New Internationalist

Star Trek - Episode 1: The G20 and the B.O.R.G. Supremacy

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Issue 421

G20 communiqué goes boldy nowhere where everyone has gone before…

Wide-angle shot of Starship Capitalist Enterprise. Captain James T Kirk Narrating.

Kirk: Captain’s Log Stardate 54352.9: This is our second mission to escort leaders from the Federation to planet G20 just on the edge of the Neutral Free Trade Zone. Unfortunately, the Enterprise has been in dire need of repairs after several entanglements with a mysterious mercantilist species from the derivatives quadrant known as the B.O.R.G. (or what Ship Doctor McCoy has cynically come to call the ‘Banking Oligarchs Ruining the Galaxy’). To date, we’ve tried to make peace with the B.O.R.G. but all attempts at communication have resulted in assimilation. Starfleet’s standing orders are to appease the B.O.R.G. on sight while the G20 leaders attempt to deal with the ongoing intergalactic economic crisis by having dinner cooked by universally renowned celebrity chef Jamie Oliver from the planet Pukka. A fragile truce holds as both the dreaded Romulan empire led by Praetor Sarkozy and the Klingons ruled by Chancellor Merkel are also attending, and both have suffered heavy losses to the B.O.R.G. as well, though they still blame the Anglo-Saxon United Federation of Planets for violating the Sub-Prime Directive.

Kirk continues: The draft G20 communiqué has just been released, and tensions are high. Praetor Sarkozy has threatened to leave the meeting if he is forced to eat Klingon Rokeg blood pie again. The Romulan ale does appear to be helping to calm tensions but hostilities can erupt at any moment. Meanwhile First Officer Spock is feeding the draft communiqué into the computer’s memory banks for analysis in the hopes that we can find a clue that can help us solve the intergalactic economic crisis. Nothing less than the future of Capitalism itself is at stake!

Captain Kirk is signing something for a young blonde ensign as he gives her a flirtatious smile. The ensign forces a sarcastic smile back at Kirk and exchanges knowing glances with fellow female officer Uhura as if to say: ‘What a perv!’. Kirk, oblivious to the exchange, listens as the computer reads out the first segments of the historic communiqué in a staccato voice with what sounds like a typewriter background noise, a blip appears on the screen of Lieutenant Chekov’s screen.

Chekov: Captain, a B.O.R.G wessel has just appeared on our long-range scanners. It appears to be weering towards us on a collision course.

Kirk: Go to red alert lieutenant. On screen.

Chekov: Aye, aye Captain!

Red alert sounds and flashes throughout the ship. Cube-shaped B.O.R.G vessel appears on the main viewing screen of the ship’s bridge.

Kirk: Shields up! Uhura, inform Starfleet of our predicament.

Uhura: Aye, Sir! Starfleet do you read? This is the Capitalist Enterprise. We are under attack by a B.O.R.G. vessel. Repeat…

Kirk: Spock, analysis.

Spock: Scanning now Captain…

Meanwhile computer continues reading G20 communiqué in background…

Computer: O-ver the last half cen-tury strong growth and in-creas-ing in-ter-nat-ion-al trade has brought un-told jobs and pros-perity to our cit-i-zens. We now face the great-est chal-lenge to the galactic e-con-omy in mo-dern times, a cri-sis a-ffect-ing the lives of or-di-na-ry men, wo-men, child-ren, oct-o-pods and o-ther be-ings a-round the u-ni-verse. A gal-actic cri-sis re-quir-es a gal-actic sol-ut-ion.

Ship’s doctor Leonard McCoy (aka ‘Bones’) enters ship’s bridge from elevator.

McCoy: God dammit will someone tell me what the hell’s going on around here?

Spock: It would appear, Doctor, that we are on a collision course with a transnational class B.O.R.G vessel. Perhaps it would be prudent to prepare the sick bay for medical emergencies.

Uhura: Captain, message coming in from the B.O.R.G. vessel.

McCoy: Why Spock you cold-hearted, emotionless…

Kirk: Bones! On speaker, lieutenant.

Uhura: Aye, aye captain.

Uhura presses several mysteriously unmarked buttons on dashboard in seemingly random succession.

B.O.R.G {in chorus}: We are B.O.R.G! Regulation is futile. You will be assimilated. Your governments’ assets will be liquidated and merged with ours.

