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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek Movies > Star Trek Movies XI+

Star Trek Movies XI+ Discuss J.J. Abrams' rebooted Star Trek here.

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Old July 4 2013, 05:05 PM   #211
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Total agreement with your entire post, but two things:

solariabsg25 wrote: View Post
JJ Abrams also straddles this line.

The Enterprise appears bigger and tougher than the TOS and possibly even TMP Enterprise. There could well be a confidence throughout Starfleet that ships like her (and larger, I seem to recall that the saucer section debris she almost collided with over Vulcan was larger than she was) could handle anything they came across. In such an environment, the science argument could well hold sway, as they already feel they have their military bases covered.
The Abrams Enterprise is about the size of an Ambassador class, actually. The rest of Starfleet's ships are similarly large, which leads me to think that perhaps these larger-sized vessels were ALWAYS there and we simply never saw them until the TNG era. The smaller version of the Constitution class could easily still be in service out there somewhere, but post-Narada craziness meant both the name and the new ship contracts went to the larger vessels instead (say, they built eight of the smaller vessels instead of twelve to save room for two Enterprise-sized ships). The IDW comics imply this as well; Captain Robert April is said to have commanded an Enterprise that was decommissioned just a couple of years before Kirk's ship was built, a ship which in the Primeline would have been commanded by Christopher Pike and Number One.

The Narada owned them, but once again an anomaly, a one-off threat.
But Starfleet still defeated it, not with superior firepower, but by carefully analyzing its weaknesses and exploiting them. That seems to be Starfleet's primary advantage: a single starship isn't all that powerful, in fact Starfleet vessels tend not to be that impressive militarily. But they don't really have to be; they staff their ships with some of the most intelligent and innovative people in the galaxy, people who can devise fifteen different ways to kick you in the balls before you can lay a hand on them.

As with EVERY anomaly they encounter, the Narada is proof that Starfleet is the triumph of brains over brawn: they don't generally out-fight their enemies, they outsmart them.
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Old July 4 2013, 05:09 PM   #212
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
solariabsg25 wrote: View Post

Certainly the TOS Enterprise never had a specific diplomatic/first-contact team aboard, this was supposed to be carried out initially by the Captain, first and foremost, with weeks, perhaps even months, passing before a proper diplomatic team takes over. Kirk must be capable of delicate negotiations, which can be the difference between friendly relations, or having the new race start building warships to destroy the interlopers!
True,but we also saw Kirk frequently ferrying Federation diplomats around, with the idea that Ambassador So-and-So was going to do most of the heavy lifting when it came to negotiating treaties and such.
Treaties, of course. Mainly because treaties would have the force of law and an official diplomat would have a direct line to the Council which Kirk, as a line officer, might not have. Otherwise, anything that doesn't require the signing of an official legal document between the Federation and some other world, Kirk seems fully authorized to negotiate informal alliances.

If you'll indulge me a shameless plug, I actually play with a similar notion in an upcoming TOS novel. During a diplomatic mission, Kirk initially intends to let a visiting Federation commissioner handle the negotiations, but has to take over when it turns out that the aliens in question respect "explorers" more than "bureaucrats" and refuse to deal with anybody but Kirk . . . .
I'll forgive the plug if you hook me up a copy when it's published.
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Old July 4 2013, 05:15 PM   #213
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Exactly, Starfleet is designed to face the every-day mundane threats. Orion Pirates, Klingon or Romulan Privateers, the occasional space-born life-form, with the ability to band together to create a unified front on the rare occasions that an all-out shooting war would start.

If they designed all their ships to deal with Doomsday Machines and Naradas, then the Vengeance would probably had been one of their WEAKEST designs. Plus, a lot of the science stuff would fly out the window, except for being optimized for combat.

So okay, a Doomsday Machine would probably be a doddle then, but woe-betide you dealing with a Whale Probe or V'Ger when you need science to overcome the problem and come up with a solution!
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Old July 4 2013, 07:15 PM   #214
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

And even Starfleet's shooting wars have historically been resolved through clever application of science and trickery. We like to forget that the entire Dominion war was rendered basically irrelevant by Section 31's Changeling Plague and that the Dominion only surrendered in the first place because Odo offered a cure in exchange for a truce; if he hadn't, the Changelings would have simply died and the leaderless Jem'hadar and Vorta would have committed mass suicide.

