Meta Treks 73: Space Ham Radio / by Trek fm

Pen Pals.

Running Time: 1 hour 26 minutes 3 seconds
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When Lt. Commander Data contacts a girl named "Sarjenka" from a pre-warp civilization in distress on his 24th-century space ham radio, it leads to a super-secret philosophical discussion about the nature of the Prime Directive in Captain Picard's quarters. Should the Prime Directive be interpreted strictly or loosely? How should Starfleet officers weigh the high-stakes, life-or-death consequences for an entire civilization against their responsibility and oath to uphold the Prime Directive? Would interpreting Sarjenka's "whisper in the dark" as a formal request for help count as "sophistry," as Captain Picard claims? And what role do friendships and emotions play in determining moral obligation in light of the Prime Directive?

In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison discuss the second-season episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Pen Pals." But this is episode 73 of Meta Treks, and the number 73 has a very special meaning in Morse code in ham radio circles: "Best regards." Because Zachary himself has been a third-generation licensed ham radio operator since he was just a tad older than Sarjenka, this episode of Meta Treks debates the role and responsibilities of radio communication in the Star Trek universe, whether that newfangled subspace radio or good old-fashioned RF. Zachary and Mike also discuss Wesley Crusher's first command and what it means to have "command presence."


Intro (00:01:35)
Initial Thought on Pen Pals from TNG Season 2 (00:03:29)
The Ham Radio Connection (00:07:50)
Unusually High Stakes and the Philosophical Debate (00:17:14)
"Obligations that go beyond duty..." (00:22:05)
The Individual Positions of the Crew in the Debate (00:25:43)
Worf Takes the Kantian Position (00:27:01)
Picard's Argument for Causal Determinism (0029:59)
Line Drawing Problem (00:35:28)
Making the Decision: Command Presence and the Nature of Command (00:42:10)
Principles vs. Consequences (00:49:07)
Wesley's First Command (00:50:57)
Riker's Advice: What Would Picard Do (00:59:17)
Regulation and Communication (01:00:29)
Subspace QSL Cards and Q Codes (01:03:31)
Closing (01:07:33)


Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison


Mike Morrison (Editor) Zachary Fruhling (Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Shaw (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)