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50. Riker Is Blanche

“Spanish Flea” is inherently hilarious and I will not be taking questions.

It’s our 50th episode! And we’re celebrating with silliness: we’ve come up with 25 questions each, and given the other 60 seconds to consider important issues like:

  • why does Anika blame Jonathan Archer for everything that’s wrong with the Federation?
  • can Liz narrow down a single favourite violation of the Prime Directive?
  • whisky-flavoured chewing gum: yes or no?

And that barely scrapes the surface!


Anika:  Welcome to Antimatter Pod, a Star Trek podcast where we discuss fashion, feminism, subtext and subspace, hosted by Anika and Liz. Today is our fiftieth episode — very impressed with us, good job–

Liz:  Whooooo!

Anika:  –and we’re celebrating with a speed round of 50 questions — 25 each — with only one minute to answer.

Liz:  Some of my questions may take a lot less than one minute, I’m gonna be honest.

Anika:  Some of them might be simple! Other ones will be, like, why can’t I talk about this for five minutes? And I just want to shout and say thank you to friend of the podcast and previous guest Sam, whose idea this was. Good job. 

Liz:  Yes, this was a genius idea on her part. And I don’t know about you, but I didn’t even cheat and go looking for, like, 30 Days of Trek memes, or anything, to fill out my questions. I did consult my friends, but none of their questions, none of their suggestions, were really helpful? Except that they made me go sideways and think of similar but better ideas.

Anika:  I did look at the 30 Days of Trek memes, but I modified a lot of those as well, like you said. And some of these are just ridiculous. I will put that out there!

Liz:  Oh yeah! Yeah. 

Anika:  But fun. But fun! 

Liz:  But fun! Uh, so I go first. I will ask the question, and then set the timer. Please talk for 60 seconds about cats in Star Trek. Go.

Anika:  Caps? Like hats? 

Liz:  Cats. “Meow.”

Anika:  Oh! Cats in Star Trek? Okay. So the prettiest cat is Neelix the cat, which is Barclay’s cat that he named after the Voyager chef. 

Liz:  I so agree.

Anika:  Beautiful, fluffy white cat. Definitely the most beautiful out there.

Liz:  Just so elegant. Absolutely.

Anika:  The most interesting cat is probably the Spock — the Isis that’s really a woman? Or somehow related to a woman, I don’t know if they’re the same, or if they’re — but she’s definitely not really a cat. It’s an alien, potentially an alien woman. But that gif shows up a lot, and is always fun, and it’s like, you know, you like to think that Spock likes cats. That’s fun. 

Liz:  Yes. Yes. 


Anika:  [laughs] I didn’t get to Spot! Poor Spot! Shoutout to Spot! 

Liz:  I thought Spot was such an obvious choice that the challenge would be not talking about Spot for 60 seconds?

Anika:  So I did it? Success! Go me!

Liz:  Yeah, yeah!

Anika:  All right. I’m gonna generate your first number. [sings a fanfare] All right. Your favourite line of dialogue. 

Liz:  Ohhhh. That’s really hard! There’s a lot of dialogue in this show, like, 50-odd years. 

Anika:  So the first one that you think of when you… 

Liz:  So I like to think that Kat’s lines about “love is a choice, and we make that choice every day”, and, “the only way to make a new road is to walk it” — those are ideas that I find very useful in my life. But to be honest, the line of dialogue that most often goes through my head on a day to day basis is, “There’s coffee in that nebula” as I shamble towards the coffee machine in my pyjamas, preparing to start my day. 

Anika:  I think that’s a great one. It has so much character! 

Liz:  Right! And it’s so ridiculous–

[phone noise]

Liz:  –and it knows it’s ridiculous, but it’s also very sincere, and I think that’s sort of the appeal of Voyager

Anika:  That wasn’t the timer, that was a text from my daughter.

Liz:  [laughs] So I can keep talking?

Anika:  You can keep talking for nine seconds. 

Liz:  Uh… I’ve just gone blank! [laughs] This is hard!


Anika:  You’re done! Ya done! Nailed it. Lemme just … you can cut out this part, but I need to tell her to not text me during the podcast! [laughs]

Liz:  You have 60 seconds to sell me on the character of Jonathan Archer. Go.

Anika:  To sell — okay. So, look, I am not going to try to convince you that he is a good person, because he’s a terrible person. And he is the reason — everything that’s wrong in the Federation can be tied back to Jonathan Archer and his ego and his huge daddy issues, and his chip on his shoulder that he was probably born with. 

BUT he’s just so … lovable. He’s very, you know, “aw shucks”, you know, Scott Bakula is just … Scott Bakula, and he’s very Scott Bakula about it. So you have to look past the fact that he’s a terrible trash person and realise that he’s trying, he wants to be a good person. His goal in life is to be a hero. He does not know what a hero is, but you know what? He has good intentions, and that doesn’t get you very far. But it’s fun to think — and be able to say–


Anika:  –everything that’s wrong with Star Trek and the Federation is Jonathan Archer’s fault.

Liz:  That will do nicely, thank you.

Anika:  Favourite plot twist.

Liz:  Oh gosh. It’s hard, because there’s a recency bias, so my first thought was, Lorca Is From The Mirror Universe. And I do love that. 

But I also love the twist in DS9 where it turns out that Bashir has been a changeling for, like, half a dozen episodes. And does it entirely hold together? No. 

But just as the reveal that Bashir is secretly genetically engineered does make sense in retrospect, it’s just … it hangs together just well enough to work, and I really like the idea that, yeah, you really cannot trust your friends, and you cannot trust that your enemies will play fair, and … yeah. It was nifty. And it sort of — is sort of a precursor to the Lorca twist. I guess the twist that someone is not–


Liz:  — who they were claiming to be all along works for me. 

Anika:  All right. Good job. Well done. 

Liz:  Thank you! I just realised that, to do this in real time, I can’t edit out any of my waffle. So apologies to the audience who are going to discover how much I waffle!

Anika:  [laughs] That’s okay, we’re both doing that. There’s plenty of going back and forth and babbling, and that’s most — that’s always our podcast. But sometimes, you know — you make us sound smart. 

Liz:  [laughs]

Anika:  This is like a peek behind the curtain. We’re still smart, but we’re not as polished. 

Liz:  Never. And we’re not even the most polished podcast to start with, because who has the time? Okay. Question three for you: what is your all-time favourite costume. 

Anika:  My all-time favourite costume? That’s so hard. Because, you know, there’s many years, and so many costumes. It’s … oh. Nothing good is even coming to [sigh] Okay. So not best, but favourite, is the magenta blossom dress that Troi wears in “Menage a Troi” when she’s on her date with Riker. Because I have very fond — I love that she matches the background, and her mom, and it’s all a portrait, all together. And it looks a lot like the dress I wore to junior prom. 

Liz:  Is that a coincidence? Did you base your dress on Deanna’s? 