Spock: Captain, preliminary analysis indicates that that the B.O.R.G. vessel has warped with considerable speed from a nearby tax nebula.

Kirk: Our scanners can’t penetrate tax nebulas.

Spock: Precisely. Their shield harmonics also appear to be immune to standard regulatory framework phasers and will likely withstand full-strength government photon torpedoes as well. As you know, Starfleet’s standing orders are that we are to try every attempt to appease the B.O.R.G..

Cue dramatic harp music. Camera zooms in on Kirk’s sweaty brow as he ponders his next move.

Computer continues to read communiqué…

Computer:We be-lieve that an o-pen world e-con-omy based on mar-ket prin-ci-ples, e-ffect-ive reg-u-la-tion, and strong gal-act-ic ins-ti-tu-tions will en-sure a sus-tain-able gal-act-i-sation with ri-sing pros-per-ity for all. We are de-ter-mined to re-store growth now, re-sist pro-tec-tion-ism, and re-form our mar-kets and our in-sti-tu-tions for the fu-ture. We have a-greed ac-tions to meet these cha-llen-ges as part of an in-te-gra-ted stra-te-gy that will re-store con-fi-dence and en-sure a last-ing gal-actic re-cov-ery. We are de-term-ined to en-sure that this cri-sis is not re-peat-ed.

Kirk: Lieutenant get us out of here.

Sulu: Aye, aye sir!

Sulu attempts to navigate away from the oncoming B.O.R.G vessel, but the viewer shows the cube still heading straight for them.

Sulu: Captain, warp drives are offline. Impulse engines won’t get us out of the way quickly enough.

Captain Kirk presses intercom to communicate with Chief Engineer Scott in the engine room.

Kirk: Scotty, I need warp speed now!

Scott: I’m sorry sir, but I’ve given ye all she’s got! She’s barely held it together since that run in we had back in the Seattle System. And then there was the near miss we had with the Starship Enron and that dot.com supernova, not ta mention the Ponzi mishap on the Madoff meteor…

Kirk: No need to remind me… Scotty, can’t you boost the economic growth flux capacitors?

Scott: Well, I can give ye a wee bit more, aye, but she canna take much more of this.

Kirk: Do your best Mr Scott.

Scott: Aye, aye sir. {sighs}

Mr Scott shakes head at the futility of it all.

Computer continues to read…

Computer: Re-stor-ing glo-bal growth now… Our cen-tral banks have al-so tak-en ex-cep-tion-al ac-tion, cut-ting in-ter-est rates ag-gres-sive-ly and close to ze-ro in ma-ny ad-vanced e-con-om-ies. Our cen-tral banks have pledged to main-tain ex-pansion-ary pol-ic-ies as long as need-ed, us-ing the full range of mon-e-tary pol-icy in-stru-ments, in-clu-ding un-con-vent-ion-al po-li-cy in-strum-ents, con-sist-ent with price sta-bi-lity.

Scott: Sir, we’ve just lost primary and secondary fiscal thrusters. The dilithium crystal reserve funds are nearly depleted.

Chekov: Captain, the B.O.R.G wessel has launched a wolley of toxic assets at us.

Kirk: Evasive manoeuvres.

Camera view tilts to make it appear ship is tilting despite being in space and therefore having no up or down to speak of…

Chekov: No good, Captain.

Kirk: Brace for impact.

Starship Capitalist Enterprise is hit by B.O.R.G toxic assets. Some personnel fall over. Lights flicker.

Kirk: Damage report.

Spock: Substantial parts of the lower housing decks have defaulted.

Kirk to security officer Bail’iff: Send a security team down to evict, er, I mean evacuate, the worst affected.

Security officer Bail’iff: Right away, Sir!

Sulu: Captain, I’m detecting a sudden drop of energy in the cube’s main lending array.

Kirk: Spock?

Spock: Scanning… confirmed. Captain, perhaps if we can inject a stimulus package into the B.O.R.G vessel’s power core, we may be able to amplify its lending beacon and thereby restabilise our own energy banks. This may help to appease them.

McCoy: That’s insane!

Spock: Insane, no. Illogical, maybe…

Kirk: Bones, we don’t really have any other options.

Scott{on the intercom}: Captain!

