Thursday, May 23, 2019

Time's Arrow, Part I

TNG Season 5 Episode 26
Air Date: June 15th, 1992

In the season 5 finale, the Enterprise is called back to Earth to help with an investigation in some old mining caves uncovered in San Francisco. They found a few items expected for the time they believe the cave had people in it, but they also found Data's damaged head.

Captain Picard gets concerned over this and starts limiting Lt. Cmdr. Data's exposure to danger but as expected he does end up going back in time to 1893 San Francisco. Once there he uses his poker skills to earn money and starts building some kind of rudimentary tricorder so he can track down aliens that have been coming back in time to eat the life energy of people just before their natural deaths.

He eventually discovers that Guinan is on Earth at this time and seeks her out. He finds her at an event with famous people of the time including Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain).

Meanwhile back on the Enterprise (time seems to work in parallel) the crew is trying to reproduce what Data did to go back in time. Guinan approaches Captain Picard and urges him to join the away mission if he wants to be sure they meet in the past. The episode ends with the rest of the senior bridge crew going back in time.


"Decomposition strongly indicates that life was terminated approximately five hundred years ago. That would be consistent with the other artifacts we recovered." - Lt. Cmdr. Data
Your head is not an artifact!" - Cmdr. Riker

" I have often wondered about my own mortality, as I have seen others around me age. Until now, it has been theoretically possible that I would live an unlimited period of time. And although some might find this attractive, to me it only reinforces the fact that I am... artificial.

"I never knew how tough this must be for you." - Lt. Cmdr La Forge
"Tough? As in difficult?" - Lt. Cmdr. Data
"Knowing that you would outlive all your friends." - Lt. Cmdr La Forge
"I expected to make new friends." - Lt. Cmdr. Data
"True." - Lt. Cmdr La Forge
"And then to outlive them as well." - Lt. Cmdr. Data

"Have you ever heard Data define friendship?" - Counselor Troi
"No." - Cmdr. Riker
"How did he put it? As I experience certain sensory input patterns, my mental pathways become accustomed to them. The inputs eventually are anticipated and even missed when absent." - Counselor Troi

"Would either of you mind if I made a personal inquiry?" - Lt. Cmdr. Data
"Personal inquiry? No, go right ahead." - Counselor Troi
"I am perceiving an apparent change in the way others behave toward me. For example, people abruptly end conversations when I appear, just as you did when the turbolift doors opened. Is that an accurate observation?" - Lt. Cmdr. Data
"Not at all." - Cmdr. Riker
"Yes." - Cmdr. Riker/Counselor Troi
"You're right, Data. And it's not a very nice thing to do." - Counselor Troi
"It's just that our mental pathways have become accustomed to your sensory input patterns." - Cmdr. Riker
"I understand. I am also fond of you, Commander. And you as well, Counselor." - Lt. Cmdr. Data

"According to our best geologic estimate, the Earth is approximately 100 million years of age. Perhaps it is less, perhaps more." - Clemens
"Perhaps a great deal more." - Guinan
"Indeed. But regardless, it is ancient, in the extreme. Now, geology also tells us that man himself has existed but for a microscopic fraction of those years. Curious, isn't it? That the world got by for such a great, long while, with no humans around to fill up space. I suppose Mr. Wallace and his supporters would say that the Earth needed all that time to prepare itself for our illustrious arrival. Why the oyster alone probably required 15 million years to get it to come out just right." - Clemens
"But if the Earth is not alone and there are millions of inhabited planets in the heavens" - Guinan
"Quite my point. Man becomes a trivial creation, does he not? Lost in the vastness of the cosmic prairie, adrift on the deep ocean of time. A single one amongst countless others." - Clemens
"Some may argue that a diamond is still a diamond, even if it is one amongst millions. It still shines as brightly." - Guinan
"Someone might say that, dear lady, if someone thought that the human race was akin to a precious jewel. But this increasingly hypothetical someone, would not be me." - Clemens

"Eavesdropping is by no means a proper activity for a gentleman. Nevertheless, the deed is done!" - Clemens

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