The Federation never actually goes to war with anyone unless Starfleet can't find a scientific solution to a problem; when the scientific solution suddenly presents itself, the war comes to an abrupt end.

And this, if you think about it, is the problem with the Cardassians and the Klingons: they never DID find a solution to those problems, so the diplomats had to step in and deescalate things so that the conflict could linger on for years as a cold war. The Klingon problem was resolved by Starfleet's help with the Praxis Event, the Cardassian problem was resolved by the fall of the Dominion.
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Old July 4 2013, 07:38 PM   #215
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

solariabsg25 wrote: View Post
Greg, there were probably numerous dull missions of this type we never saw, like just ferry diplomat A to alien race B, wait around then take him back to Starbase C.

The only time we got to see it on screen though was when the representative was inept (Taste of Armaggedon), obnoxious (Trouble with Tribbles) or as you said, when he got stabbed and taken out of the equasion. The writers needed to bring Kirk to the fore.
Or short-tempered and dying (Metamorphosis).
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Old July 4 2013, 08:05 PM   #216
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
And even Starfleet's shooting wars have historically been resolved through clever application of science and trickery. We like to forget that the entire Dominion war was rendered basically irrelevant by Section 31's Changeling Plague and that the Dominion only surrendered in the first place because Odo offered a cure in exchange for a truce; if he hadn't, the Changelings would have simply died and the leaderless Jem'hadar and Vorta would have committed mass suicide.

The Federation never actually goes to war with anyone unless Starfleet can't find a scientific solution to a problem; when the scientific solution suddenly presents itself, the war comes to an abrupt end.

And this, if you think about it, is the problem with the Cardassians and the Klingons: they never DID find a solution to those problems, so the diplomats had to step in and deescalate things so that the conflict could linger on for years as a cold war. The Klingon problem was resolved by Starfleet's help with the Praxis Event, the Cardassian problem was resolved by the fall of the Dominion.
The Federation does seem to be technologically superior on the whole to their opponents. Just look at the shock of Gul Macet in The Wounded when he discovered the Enterprise could read the Cardassian ID codes! The Phoenix in the same episode was able to move out of the weapons range of a Cardassian warship and destroy it easily with their own weapons, even after they had already taken a broadside with their shields down.

I would change your statements though, in the the Federation never goes to war with anyone, NOT because of scientific solutions, but simply because they never start a war - but in the words of John Sheridan always finish it!

Also I think there was a fear amongst Starfleet that with The Founders gone, rather than committing suicide, the Jem'Hadar may have just gone on a wild, galaxy-spanning psychotic killing spree a'la the rogue Jem'Hadar in To The Death!

Looking over the entire franchise, the Federation may have made diplomatic solutions, and had major setbacks such as the Borg incursions and the early years of the Dominion War. Have Starfleet ever been mentioned to have LOST a war though? I can't think of any examples!
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Old July 4 2013, 08:37 PM   #217
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

solariabsg25 wrote: View Post
Have Starfleet ever been mentioned to have LOST a war though? I can't think of any examples!
If they had, we'd probably be seeing programming about the victors. After all, TREK is not & never shall be GALACTICA.
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Old July 4 2013, 08:41 PM   #218
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
It isn't OPINION that nobody was proposing the decommissioning of starships; they weren't.
Yes, they were. The fucking CIC started to say something, along the lines of "well, our non-military stuff is probably going to be unaffected but--" and then was cut-off. Why would he say "but" to the first part, in response to her question, if he wasn't going to entertain the possibility ?

I think you are so dead-set against the very idea that Starfleet represents, at least partly, the military arm of the Federation that you are unwilling to consider any evidence that it is. As such it makes this conversation futile.

