Star Trek : The Mark of Gideon

July 21, 2014 in Guest Blogs, Star Trek by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Mindless-Droid

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This week’s classic Star Trek episode is The Mark of Gideon. The episode synopsis is here at the official site. The Enterprise is sent to the planet Gideon to open diplomatic relations. The Gideons are very private and reclusive not even allowing their planet to be scanned. They demand that only one federation representative beam down to the planet. And that captain Kirk is to be that representative.

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Kirk is beamed down to the planet but materializes back on the transporter pad of the Enterprise. To his surprise the ship is empty the crew has disappeared but all is not as it seems. The Gideons have built an exact (yeah I know) replica of the Enterprise to bring Kirk and Odona the ambassadors daughter together. They plan to use Kirk to infect Odona with a rare virus and in turn to infect the population, a population that doesn’t know disease and whose lifespan is extremely long. This has led to the planet becoming an overpopulated mass of people and the Gideon government believes this is the only way to curb the population.

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This episode makes Spock’s Brain look like a season one episode. I mean really at least you can have a little fun with the campiness of Spock’s Brain and some of it isn’t that bad but this one. Okay where to start this episode has plot holes you could fly a doomsday machine through. The first and most glaring is that the isolationist Gideons have somehow built an exact replica of the Enterprise. Where did they get the specs from Scotty at a seminar on Starship designs? This sort of ruins the whole episode how are we supposed to believe that Captain Kirk doesn’t know he is on a replica. The man lives and breathes his ship. You would think he would immediately sense that something was amiss. Even if we grant that Kirk doesn’t immediately sense that he’s on or in a replica how did the Gideons make exact copies of everyone’s personal items? Then there is the fact that the Enterprise has been in space at least three years since Kirk has been in command there would have to be some wear and tear some minor blemishes that only the crew would know like worn paint on a handrail or a small tear in a seam on a chair all the little things that come from every day operation. Really what is the purpose of building the whole thing anyway and if the planet is so overpopulated where did they build something as large as a starship granted they didn’t have to build the nacelles but the rest of the ship is huge.

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This brings up the point of why even build it if they wanted Kirk’s blood because somehow in diplomatic negotiation they found out that this specific Starship captain had the one disease that would infect their immune system (man Starflleet must be fast and loose with their medical records) why not just beam him down knock him out take the sample and bam done. This is the only solution the Gideons can think of if they would be willing to die to be alone why not I don’t know ask the Federation to help them colonize some other planets maybe being away from their own world they would have shorter natural lifespans I mean it’s a big galaxy and if it’s that crowded I’m sure some of them would want to get away.

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Which brings us to the overpopulation plot. The episode takes on this issue but in this instance unlike some of the other issues that remained relevant this issue faded into history. The fear of overpopulation was a big thing back in the late sixties. The book The Population Bomb by Paul R. Ehrlich had just been published and warned of mass starvation by the 70’s and 80’s. The predictions were that by now we would all be eating Soylent Green and the world would be an overcrowded mess. Obviously these predictions have been proven wrong but some including Ehrlich still stand by their gloomy predictions. Having just turned fifty I’ve seen so many of these end of the world scenarios Killer bees, Y2K, this disease, that disease global warming now, global cooling in the seventies and I’m still here but it does make for some good sci-fi although not in this case and not when it’s a Sy-Fy original movie. MST3K we need you but I digress onto some mindless thoughts.

First the only real good parts of the episode Spock’s quotes about diplomats and bureaucrats.

“We must acknowledge once and for all that the purpose of diplomacy is to prolong a crisis.”

“Diplomats and bureaucrats may function differently, but they achieve exactly the same results.”

This whole episode feels off Spock sounds slightly different and everybody on the bridge seems to not be quite right.

Why is Chekov just standing there with the note pad he looks comatose and this episode would do that.

How would kirk know every star field point of view that he wouldn’t recognize the one on the view screen?

Not only did the Gideons build the ship they made the buttons work the right things as well. Okay right.

