It’s Federation Day!

SOLAR NEWS NETWORK HARD COPY EXTRACT 10.11.2161
IT’S FEDERATION DAY!
5 sign new UFP Constitution
SAN FRANCISCO, Earth (SNN) – Declaring it a landmark day in the history of each of their worlds, five envoys today breathed life into the fledgling United Federation of Planets with the signing of the new organization’s Constitution amid much pomp and circumstance.
“We are truly entering a brave new world of peace, exploration and security with the establishment of this Federation, declared Earth ambassador Thomas Vanderbilt, whose remarks were echoed by representatives from Vulcan, Andor, Tellar, and Alpha Centauri.
“Following the end of your world’s war with the unseen Romulan enemy, such a union as we create here today is the most logical course of action any of our peoples can take,” added Ambassador T’Jan of Vulcan.
UESPA Maj. Gen. Georges E. Picard, an aide to Vanderbilt, noted afterward the irony of the conference – which met in exactly the same fashion as the founders of the Earth’s old United Nations, who came together only 215 years earlier in the same city in the aftermath of the horrors of another costly war.*
“What is occurring here today is one sign that some good can come of such a scourge,” Picard noted.
“We defy anyone, even the Romulans, to test our resolve now for collective security,” declared AmbassadorNatha Kell of Tellar, while Sarahd of Andor spoke of future greatness for the infant union and predicted rapid expansion. Ambassador Titus Oleet signed for the newly independent Centauri system.
Today’s events were but the ceremonial endgame for the often-tumultuous negotiations, which began in earnest after the defeat of hostile forces at Cheron effectively ended the Romulan War only a little more than ayear ago. Even today, some sources reported a later fracas involving the Tellarite Kell and Sarahd.
Although those taking part today waived off revealing many specific details, the five after signing immediately convened the first-ever meeting of the UFP Council long enough to elect Vanderbilt as president, with Sarahd as vice president.
Also, the Council sources unanimously voted to continue meeting in San Francisco, with an all-new building in the design stages near the historic old Presidio fort and Golden Gate Bridge. Council sources predicted at least three months would be needed before the fledgling UFP bureaucracy would be ready for business.

Star Trek : Mudd’s Women

Mudd’s a pimp. Plain and simple. He’s carting these women around to cash in on them. He’s a jerk.

On his way to deliver the ladies to their prospective husbands, Mudd gets into a bit of space danger and the Enterprise rescues him. The rescue cost the Enterprise a great deal: their (di)lithium crystal circuits are blown.

Detouring to Rigel XII, to benefit from its lithium mines, the crew of the Enterprise gets a chance to learn more about Mudd and his scheme, and to be enchanted by his lovely companions.

Kirk wants to prosecute the creep.

The women want to dump the husbands they were going to marry and go with the miners instead.

Mudd wants to keep the secret of their beauty a secret.

When the Enterprise arrives at Rigel XII, the lonely miners are pretty excited to meet the women that want to marry them.

For some reason.

But once the miners start marrying the beauties, things change. They start to lose their beauty. (Or, in Magda’s case, her hair gets messed up!) Turns out, Mudd had been giving the ladies a special Venus pill that helped that maintain their beauty.

The head miner was pretty ticked and wanted a refund. The woman he was set to marry hollers at him about how all men are the same and he should want to marry her for more than her beauty.

So she grabs another pill and returns to her pretty state.

But she didn’t take a real Venus pill. Kirk reveals that he switched it out with a false one, a placebo. Where does her physical beauty come from? Her self-confidence.

Groan

I know this is a beloved episode. I couldn’t stand it.

This was actually the first time I saw it, this one being banned when I was a kid. ( Banned by my father for, what I assume, equal parts moral objection and personal annoyance at lighthearted stuff on Star Trek. We skipped Tribbles for the latter reason.)

I noticed some holes.


Didn’t the miners wonder why these three gorgeous women were having trouble finding husbands? I know this a take-off on the old West trope of delivering pretty wives from the East and the trip not going exactly as planned. So there is a bit of logical leniency given to an update of such an old theme. But not enough leniency can be given for this to work satisfactorily for me.

When the Venus pill wears off, their hair and make-up get messed up? This is just the product of restrictive budgets on a new TV show with a shaky audience base and a bizarre premise. I get that. Still. I’m watching this show saying, “Can’t they just borrow somebody’s make-up?”