Kirk: Yes Scotty?

Scott: Captain, that last barrage of toxic assets has crippled four of our main energy banks. One more direct hit and we’ll be dead in the water!

Kirk: Mr Scott, can’t we renationalise?

Scott: I’m afraid we’ve already renationalised the lot of them, but we’ve been leaking plasma pensions and birilium bonuses which have depleted our reserves, not ta mention our galactic approval ratings…

Kirk: Understood, Mr Scott. See what you can do. Mr Chekov, fire a stimulus package into the main lending array of the B.O.R.G cube.

Chekov: Aye, aye Captain! Firing a 700 billion pound package now.

McCoy: Jim, you better come down to sick bay so I can have your head examined!

McCoy leaves the bridge in a huff. Stimulus package is fired at B.O.R.G. cube.

Computer continues in background…

Computer: We are ta-king com-pre-hen-sive ac-tion to strength-en our fi-nan-cial ins-ti-tu-tions in or-der to re-store do-mes-tic len-ding and in-ter-na-tion-al ca-pi-tal flows. We have made a-vail-able o-ver [$x trillion] of sup-port to our ban-king sys-tems to pro-vide li-quid-ity, re-cap-i-tal-ise fin-an-cial in-sti-tu-tions, and ad-dress the pro-blem of im-paired ass-ets.

Spock: Scanners indicate the cube has absorbed the package successfully, but there appears to be no effect on the B.O.R.G lending array.

Kirk: Damn!

Computer: We are com-mit-ted to take all ne-ces-sa-ry act-ions to re-store the flow of cre-dit through the fin-an-cial sys-tem and en-sure the sound-ness of sys-tem-i-cal-ly im-por-tant in-sti-tu-tions, act-ing with-in the a-greed G-20 Frame-work for Re-stor-ing Len-ding. These mea-sures un-der-pin and streng-then the im-pact of our fis-cal and mon-e-ta-ry po-li-cy act-ions.

Chekov: Captain, we appear to be caught in some kind of tractor beam. We can’t break free and we are stuck in our current trajectory!

Spock {with raised eyebrow}: Fascinating!

Kirk: Yes, Mr Spock, very fascinating. Now anyone else got any bright ideas?

Computer: We will en-sure these re-sour-ces can be used e-ffect-ive-ly to meet the needs of e-merg-ing and de-vel-op-ing coun-tries. The In-ter-gal-act-ic Mon-e-ta-ry Fund should im-ple-ment ra-pid-ly its new Flex-i-ble Cre-dit Line for coun-tries with strong po-li-cies and its re-formed len-ding and con-di-tion-al-i-ty frame-work. It should al-so dou-ble acc-ess to its low in-come coun-try fa-cil-i-ties.

Sulu: Sir, we could try the Structural Adjustment Proton beam on a nearby inhabited planet. It won’t solve the intergalactic economic crisis, but it might at least distract the B.O.R.G. for awhile.

Kirk: Very well Mr Sulu, target the Southern parts of the planet and areas where their shields and technology are least developed. Fire at will!

Sulu: Targetting… firing SAP beams.

Camera pans out to view Starship Capitalist Enterprise firing its SAP beams. The planet below shudders…

Spock: No effect captain.

Kirk: Damn!

Uhura: Captain, message from Starfleet…. we are instructed to continue expending our reserve energy banks and attempt to power up the B.O.R.G. cube’s lending array at all costs.

Kirk: Acknowledged. Uhura, open a hailing frequency.

Uhura: Channel open, Sir!

Kirk {to B.O.R.G.}: This is Captain James T Kirk of the Starship Capitalist Enterprise, we mean you no harm. Our orders are to assist you in repairing your lending array.

B.O.R.G. {in chorus}: We are B.O.R.G.! Regulation is futile. You will be assimilated…

Chekov: Captain, the B.O.R.G. tractor beam has gotten stronger since we fired the stimulus package at it. We’ll never be able to change course heading! All we can do now is fire the rest of our reserves at it.

Kirk: Damn! Don’t they realise we are trying to help them?! Computer, any clues from the communiqué that might help us?

Computer churns typewriter sounds.

Computer: Ne-ga-tive!

Spock: Captain. It appears the leaders have decided to do more of the same. This is very illogical.

Dramatic harp music plays in background.

