Wednesday, September 16, 2009

STbtM 044: Kirk’s Sound Logic

Previous: STbtM 043: Borgtapus of Death

There's a bit of a scuffle on the Bridge as Kirk tries to press his case: "Sir, that same anomaly…" to be interrupted by Pike with the meaningless "Kirk!" Spock then chimes in with "Sir, Cadet Kirk is not cleared to be aboard this vessel," sounding actually distraught while at the same time Kirk begins to talk over him with a childish: "Look, I get it and I'd love to do it again with you." When Spock offers to Pike that "I can remove him from the Bridge," Kirk yells "Try it! This cadet is trying to save the Bridge" Huh? "Save the Bridge"? What about the whole ship? Why would anyone trying to make a case for their recommended course of action EVER say something like " the Bridge?" This is a small part of the vessel which cannot survive on its own and is like a strawman fallacy against Kirk's own argument, advocating a different and weaker position than that which he actually advocates. Certainly it could be claimed Kirk is merely using Spock's most recent noun, but I'm not buying that because it makes no sense for someone in his situation to do so. Safety of the ship is the skipper's primary objective – after stuff like the prime directive, direct orders to sacrifice the ship and crew, etc. Kirk, if he has any real concern for being taken seriously, should argue for saving the ship, since this is more natural, a stronger value proposition in itself, and on which anyone trained to sit in the captain's chair (simulator or actual) is focused. I can only conclude that it was considered a kind of artistry and a more lyrical way for the dialogue to flow – but as far as I'm concerned that artistic license should have been suspended after Minute 1 and certainly revoked strongly at least after Minute 26 by any assessor with an even partially functioning moral compass. On the other hand Kirk could just be putting style ahead of content, which is the way he has been portrayed, and for increasing the risk to the ship so that he could mouth off in what he considers more cool, someone should have slapped him.

Spock's "refutation" borders on the insanely illogical as he rhetorically asks the complete non-sequitur: " recommending a full-stop mid-warp during a rescue mission?" Apparently Spock's encyclopedic knowledge that starships can go to warp speed, is not matched by the ability to conclude that they could be designed to stop safely as well. This seems a pretty big memory lapse for the "genius" of Vulcan! Kirk turns to Pike to say "It's not a rescue mission, listen to me, it's an attack." Spock suddenly becomes a bit reasonable and asks "Based on what facts?" There's a full quarter-second of a pause, (you know, to add "drama"), before Kirk replies "That same anomaly, a 'lightning storm in space' that we saw today also occurred on the day of my birth before a Romulan ship attacked the USS Kelvin. You know that sir, I read your dissertation." Pike looks like he's just heard some crazy theory about the Earth rotating and the sun not orbiting it. You know, if anyone I knew spent years working on a dissertation involving an "lightning storm in space" where close friends were murdered and an entire ship was destroyed by aliens, I'd expect them to remember something about it when they received an emergency distress call following a "lightning storm in space". Pike must really have been a mental midget before sniffing the ether that's gotten into Starfleet's environmental systems today. Nevertheless, Kirk (our hero?) is on a roll: "…that ship, which had formidable and advanced weaponry, was never seen or heard from again. The Kelvin attacked a place on the edge of Klingon space and at 2300 hours last night there was an attack." Wait a second, the official story is that the Kelvin didn't attack anything, it was all self defense! (BTW – Don't aggressors always blame their victims and claim noble intentions?)

"Forty-seven Klingon warbirds destroyed by a Romulan sir, and it was reported that the Romulans were in one ship – one massive ship." This is some timeline information we didn't have, constraining the story's events within a tight timeframe. Apparently in one day, the Narada annihilated a Klingon battle group nearly seven times the size of the puny Starfleet rescue group, the subspace transmissions from the battle went all the way to Earth, were translated by the one undergraduate communications cadet (who would just happen to later be assigned to the Enterprise) filed her report and returned to her room which she just happened to share with the one person Kirk needed for his Kobayashi Maru hack (retcon, IMO). She also just happened to arrive in time to interrupt Kirk's last tryst with Gaila and just happened reveal the crucial information to the one person who just happened to be able to recognize it for what it was, since the Captain whose thesis was focused on the previous attack just happened not to notice any of the similarities between the Vulcan disaster and the disaster in his dissertation topic. Kirk, this "one-of-a-kind, special person" then just happened to be smuggled (for no good reason) onto the only starship which just happened to be late for the "ambush". In all this, there was still time for Kirk go to his room, sleep, change clothes, go to the Maru simulation in the morning, change clothes again, find and learn details in Uhura's report on the battle, report to the inquest with the Admirals and all those cadets, debate Spock, get suspended, go to the hanger, convince McCoy to break regs and the code of medical ethics for no good reason, get infected with the Mud Flea parasite, have a severe reaction, take a shuttle ride, change clothes again, get knocked out, revive, debate Spock on the bridge, etc. Also, apparently in less than a regular duty shift, after Spock and colleagues completed Kirk's simulation, analyzed his reprogramming, scheduled the admirals and cadets to confront Kirk later that same day on what they found, briefed the admirals, (who after all, have nothing better to do than investigate a poorly-supported allegation of cheating by a potential member of Starfleet), who then receive the distress call from Vulcan, formulate a response plan in less than 1 sec and with no apparent discussion, they planned staffing for 7 starships by selecting student cadets, got them all onboard and launched. Is no set of sequential coincidence and alternating super-human performance with autistic stoner levels of inattention too far-fetched?

Pike asks Jim: "and you know of this Klingon attack how?" Kirk looks to Uhura who says "Sir, I intercepted and translated the message myself - Kirk's report is accurate." "We are warping into a trap sir, the Romulans are waiting for us, I promise you that."

Spock, who has been staring intently with great, if belated concentration, declares "The cadet's logic is sound." Not really, but one must move ahead what we will herein refer to generously as "the plot".

Of 6 onscreen roles, one female speaks one line.

Next on STbtM 045: Shields Up!


Isaac said...

I Think I'll recommend you something, to make your life easier, seriously, try to write a logical sounding explanation for everything thats the opposite of what you wrote, use your imagination, try to be a Little non-intuitive, thats the way space Works actually you know, the Big Bang Theory is non-intuitive… how do you picture an explosion of something when there is no space to expand to? Or how do you imagine the other dimensions? Just try it thinking something like because you are so smart you can think of another possible solution for everything that seems to make no sense at all and then I hope you understand I was truly trying to be nice somehow.

BurntSynapse said...

Hello Isaac,

In all honesty, I have to admit that I don't have much eagerness to try your experiment, but if you can provide a reason why is would be worthwhile, I would be more likely to seriously consider it.

Any thoughts?

Unknown said...

You wrote: "The Kelvin attacked a place on the edge of Klingon space". From memory (which may be wrong) the line was "The Kelvin attack took place on the edge of Klingon space".

For all the rest of their sins, I believe the production team were innocent of this one...

John C. 'Buck' Field said...

Thanks for the heads up!

Grammatically your version is much better, and this looks likely to be a mis-transcription on my part.

I'll have to check that against my original when I have access to it in a couple of weeks.

John C. 'Buck' Field said...

Check complete.

My transcription is accurate. It appears the actor left out "was" in "The Kelvin was attacked..."

Let me know what you think, but for now, the production team gets a verdict of "guilty".