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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > The Next Generation

The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old May 13 2013, 11:53 AM   #31
Timo
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Re: Episode of the Week: 2x15 "Pen Pals"

Bits and pieces:

The main problem for the people of that planet was that the usual deflector operator died without instructing his replacement in the operation of the deflector.
And Kirk and Spock should realize that this will happen again. It's a very probable failure mode in a system that is absolutely dependent on this failure never taking place.

Besides, the heroes knew nothing about this when they launched on their fool's errand.

Some would say that treating something of importance like the Prime Directive as an absolute rule is a bad idea.
And others might say that the PD is such a complex system of regulations that even when taken absolutely, it hinges on careful consideration, cross-referencing and establishing of relevant parameters and variables. You start with the default position of no interference whatsoever, and then work from that towards the solution that will add interference as prescribed.

A computer might go through the parameters and spit out the solution that Picard must follow. But Starfleet probably believes Picard can do the job more or less equally well, and it feels better to have a man in the loop, so the computerized approach is shunned.

I meant after the fact.
After the fact, the civilization will have worked out new things all on their own - or learned that they will never have to work out anything on their own again, because space aliens are there to do it all for them. The former approach doesn't seem too disadvantageous to me...

how can Riker just dismiss Worf's input so easily.
Why not, if he knows the answer to Worf's question? He's the XO - he is at the center of things, receiving more, and more varied, reports than the Chief of Security. Surely he would have the authority to declare "this is geology" when the Geology Department tells him so!

He isn't even hurting Worf's feelings. The Klingon is probably more hurt because Riker didn't properly punch him in the face and kick him in the groin while delivering the negative feedback!

Timo Saloniemi
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Old May 13 2013, 01:50 PM   #32
Jeyl
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Re: Episode of the Week: 2x15 "Pen Pals"

Timo wrote: View Post
Why not, if he knows the answer to Worf's question? He's the XO - he is at the center of things, receiving more, and more varied, reports than the Chief of Security. Surely he would have the authority to declare "this is geology" when the Geology Department tells him so!
That hardly gives Riker good cause to brush off Worf's speculation since, as you put it, Riker knows but the rest of the crew doesn't. Plus, what Riker says just after declaring this to be all about Geology is just stupid. Here's his refutal.

Riker: This is geology, not malevolence. These planets live fast and die hard. The question is, why?
If Riker and the Geology Department don't know why these planets are dying, how do they know with certainty that the cause is a geological phenomenon and not malevolence? Wouldn't a better response be something like this?

Worf: Is there any indication that this is the work of an unknown intelligence?
Riker: So far the Geology Department's findings haven't uncovered anything to indicate a malevolent force is behind the short life spans of these planets. What we do know so far seems to point towards a harsh but natural occurrence that we just haven't documented yet.
With this, Riker fills Worf in on what he knows without coming off as condescending. And without making the conclusion that this is in fact a geological phenomenon, he's not outright dismissing the possibility that a malevolent force may be involved.
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Old May 13 2013, 08:45 PM   #33
Timo
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Re: Episode of the Week: 2x15 "Pen Pals"

Riker has every right to be condescending to his underlings! He's the boss. Also, by this point, he's quite familiar with the Worf (née Tasha) routine of suggesting a needlessly violent scenario, and needs to nip it in the bud.

Fundamentally, I'm far from convinced that a "why?" indicates Riker would be off base here. Even after completely ruling out foul play, the Geology Department would have a thousand "whys" left. Conversely, even if the events were simple geology by all known standards, there's no way to rule out that it was all set up by a mischievous god, from the divine family that likes to insert fake fossils on the planets it creates and holy messages in randomly selected oil stains and backward-played LP records. It's about percentages and practicalities, and Riker would be in a position to say "The chances of foul play are so low that using this sentence for saying so is a waste of breath", so he doesn't.

It's fruitful communication at its best: Riker puts his underling on the right track with an injection of useful information and eliminates slack from his research machine.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old May 13 2013, 09:12 PM   #34
Captrek
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Re: Episode of the Week: 2x15 "Pen Pals"

Timo wrote: View Post
Bits and pieces:

The main problem for the people of that planet was that the usual deflector operator died without instructing his replacement in the operation of the deflector.
And Kirk and Spock should realize that this will happen again. It's a very probable failure mode in a system that is absolutely dependent on this failure never taking place.
Very probable? How often do asteroid impacts happen on this world?

