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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old October 17 2012, 12:34 AM   #16
Knight Templar
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

I've said it before and I'll mention it again.

There is no evidence that the entire crew of the Excalibur was killed by M-5.

From the time Excalibur takes its final phaser hit (and what looks like a huge radiation flash occurrs) and the time M-5 says that there is "no life" (aboard Excalibur) aboard, there are several minutes. More than enough for surviving crew members to have abandoned ship.
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Old October 17 2012, 04:40 AM   #17
Creepy Critter
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

Knight Templar wrote: View Post
I've said it before and I'll mention it again.

There is no evidence that the entire crew of the Excalibur was killed by M-5.

From the time Excalibur takes its final phaser hit (and what looks like a huge radiation flash occurrs) and the time M-5 says that there is "no life" (aboard Excalibur) aboard, there are several minutes. More than enough for surviving crew members to have abandoned ship.
On the contrary. There is decisive evidence that the entire crew of the Excalibur was killed by the M5. From http://www.chakoteya.net/StarTrek/53.htm:

The Ultimate Computer wrote:
M5: This unit cannot murder.
KIRK: Why?
M5: Murder is contrary to the laws of man and God.
KIRK: But you have murdered. Scan the starship Excalibur, which you destroyed. Is there life aboard?
M5: No life.
KIRK: Because you murdered it. What is the penalty for murder?
M5: Death.
KIRK: And how will you pay for your acts of murder?
M5: This unit must die.
The super-genius M5 does not contest Kirk's assertion that it was responsible for killing all life aboard the Excalibur. Given the performance of the M5, in its use of sensors and tracking starships, I find it absurd to assume that Kirk could dupe or fool it with a false assertion that it could so easily contradict with sensors, which for example would have recorded the evacuation of the ship, if that had occurred. The M5 accepts Kirk's assertion that it killed all life aboard the Excalibur, because it knows that it did in fact kill all life aboard the Excalibur.
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Old October 17 2012, 05:26 AM   #18
Knight Templar
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

Conscious Circuits wrote: View Post
Knight Templar wrote: View Post
I've said it before and I'll mention it again.

There is no evidence that the entire crew of the Excalibur was killed by M-5.

From the time Excalibur takes its final phaser hit (and what looks like a huge radiation flash occurrs) and the time M-5 says that there is "no life" (aboard Excalibur) aboard, there are several minutes. More than enough for surviving crew members to have abandoned ship.
On the contrary. There is decisive evidence that the entire crew of the Excalibur was killed by the M5. From http://www.chakoteya.net/StarTrek/53.htm:

The Ultimate Computer wrote:
M5: This unit cannot murder.
KIRK: Why?
M5: Murder is contrary to the laws of man and God.
KIRK: But you have murdered. Scan the starship Excalibur, which you destroyed. Is there life aboard?
M5: No life.
KIRK: Because you murdered it. What is the penalty for murder?
M5: Death.
KIRK: And how will you pay for your acts of murder?
M5: This unit must die.
The super-genius M5 does not contest Kirk's assertion that it was responsible for killing all life aboard the Excalibur. Given the performance of the M5, in its use of sensors and tracking starships, I find it absurd to assume that Kirk could dupe or fool it with a false assertion that it could so easily contradict with sensors, which for example would have recorded the evacuation of the ship, if that had occurred. The M5 accepts Kirk's assertion that it killed all life aboard the Excalibur, because it knows that it did in fact kill all life aboard the Excalibur.
Ignoring the fact that the "super genius M-5" was programmed to be an AI copy of a dangerously unstable mans mind.........M-5 definitely murdered dozens (and probably hundreds) of the Excaliburs crew.

The fact that M-5 acknowledges murdering the crew (generic reference) does not necessarily mean that M-5 murdered the ENTIRE crew.
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Old October 17 2012, 05:36 AM   #19
Creepy Critter
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

The M5 admitted that it killed all life aboard the Excalibur. That's at least some evidence that it did in fact do so. Even if the reliability of the machine to make that sort of determination is in doubt, that's still not "no evidence" as you claim.
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Old October 17 2012, 06:09 AM   #20
Wingsley
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

Starship sensors and scanners, even in the TNG era, often cannot pick up life signs inside a severely damaged space vessel ("Heart of Glory", "The Doomsday Machine" "For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky") or on a planet if there is interference ("The Galileo Seven", "City on the Edge of Forever", "The Paradise Syndrome", "The Enemy"). Clearly starship life-form remote detection technology can fail, especially when applied from a distance.

