Friday, June 12, 2009

Star Trek by the Minute 008 - Delivering Shuttles


As this segment begins, Kirk is on communications to his partner's medical shuttle with: "Captain to Shuttle 37. Is my wife onboard?" Well, we know they are paired because the camera has been following them, (and now we know they are also married), but how much of this is known by random crew hanging out in the lower decks struggling to keep from getting burned alive and blown out of hull breaches? Did someone inform everyone aboard that this helmsman is promoted to skipper? Does everyone aboard know his name and family status? I suppose if the Kelvin's crew complement were about 100 and they had been together for some time, this is perhaps plausible. Why? Through our evolutionary past, we humans have a conceptual capacity to handle about 100 individuals and the resulting 5000 or so possible relationships. If you'd like to see the math behind this, watch this PowerPoint presentation about communications management. As a typical guy, it seems plausible Kirk could have had trouble remembering her name – you know how often we forget to do the little things…

The guy answering for the shuttle responds "Yes sir, she is." Kirk orders the shuttle: "Take off immediately. That's an order." At this point, it appears Kirk has decided to kill himself when he tells his wife: "Sweetheart, listen to me, I'm not going to be there." Assuring her against all evidence, "This is the only way you'll survive." Mrs. Kirk enlightens him with what can only be chalked up to drug-induced non sequitur that "But you're still on the ship - you have to be here."
Apparently the writers decided to give up any pretense of a story driven by characters, and just had Kirk announce: "The shuttles will never make it if I'm not here to fight them off." OK, this is absolutely ridiculous in more ways than there is time to detail, but in brief:
  1. The Kelvin is a non-salvageable wreck incapable of life-support, much less fighting.
  2. Even if the ship miraculously fixed itself while everyone evacuated, there is insufficient crew for combat operations.
  3. Given miraculous repairs and miraculous crew replacement, the weaponry of the Kelvin is useless against their enemy, as one would expect dealing with a hostile from more than a century in the future.
  4. The situation is not one where "fight them off" is anywhere near a possibility.
  5. In a best case scenario, the Kelvin could only hope to present an obstacle to the Romulans equal to that presented by a tiny, slow-moving asteroid.
  6. Whether the shuttles "make it" does not depend on Kirk's presence, in any scenario…even assuming a series of magical interventions.
None of these impossibilities matter as we now have Mrs. Kirk screaming in delivery and we see an internal view of, if you can believe this: shuttles traveling down the "launch canal"! This was arguably one of the funniest sight gags I've seen in film in quite a while. Someone in the editing room pulled off a hilarious move here…reminiscent of Fellini's railway romance love scene fading to a view of the firm and throbbing locomotive thrusting powerfully into the subterranean tunnel. The shuttle humor is completely inappropriate for what is supposed to be going on with what we will call here "the story" but one has to laugh.
The juxtaposition and interplay of awe-inspiring genius with style, appearance, and presentation in this film against hideously incompetent ignorance and apathy is fascinating… A beautiful calamity…
Hey wait! Notice that Mrs. Kirk evacuated without her shoes? Apparently, one of these was that port key boot on the hill – and look who arrives: its the graduating class of Hogwarts wearing invisibility cloaks! They are staffing all combat stations! Mrs Weasley has knitted a new warp drive with a tweed wheel upon which Scabbers is running furiously – and dozens of phasers come online. Neville (still cloaked) operates the sensors as Kirk takes tactical "alone", picking off torpedoes that have been conveniently slowed to sub-warp by Hermione's work aboard the Romulan ship, where Robau's eyeliner pencil was discovered to be another port key. The dementors she brought despair the evil Romulan captain and crew beyond even the will to monologue…as we see in our next exciting, wacky episode: "Star Trek by the Minute 009: Family Chat of Destruction"!

4 comments:

crone51 said...

Hilarious and informative! I am making very small batches of popcorn to eat whilst reading these splendid posts. Yum.

Anonymous said...

great reading - fun -

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

"Well, we know they are paired because the camera has been following them, (and now we know they are also married), but how much of this is known by random crew"

A husband and wife serving together on the same ship would probably be unusual, as would someone being pregnant. Plus he's the first officer. I expect the vast majority of the crew, right down to the janitor assigned to the waste recycling areas, would know about it. They would also know the captain's voice and the first officer's voice, and notice when the first officer calls himself the captain.

I also would assume that the first officer - responsible for things such as assigning evacuation shuttle pilots and which people go on which shuttles during an evacuation - would make sure that the pilot of his pregnant wife's shuttle knows who his wife is.

John C. 'Buck' Field said...

Hi Jake,

OK, I'm definitely surrendering on that one: the crew's apparently deep in space requiring a long time to get to know each other.

There's actually many ways the crew could know of the transfer of command, much like EDI's debarkation announcements when visiting the Citadel in Mass Effect.

Good catch!