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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 January 8 2014, 02:38 AM   #1
2takesfrakes
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Put George & Gracie on the Federation Council?

Now that we know that Humpback Whales - and they alone - are the most intelligent and sentient of all living beings on earth ... do they get to join STARFLEET?

Do they have a seat on The Council? Do we give them a com badge and some clothes to wear, now that we know they're smart enough to realize they're swimming naked?

Seriously ... these whales are in contact with incredibly powerful aliens. They can't just be allowed to shovel down shrimp and piss in the pool without having them share some responsibility with our other galactic neighbors and not just the one ...
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Old January 8 2014, 02:47 AM   #2
Sran
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Re: Put George & Gracie on the Federation Council?

^What?

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Old January 8 2014, 02:54 AM   #3
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Re: Put George & Gracie on the Federation Council?

Put succinctly, Humpback Whales are portrayed as sentient and in direct communication with powerful aliens with the ability to wipe out our planet. The implications are staggering, insofar as information exchange between these species. So now, it seems rather irresponsible to not include these creatures - the whales - as Earth's representatives with other species throughout the Federation .. and possibly even First Contact. Having them just frollick in the surf can no longer cut it, with what we know now about them. For all intents and purposes ... they have become Earth's "Aquatics," like what the Xindi had.
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Old January 8 2014, 03:15 AM   #4
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Re: Put George & Gracie on the Federation Council?

^It's an interesting idea. I do vaguely recall background dialogue in "Yesterday's Enterprise" stating that the vessel had a section called "Cetacean Ops." It was a specialized area run by dolphins, who helped with ship navigation and propulsion. It's possible other sea-dwelling organisms could have held important positions within Starfleet and the Federation, but it's not entirely clear how George and Gracie would be able to communicate with their peers (beyond Spock mind-melding with them) unless a vocoder or synthesizer could be adapted to allow their songs and vocal tones to sound like language humanoids could understand.

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Old January 8 2014, 04:43 AM   #5
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Re: Put George & Gracie on the Federation Council?

Federation councilors appear to represent planets, not species. A given planet can have citizens of more than one species. Humpback whales are residents, perhaps citizens, of Earth, and thus would be represented by the Federation Councilor for Earth, regardless of that councilor's species. A humpback could presumably run for the office on an even footing (pardon the expression) with any other Earth citizen, but wouldn't just be given the position.
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Old January 8 2014, 05:30 AM   #6
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Re: Put George & Gracie on the Federation Council?

Depends on how much plankton the job pays.
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Old January 8 2014, 10:05 AM   #7
Robert Comsol
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Re: Put George & Gracie on the Federation Council?

2takesfrakes wrote: View Post
Seriously ... these whales are in contact with incredibly powerful aliens. They can't just be allowed to shovel down shrimp and piss in the pool without having them share some responsibility with our other galactic neighbors and not just the one ...
After that Cetacean probe visit, I'm sure that a whole bunch of scientists and probably some mind melding Vulcans tried to learn from George & Gracie WTF just happened in ST IV.

For all we know, the probe could have communicated something like "I'm your galactic Guardian Angel and would like you to perform some excercises to see that you are fine".

The one thing I really like about this side story are its "Solaris" (1972 !!!) connotations, i.e. an alien mind (the probe) so alien and different from our understanding that it is impossible to communicate with it (in his original Solaris novel Stanislaw Lem illustrated extensively the frustration of human scientists having discovered sentient alien life but being utterly unable to communicate with it. It's a great read that actually complements the Tarkovsky film very nicely, which mostly concentrates on the protagonists and their unresolved issues).

As part of a new insurance policy I presume they are watched (and protected) 24 hours a day.

However, as some sort of Earth representatives I assume George & Gracie lack understanding of the 23rd Century or humanoid interaction in general.

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Old January 8 2014, 11:51 AM   #8
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Re: Put George & Gracie on the Federation Council?



Talking about "changing the world with a song," Humpbacks did just that! (With all of those clicks, moans and wheezes ...)

And it's interesting to see this exchange of ideas on the subject, I find it interesting. The "Solaris" comparison was certainly unexpected. It's so typical of STAR TREK to bring up some wild concept like this and then just drop it, altogether, never to have it come up again. The idea that Humback whales should be not only Human intelligent, but of an apparent superior intelligence to our own is one pill to swallow. Expecting us to believe that they would, some-how, have an earnest and meaningful correspondence with such an all-powerful Alien intelligence is pushing it way over the top! But since they brought it up ...

It does seem like something more should be done about this, within the Federation. The implication is that Gillian Taylor is simply supervising the welfare of the beasts and now that the probe has gone off and seems satisfied ... so are we! But our not paying any attention to what they were up to kind of put us in the bind we saw in TVH ... who knows what the hell they're saying to this probe, or who else they might be in contact with? I've been curious what would be an appropriate "in universe" course of action? I would suspect that it's extreme and quite possibly very absurd ...
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Old January 8 2014, 12:16 PM   #9
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Re: Put George & Gracie on the Federation Council?

