Commodore Wesley confuses me

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Sadara, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. feek61

    feek61 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Location:
    The Sunshine State
    ^^

    Happened to a friend of mine! He was the captain of a Los Angles Class Sub and while he was asleep whomever was in command at the time ran into a Japanese ship due to the venturi effect (basically the sub got sucked into the ship as the ship passed over it) and my friend was relieved of command and shortly thereafter left the Navy. Keep in mind before he was a captain of the vessel he was the chief tactician for an admiral at the pentagon. He had a great reputation and knew the right people but in the end it just didn't matter. The commander is where the buck stops.
     
  2. siskokid888

    siskokid888 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2006
    Location:
    Either Quark's, or a bar on St. Mark's Place
    I think that's what went on - when Wesley says "what the devil is Kirk doing?", he means "why hasn't Kirk shut the M5 off?", not "why is Kirk attacking us?" As I recall, M5 shut off communications, so there was no way for Wesley to find out what was up or even if Kirk and company were still alive. At that point he assumes the ship is out of control, and moves to destroy it.
     
  3. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    Ouch! So you are telling us the modern US Navy still clings to this outdated, rigid "the captain is responsible for everything (i.e. every thing)" 300 year-old naval "tradition"? :wtf:

    This would be rather stupid, considering the costs the taxpayer invested into the training and education of your friend from an economical point of view (from a human point of view it's awful: so you have to be an a**hole to make sure the crew will do its job 100% right but in return will hate and despise you - unless you are a born and natural leader?).

    At least, TOS suggests progress in the far future: In "The Doomsday-Machine" Kirk tries to persuade Matt Decker to return to the Enterprise - "We need your experience!"

    Bob
     
  4. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    Location:
    Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA, Terra
    "Full phasers? What the devil is Kirk doing? Damage report, Lieutenant. Helm, course one six four, mark three."

    "Enterprise--Jim! Have you gone mad? What are you trying to prove? Break off the attack! Jim, we have fifty three dead here--twelve on the Excalibur! If you can hear us, stop the attack!"

    "Jim, why don't you answer? Jim! Answer! Come in, Jim!"

    "Jim, break off your attack!"

    I think the notion that Wesley thought Kirk was trying to prove something actually has some merit. It's too bad we can't ask Bob Wesley what he thought was happening and to what degree he thought Kirk was responsible.
     
  5. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    Location:
    Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA, Terra
    And, on the other hand, Kirk also says: "As captain, I am responsible for the conduct of the crew under my command."

    It looks like even in the 23rd century, if crewmembers screw up, the captain takes the heat.
     
  6. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    Ferguson, MO, USA
    It is no more outdated than any other policy. Command of a vessel is an enormous responsibility and captains have always been responsible for the actions of their ships and their crews. It's more than just giving orders. They're supposed to be in complete command of their vessels at all times and when something goes seriously amiss, it's considered a failure on the captain's part to command his or her vessel. In the event that a situation was truly beyond the control of the captain, then an investigation will prove that.
    Nothing of the sort. It just means the captain is 100% responsible for his ship and crew.
    In Star Trek VI, Kirk admitted that as captain he was ultimately responsible for the actions of the crew under his command.

    Picard faced an inquiry for the loss of the Stargazer, but was exonerated when the investigation apparently showed that it couldn't have been prevented (Picard likely faced another inquiry for the loss of the Enterprise-D, too and was found not at fault then too).
     
  7. feek61

    feek61 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Location:
    The Sunshine State
    That's exactly what happened; a man with a great career future destroyed by something really out of his control. Matt was out of the Navy within a year after incident; disgraced. Here are the details of the collision:

    "In January, 2007, there was a minor collision between an American nuclear sub (the USS Newport News) and 1,100 foot long, 300,000 ton tanker (the Mogamigawa) in the Persian Gulf. There was some damage to the ship, in the form of a 108 foot long tear in the rear hull. The tear was four inches wide, and letting water in. The U.S. sub had its sonar dome, in the bow, badly damaged. But both vessels were able to make it back to port under their own power. An investigation revealed that the tanker was passing safely over the 360 foot long Newport News, but was going at such "high speed" (probably about 35 kilometers an hour), that a sucking effect was created, that pulled the 6,300 ton sub up until its bow banged against the bottom of the passing tanker. The Newport News was moving south, through the Straits of Hormuz, as was the Japanese ship. The tanker carried a crew of 24, the sub has 127 sailors on board."


    This is what a fellow commander said about Matt:
    "I do know and did serve with the Captain. He was a very thorough and methodical young Man. Smart as a whip. Loved by his Men. Wish I could say I taught him everything he knows, but it ain't so. He knew a lot more about some things than I did. He's been there almost two years. And I hope his reputation survives this as well. Whatever happens, he will always have a place at Subsunk's table."

    No question; the captain is responsible in today's Navy no matter what. Matt was allowed to get the ship into port and then never set foot on her again. Sorry for the diversion, lol, now back on track!! :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2013
  8. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    On the issue of what Wesley thought Kirk was trying to prove, the obvious scenario would have Kirk delaying aborting the simulation because he wanted to show Wesley that M-5 was a deadly mistake. That's a plausible and somewhat defensible action up to the point where M-5 began doing real damage and killing dozens.

