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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 22 2013, 10:43 PM   #46
Timo
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Re: Genesis Question

Regarding the reasons why various parties killed for Genesis, my angle is simply that Saavik blames David for taking action (or perhaps inaction) that resulted in deaths, when this was never something David could control, and thus he cannot be argued to have killed anybody. Khan, Kirk and Kruge form a competing category in two ways: one, they all actually did physically kill people, and two, they all had a choice of some sort about the matter.

Khan chose to be an aggressor through and through, with no aims other than causing suffering (even his own crew critiqued him for that). Kruge's agenda was more complex, as you point out. Kirk had the choice between protecting the Federation from Genesis and Carol and her team from Khan and David and later Saavik and Spock from Klingons and generally doing good, and fleeing. I wouldn't expect Kirk to flee, and I don't find any fault in him killing the people he did kill. But while there are such nuances, he is still very much part of the category that Saavik could (and perhaps should) blame for the Genesis deaths, and thus the exact opposite of his own son.

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Old June 22 2013, 11:14 PM   #47
Sran
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Re: Genesis Question

Timo wrote: View Post
Regarding the reasons why various parties killed for Genesis, my angle is simply that Saavik blames David for taking action (or perhaps inaction) that resulted in deaths, when this was never something David could control, and thus he cannot be argued to have killed anybody. Khan, Kirk and Kruge form a competing category in two ways: one, they all actually did physically kill people, and two, they all had a choice of some sort about the matter.
I respect your argument, Timo. But I don't agree with it. It's not accurate to say that David didn't have a choice in the matter. He chose to help his mother develop the Genesis device, and he should have foreseen the potential the project had to go awry. Hell, he himself said that Genesis "could be perverted into a dreadful weapon," lamenting the involvement of a military organization he neither understood nor trusted.

Whether his feelings were the result of anger at Kirk for being an absent father isn't clear, but he clearly disapproves of Starfleet officers and questions their motives in being involved in such a sensitive experiment. His mother, who seems to have had more experience with Starfleet (through Kirk or otherwise) disputes his assertions that they would misuse the device or try to take it from their development team without sufficient reason ("I cannot and will not subscribe to your interpretation of this event!").

But Carol seems to have her own axe to grind with the Federation. Some of her comments left me wondering if her primary goal in developing Genesis was not to solve the problems of starvation or overpopulation but merely to prove that she could. People in her position tend to focus too closely on demonstrating their capabilities and not closely enough on the ethical and moral repercussions of their actions. Ian Malcom makes a statement along these lines in Jurassic Park when debating the appropriateness of running a dinosaur factory and packaging it as a family-oriented theme park.

In any event, she had the choice of developing Genesis, and David had the choice of helping her do it. I don't think either intended for the experiment to fail, nor did they know that Khan would use the project to escape his exile and embark on a maniacal rampage to satisfy a personal vendetta. They're hardly the only people at fault. I can't help but wonder what the Federation Council was thinking when it authorized the project in the first place: the tape Kirk plays for Spock and Bones in his quarters clearly indicates she pitched the idea to the higher-ups before going ahead with it, as does the involvement of Reliant, which would only have been involved under orders from Starfleet.

I suppose one could retcon the idea that the Admiral Marcus of the primary universe could have used his pull to get the project authorized (even if it wasn't a military venture) for his daughter and grandson, and as Marcus had ties to Section 31, it's possible his motives weren't wholesome in allowing the project to move forward. But that still doesn't absolve the development team of blame. And if Carol did in fact use her father's influence to get the project approved, that would only cast her in a more unfavorable light. Such a thing would suggest that she encountered resistance to her ideas, ideas that the Federation deemed dangerous and irresponsible, and used family ties to satisfy her own agenda.

The irony of such a scenario is laughable, as she (and her father) would have been using Starfleet as a pawn in their game. After all, it was David who claimed that scientists were always pawns of the military.

--Sran
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Old June 22 2013, 11:27 PM   #48
Timo
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Re: Genesis Question

He chose to help his mother develop the Genesis device, and he should have foreseen the potential the project had to go awry.
But the project did not "go awry", nor did its potential for such play a role in anything. The project merely existed, from which it followed that people got excited and murderous and protective and murderous and scared and murderous. What David did or failed to do did not affect that part.

Saavik further confuses the issue by suggesting that the use of "unethical" protomatter had something to do with it. That I think should be considered a totally separate issue. Perhaps use of protomatter kills kittens or something, and David thus should fry for that. But use of protomatter had nothing to do with the deaths that Saavik mentions.

n any event, she had the choice of developing Genesis, and David had the choice of helping her do it.
And that, I think, is the best way to summarize it: her choice mattered, his did not. Even if Genesis never got beyond wild white papers, it would sparkle excitement and could be connected to the deaths; but whether Genesis succeeded or not, whether Genesis got help from David or not, was not relevant to the deaths.

