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Star Trek Movies I-X Discuss the first ten big screen outings in this forum!

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Old June 14 2013, 12:19 AM   #16
Christopher
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Re: Has anyone else noticed the major plot flaw in TWOK?

Sran wrote: View Post
Think of it the following way: when you drive to your house, do you recognize it as your house or as the fourth house on the left? The explosion that destroyed Ceti Alpha VI laid the fifth planet to waste and changed its orbit, making it look like the sixth planet in the process. Add to that the fact that the planets aren't arranged in a straight line (each has a unique orbit), and it's not hard to see why Reliant didn't realize they'd stopped at the fifth planet instead of the sixth.
But that's ridiculous. There are no horizons in space, no obstacles. You can see everything. I mean, look at us -- we're currently discovering tons of planets in other star systems dozens or even hundreds of light-years away, and continuing to discover new dwarf planets and minor objects way out on the fringes of our own system. Not only would it have been easy for the Reliant's sensors to detect every planet in the system, not to mention any debris left by an exploding one, but they should've detected the actual explosion itself as soon as they came within about 15 light-years of the system, because that's when they would've intersected the light given off by the event 15 years earlier (or 18 years, if you go by the Okuda chronology, in which case they would've detected it even further away).

Not to mention that there's no way the explosion of a planet would've caused the next planet inward to somehow get pulled outward in its orbit and exactly duplicate the orbital parameters of the exploded planet -- not only orbital radius, but eccentricity, inclination, and argument of perihelion, or at least close enough that it would be exactly where Starfleet records said it would be a full 15 (or 18) years later. We're not talking about billiard balls on a table. More like billiard balls spread out over the Mojave Desert, and in constant motion. It's hard to find them unless you know where to expect them to be at a given time -- and the odds of one happening to end up in the same place as another are minuscule.


Of course, this is far from the only plot or conceptual flaw in TWOK. The movie is full to the brim with flaws. How come Khan's followers, who were multiethnic adults when they were stranded 15 (or 18) years earlier, are now a bunch of blond Nazi-recruiting-poster types in their 20s? How can a tiny torpedo terraform an entire planet? How can a torpedo programmed to restructure the surface of an existing planet spontaneously adapt its programming to create a planet (and implicitly even a star) out of nebular gas? How can the supposedly ingenious Khan fail to see through Spock's screamingly obvious "hours could seem like days" code? Why did the Ceti eel just leave Chekov instead of killing him, which according to Khan was the inevitable result? Why does Scotty bring his bloody, dying cadet/nephew (depending on the cut) to the bridge instead of sickbay? And how in the seven hells of Mongo can Kirk say he's "never faced death" after losing Gary Mitchell, Edith Keeler, Sam and Aurelan, Miramanee, and his unborn child??????
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Old June 14 2013, 12:20 AM   #17
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Re: Has anyone else noticed the major plot flaw in TWOK?

CA5 and/or CA6 could have very elliptical orbits and the planets apogee from it's star could be at roughly the same distance.

Though we don't know how detailed the star chats are off that system.

I could just as easily say one theory is that it that it the star Ceti Alpha captured a rouge planet. Or that CA6 had a moon, and when CA6 exploded the moon was thrown into an orbit around the star.
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Old June 14 2013, 12:45 AM   #18
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Re: Has anyone else noticed the major plot flaw in TWOK?

MacLeod wrote: View Post
CA5 and/or CA6 could have very elliptical orbits and the planets apogee from it's star could be at roughly the same distance.
But planets aren't stationary. As I said, it's not just about the distance from the star, it's about all the parameters of the orbit. Even if, by some astonishing coincidence, Ceti Alpha V happened to be at the same point in space where Ceti Alpha VI was supposed to be by then, it would still have been moving along at least a somewhat different trajectory, and the ship would've had to match that trajectory in order to go into orbit, so they would've measured it and known that it wasn't the same.

