In the “Star Trek” episode entitled, “The Changeling,” the Enterprise finds an ancient interstellar probe from Earth, missing for 265 years, which has somehow mutated into a powerful and intelligent machine bent on sterilizing entire populations that do not meet its standards of perfection. This kind of thing happened to the Enterprise a whole lot…dealing with something that 20th Century Earth sent into space, and coming back with some sort of bone to pick. The EXACT same plot line was used for “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” with V’Ger, the mutated Voyager space probe.
Although the Nomad probe was pretty small (you’ll note Cap ready to haul it out an airlock above) the “evolved version” had a number of advanced capabilities. It could travel at warp speed…instead of just coasting and using a gravity trajectory like a NASA probe. It fired energy bolts approximately equivalent to NINETY of the Enterprise’s photon torpedoes. Its own defensive screens could entirely absorb the energy of a photon torpedo the Enterprise fired at it, despite its small size. To be clear, photon torpedoes are established in the series to make nukes look like toys. Its communications equipment could absorb data from the Enterprise computers, and it could drain all knowledge from a living being. It successfully resurrected Scotty after contact with its defensive screens killed him. Finally, it was also able to fire red beams of energy, which disintegrated anything they hit….usually Red Shirts.
Clearly, if you have Cap freeloading on the Enterprise with your red shirts, you make the subsequent Nomad probes that you encounter HER problem. Definitely calls for Silver Age Alien American Powers, there.
Without being able to have Cap just deal with it, the script to “The Changeling” hits quite heavily on some of Gene Roddenberry’s pet themes. It has a villainous robot outwitted by emotional humans, Kirk besting a god-like entity, and larger philosophical questions about religion and theology.
Even outside of the themes that Roddenberry clearly loved, “The Changeling” is a cornucopia of other classic “Star Trek” tropes – from a threat leaving nothing but dead star systems in its wake, through to an abundance of dead red shirts. An abundance. There’s an argument to be made that “The Changeling” is one of the most archetypal “Star Trek” episodes. If you were to bake a “Star Trek” episode from a stock list of ingredients, it would probably look a lot like this.
Given the number of times that the Enterprise comes across a piece of space junk hurled into the void in the late 20th century…and the number of times that has been a mad computer, a doomsday machine, or an exiled genetic superman…you would think that someone would have made a list. A list of all the things that were hurled into deep space at that point. You could tape that list to Sulu’s console, so the next time a genocidal supercomputer with cosmic powers shows up, you might have a clue. It happens often enough.
Let’s go back to wanting someone like “Tales of Adequacy’s” own Cap to deal with a Nomad probe for just a second. Spock mentions that Nomad’s first attack on the Enterprise was the equivalent of ninety photon torpedoes. That’s how I got that number about how ripped his beam is, from the dialogue. Surprisingly, this attack only reduced the shields by 20%. So…the Enterprise shouldn’t ever be very worried about any Klingons or Romulans, since they usually fire one or two photon torpedoes at a time, and you can EASILY take NINETY on the shields. This seems even stranger a few moments later, when Nomad absorbs the energy of a SINGLE photon torpedo and Kirk wonders how anything could “absorb so much energy – and survive”. His own ship JUST absorbed ninety times that energy and survived…was he not listening to Spock at all?
That completely inconsistent dialogue aside…if you have an Alien American with Silver Age Powers on board, you make them deal with Nomad probes. it’s just sensible.
Obviously, Cap is pretty tired of dealing with Nomad probes. Even if she’s nigh invulnerable, a disintegration beam that has the power of ninety photon torpedoes has to be annoying. Rough on your clothes, at least. Then you’ve got to haul the thing, which has warp engines, fighting you the whole time, to an airlock…so you can just chuck it into something terrifyingly final, like a black hole, or a red supergiant star. It’s just a lot of clean up work.
Any discussion of the basic tropes of “Star Trek” needed some attention to this, the rough draft of the first feature film…which wasn’t all that good either. The same thing, but much longer and with a bigger budget. So…we got this panel, and this book report.
Tomorrow…Romulans! Well…at least one Romulan.
Star Trek relies heavily on the conceit that a huge amount of energy is generated by the ship, and then focused for various uses by dilithium crystals. To get that vast amount of energy, there is a controlled matter-antimatter reaction in the engineering section of the ship, in the Warp Core. Narratively, this makes sense and is filled with science sounding words.
I’m going to use science a bit here. In particle physics, antimatter is a material composed of the antiparticle “partners” to the corresponding particles of ordinary matter. A particle and its antiparticle have the same mass as one another, but is opposite in very important ways. For example, a proton has positive charge while an antiproton has negative charge. A collision between ANY particle and its antiparticle “partner” leads to their MUTUAL ANNIHILATION. Literally removed from the universe, instantly.
