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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek Movies > Star Trek Movies I-X

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

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Old February 19 2014, 04:50 PM   #1
alpha_leonis
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Another Ridiculous Point in STV:TFF

Overall this is a movie I don't mind very much; it would have been better as an episode rather than a feature film, but the basic story itself is okay (even if the execution was off.)

But just yesterday I was watching a documentary about the Voyager spacecraft, launched in the 1970s, and which have just recently "officially" left our solar system and into interstellar space. One of the Voyager probes makes a cameo in TFF as the Klingon captain's "target practice". Thing is, the probes are moving extremely slowly at sublight speed -- if my math is right, they would still be only about a light-week away from Earth at the Star Trek time frame. That distance is essentially "nothing" in a future where warp drive is common (by comparison it's more than four light-years even to the closest star.)

So what gives? How could the Klingon ship be across the Neutral Zone and even so close to Earth without any consequences at all? Especially in the context of the previous movie where, from the Klingons' perspective, Kirk had just recently been let off the hook for the "murder of a Klingon crew"?

Last edited by alpha_leonis; February 19 2014 at 05:13 PM.
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Old February 19 2014, 05:10 PM   #2
SchwEnt
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Re: Another Ridiculous Point in STV:TFF

It goes along with the idea of the Enterprise getting from Earth to Nimbus III in a day or two...

then going to the center of the galaxy the next day...

and then back to Earth by the end of the week.

Vast distances can be traveled at the speed of plot.
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Old February 19 2014, 05:36 PM   #3
Christopher
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Re: Another Ridiculous Point in STV:TFF

alpha_leonis wrote: View Post
One of the Voyager probes makes a cameo in TFF as the Klingon captain's "target practice".
No, it doesn't. The probe in question is Pioneer 10.


Thing is, the probes are moving extremely slowly at sublight speed -- if my math is right, they would still be only about a light-week away from Earth at the Star Trek time frame.
Less, actually, since Pioneer 10 was slower than the Voyager probes. Its last recorded speed, in 2005, was about 0.000041c, meaning that by the mid-2280s it would be only about 4.2 light-days out, at most.

But then, lots of stuff launched from Earth has a way of ending up improbably far away, like Voyager 6 (V'Ger) and the Charybdis. (And maaaaaaybe the Botany Bay, although it could plausibly be in the neighborhood of "Ceti Alpha," or rather Alpha Ceti, by the 2260s if it were traveling at 90% or so of lightspeed.) The Trek universe is full of things like wormholes and space warps and graviton ellipses, and they seem to pick on Earth craft disproportionately.
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Old February 19 2014, 06:56 PM   #4
Grant
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Re: Another Ridiculous Point in STV:TFF

Yes the Trek universe has all kinds of plot driven devices that allow ships and objects to travel greater than realistic distances in fairly short times---like warp drive itself.
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Old February 19 2014, 07:14 PM   #5
Merry Christmas
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Re: Another Ridiculous Point in STV:TFF

Christopher wrote: View Post
And maaaaaaybe the Botany Bay, although it could plausibly be in the neighborhood of "Ceti Alpha.
Or the Enterprise found the Botany Bay no farther out than our own Oort Cloud.

Marla said it took years just to travel between planet, that doesn't sound like a significant percentage of lightspeed. When told the age of the ship, Kirk considered it reasonable that it might simply be a derelict space craft.


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Old February 19 2014, 07:34 PM   #6
Armored Saint
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Re: Another Ridiculous Point in STV:TFF

alpha_leonis wrote: View Post
Thing is, the probes are moving extremely slowly at sublight speed -- if my math is right, they would still be only about a light-week away from Earth at the Star Trek time frame.
In TFF, the probe is an accessory element while there are episodes and TMP where an old space object from Earth found at an unexpected place is a major element of the story.
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Old February 19 2014, 07:47 PM   #7
Christopher
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Re: Another Ridiculous Point in STV:TFF

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Or the Enterprise found the Botany Bay no farther out than our own Oort Cloud.
That seems unlikely, because they would've had to travel over 240 light-years to reach Alpha Ceti, or "Ceti Alpha" as the script bizarrely referred to it. The intent was that Kirk dropped them off there because it was near the Enterprise's route. So it stands to reason that they found the ship somewhere in the vicinity of Alpha Ceti, whether it got there under its own power or had some kind of help.


