*** (3 stars out of 5)
O'Brien, a gal in blue, and an elf are in a string quartet with Data. (No, it's not the opening line to a joke, the elf is probably a Vulcan in off-duty clothes.) I just found it interesting that O'Brien plays the cello. I like O'Brien, O.K.? I return you to your regularly scheduled meanderings.
Data attempts to warn Picard and Crusher that his violin performance is about to fall short because he lacks "soul".
"Telling us why you're going to fail before you make the attempt is never wise." Bev points out.
The Selia Star system is home to the Sheliak Corporate. The Sheliak are squishy, antisocial Rules Nazis who are about to settle on Tau Cygna V, home to an unauthorized batch of humans, their homes and stuff and junk, and plenty of deadly hyperonic radiation.
Sheliak consider humans lower life-forms and will exterminate the trespassers if they aren't out in four days. 'You can't pay the rent? You MUST pay the rent!' (Sheliak twirls mustache... which it pulled off somebody's face.)
Colony ship Artemis apparently got turned around. In 92 years they managed to adapt themselves to the harsh conditions and brought water to the desert. The current population is over 15,000, and the evacuation will take more than 2 weeks.
Data meets his biggest fan, Ard'rian "Ardy" McKenzie. She's a quirky robot-loving nerd. Everyone else here is apparently willing to die as illegal squatters.
Ardy has some Tim Burton-Class robots, like hideous metal storks with gas-can bodies. Or are they sculptures? Apart from a human murder spree, why would you build such a creepy thing?
Possibly because of a year working with Pulaski, Data's self-confidence (if any) is at an all-time low.
Ardy helps Data give an emotional speech using reverse psychology. "And when you die... you will die for land and for honour."
Leader Gosheven will still not yield. "I don't think our chances are as hopeless as he says and I'm willing to stake your lives on it."
Rather than accept people talking behind his back, Gosheven BLASTS Data with a cattle prod.
Overreact much, you crazy, bullying bastard!?
Same goes for the Sheliak Regional Director of Non-Human Resources. Looking a little like the Cylon Imperious Leader, he's not particularly patient with Picard's "gibber".
Despite the fact that I probably would have given up and let Gosheven and his sheeple discover what the inside of a Sheliak digestive tract looks like, Data is not a quitter. He uses one of his own neuroprocessors to build a smarter phaser that works in hyperonic radiation, and annihilates kilometres of squatter aqueduct in seconds.
"This is just a thing. Things can be replaced. Lives cannot."
Picard & Troi find the right loophole buried in the treaty: third party arbitrators. He names the Grisellas, who won't emerge from hibernation for six months. The Sheliak agree to give the humans three weeks to evacuate, instead of a shellacking.
Poor Ardy learns from a kiss what Data never hid from her: he has no feelings for her. "I have no feelings... of any kind."
"The Ensigns of Command" asks the question that Yar failed to get around to while drunk: how fully functional is a guy without feelings? And would you want to find out?
I guess he'd be more fun to kiss than one of those robot storks. YIKES.