COUNTDOWN TO DARKNESS 5-page preview

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies: Kelvin Universe' started by King Daniel Beyond, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. Nightowl1701

    Nightowl1701 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Beta III - The Prime Directive applies mainly to developing cultures. Thanks to Landru, the culture on Beta III was stagnant and the people were in a brainwashed state, incapable of moving forward without help. To just leave them there would have been cruel.

    Vaal's World - Same deal, except the natives were being oppressed by a machine created from another species - their culture had already been screwed over.

    Neural - this is the example closest to Countdown to Darkness. But again, the Prime Directive had already been violated - in this case, by the Klingons. Kirk simply put the warring cultures back on even ground. (I can only assume in April's case he didn't learn of the Klingons' involvement in the Phaedan civil war until after he had abandoned the Enterprise, otherwise he'd have been justified in Starfleet's eyes to take action. If he'd interfered first, and then the Klingons stepped in - well, he's still in the wrong.)

    In each of the three cases cited, Kirk had ample reason to step in - these were not normally developing cultures.

    April may not have started out evil, but he unquestionably crossed the line in seizing the Enterprise and her crew and offering them to one of the Federation's mortal enemies. Never mind the Prime Directive, that's treason with a capitol T.
     
  2. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Premium Member

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    Perhaps not to the UFP standard of development and I'm not saying Kirk violated the PD in those cases, just that he meddled. Not sure how or if the PD applies to stagnate or oppressed cultures. Where is the line drawn?
     
  3. Franklin

    Franklin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Off the top of my head, I can think of four outright violations of the Prime Directive in TOS. One may surprise folks:
    1. John Gill in "Patterns of Force".
    2. Ronald Tracey in "The Omega Glory".
    3. R.M. Merik in "Bread and Circuses".
    4. Jim Kirk in "Miri".

    I think the only time Kirk actually broke the PD was in "Miri", when McCoy's antitidote to the virus was not only given to the Enterprise crewmembers, but to the children. Strictly speaking, the children shouldn't have been treated. It would've made for an interesting debate within the episode, but I don't think any writers had created the PD, yet.

    It can be argued April isn't violating the PD in this case if the Klingons were there first. Once the genie is out of the bottle, how can the PD really apply? However, that doesn't mean April can't be committing other criminal acts in carrying out his cause.
     
  4. M'Sharak

    M'Sharak Definitely Herbert. Maybe. Moderator

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    Does Merik count, though? He's not Starfleet, and thus (one would assume) not bound by Starfleet directives.
     
  5. Franklin

    Franklin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    May not. I forgot he wasn't Starfleet. Come to think of it, it'd be odd if there wasn't a "civilian" version of the directive, though, wouldn't it? Was such a civilian version ever brought up in any TV incarnation of Trek?
     
  6. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Premium Member

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    Wasn't Worf's human brother a civilian? I forget if he was employed by Starfleet or the UFP.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    By the 24th-century interpretation of the PD, where intervention is forbidden even if it means letting the civilization die off, you might be right. I don't think that's true of the 23rd-century interpretation, though. As Kirk pointed out on various occasions, the PD was about allowing the normal, healthy development of other cultures. That meant not interfering or imposing the Federation's will on naturally developing cultures, but Kirk also interpreted it to mean freeing stagnated or oppressed cultures from the influences that kept them from healthy development. No one could say Miri's culture was healthy, or even that it was a viable culture. The disease would've killed them all off eventually, if famine and other illnesses didn't do them in first.

    I'd say Kirk's one blatant violation of the Prime Directive was preventing the execution of Eleen and her unborn child in "Friday's Child." That execution was rightful by the customs of her people, and she herself accepted it. Now, if it had been Kras the Klingon who'd killed Akaar, or enabled Maab to do so, maybe it could be argued that Kirk was countering Klingon intervention. But to all indications, Maab himself instigated the coup -- perhaps egged on by Kras, but it was pretty clear that the reason Kras backed him was because Maab already had designs to seize power. And it was Maab's forces who killed Akaar while Kras was confronting Kirk. So the whole thing was kosher by Capellan law and custom, and Kirk had no basis for intervention on Prime Directive grounds. He was forcibly imposing his own morals onto members of an alien culture in defiance of their established customs. That's about as blatant as a Prime Directive violation can get.