    Wesley's comments would actually make sense in the context. His first objection still involves the understandable initial horrid belief that Kirk wants to prove something, even though the likelihood of that is rapidly diminishing already. In the following ones, Wesley is disabused of that idea and simply pleads Kirk to abort M-5's attack by any means.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    No need to apologize. It's a true story that deserves to be told (and adds a most welcome real life reference to an academic debate). Something similar happened to me when a school bus passed my car too close, flew the driver's door open and crushed it. Of course, only my car was wrecked but in Matt's case a promising career was destroyed. Awful, I really feel sorry for your friend.

    Bob
     
  10. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    Walking distance from Starfleet HQ
    A few phasers applied to critical waveguides, conduits or what have you, and it's all over. Hell, one phaser on overload in the right area and that'd cripple the ship but good.
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Exactly. The circumstances even conspired in Kirk's favor there: his ship only had 20 people aboard, all apparently free to move around, so he could quite possibly destroy some 90 % of the Enterprise in the process of liberating her from M-5, without casualties.

    Things would have been different had M-5 been in a position to take hostages. But Kirk still had only 20 of those, against the three times more deaths on the other ships already; suicide would certainly have been a viable tactical move there.

    It would make perfect sense for the primary off switch to fail (it even appeared to be Daystrom hardware rather than something Scotty would personally have built and approved), and for the heroes to struggle with that for a few moments. But the secondary, tertiary and however you latinize umpteenth shutdown methods should certainly have been available after a short assessment of the situation.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. Ensign_Redshirt

    Ensign_Redshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Commodore Wesley's assumption that Kirk went insane wasn't that far-fetched when we keep in mind that a lot of starship commanders were shown as being mentally unstable (Ron Tracy, Garth of Izar, even Matt Decker to some extent...)

    It just came with the territory in the 23rd century. Wesley was probably thinking: "so, Kirk is finally losing it too..." :p
     
  13. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2013
    Location:
    Will be Celebrating Spocktoberfest this year!
    Then why did Spock and Scotty spend several hours working on a cut off that was supposed to resolve the problem?
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Because it's a TV show?

    The characters really look like idiots there. Several plots had already featured heroes and villains sabotaging key areas of the ship, sometimes even when those were guarded by live personnel, and when the saboteurs had little experience (say, Khan). Going to Main Engineering was rarely necessary for this, and Main Engineering appeared to be the only place where M-5 was able to defend itself. Did Spock and Scotty suffer from memory problems or what?

    (I can only assume the heroes did not want to do anything too destructive at that point because they knew M-5 was an expensive item that Starfleet would prefer returned more or less intact. Lives were only at stake some time later in the episode.)

    Also, communicating with the other starships should not have been that complex. If subspace radio was out, Kirk could have asked Scotty to send an SOS with running lights, or in a dozen other ways M-5 wouldn't think of. Sure, the computer was supposed to be versed in Starfleet practices - but Kirk's known forte was thinking outside the box. Surely he could have outthought this particular box of circuits, too, without needing to directly confront it?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2013
    Location:
    Will be Celebrating Spocktoberfest this year!
    Perhaps the episode was only 51 minutes long and they couldn't show Kirk out on the front edge of the saucer with semaphore flags signalling Lexington? :p
     
  16. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Perhaps not - but Trek always benefited immensely from a "nautical" feel, and the art of seamanship is perhaps best known for such multiple alternate means of communication (right after the knot-tying thing at least).

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  17. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2013
    Location:
    Will be Celebrating Spocktoberfest this year!
    Actually, I never thought of it before your last post, but why didn't anyone use a hand communicator to call Lexington? :brickwall:

    (we really don't have a facepalm smiley?)

    It's disheartening to like and defend something and then really see a huge plot hole big enough to drive the Fesarius through. In over 30 years I never noticed they didn't use a hand communicator.
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    We don't know if hand communicators work without having a cooperative starship act as an amplifier or router.

    I mean, we've never seen Starfleet hand communicator to hand communicator contact when the mothership is out of range. We've never seen Starfleet hand communicator contact from within the ship to any outside asset. But admittedly, we did see Klingon hand communicator contact with outsiders in "Elaan of Troyius"... Then again, nobody was deliberately trying to prevent communications on that occasion.

    But yeah, that would be one of the possibilities for thwarting M-5.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    If M-5 is going to the trouble of leading the crew on with false circuit controls and then blocking all frequencies I doubt that it would have been easy or possible to get a clandestine signal off. The machine was pretty thorough.

    UHURA: Enterprise to USS Lexington. Come in, Lexington. Sir, I can't raise them. M-5 is blocking all frequencies, including automatic distress.
     
  20. feek61

    feek61 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Location:
    The Sunshine State
    I always assumed that the M-5 had a damping field around the ship blocking communications. Similar to what they did in "Journey to Babel" when they limited the transmission to the alien ship from that fake Andorian guy.