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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 18 2007, 11:58 AM   #1
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The Biology of a Ceti Eel

A few minutes ago I finished reading the original script for "The Wrath Of Khan". Hell, what a good story! The dialog is so spot-on and stylish.

But, nit-picky as I am, I have a little question concerning the Ceti Eel. When introducing them, Khan says they killed twenty of his people (including his beloved wife). Before implanting two of the eels into Terrel's and Chekov's ears he further explains that they "wrap themselves around the cerebral cortex. This has the effect of rendering the victim extremely susceptible to suggestion. Later, as they grow, follows madness, paralysis -- and death."

All of this seems to be true with Captain Terrel, who later struggles with madness and kills himself with a phaser. But what happens to Chekov?! He seems to be on the verge of madness, too. But he doesn't die. No, the eel actually leaves him for no reason at all! Why -- or am I missing something?

(And yes, I know McCoy is giving Chekov some kind of injection. But how could he possibly know about the Ceti Eel?)
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Old July 18 2007, 12:27 PM   #2
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Re: The Biology of a Ceti Eel

One also wonders how the eel can find its way to a person's cerebral cortex without destroying the person's inner ear.
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Old July 18 2007, 12:28 PM   #3
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Re: The Biology of a Ceti Eel

Belar said:
But what happens to Chekov?! He seems to be on the verge of madness, too. But he doesn't die. No, the eel actually leaves him... Why -- or am I missing something?
Couldn't find his brain. Starved to death...
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Old July 18 2007, 12:53 PM   #4
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Re: The Biology of a Ceti Eel

Well, cynically, the "rule of a regular character" shouldn't surprise anyone.

By way of Treksplanation, perhaps seeing his captain about to kill his mentor...and THEN seeing him turn the phaser on himself caused such elevated synaptic activity in his brain the eel found it an irritant and exited before it had fully developed which would have killed Chekov.

Which actually makes a certain amount of sense...perhaps the eel's presence in the cortex normally forces a reduction in synaptic activity, making the subject dull and open to suggestion.

I'm just spitballin' here, of course.
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Old July 18 2007, 01:06 PM   #5
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Re: The Biology of a Ceti Eel

The young eels are probably psychically connected. When its sibling was in distress, the other one came investigating. Then Kirk phasered it.
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Old July 18 2007, 01:13 PM   #6
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Re: The Biology of a Ceti Eel

Therin of Andor said:
The young eels are probably psychically connected. When its sibling was in distress, the other one came investigating. Then Kirk phasered it.
Yes, of course this could all be true. But I was just wondering if there is an on-screen explaination for this. That seems not to be the case here.

Ah, I found a plot hole!
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Old July 18 2007, 02:01 PM   #7
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Re: The Biology of a Ceti Eel

Belar said:
I was just wondering if there is an on-screen explaination for this. That seems not to be the case here.
Ah, I found a plot hole!
Why should movie have to explain every bit of action? Sometimes I run late for work and apologize to the boss. Other times I arrive early, but don't explain that I had a restless night and decided to get up in case I drifted off and missed the alarm. And sometimes I accidentally arrive on time. I leave it up to him to ponder what's up, if he so desires.
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Old July 18 2007, 02:16 PM   #8
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Re: The Biology of a Ceti Eel

Therin of Andor said:
Belar said:
I was just wondering if there is an on-screen explaination for this. That seems not to be the case here.
Ah, I found a plot hole!
Why should movie have to explain every bit of action? Sometimes I run late for work and apologize to the boss. Other times I arrive early, but don't explain that I had a restless night and decided to get up in case I drifted off and missed the alarm. And sometimes I accidentally arrive on time. I leave it up to him to ponder what's up, if he so desires.
Yes. I feel exactly the same about that! STAR TREK (or, more specifically, its writers) does not have to make EVERYTHING clear to me. In fact, that's what I like about it! That not everything has to be clear. That there's room for interpretation (maybe that's why I love DS9 [and its end] so much). After all this is the most fun stuff to read in this forum. IMHO.

What I just wanted to know is if THIS is one of these occasions where there is no further explanation. Which'd be really okay for me. :thumbsup:
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Old July 18 2007, 02:45 PM   #9
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Re: The Biology of a Ceti Eel

Something about Kryton's "Trekspanation" about increased synaptic activity got me thinking. That might not be too far fetched, but what if it was a combination of factors that ultimately did the trick?

