Friday, January 8, 2010

Star Trek by the Minute 070: Alternate Reality

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Chekov adds: "Nero's ship would have to drop out of warp just for us to overtake him."

Kirk continues: "Then what about assigning engineering crews to try and boost our warp yield?" That is a foolish suggestion. The ship has holes blasted in its hull, casualties in sick bay, and is dealing with the surviving Vulcans the Enterprise was able to rescue in addition to the Elder Council, there are probably refugees in shuttles and stations nearby which escaped the singularity's gravity well in time and are in immediate peril, and the Enterprise undoubtedly has a variety of damage to its operational systems. The idea that the Enterprise could set a speed record and then engage the Narada successfully shows a substantial disconnect from what is supposed to be "reality" for the characters.

Spock answers, "Remaining power and crew are being used to repair radiation leaks in the lower decks..."

Here, we revisit a topic which came up earlier regarding the importance of good cockpit communications and their criticality during an emergency. This is something on which airline captains receive training today, and almost every emergency, first aid, rescue, or medical training class includes the importance of staying calm, because panic is a killer. Now, Kirk begins repeated interruptions of his captain without any believable pretext and honestly: without any content to what he is saying.

Kirk interrupts: "OK!"

Spock: "...and damage to subspace..."

Kirk: "Allright!"

Spock: "....communications without which..."

Kirk interrupts yet again and begins talking over Spock in a panicked voice to insist: "There's got to be some way!" without even listening to his skipper's explanation that "...we cannot contact..." and finally Kirk shuts up for Spock to finish his sentence: "...Starfleet." Again, Kirk has shown himself unfit for bridge duty on a tug, much less command of a starship. At last, Spock is able to finish explaining his orders: "We must gather with the rest of Starfleet to balance the terms of the next engagement."

 Kirk, raising his voice even more now insists: "There won't be a next engagement! By the time we've 'gathered', it'll be too late!" That is quite an assertion, given his level of ignorance when ten seconds ago, he was indicating he had no clue what Nero wanted with Pike or the Earth. Kirk continues: "But you say he is from the future - that he knows what's going to happen? Then the logical thing to do is to be unpredictable."

Spock, maintaining a very reasonable viewpoint, replies patiently and intelligently: "You are assuming Nero knows how events are predicted to unfold. On the contrary, Nero's very presence here has altered the flow of history, beginning with the attack on the USS Kelvin, culminating in the events of today thereby creating an entire new chain of incidents that cannot be anticipated by either party."

"An alternate reality," Uhura summarizes well.

"Precisely," observes Spock, "whatever our lives might have been, if the time continuum was disrupted our destinies have changed. Mr. Sulu plot a course for the Laurentian system, warp factor 3."

Kirk now starts actually yelling at his commanding officer: "Spock, don't do that. Running back to the fleet for a 'confab' is a massive waste of time!" Kirk, shows no reasoning, no evidence, no justification, and no believable suggestion of any better plan of action. These profound defects stand on their own, aside from the fact that Spock's recommendation (or orders) to take the time to develop a plan that can succeed while gathering the resources they are likely to need is the BEST use of their time possible, once emergency repairs and the safety of crew and passengers aboard are reasonably secure.

In all this dialogue, Uhura, as the only female who speaks (once) has a total of eight syllables.

After almost 60 uninterrupted seconds of behaving halfway reasonably, Spock finally falls off the logic wagon in our next segment, Star Trek by the Minute 071: Marooned


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