Data is continuing his study of Shakespeare.
He's gotten good.
Again, I say, Season 7 is all about reminding us of all the things we're gonna miss. Picard is coaching him, too, which is extra awesome since Patrick got Knighted earlier this year. That was cool. He explains how Shakespeare enjoyed mixing opposites.
And that's when the steam engine comes through.
And they're on the tracks and have to jump into the ditch, because, once again, the command "Computer, End Program" does not work.
I will say this: so far, the train is new. That Holodeck's a frigging deathtrap.
When they leave the holodeck, Picard is injured and the train was the Orient Express. Picard gets to ask the very interesting question: "I know about the Orient Express, but what was it doing on Prospero's Island?"
Good question. Technobabble ensues and they shut down the holodecks while Picard goes to Sickbay to get patched up and flirt with Beverly. We're gonna miss their flirting, right? I know I do.
They're looking for colony sites after weathering a Technobabble storm. I have a feeling the Technobabble storm is going to be important someday. Someday is today, when the ship randomly moves into warp. Warp 7.3, and no one knows why. They're polluting subspace! Suddenly they drop out of warp, right when they were about to shut down the core. Again, no one knows why.
Geordi and Data look into it, and we're gonna miss their crazy theories. They find that the ship was about to be randomly destroyed by some Technobabble they can't detect when they went to warp for no reason. Now, wait a minute. If it's deadly and they can detect it, why aren't the sensors set up to-
Never mind. Series is almost over, you know.
Anyway, none of the crew saw it, but it's in the sensor log, and if they had stayed where they were for another two seconds, they would have blown up.
Georid and Data crawl into a Jeffires Tube. *sob*, last Jeffries Tube! (I think. I don't remember them in Preemptive Strike or All Good Things) Anyway, Data says maybe the sensors triggered a safety device, and then the ship moved, but wouldn't the Chief Engineer and Science Officer know about that? Whatever. Geordi says there's no direct link between the two systems. They open a panel and there's a direct link between the systems that shouldn't be there, and it's protecting itself with a forcefield.
They find a lot more of the "nodes". It turns out the Technobabble storm made them somehow and that they can't really control the ship very well with them in there. They can't get rid of them easily. They intersect in the holodeck, so they decide to go into the holodeck and look around.
The holodeck is on, and several programs are on at once. Data, Will, and Worf wind up on the Orient Express with a knight making paper dolls, a couple of cowboys, and a bunch of people doing a puzzle - a puzzle that looks like the nodes.
The conductor comes in and asks for tickets, which of course they don't have. When they go to turn off the power he gets... snippy. The engineer comes in and tells him to leave them alone, then gets shot by a gangster from Chicago.
At the same time, Geordi's console blows out.
The conductor pulls a bell rope....
And then they go to warp again, and they can't get out of warp this time.
The gangster takes a golden brick from the body of the engineer, and the conductor insists they leave. Data realizes the safeties are off, so they leave.
Data has realized the ship is alive. Sigh. Riker pretends he's shocked, but for all of us who saw "Conspiracy," we know that the computer is not only intelligent, it can get bored.
Data calls it a "neural matrix", and says it is an "emergent property". Basically the computer woke up. He also recognized this with the "exocomps" for the record. The holodeck is the computer's imagination. Troi wants to go have a look.
Worf and Data go with her. Now a flapper is trying to give the knight something to drink. Deanna has a poke around, with Worf trying to help her. The gangster is playing cards with someone who's tied up. He tells Troi he's taking the brick to "Keystone city". "It's where everything begins." They follow him through the city when he gets off, and Data tries to get at the Holodeck's power grid. Troi follows the gangster and Worf follows her, because they were dating then. A car tries to run Data down, but he ducks, then goes back to work in the middle of the street.
The gangster goes to a wall with an empty space. "What are you doing here?" asks Troi. "Laying the foundation." Yeah, whatever the hell that means. He puts the brick in the wall and now it looks like any other brick.
Suddenly the cargo bay depressurized, and the transporter is running in there.
Something on the floor is glowing that looks a lot like the nodes. Geordi gets a rare close-up with dramatic music.
Data, meanwhile, encountered a minor difficulty and is currently holding the car that's trying to run him down by the fender. LOL. I don't think we even knew what LOL meant when this came out. LOL. He depolarizes the power grid...
The replicator and transporters are making the thing in the cargo bay, and then there's a slight incident where the ship starts shaking like there's no tomorrow, they almost lose structural integrity, and Troi gets clobbered by falling bricks. Worf gets to be protective.
Geordi and Data decide to get together and compare notes.
Deanna thinks the computer is building something - the something in the cargo bay, perchance? The characters represent systems in the ship, and they can't reason with a weapons system. And it's like a baby. She wants to try some more, despite getting clobbered by bricks. Picard tells her not to hinder.
This time they bring tickets. The conductor says the engine is running out and Worf gets to shovel coal. One of the characters says there is a resturant where they're going (Vertiform City) where you can eat all you want anytime. Huh.
Worf starts shoveling coal, and warp power gets back to normal. They're heading to a white dwarf star. The ship uses a tractor beam to collect vertion particles from the star, and send them into cargo bay 5. It makes the object grow faster, and it starts generating it's own energy. Then it stops absorbing, because the star has run out of particles.
The conductor slams on the brakes.
The ship is mostly offline. The object was about to become it's own lifeform when they ran out of vertion particles. Systems are back online and they start moving again.
The train is now going to New Vertiform City.
They head for another white dwarf, but at the cost of life support. They have to find a new source of particles and Data has to get control of the train. The characters on the train don't like it.
Geordi has a plan to make the particles, that's fine, but the train people are not having it. They finally let Data back to the engine room, and he tells them he knows a shorter route. Lol, Data negotiating with the computer's subconcious. He slows the train to impulse and they blow up a modified torpedo which creates the particles they need. The cargo bay thing grows up, the nodes deactivate, and they realize the whole point of the nodes was to reproduce in the cargo bay.
The thing grows up and flies away.
The train people celebrate, then vanish.
Data invites Picard to watch him play in The Tempest - Miranda's first encounter with humans. And then he asks Picard why he let the object form, and Picard says it came from them, the crew, and that if they've been honorable then the sum of those experiences would be honorable as well.
In closing I have to say that this is one of Season 7's few episodes that does not wrap up the last six years, and as such is one of my faves. It also would have been neat had they found this instead of B4, not that I really mind.
And one other thing - How often have we thought some day that computer would wake up? Really? And then it does. Good job.