Tag: Romulans

Star Trek: The Next Generation – Replicated Comfort Food

ST: TNG's Commander Data smoking a USS Voyager

ST: TNG's Commander Data smoking a USS Voyager

In search of comfort TV, I recently stumbled onto three episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation fondly remembered for different reasons. Then I decided to pick them apart. 

SOME WEEKS AGO, I NEEDED SOME COMFORT TELEVISION. A FILM WOULDN’T DO: IT HAD TO BE TV. BUT WHERE TO START?

Well, it wasn’t going to be ‘period’ unless my synapses were so slackened I could tolerate an ITV two hour abridging. Soaps and serial drama were out, The Crystal Maze counted as period, so genre it was. That in itself is a big pool and fraught with difficulties.

Frankly, Doctor Who’s generally too long or too annoying (that’s how much I adore it), anything American, post-X-files, is too arc-filled. Cumulatively great, but you can rarely choose one episode of American TV series from the last 20 years without it being damaged by its decapitation from an overall arc or, well, shit.

One of the few exceptions is ratings smashing Star Trek. Only twice did Star Trek wander into immersive, deeply plotted arcs (the conclusion of Deep Space Nine and the third season of Enterprise). That was partly why, after a few light years worth of continuous episodes, Star Trek was rather beleaguered by the time the early 2000s saw it meet a sorry end on the small screen. So long leading the way, it was always going to be pure volume and ‘reset button’ arrogance that did it in (and to some minds, JJ Abrams).

Of course, it’s easy to ignore a wealth of other TV series signed off by Trek creator Gene Roddenberry in that search for real comfort television (Andromeda, Andromeda and Andromeda). Even so, it was a short stumble back through the time-vortex and various quadrants before I fell upon Star Trek: The Next Generation and I knew that was the place to be.

Yes, another and definitive piece of the Star Trek universe that will never happen thanks to 2009’s reboot. We’re now left with just two films and Enterprise in the chrono-canon – who would have thought? Guinan probably. And fortunately she hasn’t told home entertainment or Netflix.

Star Trek: We’re now left with just two films and Enterprise in the chrono-canon

ST:TNG offers something different to everything else however, most easily encapsulated as brilliance. As much as there’s varying levels of merit in the subsequent Star Trek series (well, Deep Space Nine and Enterprise from the final scenes of the second season anyway), ST:TNG really is the franchise’s crowning achievement. It overcame a rocky start after several aborted launches of its own Genesis device to reboot and reignite, a failed 1960s programme that was quickly fading on the big screen. Had development come a year later perhaps The Final Frontier would have altered Paramount’s patience far more than television networks’ infamous disdain for the property when it was pitched.

One of the pinnacles of first-run syndication, within seven seasons the show was supposedly generating over $1billion a year. An inevitable conclusion was, thanks to Trek’s lineage and crucial financials, an accelerated push to the crew of the Enterprise-D onto the big screen.

Why was it so successful? The idea was great, but took a painful few seasons to work. The crew was superb but struggled walking the line between the new and old. The shoddy uniforms and The Original Series remakes shine enough light on the difficulties posed by 1980s visionaries like Michael Piller joining the show less than a year after significant TOS alumni D. C. Fontana and Gene Roddenberry had scripted for the first season. It was troubled, but that only highlighted its killer arsenal: the fine casting. Spiner, Frakes, Stewart…  All of them – they quite simply make the show.

It was Piller’s seminal Season Three cliff-hanger that cemented the franchise and secured the franchise’s future. It can’t be said enough: The first part of The Best of Both World’s is not only one of Trek’s finest hours, but television’s. That the conclusion, which American audience’s famously had to wait three months for, is not a total let-down is almost as impressive.

It’s no surprise then, that the three comfort episodes I chose came after that Borg-bar was set.

Classics such as Season Five’s The Inner Light had to be dismissed; this was all about youthful nostalgia.

Unfortunately, that nostalgia coincides with an undeniable fact. These three episodes cover all three story-writers of Star Trek: Generations. That doesn’t provide any redemption for that film, if anything it exposes some of what went horribly wrong with this crew’s first cinematic outing.  Rather I’ll hide behind the fact that those same three crafted the impeccable First Contact.

