STbtM 045: Shields Up!
Previous: STbtM 044: Kirk's Sound Logic
Spock continues: "…and Lt. Uhura is unmatched in xenolinguistics; We would be wise to accept her conclusion." Bzzzt! Oh, I'm sorry, that knocks the pointy-eared Vulcanian out of our bonus round, but thanks for playing "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grade Pakled?" We have a nice parting gift basket for you backstage including WFF 'n Proof's party pack and tofu kebabs. Why is Spock sulking out behind the back curtain? Uhura's report only makes two statements: (1) She translated the message (confirming its existence) and (2) that its content was accurately reflected in Kirk's summary. Neither of these is any kind of conclusion because conclusions are logical consequences arising from the truth of some set of propositions. All bachelors are unmarried, and Bill is a bachelor. These propositions, if true, lead to the conclusion Bill is a bachelor. Spock the super-genius from a logic culture is unable to understand what constitutes a logical conclusion? Ridiculous!
Pike orders: "Scan Vulcan space, check for any transmissions in Romulan." The male com officer replies, "Sir, I'm not sure I can distinguish the Romulan language from Vulcan." Pike approaches Uhura and asks, "What about you, can you speak Romulan, er, cadet?" Hold on, is she a lieutenant or not, did she just get demoted from officer rank in 2 seconds? Pike and Spock need to get on the same page here, and figure out who the hell is actually on the bridge and their rank.
"Uhura. All three dialects sir." "Uhura, relieve the Lieutenant." "Yes sir." Perhaps Uhura's demotion was based on not wanting to use the Lt. rank too many times, but that's a pretty lame excuse. Pike raises his voice and orders, "Hannity, raise the USS Truman." A gorgeous female crewmember responds with "All the other ships have dropped out of warp sir and have arrived at Vulcan, but we seem to have lost all contact." Pike looks thoughtfully at nothing as Uhura reports: "Sir, I pick up no Romulan transmission, or transmission of any kind in the area."
Kirk pipes in with "It's because they're being attacked." Pike decisively walks to the Captain's Chair and orders "Shields up – Red alert!" Again I am probably not up to speed on the technology and mission rules, but wouldn't we be running with shields automatically in an emergency? I would certainly already have the ship on yellow alert to put them at their duty stations and in TNG, yellow alert included raising shields, while in WoK energizing "defense fields" was performed.
We see a flurry of Bridge activity and Sulu announces "Arrival at Vulcan in 5 seconds…4…3…2…" and in classic camera prompt style, omits the directorial "1…Go!" verbal command, which keeps it the director instructions off the audio track. It really is getting boring but once again, if I try to identify with these characters and put myself in Pike's position – I am convinced that a large enemy vessel has laid a trap and is launching a surprise attack against my fleet with powerful and advanced weaponry against which I have no known countermeasures, would I choose to drop my ship and crew out of warp into the exact location where the enemy has his cross hairs? How about altering course to a couple of AU's (or ly's) out and scanning? Not our witless heroes, they seem to have forgotten (again) about protecting themselves 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"! I suppose it is true that intelligent behavior by characters reduces the action, if "action" is a proper word for massive violence and killing. Pike seems to have a big ADD problem taking his ship that was ostensibly prepared for a rescue mission right into the trap laid by an enemy that recently tore apart a massive Klingon battle fleet without breaking a sweat. Why does Pike even bother ordering shields?
The main viewer on the Bridge explodes with a maelstrom of light zooming into a vast, exploding debris field, and Captain Pike orders "Emergency evasive!" with huge chunks of burning starship careening toward the Enterprise from every direction. Well DUH! What do you expect? Everyone on the Bridge starts talking at once except for Kirk, and as the film cuts to the external shot, we see more of the fantastic visual effects. Unfortunately, we see some relatively small pieces simply float unimpeded into the hull of the Enterprise – which has to make us wonder: what good are shields if they can't even stop a small piece of debris from hitting the ship? To make matters worse, right after this collision, somebody on the Bridge reports that "Deflector shields are holding!" which is yet again completely ridiculous.
In an exceptional segment, out of 6 speaking parts, 2 females have lines.