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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 August 14 2014, 09:42 PM   #1
Turd Ferguson
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Wouldn't letting Spock die on Nibiru be WORSE than seeing Enterprise?

So we know by Admiral Pike's reaming of Kirk that Admiral Marcus and Starfleet Command were not happy with Captain Kirk allowing a prewarp civilization (read: Nibiru) see a Federation ship fly out of an ocean and toward a volcano. This prompts Marcus to take the Enterprise away from Kirk. This is all well and good. A clear violation of the Prime Directive. The falsifying of the logs didn't help either.

Now, my question. Wouldn't letting Spock be killed in the eruption actually be WORSE than said Prime Directive infraction? It is clearly stated by Captain Pike in Star Trek '09 that the Federation is a humanitarian armada. Commander Spock also mentions in his log that he is now a member of an endangered species. I'm assuming that Starfleet, as a humanitarian organization, probably has strict guidelines when it comes to matters of endangered species.

We have no idea of the age range of Vulcans that survived the destruction by Nero. Spock estimates only around 10,000 survived. We have no idea how many of these are elders, or are even able to procreate. If a Vulcan can only have sex every seven years, then the Vulcan population is going to die off pretty quickly.

Couldn't Kirk have argued, by saving Spock, that he was acting in the interests of the Vulcan race? Granted Spock is only half-Vulcan, but it seems like the prospect of a founding member of the Federation like the Vulcans dying off would make every surviving Vulcan valuable, thereby making it a priority to save Vulcans above any other directive. It certainly seems like that would be more important than a podunk race of beings seeing a ship rising out of the ocean.
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Old August 14 2014, 09:50 PM   #2
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Re: Wouldn't letting Spock die on Nibiru be WORSE than seeing Enterpri

Turd Ferguson wrote: View Post
Couldn't Kirk have argued, by saving Spock, that he was acting in the interests of the Vulcan race?
Pike's point is that he would've never jeopardized the life of his first officer saving a race.

Made me lose a bit of respect for Pike, honestly.
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Old August 14 2014, 10:13 PM   #3
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Re: Wouldn't letting Spock die on Nibiru be WORSE than seeing Enterpri

If it came down to it, Pike would have risked himself rather than his first officer.
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Old August 14 2014, 10:13 PM   #4
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Re: Wouldn't letting Spock die on Nibiru be WORSE than seeing Enterpri

Ithekro wrote: View Post
If it came down to it, Pike would have risked himself rather than his first officer.
I'm not so sure.
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Old August 14 2014, 10:15 PM   #5
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Re: Wouldn't letting Spock die on Nibiru be WORSE than seeing Enterpri

Vulcans can have sex more often than every seven years. Males are driven by a compulsion every seven years, that's all. The rest of the time, per Gene, "it's as they wish." Under the circumstances, I'd say those 10,000 individuals would be gettin' freaky on a regular basis. It's only logical.

Letting the natives see a large unidentified object emerge and fly away doesn't strike me as a PD violation in the first place. I'm sure those natives see any number of things they can't explain. A PD violation would be if the crew tried to explain it to them.

But this is right along with the inconsistent handling of the PD throughout Trek, so ....
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Old August 14 2014, 10:23 PM   #6
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Re: Wouldn't letting Spock die on Nibiru be WORSE than seeing Enterpri

BillJ wrote: View Post
Ithekro wrote: View Post
If it came down to it, Pike would have risked himself rather than his first officer.
I'm not so sure.
The older version of Pike was the one that risked him like to save cadets and ended up in a chair suffering from delta radiation poisoning, only able to flash a light to answer questions.


Though I would image that Pike would have followed the Prime Directive and moved on rather that risk any of his ship and crew for clan of a species on some pre-industrial world. Would they have all died, or would the survivors have adapted and grown stronger? Or would another species take over?

(Or he would have been more clever about bending the Prime Directive than young Kirk was)
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Old August 14 2014, 11:21 PM   #7
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Re: Wouldn't letting Spock die on Nibiru be WORSE than seeing Enterpri

I thought the scene was more that Pike and Starfleet are angry that Kirk lied on his report rather than bending the Prime Directive. What the hell did Kirk think was going to happen? That his entire crew would just up and decide to lie on their mission reports the same way he did? Is he that stupid and inept at covering things up?

I'm pretty sure the Vulcans will have their numbers back up soon. Weren't there less humans than that during some large extinction event that caused an ice age like 12,000 years ago? If 10,000 cavemen camping in the snow can survive, I'm sure 10,000 Vulcans can rebuild with the help of a sci-fi, future-tech, mega-government.
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Old August 14 2014, 11:35 PM   #8
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Re: Wouldn't letting Spock die on Nibiru be WORSE than seeing Enterpri

Kevman7987 wrote: View Post
I thought the scene was more that Pike and Starfleet are angry that Kirk lied on his report rather than bending the Prime Directive.
That was certainly how I understood it. And it's, really, the serious objection. Kirk might have broken the Prime Directive, or might not have, or might have done so in a way that can be forgiven in the circumstances, but his supervisors have to know just what he did, and why, in order to say.

I'm pretty sure the Vulcans will have their numbers back up soon. Weren't there less humans than that during some large extinction event that caused an ice age like 12,000 years ago? If 10,000 cavemen camping in the snow can survive, I'm sure 10,000 Vulcans can rebuild with the help of a sci-fi, future-tech, mega-government.
The Toba Catastrophe, about 75,000 years ago, which appears to be linked to a bottleneck in which the human population dropped to something like three thousand people. (Just how tight a bottleneck it was is disputable.) It should seem like Vulcans could rebuilt, but it would be thousands of years before they were a major power again.