And so, those episodes:


The first of these came immediately after Piller’s cliffhanging revelation: Star Trek could be everything. Unfortunately that also meant that new-found confidence was matched with some budget clawing. Aside from immediate follow-up ‘Family’, most of the first half of Season Four was a thematic arc around friends and family.

STTNG Thought cut

Brothers, Season Four

Or… The One Where Data Takes Over 

This is all rather more Greek myth and Dickens’ Two Cities than the simple metaphors represented by Abdul Abulbul Amir

Of course, Brothers is an episode of two-halves – and three performances for Brent Spiner. From my first viewing I remember Data’s excellent Enterprise hijacking, the android-heavy plot, a rather ticked off Picard, the (rather gratuitously shoe-horned) Abdul Abulbul Amir and a horrible homicide.

Yes, for the all the light aims of that season, Brothers had everything, ruined only by three quite major problems. Alright, they may be problems that manage not to ruin enjoyment of a damn fine story (rather surprisingly) from the pen of exec Rick Berman (the original JJ to many), but imagine if they weren’t there?

First, the Bridge evacuation scene. Several times, Data completely ignores Riker and Picard before sitting stock-still as the ‘breathing’ crew evacuate the bridge. The bridge crew of the Star Fleet’s flagship are awfully slow here (Life support cut? Oxygen streaming out? No reason? Alright then). There isn’t long to scream at the screen though. This was all about (riskily) making the crew we know so well look like completely useless idiots. And Data’s subsequent escape (to a foliage-heavy planet seemingly birthed by the Genesis device), all the way to Worf’s sluggish reactions, is superb.

Second is the third act ‘twist’. The structure doesn’t help, and it’s simply more noticeable after an epic pause in planet-side proceedings. One android operation to be exact. With no ‘other android’ around, it’s clear that Lore’s on the table rather than Data. Again, this is marginally saved by the tragic patricide and the other rhyme that goes with it. Spiner’s brilliant here in the hermetically sealed world of Trek acting. That he’s rather hammy as both Lore and the brothers’ creator Noonian Soong isn’t bad at all. I think it was something in the prosthetics. Tony Todd hit the same level in DS9’s excellent The Visitor and even Patrick Stewart couldn’t resist tugging his own beard in All Good Things. Here Spiner balances three distinct characters of which Soong is the most over-used and Lore under-powered.  It’s not hurt by heavy-handedness though, far from it.  In the story, with Lore’s final act of deceit made possible by the forgiveness of the father, this is all rather more Greek myth and Dickens’ Two Cities than a two archetypal metaphors represented by Abdul Abulbul Amir.

The third problem is a little trickier to overcome: legacy. There’s no sense in Riker’s response at the end. Data has proved himself incredibly dangerous, Star Fleet intelligence (albeit, or not, before Section 31) woefully inadequate. The Federation had all sorts of scrapes with artificial intelligence before, not to mention augmented technology, and here was Khan’s relative hijacking the flagship of the Fleet by proxy. That should have had red light bulbs flashing across alpha and beta quadrants.

Sadly, worse was to come. Brothers led indirectly to Descent.  The next time we meet Lore, the most disappointing Borg story has the unstoppable foe confused in the unflattering surroundings of bright sunlight and tundra. Add into the mix every section of Star Trek: Generations featuring the emotion chip and Brothers’ legacy looks increasingly risible. Not for the first time, many thanks to First Contact for dealing with both Borg and emotion chip correctly.

At the end at least, there’s a brilliant and rather melancholy ambiguity. Which of the droids is Skavar and which Abdul Abulbul Amir? I think it’s the transporting echo of that song that stuck in my mind most. Only Lore would have the electronic gonads to sing while transporting.

Relics, Season Six

Or… The One Where Scotty Doesn’t Know the Ship Like the Back of his Hand

Satire on TNG’s treatment of engineering, but with room for poignancy…

Further delves into the past came in Season Six, a season that kicked off with Mark Twain (Time’s Arrow) before bringing in Trek stalwart David Warner for possibly his finest ever Star Trek role (Chain of Command), solved galactic genetics (The Chase) and put Picard in a TOS film uniform (at the same time giving Q appealing again, Tapestry). Relics can be easily overlooked, coming a season after ST:TNG’s real homage: the Spock starring two-parter Unification. But really, it’s another little gem from Ronald D Moore.