The consequence of this annihilation is a release of energy available for either heat or work, in proportion to the total amount of matter and antimatter. You can figure out how much energy you’ll get from this destruction, using the mass–energy equivalence equation, Energy equals mass times the speed of light squared.
You will always get a HUGE number.
More importantly…matter is EVERYWHERE. The universe is MADE of matter. Meaning…that there’s no real safe way to store antimatter, it always wants to explode because it exists in the first place. Star Trek deals with this with a magnetic containment field that separates the antimatter until you want it to react…but you still need the most unstable and destructive substance in the universe to just kind of…be around, so you can do this. Different iterations of the Star Trek franchise handle this in different ways, my favorite is the completely unsafe, weird glass cube.
Let’s be direct here…even Superman is afraid of antimatter. It can destroy him…which is why he exercises great care going to the anti-matter universe (seen in “Crisis” and “Millenium”) because each one of his atoms needs to be exchanged for antimatter during the transfer. If he misses just one…the result is catastrophic and potentially fatal, even to the indestructible Superman. It’s one of the few non-Kryptonite things that CAN harm Superman, and it does so with a ridiculous amount of collateral damage.
Scotty keeps this substance in a weird glass cube. Possibly on some kind of desk.
See how Cap looks upset? That’s because she’s NIGH invulnerable. Nigh means “near,” so the fact is…antimatter commands her respect, even given her Silver Age Alien American Powers. If it does in Superman, it’s a problem for her. As I drew this, it dawned on my why no one in engineering wears protective clothing. It just doesn’t matter. Given all of the incredibly dangerous @#$% on the engineering floor of the Enterprise…if something goes south, they are DONE.
You will note that engineers wear Red Shirts. Clearly no coincidence.
What are they going to DO with that chunk of antimatter? No idea…I didn’t plan another panel. You decide, True Believers!
Not a huge post here, True Believers. I don’t feel much like I need to do a book report on one of the most famous episodes of Star Trek, “Mirror, Mirror.” So famous in fact, that evil versions of characters typically have beards these days, because Evil Spock had a beard.
Obviously the title of today’s post plays of the title of the episode. Very clever, huh?
Also…does having a beard making you evil mean that hipsters are evil? Or in the anti-universe, are hipsters clean shaven? That seems like a pretty intense riddle, that theoretically could be solved with a trip to the anti universe and a time machine. It’s entirely possible that you would need BOTH.
I wanted to reference the episode, because it is great…the thing is, EVERYONE goes back to “Mirror, Mirror” with Star Trek stuff, because it’s great. Novels, comics, excellently done fan episodes…it is ground that is covered. As a result, I felt like it needed a panel and a punch line, but only one of each.
As for that…as I drew it, I noticed that Lt. Moreau (as depicted here) is more handsy than Apollo. I’m pretty sure that’s not so cool to Cap either. Drawing this made it really clear to me what a challenge the romance comics of the sixties were to draw… you have to get all this Drama into the panel compositions.
Anyway, the moral of the story, as it were, is don’t start relationships with people from Evil Universes. Pretty good rule of thumb. Even Cap knows better, and she makes bad choices.
Right? It seems like such a chore. Whenever it’s a Greek Space God, they are kind of handsy, too. That’s not a play on words, with the giant energy hand, I’m actually referring to the episode “Who Mourns For Adonais?” In that episode, Apollo (the Greek God) uses his God Powers to grab the enterprise in a giant God Hand. The Enterprise can’t break free, so the ship beams down a landing party. On the landing party, there’s a blonde scientist, and in the original script she is pregnant with Apollo’s child at the end of it. Those lines of dialogue stayed in the adaptation of the episode by James A. Blish, and even inspired a “Star Trek: New Visions” by John Byrne.
So yes…Greek Space Gods are kind of handsy.
Not that hard to defeat, though. Despite being able to hold the Enterprise stationary in space, and kind of smash it a bit, Apollo can’t really do too much without the machinery in his Space Temple recharging him. When Kirk orders a phaser bombardment, he’s pretty much done for. I guess we need to add that to the list of chores Cap will have here…after punching the God Hand, she’s going to have to fly to the Space Temple and wreck it.
To speak for a minute about the episode, “Who Mourns For Adonais?”…the episode is “iconic” and memorable. It is jam packed with images that are familiar to even the most casual of Star Trek fans. “Kirk confronts a Greek god in deep space!” is a pretty catchy premise. “A giant hand grabs the Enterprise and threatens to crush the ship!” is the type of delightfully insane visual that ranks up there with “space Lincoln!” when it comes to Star Trek visuals that stick with people outside the context of the show itself. Put that together with yes, the Enterprise dealing with a “Chariots of the Gods” style space God, and you’ve got some stuff there.