Marla said it took years just to travel between planet, that doesn't sound like a significant percentage of lightspeed.
Depends on how long the engines continue thrusting. The longer you accelerate, the faster you get.
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Old February 20 2014, 12:05 AM   #8
drt
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Re: Another Ridiculous Point in STV:TFF

I recall seeing some fanon tech explanations that occasionally objects are caught when a ship establishes its warp field and dragged great distances, which was likely inspired by the asteroid being pulled into the wormhole in TMP.
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Old February 20 2014, 12:17 AM   #9
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Re: Another Ridiculous Point in STV:TFF

Stuff gets dragged around by the Preservers' idiot cousins, the Scatterers. They're also to blame when you find a new product that you really like that then promptly disappears from store shelves - they only brought a limited supply of it from some Hodgkin's world and sold it to an Earth supplier at a really cut rate. Pepsi Red? You'll never see it again, Terran.
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Old February 21 2014, 05:40 AM   #10
Lance
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Re: Another Ridiculous Point in STV:TFF

SchwEnt wrote: View Post
It goes along with the idea of the Enterprise getting from Earth to Nimbus III in a day or two...

then going to the center of the galaxy the next day...

and then back to Earth by the end of the week.

Vast distances can be traveled at the speed of plot.
I've always wondered if maybe the false God was using some kind of mystical mumbo jumbo to increase the Enterprise's speed (ala so many guest aliens-of-the-week in TOS), allowing her to get to the center of the galaxy much, much faster than she should realistically be able to.

I'll pay you out on the Nimbus III one though. Maybe Scotty is just that good?

But then again, I suppose if the false God was truly capable of exerting *that* kind of power over a starship that far away, he wouldn't exactly be a "false" God, would he? He'd be a real one. Or at least, an alien with sufficient technical advancement to pass for one. And if that is so, would he really need Sybok to bring him a starship?

What *does* God need with a starship?
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Old February 21 2014, 04:09 PM   #11
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Re: Another Ridiculous Point in STV:TFF

There are only three near-consecutive lines in the movie that even mention the center of the galaxy. You could cut out those 20-30 seconds and have no effect whatsoever on the plot. So I prefer to disregard those references, along with the impossibly high turboshaft, and assume the "Great Barrier" is somewhere rather closer.
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Old February 21 2014, 04:26 PM   #12
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Re: Another Ridiculous Point in STV:TFF

alpha_leonis wrote: View Post
So what gives? How could the Klingon ship be across the Neutral Zone and even so close to Earth without any consequences at all? Especially in the context of the previous movie where, from the Klingons' perspective, Kirk had just recently been let off the hook for the "murder of a Klingon crew"?
"Consequences" are for real life. Not science fiction.
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Old February 22 2014, 12:01 AM   #13
Hober Mallow
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Re: Another Ridiculous Point in STV:TFF

Christopher wrote: View Post
There are only three near-consecutive lines in the movie that even mention the center of the galaxy. You could cut out those 20-30 seconds and have no effect whatsoever on the plot. So I prefer to disregard those references, along with the impossibly high turboshaft, and assume the "Great Barrier" is somewhere rather closer.
Perhaps "the center of the galaxy" is a metaphorical expression for the axis mundi, the spiritual center of the universe around which all the temporal world revolves, the still-point between time and eternity.
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Old February 24 2014, 04:50 PM   #14
F. King Daniel
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Re: Another Ridiculous Point in STV:TFF

Whatever it was originally conceived as, Trek (especially TOS and the classic movies) is a larger-than-life comic book world. If they say they went to the centre of the galaxy one episode then out beyond the rim in another, that's what they did.
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Old February 24 2014, 05:07 PM   #15
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Re: Another Ridiculous Point in STV:TFF

^I consider that a defeatist attitude. The goal of ST was to be something better and smarter than the lazy, nonsensical sci-fi of most other TV series, something more carefully thought out and more credible. If some later creators have fallen short of that goal, that doesn't mean we should just surrender to their sloppiness. Why should we settle for living up to the lowest standard the franchise has achieved, rather than continuing to strive for the highest? (Hey, that was my high school motto. Sursum ad summum.)
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