Scotty is the real strength here.  He doesn’t bring the baggage of Spock, Kirk or even McCoy’s appearances in the new phase. Successfully embellished by the films (perhaps the real stand-out in The Final Frontier) Relics took the same line as the rebooted films. Scotty is a comic genius as much as an engineering genius.

Still, it’s not about forgotten baggage; Scotty’s legacy is positively overlooked.  Perhaps in the fields of engineering, mastering modesty is as important as tachyon field dynamics. Picard’s just after a shot with him, La Forge’s a little too busy and Data seems totally oblivious. It’s all rather refreshing from start to finish, held together by James Doohan’s usual affable presence. Sure, Doohan’s accent slips as often as ever and it’s a standard out of place set-up.

The booze has changed, as has tech, Klingons are running around – and so he finds solace on a Holodeck reproduction of the original (1701, that is) Enterprise bridge (where he exposes Picard’s old-school alcohol appreciation).

What’s great about the episode is the strong science-fiction background and the marvellous hook and future that carries for Scotty. The hypothetical megastructure at the heart of the plot was indeed postulated in the 1960s by Freeman Dyson. The rather sad fate of the abandoned sphere in this episode, though physically fascinating, no doubt added to its originator’s continual wish that it hadn’t been named after him (last stated in 2013 I believe).

In the fields of engineering, mastering modesty is as important as tachyon field dynamics

While preposterous that Scotty was marked off MIA so many years ago (the struggle to explore strange new worlds long hampered next gen Star Trek), the re-introduction is wonderful. It sums up Scotty-style engineering prowess while making a statement on ST:TNG’s dry treatment of engineering. After all, this was show that didn’t really feature a head engineer in its first season! The result is a satire, but one with room for a certain poignancy. That opening teleportation can’t help but reference the haunting beam-malfunction of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

And then at the end, the really desperate attempt to get into this writer’s affections. The core crew of the Enterprise happily dispatch Scotty off into the unknown galaxy in the Enterprise’s Shuttlecraft Goddard (I like to think named after this writer and not Robert Goddard, creator of the world’s first liquid-fuelled rocket). Scotty’s one of the franchise’s great survivors and more and more, that looks like a rather wonderful if unorthodox send-off. All the more so as he had the wonderful sense to forget or feel rather optimistic about the events of Star Trek: Generations.

Timescape, Season Six

Or… The one that kick-started Star Trek: Voyager

SFX smacked into your face until your left nacelle burnt out…

Both the hardest and easiest choice here. I’d so far ridden through family and nostalgia and Timescape was pure indulgence (bar a nod to the director, none other than Adam Nimoy). That indulgence is perhaps slightly hypocritical as it came to define everything I despised in the franchise, or am I being too unkind?

Timescape’s an anomaly in a very localised segment of space; my head. I remember in the early 1990s being wowed by the science-fiction. Blown away, like a human beating a Nausicaan at dom-jot. In hindsight, bubbles of time are no different to meteors, but saddled with fantastic, for the time, special effects, ambiguous scenes of real danger and some surprising twists it had me wound up.

Another big factor was that it featured Romulans and came one episode before the Borg were ruined (Descent). I’ve always had a soft spot for Romulans even though they popped up in ST:TNG (more than I remember) with their purple shoulder-pads and bizarrely retained Roman legacy.  Not only Vulcans that get angry, but angry Vulcans with fantastic ships – especially when stuck in combat with the Galaxy Class Enterprise.

I remembered all that, but also the irresistibility of the episode’s technobabble. Timescape was not so much about good science-fiction, or even faction, basis – but one that took a word, a load of sfx money and smacked it into your face until your left nacelle burnt out. It’s rather spooky all round, one of ST:TNG’s better attempts at a haunted house in space.

But for all the good stuff, that’s alive and well, here was a significant step forward all the technobabble and minutiae of space-time that would dog the franchise from that point on. It was Star Trek: Voyager that bore the brunt of course, inheriting Braga as an exec without quite the same depth of cast while Deep Space Nine looked towards war and explored the effect on characters in spiritual, family and military guises.

The cast of ST:TNG showed that much of the show’s material could be elevated and Timescape’s a good example. I’d long forgotten the opening scenes, a good 10 minutes building with a simple emphasis on characterisation. Picard, La Forge, Data and Troi (now in professional garb), all too rarely stuck around a table having a laugh about their recent conference. That table is surely one reason for them taking a Runabout (the runabout laughabout – one of Deep Space Nine’s larger contributions to the franchise…) and it works wonderfully.

