Abandoned and damaged starships

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

  1. Knight Templar

    Knight Templar Commodore

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    I've always wondered this:

    How long did it take Kirk to convince Commodore Wesley (and the other two ship captains) that he (Kirk) was NOT responsible for the deadly attacks on their vessels?

    Obviously at the end, it is clear to all concerned that M-5 was responsible as neither Kirk or any member of his crew is under arrest.

    Yet.

    THROUGHOUT, the M-5 controlling the Enterprise attack on the task force, Commodore Wesley seems to ASSUME that Kirk has gone mad.

    EVERY reference by Wesley to the attack, mentions Captain Kirk. Not one of them mentions M-5.

    "Full Phasers?! What the devil is Kirk doing!?!!"

    "Captain! Jim! Have you gone mad? What are you trying to prove? Call off the attack! Jim! We have fifty three dead here! Twelve on the Excalibur".

    By the way.

    How is it that one phaser hit early on only kills 12 on the Excalibur but the second attack kills the other 400 or so crew aboard? Wouldn't the Excalibur be somewhat more on guard and be trying to raise shields or at least take evasive action when the second one hit?
     
  2. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Sure, I understood what you were saying before. However that relies on M5 unable to properly scan Excalibur. The examples you listed had very specific interference (alien vessel disguised as an asteroid, unusual radiation and/or shielding) that wasn't addressed in "The Ultimate Computer" and/or M5 would've called out such a difficulty as an excuse to not take responsibility for the deaths on the Excalibur. Kirk could've easily called out any number of casualties inflicted up to that point but he picks on the Excalibur.
    CHEKOV: Excalibur is maneuvering away, sir. We're increasing speed to follow.
    SULU: Phasers locked on.
    KIRK: Daystrom!
    SULU: Phasers firing.
    DAYSTROM: I really don't know how to get to the M-5. I really do not know.
    SPOCK: Doctor Daystrom, you impressed human engrams on the M-5 circuits.
    CHEKOV: Coming to new course, sir. Bearing on the Potemkin.

    [This is where Hood and Lexington could've started their rescue operation using Potemkin as bait.]

    SULU: Phasers firing. A hit.
    ...
    WESLEY [on viewscreen]: All ships damaged in unprovoked attack. Excalibur Captain Harris and first officer dead. Many casualties. We have damage, but are still able to manoeuver. The Enterprise refuses to answer and is continuing attack. I still have an effective battle force and believe the only way to stop the Enterprise is to destroy her. Request permission to proceed. Wesley, commanding attack force, out.

    Since Wesley reports to Starfleet after Enterprise goes after Potemkin with casualty information regarding Excalibur, it is likely they rescued the remaining survivors off of the dead ship prior to retreating outside of phaser range.
     
  3. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Because as far as Wesley knows, there is an infallible on/off switch installed on Kirk's chair controlling M5. He had no idea that M5 could ignore that switch and assumed Kirk was entirely responsible for the Enterprise's actions.

    In TOS, rarely do phasers miss once they've got a lock. Also, we know that phaser damage depends on distance to target (as well as power applied). So, the first time Excalibur was hit it could've been too far away to cause many casualties. The second time, the Enterprise seemed to have better control of it's attack direction and came in from the side getting a hit that's effect spanned the whole ship. The Excalibur might have still been struggling to get her shields and/or power up at that point with possibly most of her command crew dead from the first hit (speculation).
     
  4. CoveTom

    CoveTom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    And while we're on the subject... Kirk asks the M5 what the penalty for murder is, and the M5 replies "death." But in "The Menagerie," we're told that visiting Talos IV is the only death penalty left on the books. So how does it decide that death is the penalty for murder?
     
  5. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, let's see.

    Visiting Talo Four could be the only death penalty within Starfleet's justice system, while in Federation member's civilian courts the death penalty is the preferred consequence for murder/homicide. Especially if you're killing people by the hundreds.

    M5 is debatable a self aware sapient being, but it isn't a Starfleet officer or crewman. M5 is a "civilian."

    :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2012
  6. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    On the other hand, M5 is Richard Daystrom in silicon. And he/it is crazy as a cuckoo.

    Kirk has overheard Daystrom speaking of "civil and moral laws" a two distinct things, even specifying that such things are thousands of years old (which civil laws in a democracy aren't, because constantly tinkering with them is the only way to have democracy in practice). It's a good bet of Kirk to assume that Daystrom believes in "laws of God and Man" that were abandoned by the civilized world back when they abandoned both God and Man. Kirk then just goes and picks the one that fits the tactical situation.