Not to mention that they could count. They could see the whole system -- from quite a distance away, given what's been shown about the power of long-range sensors in the Trek universe -- and know that it was missing one planet. Again, they should've been able to directly detect the explosion itself. Even if they somehow missed it, even if we're assuming that the visible light from the event wasn't detectable to them at warp, they certainly should've noticed the increased debris in the system -- that's something a starship would routinely scan for due to the potential navigational hazard.

And none of this addresses the question of why Starfleet didn't have a record of Khan's presence in this system. I have a hard time believing Kirk would've been so criminally irresponsible as to leave Starfleet unaware of the fact that there was a potentially dangerous population of superhuman criminals living in the system and that they should probably be left alone. Even if you posit some monumental bureaucratic snafu that kept the information from getting into Reliant's databanks, the film itself posits that Chekov was aboard during the Botany Bay incident -- so why doesn't he remember that this is the system where they dropped off Khan's people? For that matter, why doesn't Kyle? He was in "Space Seed." He was probably the guy who beamed them down to Ceti Alpha V. And he was on the Reliant crew. The plot only works if two people who were present for the first Khan incident completely forgot what planet Khan had been left on.
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Old June 14 2013, 12:52 AM   #19
Sran
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Re: Has anyone else noticed the major plot flaw in TWOK?

Christopher wrote: View Post
But that's ridiculous. There are no horizons in space, no obstacles.
No obstacles that we know of. Our working knowledge of space is extremely limited. It's impossible to know what a ship might detect while on approach to another system. Now, one would assume that another solar system in our galaxy would have physical properties comparable with our own, but we don't know for sure.

The Ceti Alpha star system is, by and large, a blank canvas. What we know is that there were at one time at least six planets in the system, but that's about it. There's no mention of nebulae, asteroid fields, or other phenomena that might interfere with starship sensors. But absence of proof is not proof of absence.

Christopher wrote:
How can the supposedly ingenious Khan fail to see through Spock's screamingly obvious "hours could seem like days" code?
Theoretical knowledge and practical experience aren't one and the same. Khan's intelligence may have been superior to that of any other human, but he still didn't have Kirk or Spock's experience. What's more, even genetically enhanced supermen aren't perfect. Khan would certainly have been capable of making a mistake, as he did when he failed to anticipate Kirk using the prefix code to lower Reliant's shields.

Christopher wrote:
Why does Scotty bring his bloody, dying cadet/nephew (depending on the cut) to the bridge instead of sickbay?
People do strange things when they're in shock. Scotty may not have realized what he was doing until he actually stepped onto the bridge with Peter, so traumatized by his nephew's injuries was he.

Christopher wrote:
And how in the seven hells of Mongo can Kirk say he's "never faced death" after losing Gary Mitchell, Edith Keeler, Sam and Aurelan, Miramanee, and his unborn child??????
I don't have a good answer to this one. The only thing I can say is that none of the other situations involved a deliberate self-sacrifice in order to save Kirk. Without knowing precisely what Kirk was thinking after Spock died, it's possible that his comment stemmed from Spock having sacrificed himself to save Kirk and the rest of the Enterprise crew. That didn't happen in the other scenarios.

Gary Mitchell was killed by Kirk on Delta Vega. Sam and Aurelan died due to the neural parasites in "Operation Annihilate!" Edith was hit by a truck. Miramanee died of internal bleeding after being stoned.

In each case, a person died for a reason having to do with Kirk, but none of them chose to sacrifice their lives to save Kirk. As captain (either in title or role after TMP), Kirk had always assumed the responsibility for his crew himself and was willing to die to save the Enterprise. But Spock took on that role in place of Kirk in TWOK, and the knowledge of this combined with the then-reality that he'd lost his best friend forever undoubtedly drove home a new meaning of "facing death" to Kirk. Perhaps that's what he meant.

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Old June 14 2013, 01:03 AM   #20
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Re: Has anyone else noticed the major plot flaw in TWOK?

