“Second Chances” is perfect Star Trek: The Next Generation.
…Oh no, not the goofy episode from next season where the transporter retroactively cloned Commander Riker on his previous post that fucks up Will’s relationship with Deanna Troi and Mae Jemison is the best part of it. That’s ridiculous. I’m talking about this comic book that’s the fourth part of Separation Anxiety.
You know it’s going to be a good story, or at least noteworthy, when it opens with a “chief medical officer’s log”. And this one doesn’t disappoint, with a lengthy portion of its runtime dedicated to just letting us watch Beverly Crusher be awesome leading an away team mission. Any Beverly Crusher, Science Officer fan will be spoiled by scene after scene in this book of her being unflappably competent, whip-smart and quippy. And continuing a thread introduced in The Return of Okona, Bev is also portrayed as having a manifestly different style of leadership than Commander Riker, though still compelling in its own right: She’s far more involved in the nitty-gritty of the technical research, not issuing orders to her team but managing, delegating and actively working with them to help gather as much information as they can. Seeing how effortlessly and perfectly she slides into this role here only makes you wish all the harder that this had been her role on the TV show much, much more often than it really was.
But we barely have time to appreciate that before we’re treated to a scene so defining it could have come from “The Wounded”. Which, incidentally, is what it’s positioned as a sequel to. Miles O’Brien and Terry Oliver are investigating a computer room the away team discovered on the planet they beamed down to last issue. Doctor Crusher has learned there aren’t any sentient life-forms still around who could help, but figures the computer banks are probably still intact and could yield some clues. Terry expresses concern that time is of the essence as the Sztazzan no doubt know of their whereabouts and will probably send a team of their own down. What follows is an exchange between her and Chief O’Brien so priceless and air-pumping I had to repeat it in its entirety here.
“After all, it won’t take long for those Sztazzan filth to find our coordinates and beam down after us!”
“You’d call them that too, if they’d murdered your friends the way they murdered mine!”
“I see. Funny…You sound the way I did not so long ago. Except it wasn’t the Sztazzan I had a hate for – It was the Cardassians! I’d witnessed the kind of slaughter they’re inclined towards – First hand!”
“Then you know how I feel!”
…“Sure – But that doesn’t mean I approve of it! Not so long ago, we had some Cardassians on the Enterprise – Making some wild charges about my old captain.