This episode breaks the mold by starting with a Captain’s Log rather than a message from an admiral. Federation intelligence is concerned about a military buildup near Hrakkour, a system on the edge of Klingon space. The Klingons are searching for a renegade, but we do not know what he did to deserve such a search party. Sensors have detected a faint trail leading to Zamphor in the Digifal system on the Federation side of the border and we are ordered to investigate. If we do not discover what happened and de-escalate the situation, there could be war.
|A lot of episodes start this way...|
Holy heck! I managed to get out of combat for once. Were there dialog options I could have chosen in any of the other episodes to get out of the fight? Combat is by far my least favorite part of this game so this is good news. We beam down and begin the “adventure” portion of the episode.
|Sybok? Sorry… er… I thought you were someone else...|
|Is he attacking us with a macuahuitl?|
The warrior drops a “knife”, but I am going to just pretend that it is a macuahuitl. The macuahuitl, or Aztec sword, is an obsidian-bladed weapon that the Aztecs fought the Spaniards with. They were incredibly sharp, capable even of cutting off the head of a Spanish horse in motion. Unfortunately, they dulled extremely quickly and so were less useful than European-style swords over a period of time. I’ll be on the lookout for horses.
|Is Friar Tuck going to show up?|
|And you look like you want to disco.|
|A different Klingon!|
|Criminal Court is now in session…|
|Ensign Bennie and the Jets?|
With the lightning down, we still have a locked door to contend with. Spock claims it requires a combination but his tricorder doesn’t have enough processing power to extract it. I scan it anyway. A few unsuccessful minutes later, I also realize that we can hail the Enterprise and talk to Uhura. She is able to have the ship do the heavy processing and discovers not one, but two separate codes embedded into the door. Should they give us both. I agree and we open the door… but are transported somewhere else entirely.
|This is a triumph! I’m making a note here: huge success.|
I grab three colors at random and arrange them in the system as red/green/blue. A message comes on about the “Light of War” and tells me that emergency protocols have been engaged. That doesn’t sound friendly. I switch the red and blue to get a message from the “Light of Travel”, then pop in the green at the top for the “Light of Knowledge”. That one lets me know that the first crystal corresponds to the type of light we will use, but I worked that out already. Should I pick war, travel, or knowledge? Since this is Star Trek, I choose “knowledge” and start rotating through different combinations. Most didn’t work, but green/red/red scanned nearby vessels and all green summoned a disembodied voice, Bialbi. He tells us that we have to put the crystals in the correct order and that the “integrator” is now active. What is that?
Just to check, I try the yellow portal but it isn’t a portal. Instead, Bialbi scans my brain and tells us that the situation will be “resolved”. He (it?) transports the Klingon admiral into the room and tells him that he is being judged guilty and the punishment is death. I have Kirk step in to his defense (how ironic!) and he agrees to spare Quetzecoatl. Bialbi is not satisfied because his crimes are far larger than a single life, but he accepts Kirk’s request for clemency. Instead, he says that the Klingons must leave and never return to the planet on pain of death. He seems to like Kirk, but we have to let him down gently as this planet is still in Klingon space; we won’t be able to visit. With the mission completed, we beam out.
This episode forgoes much of the usual banter. Spock says that everything worked out for the best, but Kirk is somber and reminds him just how many Klingons lost their lives over this. An admiral raises us and gives us our score: 85% and two commendation points. We have to be able to do better than that!
|So you’re saying I sucked?|
I love that this episode broke the mold: We could talk our way out of combat. We had adventures on two planets with a shipboard sequence in between. I almost wonder if this was intended as a “two-parter” with the shipboard sequence in the middle intended to be the start of the second part. You can see how that could work, but there’s not enough content for that in the finished product. The plot was derivative, even compared to the other episodes, even if the execution was good. We just saw an ancient race re-emerging in episode one! I look forward to see how the next episode builds on this.
Star Trek Trivia
- The correct spelling of the Aztec god in English is “Quetzalcoatl”; this episode consistently misspelled it. On the bright side, at least he didn’t change names halfway through.
- The animated series episode, “How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth”, also features an alien claiming to be Quetzalcoatl. I do not know how to reconcile this game with that episode.
- Gods-are-aliens is a common trope in Star Trek. Kirk met Apollo in “Who Mourns for Adonais” and will meet the god of Sha-Ka-Re in Star Trek V. Picard will deal with the “devil” in “The Devil’s Due” on TNG. Deep Space Nine will base much of their series on the tension between Bajoran spirituality and the Federation’s atheism.
- As discussed in episode one, the Organian Peace Treaty was established in “Errand of Mercy” and is one of the few serialized details in the original series.
- After Kirk demonstrates his proficiency at throwing rocks, Lt. Stragey comments that no one plays baseball anymore. This game predates the debut of Deep Space Nine, but the lack of baseball was a recurring plot point in that series.
- Ships in Star Trek run on Dilithium crystals, a rare material that could not be replicated. Several episodes centered on the Federation finding new sources of dilithium.
- Klingons generally do not use naval titles; a similar rank to “Admiral” would be “General”. The TNG episode “Loud as a Whisper” revealed that peacemakers like Quetzalcoatl were virtually unknown in the empire.
|Sounds vaguely biblical… again?|
Mini-Request for Assistance
As this was being readied for posting, I ran into a problem: a space battle two episodes from now is proving to be more than I can handle. I may have to leave this game as “Lost!” if I don’t find a way to survive the attack. Those of you that have played this before, do you have any hints or pointers that I can use to deal with this sequence? If I get stuck here, how much of the game will I miss? I hate to think that I’d leave a anything incomplete, but this combat may be too rough for me. I’m going to keep working on it but thanks for your help!
Time played: 2 hr 25 min
Total time: 13 hr 15 min