Rather than padding, although that can never be ruled out, it helps build-up to the inevitable plot onslaught that follows. The loss of Geordi (presumably cured at the end!?) is stronger than the static shot of Dr Crusher mid-disrupter attack as a result.  In fact, this episode has one of the best 10 Little Indians-style build-ups of the whole series.  And then there was…  A trans-dimensional creche.  Yes, shame they went with the space babies once again.

Despite the lazy plot device, there’s a lot going on here and it just about hangs together. It’s unfortunate that the franchise couldn’t retain the same balance. For the real reason behind that I’d have to fall back on the words of Captain Jean-Luc Picard. “[sighs] It’s going to take… a little time to explain, Number One”.

Next on Jokerside does Star Trek: My problem with the Star Trek reboot…

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Star Trek: The Number 2 and Just Who the Hell is John Harrison?

Sherlock Khan Star Trek

Sherlock Khan

A foray into the world of Trek signs, portents, speculation and fever-pitch excitement as the resolutely un-colon Star Trek Into Darkness draws ever closer.

Note: though I’ve seen nothing of the film, there may be a few spoilers lurking below at impulse speed…

FRANKLY, THINGS ARE GETTING UNBEARABLE FOR STAR TREK FANS. Still basking from January’s 20th anniversary of Deep Space Nine – or they should be – each week brings new promotional material for the next big Trek ‘thing’ – and man, are they working on the build-up.

All in all, the last few months have possibly been even bigger than that time when (the original) Voyager fell through a black hole at the edge of the galaxy, maybe met some Borg and then came back to the Solar System for a family reunion (and that’s less than a decade away in the new fangled Trek universe!). Yep, it’s big. BIG.

You see, in case you didn’t know, there’s a new film coming out. A new Star trek film, emerging into the new, refreshed, post-fatigue final frontier.  It’s film two of this brave new universe, this shiny new Star Trek. And Trek is a franchise that holds the number two in particularly high regard.

It was the second pilot of Star Trek that set the whole franchise rolling, when the vibrant Kirk replaced Jeffrey Hunter’ s rather flat Pike, the doctor grizzled a little and the green blooded science officer fully lost his emotions. Where No Man Has Gone Before, a simple exploration of friendship, the corruption of power and the threat of the great unknown -and it still contains some of the most chilling scenes in Trek to date.

I think it’s fair to ignore the Animated Series, which leaves the ’Second phase’ project – a reboot of the original series that was aborted in the late 1970s, but laid the foundations for Star Trek’s to move to the silver screen.

Eight years later there followed the real second series, 1987’s The Next Generation.  That did rather well – a billion dollars a year well in fact.  After seven years that moved onto the big screen itself, and inarguably reached its peak with its second film, First Contact.  A high octane Sci-fi/horror roller coaster, First Contact explored the possibilities of its ‘enemy’ so effectively there was little else you could do with the Borg – just ask Voyager.  (Chillingly, my fingers find themselves typing this theory on none other than the 22nd broadcast anniversary of that second series’ episode, itself called First Contact!).

When First Contact was released in 1996, there may well have been high expectations for that second son of the second son and for very good reason.  For while the number two had proved itself key to Trek success previously, there was one prime example that bestrode the franchise like an Alpha Gorn.  It’s a cultural reference point so large, one day it may well trigger its own Genesis device.  From the Original Series sprung, like a celluloid photon torpedo casket, the sublime The Wrath of Khan.  Not only another film number two, but also so darned influential it was quoted at the start of Kill Bill vol.1. High praise indeed.

So, now 31 years after Khan set the sequel bar, the pressure’s on for the third second Star Trek film.  I hope you’re keeping up.  Following the rip-roaring success of 2009’s Star Trek, which deftly rebooted the whole franchise while returning to its original roster (but also inadvertently wiping out Deep Space Nine –best not think about that) expectations are once again high.  The build-up has so far been quite relentless, and there’s still three months until Star Trek Into Darkness is released.

