After Romulus

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by jhouston6, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Oh, not even close. Here's Star Charts' map of the whole galaxy:

    http://images4.wikia.nocookie.net/_...star_chart.jpg/1024px-Galactic_star_chart.jpg

    See that tiny black dot in the middle of the white circle? The one labeled "UFP"? The whole of Federation, Romulan, and Klingon space combined are just a little bit bigger than that black dot. That's not a good chunk of the galaxy. It's not even a good chunk of the Orion Arm. To use an analogy I made in another thread a couple of years back, if the Orion Arm corresponded to Florida, the Federation and all its neighbors put together would correspond to Orlando and its suburbs. And size-wise, the Orion Arm is roughly as small a percentage of the galaxy as Florida is of the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii). Or maybe even less.
     
  2. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    I think the effect on the Empire might be akin to that of destroying the Eastern Seaboard of the United States but sparing the remainder of the country. The large majority of the Empire's population, productive capacity, and military remains intact, and when a new administration is installed it will resume its great power status, but for the time being it's going to be preoccupied with cultivating (rather, rebuilding) its own garden.
     
  3. TJ Sinclair

    TJ Sinclair Captain Captain

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    I guess the bottom line is that the "science" of Abrams' Trek is just plain terrible. I pray that it's because of the writers' strike that the script couldn't have been refined more, and they were stuck with placeholder terminology ("red matter"? "lightning storm in space"?) but I'm afraid I hope in vain. We'll see when Into Darkness comes out if things are any better.

    Hobus would've made much more sense as a pulsar than a supernova, IMO. And then there's the assertion in the Countdown comic that Hobus was 500 lightyears from Romulus, on the fringes of the Empire. An expanding sphere of energy 1000 lightyears in diameter? Generated by a supernova?

    These writers have no scientific knowledge worth mentioning, and are afraid their audiences are too stupid to understand anything more than elementary school science, so they give us shorthand, instead of thinking up an actual explanation that makes sense.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2013
  4. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    So it's business as usual for the franchise.

    Engages warp engines, go to warp 10 and turns into a lizard
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Actually Roberto Orci is very knowledgeable about science, at least by Hollywood standards. I have the impression that earlier drafts of the script may have had a more scientifically plausible version of the disaster. But as the director/producer, Abrams had the final say on the script and dialogue, and he may have decided that the simpler supernova idea was more efficient to get across onscreen or less distracting from the character stories he was more interested in telling.
     
  6. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    To get mildly technobabble'ish, as has been suggested before numerous times, it's possible that the Hobus star had unique subspace properties (or such) that made it going supernova a greater threat than a normal star undergoing the same process. Then again, the supernova may have been caused artificially, which could also explain the increased danger. That might also explain why Spock's calculations were off.

    Or it could have been something that would have been tweaked if the Writers' strike hadn't occurred.

    In any case, it doesn't seem especially more grievous than numerous other Trek...anomalies.
     
  7. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Star Trek Online: The Needs of the Many: A scientist explains the Hobus supernova wake travelled through subspace, damaging some systems within a 500ly sphere, destroying Romulus and Remus.

    To me, this sort of ST technobabble sounds reasonable.

    STO mission Ground Zero: Praetor Taris, under guidance of the Iconians, and her Reman allies, used decalithium to initiate the Hobus supernova. They destroyed Romulus on purpose. (They didn't care about Remus because the Remans didn't live there anymore.)
     
  8. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That's par for the course for the franchise as a whole.

    When I was eight, I realized Trek science had little to do with the real world variety.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    In fact, prior Star Trek movies have already given us precedent for cosmic explosions having effects that propagated FTL. First was the Praxis explosion affecting the Excelsior in The Undiscovered Country; I profoundly doubt the ship was passing through the Qo'noS system itself at the time. Second were the trilithium-induced supernovae in Generations, which were shown to have instantaneous gravitational effects on the courses of vessels and phenomena parsecs away. So for better or worse, this is an established reality of Trek-universe physics.

    As for Hobus being 500 ly from Romulus, I'd prefer to ignore that. Countdown is not canonical, and frankly it makes scientific errors far worse than anything in the movie, like claiming that Hobus is one of the oldest stars in the galaxy. It's the huge, short-lived stars that go supernova. The oldest stars are tiny, cool red dwarfs that aren't capable of it. Not to mention what Countdown claims about the radiation front somehow accelerating, which isn't in the movie; there, Spock just wasn't ready in time to save Romulus. Even the name Hobus was never mentioned onscreen.
     
