12/10/11

Star Trek: Asterisk "The Augments"

Vital Information
Series: Enterprise
Episode: S04E06
Air Date: November 12, 2004
Written by: Michael Sussman
Directed by: LeVar Burton

Premise
In defiance of Papa Soong, the Augments attempt to spark an interstellar war with the Klingons.

Review
When last we left Captain Archer, he was trapped on Cold Station 12 with some scientists about to be exposed to a deadly pathogen that was set loose by a group of rebellious teenagers Augments. The Augments had hopped on over to their stolen Klingon ship on their way to Klingon territory to start a war. This, however, is not what Dr. Soong wanted. In fact, he's outraged when he finds that this is Malik's plan. So, the Augments are basically doing the same thing they did in the Eugenics wars: turning on their creator. And the genius Dr. Soong didn't see this coming.

Well, back on Cold Station 12, Archer climbs through some Jeffries tubes or something in order to stop the pathogens from being released, but he can't make it back to safety in time, so he comes up with an ingenious plan: jettison himself out into space. He orders T'Pol to aim Enterprise's phase cannons in his general direction and, when he's floating in space far enough away from the station's core's interference, beam him on board.
NOTHING COULD GO WRONG WITH THIS PLAN.
Once Archer is safe on board the Enterprise, he is filled with a renewed fervor to go after the Augments before Dr. Soong can raise an army of them. What he doesn't know is that Dr. Soong is busy at work to make his new breed of Augments less aggressive, less ambitious - pretty much just less evil. And I guess it makes all the sense in the world that Malik has a problem with Arik screwing around with the human genome of a genetically advanced embryo. Because it's not like Malik is one of those himself...

When Archer finally catches up to them, Arik devises a plan to send that Denobulan pilot they caught earlier into the atmosphere of a stormy gas giant in a shuttle. It gives her about five hours before the shuttle is destroyed. Which is just enough time for the Enterprise to save her during the commercial break.

We never actually see the pilot, but we are assured that she's ok.Which is more than we can say for Dr. Soong at this point. Because Malik has rallied his Augment brothers and sisters against Arik and taken him to the brig of the Klingon ship. Luckily, one of the Augment sisters still loves her father and helps Soong escape in an escape pod. That's when The Enterprise comes along and picks him up. And puts him in the brig.
Well, at least he's out of that sweltering frying pan.
Arik tries his best to convince Archer that the Augments have turned against him, but Archer doesn't believe him... not at first. Turns out it doesn't take much to convince Archer. It's not long before Arik is out and fiddling around on the bridge, helping the crew take down Malik.

It also doesn't take long for Malik to whip out some of his pathogen-ridden torpedoes and fire at a Klingon colony. Luckily, the Enterprise comes along just in time and destroys the torpedoes. After that, it's just a matter of taking down a Klingon warship piloted by a bunch of super-human Augments. NBD.

Arik actually is of some use in this, though, since he knows where best to strike at the stolen Bird-of-Prey. Sustaining massive damage, the Augments' wings have been clipped. But Malik, who is just as determined in his goal as Khan would one day be, crawls along the floor, desperately injured, and, while Archer attempts to talk him into surrendering, Malik pushes some buttons on the degrading ship. Finally, explosions rock the ship and it falls out of orbit, into the planet.

BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE! As Arik and Archer walk through the ship A WILD MALIK APPEARS! Apparently, he had transported over to the Enterprise before the explosions hit. YET ANOTHER CASE FOR SHIELDS! Malik then throws a few punches at Arik, almost kills him, but is stopped when Archer blows a hole clean through Malik with what is apparently the very highest setting on the phase pistols.

Back on Earth, Arik Soong is taken back to jail to serve the rest of his sentence. All of the plans he had on paper on the wall have been taken down, but Archer assures him that they've been stored for the benefit of humanity. And then Dr. Soong tells Archer that perhaps improving humanity isn't the best rout to go. Cybernetics; now there's a field that could yield some potential. Of course, he wouldn't be able to finish an android in his own lifetime. He'd have to pass it down to the next generation.
Fascinating!

Overall Thoughts
The story of the Eugenics Wars as chronicled by Greg Cox in his two-part book series was an exceptional read especially for lore nerds like me. As such, I always find Augments to be a fascinating study. The only problem with the Augments here is that they don't seem to be as smart as they could be. They are certainly as arrogant, but they don't seem to earn that arrogance as much as Khan does. The best part of this three-part story is most definitely the story of Arik Soong and how he eventually comes to give up on eugenics in favor of cybernetics which, we all know, leads to Data. Season 4 seems to be packed with lore, though, and that excites me!