Sran wrote: View Post
King Daniel Into Darkness wrote: View Post
Sorry, I got a little mixed up. But the point was - how did Reliant ever set course for Ceti Alpha VI when the system now only has five planets?
It's a good question. Think of it the following way: when you drive to your house, do you recognize it as your house or as the fourth house on the left? The explosion that destroyed Ceti Alpha VI laid the fifth planet to waste and changed its orbit, making it look like the sixth planet in the process.
In other words, just like Khan later in the movie, the Reliant crew only use two-dimensional thinking.
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Old June 14 2013, 01:04 AM   #21
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Re: Has anyone else noticed the major plot flaw in TWOK?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Sran wrote: View Post
Think of it the following way: when you drive to your house, do you recognize it as your house or as the fourth house on the left? The explosion that destroyed Ceti Alpha VI laid the fifth planet to waste and changed its orbit, making it look like the sixth planet in the process. Add to that the fact that the planets aren't arranged in a straight line (each has a unique orbit), and it's not hard to see why Reliant didn't realize they'd stopped at the fifth planet instead of the sixth.
But that's ridiculous. There are no horizons in space, no obstacles. You can see everything. I mean, look at us -- we're currently discovering tons of planets in other star systems dozens or even hundreds of light-years away, and continuing to discover new dwarf planets and minor objects way out on the fringes of our own system. Not only would it have been easy for the Reliant's sensors to detect every planet in the system, not to mention any debris left by an exploding one, but they should've detected the actual explosion itself as soon as they came within about 15 light-years of the system, because that's when they would've intersected the light given off by the event 15 years earlier (or 18 years, if you go by the Okuda chronology, in which case they would've detected it even further away).

Not to mention that there's no way the explosion of a planet would've caused the next planet inward to somehow get pulled outward in its orbit and exactly duplicate the orbital parameters of the exploded planet -- not only orbital radius, but eccentricity, inclination, and argument of perihelion, or at least close enough that it would be exactly where Starfleet records said it would be a full 15 (or 18) years later. We're not talking about billiard balls on a table. More like billiard balls spread out over the Mojave Desert, and in constant motion. It's hard to find them unless you know where to expect them to be at a given time -- and the odds of one happening to end up in the same place as another are minuscule.


Of course, this is far from the only plot or conceptual flaw in TWOK. The movie is full to the brim with flaws. How come Khan's followers, who were multiethnic adults when they were stranded 15 (or 18) years earlier, are now a bunch of blond Nazi-recruiting-poster types in their 20s? How can a tiny torpedo terraform an entire planet? How can a torpedo programmed to restructure the surface of an existing planet spontaneously adapt its programming to create a planet (and implicitly even a star) out of nebular gas? How can the supposedly ingenious Khan fail to see through Spock's screamingly obvious "hours could seem like days" code? Why did the Ceti eel just leave Chekov instead of killing him, which according to Khan was the inevitable result? Why does Scotty bring his bloody, dying cadet/nephew (depending on the cut) to the bridge instead of sickbay? And how in the seven hells of Mongo can Kirk say he's "never faced death" after losing Gary Mitchell, Edith Keeler, Sam and Aurelan, Miramanee, and his unborn child??????
That's a lot of questions.

I wouldn't dare question your knowledge because your job to know everything about how the Trek universe works.

But (you saw that coming, right?) ...

The Ceti Alpha system was apparently remote maybe not well charted. Wasn't that why Kirk left Khan and Co. there? I don't spend a lot of time dissecting these things, but it makes sense to me. I'd think that the Khan incident was not "required reading" so I'm not surprised that the Reliant captain wasn't familiar with it. Add to that, it was 15 years earlier so it probably wasn't at the front of Chekov's mind. Not until he saw the "Botany Bay" thing anyway.

As I said in an earlier post, if CA5 was near where CA6 was supposed to be, why look any further? Planets don't just line up for roll call when a ship approaches, so if there's a planet where you're looking you might assume that it's the right one.

I can't address costume or makeup design or casting, because I don't know enough about it.

