2570: Captain Picard Tea Order
|Captain Picard Tea Order|
Title text: We can ask the Earl for his order once he's fully extruded from the dispenser.
- This was the fifth comic to come out after the Countdown in header text started.
| This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by EXTRUDED EARL GREY- Please change this comment when editing this page. There would be way too many additional citations needed for it to work here. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.|
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard is the captain of the starship USS Enterprise in the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation. Earl Grey tea is a beverage that he requests many times in the series, with the exact phrase "Tea. Earl Grey. Hot."
Randall is parodying this expression with other words that could follow "Tea. Earl Grey.", starting from ones considered "normal" moving to those presumed increasingly "less normal" down a long and winding arrow.
The machine that Picard is using is a replicator, which can create objects (typically food and drink) according to a pre-programmed pattern, such as Picard's requested Earl Grey tea. In principle, almost anything can be ordered, so some might consider it a bit boring that it is always just tea. And always hot. But for Picard, this is presumably a constant comfort to punctuate what can often be a far from routine job.
When Picard orders his usual tea, other qualifying options are illustrated, as if upon a list or submenu that might be displayed for those that need a hint - though Picard is usually focused upon his more frequent choice when giving the voice command.
Then results of two examples from the normal/less-normal scale are also illustrated: Sticky tea and loud tea. Sticky is kind of obvious, though perhaps not immediately understandable, but the loud version is a tea that screams "Teeee..." The vibrating and screeching teacup may be a reference to the various Star Trek episodes about tribbles, which behave in a similar way in the presence of Klingons.
The very last qualifying addition, the least normal is not a single word but "Tea for him, too." This reinterprets the meaning of the standard introductory words, such that the replicator has produced a plain (unspecified) tea as well as an actual "Earl Grey", like a living person (either one of the Earl Greys or a person named Grey with the given forename of Earl). Picard has on purpose ordered tea for himself, followed by a person called Earl Grey, and then queues up a further tea to serve to this newly created person.
In contrast to the often trivial use of a replicator as merely a potentially infinitely versatile vending-machine, the comic sets up a number of quite esoteric options, culminating in Earl Gray himself potentially drinking (generic) tea, after both the tea and he have been replicated into existence by Picard.
In the title text, someone tells Picard that they should wait until the Earl has been fully extruded from the dispenser, and then ascertain what he would actually wish to drink. The presumption is that it could obviously take some time to get a full person (living) out of the replicator. However, where the replicator can create other things than food (e.g. spare parts), it is stated in the series that it cannot create living things as the precision of the molecular assembly process is too low (and the dispensing aperture used for the materialisation may also be too restrictive) so this order would certainly not be canonically possible.
|Hot||A fairly normal word to be used when ordering tea. Although that it even needs specifying is itself a clue that other variations (such as "Iced", below) are available. This is the chosen word of the five words Picard is thinking about in the first drawing. The act of requesting this is thus illustrated, though not of the appearance of the tea itself.|
|Iced||Iced Tea is a 'normal' variation of tea.|
|Decaf||Traditional teas (from Camellia sinensis) tend to have caffeine in them. Asking for decaffeinated tea is not particularly uncommon if the drinker requires it. In the series Picard, set several decades after The Next Generation, Picard does actually order "Tea, Earl Grey, decaf" in one scene.|
|Good|| A normal, subjective term. Most people drinking tea would want it to be good, but to specify it like this would perhaps be strange.
This is one of the words in the first drawing, as a listed alternative to Hot.
|Lukewarm||While this is a temperature that tea can be at, most people do not want their teas to be lukewarm.|
|Tasty||Similar to good, most people would want their tea to be tasty, or at least flavorsome.|
|Boiled|| Boiling the water used to make the tea is a common and normal way to increase the flavor and nutrients extracted from the tea leaves, though it is suggested that the actual ideal temperature of hot water is 75-98°C (167-210°F), according to whether it is a light tea or a dark one, and that perhaps it should be sipped at around 65°C/150°F-ish if desired 'hot'.