For me, the most irritating "protagonist" of the film remains the Catacean Probe / Guardian Angel / God. Here are two rationalization attempts, that probably don't hold a lot of water:
  • The Probe comes to Earth in a response to the 21st Century whale's call for help ("the land dwellers are killing us"). Upon arrival the Probe realizes whales have become extinct and excercizes the wrath of the whale's "god" by punishing the land dwellers by drowning these in water and depriving them of energy. However, if the whale's (telepathic?) call for help only travelled at the speed of light, it had to be expected that their call would reach the receiver way too late to do anything to help them.
  • The Probe is on some kind of patrol mission that has "now" taken it back to Earth. Obviously, it shows little regard for other lifeforms it encounters on its way and deprives those of power. Realizing that whales on Earth have become extinct now additionally enrages the Probe and it decides to punish the other lifeforms on Earth by drowning them.
In either case, the Probe rather displays characteristics of a little child (like V'ger) than what I'd expect from a super-intelligent alien life form.

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Old January 8 2014, 12:21 PM   #10
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Re: Put George & Gracie on the Federation Council?

JURASSIC PARK is the same way, with its regard for dinosaurs over Human Life. Apparently, in STAR TREK IV, once again, we Humans are given a big ol' slice of Humble Pie, being made to realize that we are inferior to another extinct animal.
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Old January 8 2014, 02:27 PM   #11
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Re: Put George & Gracie on the Federation Council?

2takesfrakes wrote: View Post
Now that we know that Humpback Whales - and they alone - are the most intelligent and sentient of all living beings on earth ... do they get to join STARFLEET?

Do they have a seat on The Council? Do we give them a com badge and some clothes to wear, now that we know they're smart enough to realize they're swimming naked?

Seriously ... these whales are in contact with incredibly powerful aliens. They can't just be allowed to shovel down shrimp and piss in the pool without having them share some responsibility with our other galactic neighbors and not just the one ...
Read "Dark Mirror" by Diane Duane. It features Hwiii, a floating (via anti-gravs) alien dolphin. I once read that Hwiii was supposed to be an Earth dolphin before executive meddling forced a change.
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Old January 9 2014, 01:28 AM   #12
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Re: Put George & Gracie on the Federation Council?

"Dark Mirror," eh? I hear alot of bad about Diane Duane's authorship, how she pens some alter-ego of herself, weaving them into her STAR TREK novels and making them the focus. In any event, I give her credit for tackling this problem, because, again, you've that that whole IDIC aspect to the STAR TREK universe and that universe is going to have to be inclusive of responsible citizenry from the Whale population(s). That it's an alien dolphin here, is kind of disappointing, although, I'm constantly in awe of the almost Human porpose.

I would've expected that kind of similarity from a Great Ape, I never would've turned to the sea looking for it. And yet, thanks to Lenny Nimoy, here it is ... tons of big ass Humpback whale presenting logistical hurdles to finding them a place in STARFLEET ACADEMY, and so forth. It's no wonder Nimoy just let the movie end with "And they lived Happily Ever After," rather than straighten out this bag of snakes he unleashed even bringing up this idea, in the first place.
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Old January 9 2014, 01:56 AM   #13
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Re: Put George & Gracie on the Federation Council?

2takesfrakes wrote: View Post
"Dark Mirror," eh? I hear alot of bad about Diane Duane's authorship, how she pens some alter-ego of herself, weaving them into her STAR TREK novels and making them the focus.
Huh? Is it possible you're confusing her with Diane Carey, whose Piper character in Dreadnought! and Battlestations! was something of a self-insertion?


I would've expected that kind of similarity from a Great Ape, I never would've turned to the sea looking for it. And yet, thanks to Lenny Nimoy, here it is ... tons of big ass Humpback whale presenting logistical hurdles to finding them a place in STARFLEET ACADEMY, and so forth.
It should be made clear that that dolphin and orca personnel in the Enterprise-D's Cetacean Ops were civilian navigational consultants, according to the TNG Technical Manual. So they weren't Starfleet officers. People tend to forget that the E-D's complement included a large number of civilian scientists. Although that's because the show itself pretty much ignored that after the first season or two.
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Old January 9 2014, 02:03 AM   #14
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Re: Put George & Gracie on the Federation Council?

Christopher wrote: View Post
2takesfrakes wrote: View Post
"Dark Mirror," eh? I hear alot of bad about Diane Duane's authorship, how she pens some alter-ego of herself, weaving them into her STAR TREK novels and making them the focus.
Huh? Is it possible you're confusing her with Diane Carey, whose Piper character in Dreadnought! and Battlestations! was something of a self-insertion?
I'm pretty sure he means Diane Carey, whose... "peculiarities" are well-established. I've never heard any complain about Diane Duane. (Surely not from me, at least. I love her books.)
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Old January 9 2014, 02:11 AM   #15
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Re: Put George & Gracie on the Federation Council?

Diane Duane wrote Dark Mirror, which was a really good novel for a lot of reasons, not just the well done mirror universe.

I remember the cetacean crew members, but have forgotten if they were in the prime universe or the mirror.
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