Regarding your scenario, kudos for thinking it up - might make for a good nuNovel, actually! But I don't really see the Federation hesitating from developing technologies simply out of fear of weaponization. After all, they are an interstellar empire: they necessarily engineer big. Anything involved in such is by default an elephant, ideal for trampling in addition to its beneficial engineering uses.

Take something like "Homeward". It wouldn't take evil minds to devise a technique for stopping a disastrous dissipating of an atmosphere, but it would take evil minds to stop the project just because it will also inevitably yield the means to do what the Klingons did in "The Chase": torching of a healthy atmosphere.

I still see no "blame" in the creation of Genesis. Creation of quadrotriticale was probably even more destructive for its conflict-sparkling potential and its use as a weapon, but it's also something that had to be done, for the same reasons that Carol gives in her marketing pitch. Starving millions for the off chance that somebody would get angry or murderous otherwise is not particularly ethical.

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Old June 22 2013, 11:28 PM   #49
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Re: Genesis Question

Strange thing is, I always took Saavik's comment to indicate that without David taking a "short-cut" by using protomatter, Genesis would never have reached the testing stage (or at least not for some considerable time), therefore Reliant would not have been assigned at that time for the search for a suitable test-planet, and not fallen into Khan's hands.

She was perhaps judging him unfairly, certainly there's no way that he could have possibly known that his rush for results would have led to TWOK. It's a little like blaming the construction workers of the Titanic for her hitting an iceberg.
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Old June 22 2013, 11:37 PM   #50
Timo
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Re: Genesis Question

Makes sense, but yes, it casts Saavik in an unflattering light... All possible timetables for the project would have involved the risk of, if not the Khan incident, then at least the Kruge one.

Perhaps Saavik was upset that David had done a double fault in failing to make Genesis work as a terraforming tool and succeeding in making Genesis work as a weapon? That would be a more direct and justifiable accusation: without the protomatter input, there would be no Genesis Weapon for real. Folks like Kruge would still fear Genesis and might murder for it, but Genesis couldn't kill planets for real. And that would be only due to David's evil genius of combining protomatter (which alone isn't evil enough a weapon) with a system that properly weaponizes the stuff.

The existence of a working protomatter weapon would still not be the root cause of the bulk of the deaths, though. It would be an evil thing that could be blamed on David and his lack of standards, but Saavik would still be missing her mark. Which is quite annoying: the last person we want to see making wild, passionate accusations is the one Vulcan guest star. Even Spock would be a better choice there...

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Old June 22 2013, 11:40 PM   #51
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Re: Genesis Question

Timo wrote: View Post
Saavik further confuses the issue by suggesting that the use of "unethical" protomatter had something to do with it. That I think should be considered a totally separate issue. Perhaps use of protomatter kills kittens or something, and David thus should fry for that. But use of protomatter had nothing to do with the deaths that Saavik mentions.
solariabsg25 wrote: View Post
Strange thing is, I always took Saavik's comment to indicate that without David taking a "short-cut" by using protomatter, Genesis would never have reached the testing stage (or at least not for some considerable time), therefore Reliant would not have been assigned at that time for the search for a suitable test-planet, and not fallen into Khan's hands.

She was perhaps judging him unfairly, certainly there's no way that he could have possibly known that his rush for results would have led to TWOK. It's a little like blaming the construction workers of the Titanic for her hitting an iceberg.
I interpret Saavik's comments to mean not that David should have known what would transpire once the project was finished but that his haste to finish the project by questionable means suggests he didn't fully understand the responsibility he was assuming for such a project in the first place, hence her rhetorical questions about the number of people who have died for his impatience. In other words, a more responsible scientist would have waited until a more suitable solution presented itself instead of using an unstable chemical compound in a rush to complete a project, to say nothing of the project's potential itself.

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Old June 22 2013, 11:45 PM   #52
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Re: Genesis Question

That's still a pretty tenuous connection between the "failing to ponder" and "using the unstable solution" parts. David would not have become any more responsible by completing Genesis by "ethical", protomatter-free means, now would he?

It smacks of courtroom drama: the defendant must be guilty of the crime at hand because he's also ugly/smelly/drunkard/wife-beater. (Or conversely, Hitler must have been innocent of all wrongdoing because he was a vegetarian.)

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Old June 22 2013, 11:53 PM   #53
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Re: Genesis Question

Although Saavik may have been unfair, it does fit a Vulcan (your impatience caused this), and ties in with the attitude shown by Vulcans in Enterprise where they criticize humans for rushing into things.
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Old June 22 2013, 11:55 PM   #54
Sran
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Re: Genesis Question

Timo wrote: View Post
Makes sense, but yes, it casts Saavik in an unflattering light... All possible timetables for the project would have involved the risk of, if not the Khan incident, then at least the Kruge one.
I don't know. David says, "If I hadn't, it might have been years, or never." If he doesn't use the proto-matter, there's no telling how long it would have taken to finish the project. Part of the problem is that it's never made clear exactly what role the proto-matter played in the Genesis matrix. Was it merely necessary for terraforming to happen on a large scale, or would terraforming not have been possible at all without its inclusion? Perhaps a Genesis device without proto-matter only transforms an area the size of a football field. Such a device would still be quite valuable and useful but would not carry the implications as a weapon that a large-scale device would.

