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Star Trek: Asterisk "Home Soil"

Vital Information
Series: The Next Generation
Episode: S01E18
Air Date: February 22, 1988
Written by: Karl Guers, Ralph Sanchez and Robert Sabaroff
Directed by: Corey Allen

Premise
A terraforming operation goes south when the Enterprise discovers what may be a new life form.

Review
So, here's the deal: When the Federation okays a terraforming operation, they make sure the planet is specifically suited for life, without actually having any life on it. If they find life, even the smallest bacteria, terraforming is not allowed. Velara III seemed to be just this kind of planet, but they've been falling behind schedule, so the Federation instructed the Enterprise to go check it out. When they do, the director, Kurt, takes his sweet time responding, says everything's going well, but then Dianna senses that he's hiding something and he's acting really nervous. So Picard sends an away team to investigate.

Riker, Yar, Data and La Forge beam down and are given a tour by the workers under Kurt who really seem pretty cool and excited about the work they're doing. But one of the workers seems a little nervous about letting out too much information. In fact, it seems a little suspicious when Kurt arrives and sends the guy who was talking too much to take a look at the drilling laser and then not moments later that guy is dead from a laser blast to the head.
Alas, poor... whatshisface...
So then Data takes a look at the laser and the laser tries to come at him. Luckily, he's faster than any human. When the team is finally able to open the door, they find that Data has ripped the laser down from its mount. Picard halts all terraforming operations and then Data and La Forge take a look into the holes it had been drilling in and finds an array of blinking lights. When La Forge looks at it through his VISOR, he is unable to explain the patterns of blinking lights and wonders if it's alive. If so, it could be what Kurt was trying to cover up.

They take a sample of the rocks up to the ship and Beverly takes a look at it. It's just a tiny blinking light inside a grain of sand. Dr. Crusher can't find any organic matter about it, but when she consults with the computer, it comes to the hypothesis that it is, indeed, life. Well, now the terraforming operation is a direct violation of the Prime Directive. Then Crusher brings everyone back to take a look at the crystal. La Forge says the electromagnetic spectrum is changing and suddenly...
Two specs of light!
It has officially reproduced. That hangs it - this is definitely life in some form and they have to shut down the operation. Suddenly the computer says a translation request is coming in. The life form is attempting to use their computer to communicate! So, it's intelligent! What pearls of wisdom will the blinking lights impart on our crew? Will it unlock the mysteries of the universe? Will it quench the thirst of man's desires, or send them seeking more answers? Will it speak glory or damnation? Love or hate? The translation matrix calibrates... the life form speaks... "UGLY. BAGS OF. MOSTLY. WATER." ...Welp.

After insulting the beings that kidnapped it, it goes on to explain that they were destroying their home. They tried to communicate, but when that failed they resorted to killing. And now they're trying to take over the ship! Data concludes that the life form is a "micro brain" that becomes stronger the more there are. So when it reproduces again and gets bigger, this is some pretty major cause for concern. It gets so big that it looks sort of like a crystalline Koosh ball and then it breaks out of its jar. The crew shuts down the medical lab and looks at it through a surveillance camera. They try to transport it out, but it's just too strong and won't let them.
Rock candy of death!
La Forge comes up with the brilliant idea of turning off the lights because it seems to be feeding off the electromagnetic spectrum. When they do, the life form pleads with them to turn the light back on. It promises to end the war they were trying to start if only they'll let it go back home and leave it alone. So that's exactly what they do. In the mean time, the jerk of a life form doesn't hesitate to insult them some more by saying "come back in three centuries and maybe you'll be smart enough to hang out with us." So, because they were so rude, they decide to leave the terraforming station in place and let the micro brain figure out what to do with it. They warp off to the nearest starbase, and that's the end.

Overall Thoughts
This episode was not bad, but it wasn't all that great, either. I find it a little hard to believe that a life form that is supposedly three centuries ahead of us in development and could hack into our computer was unable to effectively communicate with the terraformers. But I guess it worked for story purposes. What I really wish I could have seen more of in this episode was the life form's sassiness! Ugly bags of mostly water?? You can't tell me that's not a truck load of sass.