So far the promo wagon train to the stars has chucked out a teaser trailer, a more sombre full trailer and then a large dollop of IMAX stretched 3d lens flare (placed front of The Hobbit – selected screenings only). There then followed the Dark Knight Rises aping posters showing a decimated London, the hi-octane Super Bowl advert and the new narrated motion poster (A rich man’s poster or a poor man’s trailer?).  And then the last few days have let slip a further preview of the first 28 minutes of the film (plus some key scenes) showing off a bit of reediting, just to let us know that this is a responsive ‘work in progress’ until May.

Reaction has been good.  Now social media turns everything into a spoilerific minefield, the usual array of previews and bullet points about the film have appeared – in their way a nice throwback to prophecies and pulp predictions.  Even these seem to be charging the right phaser.

In all, it almost makes up for the fact that last Christmas was the film’s original release date.

But with all the anticipation and constant promotional material, the refreshed franchise manages to hang on to a key part of Star Trek’s mythos.  For what is essentially (once again) a western, the enemies are key.  Here he may have been named, heard and seen but we still have no idea who he is.  Another sci-fi franchise with another question hidden in plain sight. We know he’s been labelled John Harrison, initially in a throwaway photo caption, but is that it? He seems to have super strength and agility, can fisticuff with a  Vulcan, but still – who is Benedict Cumberbatch actually playing?

Complying with the rule of two, there was always a prime suspect, something the promos have done little to dispel.  Aside from talk of returning and one shot seemingly nicked from The Wrath of Khan, one incontrovertible message, well known to Trekanardos has been loud and clear: ‘The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few’. That’s been the second directive of Star Trek ever since, er, that well known second film (c’mon, you know the first directive). Combined with those choice shots, this looks to be a herring as red as one of the new film’s alien landscapes…

“You think your world is safe. It is an illusion… I have returned.  To have. My. Vengeance.” Growls Cumberbatch in the motion poster. ‘I can’t believe people are still saying it’s Khan’ exasperate  the film’s actors in any media they can.  But why wouldn’t they.  We’ve all been following the film’s production all the way through the casting and will eagerly snap up snippets, mistrust the film’s creators and gloriously speculate on a whim.  That is after all, most of the fun.

And so the potential candidates for John Harrison run as follows:

Khan Noonien Singh, Gary Mitchell, Harry Mudd, Gorn #452 and…  John Harrison.

Hmm. Here’s the logic, why John Harrison may indeed turn out to be plain old Johnny H and none of the other dapper suspects:

  • He’s not jovial, cheerful, slightly obsese or with any women on display. Not Harry Mudd.
  • He’s wearing a Starfleet uniform true (black!), but as his eyes aren’t all shiny there’s no sign he’s Kirk’s best buddy (incidentally, or not, a best buddy missing from the first film).  Also he seems very keen on non-telekinetic smack downs. If he were, it might not mean much:  Gary Mitchell’s (for it would be he) has already had his famous storyline, Where No Man has Gone Before, retold in the reboot universe comics.  And they’re canon. We know because the film’s writers told us so.  And protective Hollywood screenwriters NEVER lie. Not Gary Mitchell.
  • He’s not an 8 foot tall reptile in a gold one-piece. Not a Gorn.
  • He may have super strength, super agility, like the sound of his own voice, be ‘better’ and have ‘returned’  (evidence really stacking up here)… But he’s no Khan.  Not at least, from what we’ve seen.  Khan’s a leader, here’s he’s a loner.   The big KNS is presumably still floating around on the Botany Bay shuttle with his band of genetically engineered supermen (as a cut-scene in the first film was originally going to suggest).  So at the time of the new film, they’re still no doubt dreaming about the Spice Girls (Khan and co hail from the eugenics war of the ‘90s – the Spice Girls survived!). They’ll be picked up in a couple of years in this universe no doubt and have some restless energy – but there’s little reason to think the Nero incursion altered their hibernation cycle.  But again, there’s an inherent flaw in thinking it may be Khan.  Yes, the super-man would be a little mopey having evacuated from a war he was losing, but the events of the second film chart Khan’s wrath against Kirk.  I.e. he’s not going to be really pissed off for another two decades.   There will be years until a certain sun goes supernova and Lieutenant Chekov – who this time could be at Kirk and Kahn’s first meeting, unlike in the other universe – makes a fateful landing…  So that’s it, he’s no Khan.  He’s alone and it’s too darned early.

