Brutal Strudel wrote:
In response to Mr. Laser Beam: That raises an interesting question, though: if Vaal and Landru were created by the progenitors of the societies over which they preside, why wouldn't they be protected under the Prime Directive? Starfleet is forbidden to interfere with the development of alien cultures, full stop. I doubt it specifies what stage of development (other than that of spacefaring and warp capable, at which point they will by necessity be made aware of the very crowded galaxy they inhabit and deal with the influences of other spacefaring, warp capable civilizations) or allows the captain to disregard the directive if he finds the course the civilization has followed repugnant to his classically liberal sensibilities. If those civilizations, in the course of their "natural" development, decided upon stasis as their so-called endpoint it is still the result of their natural development.
But development shouldn't have an endpoint. It's an ongoing process as long as a species exists. Why should these people have to be trapped in perpetual slavery and stagnation just because some guy thousands of years ago decided they should? How is that ancient leader any less alien to the people alive today than interlopers from another planet?
The Prime Directive is not supposed to be a rigid, inviolable law that gives people an excuse to avoid thinking or taking responsibility for their choices. As Picard once said, "There can be no justice so long as laws are absolute." It's supposed to be a guideline that promotes responsible decision-making, that gives you pause to question your own motivations and biases before you decide whether intervention is the right option.
Besides, we don't even know who built Vaal. Why assume it was these people's ancestors? That doesn't even make sense. There's no indication that the Servants of Vaal have any kind of advanced technology in their past. There are no ruins, no relics of civilization, no legends of a lost golden age. It's always seemed more likely to me that Vaal was built by aliens, its control imposed on the villagers, perhaps as some sort of experiment.
Avro Arrow wrote:
Wasn't Zahra security? Or am I confusing her with her IDW NuTrek counterpart?
She was a yeoman. Before they beamed down, Kirk told her, "I'll want a complete transcript of everything that happens down there, Yeoman." She was there to take notes.
Strudel, don't feel bad. For decades, most of us assumed the Vaalans were "feeding" their "god" fruits and veggies. But with the release of the Blu-Ray discs, the cleaned up footage allowed someone to notice, "Hey, that isn't fruit! They are those ^&*$ exploding rocks!" That observation was posted which prompted other fans to examine the footage. Sure enough, the objects within the baskets were indeed rocks.
Interesting. I guess that does make more sense. So maybe whoever built Vaal created the cult around it as a way to exploit cheap local labor to harvest fuel. Perhaps because the villagers were considered expendable, and the builders didn't mind if a few of them got blown up gathering rocks. That really doesn't sound to me like the kind of cultural arrangement that the villagers' ancestors would've made for their own community. It sounds like something imposed by outside exploiters. In which case the very existence of Vaal was a Prime Directive violation and Kirk was just undoing it.