So you trust two officers you've never seen before, at least one of whom is later seen committing high treason... but you don't trust Jean Luc Picard?
Did you just try to play the argument from emotion card ? Who cares if it's Picard's opinion or not ?
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Old July 4 2013, 08:43 PM   #219
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

trevanian wrote: View Post
solariabsg25 wrote: View Post
Have Starfleet ever been mentioned to have LOST a war though? I can't think of any examples!
If they had, we'd probably be seeing programming about the victors. After all, TREK is not & never shall be GALACTICA.
I'm pretty sure they lost to the Romulans and were forced to sign the Treaty of Algernon -- agreeing not to develop cloaking devices -- as a concession to keep the Empire from overrunning some disputed colonies near the border.

I also happen to think that Starfleet was getting whipped by the Cardassians for whatever reason and the Federation decided to cede a bunch of Earth colonies to the Cardassians in the DMZ exchange rather than commit larger material resources to a controversial border dispute; in that case, they didn't loose so much as not-win.
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Old July 4 2013, 08:52 PM   #220
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Belz... wrote: View Post
Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
It isn't OPINION that nobody was proposing the decommissioning of starships; they weren't.
Yes, they were. The fucking CIC started to say something, along the lines of "well, our non-military stuff is probably going to be unaffected but--" and then was cut-off. Why would he say "but" to the first part, in response to her question, if he wasn't going to entertain the possibility ?
Because "our exploration and scientific programs" is MOST OF THE FLEET. The only thing he could have followed that with is the admission that Starfleet would need fewer ships patrolling the border.

I think you are so dead-set against the very idea that Starfleet represents, at least partly, the military arm of the Federation that you are unwilling to consider any evidence that it is.
It's obvious that Starfleet is responsible for the safety and security of the Federation and is called upon by the Federation to engage in combat when needed. It is equally obvious that it doesn't need to be a military organization to do so, and thus there is nothing strange about the fact that it is said not to be.

On the other hand, you seem so enamored with the idea that Starfleet represents a highly versatile military body that you are seizing on anything at all, no matter how insubstantial, that would suggest it is and then handwaving away anything that claims it isn't.

So you trust two officers you've never seen before, at least one of whom is later seen committing high treason... but you don't trust Jean Luc Picard?
Did you just try to play the argument from emotion card ? Who cares if it's Picard's opinion or not ?
No, this is the "consider the source" card. Jean Luc Picard is the captain of Starfleet's newest, most powerful and most advanced ship. Admiral Cartwright is a desk jockey who gets caught trying to assassinate his own president. Between the two of them, do you really have to ask whose opinion is more trustworthy?

I mean, that's like studying the Cuban Missile Crisis by interviewing Lee Harvey Oswald.
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Old July 4 2013, 09:37 PM   #221
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post

On the other hand, you seem so enamored with the idea that Starfleet represents a highly versatile military body that you are seizing on anything at all, no matter how insubstantial, that would suggest it is and then handwaving away anything that claims it isn't.
On other, other hand, I'm not entirely sure why some fans are so allergic to the M-word that they seem to recoil from the very idea that (gasp!) Starfleet might be quasi-military in nature, as though such a label has cooties or something.

Is it because, in their view, it's not "evolved" enough, or sends the wrong message, or just doesn't fit their own cherished notion of what Starfleet ought to be?

On a practical level, I'm not sure it matters. Speaking from personal experience, I've managed to write close to two dozen Trek books and stories without ever having to make a big deal over just how "military" Starfleet is or isn't. Why do we HAVE to define it one way or another? Just to make some sort of Statement?

Sometimes the Enterprise is defending the Federation from hostile forces. Sometimes its missions are scientific, humanitarian, diplomatic, or personal. It all depends on the story.
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Old July 4 2013, 10:28 PM   #222
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post

So you trust two officers you've never seen before, at least one of whom is later seen committing high treason... but you don't trust Jean Luc Picard?
Did you just try to play the argument from emotion card ? Who cares if it's Picard's opinion or not ?
No, this is the "consider the source" card. Jean Luc Picard is the captain of Starfleet's newest, most powerful and most advanced ship. Admiral Cartwright is a desk jockey who gets caught trying to assassinate his own president. Between the two of them, do you really have to ask whose opinion is more trustworthy?

I mean, that's like studying the Cuban Missile Crisis by interviewing Lee Harvey Oswald.
To be fair, we know little about Cartwright apart from the fact that he is one of the few Admirals we have ever met more than once.

