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

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Old January 22 2009, 01:57 AM   #1
CoveTom
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Did Khan Have A Point?

Our TWOK Line-by-Line thread has gotten me to asking myself some questions.

Khan talks about the explosion of Ceti Alpha VI and the effect that it had on Ceti Alpha V. He says "Admiral Kirk never bothered to check on our progress." Given the fact that the crew of the Reliant thought they were beaming down to Ceti Alpha V, he seems to be correct.

So... was he right to be upset on that point? I'm not saying his actions were justified by any means. But to drop a group of people off on some random planet and then to leave them there for 15 years without ever checking on them? We wouldn't do that to our most heinous criminals in the prison system.

Should somebody from Starfleet have periodically checked up on Khan and his people as a part of basic humane treatment toward them? Or if Kirk did the whole thing off the record, then did he not have some responsibility himself to check up on them?
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Old January 22 2009, 02:20 AM   #2
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Re: Did Khan Have A Point?

CoveTom wrote: View Post
Our TWOK Line-by-Line thread has gotten me to asking myself some questions.

Khan talks about the explosion of Ceti Alpha VI and the effect that it had on Ceti Alpha V. He says "Admiral Kirk never bothered to check on our progress." Given the fact that the crew of the Reliant thought they were beaming down to Ceti Alpha V, he seems to be correct.

So... was he right to be upset on that point? I'm not saying his actions were justified by any means. But to drop a group of people off on some random planet and then to leave them there for 15 years without ever checking on them? We wouldn't do that to our most heinous criminals in the prison system.

Should somebody from Starfleet have periodically checked up on Khan and his people as a part of basic humane treatment toward them? Or if Kirk did the whole thing off the record, then did he not have some responsibility himself to check up on them?
it never made any sense to me that the reliant crew didnt know that this particular star system was one planet short. i mean certainly the enterprise had charted this system 15 years before . you mean no one noticed that?
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Old January 22 2009, 02:30 AM   #3
Admiral Buzzkill
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Re: Did Khan Have A Point?

Yes, he had a point - inevitably so, because it was the writer's point as well: Jim Kirk likes pat answers that work for him, and he's not great on follow-up.

In the same movie he has to face (among other things):

A son "who wants to kill him." When he says to Carol "I did what you wanted, I stayed away," her incredulous response ("What I wanted?") is clearly meant to suggest that from her point of view Jimmy has interpreted the terms of their relationship in a way that works for him but is not necessarily the whole truth;

A life-or-death situation which he expects to resolve, if at all, by falling back on Scotty's ingenuity. Spock assesses the situation more realistically and does the one thing that will work, rather than avoiding a hard choice and hoping for the best;

The fact that he cheated on a test of character in school simply because he didn't like to lose.

The single theme that ties everything in TWOK together is that Kirk has always favored the easy way out, and it all comes back to bite him in the ass this time.

Khan's line isn't there just by happy accident.
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Old January 22 2009, 02:44 AM   #4
Mr. Laser Beam
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Re: Did Khan Have A Point?

Starship Polaris wrote: View Post
A son "who wants to kill him." When he says to Carol "I did what you wanted, I stayed away," her incredulous response ("What I wanted?") is clearly meant to suggest that from her point of view Jimmy has interpreted the terms of their relationship in a way that works for him but is not necessarily the whole truth
She never says that. Nor do I think she even emotes it.

Kirk: I did what you wanted. I stayed away. Why didn't you tell me?
Carol: How can you ask me that? Were we together? Were we going to be? You had your world, and I had mine. And I wanted him in mine.
She and Kirk had fully agreed to stay out of each other's lives. Kirk was not misinterpreting that. Their relationship, as it stood, worked for both of them, and they both knew that. The only reason she was 'incredulous' was due to Kirk's question - "why didn't you tell me?" (presumably, why didn't she tell him of David's birth. I'm guessing that it took awhile before Kirk even knew he had a son.) And in the grand scheme of things, that was a minor nitpick for her to make. I mean, doesn't every father have the right to know about his children's existence? So I gotta go with Kirk on this one.

As for never checking on Khan: I do have to agree, Kirk should have done a follow-up. The explosion of Ceti Alpha VI was certainly newsworthy. I doubt there'd be a reason for Kirk never to find out about it. Kirk probably figured Khan died in the explosion and that was the end of that.
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Old January 22 2009, 02:52 AM   #5
Norrin Radd
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Re: Did Khan Have A Point?