They searched the whole planet in half an hour?

There is a lot of staring as Spock talks.

How logical is it to scan space for years?

Even William Ware Theiss wasn’t on his game this episode Odona’s costume is rather bland.

Brain brain what is brain? Gideon I don’t know any Gideon.

Even the re-mastered planet is dull.

Ambassador Hodin could use an eyebrow trim at least he doesn’t have one of those funny hats like on Eminiar VII.

He called Scotty a repairman ouch.

They don’t want to risk another officer of the Enterprise but they’ll risk their own assistant.

Why is Kirk navigating from the science station?

All of a sudden they hear sound from outside and he knows every sound the ship might make how did they replicate that?

How do they learn about Kirk’s medical records in a diplomatic negotiation?

If they know no pain why did the guards grunt when Kirk hit them?

Did they really think Kirk would stay and the Federation wouldn’t ask questions?

I know I’ve said this before but whenever I watch these classic episodes with Kirk and the girl of the week I always think of McCoy’s line in Star Trek VI “What is it with you anyway?”

The only good things about this episode are Spock’s quotes about diplomats and bureaucrats and that no red shirts were harmed in the making of this episode.

Doctor Who Monsters A-Z : Zygons

July 20, 2014 in Dr Who, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782

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The Zygons are a race of shape-shifting bipeds whose planet was destroyed in the Time War between the Time Lords and the Daleks. They have suckers covering their bodies and can emit a deadly sting from their hands just by touching someone. Unlike some other shape-shifters, the Zygons require a body print of the person they are copying the form of and this needs to be updated frequently otherwise the print will fade and the Zygon will revert back to its natural form. Unlike a lot of the other alien menaces UNIT have faced over the years Zygons are not bullet proof, much to the relief of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. One notable Zygon was the warlord Broton who came to Earth with his crew many centuries ago. After finding out there planet had been destroyed they decided to make Earth their new one. He took the form of the Duke of Forgill while another Zygon, Madra, adopted the form of Harry Sullivan for a time. During another invasion attempt an unnamed Zygon took the form of Queen Elizabeth but was eventually killed by the real queen, or so we have been lead to believe.

The Zygons depend on the lactic fluid of the monstrous Skarasens for survival. They are cyborg creatures which lived in the lakes on the Zygons home world and while they are naturally docile they can be utilised as a deadly weapon if need be. One such creature was bought to Earth by Broton while it was still an embryo and when it was fully grown it formed the basis of the legend of the Loch Ness Monster. The Zygons lead by Broton also used a device which emitted a primeval mating call to lure the Skarasen to it and cause it to destroy anything in its path. Broton first used it to attack oil rigs to serve as a trial of strength for the beasts. His main use for it was to attack an energy conference and announce their presence and power to the world. Broton also claims that the beast is able to resist nuclear weapons along with all other forms of resistance the Earth may possess, although it is unclear as to whether or not he may have elaborated a bit.

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UNIT was an independent intelligence organisation set up to investigate into strange occurrences and its UK division was headed up Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart. During this time UNIT dealt with many strange and alien threats like Daleks, Cybermen, Autons, Silurians, Zygons and even the odd giant robot. While facing these threats UNIT had help from a man called the Doctor who served as their scientific advisor. During his exile on Earth, UNIT provided him with a home and the resources needed to help him fix the TARDIS while in return he helped them deal with whatever alien menaces may threaten Earth. Nowadays, UNIT is lead by the Brigadier’s daughter, Kate Stewart, who is leading UNIT with science and is changing UNIT for the better.

