"In universe", the obs lounge model artwork we're all discussing vanishes completely without explanation halfway through the series' run, never to return again (chronologically speaking, that is... it *does* pop up again in the 'past' segments of All Good Things).
Do any of us have any wild theories why this might be?
It did pop up in "All Good Things"? Now that's
what I'd call continuity! I don't remember it, but it's nice you mention it, because like in "All Good Things" I'll be returning to the lounge wall at the end of this post.
I presented my theory in post # 23
:"On the other hand it’s entirely possible that Picard had simply become fed up listening to alien visitors (especially someone like Gul Macet
or Dukhat) waiting in the conference lounge of the “D” wondering “Ain’t that the proud Enterprise that was defeated by the Romulans?!”
– that could also be an in-universe explanation why the sculpture wall was removed at the beginning of Season Five and a new theme chosen for the “E”."
Or it's still the same theme, depending how average or stupid Romulans had been in 2344, so here we go:
Part IV - Tasha Yarn?
Trent Christopher Ganino’s original screenplay proposal for “Yesterday’s Enterprise “featured the appearance of an Enterprise
from the past in the TNG time period, and Picard having to face the resultant dilemma of whether to return the ship and its crew to their indigenous time period. In this version, the ship did not cause any changes in the future. Picard was forced to decide whether or not to reveal the crew's fate before sending them back.” (All cited quotes from memory-alpha.org
unless otherwise specified).
Not only would this have been a nice example of “Novikov’s self-consistency principle” but we would have gotten an irrefutable confirmation how the “real” Enterprise-C
looked in “our” universe - and maybe during the production process someone would have had the flash of genius of going to the conference lounge studio set to get an approximation what the Enterprise-C
was supposed to look like because other reference materials no longer existed. But that didn’t happen, the past is the past.
The idea to bring Denise Crosby’s Tasha Yar character back from the dead determined finally the location of the episode – and the only credible way to do it was, of course, in an alternate reality where her character had not died on Vagra II in “Skin of Evil”.
I think most of us will agree that this was a good decision because if benefitted the “meaningful death” theme of this episode. The other Picard asks Captain Garrett to sacrifice herself and her surviving 124 crewmates because it’s possible it will avert a war and save 40,000,000,000 lives, Tasha is willing to sacrifice herself because probability seems high that she won’t even somehow be there in the real TNG universe.
Michael Piller said: “The script was not one of the best scripts we wrote that season. Conceptually, it was marvelous, coming out of the heads of some people here...There are little holes in the episode that we couldn't fix.”
One of these, the way I feel about it, must have been the premise that the protagonists in the alternate reality were accepting rather fast that their personal memories and even their whole existence (!) could be somehow erased as a result from the Enterprise-C
finishing what she had started in the past.
Picard: This time line will cease to exist and a new future will have been created.
Crusher: If [Guinan] is right, we may not even be in an alternate time line.
La Forge: Yeah, who knows if we're dead or alive. (Yeah, let’s do it? )
Just like the lack of uniform insignia shifted unduly attention to Castillo’s TMP phaser, so did Tasha’s line in Picard’s ready room: “I've always known the risks that come with a Starfleet uniform. If I'm to die in one, I'd like my death to count for something”.
The risks that come with a Starfleet uniform? Especially the risks when you travel to the past in one?!?
If the costuming choice for the Enterprise-C
hadn’t been a strange one already, the one for Tasha Yar assuming her new position as tactical officer of the Enterprise-C definitely is, and leaves much more to be explained
(and that’s not the last costume oddity, by the way)
Apparently, during the making of “Yesterday’s Enterprise”, everybody felt that there was no way the Enterprise-C
could possibly survive a battle with four Romulan warbirds and the only thing to be expected was her inevitable destruction.
Ron Moore: "We brought Denise back to kill off Tasha Yar a second time. It was a great opportunity to send the character off in a big heroic sacrifice because nobody was really happy with the way she left the series in the first season. Nobody on the show really liked it, the fans didn't like it, I'm not sure even she really liked it. So 'Yesterday's Enterprise' was a chance to kill her right.
“Romulans don’t take captives” (Sulu in “The Deadly Years”) probably was on the producers’ minds, but already “The Enterprise Incident” made it clear that they wouldn’t mind getting their hands on a Federation starship and/or Starfleet intelligence. Therefore the other Picard, from an in-universe point of view, should have vehemently objected to a) sending his tactical bridge officer with a considerate amount of Starfleet intel knowledge b) in her “universe at war” uniform into the past! (Of course, had Tasha Yar been the ship’s counselor in the alternate reality there probably wouldn’t have been much the Romulans could have gained –
sorry Deanna – but then she would have been of no use on the bridge of the Enterprise-C
“There was a fierce volley of photon torpedoes. We were hit. A bright light, and then here.”