Through Kirk's logs, I'm sure the Federation would have known about Khan being stranded and where. It's not like it would have technically been Kirk's responsibility to check up on that. At that point it becomes Starfleet's responsiblity more than his because he is merely their representative. Would Kirk have a moral responsibility to check up on them, still? Maybe.

However, I have a theory...maybe Kirk was under orders not to check up on them. He didn't have a choice. With the Federation's queeziness over genetically engineered super humans (as shown in other series and episodes), maybe the planet was under quarantine. They didn't want anybody other than the original Enterprise crew to know about it. As to why Chekov would be so surprised since he already had knowledge...well his excuse is he thought he was on a different planet.
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Old January 22 2009, 05:31 AM   #6
GalaxyX
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Re: Did Khan Have A Point?

Yes, he had a point - inevitably so, because it was the writer's point as well: Jim Kirk likes pat answers that work for him, and he's not great on follow-up.

In the same movie he has to face (among other things):

A son "who wants to kill him." When he says to Carol "I did what you wanted, I stayed away," her incredulous response ("What I wanted?") is clearly meant to suggest that from her point of view Jimmy has interpreted the terms of their relationship in a way that works for him but is not necessarily the whole truth;

A life-or-death situation which he expects to resolve, if at all, by falling back on Scotty's ingenuity. Spock assesses the situation more realistically and does the one thing that will work, rather than avoiding a hard choice and hoping for the best;

The fact that he cheated on a test of character in school simply because he didn't like to lose.

The single theme that ties everything in TWOK together is that Kirk has always favored the easy way out, and it all comes back to bite him in the ass this time.

Khan's line isn't there just by happy accident.
You know, subconsciously I've always seen it like that, and that's what makes it a great movie.
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Old January 22 2009, 06:33 AM   #7
Red Ranger
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Re: Did Khan Have A Point?

CoveTom:

An interesting question. Should Kirk have checked on Khan's progress? Would've been nice. But I think Norrin Radd is onto something when he proposes that maybe Starfleet quarantined Ceti Alpha V, making it a forbidden planet. We have no evidence of this, of course, but it would make sense. After all, I doubt Talos IV was the only quarantined planet.

After all, Khan took over Enterprise, nearly killed its captain and threatened its entire crew. Starfleet may have felt that by prohibiting contact with Khan and his followers, they were keeping the Federation, and by extension, the rest of the galaxy, safe from genetically superior supermen with designs on interstellar conquest.

Look what Khan did with just one ship in TWOK. If they had decided to simply go wherever they went as Joachim suggested, who knows what other kind of damage they could have done? They probably would have become quite successful pirates -- or maybe allied themselves with either the Klingons or Romulans.

Perhaps Starfleet did several probability studies on what kind of scenarios Khan and his followers might have pursued if they got hold of another Constitution-class starship, or any other kind of starship. Then they decided: "Let them rot on that planet. After all, since they're so superior, they ought to be able to survive. And if not, well, the safety of the Federation is paramount." And they certainly did survive even a planet-wide disaster, something that was probably not considered a likely occurrence.

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Old January 22 2009, 06:50 AM   #8
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Re: Did Khan Have A Point?

Kahn had a point, Kirk should have checked in once in a while.

Look at it in the context of Arik Soong and the Augments, and then think about Kirk's feelings, as a student of history. What if someone found out who wanted Kahn to have another chance? Could be bad.

I hate when Enterprise solves problems.

I always heard Kirk's line to Carol as, "Why didn't you tell him?" (emphasis added). Anyone else hear it that way?
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Old January 22 2009, 07:29 AM   #9
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Re: Did Khan Have A Point?

Starfleet should have checked on Ceti Alpha V. Also, if Ceti Alpha VI had exploded, Ceti Alpha V would have been pushed closer to its sun (which appears to be what happened). It would not head out further away to where Ceti Alpha VI was located. The notion that Reliant couldn't count how many planets there were or that the position of what they they thought was Ceti Alpha VI turned out to be Ceti Alpha V was farfetched. Also, when Chekov tells Kirk about Khan's wife being dead (former Lt. Marla McGivers), Kirk shrugs it off unphased with "I know what he blames me for". This is information that nobody outside of the Reliant renegades,Chekov and Terell know. How would Kirk know of this?
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Old January 22 2009, 09:13 AM   #10
Timo
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Re: Did Khan Have A Point?

Let's remember what actually happened in "Space Seed". Khan was discovered, and tried to hide his identity. Kirk and pals found out, and launched into praise on how great a person Khan was. Khan commandeered the ship, and made death threats (but never killed anybody), but was overcome and put on impromptu trial. In that trial, our heroes were sympathetic of him, and wished him good luck on his supposed original goal, of founding a superhuman colony on some distant world.