Anika:  No — I mean, it is a coincidence in that I–


Anika:  I bought that dress at a secondhand store, so it was a coincidence, but I chose that one because it looked like Deanna’s. I think it was, like, that year. 

Liz:  Right. Good to know. [laughs]

Anika:  All right. Yours — okay. This was provided based on your opinions. 

Liz:  Uh oh.

Anika:  As you know, and we’ve discussed, Geordi has a questionable track record with women and dating in general. But in “All Good Things…” he ends up with Leah Brahms anyway.

Liz:  [deep sigh] Yes.

Anika:  Fix that by setting him up with someone else!

Liz:  Uh. I think Geordi needs a woman who — well, no, first of all, Geordi doesn’t need a woman. Or a man. Geordi might be happier being single. But since he does seem to pursue romance, I think he needs someone who won’t tolerate his bullshit, but who communicates very clearly about her expectations and needs, and who recognises that he is very bad at quote-unquote “being romantic”, and she should be upfront with her expectations, and what would make her happy, and not put him in a box of attempted romance that ends up being creepy.

But also, I think that this is a problem that just a love interest can fix. I think it’s something that Geordi has to work on. Because Geordi is the guy who will take you out, and he thinks it’s a date, but he hasn’t communicated that to you. And that’s a Geordi problem. 


Liz:  Geordi needs therapy. 

Anika:  I like that answer! Good answer! Geordi needs therapy.

Liz:  Thank you! So this is a topic that you suggested as a future episode, and I’m still open to doing that, but please talk about music in Star Trek.

Anika:  All right, so I love music and I love soundtracks. It’s not just classical music, or instrumental, it’s specifically soundtracks. I make my own playlists for anyone I care about, and stuff like that. But I’ve always said that if someone asked me what my favourite song is, I say “Across the Stars” from Star Wars, which is a John Williams piece, and he’s my favourite artist. I can’t choose a favourite band, or a favourite vocal artist, or popstar. It’s John Williams, and then, after that, it’s Michael Giancarlo, and Bear whatever his name is, and–

Liz:  McCreary? 

Anika:  Yes, McCreary. And the guy who did How To Train Your Dragon. Like, I love them, they’re my favourite artists. So why I want to pitch it as a topic is, I would love to discuss how the musical themes help tell the story in Star Trek


Anika:  –and you’ll have to come back for that.

Liz:  I think I will!

Anika:  What Star Trek allegory or commentary episode stands up the best all these years later?

Liz:  Gosh. I mean, there are so many, and some of them are more successful than others. And then you have episodes like “The Outcast”, which is kind of wishy-washy as an allegory for gay rights, but ends up being a really interesting and strong trans allegory. Uh.

I think we have to go back to the classic — TNG, “Measure of a Man”. Because treating people as property is a problem that’s endemic to our society, and — yeah. It’s not just, “Is he sentient?” but, “Is this person property, and can we force him to work for us, and can we take him apart and put him back together as we need”. And I think the humanist theme in that episode is very universal. And because it’s about Data, and not a biological person, it does stand away from the more unfortunate implications of, like–


Liz:  –“The aliens are symbolic of people of colour”! Data could stand for a lot of people, and a lot of things. 

Anika:  Very good.

Liz:  Do you have a least favourite episode in all of Trek

Anika:  A least favourite episode in all of Trek. Um. I’m going to go with “Turnabout Intruder”, because it’s ridiculous in every way, and just disgusting to watch. There are others that are also ridiculous and disgusting to watch, but there’s nothing — you know, some people are like, “Well, at least it’s well-acted by Shatner”, and since I am not a huge Shatner fan, I don’t care that it’s well acted by Shatner!

Liz:  That is maybe a bug, not a feature. 

Anika:  And so — yeah, so I would say that it’s “Turnabout Intruder”, that’s what came straight to mind, and that’s what I’m gonna go with.

Liz:  I just wanna congratulate you for not going for the cliche choice of “Spock’s Brain”. Which is equally silly, but harmless.

Anika:  But fun, right? It’s fun. 

Liz:  Yeah!

Anika:  Yeah. Exactly. 

Liz:  And, two, one–


Anika:  I’m not going to randomise this one, because it’s a follow-up to the last question. Which Star Trek allegory or commentary episode stands up the worst? 

Liz:  Far out! Um. So I mentioned that “The Outcast” is quite flawed, in my opinion. Oh. I think that the unintentional metaphor between xBs and AIDS patients in Picard is not bad, but it becomes terrible with the murder of Hugh, and the treatment of xBs as expendable. So while I think this is more of an allegory that was imposed by the fandom seeing themselves in the story, but was also very obvious. It’s like JKR failing to see that being a werewolf could be a metaphor for AIDS. It’s really obvious, and it’s kind of awkward when someone misses it. 

But that’s unintentional! If we’re going for intentional metaphors, I think “Elogium” as–


Liz:  –a metaphor for teen pregnancy is really bad, and it was really a metaphor for premature menopause. 

Anika:  All right. Good job.

Liz:  Two for the price of one. I have a much lighter question for you. There is a tradition, in Star Trek, of characters turning into lizards. 

Anika:  [laughs]

Liz:  Pick a Discovery character to turn into a lizard, and why.

Anika:  Pick a Discovery character! Okay, definitely the best lizard would be Tilly.

Liz:  Obviously.

Anika:  Because she’s adorable, and she would make a great lizard. And she wouldn’t — she would be upset, at first, she would be freaking out at first, and really upset, and concerned, but once Michael calmed her down, she would look at it as this great opportunity to understand science from the different perspective of … lizard person. And I think that she would then be able to have a lot of fun with it, and would miss being a lizard when she got turned back. 

Liz:  [giggles] She might just replicate a dish of flies now and then, to–

Anika:  And also, I would really love the scene of Saru and Tilly bonding over their bodies changing without their knowledge, and–


Anika:  I just want more Tilly and Saru mentoring scenes. I love Tilly and Michael, but I also want to see her with Saru. Because I think that they could have a similar — each giving good advice type of thing. I want more of that. And I would involve it in the lizard story. 

Liz:  Lovely. Let us bask in the sun for a moment with that thought. 

Anika:  Yours is, favourite Star Trek sound effect. 

Liz:  Oh, gosh. Uh, this is gonna be weird, but you know what I find really satisfying? The noise the holodeck doors make on the Enterprise and Voyager? Just that “vrrrrsssshh-inhale-shzzzzzzz” sort of noise. I cannot begin to reproduce it. But it’s just so solid that it makes me happy.

Anika:  I’m so glad you tried, though. 

Liz:  [laughs]

Anika:  That was what I wanted out of this question!

Liz:  Oh well! I’m so happy to oblige! And I think it’s a shame that other holodecks don’t make that very satisfying — like, there’s a cl-clunk in there, and I think there’s a shzzzzz-cl-clunk somewhere in there. No, I cannot reproduce it. Now that I’m trying to think of it, I can’t even call it to mind, but it has a shape, and I like that shape. 