The Genesis device, as we found out later, used protomatter (whatever that is) for the terraforming process. We don't know what scientific advancements will be made in the next 300 years, so I just accept that as a neccessary suspension of disbelief.

Spock's code: maybe Khan was preoccupied or gloating or who knows what, but he didn't get it.

Chekov was apparently strong enough to resist the eel's influence and "sour the milk." Why? No idea. But it's there.

Why did Scotty haul his dead nephew to the bridge? Dramatic effect. No other reason I can see.

Kirk "never faced death" himself. Sure, he's seen it plenty but it was always someone else. He had never faced a situation that he couldn't BS his way out of. I'm pretty sure that's what he means.

I probably missed a few, but these are what I'm thinking after seeing the movie dozens of times over the last 30 years.

Again, I have a ton of respect for what you do and I'd like to know how you might have written it differently.
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Old June 14 2013, 01:06 AM   #22
Sran
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Re: Has anyone else noticed the major plot flaw in TWOK?

Christopher wrote: View Post
And none of this addresses the question of why Starfleet didn't have a record of Khan's presence in this system. I have a hard time believing Kirk would've been so criminally irresponsible as to leave Starfleet unaware of the fact that there was a potentially dangerous population of superhuman criminals living in the system and that they should probably be left alone.
Who says they didn't? I agree that Kirk wouldn't have avoided sharing the incident with Starfleet, but it's possible Khan's whereabouts were limited to the senior staff and select admirals at Starfleet Command. Lower-ranking personnel may not have been privy to where the Enterprise was going once Kirk decided what to do with Khan and his people.

Chekov does make a statement suggesting he knew where Khan's people were located. He says, "On Ceti Alpha V, there was life, a fair chance..." He says nothing about anyone else who was aboard the ship, however. I don't know that Kyle would've been told anything. He could certainly have operated the transporter without knowing the name of the planet onto which he was beaming Khan. As for why Chekov forgot, who knows? It's Chekov.

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Old June 14 2013, 01:14 AM   #23
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Re: Has anyone else noticed the major plot flaw in TWOK?

Lance wrote: View Post
In other words, just like Khan later in the movie, the Reliant crew only use two-dimensional thinking.
Or they just weren't thinking.

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Old June 14 2013, 02:03 AM   #24
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Re: Has anyone else noticed the major plot flaw in TWOK?

Maybe the Reliant is the key. Khan was on the Reliant. Chekov and crew were on the Reliant. All of them show two-dimensional thinking. Maybe Reliant is just a two-dimensional ship that gets crewed by two-dimensional brains?
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Old June 14 2013, 02:05 AM   #25
Sran
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Re: Has anyone else noticed the major plot flaw in TWOK?

Lance wrote: View Post
Maybe the Reliant is the key. Khan was on the Reliant. Chekov and crew were on the Reliant. All of them show two-dimensional thinking. Maybe Reliant is just a two-dimensional ship that gets crewed by two-dimensional brains?
Then perhaps the key is not to be too reliant on Reliant.

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Old June 14 2013, 03:02 AM   #26
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Re: Has anyone else noticed the major plot flaw in TWOK?

Sran wrote: View Post
sonak wrote: View Post
well, it actually IS hypocritical if the MAIN REASON for disliking it IS THE PLOT FLAWS!
What? That's a gross oversimplification! It's entirely plausible to like a film in spite of its plot holes if the overall quality of the film is good enough. It's not hypocrisy: it's common sense.

--Sran

I don't want to go off on this too much, because it's not really relevant to the thread, but that's not what I meant.


The most common criticism of "Generations" I see is that it has so many plot flaws-from why Picard chooses that moment to go back, to the mistake that you can't get to the Nexus in a ship, etc.


