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

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Old October 20 2013, 08:33 PM   #76
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Re: Star Trek: TMP questions and observations

Christopher wrote: View Post
As I recall from the novelization and the character notes in The Making of ST:TMP, the idea was that Decker was strongly drawn to the kind of unitive, spiritual experience that Deltan intimacy offered (the novel says he was drawn to the "New Human" group-consciousness movement), but wasn't ready to make that kind of commitment because of his career ambitions. So it's not like it was some ugly secret that was sprung on him and caused him to run away to "protect" himself. It's something he wanted but was afraid to embrace fully. So essentially, yes, it was almost exactly like Riker and Troi -- well, the unity wouldn't have been as deep, but Riker also pulled away from commitment because his career ambitions came first.

But by the end of TMP, Decker's career ambitions had been thwarted by Kirk, and maybe seeing Kirk's driving ambition to command made him question his own ambition. So that careerism no longer overrode his craving for something more spiritual. A merger with V'Ger offered him the kind of transcendent, consciousness-merging experience that he'd long been drawn to, as well as being his one chance to be with Ilia.

Unfortunately, most of that side of Decker's character development was cut out of the movie, so his motivations were left rather unclear.
That's really interesting, Christopher! Those kinds of character subtleties would have been a great addition. I guess if one reads into Decker's "As much as you wanted the Enterprise...I want this!", the assumption is ripe for plucking. But it's very relateable idea, as we probably have all wanted something or other, but just couldn't have it for one reason or another, "If only circumstances were different.". Decker, luckily, realized that wish in the end.
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Old October 20 2013, 08:37 PM   #77
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Re: Star Trek: TMP questions and observations

Regarding the demotions when Kirk took command, I think they were Kirk's call, not Nogura's. Once Nogura okayed Kirk taking command, Kirk was in command, and was Decker's immediate superior in the chain of command. And what Kirk wanted was to be in command of the ship, not the mission, sitting in the center seat like the good old days. By the same token, he had McCoy drafted when the ship and the mission didn't really need McCoy...Kirk did.
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Old October 20 2013, 08:48 PM   #78
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Re: Star Trek: TMP questions and observations

Unspeakable wrote: View Post
Decker left not for the sake of his career, but to protect himself and his independence.
Have you read the novelization? In there, we learn that Decker's mother was part of the New Human Movement, dedicated to developing a kind of "hive mind", hence his relationship with Ilia and his ultimate destiny with V'ger were similarly-themed ventures.
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Old October 20 2013, 10:44 PM   #79
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Re: Star Trek: TMP questions and observations

The Dead Mixer wrote: View Post
And what Kirk wanted was to be in command of the ship, not the mission, sitting in the center seat like the good old days.
But why would such a thing warrant demotions? Kirk commanded the Enterprise in both TWOK and TSFS without the grade reduction for either himself or Spock. I suppose Kirk's accepting the rank of captain rather than admiral was indicative of his desire to have the Enterprise back permanently, something McCoy suspected was afoot after witnessing the fireworks between Kirk and Decker himself.

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Old October 20 2013, 10:50 PM   #80
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Re: Star Trek: TMP questions and observations

The Dead Mixer wrote: View Post
By the same token, he had McCoy drafted when the ship and the mission didn't really need McCoy...Kirk did.
I submit that the mission did turn out to need McCoy, since it was McCoy who helped knock some sense into Kirk and make him realize that he was letting his ego get in the way of the good of the mission. So without McCoy there, Kirk might not have come to his senses.
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Old October 20 2013, 11:38 PM   #81
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Re: Star Trek: TMP questions and observations

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I submit that the mission did turn out to need McCoy, since it was McCoy who helped knock some sense into Kirk and make him realize that he was letting his ego get in the way of the good of the mission. So without McCoy there, Kirk might not have come to his senses.
Which is why Kirk wanted McCoy there in the first place. He knew McCoy would tell him what he needed to know rather than what he wanted to hear. One thing I've always found interesting is McCoy's about-face regarding Kirk needing to captain a starship. He told Kirk that he was obsessed with the Enterprise in TMP but later encouraged him to get his command back. I suppose McCoy had plenty of time reflect during the years between TMP and TWOK and realized that Kirk was meant for starship command rather than the admiralty, something Spock also recognized.