Anika:  That’s a great answer. Good job. 

Liz:  Thank you. I cannot stretch it out to 60 seconds, though, I barely needed to think about it.

Anika:  No, you’re good, you’re fine. Five left. Good job. 

Liz:  Coffee break! Now, do you have a favourite TOS episode? 

Anika:  Yes! My favourite TOS episode is “Devil in the Dark”.

Liz:  Love that Horta!

Anika:  Yup. It is about taming a dragon instead of destroying it, and that’s my favourite story. 

Liz:  [laughs]

Anika:  So I love that the point at the end of it is that they were all monsters, and they all found “humanity”, quote-unquote, within themselves. And I love that they start out wanting to hunt it, but then decide that it’s a bigger story, and I just think that that’s very representative of why I like Star Trek

Liz:  No, I agree! And it’s been remade, almost, a couple of times in TNG and so forth, but I think the original is the best.


Anika:  All right, I have a super fun one for you!

Liz:  Uh oh. Hit me.

Anika:  All right, it’s fuck/marry/kill with the captains. 

Liz:  Oh good!

Anika:  So you get three each. Okay? Three fucks, three marries and three kills. And the people are Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway, Archer, Georgiou, Lorca, Pike and Rios. Go.

Liz:  Okay. First of all, I have to check, which Lorca? 

Anika:  The one in your mind. 

Liz:  Okay, if it’s mirror Lorca, I’m gonna fuck, but then I’m gonna kill. Okay. Kill is Pica– no, Kirk, Archer, uh. I don’t wanna kill — okay, kill Lorca. Kirk, Archer, Lorca. Fuck: Georgiou, Janeway, Rios. (Rios just seems like he’d be good in bed.) Uh. And then marry. Okay, so I assumed — okay, marry is Janeway, Sisko, Picard. Is that everyone? 

Anika:  Yes. 

[No. Liz forgot Pike and listed Janeway twice. Freudian slip!]

Liz:  Wow! Okay, that was really hard. And then I realised at the last minute that I probably should have been thinking of Captain Georgiou, not Emperor Georgiou? 

Anika:  Yes, it was definitely Captain Georgiou. 

Liz:  Oops. 

Anika:  Lorca could go either way, but Georgiou was the good one. 

Liz:  I…

Anika:  But it’s okay, I think you married her. Or did you–


Anika:  No, you. So–

Liz:  I think I fucked her.

Anika:  Oh well.

Liz:  I’m sure it was a respectful and satisfying experience for all. 

Anika:  [laughs] Okay, good job. That was fun, thank you.

Liz:  You’re very welcome. Please name an actor who has not been in Star Trek, but who you would like to see in Star Trek

Anika:  All of them!

Liz:  [laughs]

Anika:  I mean, we’ve already discussed all of the Star Wars crossovers that I would like, so John Boyega and Adam Driver get to be in it. And why not Daisy Ridley? Sure!

Liz:  Sure!

Anika:  But … like, you know — I don’t know ! Do I have a favourite actor who isn’t in Star Wars, who hasn’t been in Star Trek? I mean, there’s always Naomi Watts. I really love Naomi Watts, she’s one of my favourite actresses, and I will cast her in anything. I wanted her to be Carol Danvers, but they went for young. Which is fine. Nothing against Brie. But still, when I look at Naomi Watts, I see Carol Danvers. So basically, like, Admiral Carol Danvers–


Anika:  –played by Naomi Watts? I’m ready for that. 

Liz:  I would be super into that. 

Anika:  That’s my choice. 

Liz:  Yeah! I love it! 

Anika:  Most romantic moment. 

Liz:  Jesus, that’s hard! 


[the silence is filled by “Spanish Flea” by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Orchestra because that song is inherently hilarious]

Anika:  Trying to be hard. 

[more “Spanish Flea”]

Anika:  I know there’s not a lot of romance, but…

Liz:  And much of it is done poorly. Um. 

[“Spanish Flea” reaches a crescendo]

Liz:  I really like the bit in Insurrection where Riker comes into Deanna’s office and basically sits with his head in her lap, and she’s like, what the fuck? But she’s also really into it. And it’s just so … flirty and familiar, and it’s the start of a relationship where they once had a relationship, and they’ve been friends for much longer than they’ve been exes. And, yeah, I think that that is a moment I have really come to appreciate in the last few years, and I like it a lot. 

Is it a grand, epic, glamorous romance? No! But I don’t really trust grand, epic, glamorous romance. So, yeah. 

Anika:  I clutched my heart, that was such a sweet, perfect choice.


Anika:  Good job. 

Liz:  Thank you! Okay, one episode you would show to someone who has never seen Star Trek before. 

Anika:  That’s so hard! See, I am not … I would ask them — or if I knew them — I would choose one for them. I’m the type of person — you know, people say, “What are the top ten comics to excite someone, or what episode of whatever do you want to show them to show off the show?”

And if it’s not something that they’re gonna like, then it doesn’t matter if it’s the most perfect episode of Star Trek ever made, if they’re not going to get it, or be invested or have a connection to it in any way. 

Liz:  Yeah. 

Anika:  So I would — it’s really — that’s my answer, I need to know what the person likes in media, probably specifically in science fiction, you know — what’s the word? It’s not transformative, but–


Liz:  In fandom? 

Anika:  No, the word for things that aren’t real, but not fantasy. [laughs] There’s a thing! SPECULATIVE! Science fiction and speculative — that’s what I want, I would want to know what they like in speculative fiction, and I would choose the episode based on that. 

Liz:  I think that’s a really good answer.

Anika:  Phew!

Liz:  Like, I know what episode of Babylon 5 I would show you, but I also know you wouldn’t enjoy it, no matter how perfect an episode it is. [It’s not even THAT perfect an episode.] You need to take the person you’re dealing with into account. 

Anika:  All right, so what is the favourite Trek merchandise you own? 

Liz:  Oh, gosh. I don’t own very much merchandise, but Jules, who was a guest on our podcast, went to Comic-Con … either last year or the year before? And she got me a Discovery-era admiral’s badge. It’s a little smaller than the one Kat wears, it’s a little enamel badge, and I love it, and I never wear it on anything because I’m terrified that I’ll lose it. 

Anika:  That’s beautiful. 

Liz:  Thank you. Also, I’ve preordered the Michael Burnham Funko Pop. Not the Saru, because that is a cursed object that I will not have in my house. But I’m looking forward to having Michael. 

Anika:  Wonderful. All right, go. 

Liz:  Do you have a favourite TNG episode? 

Anika:  Yes, “Ensign Ro”. 

Liz:  Yes?

Anika:  Partially because it was just such a personal moment for me, I really felt seen by Star Trek for the first time in my life. I don’t mean I never related to Star Trek before then. Obviously, I kept watching it, so I liked it, and I enjoyed it. 

