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

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Old July 2 2013, 01:29 AM   #1
alpha_leonis
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TSFS Destruct Sequence: Why Chekov?

As we all know, the destruct sequence on the original Enterprise required voiceprint and code verification from the top three officers serving at the time.

In "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield", the original episode where the sequence was introduced, those officers were Kirk, Spock and Scotty (who were established as the top three command officers; Spock served as Captain when Kirk was away; in the absence of both, Scotty took over.)

So we get to the destruct sequence in TSFS. Kirk kept the first code; Spock, of course, was otherwise occupied, so Scotty moved in to the second slot. When the sequence was initiated, why did they bring in Chekov for the third code? Why not Sulu, who fell right behind Scotty in the Enterprise chain of command? Had Chekov become senior to Sulu by virtue of the fact that he'd been a First Officer in his own right until just prior to the events of the movie?

Last edited by alpha_leonis; July 2 2013 at 01:42 AM.
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Old July 2 2013, 01:40 AM   #2
BillJ
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Re: TSFS Destruct Sequence: Why Chekov?

I'm not sure if Sulu was really in the chain-of-command as he was suppose to be getting his own ship originally in The Wrath of Khan and was essentially taking one last joyride on the Enterprise.
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Old July 2 2013, 01:42 AM   #3
Sran
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Re: TSFS Destruct Sequence: Why Chekov?

^Not cannon, but Sulu was actually serving as first-officer of the Exeter at the time of TSFS. Recall his line in TWOK: "I'm delighted. Any chance to go aboard the Enterprise." As he wasn't a normal part of the command crew, he probably didn't have an access code that would be recogized by the computer.

It's possible Chekov was re-assigned either to Enterprise or directly to Kirk after Reliant was destroyed, as he wouldn't have had a ship to go back to. Given his involvement in Khan's escape and the creation of Genesis, it may be that Starfleet wasn't willing to offer him a ship of his own, so he stayed with Kirk because he had nowhere else to go. Terrell was dead, and it's not clear what happened to the surviving Reliant crew members.

Kirk was himself only in command of the vessel temporarily, but if we're to believe that he would have taken possession of all command codes from Spock, it makes sense that he would have been able to arm the destruct sequence using the same code as before. Scotty was still assigned to Enterprise as chief engineer, so nothing would have changed for him.

OTOH, it may also be that the computer was expecting input from the vessel's commanding officer, chief engineer, and science officer. As Spock was absent, Chekov would have been the right choice to enter his code.

I don't necessarily believe that only the top three ranking officers present would be needed. Remember, Beverly Crusher entered her code to enable Enterprise-E's sequence, and physicians normally fall outide the normal chain of command, even if they hold a fairly high rank.

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Old July 2 2013, 01:53 AM   #4
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Re: TSFS Destruct Sequence: Why Chekov?

In TWOK, after Terrell committed suicide in the Genesis cave, after they all beamed up, after being in Sick Bay, Chekov came to the bridge and volunteered his services. Kirk told him to take the weapons station. His command codes must have still been active in TSFS.
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Old July 2 2013, 01:59 AM   #5
Sran
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Re: TSFS Destruct Sequence: Why Chekov?

Carcazoid wrote: View Post
In TWOK, after Terrell committed suicide in the Genesis cave, after they all beamed up, after being in Sick Bay, Chekov came to the bridge and volunteered his services. Kirk told him to take the weapons station. He must have still had command codes or whatever.
Well, I don't know that one needs specific command codes to use a station that's already in use. Codes are typically needed to release a computer lock-out (as seen in TNG and beyond). Having said that, it's not clear how many command codes each officer has or what they're for. It's possible that an officer has the option of keeping his command codes for a specific vessel stored in the ship's computer after he leaves in case he were to serve aboard the vessel again in some capacity. It's sort of like keeping an email address even after leaving a job or a school, as some places will allow you to keep your username and password.

It's not clear why Chekov was chosen for something that Sulu could easily have done himself. Sulu took over the captain's chair while Kirk was in his quarters at the outset of TSFS, but that may have been because Chekov was already in the midst of a pre-approach scan at the science station.

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Old July 2 2013, 02:15 AM   #6
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Re: TSFS Destruct Sequence: Why Chekov?

Perhaps another operative question, besides "Who gets to input the destruct sequence on the Bridge", might have been, "who is best able to perform the complicated transporter sequence that needs to be programmed?"

At that moment they needed to beam themselves down to Genesis, and beam the Klingon crew over at effectively the same time. Perhaps Sulu is the best transporter operator in the group (after Scotty himself, but Scotty had seniority and was still needed on the bridge for the destruct sequence.)

Therefore perhaps it was just a case of Kirk allocating his resources most efficiently?
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Old July 2 2013, 02:18 AM   #7
Workbee
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Re: TSFS Destruct Sequence: Why Chekov?

