On Star Trek: The Original Series

Lost Secrets of Pre-War Human Technology

Seat belts, Circuit Breakers and Memory Allocation

By Lawrence Watt-Evans

From: Third Xenopsychologist Gleep, Transmission Analysis Department, Imperial Strategic Defense Directorate

To: First Determiner Quarg, Response Implementation Department, Imperial Strategic Defense Directorate

Re: Discrepancies in human video transmissions

Quarg:

As you know, I did not request this assignment. I had believed it, frankly, to be beneath my talents, and hoped for something in Retrieval & Interrogation. I now see that I was wrong, and that the analysis of these video transmissions may hold the key to understanding human psychology and devising an appropriate response to their expansion into the galaxy. I hereby offer a nuanced apology of the thirty-first category, indicating acknowledgment of an understandable error in interpretation of ambiguous data.

I further proffer self-congratulation of the thirteenth category, indicating belief in a breakthrough in understanding that few could have achieved.

Second Xenopsychologist Zitch has already told you our conclusions regarding why we have so many more transmissions from the humans’ twentieth century than we do from any subsequent centuries; I have nothing substantive to add, but feel I should mention that while Zitch has clearly identified for you the major elements in the change, I would place more emphasis on cultural exhaustion and less on the transition to shielded transmission technology during and after the wars. I am prepared to defend this, should you feel it worthy of further discussion.

As for my own assignment, determining how human civilization managed to lose several simple technologies while preserving many far more complex ones, I am pleased to say that I can now safely dismiss  …

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