Sherlock Khan cuHe could be a forerunner of Khan for sure – if he’s human, he’s been augmented… But then why dilute a Khan who may well turn up later.  Equally, Harrison could be a surgically altered Romulan member of Nero’s crew come to take revenge – but surely JJ and co want to expand the universe, not constrict it.  The key has to be that Harrison, as he kind of suggests, has popped back home.  Don’t be distracted by accents – he may well be from Home Counties, Pluto.  After all, Khan himself had bizarrely shifted from Indian sub-continent to the Americas during his ill-fated colonisation.

So, John Harrison he is.  But again, who the hell is that?  New, with a hint of back-story tying into the Star Trek we know?  Hmm maybe.  He’s Starfleet, maybe the son of an admiral, maybe some black ops (surely not Section 31, DS9 fans?)…  Maybe it’s just a statement of subversion.  What he definitely is though, is a terrorist.  He’s angry and he kicks the merry Gherkin out of London.

Eager to get in on the speculation, and prove myself by reading the signs laid out before us I have drawn up a highly probable shortlist based on the fact that he seems to be human and yes, his name is indeed John Harrison (well, approximately):

Cadets, Non-coms and officers – this is my probable shortlist:

  • John Harrison – descendent of 19th century US Presidents William Harrison (9th) and Benjamin Harrison (23rd).  Appalled with their lack of biopics by the 23rd century he returns to Earth to seek vengeance.  This is my favourite theory.
  • John Harryhausen – An easy misprint, but quickly dispelled by a  tricorder scan, John is indeed the great-great-great-great (and so on…) grandson of legendary special effects supremo Ray Harryhausen  – inheriting a taste for the spectacular but seeking lapsed payments on behalf of the estate, he seeks revenge.  This is now my favourite theory.
  • He’s Sherlock Holmes.  Well, he is a master of disguise.  Quickly becoming my favourite theory.
  • He’s actually Harry Johnson, Lt Harry Johnson – it’s just that they muddled his name up.  Oh, and he’s pretty angry about it.  You would be if you looked up the wrong sites on the internet… Pretty much my favourite theory.
  • John Harrison, ant overlord –As a tribute to his conservation work, Harrison Ford has  gifted his name to an ant.  A lovely story, and one that goes very well until Pheidole harrisonfordi, realised that Ford had also gifted his name to a type of spider.  What an insult. Accelerating and subverting their evolution, the ant swears vengeance.  This explains why he hates humans, possesses super strength and – for the first few milliseconds of the trailer anyway – all the buildings look like humans from an ant’s perspective.  This storms ahead as my favourite theory.

I know: all of these seem perfectly plausible.  In fact, one of them would be guaranteed were it not for another compelling piece of evidence which suggests his name may not be a variant on john Harrison at all.  All the misdirection of the number two, baiting Khan…  But what you see in the final scene of the trailer…  Is five fingers.  Five.  Yes, this is a remake of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.  The clues are all there: As Pike tells us in the trailer, Kirk’s a little full of himself – you know, maybe ‘let’s go and take on God’ full of himself.  It also explains Harrison’s super strength – he can beat a half Vulcan because he’s a full Vulcan, none other than Spock’s half brother Sybok!  (John Harrison sounds remarkably like “Sybok”if you say it really quickly, preferably drunk).   After the events of the first film, Sybok’s understandably upset.  Look, in certain bits of the trailer, Harrison’s ears look a little pointy!

I mean, surgically altered Romulans would seem a little dull compared to an angry Vulcan suddenly harnessing emotion…  Revenge!  Hell yeah!  Also, helps with those less important things like neat cyclical enforcement and the exploration of the new dynamics of the Trek universe…  The fact that there are other planets full of virtually genetically identical species to Vulcans (Romulus!) notwithstanding.

The opening prologue (now re-edited) shows Harrison stepping into a familiar trope regarding future medicine – yes, just like McCoy’s tragic recollections of his dad in… Star Trek V!   But then perhaps the most compelling evidence that Into Darkness is virtually a shot for shot remake of The Final Frontier.  If you swap the private hospital for a desert, realise that Harrison is Sybok… Well, then Noel Clarke’s the bald guy at the beginning of the fifth film.  (Grins goofily – “You’re a Vulcan”).  His name on the Star Trek V script? J’onn.  An easy name for Sybok to adopt from his lieutenant for his Starfleet incursion. It all makes sense.

Yes, now that…  That is my favourite theory.   Live long and prosper.

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