Phil called this “the sidequest chapter.” I felt this plot was a good excuse to take our characters as far from their comfort zones as we could get them. The Star Trek: TNG episode “Disaster” has always struck me as a good example of the rewards this approach can reap: child-hating Picard is stuck with three kids and a broken ankle in the elevator, Troi is suddenly the ranking officer on the bridge and has to assume command, Worf has to assist in a birth, Geordi and Crusher have to do some dangerous manual labor, Data and Riker have to jerry-rig some engineering. We’re all more than our job titles, you know?

Ardaic comes off as a lot sterner throughout this scene than I think Phil intended in the script. Storywise, he sort of has to: if it doesn’t seem like a real possibility that he’ll fire someone or punish them severely for failing to do these jobs, then there are no stakes. To Phil, perhaps, Ardaic was still a representation of his friend, whereas Erica and I saw him as the voice of a questionable authority.