In any case, if David waits until a more workable plan is available, it's possible the project is treated with greater care, and the mistakes of original incident are avoided. If nothing else, a project delayed by several years may have averted the problems presented by Klingon involvement. Ironically, the device could have been used to repair the damage to Praxis and perhaps save the Klingon Empire from the loss of Qo'nos.

Timo wrote:
Perhaps Saavik was upset that David had done a double fault in failing to make Genesis work as a terraforming tool and succeeding in making Genesis work as a weapon? That would be a more direct and justifiable accusation: without the protomatter input, there would be no Genesis Weapon for real.
Her comment about the planet not being what he intended or hoped for suggests this.

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Old June 23 2013, 02:29 AM   #55
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Re: Genesis Question

NM

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Old June 23 2013, 05:59 PM   #56
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Re: Genesis Question

Maybe it's worth noting that the only time Genesis was used on a planet, it was Regula, which had a massive cave teeming with lifeforms. If there really couldn't be "so much as a microbe", clearly Regula was a poor test subject.

It could be that Genesis functioned perfectly, but the only test was on an unsuitable world. The subsequent diplomatic flap with the Klingons, resulting in the deaths of all of Grissom's crew bar one, and all of Kruge's crew, bar one, meant the project was canned in the current round of peace talks.

Certainly we never hear of it again, which isn't surprising given that aside from Dr Marcus, all the scientists were dead, and their research station was obliterated. Given the secrecy of the project, it could be that Genesis died there and then. I doubt Marcus would be interested in continuing, given what it cost her personally.
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Old June 23 2013, 06:11 PM   #57
Timo
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Re: Genesis Question

Maybe it's worth noting that the only time Genesis was used on a planet, it was Regula, which had a massive cave teeming with lifeforms. If there really couldn't be "so much as a microbe", clearly Regula was a poor test subject.
...Unless the cave, kilometers below the surface, was hermetically sealed from the surface, which is pretty likely. If Regula is Genesis, then we have no evidence that the Genesis effect would do any real rearranging of planetary crust, let alone reach deep below the surface of a targeted planetary body.

Given the secrecy of the project, it could be that Genesis died there and then.
OTOH, given the massive publicity of the project, it would be difficult to keep it from getting reanimated at some point...

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Old June 23 2013, 07:08 PM   #58
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Re: Genesis Question

Sran wrote: View Post
I interpret Saavik's comments to mean not that David should have known what would transpire once the project was finished but that his haste to finish the project by questionable means suggests he didn't fully understand the responsibility he was assuming for such a project in the first place, hence her rhetorical questions about the number of people who have died for his impatience. In other words, a more responsible scientist would have waited until a more suitable solution presented itself instead of using an unstable chemical compound in a rush to complete a project, to say nothing of the project's potential itself.

--Sran
Well said. That's how I always understood Saavik's statement.
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Old June 23 2013, 11:35 PM   #59
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Re: Genesis Question

Timo wrote: View Post
OTOH, given the massive publicity of the project, it would be difficult to keep it from getting reanimated at some point...

Timo Saloniemi
What massive publicity? You mean the diplomatic scandal over a Federation superweapon, which surely would have led to the cessation of all future development on the project?

No one came out of the Genesis incident looking good - the Federation were secretly developing this scary planet-roasting nuke, and the Klingons were sending scouts into the Federation to steal secrets, blow up civilian and Starfleet ships, and murder innocent people.

With potentially only one scientist alive with the knowledge to continue Genesis - which was apparently a failure, given the planet tore itself apart within weeks - it seems like a dead end which was not pursued further. The political pressure to sweep it under the carpet would have been too strong anyhow.

Besides, the stated aims of Genesis - overcoming food supply and overpopulation - seem to have been solved by the 24th century, with replicators and faster warp drives opening up a much larger Federation with newly discovered habitable planets.
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Old June 23 2013, 11:43 PM   #60
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Re: Genesis Question

Timo wrote: View Post
OTOH, given the massive publicity of the project, it would be difficult to keep it from getting reanimated at some point...
I don't see that there was massive publicity at all. Even viewing the Genesis video presentation required top-level clearance that apparently only Starfleet flag officers had. After the incident with Khan, the Enterprise crew was ordered not to discuss Genesis with anyone. McCoy was arrested because he used the word in public (before assaulting another Starfleet officer). Kirk's after-action report was viewed in a closed session of the Federation Council presided over by Hiram Roth.

There was no mention of any involvement of the Federation News Service, nor was the incident mentioned again after TVH. Janeway references Marcus' involvement in the project when making a log entry about the Omega Directive, but she was a command-level officer with close ties to the admiralty and could have learned of the project through any number of means. There's nothing to suggest that what she knew was common knowledge.

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