    A lot of people cite "A Taste of Armageddon" as a PD violation, but I don't, since the Eminians had by that point attacked the Enterprise and declared their intention to kill its crew -- essentially a declaration of war against the Federation. The PD doesn't forbid taking action against a declared enemy in wartime.


    EDIT: TNG: "Angel One" alleged that the Prime Directive doesn't apply to civilians, but I've always found that an odd interpretation. Nikolai Rozhenko was definitely a civilian; he entered Starfleet Academy, but soon dropped out.
     
  8. Franklin

    Franklin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    "Friday's Child" is a complicated mess because the Federation wanted mining rights on the planet. If they are going to pump money (or some form of payment for the minerals and services) into that culture's economy, then it seems they see no problem with the PD in this case, and what Kirk is doing is preserving the Federation's position to secure the economic deal and drive off the Klingons.

    The planet seems to be a pawn between the Federation and the Klingons. So, I'm not even sure this one is that black and white. Kirk may have violated the customs or laws, but the very idea that the Federation wants to do business with this pre-warp culture is odd itself within the context of the PD.
     
  9. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Nikolai Rozhenko was not active duty Starfleet, but former Starfleet (being an Academy ex-cadet). So it could be argued that the Prime Directive applies to him. Same goes for Merik, who was also an Academy dropout.

    I can definitely see the Federation attempting to apply the PD to both of those men, since they were at one point associated with Starfleet. You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave...
     
  10. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Not really seeing as the Prime Directive was always came off as a Starfleet Regulation, it didn't seem like a Federation law or anything.

    Why, he isn't Starfleet anymore.

    Okay why does everyone think Merik violated the Prime Directive, from what I remember he seemed to be following it even giving into the natives desire to kill his crew to keep any outside interference from showing up.

    Why they're not a fascist dictator ship that was the TOS Klingons.
     
  11. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I assume that anyone who ever served in Starfleet - even if they only attended the Academy for a short time and didn't even graduate, like Nikolai or Merik - was bound by Starfleet regulations. I don't see why this shouldn't be the case.

    As for civilians in the Federation, it remains to be seen whether there is an equivalent of the Logan Act.
     
  12. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Premium Member

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    Why would civilians, even ex-Starfleet be bound by Starfleet regulations? Other than for national security, I'm sure they would to be free to do what they want within the bounds of Federation law.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But the PD is not all-or-nothing. It is where pre-contact societies are concerned, but it also applies to post-contact societies. In that context, it basically means that you can interact with other cultures so long as you don't force your own values and decisions on them, so long as you agree to let them practice their own laws and customs, make their own decisions about internal affairs, etc. (See TNG's "Justice." Why they made contact with such a backward society in the first place is a mystery, but once they had made contact, the Prime Directive still required them to respect local laws, which was why they didn't just break Wesley out and warp away.)


    It may be that Capella was contacted before the PD went into effect, or that it was first visited by some other spacefaring society -- either way, they already knew of life on other worlds, so that wasn't an issue anymore. At that point, the post-contact phase of the PD came into effect -- you can interact, but let them make the decisions for themselves, instead of sending in missionaries to convert them or overthrowing leaders you dislike or whatever.


    Yes, obviously General Order One is a Starfleet regulation. But the point is that giving Starfleet a non-interference directive seems pretty pointless if Federation civilians can interfere all they want. It's a hell of a leaky sieve that way.

    Not to mention that we have heard the PD referred to as the Federation's "highest law" on occasion. (Indeed, Kirk called it that in "Friday's Child.") If it were only a Starfleet regulation, then it would not be a Federation law. Hence the inconsistency with what "Angel One" claimed.


    Because he had himself installed as a leader of the planet's government. Even if he was a figurehead, he was in a position of leadership where his decisions could affect the political and social development of the society.