But I really felt kinship with Ro Laren, that she was this hard-edged, damaged, messed-up person who wanted to be better and thought she never could. And was afraid to even try. She was trying to push everyone away. I just was — that was my character. 

That was the type of person — and then, on top of that, I really think that it’s a wonderful example of when Star Trek shows that the Federation has flaws. That it’s not–


Anika:  –utopian for everyone. And that’s also very important to me. 

Liz:  Absolutely! Also, Ro is a very young character. Not as young as Wesley, but if you’re a teenage girl, Ro would really resonate. I was sort of pre-teen, and sort of in my “I’m a good girl and I have no anger in me whatsoever” phase. Which was a lie. But, yeah, it took me a few years to recognise myself in Ro. 

Anika:  You know, a few years after that, I went into my riot grrrl phase, so I was on the cusp of riot grrrl. Okay, so the next one is, what Star Trek merchandise that exists — or does not exist — do you want? 

Liz:  Uh. I really, really, REALLY want a Kat Cornwell Funko Pop? Mostly so she can hang out with my Admiral Holdo Funko Pop? And I’ve gotta say it was a bad year for space admirals blowing up. For me. And one of the reasons I was so devastated about her death was that I knew that there was more merch coming down the line, and that Kat’s death meant she wouldn’t get a Funko Pop. That’s kind of stupid. 

Do tie-in novels count as merch? 

Anika:  Yes, sure. 

Liz:  I would really like a tie-in novel about Kat’s background, and also one about Jett Reno. 

Anika:  I would like to write the one about Kat’s background! Hire me! 

Liz:  Me too! But I think a very long blog post calling out Simon & Schuster’s systemic sexism in Star Trek tie-ins has probably put me out of the running for that! Just a hypothesis. 

Anika:  Oops. Oh well.


Liz:  I knew what I was doing when I did it. But one day I will write the novel in my head and post it to AO3.

Anika:  Awesome. 

Liz:  Is there a writer for the TV series — any TV series — whose work you like best?

Anika:  For a Star Trek writer?

Liz:  Oh yeah, yeah. 

Anika:  [laughs] Um. Let me think. No? Because I don’t know who they are.

Liz:  [laughs]

Anika:  I’ll be honest.

Liz:  No, talk about that.

Anika:  The ones that I don’t like as much are the names that I know, unfortunately.

Liz:  That is sad.

Anika:  I have no idea. And also, like, television is really hard. Television is really hard. It really requires a team, you know? Unless you’re Aaron Sorkin, and if you look at Aaron Sorkin’s body of work, I think he needs a team? 

Liz:  [laughs]

Anika:  So I think that — but the honest answer is, I don’t know who they are, so I don’t have a favourite.

Liz:  No, I think that’s a reasonable answer.


Anika:  I feel really badly now! 

Liz:  Oh no! 

Anika:  What is your favourite Star Trek reference in another body of work? 

Liz:  Oh! Oh! This is really new, because I’m watching Pose for the first time. And in season 2 of Pose, which is set in 1990, in the trans and queer community and the ballroom culture of New York, the main character, Blanca, makes two references in one episode to people speaking Klingon at her. 

And I have to believe that Blanca is a Trekkie, and she watched The Original Series as a little girl, living in a little boy’s life as a kid, and loved Uhura, and wanted to be as glamorous and beautiful as that. 

And now it’s 1990 and she makes her family watch Next Generation every week on whatever dodgy syndicated New York network it’s on. And she loves it! And she is secretly a nerd, but she is outside of nerd culture. And just that reference made me really happy. It was just such a small thing, but I suddenly saw a piece of Blanca’s life that I hadn’t seen before.

Anika:  Wonderful.


Liz:  Do you have an ultimate Star Trek cosplay goal?

Anika:  Yes. Specifically, Disney princesses and Star Trek. So I would really love to do Dax as Belle, and Deanna as Cinderella. 

Liz:  Seven of Nine as Sleeping Beauty!

Anika:  Exactly! Exactly! You’re on my wavelength. I would have a lot of fun, and I think that it would be — I even had a Tumblr post where I was assigning Disney princes and princesses to all of Star Trek. It was just a lot of fun. And, you know, people can do amazing, amazing cosplays, and I appreciate each and every one of them. I have never really–


Anika:  –done a perfect cosplay, a screen-ready Rebel Legion approved cosplay for any fandom. And I think my niche is more the out there stuff. I would lean into that. 

Liz:  Yeah. Yeah.

Anika:  So this one is actually from Tumblr, but it was specifically for you. So I decided to include it on here, even though I don’t think it should be for you.

Liz:  Okay!

Anika:  So with that, here’s a question for Liz, which was asked after our Enterprise episode: what do you think of liberals who say that Trump made them miss George W Bush?

Liz:  [deep breath]

Anika:  Australian? 

Liz:  [nervous laugh] I think that they maybe have very rosy memories of the Bush era. And you sort of look back at that time, and yes, it wasn’t as bad as it is now? But it was sort of laying the groundwork for what we have now, in terms of encouraging an “us versus them” culture, and building a sense of anti-intellectualism. And Bush didn’t invent this, either, it’s been going back since — I’m gonna blame Nixon. 

[Note from Liz: but I also reckon some Founding Fathers were at fault, and probably leaders before that, and, like, history is hard! You can’t just point to a single source and go, YEAH, THAT’S WHAT CAUSED THIS!]

Liz:  Because I like to blame Nixon for things, and I think Watergate really damaged — like, as an outsider, I see a lot of damage to America emanating from Watergate. But, uh, yeah, I think those liberals are wrong, and should read some modern history, and reconsider their opinions.

Anika:  Fair! And, as an American, I agree. 

Liz:  [laughs] Do you have a favourite Deep Space 9 episode?

Anika:  Yes. It’s “Far Beyond the Stars”. 

Liz:  Classic. 

Anika:  I know, cliche. But that’s my favourite. And I’ve said before that it’s actually probably my favourite episode of Trek. I don’t know if that’s — I think “favourite” is the wrong word. I think that I have stronger feelings for other episodes, but this one, I think, is so perfect in what it does, in what it captures. 

And everything about it is perfect. The costuming is amazing, the production design is amazing. The script, the direction, the acting, every single thing that happens in the story is amazing. And the plot is about us, as Star Trek fans. And so I just think it’s a valentine to the whole fandom, AND one of those allegory commentary episodes. 


Anika:  So, yeah, that’s my favourite Deep Space 9 episode, for sure.

Liz:  It’s also sort of an indictment of science fiction media, and its claims to be political, but it won’t do the work. 

Anika:  Right.

Liz:  I can’t believe I forgot that episode when you were asking about allegories! Because it’s so good! I think you can tell a lot about a Deep Space 9 fan by whether their favourite episode is “Far Beyond the Stars” or “In the Pale Moonlight”.

Anika:  Yes. That makes sense. All right, so, here is a question from Twitter. Which Star Trek character would make the best grilled cheese?