  10. TJ Sinclair

    TJ Sinclair Captain Captain

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    So did I, but I meant what I said within the context of already flaky "Trek science." What we got in Abrams' film was about on par with the worst aspects of original Battlestar Galactica "science" :lol:

    And that would be perfectly reasonable to me... too bad it wasn't actually used in the movie. ;)

    Which is why they used the term "subspace shockwave" in the film. That one tiny little bit of technobabble sufficiently handwaves away scientific impossibility of what we saw on screen. Star Trek 2009 could have used that term, or the writers could've come up with something similar. After all, they cribbed stuff from almost everywhere else in the franchise. But even that small effort wasn't made, and instead we get "lightning storms in space" and a "supernova that threatens the whole galaxy."

    It's not that I wanted the movie to make an in-depth scientific explanation of what was happening, but just one or two words to let the viewers were making up future science instead of just being idiotic. Subspace shockwave, people. Spatial anomaly. Say it with me. It's not that hard.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Star Trek movies have always had looser, sillier science than the shows. As far as I'm concerned, the Genesis Device is still the single most fanciful, impossible, and ridiculous idea in the history of Trek movies, and one of the most ridiculous in the entire franchise. Something that small with the godlike power to transform an entire planet and create life in a matter of moments? And instead of just failing when set off in a nebula instead of on an existing planet like it was programmed for, it manufactures a whole planet and possibly a star out of the nebular gases? That is sheer, unadulterated magic. And then in the next film they give it the equally magic ability to resurrect the dead, and make up some random nonsense thing called "protomatter" to handwave it into a failure. And then it's completely forgotten, despite the fact that even a failed experiment of such godlike power would certainly warrant further exploration and produce amazing technologies as spinoffs even if the intended function didn't work.

    There are a lot of lame ideas in the later movies too -- Sha Ka Ree, trilithium, the Nexus, the Borg using time travel exactly once and never again, fountain-of-youth radiation in a planet's rings, thalarons. The 2009 film has its flaws, but nothing worse than its predecessors have given us. We've just had more time to come to terms with the earlier films' absurdities.
     
  12. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    FWIW Christopher, I enjoyed your ruminations about the Borg's use of time travel in Watching the Clock. Well, more specifically I enjoyed the book in general (though parts of it gave me a headache :p), but as you just mentioned the Borg thing up above, I felt obligated to keep my post vaguely topical. :)
     
  13. TJ Sinclair

    TJ Sinclair Captain Captain

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    I get what you're saying Christopher, but I'm not sure you get what I'm saying. You're talking about the implausibility/impossibility of made up tech, "future science" and treknobabble invented by the writers. I can accept a fair amount of handwaving in light sci-fi like Trek.

    I'm more frustrated with the completely asinine misuse of contemporary scientific knowledge -- like supernovae, and talking about "lightning" in space -- in order to dumb-it down for the masses. They didn't even try to handwave with made up technobabble or future science. They just used terms the audience would've heard, but hoped they wouldn't understand.

    Genesis Device? Sure, it's impossible, but it's "future science," and I can suspend disbelief. Protomatter? Okay, fine. Subspace shockwave? All good. Trilithium? Okay, you used that word before and probably forgot about it. Metaphasic radiation? Thalaron radiation? Okay, add 'em to the list. I can deal with all of it.

    Note, I'm not really letting The Final Frontier off the hook. The plot wasn't good enough to make up for the stupidity of the Enterprise making it to the center of the galaxy in a few hours, let alone anything else. :lol:

    But calling whatever the Hobus event was a "supernova"? Talking about "lightning storms" instead of just saying "an energy distortion" or something like that? And naming your McGuffin something like "red matter"? It's like a really bad Saturday morning cartoon for five year olds.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^I see that as just a matter of style. "Lightning storm in space" worked from a story standpoint; it was a significant plot point that the description of the distortion be distinctive and evocative enough that Kirk would recognize it upon hearing it. Of course it was meant metaphorically, as the observers' impression of the event rather than a technical analysis; the film never claimed otherwise, so it's not fair to criticize the description on technical grounds. You might as well complain about the names of the Crab and Horsehead Nebulae.