A whole lot of Gene Roddenberry’s ideas on religion were wrapped up in this episode. To be clear about his perspective, Gene Roddenberry was an atheist. He was AGGRESSIVELY atheistic. “Religions vary in their degree of idiocy, but I reject them all,” he had stated in a statement that was surprisingly confrontational for a man who is known for a franchise built on tolerance and open-mindedness. “For most people, religion is nothing more than a substitute for a malfunctioning brain.” It should come as no surprise that his views were reflected in the show itself.
Despite a throw-away line from Kirk about how the Federation finds “one god” is quite enough, “Who Mourns for Adonais?” really codifies this atheistic approach. Kirk and his crew stumble across a straight up bona fide god from Ancient Greece. He has only simple command for the crew of the Enterprise. “You will gather laurel leaves, light the ancient fires, kill a deer, make your sacrifices to me,” he declares. “Apollo has spoken!” They aren’t really going to do any of that, and that’s what makes the conflict of the show happen.
As such, Kirk and his crew are forced just take out Apollo once and for all. “Who Mourns for Adonais?” is stunningly direct. There’s no attempt to dismiss Apollo as an imposter or a fake, the episode makes a strong case that Apollo is exactly who he claims to be. Even Kirk and his crew seem to accept the probability that Apollo did visit Ancient Greece and was accepted as a god by the native populations at face value. However, even accepting Apollo’s background at face value, Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise are forced to respond with force. I’m a big fan of heavy handed symbolism, and Kirk orders the Enterprise to destroy the temple. With the place of worship reduced to ruin, Apollo himself literally fades away. It doesn’t get more heavy handed than that metaphor.
As such, “Who Mourns for Adonais?” uses Apollo as a stand-in for all religious deities, with particular emphasis on the major religions in the United States. The episode is very much about Kirk’s refusal to bend down before a god. This isn’t simply a character CLAIMING to be a god, but a character with historical precedent of being worshipped. Not having any of that nonsense, Kirk and his crew argue a whole lot with a god and then destroy him.
Presumably, there’s a pantheon of Space Gods out there. Apollo refers to a few other gods, and the Animated Series brings out an Aztec deity. It’s not unreasonable that this would be a thing that the Enterprise just kind of copes with.
Cap doesn’t seem too happy about it.
Ah…the Gorn. Only one appearance in The Original Series, but definitely one of the most well known of the Old School Bad Guys.
Don’t know anything about the Gorn? Fine…I’ve got you covered. The Gorn were a cold-blooded, reptilian species with green, rubbery skin, red blood and an average height of approximately two meters. They tended to be many times stronger than most humanoids, but slower and less agile. They had much greater stamina and durability, with Kirk dropping huge boulders on the one Gorn…and almost having that go unnoticed. Like most cold-blooded species, they preferred warmer temperatures. Also, Gorn could survive exposure to the vacuum of space….which says something very huge about their toughness.
So, yeah…if you had Cap just sort of riding along with the Enterprise for a while, you would make the Gorn her problem. In the one episode that they appeared, the Gorn Captain takes an extreme amount of punishment. During the first skirmish between Captain Kirk and the Gorn, Kirk hurled a boulder at his opponent, only for it to bounce off the Gorn’s skin. Later, he caused a giant boulder to roll down a mountain and hit the Gorn. Though this temporarily stunned him, he was not injured. Kirk finally managed to wound and disable the Gorn with a primitive cannon comprised of rope-wrapped bamboo as a barrel, with RAW DIAMONDS as projectiles and a homemade gunpowder mixture as propellant. If you have a super strong crew member, you would have THEM take this guy on.
Obviously, this was an exciting episode.
I haven’t done that many vertical compositions as of late, so that’s part of the reason for the “movie poster” style composition here. I wanted to include the Gorn’s very fashion forward 1960’s print on his uniform, so that meant he was going to be larger than the others. The Gorn did NOT shy away from glitter, he was very confident is his reptilian masculinity.
I’m not the only one who fondly remembers this scaly antagonist. The Gorn are the villains of the 2013 “Star Trek” game for PlayStation. It was NOT well received. The game was set before “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” featuring fifteen varieties of completely updated and redesigned male and female Gorn ranging in size, intelligence and color, designed by Neville Page. They were like Jurassic Park style dinosaur people, much more lizard-y than the original Gorn, with lasers and so forth. They are depicted as originating from another galaxy which they have conquered by the time they reach the Milky Way Galaxy via a wormhole created by a terraforming device on New Vulcan. Got all that? I had to read a lot of the game’s summary to give you that sentence, you know. The Gorn for the game have a mind-controlling venom that turns enemies on each other, practice bio-enhancement, and are generally just a meaner, yet still superstrong set of opponents.
Again…they game was NOT successful. Possibly in part because the Gorn is such an iconic image from 1960’s science fiction, that isn’t really that malleable, you know?
