** (2 stars out of 5)
"Home Soil" offered me lasers and a charred corpse once, but the appeal grows thin. Could my Trek Blog project itself be flawed? Could I have overlooked something? Like today's 'scientists'?
Velara III terraforming project has fallen behind.
Director Kurt Mandel is the grouchiest space farmer you ever did see, and Troi says he's also panicking about something.
Luisa Kim introduces her co-suspects... I mean, co-workers: Arthur Mullet... I mean, Malencon and Bjorn Baldspot... I mean, Benson.
Hang on, I got them backwards. Bald Arthur is seared to death by a laser drill while trying to siphon off the weirdly precise and uniform subsurface saline. The laser drill then guns for Mr. Data, who is fast and strong enough to destroy the offending device. Data is certain it operated with conscious will. Someone programmed it for... MURDER!
The android and Geordi find an odd, flashing, itty bitty crystal on a planet MANY TIMES confirmed, certified, assured, very definitely, to be lifeless. Maybe.
"How could it be alive? It's inorganic." says Geordi (who like everyone else today has a weird attitude toward the impossibility of living rock from a Federation which has known about Hortas and Excalbians for over nine decades. And a crew that just confronted a planet-eating Crystalline Entity. While talking to a fellow made of non-organics. You know, Data? Yellow shirt? Standing right behind you?)
Will goes to Luisa's room to offer comfort, Riker-style! This guy's trying to beat Kirk's seduction record... fat chance!
The nerds peer at the lightning bugs under glass, until the critters get tired of waiting, reproduce, and get chatty. The shiny silicon crystals have been etch-a-sketching geometric shapes in the sand for a while and the terraformers have been... utterly ignoring it. Dicks.
Well, no more! Now it's locking people in the programmer's rest room! While it's good to hear that these planet-shaping godlike future people still pee, this cannot stand!
The Velaran 'Microbrain' declares war on the "Ugly Giant Bags of Mostly Water" and has seized direct control of the ship's computer. Every moment counts, so they sit down in the lounge to brainstorm some talking points for a quarterly review of best practices.
The Giants Bags win by turning the lights down slightly, accept the Microbrain surrender, and put them back in their sandbox.
'Perhaps the lesson we've learned from this near tragedy will prevent blah blah, we've never heard of a Horta, nor Horton Hears a Who. Durpy durpy durp.'
Deanna's tears for the being are most convincing. I was moved by this myself once, and glad somebody still has some frickin' empathy. It's tough to care about a jelly bean in a bell jar, but she made it work. Yay, Troi!