Previous: STbtM 004
How exactly does a shuttle get this damaged in a pristine hanger bay
As the former captain boards the dark, evil ship, back on the Kelvin we see that the bridge has got a medical reading on "Robau, R. CAPT[LV01c]". That's a pretty good capability for a ship in pieces and on fire 60 seconds earlier!
With sensors this good, wouldn't we rather check out the other ship, its occupants, or something that might, um, you know save us all from… what is it that's on the tip of my tongue - uh, it's what they call that thing that we don't like… wait a sec..Oh, now I remember! "Hideous slaughter". Might it have been nice if an officer had spoken up with something like: "Any orders to improve our chance of survival, Captain?" Seriously, even if our new skipper is emotionally unable to develop the confidence for a single good idea of his own, does following Robau's direct order to prepare for evacuation take a Vulcanian leap of logic?
Our new leader, Captain George Kirk chooses instead to invest the precious seconds of his bridge crew's time staring at Robau's medical status. OK, dramatically staring, although epileptic catatonia from all the lights appears possible…at least he doesn't start talking about God as Robau had. Nevertheless, the useless information that Robau has an "elevated" heart rate takes top priority for Kirk, apparently judging something to help save everyone's lives as less urgent - wow.
Meanwhile, Robau is escorted by guards to a platform where he is asked about a strange looking ship. OK the holographic interface that lets his interrogator throw the ship icon in front of him is pretty sweet. The next version of a Wii attachment? The projected icon looks like another "homage" to the recording of the princess that R2D2 played.
Commanders and envoys need "situational awareness", and Robau is no exception. Unfortunately, he misunderstands whether he is Grand Inquisitor for the Pope, or helpless prisoner who needs sharp wits and carefully chosen actions in a deadly situation with a powerful opponent. He also seems to have forgotten his goal is to negotiate the survival of hundreds of lives now resting on his deportment and every word. Tactically, he has a chance to survive: his captors just revealed that killing him is not their top priority - they want something else. We know it has somthing to do with the ship he is being shown. He should use this to his advantage and offer assistance in locating this ship with Federation resources, stall for time, and gather more information. His choice? Ignore his situation, his goals, the politely offered question, and incredibly, he asks: "Who is your commander? Is it him?" While not abusive in tone, he has no good reason to believe his interrogator is not the commander nor any reason to ask such a question. By doing so he might reasonably be perceived as undermining the authority of his host and insulting him at the same time. Clearly Robau was not given captaincy based on diplomatic skill. Perhaps being heir to the fortune made by his grandfather in the Mabellineum mines of Risa played a role?
We learn "Nero" is the ship captain, as Robau loses another opportunity to save everyone, and in an incredibly stupid way: by trying to question his captor's judgment - he orders his interrogator: "Ask Captain Nero: what gives him the right to attack a Federation vessel?" They now ignore his question, and apparently having forgotten to take today's methylphenidate, the interrogator also forgets about his own unanswered question regarding the mystery ship. There seems to be a lot of that ignoring – but as badly as the dialogue has gone so far, back and forth non-sequiturs almost feel like an improvement.
The interrogator, we later learn is a Romulan, now tosses a holographic icon of Spock's head and asks Robau whether he knows the "location of Ambassador Spock".