For me, nothing beets a wrench lying around the engine room of the most advanced ship in Starfleet.
For me, nothing beats the little plastic (control rod?) thingies you can pull out of the consoles in the engine room of the most advanced ship in Starfleet and use to magically whale the crap out of a genetically engineered superman with five times your physical strength.
Must be plastic with a di-kironium core.
BTW, this is one of the funniest thread I've ever seen here, some very smart amusing answers. Sims, you're killing me, keep i up.
Kinda reminds me of the only kind of good payoff when accidentally clicking on a YAHOO NEWS story. You stumble through something 'written' by what I suppose is a professional, but it is only when you reach the COMMENTS section that you see some REAL writing.
Going by Finney and Merrick, it seems like you can be 90% of the way to starship captain and come a cropper. But then I guess you spend the rest of your life stuck on that moment of failure and go really bad. It's kind of like these guys would have benefitted from running into some wormhole aliens who would explain how these guys' existence 'is not linear.'