His racism could well stem from field experience as a starship commander, dealing with Klingons first-hand. Kirk almost appeared as racist himself after the meeting (thankfully Shatner was given that slight beat after his "Let them die!" outburst to show that I think Kirk realised that his comment went too far, an angry outburst rather than a genuine wish for the whole Klingon Race to die out).

Also remember that it seems in Trek that most Admirals have to attend a special class in douchebaggery!

Picard is an idealist. But, in the era he lives and serves in, this isn't naive, as the Federation does work to try to achieve a higher ideal, although sometimes they falter (usually because of those damned Admirals again!).
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Old July 5 2013, 02:18 AM   #223
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Because "our exploration and scientific programs" is MOST OF THE FLEET.
Unsubstantiated opinion.

On the other hand, you seem so enamored with the idea that Starfleet represents a highly versatile military body that you are seizing on anything at all, no matter how insubstantial, that would suggest it is and then handwaving away anything that claims it isn't.
Don't you know it's bad form to turn someone's arguments around rather than address it ?

I don't care one way or another about the military status of Starfleet, but the evidence is that there is no other such organisation within the Federation, outside of the MACO from Enterprise, and therefore, with the rest of the evidence presented, I have no choice but accept that it is the truth, in-universe. That you see this as some sort of dogma when it's the polar opposite is sad, but I can't help you with that.

No, this is the "consider the source" card. Jean Luc Picard is the captain of Starfleet's newest, most powerful and most advanced ship. Admiral Cartwright is a desk jockey who gets caught trying to assassinate his own president.
First, I don't know why you're trying to pit one against the other since they lived in different eras, and the statements we're talking about weren't uttered by Cartwright. Second, they are both Starfleet officers, and I'd wager that the admiral has more experience and knowledge of the inner workings of Starfleet than a captain. You simply _agree_ with Picard, which doesn't make him right. Third, Picard isn't implying that Starfleet's only founding principle was finding new life; he was making a point about Data's status as such a life.
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Old July 5 2013, 03:05 AM   #224
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

In the alternate timeline of "Yesterday's Enterprise", the Federation was six months away from defeat. In another timeline, seen in "Parallels", the Federation had been overrun by the Borg.

I don't think it's possible to get an accurate understanding of the issues we are discussing, because our focus is always on one ship or station. Rarely, as audience members, do we see the world outside that ship or station.
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Old July 5 2013, 03:20 AM   #225
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post

On the other hand, you seem so enamored with the idea that Starfleet represents a highly versatile military body that you are seizing on anything at all, no matter how insubstantial, that would suggest it is and then handwaving away anything that claims it isn't.
On other, other hand, I'm not entirely sure why some fans are so allergic to the M-word that they seem to recoil from the very idea that (gasp!) Starfleet might be quasi-military in nature...
I've heard alot of people claiming this is the case, but I've never seen anyone actually DO that. Not that I'm disputing that anti-militarism is a real thing, it's just that in all the years I've been on this board and in all the years I've been following Star Trek (pretty much my entire life) I've never encountered anyone who actually viewed Star Trek through an anti-military lens.

In fact, considering the widespread prevalence of "space navy/space trooper" tropes in science fiction -- and particularly in space opera -- that would be a very unusual position for someone to hold. They would, in essence, be fans of Star Trek while hating just about everything else in the entire genre.

Sometimes the Enterprise is defending the Federation from hostile forces. Sometimes its missions are scientific, humanitarian, diplomatic, or personal. It all depends on the story.
As I mentioned earlier, the primary advantage of not defining Starfleet -- or, if you must, defining it as a non-military organization -- is because it makes those kinds of stories easier to tell. The writer doesn't have to actually know anything about standard military procedures or the reasons behind them, and even if he does, wouldn't have to consult an expert on anything he doesn't. When the question comes up "How would Stafleet Command react to this?" you don't have to respect the real-world parameters of military discipline any more than you want to; you can discard what is inconvenient and invent what seems more interesting.

Hence the reason nobody thinks there's anything wrong with Spock and Uhura having a romantic relationship on the Enterprise. Very few military organizations would have such a blasé attitude towards fraternization, but with Starfleet, why not?
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