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Old October 20 2013, 11:52 PM   #82
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Re: Star Trek: TMP questions and observations

Sran wrote: View Post
[One thing I've always found interesting is McCoy's about-face regarding Kirk needing to captain a starship. He told Kirk that he was obsessed with the Enterprise in TMP but later encouraged him to get his command back. I suppose McCoy had plenty of time reflect during the years between TMP and TWOK and realized that Kirk was meant for starship command rather than the admiralty, something Spock also recognized.
Well, McCoy's problem in TMP wasn't with the idea of Kirk commanding a starship; it was with the way he went about it, the fact that it had become an obsession clouding his judgment. So I don't think there was an about-face at all.

After all, according to the novelization, McCoy was opposed to Kirk's promotion to a desk job, and the reason he resigned from Starfleet was to protest that decision. He always believed that Kirk belonged in command of a ship. He just didn't like the way Kirk was going about it in TMP.
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Old October 21 2013, 12:05 AM   #83
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Re: Star Trek: TMP questions and observations

Christopher wrote: View Post
I submit that the mission did turn out to need McCoy, since it was McCoy who helped knock some sense into Kirk and make him realize that he was letting his ego get in the way of the good of the mission. So without McCoy there, Kirk might not have come to his senses.
That pretty much goes along with what I said, though I didn't state that explicitly. The ship and the mission didn't need that specific doctor...Kirk did need him..."badly". Sort of a vicious circle...Drafting Bones was one symptom of Kirk's obsession with getting his command back...and Kirk actually needed Bones there because he was acting so obsessively.
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Old October 21 2013, 12:08 AM   #84
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Re: Star Trek: TMP questions and observations

Christopher wrote: View Post
Well, McCoy's problem in TMP wasn't with the idea of Kirk commanding a starship; it was with the way he went about it, the fact that it had become an obsession clouding his judgment. So I don't think there was an about-face at all.

After all, according to the novelization, McCoy was opposed to Kirk's promotion to a desk job, and the reason he resigned from Starfleet was to protest that decision. He always believed that Kirk belonged in command of a ship. He just didn't like the way Kirk was going about it in TMP.
Good point! And as McCoy had a front-row seat for Kirk and Decker's faceoff, he knew exactly how wrong Kirk was in the way he was dealing with both Decker and the V'Ger mission. Another thing that I've never been clear on: was the decision to keep Decker aboard as executive officer Kirk's or Nogura's?

Kirk acknowledged that Decker's handling the of the Enterprise refit and his subsequent familiarity with the ship's redesign was the reason he was staying, but was that what Kirk wanted, or did he not have a choice? Was keeping Decker a condition for getting the ship back?

Moreover, if Kirk intended to keep the Enterprise after the V'Ger mission, was he planning to lobby for Decker to get another ship, or would Decker have stayed aboard as XO? We know what Roddenberry intended for the Phase II series, but the post-TMP universe was a different matter entirely.

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Old October 21 2013, 12:52 AM   #85
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Re: Star Trek: TMP questions and observations

I don't think Kirk had any ill will against Decker.
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Old October 21 2013, 12:59 AM   #86
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Re: Star Trek: TMP questions and observations

George Steinbrenner wrote: View Post
I don't think Kirk had any ill will against Decker.
Nor do I. What I mean is that even though Kirk obviously thought enough of Decker to recommend him as his replacement, it doesn't necessarily follow that he'd want him aboard for a mission he'd be commanding himself.

OTOH, Kirk wasn't a dummy. He knew Decker was more familiar with the new ship and probably didn't want to risk taking the Enterprise into a danger zone without the man who'd learned every last detail of its reconstruction.

