I miss Yar as much as the next guy. I don’t know if we had to jump up and down on the space/time continuum to get her back.

Still, it’s a good, high-concept episode with plenty of action and drama. Not the Yar/McGavin relationship. I don’t hate it, but I see how it’s the strongest emotional hook they could give to a character who never had a proper emotional hook during her time on the show proper.

Then again, what else could they have given her? I’m partial to the Yar/LaForge relationship (and its Chasing Amy cousin Yar/LaForge/Data), but what are our options?

The Beige and The Bold is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcasting platforms. It updates Sunday nights at 12:00 PM ET / 11:00 PM CT.

*A large double-door bursts open, silhouetting three figures who’ve just entered the darkened room.*

Ularon, on the right: “Do the reasonable thing and give yourself up, dark one.”

Gahncai, on the left: “The mer-man sucks, but he’s usually right. Accept your fate.”

Bria, in the center: “But since you’re not smart enough to do that, we–”

Bria, *Lowering her big, black bastard sword*: “Guys, I *really* think this place is empty.”

Ularon, *Drops his hands as blue energy dissipates from around them*: “I was just thinking that.”

Gahncai, *mockingly*: “You were not. You thought someone was in here.” The dog man pulls out a half-full bag and begins putting silverware from a nearby table into it.

Ularon: “And you once spent thirty minutes barking at a Gerome Solakken statue.”

Gahncai, *suddenly very serious*: “That cat man is alive and he will betray you all!”

*From the darkness of the room ahead, they hear their third companion.*

Bria, *uncertainly*: “Hey, one of you checked this room, didn’t you?”

Ularon, *uninterested*: “A scrying spell would’ve cost me the bet.”

Gahncai, *suddenly looking towards Bria and tracking something rising from the dark to loom high above his friend*: “Oh, uh, I see something now.”

The new Battletech video 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, Take II

I reloaded from save, which was well before the mission start. I reordered my repair orders and that simple change let me replace the Commando with a fully-functional Centurion.

This time I immediately moved to the left ridgeline. The plan now was to look for a break in the line that would allow me to walk the Centurion through. Once I found it, I’d jump the Spider, Blackjack, and Shadow Hawk onto the ridgeline and seize the high ground on the left side of the battlefield.

I found that gap and marked my first enemy kill when their Commando ran through it and was annihilated. I ran my Centurion up the gap, and then jumped my Spider, Shadow Hawk, and Blackjack onto the ridge in order. An enemy Shadow Hawk was shredded as I focused fire and counted my Spider as a fair trade.

When the last two enemies, a Griffin and a Quickdraw, squared off, I focused on the Quickdraw’s side torso, destroying its missiles. Under pressure from the Griffin, I sent the Shadow Hawk its way, but kept focus on the Quickdraw. It eventually succumbed and I turned on the Griffin, who went down in a flurry of vicious kicks.

Except for the Spider, my losses were minimal. Not because of good luck, but because of good tactics and a commitment to them. It was also the result of repairing my mechs in a sensible manner to ensure I didn’t just have four ‘mechs ready at a time, but four good ones. It was the result of only repairing some ‘mechs somewhat instead of all of them at once. That let me coast through payday and have that lance of good ‘mechs ready when I took the mission. I learned the importance of discriminating between what should be repaired and when.

This started a run of good, one-and-a-half- to two-skull missions which were more perfunctory–and profitable–than I’d come to expect.

Mission: Quick Extraction

I started at the top of a wedge of land. At the bottom was a confluence of three rivers and a base that I had to extract some stuff from. I was told after I landed that the resistance would be heavier than I expected. After the last mission, I was braced and twice as wary because I had to leave one of my ‘mechs in an enemy base.

I moved my Centurion, Vindicator (recently repaired), and Blackjack across the western river. My Vindicator was piloted by Shaft, a new mechwarrior I’d hired to replace my previous Spider pilot. Those three would draw in any enemy forces.

Behemoth hung back in her Shadow Hawk. She’d sensor lock enemies, but lay low. Once they were sufficiently distracted/dead, she’d swing in, occupy the base, and hit the landing zone as quickly as possible.

In the end, I only encountered two vehicles. Both Manticores, I think. They landed some hard hits, but I made relatively quick work of them. Behemoth ran into the base, got our objective, and wrapped up the mission easy-peasy.

Mission: Two Commandos

That was all. Just two Commandos. There were some woods. One Commando had SRMs and the other had the large laser. Indirect fire and sensor locks from my Shadow Hawk pilot, Behemoth, make quick work of them.

This was my first mission with Shaft, a new recruit I’d hired to replace the scout ‘mech pilot I’d lost to Grim Sybil. I hdd kept the Spider too close to the fight after it took a ton of damage in the first story mission. Well, maybe it had taken 29 tons of damage when it finally took that last ton. I was hoping to train Shaft up as the missions allowed.

I also bought a cockpit module which would help my morale a bit. I’m curious about the morale system and want to see how trying to leverage it works. I’ve been satisfied so far.

So we’re a bit offended here and maybe just bored enough to make up a B-plot where Worf and Geordi are trying to complete space’s most insane scavenger hunt.

Roshamon was directed by Kurosawa, but I was only correct because I was an idiot. It’s a classic example of answer by accident. I am a buffoon.

We understand how the Tanugans’ legal system is a bit unfair, but it still feels like Starfleet closed ranks around Riker and his alleged murder with an unsettling quickness. Why couldn’t Picard have just been, y’know, in the right here for extradition? Why didn’t we examine Federation Law and space law in more depth? Why couldn’t we even work a mention in edgewise about state v federal power, or at least one where federal officials aren’t inherently personally involved in the conflict?

The Beige and The Bold is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcasting platforms. It updates Sunday nights at 12:00 PM ET / 11:00 PM CT.

Want to say that you guys are lucky we didn’t record this episode with the same commentary repeated three times, but with different attitudes.

The flaw with Star Trek (and maybe television of its era) is that it can’t give its protagonists real, intentional flaws. What happens is that we search for humanizing flaws from less-than-perfect writing and sorta crack open this implicit pretense of characters. Modern demands for high-resolution characters take the old 4:3 characters and stretch them into 16:9 frames. That’s part of why we’re so hard on Commander Riker, I think.

Also, these four episodes–“A Matter of Perspective,” “The Offspring,” “Sins of the Father,” and–not so much but it’s in the sequence–“Yesterday’s Enterprise” seem to mark a turning point where the staff of The Next Generation gave up on Riker as a protagonist and started focusing on Picard.

Riker’s flaws had always been easily redeemable with a bit of maturity and seasoning. All they would have had to have done was to execute the most basic–and I can’t emphasize that enough *BASIC*–character arc to make Riker likable. Instead, he gets thrown on the pile with Geordi and Troi where he’s occasionally trotted out for episodes where we’re reminded of exactly which wheelhouse he’s confined to.

Also Kurosawa was the director of “Roshamon,” but that wasn’t even a lucky guess the dude is the only non-anime Japanese director I’d heard of.

The Beige and The Bold is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcasting platforms. It updates Sunday nights at 12:00 PM ET / 11:00 PM CT.

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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