Liz:  Wow. Not Picard — okay, no, not Picard, Zhaban. I think Riker’s grilled cheese is probably quite good. I would not turn down a grilled cheese from Dr McCoy. I suspect that a grilled cheese from Sisko would be interesting, but he should stick to the stuff that he’s good at, which is more complicated dishes? 

Definitely wouldn’t eat a grilled cheese from Quark or Neelix. I’m not racist, I just don’t think they’re very good at food. Tom Paris probably does a reasonable grilled cheese. And I look at Travis Mayweather and I see a man who knows his way around a skillet. But, yeah, I think I just have to come back to Zhaban. ‘Cos his would be made with love, and also French cheese and fresh bread. 

Anika:  Yes! Great, great answers. 

Liz:  Thank you. 


Liz:  Please talk about Sarek for 60 seconds. 

Anika:  [laughs] Okay. Sarek … he has things in common with Jonathan Archer. He’s not actually a good person! But he wants to be! He wants to be a good person. And he’s not genocidal. Neither of them are so bad that they’re — it’s not like Darth Vader and my love for him, you know? 

They’re just not great at peopling, and Sarek, in particular, is just terrible at communication, he’s terrible at telling people how he feels about them, or understanding that feelings exist in the first place. He is the worst Vulcan, but also the worst Vulcan that hangs out with humans? He’s just not good at either side. But he wants to be, and he’s open to it, and he’s a product of his culture, so he’s another person that’s just really interesting to–


Anika:  You know, there’s so much complexity in this side character that nonetheless has been around for over 50 years now. So it’s really — it’s just really impressive. And now, poor James Frain, I cannot see him in — he was in an episode of The Good Wife, and then he was in an episode of SVU. I’ve been watching of, like–

Liz:  Procedurals?

Anika:  –I put it on the background while I’m doing everything, now that I love at home and work at home and do everything at home. So every time James Frain pops up, I’m like, that’s Sarek! It’s a secret Vulcan! And I try to make it work in my head? He’s become — that’s what I do for Jimmy Smits, he’s always Bail Organa. So it’s happened to poor James Frain. And no offence to the other Sareks, but he’s my Sarek now. 

Liz:  Aw, that’s nice! 

Anika:  So. Yeah. Has it been 60 seconds?

Liz:  It’s been about 90 seconds. 

Both: [laugh] 

Anika:  Whoops! Okay, you are trapped on a desert island with three characters from Star Trek. Who are they?

Liz:  Uh. Do they have to be the best characters to get off the island? Or the best to be trapped with? Or the worst to be trapped with?

Anika:  They’re just whoever you want on your island.

Liz:  Then I’m gonna go with people who are good company and fun to be around. So Garak. Um. Almost said Neelix. Tuvok. Garak, Tuvok aaaaaaand Deanna Troi! 

Anika:  [howling with laughter] Wow! I think you should write that fic for me. 

Liz:  I just feel like Deanna and Garak would be really on top of, like, making cocktails out of all of the fallen coconuts, or whatever, and that would be really cool. And we could laze around in the sun. And Tuvok would be the one to get us to stop drinking coconut cocktails and actually build a raft and get ourselves off the desert island.

Anika:  Very good.

Liz:  But also, Tuvok is very fun. He doesn’t know it. But he is.


Anika:  I agree that Tuvok is very fun. You said, “I want people that are fun to be with, so Garak”. And I was just, like, what? Garak would never be at the top of my list of people who are fun to be with. I guess that says a lot about me. 

Liz:  I guess it’s that he’s very entertainingly mean about people. Although, if you’re trapped on a desert island with him, what if he runs out of other people to be mean with and starts in on you? I need to think about this further. But in the meantime, please consider if there is a novelist you’d like to see writing a Star Trek novel. 


Anika:  Again with the writers! You expect me to know people! Um…

[it’s “Spanish Flea” time again!]

Anika:  Dead space as I try to think of literally any person who writes for a living. Um … and I …

[the horns are really picking up!]

Anika:  I’m looking at my library. I’m looking at all of my books. 

Liz: [giggles]

Anika:  They’re all old, none of them are great. And I’m scared of writers, too, because what if they turn out to be JK Rowling? 

Liz:  Oh God, I know. 

[it’s the chorus!]

Anika:  I don’t want to say anyone. I don’t trust anyone anymore. Like, remember when Joss Whedon wrote The X-Men?

Liz:  Oh God, yes. 

Anika:  I dunno, a woman? And a–


[“Spanish Flea” fades out]

Liz:  You’ve made it to 60 seconds!

Anika:  A diverse woman! Sorry!

Liz:  No! I expected you to say Suzanne Collins, because you like The Hunger Games, and also she’s not really online, she’s not on social media, so we have no idea what terrible opinions she holds!

Anika:  So, hilariously, that was the first thing that came to mind, but I couldn’t come up with her name. I was like, the woman who wrote The Hunger Games! But I couldn’t come up with her name, and I didn’t say it. So, yeah. But yes, you’re right. Good job. You know me!

Liz:  I’m not sure how she would go writing a utopia, but I think she has an interesting grasp of science fiction and writes a good adventure. 

Anika:  Who was the worst death?

Liz:  Uh, hi, have I mentioned that I’m still mad about the death of Admiral Katrina Cornwell? 

Anika:  [chuckles]

Liz:  Don’t get me wrong, I’m also still pretty mad about the fridging of Ziyal, and the fact that Garak gets more attention in his grieving than Major Kira, the girl’s surrogate mother! But, yeah, I’m just still really, really bummed about Kat. And I think, if her death had come at the culmination of an arc instead of feeling like a last-minute decision to “raise the stakes”, quote-unquote, I might be more okay with it? 

But honestly, I really do think that the intention was to have Jett Reno take that photon torpedo, and they realised at a fairly late stage that they could not kill another queer character. So, obviously, if I had to make a choice between Kat and Jett, I would make the same choice they did — but I don’t think they needed to kill anyone at all? It was just so poorly executed and stupid? So, yeah.


Anika:  Very good, very good.

Liz:  Thank you!

Anika:  You have mentioned it.

Liz:  Once or twice. Favourite Voyager episode? 

Anika:  See, this is harder. Because it’s …  you know, I have a lot of affection for Voyager.

Liz:  It’s hard to choose.

Anika:  My standard answer is “Year of Hell”. Because it’s a story about everything being ripped away from you, and standing up and getting up and doing it all over again. Which is a story I like. My only issue with “Year of Hell” — “Year of Hell” is, I think, my favourite episode, and one of the strongest episodes of Voyager overall. 

But I don’t like that it doesn’t happen at the end! I have this issue with any episode that includes time travel, or causality loops, or whatever they are, because I hate that — you know, the best example in “Year of Hell”, the Tuvok and Seven relationship gets so much use and growth in that episode. And then–


Anika:  –it didn’t happen. And they never really do that again. Missed opportunities, and I get sad about relationships that changed and yet didn’t change because of the reset button. So I’m not a big fan of reset buttons, but I also love that episode, and I think that the reset button at the end with “time’s up” is very powerful.

