Abandoned and damaged starships

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by James Wright, Oct 15, 2012.

  1. Knight Templar

    Knight Templar Commodore

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    Kirk could also have known there was "no life" aboard the Excalibur because he knew full well all the surviving crew would've already abandoned ship by the time he asks M-5 the question.

    Remember, not only does Kirk know what the Enterprise weapons can do, but one can presume he knows all abandon ship procedures and timetables for a Constitution class starship.

    Remember, Kirk also asks M-5 what the penalty is for "murder". M-5 replies "death".

    Yet.

    We know from "The Menagerie" that going to Talos IV is the "only death penalty still on the books".

    So if M-5 were being the least bit reasonable when Kirk asked what the penalty for murder was, M-5 should've replied

    "Lifetime incarceration in a Federation rehabilitation facility" or something that effect.
     
  2. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    But then in that case Kirk wouldn't have asserted that the reason for there being no life was because the M5 had murdered it. You don't likely get a second chance to out-think a super smart machine.

    The M5's bank of what laws it considered applicable included "the laws of man and God," which it believed murder to be contrary to. Evidently, Daystrom provided the M5 with a concept of right and wrong that was broader than just with respect to Federation law, and one consistent with the one he himself believed in. The penalty that the M5 selected was one that it believed was appropriate in that broader context.
     
  3. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That assumes that M5 would have been as well versed in Constitution evacuation procedures as Kirk. But since it's a machine that's not supposed to have any crew, Kirk might trust it would not stop to consider evacuation as a reason for the total loss of life at the ship it had targeted...

    Kirk is tap-dancing on a high wire anyway. He probably wouldn't think he can outsmart a computer - but he knows how to manipulate people, and M5 is people.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  4. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    Kirk did quite alright versus Nomad.
     
  5. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    In terms of reasoning? Nomad was crazy; Kirk didn't reason with it, Kirk just confused it and drove it deeper into its madness. Again, his MO was to treat the intelligent machine as a fallible fellow intellect, subject to hubris and pride, self-doubt and regret, and strike at the weak points of its personality.

    Had Nomad been an analytical machine, it could have simply declared Kirk's facts "uncoordinated" once more, and ignored the rantings about "errors" while defining "sterilization" as only applying to lifeforms and declaring itself exempt from its own rules. But Nomad had glued random fragments of two incompatible sets of operating instructions together into a jumbled mess that was so self-contradictory that Kirk only needed to give it a random push and it fell apart. M5 was a tougher nut to crack...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  6. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Considering M5 schooled Kirk on proper selection of a landing party and led Scotty and Spock on a wild goose chase on how to divert control of the ship it would be very safe to say that M5 is well versed in all things Constitution-class including evacuation procedures.

    But as you point out, it's one weakness is that it has Daystrom's failings and that is what Kirk used against it. However, for Kirk's argument to work, M5 really needed to believe that it murdered the crew of the Excalibur and that would suggest that it indeed did so.
     
  7. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    How would Kirk have known this? And why would the crew immediately abandon ship, unless the ship were about to blow up. Which it didn't. If a portion of the crew survived the phaser assault, the first action on their part would be damage control, returning to the fight and assist the other Starship combating the Enterprise.

    Running to get into thin skinned life boats and risking being "machine gunned in the water" in the middle of a battle, bad idea.

    And given the magnitude of the supposed damage to the Excalibur, why would Kirk assume that any of the life pods/life boats still existed? Given the locations we seen them on other ships, they would seem to be pretty vulnerable.

    And with the ongoing battle, another starship pulling alongside, dropping it's shield and beaming off personnel, is unlikely.

    :)
     
  8. Unwrapped

    Unwrapped Continuity Spackle Moderator

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    Hmmm... maybe the Excalibur crew were all standing next to exploding instrument panels? :D
     
  9. Knight Templar

    Knight Templar Commodore

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    Agreed.

    Remember, Nomad was not even really a human built thinking space probe anymore (Kirk said that), it was an incredibly powerful (overpowered) space probe that cobbled itself a new programming directive based only partially on its original orders.

    We're talking about a "thinking machine" that couldn't tell the difference between "James T. Kirk" and "Jackson Roykirk".
     
  10. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The error would of course be a bit more understandable if it were James R. Kirk. :)

    Curious how "The Changeling" is basically the only bit of Star Trek where our hero introduces himself as "James Kirk" (thrice!) rather than using his middle initial. Was the writer actually thinking in terms of Kirk's tombstone from the pilot episode, then caught his error, and hastily removed the counterproductive references to the middle initial?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  11. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Kirk uses "James Kirk" about 15 or so times vs "James T Kirk" only 8 times during TOS. Kirk was lucky that he was in a "no middle initial" kind of day with Nomad.
     
  12. Knight Templar

    Knight Templar Commodore

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    He was also very lucky that Spock caught the significance of the name just a milisecond before Kirk would've doomed them all.

    People forget that despite Kirks "arguing Nomad to death" it was Kirk who endangered the whole crew (and humanity itself) by snapping at Nomad that his "creator was a biological unit" after being angry about Nomad killing two security guards.
     
  13. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If TPTB had made Kirk's middle name "Roy," then Nomad's confusing Jackson Roykirk with James Roy Kirk would have been even more understandable.

    Roy is a perfectly good middle name.


    :)
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    To give it all an appropriate 1960s twist, James Sunrae Kirk would have worked the best of all...

    Funny the way memory plays tricks on you. I could have sworn "James Kirk" was a rare occurrence compared with "James T. Kirk".

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    Nah. Not buying that.