My point was that, as Christopher showed, TWOK is chock full of plot holes, and yet people overlook them because they like the movie. Plot holes are not usually the real reason people dislike a movie.(unless they're truly glaring ones)


the plot hole of the thread is kind of a big one, as well as pretty silly. I guess Starfleet just keeps bad records.
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Old June 14 2013, 03:04 AM   #27
Sran
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Re: Has anyone else noticed the major plot flaw in TWOK?

sonak wrote: View Post
My point was that, as Christopher showed, TWOK is chock full of plot holes, and yet people overlook them because they like the movie.
I understand. I still don't see how that makes anyone a hypocrite.

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Old June 14 2013, 03:14 AM   #28
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Re: Has anyone else noticed the major plot flaw in TWOK?

Sran wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
But that's ridiculous. There are no horizons in space, no obstacles.
No obstacles that we know of. Our working knowledge of space is extremely limited. It's impossible to know what a ship might detect while on approach to another system. Now, one would assume that another solar system in our galaxy would have physical properties comparable with our own, but we don't know for sure.
That is complete and utter rubbish. Like I said, we have already discovered planets in hundreds of distant star systems, and we're finding more all the time. To date we know of over 700 confirmed extrasolar planets, and the Kepler telescope turned up over 3000 additional candidates.

So no, our working knowledge of space is not that limited, because for Pete's sake you can just look up and see it, and astronomers spend their whole careers doing just that. We can see galaxies that are billions of light-years away, because there is nothing in the way to block our view. One of the fundamental defining properties of outer space is that it's really, really empty.


The Ceti Alpha star system is, by and large, a blank canvas. What we know is that there were at one time at least six planets in the system, but that's about it. There's no mention of nebulae, asteroid fields, or other phenomena that might interfere with starship sensors. But absence of proof is not proof of absence.
We do, in fact, know enough about Alpha Ceti (as it's more correctly called) to know it isn't surrounded by a nebula -- although we also know it's a post-main-sequence red giant, a dying star that couldn't support a habitable planet to begin with. And no real asteroid field is remotely as dense as the portrayals thereof in fiction; it couldn't hide a planet, or obscure the number of planets observed.

Besides, you don't have to see a planet to know it's there; you can detect it by its gravitational influence. Neptune and Pluto were predicted to exist based on their gravitational effect on other planetary orbits, which let astronomers calculate where to look for them. And many or most of those 700-plus exoplanets were detected by the wobble their gravity induced in their primary stars' motion -- which is why most of the planets we've found so far are really big and/or really close to their stars, thus exerting more gravitational effect on them.


Christopher wrote:
How can the supposedly ingenious Khan fail to see through Spock's screamingly obvious "hours could seem like days" code?
Theoretical knowledge and practical experience aren't one and the same. Khan's intelligence may have been superior to that of any other human, but he still didn't have Kirk or Spock's experience. What's more, even genetically enhanced supermen aren't perfect.
It's still a ridiculously simplistic code. I can't believe Starfleet doesn't have more sophisticated, less improvisational code protocols for communication on open channels. Come on, a fourth-grader could see through that one.


In each case, a person died for a reason having to do with Kirk, but none of them chose to sacrifice their lives to save Kirk. As captain (either in title or role after TMP), Kirk had always assumed the responsibility for his crew himself and was willing to die to save the Enterprise. But Spock took on that role in place of Kirk in TWOK, and the knowledge of this combined with the then-reality that he'd lost his best friend forever undoubtedly drove home a new meaning of "facing death" to Kirk. Perhaps that's what he meant.
That's actually a decent retcon. But the real-world truth is that it was just sloppy writing, or at least writing with little regard for past continuity.



Carcazoid wrote: View Post
The Ceti Alpha system was apparently remote maybe not well charted. Wasn't that why Kirk left Khan and Co. there?
See, this is one of the fundamentally dated things about the Trek universe -- this idea that you can't chart a system unless you go there directly. Right now, today, in real life, we're charting planetary systems around stars dozens or hundreds of light-years away, and we don't even have to leave the vicinity of Earth to do it. (We've mostly relied on space telescopes like Kepler, but there's a lot we can do from the ground, and we'll be able to do even more in the not-too-distant future.) If we ever travel to the stars in real life, then we will have their planets charted well before we actually get there.


