Star Trek Canon Database

Displaying 1 to 10 of 10 records.

Database started: 1999-07-27
Page generated: 2017-10-20

Page 1

TNG Season 1, Ep# 7: "The Last Outpost"

Picard VO: Captain's log, stardate 41194.6. We are in pursuit of a starship of Ferengi design. Our mission is to intercept and recover a T-9 energy converter which the Ferengi stole from an unmanned monitor post on Gamma Tauri IV; a theft which automatic scanners recorded, providing us with the long awaited opportunity to make close contact with a Ferengi vessel. If we succeed in this chase, it will be Starfleet's first look at a life form which, discounting rumor, we know almost nothing about.

Culture: in spite of Picard's earlier slander of the Ferengi race in ep#1, we now discover that they have almost no knowledge of the Ferengi. Picard had fought a Ferengi vessel before, but as we later discover in "The Battle", he didn't know who they were at the time.

Ted Collins notes that by the time the Federation has familiarized itself with the Ferengi, it had already "educated" its youth with these unfavourable characterizations, as Tom Paris and Ensign Kim both demonstrated in the Voyager pilot episode "Caretaker" with their statements about the Academy warning all cadets about Ferengi dishonesty. Odd behaviour for a society that claims to have "evolved" beyond racism.

TNG Season 1, Ep# 7: "The Last Outpost"

DATA: Nothing specific, sir. As you know, Ferengi technology is estimated to be generally equal to our own...

PICARD: Which does not mean identical, however...

DATA: Correct, sir. We are no doubt advanced in some areas, they in others...

GEORDI: They show another power surge, sir.

Sensors: apparent contradiction of the commonly held belief that Ferengi technology lags far behind that of the Federation (a common excuse for the effectiveness of the Picard Maneuver). Approximate technological parity makes sense in light of the heavy volume of Ferengi interstellar trading activity, which would presumably reduce technological disparities throughout the region.

Technological parity is also consistent with the swiftness with which the USS Stargazer was surprised and then turned into a flaming wreck by a Ferengi attacker during the Battle of Maxia.

TNG Season 1, Ep# 7: "The Last Outpost"

WORF: They are firing on us!

PICARD: Damage report!

TASHA: Shields holding!

DATA: Mostly electromagnetic, sir. Fusion generator and batteries down by (thirty percent)

GEORDI: Our impulse engines are surging!

WORF: They're firing again.

TASHA: Deflector shield power weakening, Captain. Phasers ready, sir. Photon torpedoes ready...

RIKER: Shall we return their fire, sir... ?

PICARD: Negative, Number One. They are reacting to close pursuit. Fall back a bit but stay with them.

Shields and Forcefields: apparent contradiction of the commonly held belief that electromagnetic energy weapons are totally useless against Federation shields. Just 2 impacts from a "mostly electromagnetic" weapon were enough to weaken the Enterprise's shields.

Also note the first instance of Picard's notorious "turn the other cheek" combat tactic. It is utterly incomprehensible that this man became a renowned military officer.

Note: "thirty percent" dialogue noted by Mike Griffiths.

TNG Season 1, Ep# 7: "The Last Outpost"

DATA: The Ferengi are... well, the best description may be "traders."

PICARD: What kind of "traders"?

DATA: A more accurate comparison modern scholars have drawn from Earth history cites the ocean-going "Yankee Traders" of eighteenth and nineteenth century America, sir.

RIKER: From the history of my forebears? "Yankee Traders?"

DATA (nods): Who sail, in this case the galaxy, in search of mercantile and territorial opportunity.

RIKER: And are those scholars saying the Ferengi may not be too different from us?

DATA: Hardly, sir. I believe this analogy refers to the nefarious capitalist manner in which the Ferengi are known to conduct their affairs of commerce.

Culture: our first glimpse of current Federation attitudes toward capitalism. The very word appears to have taken on a negative connotation, and it is used here to differentiate themselves from the Ferengi.

Mike Griffiths notes that in the televised version, Data's last line was changed to:

"Hardly sir. I believe the analogy refers to the worst quality of capitalists. The ferengi are believed to conduct their affairs of commerce on the ancient principle "Caveat Emptor" - "Let the buyer beware", sir"

TNG Season 1, Ep# 7: "The Last Outpost"

DATA (describing the mythical Tkon Empire): Again, only legend, but it describes the Empire as impossibly huge and powerful.

RIKER: Surrounded by stars whose planets formed its defensive system?

DATA: Correct, sir. Outposts. And the planet below was possibly one of them.

Size and Scope: the legendary descriptions of the Tkon Empire strike Data as "impossibly" large and powerful, even though it was small enough to be wiped out by a single supernova. If current states such as the Cardassian Union or the Federation are of similar or lesser scope (thus explaining Data's sentiment), this would support the notion that the bulk of their resources are clustered in or immediately around their home systems.