The following is less a plot hole thing and more a time vortex thing. Three-time Trek actor Gene Dynarski appears have simply changed the color of his facial hair to convince audiences that he ages normally. I’m not buying it. He’s on the Venus pill.

In Mudd’s Women, The Mark of Gideon, and 11001001

“Oh! The sound of male ego! You travel halfway across the galaxy, and it’s still the same song.”

Let’s get to this whole “your confidence makes you beautiful” thing.

There’s an obvious problem here. Eve demands to be valued for more than her looks. Then, when forced to take the pill, she’s pretty again. Only the prettiness is sourced from her own self-appointed value. The problem is that even her inner confidence seems to think that her only value is in her looks!

The placebo works only because her confidence is high. So I’m thinking if she has a lot of confidence and takes the pill, she should look the same, only feel good about herself. Instead her looks change, suddenly interesting the miner Childress.

I know there’s a thing about your external beauty reflecting, or hosting, your inner. I do not think that’s what’s going on here. Here’s the effects of Eve taking the pill:

  • Childress likes her again
  • Mudd’s sale is a success
  • Eve doesn’t have to figure out the tricky combination of being self-confident and ugly.

“I will love myself for who am I. And…oh! I’m pretty again! Neat!”

Feels like a cop-out to me. Her self-confidence was never tested. And Childress’ interest in her was never proven to be anything beyond lust. He had about three minutes with the ugly Eve, got yelled at, and then got to marry the pretty version.

“I read once that a commander has to act like a paragon of virtue. I never met a paragon.”

It comes down to image. Eve was unsatisfied with Childress’ image of her. So she rightfully asserted herself. But then her own image of herself was a bit wonky too, since it became realized in exactly the same form as her lusty miner husband-to-be’s.

Why bother announcing a new positive self-image if you’re just going to conform to what somebody else wants you to be?

Her self-image was still coming from men. That’s the problem with self-image. It can never be entirely sourced in you. You want to be beautiful just for you, not for anyone else. Yet the image of what you want to be comes from somewhere. It comes from someplace other than your own head.

So be careful where your image comes from.

“Men will always be men. No matter where they are.”

I used to daydream as a kid. Believe it or not this grown man writing about Star Trek and Doctor Who used to daydream. I would pretend to be Green Lantern when I was really little; Fred Astaire when I was even littler. And when I was a teenager, I pretended to be Pete Townshend.

I would swing my arms (still do sometimes), shout out angry young man songs (still do that too), and threaten to smash the first guitar I ever owned (providing, of course, that a second guitar was already in my possession).

I felt silly doing this, so I tried to do my own rock thing. I still swung my arms around and longed for a chance to smash a guitar. But these actions were now simply homages, not shameless copying.

After all, I was my own person.

Even in trying to distance myself from copping another’s personality, I was still being influenced – and strongly – by something from not inside myself. Even if I had dropped the smashing guitars and windmilling bit and just stuck to playing rock and roll, I still would have used A-chords and I still would have played them upon a piece of wood with long thin bands of metal affixed to it. I couldn’t possibly just start from scratch and really be my own person. Rock and roll is only complex enough to handle four or five different personality types. They’re all just riffs on the same few archetypes.

I digress…

“Being a rock star is a bit different from having self-confidence,” you say.

“Yeah, but only a bit,” I sneer. (My testy rock and roll persona seems to have reemerged…)

But truly, the differences between having self-confidence and daydreaming about being a rock star are not very great in my mind. Both admit dissatisfaction with your present self and both make a goal of becoming a version of yourself that’s based on external (ie, not from your own mind) appearances and attitudes.

In other words, you’re getting your you-ness from somewhere.

So.

Be careful where your image comes from.

***

Mystery in Space 56

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The Menace of the Super Atom

The greatest teams in entertainment. This story marks the first time ever that Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson joined their masterful individual talents for a single tour de Zeta-beam. This inaugurated the greatest partnership of artists in the history of the medium. 

It’s a nifty little space adventure story too!

Adam Strange arrives on the planet Rann, greeted only by his sweetheart’s empty vehicle. “Where is Alanna?” The flier’s automatic controls deliver Adam to some old Rannian ruins, where an evil alien has established his base for his invasion of Rann!