The Time War was a war between the Time Lords and the Daleks which threatened to descend the whole universe into eternal chaos. Casualties were incalculably high on both sides but the real sufferers in this war were the innocents, many of whom lost their planets (like the Zygons and the Gelth) and lived in fear of both Time Lords and Daleks alike. In the middle of all this was the Doctor who, in his Eighth incarnation, wanted no part in the war. While trying to save the innocent pilot Cass on a doomed ship she refused to go in fear of him and they both died in the crash. On Karn, the Sisterhood extract him from the wreckage and brought him back to life long enough to regenerate into a warrior who would end the Time War. In this new incarnation, the War Doctor fought the Daleks but eventually decided that enough was enough and stole the Moment from the Omega Arsenal and intended to use it to wipe out both the Daleks and his own race, the Time Lords.

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The Zygon’s first appeared in Terror of the Zygons written by Robert Banks Stewart and featuring the Fourth Doctor, Sarah, Harry and UNIT. During this the Doctor is called to Scotland to help UNIT investigate mysterious attacks on oil rigs. While investigating, Harry disappears and is bought to the Zygon ship situated under Loch Ness. Here Harry learns that they are shape-shifting into copies of human beings and using their cyborg Skarasen to destroy the oil rigs. While the Doctor is chased across Tulloch Moor by the monster, Sarah uncovers a secret passage to the Zygon ship inside Forgill Castle. While Sarah is able to free Harry and meet up with the Doctor, the Doctor is then taken hostage by the Zygons and they take off for London. The Zygon leader, Broton, then heads off to disrupt an energy conference with the Skarasen while UNIT search for the Doctor and the Zygons. The Doctor is able to break free and destroy the ship, killing the Zygons within. He then meets up with UNIT and they defeat Broton at the conference and allow the Skarasen to return to Loch Ness in peace.

The Zygon’s most recent appearance was in The Day of the Doctor written by Steven Moffat and featuring the Eleventh Doctor, the Tenth Doctor, the War Doctor, Clara and UNIT. During this the Eleventh Doctor and Clara are brought to Nation Gallery by the Brigadier’s daughter, Kate Stewart, to investigate strange occurrences in the under gallery. Meanwhile, in his Tenth incarnation, the Doctor is hunting Zygons and enjoying a picnic with Queen Elizabeth. In the midst of the Time War, another incarnation of the Doctor, the War Doctor, has stolen an ancient weapon called the Moment and plans to use it to end the Time War once and for all by wiping out both Time Lords and Daleks. But the Moment has a conciseness and it brings the three versions of the Doctor together so that he can learn what kind of man he will become if he uses the Moment. Together they are able to stop the Zygon’s plan to invade Earth and start piece negotiations between Zygons and humans. With this done the War Doctor is able to make up his mind and decides to use the weapon but before he can his previous incarnations arrive so that he won’t have to do it alone. But before they can Clara is able to convince them that there must be another way and so they instead decide to freeze Gallifrey in a pocket universe and with catch the Daleks in their own line of fire, making it seem to the rest of the universe that they wiped out each other. With the help of their previous incarnations and some of their future they are able to save Gallifrey and now the Doctor begins a new quest to find his home planet know that he knows it’s out there somewhere.

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With the Zygons now finished off, we have completed our A-Z monster guide. I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey through time and space as much as I have. Its seems like it’s been ages since I first started writing the post on the Axons (actually the first post I started writing was on the Autons but that’s a whole different story) and now we are finally here finishing off the Zygons. Like the Doctor, I’m not very good with endings but I’ll try my best to round this off. But then again, who knows, this may not be the end as there are more than enough monsters to potentially make up a second wave of monster guides. Anyway, I think I’ll finish off by saying thanks for sticking with this series and I hope to bring more enjoyable content to you some day soon, bye everyone.

Farscape : SELF INFLICTED WOUNDS Part I: Could’a, Would’a, Should’a

July 19, 2014 in Farscape by Firebird

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While searching for a planet to heal the dying Zhaan, Moya collides and fuses with a small spacecraft, seriously injuring Moya and trapping both ships in a series of looping wormholes. Crichton and the captain of the other ship, Neeyala, soon realize that one of the ships must be sacrificed if any of them are to survive.

Synopsis

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Neeyala is not to be trusted but it’s not clear what she’s up to and how much of what she’s telling Moya’s crew is the truth.