Having made a tea and then bringing it back to the boil (especially after adding milk/etc) may destroy some of the desirable qualities previously imbued.
|Watery||Tea is a drink that often involves water, but this perhaps suggests over dilution or under infusion in some way.|
|Sour||Many people do not enjoy a sour taste, which can accompany rot and is a strange thing to specify when ordering Earl Grey tea. Although lemon juice is often an additive used in the same way (but as a complete alternative) to milk.|
|Meaty||Most teas are plant-based.|
|Solid||Tea is usually drunk as a liquid. It would be strange to ask for solid tea.|
|Dry|| Tea is a liquid typically made with water and may have milk. A dry version might be either unmade (e.g. tea leaves in their un-infused form) or freeze-dried back into a dehydrated form.
("Dry" can also be used to describe astringent varities of wine or enforced alcohol-free scenarios. For either option, it assumes a default serving with an alcoholic component, or an entirely alternate basis for the beverage, which the request needs to be specify it is not.) This is one of the five words Picard is thinking about in the first drawing.
|Raw||This describes tea that has not been "cooked", so it would just be tea made with room-temperature water. This is possible but generally takes many hours.|
|Deep-fried||Tea is not usually deep-fried. But you'll probably find someone who has tried it, one way or another.|
|Sticky|| Perhaps significantly dehydrated, or thickened with enough of a hydrophilic substance, this would produce something very unlike most teas that would usually be requested.
This scenario is illustrated to show a clearly messy product that awkwardly sticks to and drips from the replicator as well as Picard.
|Grilled||Tea is not usually grilled.|
|Fossilized||Since tea is a liquid, it would be tricky to figure out how to fossilize it.|
|Magnetic||Tea is not magnetic. Magnetic metals would have to be added to the tea, which would not be pleasant to drink.|
|Ballistic||Usually, the replicated beverage is deposited in a stationary cup, but Picard could ask for it to be dropped or thrown out instead.|
|Unstable||This word is often used to refer to radioactive or explosive materials, which hopefully is not a property that would apply to something meant to be ingested. Alternatively, this could imply that the receptacle into which the tea is delivered should be unstable - being unbalanced, or lacking a flat bottom. This is likely to lead to the tea being spilled.|
|Blessed|| Tea is a beverage, and it may be strange to ask a machine to create 'blessed' tea.
In role-playing games, items can be Blessed, i.e. having greater positive or lesser negative effects. This includes potions, a class of drinks that do not usually include any teas but could contain the "potion of water", which may therefore be the basis of this blessed brew.
|Blurry||Being blurry is not a normal state for tea to have.|
|Loud|| While molecules in tea (especially hot tea, and vitally so in an Infinite Improbability Drive) do move vigorously, this does not usually result in distinct audible effects.
However, as illustrated, it seems the requested cup of tea is produced capable of emitting a high-pitched, high-volume whining sound that entirely dominates the vicinity. It actually appears to somewhat vocalise what it is, Teeeee...
|Virtual||Virtual tea cannot be produced physically, so asking a physical tea machine for it would be very strange.|
|Intravenous||This means the tea would be injected directly into the customer's veins, likely a very painful experience if the tea comes out boiling. Instrument of choice would probably be a tea infuser.|
|Expanding|| In a sense, most hot tea is expanding: as the water in the tea evaporates, it becomes much less dense, increasing in "size".
But most people would probably argue that the evaporated water is no longer part of the tea. Water, like most materials, usually expands as it increases in temperature—except between freezing and about 4° C, where it has the unusual property of contracting slightly as temperature increases. If tea behaves similarly despite the extra dissolved compounds, then "expanding tea" would describe any tea between 4° C and boiling point. Possibly beyond, and explosively so, if superheated and then nucleating points are introduced.
|Ironic||How tea could be ironic is a mystery.|
|Segmented||Tea is usually served in a cup. It tends to stick together and form one liquid. Separating the tea into segments would not be possible.|
|Verbose||This describes using lots of words and language, and would not likely be used for tea, because it cannot speak. Command-line computer programs often run in a 'silent' mode without displaying every step of what happens on the screen. Such programs may have a -verbose parameter that disables the silent mode. As the replicator is run by a computer, the verbose parameter could be applied to the process of tea-making, with the replocator providing an info-dump on the molecular arrangement of the tea, together with the cup of liquid.|
|Cursed||As with "Blessed", above, items can be Cursed in role-playing games, i.e. having greater negative or lesser positive effects; while there are strategic uses for Cursed items, generally the player would prefer uncursed ones (neutral or blessed). Amongst the curseable items are potions, a class of consumables that do not usually include any teas but does contain the "potion of water", which may therefore be the cause of this cursed cuppa.|
|Unexpected||By definition, Picard is asking for tea, expecting it promptly. Perhaps the request for it to be "unexpected" would cause it to be delivered at an unknown time in the future, or to have some alteration.|
|Bipedal||Tea does not walk. This would be a very strange term to use when describing tea.|
|Afraid||Tea does not have feelings. Although water may consider some things to be unpleasant.|
|Infinite|| The scope of this request is unclear. It could mean endless production (a steady stream of tea, without obvious limits so long as servicing the request remains practical) or an instantaneous production of an infinite volume of tea (possibly more immediately shown to be flawed in its method of execution). Either could result in an infinitely dense tea (eventually?), but this may no longer be identifiable as tea so might be one of the less practical options, even amongst those on this list.