What troubles me more about the sequence is the fact that even after 15 years and a major refit, they hadn't changed the codes. Of course, the need to change passwords is more apparent to us now in this age of multiple passwords and identity theft then it was in 1983. Even so, it seems at the very least the codes would have been changed after "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" seeing as everyone on the bridge got to hear not only the codes, but the abort code as well.

OTOH, it was a nice little nod to continuity in the movie. And watching the two scenes gives a very interesting contrast -- in LTBYLB, it was part of a calculated power play for control of the ship -- while Kirk was aware of the risk, and I believe would have done it (as duty required), you could see he was playing up the situation to intimidate Bele. Kirk was aiming for gaining control, not destroying the ship. In TSFS, this instead was a struggle to "turn death into a fighting chance to live" There was no plan of retaining the ship or getting the Klingons to back down. Kirk wasn't bluffing or playing a game of "space chicken" to come out ahead. He knew he WAS destroying the ship for real, and that really came through in each of the actors' performances.
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Old July 2 2013, 02:30 AM   #8
Sran
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Re: TSFS Destruct Sequence: Why Chekov?

One other thought: we know that the Klingons were preparing to board the ship, but it wasn't clear exactly when that would happen. Kirk had surrendered and was willing to let them come aboard, but he couldn't have known that they would wait until the agreed-upon time before beaming over.

Whatever happened, McCoy's survival was absolutely necessary, so he could not have been on the ship when it was destroyed. That's why Kirk sent him to the transporter room first rather than having him wait on the bridge. Had the Klingons decided to board the ship sooner than expected, McCoy would not have been able to defend himself against Kruge's men. Sulu was only one person, but he had extensive hand-to-hand combat experience and could have defended McCoy long enough for him to get off the ship.

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Old July 2 2013, 11:12 AM   #9
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Re: TSFS Destruct Sequence: Why Chekov?

Workbee wrote: View Post
What troubles me more about the sequence is the fact that even after 15 years and a major refit, they hadn't changed the codes. Of course, the need to change passwords is more apparent to us now in this age of multiple passwords and identity theft then it was in 1983. Even so, it seems at the very least the codes would have been changed after "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" seeing as everyone on the bridge got to hear not only the codes, but the abort code as well.
Maybe they change the code every month but it cycles back every 15 years.
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Old July 2 2013, 01:29 PM   #10
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Re: TSFS Destruct Sequence: Why Chekov?

Or maybe Nimoy just wanted Chekov to say that line.
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Old July 2 2013, 02:07 PM   #11
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Re: TSFS Destruct Sequence: Why Chekov?

That's way too reasonable.
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Old July 2 2013, 02:36 PM   #12
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Re: TSFS Destruct Sequence: Why Chekov?

Chekov identifies himself as "acting Science Officer" to the computer. Perhaps that is the required position, along with Captain and Chief Engineer.
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Old July 2 2013, 02:49 PM   #13
C.E. Evans
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Re: TSFS Destruct Sequence: Why Chekov?

DaleC76 wrote: View Post
Chekov identifies himself as "acting Science Officer" to the computer. Perhaps that is the required position, along with Captain and Chief Engineer.
That's been my take on it too. It's also something that may vary from ship (on other vessels, it might be require the Security Chief or whoever was third in the chain-of-command).
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Old July 2 2013, 02:56 PM   #14
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Re: TSFS Destruct Sequence: Why Chekov?

Sometimes I think people focus too much on continuity and not the overall themes a film wants to convey. The Enterprise, in Trek III, is seen as inseparable from its crew.

Holding onto the same codes from TOS, which the crew had committed to memory, even through reassignments, helped reinforce that. It's like, wherever Checkov goes, he will always remember the destruct codes of the Enterprise, almost like holding a locket with a picture of your loved-one in it. It's part of the sentimentality of it all, and that little pregnant pause where the ball passes to Checkov and he has to recall the code from memory is very effective.
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Old July 2 2013, 03:01 PM   #15
C.E. Evans
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Re: TSFS Destruct Sequence: Why Chekov?

mos6507 wrote: View Post
Sometimes I think people focus too much on continuity and not the overall themes a film wants to convey. The Enterprise, in Trek III, is seen as inseparable from its crew.

Holding onto the same codes from TOS, which the crew had committed to memory, even through reassignments, helped reinforce that. It's like, wherever Checkov goes, he will always remember the destruct codes of the Enterprise, almost like holding a locket with a picture of your loved-one in it. It's part of the sentimentality of it all, and that little pregnant pause where the ball passes to Checkov and he has to recall the code from memory is very effective.
I always saw Chekov' brief pause as being reluctance because he knew it was going to be the end of the Enterprise.
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