Mike Griffiths notes that in the televised version, Data's first line was changed to:

"advanced and powerful, and capable of actually moving stars"

TNG Season 1, Ep# 7: "The Last Outpost"

TASHA (over comm): Excuse the interruption, Captain, but this may be worth it. We're now receiving a signal from the probe.

PICARD: We'll take it here, please.

(Viewscreen shows forcefield being projected from planet, holding both the Enterprise and the Ferengi vessel in place)

GEORDI: Incredible!

RIKER: That's our mysterious "something," Captain. It is a forcefield of some kind...

PICARD: Reaching up from the planet surface. What amazing power! How does the legend describe the end of the Tkon Empire?

DATA: By their Sun going supernova, sir.

Shields and Forcefields: they are utterly astonished at the ability of the Tkon outpost to project a forcefield into orbit and seize two capital ships (one can only imagine what they would think of the Endor shield generator). This is indicative of the state of power and forcefield technology in the Federation.

TNG Season 1, Ep# 7: "The Last Outpost"

PICARD VO: Captain's log, supplemental. In orbit of the mysterious planet Gamma Tauri IV in the Delphi Ardu star system, whose unexplained forcefield has seized us with a power almost beyond imagination.

Shields and Forcefields: more breathless superlatives for this "incredible" planetary forcefield generator which can hold two capital ships. What would Picard think of the Alderaan planetary shield, which deflected the Death Star superlaser for more than a tenth of a second?

TNG Season 1, Ep# 7: "The Last Outpost"

BEVERLY (gasping for breath as oxygen and temperature both drop): I should visit... the family decks...again...

PICARD: I've diverted... all reserve... power there. They'll... last longest.

Culture: one would hope that Picard would now realize the folly of rushing headlong into dangerous situations (such as the pursuit of a potentially hostile starship about which they know nothing) with civilians still on board. However, over the years to come, he will continue to take his ship into dangerous situations without leaving the saucer section behind.

Mike Griffiths notes that these two lines were compressed into a single line of dialogue from Captain Picard: "I've diverted... all reserve... power down here to the family decks. They'll... last longest.". However, the basic meaning was essentially unchanged.

TNG Season 1, Ep# 7: "The Last Outpost"

LETEK: And there is even more! We can prove the hu-mans are destroyers of legal commerce ... also that they selfishly withhold vital technology from backward worlds...

MORDOC: And necessary defensive weapons, too. We Ferengi are now challenge this hu-man madness...

...

LETEK (exhibiting Starfleet comm badges): Proof of their barbarism; they adorn themselves with gold, a despicable use of rare metal...

Culture: naturally, the Ferengi find the Federation's policies of communism and trade restriction to be offensive and immoral, just as the Federation apparently finds capitalism "nefarious" and immoral.

This passage also suggests that the Federation has been attempting to restrict Ferengi trade activities somehow, thus leading to the current state of animosity (one which will apparently diminish over time, presumably due to diplomatic concessions and/or black-market activity that thaws the relationship between the capitalist Ferengi and the communist Federation over time).

Federation restrictions on free trade reveal much about their cultural mindset. Historically, free trade has generally led to a quasi-entropic process, in which the removal of barriers tends to blur differences between neighbouring societies. The Ferengi obviously believe that trade barriers hurt rather than helping, while the Federation feels that trade barriers must be maintained by the region's benevolent rulers even if neither trading partner wants them. They want primitive societies to remain primitive indefinitely (it's for their own good, of course, and not for the purpose of perpetuating the Federation's regional hegemony), and poor societies to remain poor indefinitely (unless, of course, they ask to join the Federation).

And finally, note Letek's outrage at their frivolous use of the "rare metal" known as gold, which would be exceedingly odd if it were truly as "worthless" as Quark made it out to be.

TNG Season 1, Ep# 7: "The Last Outpost"

DATA: They should add also that Starfleet has refused to prevent several civilizations from falling; we have sometimes let the violent and strong overcome the weak...

LETEK: They admit their crimes! Hear them; they admit the evil ...

(The being known as "Portal" eventually sides with Riker, and the viewers understand the hidden subtext that all of these offenses are actually justified by the Prime Directive).

Culture: positive spin put on shameful admissions. The human mind is not rational by nature. The same joke seems funnier when it's accompanied by a laugh track, the same tragedy is more heart-wrenching when accompanied by sad music, and the same admission of despicable moral cowardice can be perceived as proof of morality if it is presented properly.

By the more "enlightened" morals of the Federation, I suppose that means UN intervention in "ethnic cleansing" incidents was totally immoral, while the Catholic Church's conspicuous silence during Hitler's Holocaust was supremely moral.

The Ferengi actually have it right, but the show plays like a Goebbels propaganda film, and portrays their objections as ridiculous and small-minded without ever explaining what's wrong with them. The powerful "Portal" creature sides with Riker, and in the mind of the viewer, this undeclared appeal to authority somehow validates the Federation's position.

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