4 comments on “Peak Performance

  1. We’ve seen Data experience temporary failures without getting this hung up on it, but the “it is possible to make no mistakes and still lose” lesson made for an interesting subplot. It’s neat how that line inspired Data’s ‘winning’ strategy. If you *were* to cap the subplot off differently, I think you’d still have to call back to that truism somehow.

    Would McCoy push Spock into a strategema match (“for the pride of the ship”) the way Pulaski did Data? I was going to say that this helps distinguish her character from McCoy’s, but thinking on it, I’m not so sure. Also, I feel like the strategema match is meant to call back to boxing matches between ships’ champions; very on-theme for Star Trek to change the match to something intellectual.

    It’s nice that Wesley gets to be clever in a normal way, rather than the typical “I’m smarter than you” way. Wonder if that’s by design, given how the caricatured “I’m smarter than you” guest NPC gets knocked down.

    I’m kind of amused that a random blond Ensign seems to be getting lines meant for Ensign Sonya Gomez while an extra dressed up like Gomez moves around in the back of other scenes.

    I actually like the Ferengi twist as another neat bit of world-building. The war game isn’t being held in “safe waters,” and even a crappy old Federation ship has technology or procedural secrets which can’t be allowed into unfriendly hands; plus, because it’s the Ferengi instead of some other race, we immediately understand the interlopers’ motivations, and the ramifications aren’t as dire as engaging with the Romulans or any other known race.

    Given that TNG-era Starfleet had started ramping up for a war with the Borg, and DS9-era StarFleet resumed those preparations (assuming they even stopped) for the war with the Dominion, I don’t think TV *ever* gave us a representative view of Starfleet’s composition or organization. Even TOS didn’t show us much. Would be nice to see how non-human races and navies fit in or around it; good ground for Discovery to explore (though I doubt it will).

    • I just don’t think Data had to beat Kolrami.

      “Data, Losing is part of life.”

      Data: *Beats a guy.*

      That lesson does not compute.

      I’m not familiar with boxing matches between ships. I get units competing at whatever they can compete at–Star Trek seems to match my own, narrow experience that way.

      Yeah, the Ferengi are good because their corporate structure makes the actions of individuals completely divorced from the nation themselves. Their ability to show up in the middle of a war game gives the impression that “Federation space” isn’t really an area of space circumscribed by borders. It seems to add some dimension–in my mind–of how the universe works. Romulans or someone else would have been way too much, like you said.

      I just don’t think there are planetary militias. “Best of Both Worlds, Pt II” gives us the Mars Defense Perimeter, which sucks. I think “Gambit, Pt II” and “Reunification, Pt II” look a little bit at Vulcan’s native defenses, which seem like shit. “In the Pale Moonlight,” mentions Betazed falling because the Fifth Fleet is out of position and, IIRC, there’s no mention of native defenses. Maybe those militias and national guards are the old Mirandas and Excelsiors we see in the fleet formations of The Dominion War, but…that borders on speculative.

      I’d like Federation members to have their own policing and defense forces, but sloppy writing in DS9–yeah, I said it–SEEMS to preclude that.

      • I think the lesson is more specific than “you’ll lose sometimes.” I take it as being about the subset of losses where the cause of failure is outside your fault and control, so I’m okay with Data taking the failure state out of his opponent’s control. Frustrating his opponent instead of winning outright should be on theme with Zakdorn brinksmanship and how the Enterprise crew pretend to deprive the Ferengi of their prize.

        Yeah, units competing at whatever they can compete at. For some reason I remember hearing that boxing was the popular choice for that during one of the world wars.

        Even front-line Federation ships fare badly against the Borg and Dominion, and it’s apparently rare for Starfleet ships to return to Earth, so I’m reluctant to draw any conclusions from what we see on screen. Maybe there’ll be more clues the seasons continue; no rush though.

        • “Frustrating his opponent instead of winning outright should be on theme with Zakdorn brinksmanship and how the Enterprise crew pretend to deprive the Ferengi of their prize.” True. True.

          As far as Starfleet composition. I’m loath to say it–absolutely loath–but despite Battletech’s virtual straightjacket of continuity and TO&Es, Star Trek’s hand-wavy treatment of Starfleet’s composition is embarrassingly bad in comparison. It makes the universe feel incredibly threadbare.

          I get that it’s a TV show and ships are whatever the plot demands, but I just watched a clip of Discovery where they approached a friendly space station and didn’t know until they dropped out of warp that it was offline. There have to be parking lanes and traffic control and support vessels and civilian transportation and comms traffic and…aaargh!

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