(Captain Garrett). “It is possible that this exchange of fire was the catalyst for the formation of a temporal rift.”
(other Picard) From the Romulan point of view the Enterprise-C must have miraculously vanished without a trace, so it had to be expected they would take captives
to find out what happened! If making wrong decisions is a trademark of captains in this alternate reality, it’s no wonder that this
Federation was loosing the war.
According to the changed premise of “Redemption, Part II” Tasha Yar “was among those few who survived. They were all to have been executed after the interrogation.”
I think it stands to reason that these interrogations were conducted by the Tal Shiar
and they found out that the ship had come from the future (too many witnesses among her survivors) and Tasha’s uniform would have undoubtedly revealed her to be a human from that future with extensive knowledge of the yet-to-come next 22 years and in particular the “future” Galaxy Class design.
The way I see it we are looking at these scenarios / in-universe explanations:
- There was nothing to worry about because when the Enterprise-C crossed the threshold her “universe at war” uniform somehow transformed into a uniform of 2344
- Tasha realized that fatal oversight prior to crossing the threshold, got undressed, grabbed Castillo’s phaser and vaporized her uniform and combadge (they were still about to engage the Romulans, not the Ferengi). [Although this image does exist in our reality, I guess it would be inappropriate to illustrate it here] Tasha’s daughter Sela would later state “a Romulan general saw her and became enamoured with her”. No more questions.
- The Romulans didn’t care and just thought that Tasha Yar had a fancy tailor
- … maybe the other Picard should have been listening to the other Riker, his own instincts (“Every instinct tells me this is wrong, it is dangerous, it is futile”) and Igor Novikov instead of Guinan…
- This Enterprise-C went back in time, but got diverted into a similar parallel universe “at war” where it got destroyed but where its actions saved a lot of people so that in total the war in that parallel universe cost less than 40 billion lives and La Forge and Guinan could have a nice conversation about Tasha at the end of a day (while the scene apparently takes place in “our” universe, Geordi’s “universe at war” sleeves retain an interesting touch of ambiguity)
I think that the idea of a Romulan general simply taking Tasha under his wing and away from the Tal Shiar (in “our” universe) rather sounds like a fairy-tale than an authentic story. Tasha’s return to our universe must have been meticulously prepared to provide her with a cover that wouldn’t blow the minute the first survivor was interrogated and none of what we saw in “Yesterday’s Enterprise” did remotely suggest that.
Explanation A – Average Romulans (only Probert “C” is canon)
The story of “Yesterday’s Enterprise” took part in an alternate universe, but the space phenomenon affected and connected several parallel universes and events simultaneously. The Probert Enterprise-C
travelled to the future of yet another reality where Tasha Yar was also still alive. Here, however, the assisting teams of the “D” were dressed and equipped with mid 24th Century technology pretending to be from the same time. Captain Picard persuaded Captain Garrett of the necessity to return; Tasha fell in love with Castillo and volunteered to make sure history happened as it did happen. The ship records were modified to pass her as an official member of the crew (she had already been dressed in a corresponding uniform all that time). The ship returned and eventually Tasha was among the captives but her cover story held up. “They were all to have been executed after the interrogation, but a Romulan general saw her and became enamoured with her. So a deal was struck. Their lives would be spared if she became his consort.”
Assuming that the Romulans could have gathered vital information of the Probert design through the survivors, Starfleet stopped building this type of starship, which would explain why we haven’t seen this design in any episode other than on the conference lounge wall.
Explanation B – Stupid Romulans (both “Cs” are canon)
Tasha did return with the Sternbach Enterprise-C
to “our” reality (naked or not) but neither the Klingons nor Starfleet actually saw the returning ship, assumed
to be Probert’s Enterprise-C
. There had been no communication whatsoever with the Romulans since the Tomed Incident, 30 years before and 19 years after Narendra III. After
the Federation had finally learned (somewhere between “Redemption, Part II” and ST VIII-FC) that it had been this Enterprise-C
that got destroyed near Narendra III, Starfleet decided to honor the sacrifice of the alternate universe Enterprise-C
on behalf of ours on the conference lounge sculpture display of the Enterprise-E
To be continued in Part V (Guinan and the Wrath of Q?)…stay tuned