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Star Trek Movies XI+ Discuss J.J. Abrams' rebooted Star Trek here.

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Old May 8 2015, 06:46 PM   #1
slappy
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STID: Was There A Real "John Harrison"?

I remember everyone speculating about John Harrison, which as we know turned out to be Khan. The comics introduced the idea that Khan was given surgery to look the way he does. My question is, was there a real officer John Harrison out there?

I think it gives the story all the more weight to think that Marcus possibly kidnapped or more likely, killed the real John Harrison and replaced him with Khan. Dude was probably a good officer, minding his own business and he gets a phaser to the face while laying in his quarters.

RIP Imaginary John Harrison
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Old May 8 2015, 06:47 PM   #2
Mr. Laser Beam
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Re: STID: Was There A Real "John Harrison"?

As far as we know, there never was a real John Harrison. That was just Khan's false identity.
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Old May 8 2015, 06:51 PM   #3
Dukhat
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Re: STID: Was There A Real "John Harrison"?

I would think that if there was a real John Harrison, Khan or Marcus would have mentioned that.
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Old May 8 2015, 06:53 PM   #4
slappy
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Re: STID: Was There A Real "John Harrison"?

Dukhat wrote: View Post
I would think that if there was a real John Harrison, Khan or Marcus would have mentioned that.
Why? He'd be fairly insignificant to those two megalomaniacs.
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Old May 8 2015, 06:58 PM   #5
Dukhat
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Re: STID: Was There A Real "John Harrison"?

You asked the question, I gave my opinion.
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Old May 8 2015, 07:02 PM   #6
Mr. Laser Beam
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Re: STID: Was There A Real "John Harrison"?

If there had been a real Harrison, he would almost certainly have been nothing like Khan in attitude, personality and abilities. So when Khan shows up and acts, well, like Khan always acts, it would have raised too many questions as to why this supposed Harrison was acting so strangely. (And if there had been any living relatives, they'd have also noticed something was up, and would also have been a security risk to Section 31.) Much easier to invent a completely new identity for Khan to use.
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Old May 8 2015, 07:12 PM   #7
Kor
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Re: STID: Was There A Real "John Harrison"?

Kirk says that there was no record of John Harrison until a year prior (or something like that).
So no, there was no "real" John Harrison.

Kor
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Old May 8 2015, 07:14 PM   #8
M'Sharak
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Re: STID: Was There A Real "John Harrison"?

slappy wrote: View Post
My question is, was there a real officer John Harrison out there?
No.

It's right in the dialogue:
James T. Kirk: I looked up John Harrison. Until a year ago he didn't exist.
Khan: John Harrison was a fiction created the moment I was awoken by your Admiral Marcus to help him advance his cause, a smokescreen to conceal my true identity.
John Harrison was a fictional identity, created by Marcus (or by his order) when they woke up Khan. There had been no John Harrison before then.


Edit: Ninja'd by Kor.
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Old May 8 2015, 08:05 PM   #9
Jedi_Master
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Re: STID: Was There A Real "John Harrison"?

One would think that Admiral Marcus would have done a better job when creating the "John Harrison" identity, but it's possible that his ID was highly classified so that it took a Captain's security clearance or higher to even find out who he was.
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Old May 8 2015, 08:05 PM   #10
ManOnTheWave
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Re: STID: Was There A Real "John Harrison"?

If there were a real John Harrison who was liquidated and replaced, there would be too many chances for a relatives, classmates, coworkers, etc. to notice the guy behaved completely differently or dropped off the map. One wonders, however, why an intelligence agency in the 23rd century can't create a false history for a false identity for a secret agent. Kirk had no problem finding out when he suddenly popped out of the ether.

edit: Confound it! I have been ninja'd by The Jedi Master!
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Old May 8 2015, 08:52 PM   #11
Jedi_Master
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Re: STID: Was There A Real "John Harrison"?

ManOnTheWave wrote: View Post
If there were a real John Harrison who was liquidated and replaced, there would be too many chances for a relatives, classmates, coworkers, etc. to notice the guy behaved completely differently or dropped off the map. One wonders, however, why an intelligence agency in the 23rd century can't create a false history for a false identity for a secret agent. Kirk had no problem finding out when he suddenly popped out of the ether.

edit: Confound it! I have been ninja'd by The Jedi Master!
Don't worry - as of a year ago, I didn't exist.
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Old May 9 2015, 12:05 AM   #12
slappy
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Re: STID: Was There A Real "John Harrison"?