    Too much is being made of Kirk telling the M-5 tie-in "because you murdered it!"

    It is not necessary for the M-5's attack on the Excalibur to have killed the entire crew in order for Kirk's moral plea to carry weight. The dialogue between Kirk and the M-5 tie-in was simply dramatic short-hand that M-5's attack killed people, period. It didn't have to kill all 400+ (although that does work dramatically in that scene), just that the attack cost lives rather than saved them. Earlier in the episode Dr. Daystom laments this point:

    It seems from this scene that Daystrom believed his creation would save lives by making astronauts either obsolete or mostly supplanted by AI-driven space travel. McCoy had to share this with Kirk (we see at least part of their conversation in the briefing room; there was likely more on their way to meet Spock and Scott in the Jefferies Tube) because McCoy recognized that the conversation in the Engine Room gave him insight into Daystrom's p.o.v.

    Subsequently, when Kirk confronted the M-5 tie-in that M-5's war-on-Wesley's-Task-Force was resulting in the loss of lives, it shouldn't matter whether it was 40 or 400. Murder is murder. That's what Kirk impressed on the "Ultimate Computer". Obviously, Kirk was appealing to Daystrom's (implied) prime directive: "Men can live and go on to achieve greater things than fact-finding and dying for galactic space, which is neither ours to give or to take... ... We don't want to destroy life, we want to save it!"

    When Kirk confronted the M-5 tie-in with this dilemma, M-5 realized that it had defeated its own "purpose in life" and witness the result:


    My reasoning in pointing out the Enterprise crew's brighter mood prior to setting course for the space station (instead of mourning the loss of an entire sistership's crew) was that (1: obviously some time had passed between Wesley giving the cease-fire order over the radio and McCoy's report to Kirk on Daystrom's condition in Sickbay, clearly spelled out using the starship visual as a "fragmentation of time" device implying "later..."; and (2: nobody seems bitter or sad; they actually seem relieved and upbeat, which suggests to me that the M-5 war-games disaster did have a silver lining: at least some of the Excalibur crew survived and were rescued, possibly transferred to the Enterprise. (this would explain how the ship could make it back to the space station without M-5's help)
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
  16. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Sure, I get the moral directive that Kirk lays on M5. However, I don't think that much time elapsed between Wesley's report and their retreating outside of phaser range - which is a considerable distance.

    The only options for the crew of the Excalibur are
    1) escape by shuttles
    2) escape by primary hull detachment
    3) escape by beam out to friendly ships

    1 and 2 didn't occur so that leaves 3. It is possible during that time when M5 turned to chase Potemkin that Lexington and Hood moved in and beamed out the survivors. If that is the case, then this is an interesting example of the ability to beam a whole bunch of people by a starship(s).

    However, I'd imagine the dead bodies stayed aboard for Kirk's strategy to work.
     
  17. Knight Templar

    Knight Templar Commodore

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    If you want to consider EVERY word spoken by Kirk to be the literal truth then answer this:

    why did Lexington, Excalibur, Hood, & Potemkin have only 1,600 crewman aboard (400 per vessel probably).

    Kirk

    "Four starships! 1,600 men and women!"

    If they had the same size crew as the Enterprise he should've said

    "four starships! 1,720 men and women!"
     
  18. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Plus as T'Girl points out is the crew really going to completely abandon the ship instead of trying to repair it in the middle of combat.
     
  19. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    My assumption was that a portion of Excalibur's crew did die (probably more than the 53 dead aboard the Lexington), but the majority survived and were trapped aboard. As we've seen in other eps of TOS and TNG ("For the World is Hollow, And I Have Touched the Sky" for one, "Heart of Glory" for another) it is possible in the STAR TREK Universe for life signs to be masked aboard a space vessel, particularly one that is damaged/emitting radiation.

    So, it's entirely possible, given these other precedents, that the majority of the Excalibur's crew was trapped aboard the derelict ship, and the Enterprise's scanners were unable to detect survivors unless the Enterprise either scanned at extremely close range (never shown to be the case) or actually boarded the Excalibur.

    While evacuating the Excalibur is an interesting thought, it wasn't necessary. Excalibur's crew could have been trapped and isolated from all other ships until the war games crisis had been terminated.
     
  20. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    You misunderstood what I was saying. You must be thinking of a different scene.

    The fragmentation of time I was talking about took place here:


    The Enterprise establishment shot can be used to indicate the fragmentation of time. It's an old trick that was used throughout the series. We have no idea how long after Wesley's cease-fire order (the ending of the war-games) that Kirk, Spock and McCoy were in Sickbay talking over Daystrom's sleeping body. It could've been 2 hours, 2 days or 2 weeks. But the Enterprise's flying-in-space shot is a sure cue without any spoken words necessary: it says simply "later..."

    My theory is that M-5, using Enterprise's scanners at a distance, could not detect survivors aboard the damaged and derelict Excalibur. ("For the World Is Hollow And I Have Touched the Sky", "TNG's "Heart of Glory") So everyone, including the M-5, assumed that without any indication of life signs, all the Excalibur crew had perished.

    But after Wesley's cease-fire, it's entirely possible (and makes sense, given the improved humor and a joking Kirk and company) that survivors had been found and rescued from the drifting Excalibur. It would also make sense if some of those survivors were brought aboard the Enterprise to recover the ship's systems so she could return to the space station. (Remember, there's no longer an M-5 to run the ship, only 19 visibly relieved and relaxed Enterprise staff aboard. Excalibur survivors could be helping Scotty in the Engine Room, manning the engines, pulling out M-5's plugs, etc.)