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Zhaan grows weaker but continues to try to help others.

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Jool, the occupant of the final cryo-chamber, is arrogant and loud. Very loud. Her scream melts metal.

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Part 1 ends with Crichton being menaced by the wormhole serpent, which Neeyala had assured them wasn’t even aware of their existence and posed no threat. Moya is dying, pilot is barely conscious and the crew have agreed that there is nothing they can do and they will have to abandon her, leaving on Neeyala’s ship.

Star Trek : Let That Be Your Last Battlefield

July 14, 2014 in Guest Blogs, Star Trek by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Mindless-Droid

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This week’s classic Star Trek episode is Let That Be Your Last battlefield. The episode synopsis from the official Star Trek site is here. Seems they have taken the video of all of season three episodes off the official site except All Our Yesterdays.

On route to the planet Ariannus to help wipe out a bacterial infection that threatens all life there the Enterprise intercepts a stolen shuttlecraft. Using the tractor beam to bring the ship aboard the pilot Lokai who stole the shuttlecraft is from the planet Cheron. Soon after an alien ship comes in contact with the Enterprise and right before colliding with the ship Bele who is also from Cheron transports aboard. It seems Bele has been chasing Lokai for crimes committed some 50,000 years ago and the fact that Lokai is white on the right side and black on the left and Bele is white on the left side and black on the right.

Bele demands that they be taken to their home planet of Cheron. Kirk not taking sides tell both men that they will have to wait till the Enterprise completes her mission before their case will be heard. Bele not wanting to wait commandeers the ship through the force of his will jeopardizing the mission. Kirk initiates the self-destruct mode to get Bele to release control and at the last second he relents. Having regained control of the ship the crew completes their mission. Bele once again gains control of the ship by destroying the navigation and self-destruct systems and sets a course for Cheron. Kirk regains control as they approach the planet which they scan and find that everyone is dead consumed by war that raged for centuries. Bele and Lokai unable to let go of their hate resume the chase through the Enterprise and down to their dead planet.

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While researching this episode I found a lot of comments that the message of bigotry was to obvious or heavy handed which I can see. Although the makeup making Bele and Lokai half black and half white on different sides was done well (They had to have shirts that zipped up the back and wear glove so that the makeup wouldn’t smear) it would have made for a better payoff if their differences were more subtle. I always thought there was a hint of artificial bio engineering done to the people of Cheron and that’s why they were distinguished in that way as natural evolution wouldn’t seem to be able to cut your skin tone right in half so perfectly. Overall though it is a decent episode with some powerful moments and a deep message. You get to see Rodenberry’s core vision here of Star Trek and man’s future being a bright future as seen in the Enterprise’s crew where things like bigotry have been rendered to the ash heap of history in contrast to Bele and Lokai’s destructive hatred. A message that for its time was another example of Star Trek pushing the boundaries and boldly going where no show had gone before.

I noticed with the re-mastered versions you not only get the new portions but a lot more detail pops out at you like Uhura’s control panel.

“You’re pumping him with your noxious potions” Spock and McCoy always have some good banter.

If he stole a shuttlecraft from Starbase 4 didn’t anyone report seeing him there and how did he get so far into space with just impulse power?

You can really notice the reused shots of the back of Sulu and Chekov especially when it’s not Chekov.

This was one of those episodes that saved the show money I believe they called it a bottle show as it was contained on the Enterprise and only a few costumes and some makeup was needed to produce it.

If Kirk knows where Cheron is why don’t they know about their civilization and advanced technology?

They never really do explain how Bele controls the ship and what power he has except his will.

How do they know where Cheron is?

Who thought of moving the camera in and out on the red alert light?

50,000 years they really live long but I guess that is necessary for the payoff.

Now, how are they generating personal shields?