I don't spend a lot of time dissecting these things, but it makes sense to me. I'd think that the Khan incident was not "required reading" so I'm not surprised that the Reliant captain wasn't familiar with it.
As much as Nicholas Meyer may have wanted to pretend that these were 18th-century mariners in wooden sailing ships, they did actually have access to computers. It stands to reason that there would've been some alert that popped up when they looked up the Ceti Alpha system, something saying "Caution: Beware of the Exiled Augment War Criminals." You'd think that's an important enough caveat that there'd be a notation in the file.


As I said in an earlier post, if CA5 was near where CA6 was supposed to be, why look any further? Planets don't just line up for roll call when a ship approaches, so if there's a planet where you're looking you might assume that it's the right one.
Like I said, planets don't just sit still. Right now, this planet you and I are sitting on is hurtling through space at nearly 70,000 miles per hour. To get into orbit of a planet, you have to catch up with it. You have to match its velocity, meaning the speed and direction of its motion. And that means you have to measure that velocity very carefully. That's not optional. Just being "in the general vicinity" doesn't cut it. Astrophysics is not a matter of rough estimates.


Kirk "never faced death" himself. Sure, he's seen it plenty but it was always someone else. He had never faced a situation that he couldn't BS his way out of. I'm pretty sure that's what he means.
Ummm... it was someone else this time too. How is this different? And how did he "BS his way out of" losing his own brother and sister-in-law, both loves of his life, and his unborn child? How was he any less helpless in those situations than he was with Spock here?


Again, I have a ton of respect for what you do and I'd like to know how you might have written it differently.
Ohh, that would take hours....
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Old June 14 2013, 03:56 AM   #29
Sran
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Re: Has anyone else noticed the major plot flaw in TWOK?

Christopher wrote: View Post
So no, our working knowledge of space is not that limited, because for Pete's sake you can just look up and see it, and astronomers spend their whole careers doing just that. We can see galaxies that are billions of light-years away, because there is nothing in the way to block our view. One of the fundamental defining properties of outer space is that it's really, really empty.
I'm sorry if I wasn't clear on this point. What I meant is that even though we've learned a great deal about outer space, there are many things we still don't know. For all the planets- be they actual or theoretical- that have been charted, we still don't know if any of them support life of a sophistication comparable to our own. That's what I meant in stating that our knowledge is limited.

Christopher wrote:
It's still a ridiculously simplistic code. I can't believe Starfleet doesn't have more sophisticated, less improvisational code protocols for communication on open channels. Come on, a fourth-grader could see through that one.
Who says they don't? That doesn't mean simpler codes can't be used. And Khan was hardly the only person fooled. Saavik realized Kirk and Spock were speaking in code only after Kirk cited the regulation pertaining to open-channel communication, the same Saavik who made a point to quote every rule in the book earlier in the film. If a Starfleet cadet can miss the obvious, why not a deranged psychopath?

Christopher wrote:
That's actually a decent retcon. But the real-world truth is that it was just sloppy writing, or at least writing with little regard for past continuity.
I agree, Christopher. And I think it's unfortunate that Nick Meyer ignored a number of things in Trek continuity when he put TWOK together. I'd be interested in knowing how you'd have written TWOK differently. I don't mind setting aside a few hours to read your explanation. I've read a few of your books and plan to read more of them. Why should this be any different?

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Old June 14 2013, 04:44 AM   #30
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Re: Has anyone else noticed the major plot flaw in TWOK?

Remember the ENT episode Twilight. Where NX-01 and over 6000 humans settled on Ceti Alpha V. So even 100 years before "Space Seed". Earth Starfleet knew of the Ceti Alpha system.

While in a real world context. This is addition of an event into a gray area because it's a prequel series decades after Space Seed and TWOK. However in the context of the Star Trek Universe, Starfleet always knew about the Ceti Alpha system.
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