I’ve been playing the new turn-based Battletech–the one I trash talked earlier this year–because it’s actually pretty good. It has all of the things I wanted out of a Battletech game. I do not say that lightly. It has the financial mechanics, pilot management, ‘mech repair and customization, and meat ‘n unseasoned potatoes story I want. All the depth is available, but optional.

I’ve been playing through with the default company name, [MY NAME] + Marauders. “Marauder” seems like a bad name for a professional military unit, but whatever. That’s because I didn’t want to get too attached on my first runthrough. Because of a game crash (it started using tons of memory for no reason), I had to play the tutorial mission twice and lemme express my strong disinclination to ever, ever start a new playthrough.

Regardless, I played through the first story mission, when I was hired on by an old friend who was working with the Magistracy of Canopus to recover some ancient dropship. It was after that point that the game came into its own and I started having fond memories of my battles with a set crew and a steady stable of ‘mechs.

TL;DR – The new Battletech game is actually really good and scratches a lot of my old Battletech itches. I’ve had a number of memorable encounters with Velding’s Marauders and I’m sharing them here.

Mission: Capellan Death Amphitheater

I’m trying to get in close with the Magistracy of Canopus, so I took a mission where Capellans had been sniffing around Magistracy bases. I tend to fight hard, so of my six ‘mechs, two were still in the shop when I had to take this mission and I had to take this mission because the end of the month was coming up and I wouldn’t make it if I didn’t take it.

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My possession of a Tumblr account has exposed me to more Venom-based monster fucking discourse than is entirely healthy, so I hope this thing is good. I mean, as long as they’re making this as a solid side-film and not trying to make it into some kind of blockbuster tentpole.

Unspoken emotions in a relationship we don’t ship, a stock villain with one quirk and a paper-thin idea behind him, relevant technology we’ll never see again, and a sociopolitical conflict that gets The Federation’s fingers slick with blood just by touching it that we never see or hear from again. This episode has everything.

I don’t think I completed my thought on the IRA. I have a layperson’s knowledge of The Troubles and despite being acquainted with Britain’s history of imperialism and oppression, a sympathetic view of the IRA is far enough outside of my scope that I’m skeptical of it. It’s something I’m not educated on and which is far beyond the scope of the research I do for The Beige and The Bold.

Derek’s second guessing of tactics towards the gun-wielding kid at the end seems like criticism for criticism’s sake? It feels like it’d be easy if we followed his advice–if the cops jumped a child from behind to wrestle a gun away from him–to argue with equal fervor that it was foolish because the kid might have gotten a shot off. Am I being sensitive about the critical light Derek is here to shine on this series? Or this a gratuitous reach for a ‘well actually’?

The Beige and The Bold is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcasting platforms. It updates Monday mornings at 2:00 AM ET / 1:00 CT.

In “Best of Both Worlds,” Picard is assimilated by the Borg and his knowledge is used to destroy many Starfleet vessels. Riker gets a field-commission to Captain and stops the Borg. Then, Picard is reinstated and everything continues status quo ante bellum.

What if, instead, Riker finally completes his arc and becomes captain of the Enterprise? What if Picard becomes an ambassador at large, assigned to the Federation flagship and using his diplomatic knowledge to represent The Federation?

Without that, Riker enters a holding pattern. He was known as an ambitious officer, but gets fixated on being the captain of a single ship. Meanwhile, he’s constantly unprepared to be captain. An ambitious, competent officer like Will should be doing more than cooling his heels doing Picard’s admin. Making Riker the captain will let his character develop and give him new challenges. Also Data or LaForge would make a fine first officer.

Meanwhile, Picard slowly, nobly sucks up the limelight as a moral paragon. Those speeches literally become Picard Speeches, when there are seven other characters who could deliver them. A lot of that is because Patrick Stewart is such a fine actor, but no one else on the cast is a slouch. If he’s an ambassador, he can focus solely on diplomatic functions and share time with the new Captain.

Would season four be that different? Not really. Mostly the effect is sharing the attention given to Picard between Riker and Picard. List of Season 4 episodes with notes on how they might change is below the cut.

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We talk about Angosian architecture, re-using actors, and how everyone expects the Picard Speech to support them until it doesn’t. Also, we bemoan the lack of kids these days being unable to artfully turn an authoritarian invocation of the Prime Directive.

There’s so much to unpack with the Angosian leadership wanting Danar to put their arms down before negotiating. I know the analogy is veterans and their mistreatment, specifically the treatment of Vietnam veterans, which was a larger issue back in the late eighties/early nineties.

There’s also–with the reservations and the call to disarm before negotiation–a parallel with Native American treatment in the United States. I wish we had a little more time to look into the realpolitik of the disarmament of minority groups, but I guess that’s what the comments section is for.

The Beige and The Bold is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcasting platforms. It updates Monday mornings at 2:00 AM ET / 1:00 CT.