I just did a rewatch today of WNMHGB, something that I haven't done in years. It was good to shake loose all the thoughts I had about the episode years ago.
Here's some dialog pertinent to the discussion [from http://www.chakoteya.net/StarTrek/2.htm
] interspersed with some of CorporalCaptain
Captain's log, Star date 1312.4. The impossible has happened. From directly ahead, we're picking up a recorded distress signal, the call letters of a vessel which has been missing for over two centuries. Did another Earth ship once probe out of the galaxy as we intend to do? What happened to it out there? Is this some warning they've left behind? CC
: The Enterprise
crew don't know what the Valiant
is doing out this far. I submit that the Valiant
's original mission did not necessarily involve probing outside the galaxy; more below. Something happened to the Valiant
on her mission—whatever that was—and she was never heard from again, until now; more below on that, too.
MITCHELL: Yore relieved, Mister Alden.
ALDEN: Acknowledged, Mister Mitchell.
KIRK: Screen on.
KELSO: Screen on, sir. Approaching galaxy edge, sir.
KIRK: Neutralise warp, Mister Mitchell. Hold this position.
MITCHELL: Neutralise warp, sir.
: At this moment, given the pacing, we can be sure that the Enterprise
is at most only minutes from the edge of the galaxy, at her previous warp speed.
KIRK: Address intercraft. CC
MITCHELL: Intercraft open.
KIRK: This is the Captain speaking. The object we encountered is a ship's disaster recorder, apparently ejected from the S.S. Valiant two hundred years ago.
: Of course, this would mean that the Valiant
left on her mission even earlier. This was also established in the first captain's log of the episode.
SPOCK: The tapes are burnt out. Trying the memory banks. CC
KIRK: We hope to learn from the recorder what the Valiant was doing here and what destroyed the vessel. We'll move out into our probe as soon as we have those answers. All decks, stand by.
: Again, they have no idea what the Valiant
was doing out this far.
MITCHELL: Department heads, sir. You wanted everybody on the Bridge before we left the galaxy. Jones. CC
: More confirmation, delivered economically, that we are not only about to witness the Enterprise
heading for the galaxy edge but also about to witness her actually leaving the galaxy.
SMITH: The name's Smith, sir. CC: Ah, so this is [probably] why the Valiant went missing and how she got out this far.
SPOCK: Decoding memory banks. I'll try to interpolate. The Valiant had encountered a magnetic space storm and was being swept in this direction.
I'm willing to assume that the magnetic space storm swept the Valiant
at superluminal speeds.
KIRK: The old impulse engines weren't strong enough. CC
SPOCK: Swept past this point, about a half light year out of the galaxy, they were thrown clear, turned, and headed back into the galaxy here.
: Yep, the Enterprise
is at the edge of the galaxy right now.
was forced out of the galaxy by the magnetic space storm. Further, there is no direct evidence in this episode supporting the idea of the Valiant
being sent on a mission to probe outside the galaxy. There is only direct evidence of the Valiant being sent off on a mission that she could complete at sublight speeds.
I'm not getting it all. The tapes are pretty badly burned. Sounds like the ship had encountered some unknown force. Now, orders, counter orders, repeated urgent requests for information from the ship's computer records for anything concerning ESP in human beings. CC
PIPER: The only fact we have for sure is that the S.S. Valiant was destroyed.
KIRK: That's probably the best argument to continue the probe. Other vessels will be heading out here someday and they'll have to know what they'll be facing. We're leaving the galaxy, Mister Mitchell. Ahead, warp factor one.
: And now the Enterprise
actually leaves the galaxy.
SPOCK: Force field of some kind. CC
MITCHELL: We're coming up on it fast.
SPOCK: Sensor beam on.
KELSO: Sensor beam on, sir.
SPOCK: Deflectors full intensity.
KELSO: Deflectors full intensity.
SPOCK: Deflectors say there's something there, sensors say there isn't. Density negative. Radiation negative. Energy negative.
KELSO: Whatever it is, contact in twelve seconds.
: Nothing really on point about the discussion there, but these are just some really cool lines from Shouting Spock.
MITCHELL: My love has wings. Slender, feathered things with grace in upswept curve and tapered tip. The Nightingale Woman, written by Phineas Tarbolde on the Canopius planet back in 1996. It's funny you picked that one, Doctor.
: Yeah, so it's supposed to be Canopus Planet
, first of all, and second of all, Canopus, Alpha Carinae, is 310 ± 20 light years from Earth [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canopus
]. So what's going on here? Is this more of the ancient-times-fuzzy-date-mythology trope, if the poem was originally written in English? Or, is this a poem translated into English, acquired into human knowledge after the Federation was formed? A puzzle! Though, I always assumed the former, and a human poet, writing in English