This isn’t your everday alien invasion. This villain looks like a single atom, expanded to a million million time the appropriate size of an atom. It sort of looks like this…

The concept of a giant atom borrowed from an earlier Adam Strange story

The Atom (not the Atom, but this Atom) controls an army of inanimate material – sand, stone, dirt – he animates them like men and sends them to battle.

This Atom releases Alanna, expecting the reunited duo to provide some entertainment for him as they feebly resist his invasion.

Traditional fighting just doesn’t work against this army of stone men. Any that are defeated are quickly replaced by this Atom’s remote consciousness.

This Atom has Rann’s champion against the wall. In his desperation, Adam cries out, “Stop! Don’t hurt Alanna!”

It obeyed.

And that was that. Adam yelled stop and the thing stopped. He told this Atom to call down its army and it did.

Adam’s solution is based on the idea that this Atom could only affect inanimate matter and that Adam, being a human, was of a higher intelligence. Simply calling on this fact that we so take for granted, Adam Strange needed to just say stop and the thing backed off like a frightened puppy.

Now there’s something very Geeks of Christ about that. There is something special about who we are. We have a dignity that seems to transcend our actions and supposed limitations. Look at Adam. He’s just a normal earthman. No powers. No fancy gizmos besides typical Rannian equipment. And here he is facing a super-intelligent, ancient, endlessly mysterious alien.

He shouldn’t be able to win. And he certainly shouldn’t be able to win with so simple a solution. But by simply asserting his identity and claiming that there should be justice here instead of cruelty, he wins.

That’s the power that Christians have. If Christians call on the Holy Spirit, our identity as Children of the Creator of the Universe is asserted and we need only speak to defeat whatever darkness is upon us.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that we can just walk around saying things that we want and expect to get them. But the Bible does seem to indicate a power to cooperate with God as He stretches His Kingdom over the world as it is now. There’s a promise that His Kingdom will come – in a full physical manifestation. But there’s also a sense that it’s here already! Where His Church is worshiping Him and serving Him (by serving others a lot of times). Where people are healed, there’s a preview of the Kingdom. Where people are getting along and forgiving and repenting and being restored – His Kingdom is there in those moments and in those lives.

And anyway, with that sense of the Kingdom being here already, we can speak and things can happen. The powers of darkness have no authority over Christians anymore. We can claim the power of Christ and His resurrection and be freed from oppression. We need only call on the name of Jesus Christ, aloud or silently, and extend His Kingdom over that moment and that place we’re in.

I got way off track.

What was I talking about?

Oh! Right. This comic. Yeah, it illustrates the power that simple words can have to spread the Kingdom of God.

I think it does anyway…

The Raider of the Waterless World

A bored delivery man laments his position as so many other exciting things are happening in the galaxy. He’s delivering water in little spheres to some barren world as bad aliens are discovered to be on the path to earth!

He’s the only ship in the vicinity and has to act! So when he’s in range, he fires his water capsules through the void and they explode like missiles when they make contact with the invading alien vessels.

Malleable soft water, that would just run over your fingers, that you invite into your and over your body every day, becomes powerful enough to save the entire human race.

Water becomes powerful as described by Jesus. As a major Jewish holiday was coming to a close and everyone was slowing down, Jesus shot up from his seat and shouted, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7: 37, 38)

Water is powerful. We see it in this silly old story. We see it in nature, as rivers and floods reveal the transience of man’s structures. And we see it as Jesus reveals it as a metaphor for the coming of the Holy Spirit and the salvation of the world.

Super-Cook of Space

Some earthmen are employed an alien world. When they eat the food of that world, their appearance changes to match that of the indigenous people.

The aliens wanted to attack the humans but are thwarted by the sudden change in the earthmen.

By resembling their enemies, the earthmen win!

Similarly did Christ walk among his enemies – us. He became one of us. Eating, drinking, sleeping, everything. And, like the aliens in this silly little story, we were his enemies. We planned attacks against Him for no good reason.

His victory wasn’t military though. Well, not exactly. Well maybe it kind of was a military victory.

He dressed like us, becoming a human, and then instead of lashing out against us, as we deserved, He lashed out against Himself. The anger that the Father had against His petulant and rebellious creation was delivered onto His own perfect Son.

So I guess this story would resemble the Gospel a bit more if the humans changed shape to look like the aliens, their enemies, and then stormed the enemy camp and started killing themselves.