    As for "red matter," sure, it's meaningless, but at least it's more honest about its meaninglessness than Andre Bormanis-style technobabble from VGR and ENT like "isolytic shock." ("Isolytic" would literally mean "dissolving equally." It doesn't mean a damn thing. It's just Bormanis's two most overused technobabble roots stuck randomly together.) Abrams is rather honest in how he treats McGuffins; like the coiner of the word, Alfred Hitchcock, he doesn't bother to try to explain them because he knows the explanation doesn't matter, only the characters' reactions do. He did the same thing in Mission: Impossible III with the "Rabbit's Foot" McGuffin, whose actual nature or purpose was never explained. It's not about insulting the audience's intelligence; I think it has more to do with the fact that Abrams is very fond of mystery and puzzles in his work, and has a habit of leaving things deliberately vague. That's just a stylistic choice.

    To be honest, I think Abrams's approach of using lay terms for the technobabble is more plausible than Berman-Trek's approach of making everything sound as complicated as possible. Look at science news today, and you see a lot of lay terminology like dark matter, nuclear winter, dwarf planets -- simple, comprehensible language. You might see more technical terminology exchanged among experts or written in papers, but there are usually more informal names for casual or lay discourse.

    As for the supernova... yes, the specifics there were quite nonsensical, though not half as bad as the added details in Countdown. But the difference from Genesis is that it wasn't really all that important to the story. It was a McGuffin as well, the reason that Nero and Spock Prime were back in the past and the thing that motivated Nero. But all that really mattered was that Romulus had been destroyed; the how was a secondary concern. The details of what happened in the 24th century didn't really matter to the story being told about the 23rd, so it's not that big a problem for me that they were handled cavalierly. I wish they hadn't been, but it's not as bad for me as something like Genesis, where the impossibilities and logical absurdities are critical to the plots of two movies, rather than just a background detail that's disposed of in a minute or less.
     
  15. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    IMO, First Contact's bigger flaw is why do the Borg, who only really care about technology that can help them achieve perfection even bother to assimilate a planet the day before it achieves warp flight?
     
  16. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Answer: Because the Borg, contrary to Q's claims in TNG Season Two, clearly care about more than just their victims' technology. In particular, they seem obsessed with their inability to assimilate the Federation.
     
  17. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The borg sent all of 2 cubes (out of MILLIONS) to assimilate the federation up to 'first contact'. That's not even close to 'obsessed'.
    7 of 9 confirms that the borg don't bother assimilating species having no relevant technology (kazon); they destroy them instead.
     
  18. RPJOB

    RPJOB Commander Red Shirt

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    But why would you WANT to do something that's already been done? Wouldn't it be more interesting to see differing outcomes? Don't let other interpretations of the movie events tie you down. Surely there must be more than one way (or two or twenty) that things could progress.

    Bolding in your post added by me. Note the word human. These are NOT humans. They're aliens. If they're going to act and react and respond just like humans they why even bother making them aliens?

    I've been rereading Spock's Wold recently and there's a passage that talks about how very few Vulcans have ever left their planet, let alone their system. The number quoted was around 5% as opposed to about an average of 40% for other races. Romulans are basically Vulcans under the skin. Their ancestors left Vulcan and deliberately chose a new homeworld, most likely bypassing other suitable planets seeing how common class M worlds are. Something about Romulus caused them to choose it. If they're the same homebodies as Vulcans are in Spock's World then they may not WANT to live elsewhere. Getting posted to another planet may be considered a punishment. Alternately, the Government, though the Tal Shiar, may not want distant colonies to grow too large. Large colonies breed dangerous ideas like freedom and independence. Keeping the populations low and transient keeps these ideas from taking root.

    Klingons relish struggle. Romulans want control.

    I see it more as destroying the British Isles at the height of the British Empire. There's ships and personnel spread across the globe but the vast majority of citizens, as opposed to colonial subjects, are suddeny gone.

    Or The Borg habe already tied time travel 26 times before but each time was via a method that led to a new universe splitting off like in ST09. In First Contact it's the first time they're using a method that changes the present as happened in City of the Edge of Forever. If the Enterprise hadn't been in the temporal wake then the Borg would have succeeded and nobody would have even known that it happened.
     
  19. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    This is how thy came up with the technobabble in TNG/DS9/VOY-era Trek:
    [​IMG]
    It's meaningless babytalk. I'm more than happy for Trek to return to it's TOS-style mindset of "show it, don't explain it."
     
  20. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    And if the Romulan population is anywhere near the current population of Earth, that 5% would equate to 300 million people. If only 1% of the population was off world when the event happened, that would still be 60 million people. I think that would be more than enough for the Romulan people to survive.

    Much like Spock in the new timeline, perhaps Saavik takes on the cause of finding the Romulans a new home and uniting those that are left.