The M-5 simply accepted Kirk's argument because, like the human mind of Dr. Daystrom, its attention was on prosecuting its war on Wesley's task force, not on meticulously verifying facts. M-5 "thinks like men", not like a stolid robot with an endless thirst for facts.

To call the dialogue between Kirk and the M-5 tie-in "decisive evidence that the entire crew of the Excalibur was killed by the M5" is a bit of a leap. Clearly, M-5 committed murder and wrecked the Starship Excalibur. And Kirk took a chance that the entire Excalibur crew could possibly have perished (something the wreckless M-5/Daystrom personality was not prepared to refute), but that does not conclusively prove that everyone aboard the Excalibur was killed.

Lest we forget Commodore Wesley's radio report to Commodore Enwright:

WESLEY [on viewscreen]: All ships damaged in unprovoked attack. Excalibur Captain Harris and first officer dead. Many casualties. We have damage, but are still able to maneuver. The Enterprise refuses to answer and is continuing attack. I still have an effective battle force and believe the only way to stop the Enterprise is to destroy her. Request permission to proceed. Wesley, commanding attack force, out.
Note that Wesley does not say that the Excalibur's entire crew has been killed. Instead, he notes the deaths of Excalibur's captain and XO, with a very general reference to many other casualties (presumably throughout the entire task force). At this point, if the entire crew of the Excalibur had indeed been verified as K.I.A., Wesley would have to expressly report it to Enwright. Wesley does not do so.

While it is entirely possible that Excalibur's crew could have been killed, and this would fit in with the basic premise of "The Ultimate Computer", the plot does not rest on all 400 Excalibur crewmembers dying. Instead, Kirk grabs Daystom far earlier when the casualties are just beginning and there is the threat of more:

SPOCK: Probably true, Captain. It works faster, thinks faster than we do. It is a human mind amplified by the instantaneous relays possible in a computer.

UHURA: Captain, visual contact with Lexington.

WESLEY [on viewscreen]: Enterprise. Jim. Have you gone mad? What are you trying to prove? Break off the attack! Jim, we have fifty three dead here, twelve on the Excalibur. If you can hear us, stop the attack!

KIRK: Lieutenant?

UHURA: I'm sorry. I can't override M-5 interference.

WESLEY [on viewscreen]: Jim, why don't you answer? Jim! Answer! Come in, Jim!

KIRK [grabbing Daystrom]: There's your murder charge. Deliberate. Calculated. It's killing men and women. Four starships, sixteen hundred men and women!
Excalibur is hit again immediately after the above exchange, undoubtedly resulting in more casualties. But is it ever conclusively established that all 400 Excalibur crew were lost? No.

In fact, Kirk's visible relief and humor at the end of this episode would make much more sense if the Enterprise had been involved in an unseen rescue of Excalibur survivors between the time of Wesley's final order to cease fire and the Sickbay scene with Daystrom shown sedated. (It would also make sense if some of the Excalibur survivors had been transferred to Enterprise to restore Enterprise's systems so the ship could get underway; this would go a long way to explain how Kirk could so confidently plop down in his command chair on the Bridge and give his crew the order to get underway.)
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Old October 17 2012, 06:15 AM   #21
Wingsley
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

Additionally, even though the M-5 proved itself to be an effective battle controller in engaging the Lexington, Excalibur, Potemkin and Hood, we have to remember that Enterprise's phasers only scored a handful of hits against Wesley's task force. Given how well Kirk's Enterprise weathered more substantial attacks, I always found it hard to accept that two or three well-placed direct hits would be all it would take to both wreck a starship and kill an entire crew, particularly if Wesley's ships (presumably) had their shields up.

Seemed that the Excalibur folded a little too easily, don't ya think?
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Old October 17 2012, 08:29 AM   #22
blssdwlf
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

I was under the impression that all of the phaser hits scored by M5 on Wesley's task force was at full power at medium to long range against unshielded ships. Presumably it was when they regrouped to attack Enterprise was when they had their shields back up.
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Old October 17 2012, 09:32 AM   #23
Creepy Critter
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

blssdwlf wrote: View Post
I was under the impression that all of the phaser hits scored by M5 on Wesley's task force was at full power at medium to long range against unshielded ships. Presumably it was when they regrouped to attack Enterprise was when they had their shields back up.
Yep.
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Old October 17 2012, 10:17 AM   #24
Timo
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

One argument in favor of many if not most of the Excalibur crew surviving is that we don't know of any mechanism by which phasers could kill the crew of a starship while leaving the ship visibly intact.

Decompression is unlikely to work against a compartmentalized starship. Phasers aren't credited with radiation effects that could "poison" the crew to death. And settings comparable to wide field stun have never been shown to be lethal, least of all against targets inside a building or a vehicle.

