Star Trek 1098: Pandora's Prodigy

1098. Pandora's Prodigy / Old Debts

PUBLICATION: Star Trek: The Next Generation Special #3, DC Comics, 1995

CREATORS: Michael DeMeritt (writer), Ricardo Villagran (artist) / Kevin J. Ryan (writer), Ken Save and Shepherd Hendrix (artists)

STARDATE: Unknown (between TNG #76 and #77) / 46225.4 (actually between Journey's End and Blood Oath)

PLOT: In Pandora's Prodigy, Picard tries to make two former enemies agree to a trade treaty, while Geordi's old Academy buddy runs some tests on a new transporter system. Neither are having much luck, until Geordi's friend finds a way to record a transporter pattern on analog magnetic tape. On a tour of engineering for the alien dignitaries, dissident assassin strike, but their trap kills Geordi's friend by mistake. Acting fast, Geordi recreates him from the analog recording (which will never degrade). He knows he's a copy and says his discovery is wrong. Picard purges the information from the computers, which inspires the aliens to come to an agreement. They are children with childish problems compared to the ethical giant that is Picard. In Old Debts, Scotty visits the Enterprise-A and is being babysat by Robin Lefler when Koloth contacts him and announces he wants revenge for filling his ship with tribbles a century before. Scotty finds and him and confronts him. After some fisticuffs, Koloth's honor is satisfied (no human trickery was used), and he leaves to avenge his firstborn son.

CONTINUITY: There appears to be a Deltan serving in Enterprise security (The Motion Picture). Scotty came to the TNG era in Relics. Robin Lefler (The Game) is now assigned to starbase 122 where the Enterprise-A rests. Lefler is sad about the events of Journey's End (so are we). Koloth (just before Blood Oath) wants revenge for the humiliation suffered in The Trouble with Tribbles.

DIVERGENCES: The stardate cannot be correct if Journey's End and Blood Oath are referenced. Scotty visits the Enterprise-A, which was destroyed in Ashes of Eden.

PANEL OF THE DAY - A homage spike on the continuity stream?
REVIEW: Both stories have something to recommend them, but both are flawed. Pandora's Prodigy - I haven't seen this kind of inking from Villagran before, but it's interesting. Unfortunately, I can't exactly same the same of the story. At one point, I was wondering what was more boring. Picard and two aliens discussing markets and economy? Or the engineers talking about transporter patterns. While I did like the aliens' realization that they were primitives in Picard's civilized shadow, it does make a lot of that talk a dreadful waste. None of the information the characters impart actually makes an impact on the decision that Picard doesn't have to make. And should I take off more marks for analog tape being more capable of storing a transporter pattern than those fancy digital isolinear chips? Or for the way the copied engineer isn't dealt with at all? Old Debts is a better story, though Lefler's rules quickly get irritating in it. Scotty plays well, though it seemed like he had an unexplored hidden agenda at the start of the story. Koloth's appearance is fun and clever despite the continuity snafus. Generally likable.


De said...

One of the problems with trying to create transporter technology in the 21st century is breaking down a human into 1s and 0s enough to recreate that person on the other side.

Analog technology would probably be better in some ways (since it records by linear means) but would definitely not be practical. First off, the copy would be inferior from the start (even if a digital tape were used). Second, the amount of tape necessary would be enormous. I haven't read this issue since it was published but have the feeling the transporter record was put on an old reel-to-reel tape.

It's a neat idea in theory; however, it's a ludicrous way to advance a plot.


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