The art was a big chore, in part because of the space background. Like a whole lot of those complex, pattern based backgrounds these days, I did that part separately, after the initial pencils. I’m posting the pencils here, untreated in any way, because I’m proud of them and they were hard to draw.
I’m continuing the Star Trek thing for a bit longer, because I’m enjoying it, and because of both “Secret Empire” and school being out for Summer Vacation, the content and the setting work for me right now. Stan Lee said that if a character was going into Space, it should be an Event. So…I’m making an Event here, complete with its own visual lexicon. Hopefully, Stan’s editorial decree is being satisfied.
I’m going to get this out of the way FAST. I prefer the Old School Klingons. I don’t dislike the more nuanced, big forehead klingons that we have now…I just prefer the Old School.
Arguably, the Forehead Klingons are tougher, which is good for that guy getting pimp slapped by Cap. See how she’s not really leaning into it at all, or in fact, really trying? That’s right. That’s because a few days ago, I drew her tossing an entire spaceship full of Klingons out of a star system. One Klingon…that’s just not that big a deal for someone who tosses spaceships.
Obviously, since post number 1701 of Adequacy, I’ve been watching a whole lot of Star Trek.
I’m going to say it here…too much of a big deal has been made over “continuity” and the Klingon forehead thing. Obviously, the whole reason Klingons looked the way they did in The Original Series was budgetary. That fine. Ever since the retconned Klingons first appeared in “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” I took the viewpoint of “Klingons always looked like that, I just didn’t notice because they did not have the budget to MAKE Klingons look like that.” It didn’t produce too many plot holes until the writers started producing episodes to try and explain the retcon. That made the proverbial waters pretty muddy, and at this point, I more or less disregard them. My thesis for that disregard is primarily founded in the idea that the three Klingon Captains from The Original Series come back for a Deep Space Nine episode, and have the foreheads. This suggests pretty strongly to me that I just didn’t notice their heads in the Original Series, because of dollars.
Obviously, I’ve been fact checking things like, “How strong is a Klingon, anyway?” for these posts.
It turns out that the Klingons possess a “robust and enduring biology as well as large and muscular statures.” They appear to be among the strongest fully organic humanoid species seen, being vastly stronger than humans. That was in contradiction to my earlier reseatch, which put them on par with Vulcans…but Spock was the strongest man on the enterprise, by a large margin, so…okay. Forhead Klingons have been seen on multiple occasions proving the physical equal or superior of Jem’Hadar and Hirogen, two other races possessing immense strength. Only the semi-artificial Borg and artificial lifeforms such as Data are clearly stronger. In Forehead Klingons, every organ has a backup, and their rapid metabolism allows injured Klingons to heal quickly….like a low ren Wolverine. All of this makes Klingons extremely hardy and difficult to kill, as necessitated by their aggressive nature, and pretty resistant to physical trauma.
The point of that little book report? Oh, yeah.
That Forehead Klingon will probably be pretty unhappy, but considering that Cap isn’t going for broke, he might actually survive the slap. Impressive. Maybe that’s why you just throw whole ships of these guys out of the System you’re in…it’s just easier and more convenient.
I think part of the reason that I’m not that fond of the Forehead Klingons is the idea of Klingon Glasnost. They were thinly veiled Communist Russians in the Original Series and the Films…until suddenly, they were allies of a sort. Hostile allies that you didn’t understand very well, but allies. Where that MIGHT be more subtle, nuanced storytelling…sometimes I just want a clearly defined Bad Guy, that you love to hate.
Obviously, Cap feels similarly.
Its interesting that in the real world, Russia seems to be becoming a “threat” again…possibly influencing elections, and generally interfering in government outside their own borders. It’s pretty interesting that ACTUAL Glasnost seems to be going slightly by the wayside…possibly in part because of American “leadership.” I try not to be political (outside of education) in this strip, but I felt like I had to get that dig in.
Today has me involved in a few things, none of them all that “interesting.” It’s basically a day of cleaning up tribbles…nothing too challenging, but a whole lot of it. The nice thing about Summer Vacation is that you can kind of plan around just that. With a whole bunch of days off, it’s not like you can’t just set one aside for chores.
Right now, even as I type this, I’m paying bills. Not the best chore, but it needs to get done. At least my check has an image of Superman chucking a burning mass into the sky…it’s pretty much what it feels like I’m doing with my money. Then pay my storage unit, wash the car, and update my cell phone plan. See? Basic “clean up those tribbles” level chores.
I’ll be leaving soon, to handle a couple of those in person, as that seems to get things done better (at least in my experience). After I finish them up, I’m going to help a friend unpack their booth and inventory from Anime Expo, which was this past weekend. That will not just be a tribble hunt, that will be a tribble sorting, and a tribble shelving, possibly even tribble filing. It’s a literal truckload of stuff, and it pretty much needs to get done today.
Hence, today’s artwork. Somebody has to clean up all those tribbles.