View Single Post
Old July 2 2013, 08:37 PM   #100
Re: Has anyone else noticed the major plot flaw in TWOK?

It seems pretty obvious that when a starship plots a course to a planet, the procedure would likely include determining where in its orbit the planet is going to be at a given time so they can intercept.
Actually, I find that rather implausible.

Starships are powerful machines - so powerful in fact that they render most of today's concepts of spaceflight irrelevant. I don't really see a starship helmsman bothering to calculate the exact coordinates needed for a planetary rendezvous beforehand, as he or she can do the necessary corrections in a matter of seconds after arrival anyway. A "conventional" spacecraft would be wasting fuel and time unless aiming very precisely; for a starship, wasting of fuel is something that only takes place at massively greater distances and speed differentials. If Sulu actually calculated the most energy-efficient way to enter the orbit of Boring XII, Kirk would chide him for being a showoff and for wasting valuable Starfleet time!

Celestial mechanics is something only losers need bother with. A true starship flies against celestial mechanics and benefits enormously from that.

Really, given the known capabilities of starships, I could very well see the proper procedure of entering a star system as being more like this:

- Skipper calls "Helm, reduce speed" at a more or less random moment, as precision is unnecessary
- Helm says "Aye, Sir!" and quite independently points the bow towards the local sight he expects the skipper wants to go to next
- Skipper asks for habitable planets; Science Officer scans for such, completely ignoring all those planets that fail the most cursory initial scan, and reports the identity of the one planet found, her fingers hovering over the buttons she needs to establish what she knows the skipper is gonna ask next
- Skipper says "Standard orbit around that one, Helm", and Helm complies
- Skipper asks "Where's the city we needed to visit?" and the SO tells him
- Skipper says "You're with me, let's beam down"
- Science Officer leaves her instruments and makes a mental note to do a more detailed scan of the planet when and if she has time

They're there to visit the city, not to map the local cloud forests or listen to possible secret Romulan communications or establish whether the local star is about to blow. They visit, and then they leave. Star systems really are a dime in a dozen, and if Starfleet wants to know more, they can always send the ship back.

Timo Saloniemi
Timo is offline   Reply With Quote