Liz:  I agree on all of these counts. 

Anika:  Who is your favourite Vulcan and human team-up?

Liz:  Oh God. Because they’re all good!

Anika:  They’re all good.

Liz:  Like, even T’Pol and Archer — I’m like, ehhhhhhhh — but T’Pol makes everything better! I do think my favourite has to be Janeway and Tuvok. Because they are such a good balance. 

And they have the sort of relationship that Kirk and Spock have by the time of the movies, where they trust each other absolutely, and they know each other so well. AND YET they can still surprise each other, for good or bad. 

And they just … enjoy each other’s company so much, and it’s really fun to watch. And Janeway respects his boundaries and only ever gently tries to push him, which is more than can be said for most people on Voyager. So, yeah. 

Yeah, I think Janeway and Tuvok — I kind of wish that Chakotay had been killed off about season 5, and–


Liz:  –Tuvok could have been first officer, and Harry moved to tactical. Yeah.

Anika:  Be great for Harry.

Liz:  Yes. You know, promote Harry. Justice for Harry Kim. Hashtag. Is there a food or drink from Star Trek that you would like to try? 

Anika:  Um. Well, Romulan ale. Obviously. 

Liz:  Right. 

Anika:  And I’ve had more than one, you know, facsimile, and they’re good and fun, and I just really like — like, Romulan ale is sort of a lightsaber blue colour, and that’s one of my favourite colours. So it’s super nerdy, but it’s my favourite colour, and my favorite race, and is supposed to be, like, knock-your-socks-off, right? So I wanna try that! I want to try it! I’m into it!

Liz:  I look at Romulan ale, and I go, is that really an ale? Because it looks like a spirit. 

Anika:  I mean, I don’t honestly know the difference, but it’s Romulan — is ale made out of wheat? Am I making that up? 

Liz:  Ale is a type of beer. 


Liz:  And Romulan ale looks more like a vodka. So I don’t know! Maybe it’s a mistranslation. We should consult Laris and Zhaban, and their cooking show. 

Anika:  Yes. All right. [clears throat] What is your favourite Star Trek philosophy? 

Liz:  I almost want to say “we are Starfleet” to troll you. Uh. 

Anika:  [laughs]

Liz:  I cannot distill it down into one single quote, save for maybe “there’s coffee in that nebula”. But the idea that you have your ideals, and you hold to them, and you recognise when they’re failing and adapt. And you don’t intentionally leave people behind, whether that’s an individual on an away team or a section of society. So a sense of, not just equality, but equity and inclusion. 

Anika:  That’s great! 

Liz:  Thank you! Uh. If you could recast one character, who would it be, and who would you put in their place? 

Anika:  Oh my goodness. Okay. Uh. If I could recast one character. This is hard! I mean … who do I think really pulls it down? I don’t want to — you just killed off Chakotay, so I don’t want to continue to be mean to Robert Beltran and be like — but who would make Chakotay GOOD is really the — that’s a question!

Liz:  I think the lack of high profile Native American actors–

Anika:  Is a problem, right.

Liz:  Right. And I read somewhere that they auditioned a lot of Native American actors, and they were quote-unquote “too Native American”. 

Anika:  Ewwwwww, that’s just–

Liz:  Yikes.

Anika:  Yikes, guys. There’s no one that I think drags down the whole of it. They’ve become those characters to me!


Anika:  So if we’re talking reboot, I’ve recast Next Generation for a quote-unquote “reboot” in the Kelvin timeline, but it wouldn’t be the same. 

Liz:  No. No. 

Anika:  It’s hard. 

Liz:  It is! I wasn’t sure that I would have an answer, either, if you had asked me that. So I think that’s a reasonable response!

Anika:  Who’s the Trek character you most want to see again? 

Liz:  Uhhhh, Katrina Cornwell? Hello? But I would also really love to see Beverly in Picard. I would like to see B’Elanna and Janeway in Picard? I would like to see Ezri Dax! And Worf!

Is there a character I DON’T ever want to see again, I think is the real question, and I’m kind of over Spock. It’s not that I have any dislike for his character, I just feel like his story has been told, and told again, and it’s getting to a point where there’s nothing new we can learn about this character, so what is he contributing? 

Anika:  Yeah, and when they add things that are new, it upsets people on many levels. So yeah, I get that. That makes sense.

Liz:  I suppose, if Strange New Worlds gave us Spock in a mentoring role, like sort of a precursor to Saavik and Valeris, that would be interesting?


Liz:  But he’s so young at that point in the series that I don’t think it’s feasible. 

Anika:  I think he will be the mentored. 

Liz:  Yeah. Yeah. 

[crashing sound]

Liz:  That was the cushion falling off my desk. My podcasting cocoon is falling apart! 

Anika:  Wow!

Liz:  Yeah. 

Anika:  That’s okay! We’re real. 

Liz:  [muffled] SO REAL. [normal] My wastepaper basket just got knocked over in the process, so now I’m like, there are tissues everywhere, that’s gross. Anyway! Is there a set or setting that you love? 

Anika:  A set or setting? Somewhere they go?

Liz:  Yeah, a place whose design you like, basically. 

Anika:  I really love astrometrics. 

Liz:  Voyager?

Anika:  In Voyager. Yes, astrometrics in Voyager. And, to be fair, astrometrics in Next Generation is also prettier than the rest of the sets in Next Generation. But in Voyager, you know, I would love to go into that room. 

Liz:  Yeah.

Anika:  You know, to step into a room where — it’s sort of like an observatory, you know, when you got a science museum, and you go to see the star show, and you get into an auditorium that’s all in the round, and you look up at the sky. It has that same effect, but it’s the actual stars. So it’s fun and interactive. So I would say, as part of a set, that would be my favourite, that I would want to go look around.


Liz:  Good answer!

Anika:  All right, I’m gonna ask you this one, because you just brought him up, so I’m interested. Who is your favourite Spock. 

Liz:  [laughs] Nimoy. None of the other Spocks are bad. I have no problem with Quinto or Peck’s performances. But there’s something about Leonard Nimoy, and his face, and his physicality. And he was the original, and everyone is, to an extent, imitating him. Yeah. He had a tremendous presence that’s very difficult to replicate. 

That wasn’t a difficult question! [laughs]

Anika:  No, it wasn’t at all.

Liz:  I also think Nimoy’s the sexiest Spock. 

Anika:  Sexy Spock! Okay. 


Liz:  I just pictured, like, the worst stripper name, and it is, indeed, Sexy Spock. 

Anika:  Sexy Spock! 

Liz:  So this is my 20th question! Do you have a favourite Enterprise episode?

Anika:  I think I said on our discussion of Enterprise that I really like “Carbon Creek”, and you were disturbed by it. 