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Old October 21 2013, 01:01 AM   #87
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Re: Star Trek: TMP questions and observations

Sran wrote: View Post
Another thing that I've never been clear on: was the decision to keep Decker aboard as executive officer Kirk's or Nogura's?

Kirk acknowledged that Decker's handling the of the Enterprise refit and his subsequent familiarity with the ship's redesign was the reason he was staying, but was that what Kirk wanted, or did he not have a choice? Was keeping Decker a condition for getting the ship back?
Under the circumstances, what other option did he have? Spock wasn't available as far as he knew, and he didn't exactly have time to vet another first officer. Decker was in place, he had first-officer experience (presumably, since he was qualified to be captain), and he was rated on the new design, so I'm sure Kirk would've seen him as the appropriate and only choice.


Moreover, if Kirk intended to keep the Enterprise after the V'Ger mission, was he planning to lobby for Decker to get another ship, or would Decker have stayed aboard as XO?
That may have depended on whether they could manage to work together effectively in dealing with the intruder. Once Spock came back, though, no doubt he would've been Kirk's first choice for XO, and Kirk probably would've tried to help Decker get his own ship.
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Old October 21 2013, 01:18 AM   #88
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Re: Star Trek: TMP questions and observations

Christopher wrote: View Post
Under the circumstances, what other option did he have? Spock wasn't available as far as he knew, and he didn't exactly have time to vet another first officer. Decker was in place, he had first-officer experience (presumably, since he was qualified to be captain), and he was rated on the new design, so I'm sure Kirk would've seen him as the appropriate and only choice.
That's true. I do wonder if Kirk actually intended for Sonak to eventually become first-officer once the mission was over. If Kirk was planning to stay aboard, it's likely he'd have needed another first-officer if Decker was leaving. As you pointed out, Spock wasn't available (yet), and no other candidates were considered. I suppose Sulu could have filled in, but Decker was the more qualified candidate of the two. After all, we don't know for sure what Sulu was doing while the Enterprise was in dry-dock.

Kirk recommended Sonak as science officer, but was the Vulcan his man or Decker's choice? Decker didn't seem to have a problem with Sonak joining his crew, but it's not entirely clear why he was there (beyond Kirk getting him the job).

Another thought that occurs to me is who Decker's first-officer would have been (if not Sonak). As Enterprise was launched several weeks before she was originally scheduled, Decker's pick for executive officer may have been left on Earth while the ship was rushed back into service. The circumstances surrounding how Decker got command of the ship and who his senior staff would have been has always fascinated me: as far as I can tell, only Scotty, Uhura, and possibly Chekov were intended to comprise Decker's command crew. The rest of the senior staff wasn't known.

Christopher wrote:
That may have depended on whether they could manage to work together effectively in dealing with the intruder. Once Spock came back, though, no doubt he would've been Kirk's first choice for XO, and Kirk probably would've tried to help Decker get his own ship.
I've always thought they were working well together by the end of the mission. The dialogue among the landing party members while observing the Voyager VI satellite is one of my favorite scenes in all of Star Trek. There was definitely potential for the crew to work with Decker as either XO or CO if Kirk returned to his desk job after TMP. I don't think it's likely McCoy would have stayed, but Spock may have found it worthwhile to work with Decker before getting his own command.

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Old October 21 2013, 01:32 AM   #89
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Re: Star Trek: TMP questions and observations

Unspeakable wrote: View Post
Timewalker wrote: View Post
Decker/Ilia have more in common with Riker/Troi. With Chekov and Irina it was a case of he was too serious, and she was an Academy dropout. Irina was a girl who got away, but hardly the love of Chekov's life.
I believe that Riker and Troi's relationship and separation was more like Kirk and Janice Lester's. Where the man made the decision to leave the relationship in order to pursue his career.