Indeed, Randall ranks it as the least 'normal', except for just one further named order.
|Tea for him, too|| Earl Grey is a tea blend.
Taken along with the title text, this Replicator order is for "Tea" (not otherwise qualified), a replicated version of the Earl Grey (one or other of those of that name, possibly the 2nd Earl for whom the tea blend was supposedly named) and a second such beverage for him to later drink. See more in the explanation above regarding the title text
|Words Picard thinks about in the first drawing, but which where not included as labels on the line|
|Cold||Like Iced tea, asking for cold tea is a relatively normal request.|
|Pink||Earl grey is usually an orange-brown color, not pink.|
- [At the top of the panel there is a large caption covering two lines with a subcaption below in a normal sized font:]
- Other words Captain Picard tried at the end of his tea order before settling on "hot"
- From most normal to least
- [Bellow this we see Picard, drawn bald except for a bit of hair near his ears and behind his head. He stands next to a machine, that is a standing rectangle of the same dimensions as Picard. In the front there is an opening around the middle, a dispenser from where the ordered items can be retrieved. There is a label at the top of the machine. Picard is giving a command to the machine. His first three words are clearly spoken out as they stand, but then at the end of the sentence, in stead of just adding one more word, there is a list of five words in a column between two gray lines. Five words are visible, but the top and bottom words are fading out, presumably other words are above and below, but no longer visible. All except the middle are gray. The middle word is placed as the direct follow up to the first three words in the sentence Picard speaks out, and this word is black like the previous three words. So this middle word is clearly the one he actually speaks out. The others where options, presumably on his mind.]
- Label: Replicator
Good. Cold. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. Dry. Pink.
- [To the left of the machine a long arrow begins snaking it's way to wards the bottom, where it ends in an arrow pointing down towards the bottom of the panel. At the top there is a broad and thick bar from which it start. Beneath this there are several ticks, the first three are close together and on a part of the arrow that goes almost straight down. But then the arrow curves in under the drawing of Picard, and goes over another drawing of him, placed in a captioned frame. The arrow goes around this and up on the other side, where it goes around another drawing of Picard in a similarly captioned frame. After having gone around this frame it goes a bit up before turning almost straight down before the final arrow head that points down. In total there are 36 labeled ticks on the arrow, see labels below. The ticks have very varying distance between them. There are especially long between them around the first panels with Picard, but closer together at the start and towards the very end. Above the top bar from where the arrow starts there is also a label and just below this and to the left of the long arrow is a smaller arrow pointing down in the direction of the long arrow. This small arrow has a label at its starting point.]
- Bar label: Normal
- Small arrow label: Less normal
- [The second drawing of Picard, shows him standing next to the labeled machine. Picard is this time holding a cup, with sticky lines connecting his hands and the machine to the cup. He clearly looks down at the cup rather than on the machine, as the hair behind his ear is turned differently than the first drawing, where he looks straight towards the machine. Above is a label inside a frame overlaid on the top line of the panel, with what Picard ordered:]
- "Tea. Earl Grey. Sticky."
- Label: Replicator
- [The third drawing of Picard, only displays him and not the machine. He is holding a vibrating cup in both hands, and has now turned the other way, away from where the machine was in the previous drawings (again clearly seen by his hair). Very large letters are displayed in three lines behind him to the exclusion of all else. Four of the 15 letters are partly hidden behind the panels frame, and seven of them are partly covered by Picard. Above is a label inside a frame overlaid on the top line of the panel, with what Picard ordered:]
- "Tea. Earl Grey. Loud."
- Teacup: Teeeeeeeeeeeeee
- [Words on the arrow from start to finish:]
- Tea for him, too
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