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Old July 21 2013, 04:43 AM   #387
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Except that, without actually sitting down and doing the math...
Then sit down and do the math. Of the 726 broadcast episodes of Star Trek, exactly how many of those involved Starfleet vessels being pulled away from scientific/exploration duties for military, natural disaster, police action or other emergency?

By my count, only 9 out of 29 episodes had the ship engaged in pure exploration. The rest of the time they were responding to distress signals, checking on remote colonies, investigating lost colonists and ships, dealing with diplomatic and/or military crises, transporting VIPs from place to place, assisting endangered mining operations, and so on.
Which is weird, because "checking on remote colonies, investigating lost colonies and ships, dealing with diplomatic crisis" also falls under the category of "exploration."

By MY count: 17 episodes showed the Enterprise on scientific/exploration missions, 3 depicted events independent of whatever the ship's overall mission actually was, and 10 depicted emergency/other missions. Of the "other" missions, four of them actually BEGAN as routine scientific expeditions (Galileo Seven, the Alternative Factor, Court Martial, Operation Annihilate) and one (Devil in the Dark) began as an emergency mission that later transformed into a scientific/exploration one when what began as a defensive action mutated into a first-contact scenario. Four of those emergencies (Balance of Terror, Arena, Errand of Mercy and again The Alternative Factor) were explicitly military emergencies, and of those three, only Balance of Terror wound up being resolved through combat action, while the others were resolved by relatively peaceful alien intervention.

The distribution of exploration to emergency missions holds pretty steady throughout Trek history, just at a glance. DS9 is the singular outlier in this only because it shows us a time when the Federation -- really, the entire alpha quadrant -- was being invaded by a stupefyingly prolific menace in the form of the Dominion. And yet, even in the seasons PRIOR to the outbreak of the Dominion War, the balance also holds true for DS9: roughly one emergency mission for every three exploration/scientific ones.

In other words, the "default" to exploration can be seen in only about one-third of the episodes . . . .
It's actually closer to two thirds, which falls to just over half if a series of peaceful missions suddenly devolve into emergencies (as happened five different times in TOS season 3). Another interesting case study is Star Trek Enterprise: 10 out of 26 episodes involve the Enterprise -- which is explicitly a non-military vessel being deeply involved in purely military incidents. Here, too, we're DIRECTLY TOLD that their default mission is exploration, and even Archer later comments to Captain Hernandez "You're going to spend a lot of time boldly going into combat."
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