    "Murder is punishable by death" then is a convenient untruth that M5 strongly believes in; Kirk might just as well have said "Murder sends you to Hell" if he felt he would benefit from M5 retreating to its idea of Hell, or "Murderers have to do fifty push-ups" if he felt M5 believed that and would blow up out of shame for being unable to do any push-ups at all.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  7. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    This is undoubtedly one of many things that happened in-between the time that Wesley radios his task force "do not fire... the Enterprise has dropped her shields" and the time when McCoy is reporting on Daystrom's condition in Sickbay.

    I would love to have seen a boarding party of fired-up red-shirts taking command away from Kirk, and then conducting an interrogation process with Wesley stewing in his command throne, demanding reports once every fifteen minutes while he stares at the drifting Enterprise on the Lexington's main viewscreen. That would be epic.

    It really is not out of the question for at least several hours to several days to have passed between those two scenes. The establishment shot of the flying Enterprise leaves the door wide open to the fragmentation of time.

    People in this forum have criticized "The Galilieo Seven", "The Ultimate Computer" and "By Any Other Name" for having excessively cheery-mooded endings after the Enterprise (or other Federation starships) have lost numerous crewmembers. But I would say in the case of "Galileo" and "Ultimate", there is an indication of the passage of time which would allow for mourning to have occurred as well as for other developments to have happened off-camera. For "By Any Other Name", there is probably a great sense of relief when Rojan turns over control of the Enterprise after highjacking it. In all cases, all Federation personnel have good reason to feel relief and optimism that, despite loss of life, a greater disaster was/will be averted.

    In the case of "Ultimate", the story works whether the entire crew of the Excalibur died or only some of the crew died. Either way works for me, even though the notion of the entire crew being killed so quickly and easily seems quite a leap even for TOS.

    For me, the interest Kirk and Scotty show in the wrecked Constellation, combined with Kirk's desire to rig-up the Exeter (for what?) suggests that wrecked/abandoned/infected space vessels can be salvaged. I would extrapolate that if Kirk hadn't used the crippled Constellation as a kamikaze bomb, he probably would have arranged for the Enterprise to "take her in tow" out of the asteroid field, have Scott rig/repair the derelict ship enough for it to be either flown under her own power to the nearest port or to have a mobile spacedock brought to the scene so the ship could be fully restored, re-staffed and reactivated.

    Given the amazing ability of Scott's repair crew to take an "all powerplants dead" ship and wind up reactiviating her impulse engines, recharging one of her phasers and eventually rigging to ship to become a flying bomb, it really doesn't seem out of the question to me that a seriously damaged ship could be restored out in deep space either where she is found or somewhere nearby. This seems to fit in with TOS without any problem.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2012
  8. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Given that the ships were expecting phasers at 1/100th power for the wargames it's not at all surprising that the M-5s full power shots could have wiped out the entire crew of the Excalibur, which clearly wasn't running with shields full up. I mean, in Day of the Dove the Enterprise obliterates an unshielded Klingon Battlescruiser with one shot.
     
  9. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...But the Excalibur is not obliterated.

    Indeed, a ship that took exactly identical damage in TOS lost no crew at all - the entire lot of 400 was quoted as having beamed down safely so that they could be killed in a different manner. :devil:

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  10. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You assume that the majority of the damage was done before the Constellation was evacuated.
     
  11. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    ^ That's what Commodore Decker seemed to be indicating.
     
  12. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Exactly identical looking damage from a distance shot doesn't equal same damage when viewed close-up. Also, one was an anti-proton weapon and the other is a phaser blast. Kinda hard to compare... :vulcan:
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    It would help matters if Star Trek featured even one occasion of phaser beams killing a ship's crew (or at least a greater portion thereof than Ensigns Expendable and Deadmeat at their consoles) without actually pulverizing the ship. Phasers just don't appear to have that sort of effect...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. AggieJohn

    AggieJohn Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Well I always saw phasers as a precise weapon as opposed to photon torpedo which seem to be an area effect weapon. I could see the M-5 targeting life support and causing a rapid decompression of the hull killing huge numbers of the crew leaving the ship rather intact. It would be the logical move leaving the ship to be captured for future use.