Thursday, January 7, 2010

Star Trek by the Minute 069: Angry Future Romulan

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This segment opens on the bridge of the Enterprise with Spock asking Uhura "Have you confirmed that Nero is headed for Earth?"

She responds: "Their trajectory suggests no other destination, Captain."

"Thank you, lieutenant." he deadpans, pacing the bridge. Kirk, sitting in the captain's chair announces: "Earth may be his next stop, but we have to assume every Federation planet's a target." Completely wrong, there is no reason to make such an assumption other than as a precautionary measure for defense, but the uncertainty involved in the assumption should not be ignored as Kirk's statement indicates - making it unwise if not unreasonably dangerous, although this would be in character. Why "unreasonably dangerous"? There is almost no information available on Nero's motivations or goals, so guesses about his planned actions to achieve these unknown goals is silly, and in the real world this kind of guesswork leads to disaster.

In contrast to this Star Trek film, in the movie Apollo 13, Gene Krantz' character gave one of the most intelligent and important directives to the mission support staff in the middle of a crisis which had a high degree of uncertainty. As flight director, he stressed the need for careful certainty about actions to be taken because mistakes could kill. He said: "Let's not make the situation worse by guessing." In decision making situations where scarce resources like time, equipment, or in this case: defense capabilities, this rule is one of the most important to follow. Kirk's approach is a virtual guarantee of failure, but as the hero in Abrams' universe, colossal stupidity is no handicap.

"Out of the chair" orders Spock. Chekov picks up the ball from Kirk's speculation to carry it even further introducing even greater likelihood of going in the wrong direction by adding "Well if the federation is a target, why didn't they destroy us?"

"Why would they? Why waste the weapons, we're obviously not a threat," Sulu adds.

"That is not it" says Spock, continuing his pacing, "He said that he wanted me to see something, the destruction of my home planet."

McCoy, who has been standing behind Kirk looking pensive asks "How in the hell did they do that by the way, and where do the Romulans get that kind of weaponry?"

"The engineering comprehension necessary to artificially create a black hole may suggest an answer. Such technology could theoretically be manipulated to create a tunnel through space time."

"Dammit man, I'm a doctor, not a physicist. Are you actually suggesting they're from the future?"

"If you eliminate the impossible whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

"How poetic!"

Kirk's asks "Then what would an angry future Romulan want with Captain Pike?"

Sulu: "As Captain, he does know details of Starfleet's defenses."

Apropos of nothing, Kirk blurts out "What we need to do is catch up to that ship, disable it, take it over, and get Pike back."

Spock: "We are technically outmatched in every way, a rescue attempt would be illogical."

Of the six speaking roles in this segment the only female to speak, Uhura, utters one line of seven words.

Their existence in an alternate timeline is realized in our next episode: Star Trek by the Minute 070: Alternate Reality

8 comments:

muser said...

Uhura is suddenly a lieutenant again and not a cadet. She hasn't graduated from the Academy, but she's a lieutenant? Even if she has some kind of temporary rank, why isn't she an ensign?

BurntSynapse said...

Yeah, good point.

R. Anthony Steele said...

She's having it off with the Captain, of course. We established this a few minutes ago!

-RAnthony

BurntSynapse said...

While I can't say I never socialized with any of my students, at least I never promoted any to officer rank!

The Wizard said...

Why does spock quote Sherlock Holmes?
Yes, it does fit into the storyline and conversation, but would he really waste time reading a book about logic? 'Cause they don't have that on Vulcan!

BurntSynapse said...

Hi Wiz,

I think the writers' saw a couple of Next Generation episodes, probably "Lonely Among Us", where Data used that line, so the line fits only slightly better than "I'm suggesting that colorless green ideas sleep furiously."

Abrams & Co may be able to save lots of time and trouble in the future by heroic annihilation of logic, honorable military standards of conduct, and any serious scientific approaches to the material.

MOCK! said...

Spock says "If you eliminate the impossible whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

He also says something similar in The Undiscovered Country.

Haaris Qureshi said...

It would seem to be that 'Cadet' is a status, less than a rank. You are a cadet if you are studying at the academy, but you can still be promoted. Uhura is a lieutenant in Starfleet; but also a cadet at the academy studying whatever it was she was. According to Memory Alpha, Kirk was also already a lieutenant (making his promotions less unbelievable).

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