Myriad Universes: Separation Anxiety Part 6: Restoration
Most Star Trek: The Next Generation stories would have ended by now. Packed things in after the Sztazzan and the Enterprise crew had achieved a peaceful diplomatic resolution to the crisis, maybe given us a nice little pat wrapping-up scene with Captain Picard and Commander Riker looking forward to a more peaceful future.
This series does not tell stories typical of what most Star Trek: The Next Generation looks like.
“Restoration” is every bit as low-stakes and low-key as “The Lesson”, and every bit as memorable to me. First of all it’s an absolute lyrical masterpiece: From Captain Picard’s opening rumination on Plato’s theory that humans and human longing were created when a singular flawless being was split into man and woman at some point in prehistory (and his belief the metaphor need not be gendered to be effective) to Doctor Crusher’s counsel to a shaken Terry Oliver distraught over her actions with the injured Sztazzan crewmember, this issue is crafted out of the sort of wordplay and turns of phrases so haunting they linger with me long, long after the story is done. And also like “The Lesson”, this is more or less an interlocking series of vignettes centred around a specific theme. This time, it’s, very fittingly, reunification and moving forward.
As the Enterprise slowly recovers and rebuilds after its pan-galactic adventures with the Sztazzan, Miles, Keiko and Molly O’Brien watch as their friends, a couple literally separated by the dividing ship sections, happily reunite with each other. Captain Picard checks in on a busy Doctor Crusher in sickbay, her team stretched taking care of the massive casualties sustained during the stardrive section’s numerous battles. Nevertheless, she expresses confidence that sickbay will be “empty again soon”, and they both look forward to a future with the Sztazzan that is “at the very least non-violent”. Geordi tells Data he’s glad to see the engine room again, and the two have a brief discussion about the nature of objective correlatives before Data accidentally tips Geordi off that he has some “unfinished business” to attend to.
Said unfinished business is not the billiards tournament with Miles O’Brien, however. If you will recall, Geordi was called away from the game at a crucial moment when the artificial moon relay station was first discovered, and Miles had subbed in Deanna Troi at the last second. Geordi and Miles decided it would have been unfair to ask for her help and then turn her away when it became convenient, so Miles kept Deanna on as his partner, despite her warning that “Betazoids do not play pool”, as a point of honour. Deanna then proceeds to shock everyone at the table by winning the game singlehandedly. It seems that while Betazoids do not play billiards, humans do, and she is, after all half-human.…