Decker and Ilia was more Decker made the decision to leave the relationship to avoid being "enslaved" by engaging in a sexual affair with Ilia. Decker left not for the sake of his career, but to protect himself and his independence.

Decker's motivations were very different than Riker's or Kirk's.

The Chekov and Irina situation isn't remotely similar to the others. My impression is that she left him, so that she could follow her own path. A path that didn't include Chekov.
There's a fanfic that gives a very different take on the Chekov/Irina dynamic, but since we have pro authors posting in this thread, I won't mention specifics. If anyone's interested, I'd be happy to send a link via PM.

My actual point above was that both Decker and Riker were ambitious Starfleet officers. Both Ilia and Troi are women with exotic backgrounds and abilities - and apparently human males can find themselves emotionally ensnared past the ability to leave, if they're not careful. It's like the moths (Decker and Riker) being attracted to the flames (Ilia and Troi).

Sran wrote: View Post
Unspeakable wrote: View Post
Decker and Ilia was more Decker made the decision to leave the relationship to avoid being "enslaved" by engaging in a sexual affair with Ilia. Decker left not for the sake of his career, but to protect himself and his independence.
Which makes it all the more interesting that he would sacrifice his independence to help V'Ger at the end of TMP. Granted, we don't know how Decker's personality existed alongside Ilia and V'Ger. But it's interesting that he would leave Ilia to maintain his independence only to sacrifice it to be with Ilia. Perhaps he realized that being with her was what he wanted after all, and he was willing to leave behind his career, his ship, and his life as he had known it in order to make it happen.

--Sran
The way Decker was presented in the movie, we know that there are two fundamentally important things he has wanted in his life: command of a starship and a relationship with Ilia. He realized that he couldn't have the starship (at least not the Enterprise) and Ilia's corporeal form was dead. By joining with V'Ger and the Ilia-probe, he'd get to be with Ilia in some way.

Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
Have you read the novelization? In there, we learn that Decker's mother was part of the New Human Movement, dedicated to developing a kind of "hive mind", hence his relationship with Ilia and his ultimate destiny with V'ger were similarly-themed ventures.
Would have been interesting if the "New Humans" had met the Borg:

Borg: We are the Borg.... (rest of standard Borg speech follows)
NH: Another hive mind? Yay!


Sran wrote: View Post
The Dead Mixer wrote: View Post
And what Kirk wanted was to be in command of the ship, not the mission, sitting in the center seat like the good old days.
But why would such a thing warrant demotions? Kirk commanded the Enterprise in both TWOK and TSFS without the grade reduction for either himself or Spock. I suppose Kirk's accepting the rank of captain rather than admiral was indicative of his desire to have the Enterprise back permanently, something McCoy suspected was afoot after witnessing the fireworks between Kirk and Decker himself.

--Sran
One thing I don't notice anyone has addressed on this point: Kirk and Spock have implicit trust in each other, so Spock has no problem following Kirk's orders and Kirk knows Spock won't stand on any kind of rank/turf war.

Kirk and Decker didn't have that kind of relationship or trust built up, and Kirk wanted to be sure that his orders wouldn't be questioned.
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Old October 21 2013, 01:42 AM   #90
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Re: Star Trek: TMP questions and observations

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Kirk and Decker didn't have that kind of relationship or trust built up, and Kirk wanted to be sure that his orders wouldn't be questioned.
Except that Decker did question them (and rightfully so). And whatever Spock's trust in Kirk might have been, the cadets (aside from perhaps Saavik) didn't know Kirk well enough to trust him the way Sulu, Scotty, and Uhura did. They knew his reputation, certainly. But reputation and reality don't always go together.

In some ways, it's actually more surprising that there wasn't a problem during TWOK (compared to TMP) after the Enterprise was crippled in part because Kirk was asleep at the wheel. OTOH, given that Kirk was also the only reason why the ship managed to escape destruction, perhaps the cadets realized that they couldn't have done any better in his place.

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