It’s a cool scene but the self-destruct sequence takes rather long. What if it needed to be done quickly? We get the same self-destruct sequence in The Search for Spock with the same codes but with Scotty as the second in command and Chekov taking his place. The countdown is thirty seconds longer in the movie counting down from sixty seconds instead of thirty.

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If he can control the ship why can’t he control the computer?

The Enterprise re-mastered approach to Ariannus is very cool.

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Ariannus is another of those planets that as part of the story but doesn’t need much extrapolation but that you wish you could have learned more about.

How does everybody know so much about each other in this episode if they never met before?

I really like the new shots of the Enterprise and the planets especially when the ship assumes orbit.

Bele, Lokai let go of your hate another Star Trek, Star Wars parallel.

The final scene was very well done. They did a great job making Charon look dead on the re-mastered version seeing the fires burning from orbit. Hearing Bele and Lokai’s hate and Kirk’s pleas for letting go of that hate was powerful. You really get to see the angst on Kirk and his crew as Bele and Lokai fight and flee the bridge even Spock can’t understand the illogic of it all. Then after Bele and Lokai fled Kirk’s exasperated response to Uhura asking if she should alert security when he said “Where can they run.” It made for a rather dramatic and sad scene.

Good news again this week for the red shirts as none were harmed during this episode.

Doctor Who Monsters A-Z : Yeti

July 13, 2014 in Dr Who, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782

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The Yeti are the robotic servants of the Great Intelligence an entity floating around in space with no physical existence but a mind and will. For the Great Intelligence to be able to carry out it’s evil tasks, it needed physical servants. For this purpose it created the Yeti while possessing a Tibetan monk, Padmasambhava. They were designed to fit in with the surroundings of Tibet and were based off of the legendary creature of the same name. However, unlike the creatures of legend these Yeti were not timid and served as guards for the Intelligence before later serving as an army. The Yeti itself is controlled a control sphere which fits into the robots chest. The sphere can move by itself but is not dangerous unless near a Yeti. Inside the sphere was part of the essence of the Intelligence which allowed it to control all of the Yeti. However, the spheres could be tamped with so that the Yeti could be controlled by other means and used against the Intelligence.

The Great Intelligence tried to invade Earth twice, once from a Monastery in Tibet and the other by establishing a bridgehead in the London Underground. The second time the army was called in to hold them back, headed by Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart and aided by the Doctor. After this UNIT was set up to deal with any future threats to Earth, which had it’s UK devision run by a promoted Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. The Doctor spent a lot of his time helping UNIT during his exile on Earth and continued to serve as their scientific advisor even after he was forgiven by the Time Lords. There was a Yeti in the Death Zone on Gallifrey, however it is unknown whether it was a robotic Yeti created by the Great Intelligence or another kind.

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The Yeti first appeared in The Abominable Snowman written by Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln and featuring the Second Doctor, Jamie and Victoria. During this the TARDIS lands in Tibet where the Doctor meets Professor Travers, an English explorer looking for the legendary Yeti. While Travers initially thinks that the Doctor murders his friend, he soon learns that it was a Yeti and the Doctor, Travers, Jamie and Victoria are forced to hold up in Det-Sen Monastery, unaware that the true threat lies within. While helping the monks to hold of the besieging Yeti, Jamie is able to capture one and after analysing it the Doctor is able to determine that it is a robot. It is soon revealed that the monk Padmasambhava is possessed by the Great Intelligence but the Doctor is able to destroy the equipment within the Monastery’s inner sanctum which expels the intelligence from Padmasambhava and allows him to die in peace. After saying their goodbyes to Travers, the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria depart in the TARDIS, unaware that their battle with the Intelligence is not yet over.