Liz:  [laughs]

Anika:  But I really like “Carbon Creek”! It’s fun. I like time travel episodes that are about playing with time, not ignoring time, or deleting it. But I also really like the final two episodes before the final episode. Like, the final episode is terrible, but “Terra Prime” and the other one [laughs] about the baby, I just really like babies. And I liked the rebels, and the conflict, and that was just sort of, like, they were finally getting into something interesting with — a lot of people really like the fourth season of Enterprise best. I was not a huge fan of all of the Brent Spiner stuff.


Anika:  The Vulcan stuff I liked and disliked. But the rebels, and the baby, and just the emotions of that, giving T’Pol a lot to feel that wasn’t about Trip was good. 

Liz:  Yeah.

Anika:  I liked that. All right. 

Liz:   Go.

Anika:  Please cross over Trek with another fandom. 

Liz:  [sigh]

[It’s “Spanish Flea” time!]

Liz:  That’s haaaaaaaaaaard. Um. Now I’m doing what you did when you were looking at your bookshelves. I’m like, other fandoms? Are there other fandoms? Wha? 

Anika:  I know, it’s hard. Related: my answer to this was The Hunger Games.

Liz:  [laughs] Um…

Anika:  But I have a reason! 

[more “Spanish Flea”]

Liz:  We’ve talked about, like, Star Trek: The West Wing, and Star Trek: JAG, and all of the different genres related to other media that we’d like to see? 

[“Spanish Flea” has faded out by now]

Liz:  And I still love all of those. I guess if I was going to do a straight crossover … uh. If I say Mass Effect, I’m not JUST dunking on the fact that Picard is, to an extent, a Mass Effect adaptation. I think there are enough similarities in the universities to make it sort of semi-work.


Anika:  All right! 

Liz:  I know you’re not a sports person…

Anika:  Nope. 

Liz:  …but if you lived in the Star Trek universe, would you follow a space sport? Would you have a Parises squares team? Or–

Anika:  Parises squares is what came to mind, and I was like, maybe. But … no? Probably not, because I’m not a sports person. And this came up in my real life recently, where someone offered me a hat that had the Boston Red Sox on it. And I made a face. And I got in trouble! And I was like, you know, you are from Massachusetts, so you’re contractually obligated to care about the Boston Red Sox. I am from Connecticut, where I am free to not care about sports at all, because we don’t have any.

Liz:  I was gonna say, I’ve never heard of a famous Connecticut sports team. 

Anika:  Nope! I don’t care about — like, I love the Olympics. If the Olympics were still happening, I would definitely be super into that. But it’s more of the pomp and circumstance than the actual sporting? 

Liz:  Right.


Anika:  So, yeah, I don’t think I would be into even space sports.

Liz:  No, I think that’s fair. 

Anika:  All right. What is your favourite disregard of the prime directive?

Liz:  [cackles] There are so many! How do I choose? 

Anika:  I know. [laughs]

[“Spanish Flea”]

Liz:  Um. Gosh. 

[There was a little Spanish flea, A record star he thought he’d be, He heard of singers like Beatles, And The Chipmunks he’d seen on TV, Why not a little Spanish flea?]

Liz:  I just can’t narrow them down!

Anika:  That’s fair! I understand. I know. 

Liz:  Obviously, any time Janeway disregards the prime directive, she is right and correct to do so, and I would never fault her for it. Uh. Likewise Picard. Does Sisko ever violate the prime directive? I guess manipulating the Romulans into joining the war is certainly against the spirit of the prime directive. That does involve the Romulans, so I guess I’m very in favour. Yeah, it’s really — that time Sisko turned up and became a religious figure on Bajor, that’s a pretty egregious breach, that I’m into. But it is really hard to narrow them down to just one.


Liz:  Fuck, marry, kill: Section 31, the Obsidian Order and the Tal Shiar. 

Anika:  No fair! I don’t want to kill any of them!

Liz:  Aw!

Anika:  But I’m gonna kill the Obsidian Order, because I just don’t care about the Cardassians as much, sorry. 

Liz:  RIP the Obsidian Order.

Anika:  I’m going to fuck Section 31 because they’re the sexiest! In my head, at least. And, well, because in my head, Section 31 is just La Femme Nikita in Star Trek. So clearly they’re the sexiest. And then I would marry the Tal Shiar because I 100% would be my human spy who goes rogue and joins the Romulans. 

Liz:  Right. 

Anika:  So that’s what I would do. Or I’d just be a Romulan. I would love to have been born a Romulan. So, yep.

Liz:  I like it. I like it a lot. [giggles]


Anika:  In a similar vein, as we recently are upset with Hogwarts, I came up with different ways to sort. And one of the best ways was The Golden Girls. So I would like you to choose a Star Trek character for each of the four Golden Girls. 

Liz:  Is this the time that I confess that I’ve never watched The Golden Girls?

Anika:  No! I mean — okay, you are in Australia, so it’s–

Liz:  No, it definitely aired here. Just, my parents were very anti-sitcom, so I completely missed, like, The Golden Girls, Full House, the Cosby Show. These were names that I heard, but never actually things that I watched. [It took a good five years — and a divorce — before Mum would let us watch The Simpsons.] 

Anika:  Well. 

Both [laugh]

Anika:  If you wanna do Hogwarts, do that, I guess. 

Liz:  Okay. So bearing in mind that obviously JK Rowling is terrible, and we’ve known this for a while but sort of been in denial. Um. Obviously — I think most of the captains are Gryffindors, but some of them pass themselves off very well as Ravenclaws. Like, you could easily mistake Picard and Georgiou for Ravenclaws. And I think Michael Burnham’s going to be a great captain because she is 100% a Gryffindor masquerading as a Ravenclaw. 

Anika:  Very good. I guess that’s all we get!

Liz:  I’m sorry! I’ve let you down! 

Anika:  It’s okay, I just want to say that Riker is Blanche. That’s all I’m going to say. 

Liz:  Is that the lady who dates a lot? And often wears very shiny things?

Anika:  Yes. 

Liz:  Yeah. I can see it. Like, most of my knowledge of the show comes from memes. 

Anika:  Fair! 

Liz:  Do you have a favourite theme song? 

Anika:  So — okay. Yes. I really, really love the Picard theme song, and the Picard music in general. 

Liz:  Jeff Russo does great work. 

Anika:  Absolutely amazing. Amazing, beautiful work. And I like the Voyager theme more than Deep Space 9. Which is apparently a controversial, unpopular opinion. I don’t hate the Enterprise theme song, which is also controversial and unpopular. I think the first two seasons are way better. The peppy version is really horrible. But when it’s sort of sweet and poignant, it’s not awful. And definitely that’s my favourite opening credits, visually. 


Liz:  You’ve reached your time!

Anika:  And TOS is better than TNG! 

Liz:  Yes! 

Anika:  The end. All right. What is Katrina Cornwell’s middle name?