ManOnTheWave wrote: View Post
If there were a real John Harrison who was liquidated and replaced, there would be too many chances for a relatives, classmates, coworkers, etc. to notice the guy behaved completely differently or dropped off the map. One wonders, however, why an intelligence agency in the 23rd century can't create a false history for a false identity for a secret agent. Kirk had no problem finding out when he suddenly popped out of the ether.
Why invent a false identity for someone who nobody's supposed to know exists to begin with?

He was definitely hiding Khan's identity from someone for whatever reason.

Whoever the party or parties are, they're gonna notice that "John Harrison" just popped up out of nowhere too.


Jedi_Master wrote: View Post
One would think that Admiral Marcus would have done a better job when creating the "John Harrison" identity, but it's possible that his ID was highly classified so that it took a Captain's security clearance or higher to even find out who he was.
That's what I was thinking.

Realistically, why'd Marcus have to invent an identity or deceive anyone at all about Khan? He surely thought that Khan needed hiding from someone or he wouldn't have created "John Harrison" at all.

Maybe, to the general public, nobody on Marcus' crew existed. Harrison could've been an agent with an extremely high level of clearance. Top Starfleet might brass know he existed. However, he hid Khan because he needed to hide what he was doing from Starfleet as well.
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Old May 9 2015, 05:27 AM   #13
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Re: STID: Was There A Real "John Harrison"?

I still firmly think this film would have been infinitely better if John Harrison was John Harrison and one of Khan's lieutenants, but we wouldn't know that. The movie would have shown him as a genetic enhanced. Could have had almost the same exact movie, except that in the final scene where we see the frozen tubes, we see one that has Khan's name on it. Thereby, giving him a reason to have Wrath (because of what happened to Harrison), and setting up a possible sequel down the line.
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Old May 9 2015, 03:47 PM   #14
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Re: STID: Was There A Real "John Harrison"?

It actually makes a bit of sense that Marcus and Khan would jointly create a false identity for Khan that would be patently false, i.e. immediately recognizable as highly suspicious.

After all, Marcus wanted a war with the Klingons, and everything Khan did under the Harrison alias (until he confided in Kirk and tried to enlist the hero's sympathies) helped Marcus in reaching that goal. We would do well to assume that Khan's actions, including the seemingly spontaneous "terror bombing" and "penthouse massacring", were jointly planned to force this unlikely situation where a Starfleet patsy would chase a rogue agent to Klingon space, get killed by the Klingons, and make the Klingons a) angry and b) look guilty for harboring a criminal and then destroying a Starfleet ship on a just mission.

But why settle for this man being a rogue agent? Associating his evil deeds with Starfleet would make Starfleet look bad. Better make him a "rogue agent" instead - a pretender who doesn't even exist in Starfleet records.

If Kirk could access the records, anybody could (or conversely, if Marcus really wanted them secret at all, he'd first make sure they were secret from Kirk). But who knows that John Harrison was supposed to be a Starfleet employee? Kirk, Spock, Pike and the people at the Daystrom Building penthouse - in other words, dead people. When Marcus gets his war, the Federation gets the story that the hunted criminal was but an impostor, and Starfleet doesn't get a blemish for trusting the wrong man.

Okay, so this gives "stretching" a whole new definition. But only because creating a year-long false backstory is not the most efficient and plausible way to make the public think this man was an impostor...

The simpler explanation was that there was no need for a convincing backstory, because everybody who knew about John Harrison would be dead within days (if not minutes!) of learning about him. John Harrison only needed to convince long enough to get the chosen patsy (Marcus no doubt had Kirk in mind from the get-go) to go after him.

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Old May 10 2015, 03:32 AM   #15
slappy
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Re: STID: Was There A Real "John Harrison"?

Capt. Ben Sisko wrote: View Post
I still firmly think this film would have been infinitely better if John Harrison was John Harrison and one of Khan's lieutenants, but we wouldn't know that. The movie would have shown him as a genetic enhanced. Could have had almost the same exact movie, except that in the final scene where we see the frozen tubes, we see one that has Khan's name on it. Thereby, giving him a reason to have Wrath (because of what happened to Harrison), and setting up a possible sequel down the line.
You couldn't BE more right and your idea is great.

I'd add to that, Harrison could've then died instead of being captured at the end. When Khan awoke, he would have plenty of reason to be pissed because Starfleet dared to capture him and his crew, use one of his lieutenants as a lackey, and then kill him.

Alas, they couldn't stop themselves from pulling the trigger on Khan like it was a weight they had to get off their backs. The character deserved better.
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