Romulan computer system, and he and Picard transport back to the Romulan surface to inform Spock of their findings. Spock immediately deduces that Pardek and Neral have double-crossed him, a fact that becomes even clearer when Sela appears and takes the group prisoner, informing them that she plans to take over Vulcan.

On the Enterprise, Riker worries when he is unable to reach Picard. Meanwhile, Sela declares her plan to force Spock to deliver a speech, in which he will announce the arrival of the stolen Vulcan ships. The ships, disguised as a peace envoy, are actually manned by Romulans and have been dispatched to seize control of the Vulcan government. When Spock refuses to cooperate, Sela shows him a holographic image of himself, Picard and Data, which she will use instead if she is forced to kill them. When Sela leaves the room, Picard and Data work furiously on the computer and provide themselves with an escape route. They also send an emergency signal to the Enterprise, which, already suspecting foul play, intercepts the Romulan "peace envoy" and destroys the ships. Enraged, Sela returns to kill Spock, Picard and Data, but is instead tricked into firing at their holographic images, giving the real Data an opportunity to subdue her with an imitation of Spock's legendary Vulcan nerve pinch. The three escape, and Spock decides to remain on Romulus to continue to work towards peace.

What makes this episode great:

Aside from the political intrigue, and one of the few Star Trek character deaths who actually stayed dead... This episode, airing one week before Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, was the official passing of the torch between Classic Trek and Next Generation. Forget that Generations bullcrap.

Quote:

Spock: "I will not read this, or any other statement."
Sela: "If you do not, you will die. All of you will die!"
Spock: "Since it is logical to assume you intend to kill us in any event, I choose not to cooperate."
Sela (seething): "I HATE Vulcans!"

#91 - Conspiracy
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Airdate: May 9, 1988
Stardate 41775.5

While journeying to Pacifica, the U.S.S. Enterprise receives an emergency message for Captain Picard from Starfleet Captain Walker Keel, who requests a secret meeting.

At a rendezvous on an uninhabited planet, Captain Keel and two other Starfleet officers tell Picard that they suspect a growing conspiracy in the upper ranks of Starfleet.

Alarmed by Keel's accusations, Picard orders Lieutenant Commander Data to review all Starfleet directives during the past six months. Picard's concern escalates when Keel's vessel mysteriously explodes, killing all aboard, and Data's research reveals abnormalities in the highest levels of the Starfleet command.

Convinced the Federation's security is at risk, Picard steers the Enterprise toward Earth to confront Starfleet's top admirals. After requesting a meeting with the officers, Picard and Riker are invited to dinner to discuss the problem.

Prior to dinner, Admiral Quinn, who several months earlier had warned Picard that subversive elements had invaded Starfleet, visits the U.S.S. Enterprise. Suspicious of the admiral, Picard orders Riker to watch him closely before joining him on Earth. Picard's instincts turn out to be correct: as soon as Picard beams down to join the other admirals, Quinn attacks Riker, rendering him unconscious.

After Lt. Worf and Dr. Crusher join forces to subdue the incredibly powerful Admiral Quinn, they discover that a parasitic being has invaded Quinn's body and it is controlling all of his brain functions. When Riker regains consciousness, he beams down to Earth, pretending to be one of the parasitic-controlled beings.

At the dinner, Riker realizes that the Starfleet command is controlled by the parasites. Fortunately, he and Picard are able to kill the parasitic-infested admirals, as well as the species' mother creature. However, Data later discovers that the mother creature sent a homing beacon to an unexplored region of our galaxy before being destroyed.

What makes this episode great:

Many people whine and complain about Voyager and Enterprise being bad trek, but the truth is that the first season of The Next Generation was absolute rubbish and, with the exception of maybe five episodes tops, the worst Star Trek has been... ever! In fact, it was during this season that I stopped watching the series. What brought me back? This episode did with it's exciting and terrifying tale of the Federation being brought down from within. It was also the first time that new Trek managed to pull of a story arch as the strange fleet movements hinted at earlier in the season finally get explained. And damn... exploding head.

Quote:

"You don't understand... we seek peaceful coexistence!"
- Commander Remmick, alien momma.

NEXT

 

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