Perhaps it was part of McCoy's field treatment when they were discovered. Remember both men were pretty disoriented; maybe he administered a stimulant or other agent at that time. (Not sure I recall seeing that, but it's at least likely- They did cut away for a short time for Saavik to tell Uhura to shut up!) Maybe that alone didn't immediately affect the eels, but after they beamed into the cave, and both guys were put into the position of increased stress and therefore rushes of adrenaline and what-not, the combination caused the eels to want to flee. Khan knew that the eels made victims very susceptible to suggestion, and madness would follow, but then he had only ever observed this effect in people that were primarily loyal to him. Perhaps a combination of stimulant and some moral tendency to fight Khan's "suggestions," lead to increased stress and a natural brain chemistry that was no longer an optimal environment for the brain bugs. Chekov's made it out, Terrel's didn't make it to the escape hatch.
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Old July 18 2007, 02:56 PM   #10
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Re: The Biology of a Ceti Eel

Basill said:... both guys were put into the position of increased stress and therefore rushes of adrenaline and what-not, the combination caused the eels to want to flee. Khan knew that the eels made victims very susceptible to suggestion, but then he had only ever observed this effect in people that were primarily loyal to him. Perhaps a combination of stimulant and some moral tendency to fight these "suggestions," lead to increased stress and a natural brain chemistry that was no longer an optimal environment for the brain bugs. Chekov's made it out, Terrel's didn't make it to the escape hatch.
You'd think that when you're under the stress of dying (or is it just me who considers it unpleasant) -- like it happened to Khan's wife and his other nineteen men -- it would also lead to "a natural brain chemistry [that is] no longer an optimal environment for the brain bugs". I think, this really can't be an explanation.
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Old July 18 2007, 03:19 PM   #11
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Re: The Biology of a Ceti Eel

It's definitely possible...
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Old July 18 2007, 03:33 PM   #12
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Re: The Biology of a Ceti Eel

Belar said:
Basill said:... both guys were put into the position of increased stress and therefore rushes of adrenaline and what-not, the combination caused the eels to want to flee. Khan knew that the eels made victims very susceptible to suggestion, but then he had only ever observed this effect in people that were primarily loyal to him. Perhaps a combination of stimulant and some moral tendency to fight these "suggestions," lead to increased stress and a natural brain chemistry that was no longer an optimal environment for the brain bugs. Chekov's made it out, Terrel's didn't make it to the escape hatch.
You'd think that when you're under the stress of dying (or is it just me who considers it unpleasant) -- like it happened to Khan's wife and his other nineteen men -- it would also lead to "a natural brain chemistry [that is] no longer an optimal environment for the brain bugs". I think, this really can't be an explanation.
Well, my entire hypothesis depends on the fact that the eel that came out of Chekov came out prematurely. We don't actually know what the optimal environment for the eels are. Maybe "...madness and... death." is optimal. Maybe that is part of their life cycle. they were certainly feeding because they were growing. Maybe they even reproduce in dying victims. All I am saying is that the chemicals native to the brain (totally normal, even during times of stress) may have interacted with a stimulant (a non-native chemical) McCoy possibly introduced earlier. Kind of like Mentos and Diet-Coke! Once again, its just a treksplanation.

Now maybe Chekov's eel came out just as it would have in any other subject, (Madness) but since Khan's people didn't have sufficient emergency triage equiptment/supplies, or weapon's capable of incineration, they passed in a very different manner. (Death) Thus, Khan's predictions were fairly accurate, but in this instance, Terrel died during the madness phase by his own hand, and Chekov was able to be saved within hours of the eels egress.

Now that I think about it, Occum's razor makes that the more plausible explanation. But still all in fun

P.S. Chekov really has had some bad luck in Trek lore regarding his brain eh?
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Old July 18 2007, 04:15 PM   #13
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Re: The Biology of a Ceti Eel

Basill said:P.S. Chekov really has had some bad luck in Trek lore regarding his brain eh?
For me, Chekov died years ago (in NV's "To Serve All My Days").

So, what you are saying is that McCoy gave them (Terrel and Chekov) something BEFORE they were on the Genesis Planet. Yeah, maybe that could have changed the normal way in which a Ceti Eel operates within the human body. Now I understand.
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Old July 18 2007, 04:19 PM   #14
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Re: The Biology of a Ceti Eel

It's worth noting too that there's no way for Chekov and Terrell to be carrying phasers in the Regula transporter room, the way the TWOK uniforms are designed. They just suddenly have them when the betrayal scene comes along.

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Old July 18 2007, 09:10 PM   #15
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Re: The Biology of a Ceti Eel

I'm not sure where Chekov got his, but I'm pretty sure that Terrell took Jedda's phaser in the confusion of the fight between Kirk and David.
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