I meant after the fact.
After the fact, the civilization will have worked out new things all on their own - or learned that they will never have to work out anything on their own again, because space aliens are there to do it all for them. The former approach doesn't seem too disadvantageous to me...
I get the feeling you didn't read my original post very well.

"Don't contaminate the Dremans with knowledge of us," is nonsense because of the colossal footprint the Enterprise is leaving. The tectonic crisis and its sudden abatement will be the most studied event in the planet's geological record. Scientists who assume a natural explanation for the abatement will try to shoehorn it into every natural theory, setting science back greatly. Others will interpret it as a miracle from God, completely changing the nature and role of religion in every culture on the planet.
These are the consequences of hiding the truth about the Enterprise's involvement. Do you really think that letting them know the truth will screw them up more than misleading them in this way?
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Old May 13 2013, 09:28 PM   #35
Timo
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Re: Episode of the Week: 2x15 "Pen Pals"

Very probable? How often do asteroid impacts happen on this world?
Judging by the dialogue from our heroes ("Meadows and not meteor craters?!") and our guest stars ("Our skies have darkened three times since the harvest"), apparently every few months...

That is, they would happen every few months if not for the deflector. And the operator dying before educating his successor doesn't immediately mean that the next three asteroids would all crash through; apparently, the Medicine Man only needs to maintain the device, and lack of maintenance eventually allows an asteroid to hit the planet.

These are the consequences of hiding the truth about the Enterprise's involvement. Do you really think that letting them know the truth will screw them up more than misleading them in this way?
Oh, absolutely. Misguided theories come and go; contact with space aliens remains regardless of whether one believes in it or not.

Say, what if something like upper atmosphere ozone depletion here on Earth really were the doing of some alien species, and we completely misunderstood it? Our countermeasures have helped fight and perhaps even defeat the depletion, but the impact of this on human affairs in general has been virtually zero. Really, the extinction of the cuddly Tasmanian Devil is probably way more significant in terms of "promoting eco-thinking" or whatnot. If, however, the truth about alien intervention were revealed, Earth would be forever changed in ways nothing but the very extinction of our species could rival.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old May 14 2013, 01:12 PM   #36
MikeS
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Re: Episode of the Week: 2x15 "Pen Pals"

Timo wrote: View Post
Riker has every right to be condescending to his underlings! He's the boss.
Only a very poor boss is condescending to people he calls "underlings". A good boss will listen to his staff and if he has the time (which Riker had in abundance), he may choose to share his reasoning to further enhance the trust they have in him.
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Old May 15 2013, 03:15 AM   #37
Dale Sams
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Re: Episode of the Week: 2x15 "Pen Pals"

Even Picard acknowledges this in a season one episode "Justice".
I always fanwanked that as "Picard would have let almost anyone else die, but since he was responsible (? was he?) for Beverly's husbands death...he wasn't going to let her son die."

And re: Janeway and the PD, I hated that the one time she was willing to bend the PD (some Kazon ep) It all blew up in their faces and she got to say "See! SEE!!!"
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Old May 15 2013, 12:54 PM   #38
Marsden
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Re: Episode of the Week: 2x15 "Pen Pals"

Dream wrote: View Post
Jeyl wrote: View Post
Some would say that treating something of importance like the Prime Directive as an absolute rule is a bad idea.
How many times have Kirk and Picard broken the PD and have never be punished for it? I consider it more of a suggestion than an absolute law.
How many times has Kirk violated the PD?
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Old May 15 2013, 01:23 PM   #39
Dream
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Re: Episode of the Week: 2x15 "Pen Pals"

Marsden wrote: View Post
How many times has Kirk violated the PD?
Read this
http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Prim...ctive#Examples
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Old May 17 2013, 05:28 PM   #40
Marsden
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Re: Episode of the Week: 2x15 "Pen Pals"

Dream wrote: View Post
Marsden wrote: View Post
How many times has Kirk violated the PD?
Read this
http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Prim...ctive#Examples

Thank you for pointing out Kirk did not break the Prime Directive.
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Old May 17 2013, 10:53 PM   #41
Dream
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Re: Episode of the Week: 2x15 "Pen Pals"

Marsden wrote: View Post
Thank you for pointing out Kirk did not break the Prime Directive.
Read these topics. It has been debated to death already.

http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=58927
http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=147230
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