(It seems odd to me there weren't extra-Vulcan colony worlds, Romulans excepted, with millions of people. After all, humans had planets with such populations in the time of the Original Series. But perhaps there are intervening circumstances.)
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Old August 14 2014, 11:57 PM   #9
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Re: Wouldn't letting Spock die on Nibiru be WORSE than seeing Enterpri

Perhaps the Vulcans fell back to Vulcan at some point. Maybe they didn't see a need for large colonies anymore. Or all the planets they would normally colonize already have Vulcanoid populations (the remains of older colonial efforts in the time of Surak and the Romulan exodus).

Or they fell back after their prolonged conflict with Andoria prior to the founding of the Federation.
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Old August 15 2014, 04:14 PM   #10
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Re: Wouldn't letting Spock die on Nibiru be WORSE than seeing Enterpri

BillJ wrote: View Post
Ithekro wrote: View Post
If it came down to it, Pike would have risked himself rather than his first officer.
I'm not so sure.
I'd like to think that CAPTAIN Pike would've felt like Kirk about having to do something, but he'd have approached the situation more like a mature Captain Kirk would've and solved it without being discovered, without putting anyone's life at risk, and in a "gray" enough way so as to not have violated the prime directive as we know it from TOS time.

I just don't want to believe that Pike could just let that civilization be destroyed over an arbitrary and almost cruel policy. However, ADMIRAL Pike has to be an enforcer, whether he strictly agrees with the policy or not. And while his heart and morals were in the right place, Kirk did do a very stupid thing in putting Spock's life at risk.
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Old August 15 2014, 06:16 PM   #11
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Re: Wouldn't letting Spock die on Nibiru be WORSE than seeing Enterpri

Franklin wrote: View Post
BillJ wrote: View Post
Ithekro wrote: View Post
If it came down to it, Pike would have risked himself rather than his first officer.
I'm not so sure.
I'd like to think that CAPTAIN Pike would've felt like Kirk about having to do something, but he'd have approached the situation more like a mature Captain Kirk would've and solved it without being discovered, without putting anyone's life at risk, and in a "gray" enough way so as to not have violated the prime directive as we know it from TOS time.
Unfortunately the whole situation on Nibiru is so contrived that it's kind of hard to take it too seriously as a character beat for anybody involved. You can say Pike probably would've come up with a solution that didn't involve dropping people into volcanoes and diving his ship into the sea for no apparent reason... or not? It's never clear why anything happening there is necessary or what the volcano supposedly "destroying the planet" really means.

Doing one's best to buy into the scenario, though, Pike defending the Prime Directive and criticizing the alteration of the planet's "destiny" isn't quite as easy to dismiss as all that. Vulcanism and natural disasters are after all part of the natural evolution of a planet. Suppose someone had been in a position to stop the Cretaceous asteroid from hitting Earth and had intervened to save the dinosaurs, leading to our not existing. Or had been in a position to stop the Toba eruption and thereby totally alter our species' genetics for millennia to come. Isn't that intervention in the destiny of a planet? Is it for better or worse? It can get pretty thorny, and having Pike speak up for the harder, less immediately gratifying answer does have a certain gravitas to it.
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Old August 15 2014, 06:52 PM   #12
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Re: Wouldn't letting Spock die on Nibiru be WORSE than seeing Enterpri

BigJake wrote: View Post
Franklin wrote: View Post
BillJ wrote: View Post

I'm not so sure.
I'd like to think that CAPTAIN Pike would've felt like Kirk about having to do something, but he'd have approached the situation more like a mature Captain Kirk would've and solved it without being discovered, without putting anyone's life at risk, and in a "gray" enough way so as to not have violated the prime directive as we know it from TOS time.
Unfortunately the whole situation on Nibiru is so contrived that it's kind of hard to take it too seriously as a character beat for anybody involved. You can say Pike probably would've come up with a solution that didn't involve dropping people into volcanoes and diving his ship into the sea for no apparent reason... or not? It's never clear why anything happening there is necessary or what the volcano supposedly "destroying the planet" really means.

Doing one's best to buy into the scenario, though, Pike defending the Prime Directive and criticizing the alteration of the planet's "destiny" isn't quite as easy to dismiss as all that. Vulcanism and natural disasters are after all part of the natural evolution of a planet. Suppose someone had been in a position to stop the Cretaceous asteroid from hitting Earth and had intervened to save the dinosaurs, leading to our not existing. Or had been in a position to stop the Toba eruption and thereby totally alter our species' genetics for millennia to come. Isn't that intervention in the destiny of a planet? Is it for better or worse? It can get pretty thorny, and having Pike speak up for the harder, less immediately gratifying answer does have a certain gravitas to it.
Without getting into the whole PD thing again, I've always maintained the entire scene was supposed to seem stupid and contrived (and we'd be fools to try to justify it -- there is no justification for it -- the action, not the intent). Kirk's morals are in place, but his thinking is reckless and maybe he is lucky to survived as long as captain of the Enterprise as he had to that point. This may have been indicative of the types of incidents he was facing that started to make him think he was a good captain and invulnerable. Who knows how many times he needlessly endangered his crew before this. Remember, one of Kirk's defenses of his actions over the previous year was that he hadn't lost even one crewman, as if that alone justified his command. It was all luck. Kirk Prime basically learned that about himself in TWOK in his fifties. Kirk learned it in STID while not yet 30.
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