The Yeti’s next appearance was in The Web of Fear written by Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln and featuring the Second Doctor, Jamie and Victoria. During this the TARDIS is attacked and suspended in space by a strange web-like substance. After breaking free the TARDIS arrives in the London Underground where they meet up with their old friend Professor Travers who is helping an army group hold off the Yeti and a deadly fungus which is covering the tunnels like a web. After most of the army group in wiped out in a futile attempt to find the TARDIS, the remaining survivors learn that what the intelligence really wants is to drain the Doctor’s mind. While a possessed Travers takes Victoria hostage, the Doctor is only given a little time in which to give himself up and decides to use this time to tamper with a sphere and put it under his control, subsequently allowing him to control a Yeti. The Doctor then gives himself up and prepares to have his essence drained, telling everyone not to interfere. However, Jamie uses the remote control Yeti to destroy the Intelligence’s equipment, once again expelling it. An upset Doctor then reveals that he had crossed the wires so that he would have drained the Intelligence instead of the other way around. While the others celebrate the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria slip away quietly and head off once again in the TARDIS, hoping that they will never encounter the Intelligence again.

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That’s all for the Yeti, now it’s onto the final edition of this A-Z of Doctor Who monsters as we take a look at the shape shifting Zygons next week.

Farscape : Suns and Lovers

July 12, 2014 in Farscape by Firebird

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Eager to spend the currency aquired from the heist of the Shadow Depository, the crew of Moya head to a Commerce Station. The situation becomes disastrous when the station is damaged by a violent storm, Moya becoming ensnared in the docking cables. As it becomes clear that the storms are not natural phenomena, and the crew looks to escape, D’Argo learns that Chiana has betrayed him with his son.

Synopsis

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Star Trek : Whom Gods Destroy

July 7, 2014 in Guest Blogs, Star Trek by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Mindless-Droid

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This week’s classic Star Trek episode is Whom Gods Destroy. The episode synopsis is here on the official site. The Enterprise arrives at planet Elba II which is home to one of the last mental illness asylums in the Federation. The asylum is encased in a dome which is protected by a planet wide force field. Kirk’s mission is to deliver a revolutionary new drug that can cure mental illness forever. Kirk and Spock beam down to the planet and meet Governor Cory who runs the asylum but all is not what it appears. One of the inmates Garth of Izar a former Starfleet Fleet Captain who has the ability to shape shift has taken over the asylum and imprisoned Governor Cory and his staff. Garth intends to take over the Enterprise and conquer the galaxy.

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Doctor Who Monsters A-Z : Xoanon

July 7, 2014 in Dr Who, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782

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Xoanon was a super-computer created to guide the Mordee expedition on a jungle planet. When it broke down the humans spent generations trying to fix it, inadvertently turning it into a living being. The Doctor arrived shortly after its birth and connect his brain to it while it was still in shock. Instead of taking compatible information like a computer should do it instead took everything, driving it insane. After the Doctor departed, Xoanon turned his madness into reality regressing the humans into two savage tribes, the Sevateem and the Tesh, and forcing them to fight against each other. He believed that by doing this he would be breeding a race of super humans, with the conflict speeding up the process until he could pick the best from each group. Being connected to the Mordee ship, Xoanon was able to electrify walls and control the minds of those within. The dark side of his id were represented by 3-D phantoms which stalked the planets jungles.

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Farscape : Season of Death

July 4, 2014 in Farscape by Firebird

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Although Scorpius’s neural chip has finally been removed, Crichton feels he has no reason to live – Aeryn is dead, his power of speech is gone, and the clone of Scorpius’s personality inexplicably remains in Crichton’s mind. What’s more, the crew of Moya discovers that they have more than just Crichton and Scorpius to deal with. Lurking somewhere in the Medical Facility is a murderous Scarran.

Synopsis

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Star Trek : Elaan of Troyius

June 30, 2014 in Guest Blogs, Star Trek by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Mindless-Droid

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This week’s classic Star Trek episode is Elaan of Troyius. The episode synopsis is here at the official site. The Enterprise on a top secret mission to the Tellun star system to transport the Dohlman of Elas to Troyius to be married to the Troyian leader in an effort to bring peace to the system after years of war. In route the two sides prove that peace may be very difficult. To complicate matters a Klingon warship is trailing the Enterprise.

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