Liz:  Okay, this is gonna sound awfully self-serving, but any time I’ve tried to give her a middle name, all that I can come up with is Elizabeth. And it’s like I have this disconnect where I go, “Yeah, Katrina Elizabeth Cornwell really rolls off the tongue.” And then, five minutes later, I’m like, “Shit. MY name’s Elizabeth!”

Anika:  [laughs]

Liz:  It’s not, like, an intentional ego Mary Sue thing? It’s just that it’s a very common name, and, yeah, it’s common in the same way that Katrina and any derivative of Katherine is common. 

Anika:  Yep. 

Liz:  I’ve tried to shoehorn my heart into Katrina Margaret Cornwell? But that doesn’t sound right. It doesn’t fit her. 

Anika:  All right. Fair. 

Liz:  So I feel pretty silly admitting it. I’ve deliberately avoided giving her a middle name in fic, or anything. But that’s my embarrassing confession. [giggles]

Anika:  I don’t think it’s that embarrassing, as far as confessions go. 

Liz:  There are certainly worse. Uh, favourite movie. Star Trek

Anika:  Star Trek IV

Liz:  Yep.

Anika:  The One With The Whales. Because it’s another — I was the right age to — and I loved whales, and I was super into everything about that movie, because it was — you know, again, I like time travel when it’s–

Liz:  Meaningful? 

Anika:  –playing with time travel. Yeah, when it’s meaningful, when it’s not forgetting. Any time they go into modern times, it’s fun. That’s just the way it is. And I just love Gillian Taylor. I wanted to be her so badly. That’s who I wanted to be when I grew up. And I told people that, and they did not believe me. And so I did not become Gillian Taylor. But I still, to this day, if I were independently wealthy, or could just–


Anika:  –go to school for fun, I would 100% just go get my PhD in marine biology and buy a boat, and live on a boat, and go study whales. 

Liz:   That sounds fantastic. 

Anika:  I would also 100% go into the future, given the chance. 

Liz:  I think what’s great about Gillian is that, like, she has this little romance with Kirk, but she has no illusions about it. And she goes into the future for her profession–

Anika:  Her whales!

Liz:  Yeah, for her career! And because she loves her whales, even though they are not the hell her whales. 

Anika:  Okay. We’re getting so close to the end! What is your favourite trope created by Star Trek

Liz:  It’s very problematic, but the “everyone loses their inhibitions” thing really, really works for me. I’m not such a fan of the extremely sexy version of “The Naked Now”, but the thing in “The Naked Time” where people’s inhibitions are what are keeping them from stripping down to their — stripping their shirt off and running around with a sword! Or Spock crying because he never told his mother he loved her! I love that sort of story! And, yeah, I think it’s a real shame that it just went off into awkward sexy times in future iterations.

I also really love the mirror universe. I think — I don’t know if Star Trek was the first to do that, but it certainly codified it in a way that has really lasted down the decades, and I adore the concept of the mirror universe, even though I know it makes no sense. 

Anika:  All right! 

Liz:  So now we come to my 25th question. And — I said that I only had 24, and that I was hoping that something else would come up? And then I forgot to listen for anything that would trigger a new question. So I’m going with my placeholder question, and it’s really silly: whisky-infused gum. Or whisky-flavoured chewing gum. Yes or no? 

Anika:  WHAT? 

Liz:  In Deep Space 9, in the baseball episode, Bashir and O’Brien are not really sure about this whole baseball thing, but then O’Brien replicates gum–

Anika:  Gum. 

Liz:  — because it’s traditional, and he realises–

Anika:  And it’s whisky-flavoured.

Liz:  –he can make it whisky-flavoured. Yeah. So yes or no. 

Anika:  No! No. Nope. I can’t imagine chewing whisky.

Liz:  It definitely suggests something has gone terribly wrong in the whole…

Anika:  That’s just not my thing. Good for you, O’Brien. Not my thing. Thanks, though. 

Liz:  It raises a separate question, though: is O’Brien an alcoholic? 

Anika:  Well, Scotty’s definitely an alcoholic, and I think that O’Brien is supposed to be, you know, an homage of some kind. So I feel that — or not necessarily an homage, but they realised they were giving him sort of the same characteristics and plot, and so they leaned into it and decided to go all the way. Which, you know, for weal or woe. 

Liz:  Mm. Mm. 

[Uh, the timer went off while Anika was speaking]

Anika:  But no! No. I’m not a huge whisky drinker to begin with, but I cannot imagine it as gum. I’m not even a big fruit gum person. I think it should be mint. 

Liz:  Yeah. Definitely. 

Anika:  All right. I’m very proud of my last question. 

Liz:  Uh oh. That’s worrying.

Anika:  Create a bridge crew out of Avatar: the Last Airbender characters.

Liz:  Okay! Can I include the sequel, Legend of Korra?

Anika:  Yes, yes.

Liz:  Okay. I feel like I’ve been preparing for this moment my whole life. Obviously, Iroh is the captain. Lin Beifong is the first officer, because Iroh is the understanding, diplomatic guy (who’s also a hell of a warrior, but also, like, a father to his men) and Lin is the hardass who will shoot first and ask questions later and, you know. She’s a cop. Bless her heart. 

Korra is security and tactical. Uhhhh, Aang, I think, is an engin– no. Aang. Gosh. I think Aang is the pilot, because he flies. Sokka is the engineer. Uh. Maybe Asami is the chief engineer and Sokka is the assistant chief engineer. Uhhhh. Katara is the ship’s counsellor, but, like, the hardass ship’s counsellor who will yell at you if you don’t start dealing with your problems. 


Liz:  And … yeah. Yeah, I think this is a solid little team. 

Anika:  Yay!

Liz:  50 episodes! 50 questions! 

Anika:  50 episodes! We should be very proud of ourselves.

Liz:  I really am. Because I don’t know about you, but I pick up projects and don’t really follow through to any meaningful extent. Whereas … yeah. 

Anika:  I feel like we have had a lot of really great conversations, and we continue to, and I’m always inspired. So I think it’s wonderful, and I love doing this project. 

Liz:  Same! I’m so happy!

Anika:  So thanks for being on the journey with me! 

Liz:  Thank you! I look forward to another 50. Oh, that’s a really big number. Let’s aim for another 10, and we’ll just — you know. We’ll look up one day and … yeah. Yeah. 


[the outro music is “Spanish Flea”, okay?]

Liz:  Thank you for listening to Antimatter Pod. 

You can find our show notes at, including links to our social media and credits for our theme music.

You can also follow us on Twitter at @antimatterpod. Sometimes we post cat pictures, and questions for our audience.

If you like us, leave a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you consume your podcasts — the more reviews, the easier it is for new listeners to find us. 

And join us in two weeks when we’ll be talking about Star Trek’s SECOND pilot, “Where No Man Has Gone Before”.

Anika:  See you then! 

Liz:  [laughs] Bye!