Now, Spock had problems with this. Starfleet might well have had problems with it, too. Kirk wasn't being cruel to a criminal. He wasn't even being lenient with a criminal. Kirk was aiding and abetting a criminal, and respecting and admiring him. Clearly, Kirk was at steep odds with the later-established anti-Augment policies of the Federation, and acted against the wishes of his superiors. Or at least against the wishes his superiors were obligated to express, even if Starfleet Command was full of Khan groupies.

From that point of view, it seems almost certain that Kirk never filed a report. He might have felt a bit ill at ease with his decision, but he would also have thought that Khan must be doing all right and be thanking Kirk every morning and evening for his magnanimosity. There would have been no real reason for him to revisit the superhuman colony.

Khan, of course, would see things through different glasses. At first, he might think exactly like Kirk did, that this was paradise and the Captain was a benefactor. But the hardships and misfortunes would eventually make him consider Kirk a perfect scapegoat instead.

As for what happened to the Ceti Alpha planets, we only have Khan's version of it. What would he know, with his primitive or missing instruments? That CA VI "exploded" is probably quite an oversimplification.

Add to this that the system probably was not charted. Kirk would have had no motivation to chart it, when he instead wanted to provide Khan with a hiding place in this seldom-visited sector. He would also have picked a system that had not been charted too carefully beforehand, a system nobody cared about. And we know from TOS and TAS that Starfleet of that era had no means of tracking what happened in distant and uninteresting systems: there was no way to observe the Doomsday Machine at work or anything.

And it's not as if the crew of the Reliant would have been particularly interested about the systems they "explored". They were just looking for suitable deserts, and had been at it for some time already. Probably bored out of their skulls.

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Old January 22 2009, 07:21 PM   #11
EnsignRicky
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Re: Did Khan Have A Point?

Yes. And it was best served cold.
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Old January 22 2009, 11:31 PM   #12
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Re: Did Khan Have A Point?

The novelization of TWOK does attempt to clear up some of these questions. Ceti Alpha 6 is described as being the moon of Ceti Alpha 5, not its own planet, which makes less sense in terms of naming but a lot more in terms of it exploding. The Reliant did encounter oddities in their sensor logs when they entered the system, and thus knew something was up, but Chekov didn't remember about Khan until it was too late.

CA6 exploded because it was geologically unstable, and the system was barely explored at the time of "Space Seed." It's implied that it hasn't been heavily explored by the time of TWOK. Khan, having lost his wife and been faced with the disaster caused by the moon exploding, has developed an excessive hatred for Kirk, whom he he has come to blame for most (if not all) of the misfortunes the group has suffered. Joaquim realizes how dangerous that obsession is, and that Khan has lost a significant part of what made him so intelligent. This is why he argues with Khan on more than one occasion in the film, and a lot more so in the novelization. He's lamenting the person Khan used to be, before he let his obsession cloud his mind.
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Old January 22 2009, 11:55 PM   #13
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Re: Did Khan Have A Point?

It really wouldn't have been Kirk's job or duty to follow up (he and the Enterprise had other missions), but, yes, some Star Fleet ship should have come out and treated it like a penal colony of sorts, offering supplies and all that. That's really the odd bit.
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Old January 23 2009, 12:26 AM   #14
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Re: Did Khan Have A Point?

Vance wrote: View Post
It really wouldn't have been Kirk's job or duty to follow up (he and the Enterprise had other missions), but, yes, some Star Fleet ship should have come out and treated it like a penal colony of sorts, offering supplies and all that. That's really the odd bit.
It's entirely possible, speaking in universe wise, that some ship did pop into the system, ran a few scans, detected no more than a blip of life-- remember, Reliants more advanced sensors [compared to TOS] only was picking the odd reading nothing really concrete, the ship scratched it off as a dead system-- no survivors, and kept on moving down the road.
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Old January 23 2009, 06:34 PM   #15
Admiral Buzzkill
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Re: Did Khan Have A Point?

GalaxyX wrote: View Post
You know, subconsciously I've always seen it like that, and that's what makes it a great movie.
Yep. I don't know how much of it was Sowards and how much may have been added by Meyer, but the script has a really strong point of view concerning Kirk's penchant for shortcutting problems.

If Bennett's reminiscence about Meyer's insistence on Kirk cheating is to be believed (Bennett demurred on making Kirk a cheat and Meyer accused him of "television thinking"), a lot of that thematic material had to have come from Meyer.

Kirk's stuck with the David and Khan dilemmas because of his own failings as much as theirs.
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