Thursday, August 1, 2013

Fanholes Side Story 20: Picard and Data's Excellent Adventure

Star Trek The Next Generation: Hive is a four part mini-series written by Brannon Braga, who was a writer on TNG, Voyager and Enterprise. The story begins in the 29th century where the Borg have conquered all. Jean Luc Picard, having become Locutus once more, has grown tired of the stagnant Borg empire. The story cuts to present day Picard on a archeological dig with his occasional lover Vash. Even doing what he loves with a women he loves the call of the Collective still haunts him. Picard assembles a fleet to deal with the coming Borg invasion. When the Borg arrive they lower their shields and demand to speak to Picard. They tell him that a race from another dimension, the Voldranaii, have devastated the Borg and are on their way to finish the job. They propose a truce and send an ambassador, Seven of Nine. Meanwhile, in the 29th century, Locutus resurrects Data and destroys a great portion of the Borg fleet. Ultimatley they encounter Seven of Nine, who is not happy with their actions. In the present we learn that upon Voyager’s return from the Delta Quadrant Picard recruited Seven for a deep cover assignment...the infiltration of the Borg to destroy them from within. While the Voldranaii destroy Andoria the combined Borg/Federation fleet hide in the Mutara Nebula. Once the space battle begins Worf and a team of Vulcan commandos beam over to a Voldranaii ship to collect bio data. They learn that the enemy has DNA from dozens of species, as well as Borg nano probes. The Borg attack and nearly wipe out the Federation fleet as Seven of Nine returns to being a drone and attacks the Enterprise crew. In the future Locutus and Data battle the Borg Queen with Locutus torn in half and Data finally delivering the killing blow. He enters a temporal chamber and arrives on the bridge of the Enterprise. Data tells them of the future and that he contains a nano virus that will infect the Collective and destroy it. The virus is placed inside Picard, knowing that the Queen will take great pleasure in personally assimilating him. Picard, Data and Seven beam over to the Queen’s ship. Picard is assimilated but the virus infects the Queen and destroys her. Data returns to the future, his mission accomplished. Seven becomes obsessed with saving as many former drones as possible, even as the Collective begins to self destruct around them. Thousands are eventually saved but Seven dies. A colony for former drones is created and the story ends with Picard heading to the Daystrom Institute to reconstruct Data..he is at last alone with his thoughts. No voices. This story has many plot points in common with past Star Trek episodes. The notion of an alien race superior to the Borg was an idea introduced in the Voyager two parter Scorpion . It seemed kind of a cheat to use this idea again, even if it was a trap for Picard. The idea of uploading a virus into the Collective that would destroy them is a dilemma the Enterprise crew previously faced in the infamous TNG episode I, Borg. At the conclusion of that episode Picard decided not to upload the virus. This moral dilemma is debated in Hive for only a few panels. Going undercover in the Collective is an idea that Voyager used in the two parter Unimatrix Zero. Even though Braga was the writer of Scorpion Part II and introduced us to Seven of Nine I’m not sure that I like this end for her. Its not uncommon for primary characters to be killed off in ‘expanded universe’ stories. Chewbacca was killed off in Vector Prime, and Peter David infamously killed off Captain Janeway in the novel Before Dishonor. I also feel that Captain Riker assumes the role that Worf did in the TNG movies. He needs to be there…so he is. His ship, the Titan, is only briefly seen and suffers the same fate as the Defiant in First Contact. Maybe this is a minor point, but there are a whole series of novels about the continuing adventures of Captain Riker and the Titan. I feel like most of that was just pushed aside. Troi adds very little either. Ultimately though, I did enjoy this mini…all nitpicks aside. If you’re a casual fan who enjoyed TNG and/or Voyager I’d recommend it. If, like me, you’re a hardcore fan I still suggest you check it out.

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