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Old October 17 2012, 10:24 AM   #25
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

Wingsley wrote: View Post
SPOCK: Probably true, Captain. It works faster, thinks faster than we do. It is a human mind amplified by the instantaneous relays possible in a computer.

UHURA: Captain, visual contact with Lexington.

WESLEY [on viewscreen]: Enterprise. Jim. Have you gone mad? What are you trying to prove? Break off the attack! Jim, we have fifty three dead here, twelve on the Excalibur. If you can hear us, stop the attack!

KIRK: Lieutenant?

UHURA: I'm sorry. I can't override M-5 interference.

WESLEY [on viewscreen]: Jim, why don't you answer? Jim! Answer! Come in, Jim!

KIRK [grabbing Daystrom]: There's your murder charge. Deliberate. Calculated. It's killing men and women. Four starships, sixteen hundred men and women!
Excalibur is hit again immediately after the above exchange, undoubtedly resulting in more casualties.
... and that particularly dramatic moment in the episode, when Kirk yells Daystrom's name and then phasers fire, would be the "kill shot" on the Excalibur [http://www.chakoteya.net/StarTrek/53.htm]:

The Ultimate Computer wrote:
DAYSTROM: It misunderstood.
WESLEY [on viewscreen]: Jim, break off your attack!
CHEKOV: Excalibur is maneuvering away, sir. We're increasing speed to follow.
SULU: Phasers locked on.
KIRK: Daystrom!
SULU: Phasers firing.
DAYSTROM: I really don't know how to get to the M-5. I really do not know.
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Old October 17 2012, 10:29 AM   #26
Creepy Critter
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

Timo wrote: View Post
One argument in favor of many if not most of the Excalibur crew surviving is that we don't know of any mechanism by which phasers could kill the crew of a starship while leaving the ship visibly intact.

Decompression is unlikely to work against a compartmentalized starship. Phasers aren't credited with radiation effects that could "poison" the crew to death. And settings comparable to wide field stun have never been shown to be lethal, least of all against targets inside a building or a vehicle.

Timo Saloniemi
If the ship's phasers can be set to wide area stun as in A Piece of the Action, why not wide area kill?
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Old October 17 2012, 11:00 AM   #27
Timo
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

But as said, wide area stun failed to stun anybody who wasn't exposed to the open sky from which the stun rays fell.

Indeed, we lack evidence that phaser fire of any sort could go through walls of any sort, except of course by blowing a hole in them. This 100% lack of evidence should count for something, even though it of course isn't the same thing as some character declaring that phasers can't go through walls.

FWIW, only DS9 "Field of Fire" ever includes dialogue about walls generally being an obstacle to weapons fire, and it being a big surprise when they are not - but even there, the heroes know from the get-go that they are dealing with a chemically propelled slugthrower rather than any other sort of weapon, so through-the-walls weapons might still theoretically exist.

It's just that there is no positive evidence for them...

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Old October 17 2012, 11:11 AM   #28
Creepy Critter
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

I think in this case that how one interprets what one sees hinges on whether one believes that the M5 really killed everyone aboard the Excalibur.

If you believe that, then you have to believe that there is some way to fire ship phasers against a damaged and unshielded starship to accomplish that. If not wide area kill, then maybe it hit a reactor which sent a lethal pulse of radiation when it blew, but which didn't destroy the ship.

On the other hand, if you don't believe that it killed everyone, then of course, you don't have to believe that phasers could accomplish that.

As I've already said, I see no reason to doubt that the M5 killed everyone aboard the Excalibur. Kirk said so, and the M5 believed it. If Kirk knew it was not so, then I don't see why he would have posited it to the M5 in the first place, since he was trying to out-think it. Positing information you know or suspect to be false is not a very good way to try to out-think a computer that can think faster than any human being.
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Old October 17 2012, 11:32 AM   #29
Timo
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

If Kirk knew it was not so, then I don't see why he would have posited it to the M5 in the first place
...Then again, blatantly lying to a computer is a Kirk trademark. And Kirk already was aware of the human qualities of the M5, and might have been in a process of frightening or angering the machine.

The outcome where M5 says "No, double dumbass, there are survivors!" would not be bad, either, because Kirk could then press on with that and have M5 agree to leaving survivors on other ships as well whilst securing victory. From there on, it would be a short hop to having M5 agree to securing victory through negotiations, without any casualties.

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Old October 17 2012, 11:37 AM   #30
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Re: Abandoned and damaged starships

Not buying it. I guess we're going to have to disagree.
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