Chekov: Captain, the Romulan and Klingon wessels are breaking orbit from planet g20.

Kirk: Well, it would appear that Praetor Sarkozy has eaten enough Gagh for one lifetime.

Spock raises eyebrow.

Spock: Captain, there may be a chance…

Kirk: Spock, I’m listening.

Spock: Jim, if we can get close enough to the B.O.R.G. vessel and set the ship to self-destruct, we may at least be able to save the élite few on planet G20 though at the expense of billions of galactic citizens.

Kirk: The needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many?

Spock: Yes, it would appear that the laws of logic do not apply to Capitalism. Perhaps I should report to sick bay?

Kirk: No, you’re right. The needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many. How human of you Spock!

Spock: No need to insult me Sir!

Uhura: But sir, shouldn’t we instead be looking at trying to close the tax nebulas, regulate the B.O.R.G., invest in green jobs for the masses and restructure the galactic economy so that trade and investment policies benefit the vast majority of people? You know, Put People First!?

B.O.R.G. {in chorus}: We are B.O.R.G.! Regulation is futile…

Sulu: Sir, the cube is powering up its hedge fund fusion array and currency speculation canons!

Kirk: Uhura, what have I told you about bringing up those ridiculous Communist ideas?

Uhura: But Sir!

Uhura shakes head in disapproval.

Computer: These ac-tions to-ge-ther con-sti-tute the lar-gest fis-cal and mo-ne-tar-y sti-mu-lus, the most com-pre-hen-sive sup-port pro-gramme for the fi-nan-cial sec-tor, and the grea-test mob-il-isa-tion of re-sour-ces to sup-port glo-bal fi-nan-cial flows in mo-dern times. Our ob-ject-ive is that they will en-able the glo-bal e-con-omy to ex-pand by [x] by the end of 20-10. We have ta-ken and will con-ti-nue to take the mea-sures ne-ces-sa-ry to de-li-ver this out-come. We call on the I-M-F to ass-ess reg-u-lar-ly the ac-tions ta-ken and the ac-tions re-qui-red.

Uhura {gleefully}: Sir, message from Starfleet! They report that tens of thousands of galactic citizens have gathered around planet G20 and are protesting against the summit and baking cake!

Kirk: Let them eat cake Uhura!

Uhura {rolling eyes}: Aye, Sir!

Computer: Intruder alert!

Spock: Captain, several B.O.R.G. have beamed aboard the Capitalist Enterprise and appear to be assimilating the remainder of our crew.

Kirk: I knew we should have fired them all before things got out of hand!

Spock: Sir, with the B.O.R.G. lending array hobbled, the Capitalist Enterprise stands no chance.

Kirk: Don’t you think I know that? Well, it seems our only hope now is that the planet Doha negotiations lead to an expansion of the Neutral Free Trade Zone. Chekov, set the ship to self-destruct, and don’t tell me ‘I told you so!’, Uhura.

Chekov: Aye, Captain. It’s been an honour serving with you on this wessel Sir!

As Chekov initiates self-destruct, Uhura transmits sensitive documents to activist organisations in the hopes that it may prove useful to the resistance. B.O.R.G. drones continue to assimilate crew members at an alarming rate. The galactic economic crisis looms as divisions between the Romulans, Klingons and Federation lead to further chaos. The computer reads out the final words of the communiqué as the valiant crew of the Starship Capitalist Enterprise hang on in hope that some succour may be derived from its historic message.

Computer: De-li-ver-ing our com-mit-ments: We a-greed to meet a-gain be-fore the end of this year to re-view pro-gress on our com-mit-ments.

Spock raises eyebrow. Bridge crew is stunned and shocked.

Kirk: That’s it?!

Spock: That is most illogical. Might this be a good time for a colourful metaphor Sir?

Kirk: Damn!

Self-destruct countdown reaches zero just as B.O.R.G. drones enter bridge to assimilate the last of the Capitalist Enterprise’s intrepid crew. Camera pans to exterior of ship just as it explodes taking out the B.O.R.G. cube with it.

Many citizens of the galaxy rejoice, live long and prosper. Much cake is eaten.

Cue closing credits and operatic yet loungy 1960s-esque theme music.

Stay tuned next time for Star Trek Episode 2: The Wrath of Dow

THE END

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