Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Star Trek by the Minute 111: Gravity Well

Under the negligent, incompetent, and genocidal command of its acting captain, the Enterprise has exhausted its phaser power and wasted all torpedoes in its inventory on a senseless attack against the doomed Narada and as we see above, the ship now holds station next to the accreting singularity – apparently to enjoy the final annihilation of the enemy crew.  The colossal black hole nuSpock created a few seconds warp from Earth, which is certain to destroy everything in the area apparently is of no concern to “Acting Captain” James T. Kirk.  He, his entire bridge crew, and even his science officer make no mention that they are going to die if they don’t leave immediately.  Since this was reported with great urgency when the threat came from a much smaller singularity, and since this danger is apparently much closer, one would expect someone to turn off the damn nitrous oxide to the Bridge ventilation and get them the hell out of there…  Nope.  Precious seconds just tick by, in the middle of a crisis, with everyone at battle stations and on red alert without a single word suggesting that they prevent themselves from being crushed hideously. 
  
I honestly must say, I couldn’t have imagined this scene...it actually takes the COMPUTER to start flashing an emergency warning in bright red, all capital letters on the main viewer to get the attention of these morons.  Clearly, Orci & Kurtzman have much greater creativity when it comes to writing fictional characters, since I would have tried for created merely “believable” people to inhabit my story, and tried to write so that reacting to their situations in a manner more or less which would suggest...oh, perhaps...something like “competence”?  Finally, at this warning, Kirk orders: “Sulu, let’s go home.”  “Yes sir!” the helm answers.

Here we are shown the ship is so close to the singularity that escape would be all but impossible, but this appears less obvious because this black hole is shown as two dimensional.  “Why aren’t we at warp?” asks Kirk.

“We are, sir” answers Chekov, proving yet again that he has no business on the Bridge.  His response is not only completely unhelpful, but also flat out wrong.  However, it does indicate the kind of mistake one might make if their only exposure to Star Trek was watching the most popular film, Wrath of Khan prior to making this film.  “Warp power” mentioned several times in that film, is the ship's greatest energy source, providing power to the entire ship from the matter-antimatter reactors.  This energy enables the ship to maintain a subspace bubble to envelop the ship for faster than light travel.  Anything above “Warp 1” is considered faster than light speed, which Kirk is asking about: he clearly wants to know why they are not moving away from the singularity at a warp speed.  Chekov’s reply is that of someone who conceives of warp speed as similar to spinning a car’s tires, where the speedometer tells you how fast you should be going if the tires are not spinning in place, which this scene is apparently meant to mirror.  His answer also clearly fails to address Kirk's concern that he, Chekov, and everyone else are about to die.  St. Joe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Waterworld_Joe_Hazelwood.jpg) would be a better navigator.

What about Kirk? Would you really want this guy in command of your ship?  Not me.  “Kirk to Engineering – Get us out of here Scotty.” 

“You bet your ass, Captain!” Scotty shouts from the brewery.  “Captain, we’re caught in the gravity well.  It’s got us.”  “Go to maximum warp, push it!” orders Kirk. 

“I’m giving it all she’s got, Captain.” Scotty yells, as cracks begin to open on the Bridge ceiling.

“All she’s got isn’t good enough, what else have you got?”

“Um…OK…ah, if we eject the core and detonate the blast should be enough to push us away.  I can’t promise anything though.”

“Do it! Do it! Do it!” Kirk yells.

No women speak or appear in this segment, except for split-second images of two cowering in fear.

Another impossible escape is made possible by contradicting prior story elements and suspension of physical laws in our next episode of Star Trek by the Minute 112: Project Orion

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