    Remember, the original idea behind the PD was as a guard against the kind of colonialism and imperialism that Europe and America had engaged in for generations, and that was really showing its downside in the Vietnam era when TOS was made. The PD was based on the recognition that it was a bad thing for one nation to take over another, to install its own people as another nation's leaders, to impose its own values or religion on another culture, etc. So making yourself leader of an alien civilization is just the sort of thing the PD exists to prevent.

    And even if Merik hadn't violated the PD, he'd certainly be guilty of treason -- conspiring with an alien power to murder his own crew.
     
  14. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In regards to the TNG Prime Directive maybe, but possibly not in regards to the TOS Prime Directive.
     
  15. M'Sharak

    M'Sharak Definitely Herbert. Maybe. Moderator

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    I don't see any reason to take for granted that it would. Any permanent and binding oath taken to uphold Starfleet regulations and directives would logically be sworn at the time of acceptance of an officer's commission (i.e., upon completion of studies and graduation from Starfleet Academy - not before.)

    That's more than a bit of a reach, and not a reasonable equivalent to what one would expect a "civilian Prime Directive" to be like.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But that's just it -- we know the PD was not nearly as strict in TOS. Heck, Kirk told Tyree of his alien origins when he first lived with the Hill People years before "A Private Little War." Back then they weren't so paranoid about "contamination" that they saw even the tiniest bit of interaction as intolerable. They allowed some degree of basic contact and communication in a lot of cases, particularly when there was a trade benefit for them, as on Capella. The Directive wasn't so much "don't interact at all" as "don't conquer their planet or assimilate their culture." Kirk spelled it out himself in "Friday's Child," telling the Capellans that the Federation's highest law was that their world would always remain theirs, that their sovereignty and freedom of choice would be respected.
     
  17. throwback

    throwback Captain Captain

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    Ligon II was another Capella IV. It had a substance the Federation needed, so the law was bent just enough not to tweak the PD's nose, while ensuring that the substance was obtained. (Ligon II was from the episode "Code of Honor".)

    I think the problem we have when valuating the PD in the 23rd or 24th century is that we are viewing its interpretation through the perspective of four captains and their crews. The shows rarely explored the Federation or Starfleet beyond the narrow confines of these three captains. We know from the mission orders sent to a handful of ships in 2364 that starship captains had the discretion to initiate first contract proceedings with a pre-warp civilization. And, we know from the testimony of Q Junior, that Captain James Kirk did receive some kind of recognition for rescuing two civilizations from destruction, while at the same time violating the PD.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Keep in mind that despite certain cultural trappings, Ligon II was a technologically advanced civilization. They were backward compared to the 24th-century Federation, but they had their own, independently invented transporter technology, they had an "orbital control station," and they had those energy-beam thingies in the combat arena. We also know that at least one Ligonian was on Earth in the 2320s, perhaps even as a Starfleet cadet, since Picard wrestled one in his Academy days according to "The First Duty." So apparently they were a spacegoing people. If they had transporters and orbital stations, it's reasonable to assume they'd independently developed warp drive as well.
     
  19. Franklin

    Franklin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    With the Klingons involved as well in "Friday's Child", I think the Federation would be looking at a larger political landscape.

    Frankly, it came down to getting a mining agreement with these people and having them be independent but friendly to the Federation, or having them fall into Klingon hands or at least be a Klingon minion. In Klingon hands no laws in that culture would be respected. Indeed, the entire culture may be stifled. What Kirk did to try to avoid the Klingons getting their way on the planet was minor compared to that. It may not have been his shining moment, but occasional moral and legal ambivalence was a hallmark of the Cold War.
     
  20. DaveyNY

    DaveyNY Commodore Commodore

    I wonder how many Cultures were contaminated from the pre-Federation Era of Star Fleet... ? ...

    During all those years that Archer and associates began flying to the stars.

    By the time of TOS, my guess is that most of the planets within reach of Earth with it's warp 5 & 6 starships, had probably been contacted and were aware of things they probably shouldn't have been at that point.

    <shrug>

    (and I think I have probably used 'probably' to many times at this point.) :crazy: